High-quality headphones that offer plenty of deep bass sounds for a low price are two-a-penny in this market. Some brands differentiate themselves simply by undercutting the competition, but Skullcandy is targeting the mid-range segment with its new Crusher set of headphones. And the differentiation comes with the inclusion of an adjustable bass slider that works through a battery-powered amplifier.
Underneath the right ear cushion is a battery compartment for a single AA battery, which some retailers are choosing to include with the product. The battery powers the on-board amp, which basically allows users to adjust the levels of bass that the headphones will chuck out.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have any bass at all without a battery, or if the battery goes flat – you’ll simply lose the ability to adjust the bass levels. Running out of juice actually isn’t so bad – unless you’re purposefully turning your bass up high, using the headphones in passive mode provides a warm, well-balanced sound that you could get by with very happily. But then again, you could probably get such a sound for half the price from a cheap, unknown vendor.
Happily, the adjustable bass slider can and does improve the sound offered up by the Crusher, and Skullcandy claims that a single battery will last for 40 hours of music playback. When it comes to actually using the slider, you can turn the bass up to hilariously heavy levels, ruining any semblance of good sound that a music producer might have tried to create. We’re going to assume, however, that most users won’t be cranking the bass up to its highest levels. Audiophiles will have great fun adjusting the levels to create what they perceive to be the perfect sound, and dubstep-loving kids will no doubt love the extra oomph that the slider affords.
But at $100, is the Crusher too expensive when all it does to differentiate itself is provide an adjustable bass slider? Well, when you put it like that, yes. However, the Crusher offers an altogether more compelling package when you consider everything else.
For example, the earcups are extremely well-padded with plush, black cushions, and the headband also provides a satisfactory level of padding. This makes the Crusher extremely comfortable to use, even for long periods of time – something many headphone vendors fail to take into consideration. As on most of Skullcandy’s other products, the Crusher also comes with an inline remote control and microphone for smartphone users. The one-button remote worked with every device we tested it with, so you can turn the music on and off without getting your smartphone out of your pocket, but unfortunately there’s no volume control on the remote.
That aside, Skullcandy has yet again come up with a sufficiently high-performance product at a reasonable price. With the bass slider around the 25-percent mark, the headphones chuck out deep, warm and full sounds, making competitors’ efforts sound thin in comparison. Just remember that you don’t have to turn the bass up all the way.