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Skullcandy Crusher Review$99.99
The sound of doom goes BOOM BOOM BOOM
How far would you go for your unbridled love of monster bass? If you're the type that bombs bass until your trunk rattles, then the Skullcandy Crusher (MSRP $99.99) might just be the right goody for you.
Let me be clear: Purists will hate these things. Yet just about everyone I handed them to agreed on one point: The Crusher is pretty fun, even if it is completely indelicate.
Design & Features
Cool and comfortable
The Crusher comes in red, black, and white. The flexible band and boxy ear cups are made of shiny plastic. Cushy synthetic ear pads line both cups. A 4.42-foot cable hosts a one-button remote and mic, so you can skip songs or take calls—but you can't control volume. Happily, the cable is detachable, so if yours gets crushed, you won't need to replace the whole rig.
Traveling listeners will appreciate the light, collapsible structure, the microfiber carry case, and the aforementioned mic/remote. As with most consumer headphones, low frequency sounds like laboring engines will break the Crusher's sound barrier easily, but high pitched irritants like chattering coworkers are effectively blocked. As for sound leakage, the Crusher barely spills a peep. Unless you're blasting your beats, your mothers will never hear your indecent tunes.
As clumsy as a clattering spoiler on a Honda Civic
Vibrating headphones aren't for everyone, but I love the adventurous approach. The headphone market could use a horse of a different color, frankly. Speaking technically, though, the sound quality here is mediocre, at best. I ran tests with the vibrating feature off, at half power, and at max—the results varied. Bear with me while I walk you through.
So what happens when you turn the vibrating bass all the way up? Volume increases noticeably in the bass range, and the sub bass absolutely blasts off the charts. This is bass you can feel. Dub step and drum kicks will literally rattle your brain. Mids and highs stay more or less the same as before, though, so you really lose some needed emphasis there. Overall, the vibrating bass makes for rather clumsy, indelicate sound—though some will argue it's just plain fun.
Have you wondered this whole time whether vibrating headphones come with audible distortion? Yup, they do. Surprisingly, distortion is least offensive with the vibrating driver functioning at max power. If you want to minimize distortion, just turn that bass driver all the way up.
In manner of ill-fated moth...
The Skullcandy Crusher promises bass you can feel, and that's exactly what it delivers. With the bass driver turned to max, music certainly loses some of its texture; upper notes on guitars, flutes, and the like really get lost in the shuffle.
And there are other bones to pick, too. My medium-sized head is too small for the Crusher; distortion plagues the sub-bass range to an audible degree; imbalances in volume occur between the left and right speakers at times. Worst of all, much better sound quality can be found for the same $100-dollar price.
Yet somehow I'm still drawn to the Crusher, like a doomed moth to an electrical Flowtron... I know for a fact that my teen brother would go nuts for these things, and they do lend an exciting, concert-like sensation to bassy music. As I ruefully stare at the Skullcandy Crusher's mediocre test results, I'm reminded of my mother and her militant curfews. Looking back, she was right to want me home past midnight. Yet that never stopped me from breaking into the neighborhood pool at 2 a.m., which was always a total, ill-advised blast.