Headphone brands like Beats Audio and Bang & Olufsen may be popular today when it comes to style, but nothing catches your eye quite like a pair of Skullcandy headphones. It’s not just their striking colors and distinctive looks; Skullcandy is also known for his undying love for extreme bass. Heavy bass isn’t a must for everyone, but you’ll find a plethora of people who want exactly that in a pair of headphones.
Enter the Skullcandy Crusher ANC. A stepped-up version of the Skullcandy Crusher headphones, this pair of headphones features the familiar bass slider that lets you set exactly how much thump, plus one big addition – active noise cancellation. 27,999, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC goes up against the two big guns in this segment, the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. Does Crusher ANC have what it takes to challenge the defending champions? Find out in our review.
Skullcandy Crusher ANC Design & Specifications
Skullcandy has a distinctive aesthetic that focuses on the colors and its distinctive skull face logo, rather than the edgy design or build quality. The Crusher ANC sticks to it, and looks very similar to the Crusher Wireless Headphones. There are a few key differences that set the two apart, such as a slight bulge in the ear cups and the noise cancellation microphone on the new model.
While there’s nothing wrong with how this pair of headphones looks, it’s not exactly what you’d expect from a premium headset. In our opinion, it looks a bit cheap and generic compared to alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Jabra Elite 85h. We also didn’t quite like the maroon color of our review unit, but there are other color options — black, and black/tan — that look a little more sophisticated in our opinion.
The headset is large and comfortable. It completely covers our ears when we put it on, offering decent passive noise isolation and minimal sound leakage even at high volumes. We didn’t have any trouble wearing the headphones for hours, thanks to the thick padding around the earcups and under the headband. The headphones fold inside out for easy storage, and come with a comfortable carrying case, a cable for wired listening, and a USB Type-C cable.
The right earcup of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones have volume and playback controls in the form of physical buttons, as well as a USB Type-C port for charging and a 3.5mm socket for connecting an audio cable for wired listening. Double-pressing the playback button triggers the voice assistant on the paired smartphone.
On the left earcup are the power button (which also controls noise cancellation with a double-press) and a sensory bass slider. This lets you adjust how punchy the bass sounds, and only works when the headphones are on, whether you’re using a Bluetooth or audio cable to connect to a source device. Lastly, there’s a touch sensor on the exterior of the left earcup that controls the ambient mode. This turns off noise cancellation and allows sound from the external filter to get into the headphones.
While the Ambient Mode feature did allow for some extraneous sound, we didn’t like how easy it was to accidentally trigger it. Often, when using the bass slider or adjusting noise cancellation, our hands accidentally rest on the left ear cup and Ambient Mode is turned on, which means we don’t have to feel special when using the controls. Extremely careful is required.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC headset uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity. It has a dynamic driver of 40mm on each side and a frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz. There is an additional pair of drivers that are responsible for the powerful bass. While these aren’t exactly subwoofers, they function in much the same way, with significant driver excursion and flexibility.
The headset supports the Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth codec. Sound quality was naturally the best when using it, and decent even when using AAC instead. With the original SBC codec, there was a slight sharpness in the frequency range and some loss of detail.
Skullcandy has an app (available for iOS and Android) that shows the headphones’ exact battery level and lets you create multiple personalized sound profiles for different users. The sound is adjusted based on what the app deems suitable for you based on a brief test, and this had a positive effect for us. The Crusher ANC felt a lot more spacious for us after setting up the sound profile.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC promises up to 24 hours of battery life, but in real-world conditions we found it to be a little underwhelming. With noise cancellation turned on and the bass slider set to an appropriate level, we were able to listen for about 17 hours, which isn’t bad, but also not great considering the Rs. 27,999 price tag. Skullcandy also claims that 10 minutes of charging will give you three hours of listening. A full charge took us about three hours when plugged into a laptop.
Skullcandy Crusher ANC Performance
When it comes to sound quality and performance, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC is unique and unlike everything else in this price bracket, thanks to its hardware as well as its software. The added element of ‘sensory’ bass gives the headphones an entirely different sound that may come across as blasphemous to purists and audiophiles, but makes casual listening much more fun.
We used the OnePlus 7T Pro (Review) with Skullcandy Crusher ANC for this review, relying on the Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth codec. While the incredibly powerful bass was very entertaining, it led to a bit of listener fatigue, and we sometimes needed to turn the bass slider down to give ourselves a break.
Sensory bass is undeniably the biggest party trick we’ve seen on a pair of Bluetooth headphones lately, and it’s pretty effective. Changing musical tastes and user preferences for strong low-end response in headphones makes the promise of powerful bass an appealing one, and the Skullcandy Crusher ANC delivers on that promise.
With the slider at just 25 percent, the Crusher ANC delivers what it calls the smoothest and most intense bass we’ve heard from a pair of headphones. It’s gradually built up to increasingly aggressive, yet tight and detailed low-end feedback, to the point that we can actually feel the headphones vibrating over our heads. The bass drivers in the headset are fitted with a fair amount of flexibility, allowing for the kind of excursion you’d expect from a decent subwoofer.
Listening to the high-resolution version of the 9000 miles by the pendulum with the bass slider at about 50 percent was an experience like no other. The combination of aptX HD with the FLAC file format is built for aggressive bass that retains detail and tonal accuracy, and turns this already powerful drum-and-bass track into something you’d expect to hear. If you were watching the pendulum live at a concert.
When the bass is set too high, it tends to dominate the rest of the frequency range, regardless of the dual-driver set up. Luckily, you have the option of turning it down, and we found the 20 percent level to be ideal. This allowed the primary drivers’ reactions to be heard clearly, while adding some low-end reverb and punch. Listening to Gotye’s cutting-edge art at this level made for clean, detailed and engaging sound.
Moving on to David Guetta’s Dirty Sexy Money, with the bass slider set to zero, we were able to hear a decent amount of detail and brightness in the sound. The low-end is a bit ‘turbocharged’ even at this stage, but the high holds its own. Mid-range is audibly suppressed due to the V-shaped sound signature and drive of sensory bass, but that’s not too bad, and doesn’t clearly affect our ability to hear vocals. While the sensory bass attenuates the sound quite a bit, the headphones seem to hold their own even with this feature turned all the way off.
27,999, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC goes up against some of the best headphones in the space including the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, both of which are well-regarded for their noise-canceling capabilities. The Crusher ANC doesn’t quite live up to those expectations when it comes to noise cancellation—it doesn’t cut out as much noise as it should.
While it does reduce some noises, such as the rumble of an air conditioner and the roar of a cruising airliner’s engine, it doesn’t cut these as cleanly as its competitors can. We usually heard some sibilance with noise cancellation, which wasn’t completely masked by the music. Essentially, active noise cancellation made only a small difference in hearing ability, without offering any of the quiet it was supposed to be.
We also tested these headphones on voice and video calls, and while the sound was good on both sides, we found that callers sounded a bit soft.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC is an impressive offering as far as the headphones are concerned. Although we weren’t particularly impressed with its styling, few controls, and active noise cancellation, the Crusher ANC made up for them all with a completely unique approach to sound. This pair of headphones takes the idea of strong bass to a whole new level, offering clean sound combined with refined, yet powerful aggressiveness.
What makes it so unique is that everything is under your control – you have to decide whether you want a lot of bass, just enough, or not at all. However, whether it’s worth all that Rs 27,999 is the big question here, and for the most part, we have to say that’s not the case.
Alternatives like the Jabra Elite 85h, Sony WH-1000XM3, and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are better value for money, offering better styling and better noise cancellation. All these are better options in the premium segment, in our opinion, and will provide a better overall experience.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the kind of earth-shaking bass that Skullcandy has to offer, it might be worth trying the Skullcandy Crush Wireless. worth Approx Rs. 9,000These headphones offer similar sound quality and specifications, but don’t offer active noise cancellation.
In conclusion, while we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the Skullcandy Crusher ANC, we can’t recommend it at this price, especially considering that some of the best options in the same category are now available for less than Rs. 28,000.
worth: Rupee. 27,999
- Comfortable, good passive noise isolation
- Earth-Shattering Adjustable Bass
- aptx hd codec support
- clean, detailed sound
- looks simple
- It’s easy to accidentally activate Ambient Mode
- heavy active noise cancellation
Rating (out of 5)
- Design / Comfort: 3.5
- Audio Quality: 4
- Battery Life: 3.5
- Value for money: 2.5
- Overall: 3.5