The bass is the focus of the Skullcandy Crusher 2014 headphones.The Crusher’s vibrating bass drivers give every song played through its cans an enjoyable (if divisive) thick coat of bass.
The Crusher delivers a captivating, authentic concert-quality experience at its best, thanks to an AA battery-powered amplifier powering two separate drivers (one for bass, the other for the rest of the sound). Unfortunately, the performance does not gracefully span the spectrum of popular music.
Hit or miss bass driver
Cups lack isolating seal
Limited inline controls
The Skullcandy Crusher 2014 are great headphones that don’t have any extra features. Although the all-plastic construction does not inspire, my all-black review unit has a minimalistic design that matches its price. Aside from a few subtle chrome touches, there isn’t much flair here, which I’m okay with.
It wouldn’t be Skullcandy if the Crusher didn’t come in a wide range of colors and styles. There’s a look for nearly every type of music fan, from foliage-filled camouflage to silver snakeskin to a funky pixelated style.
In any case, the thick plastic headband connecting the headphones has a cushioned strip on the underside that provided sufficient comfort for my rather large noggin for quite some time.
The headset ear cups look great and are roughly the size of a bulky computer mouse.If you sit perfectly still, the padded interior provides both comfort and passive noise isolation.
The Crusher’s distinct design encourages inclusion, making it accessible to all, regardless of taste. However, the picky sound performance of these cans conveys a slightly different message.
Without an AA battery, the standard REX40 drivers inside do their best to do you proud. They’re adequate as a backup. However, without the powerful Sensation55 bass drivers, all the headphones can deliver is a lackluster amount of bass with muddled mids and highs. Sorry about that, REX.
Insert the battery and turn on the Bass Sensation Adjustment slider for bass that you can feel (literally). The driver works by capturing and blasting sounds that fall below a certain frequency level. It usually works, putting punchy bass in the right places. But it didn’t work as many times as it did.
The live album by A Band of Gypsys sounds incredible front-to-back with the bass boosted. Still, it doesn’t overpower the masterful prowess of Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Hip-hop, funk, jazz, and anything with a distinct beat or well-layered instrumentation sounded fantastic.
Modern rock music with unconventional studio production, such as The National, The Strokes, or other types of music, tended to fool the bass driver, leaving parts of songs sounding improperly flooded with or hauntingly void of bass. You can find a balance using the slider if you’re patient enough. Most problems I encountered were resolved by adjusting the bass by a smidgeon.
We liked it.
The Skullcandy Crusher 2014 headphones are suitable for those interested in bass-heavy audio. When the bass is present, these cans enliven concert recordings and add a thump to music with a strong beat.
I also like that the Bass Sensation Adjustment slider isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. I stayed with the Crushers because I could adjust each recording artist’s bass on the fly.
We didn’t like
The Sensation55 driver isn’t always sure when to add its thick charm to my jams, but the bass on this one is vital. The feature will work well with jazz, hip-hop, or pop music. Still, most other genres will be distorted and misrepresented.
The cups’ limited range of motion prevented an isolating seal around my ears. As I moved my head, pockets of outside noise found their way into my ear.
There is only a Play/Pause button and a microphone on the inline controls. It’s nice to have those features, but volume controls would have been appreciated.
These cans are perfect for those who need a pounding rhythm to power through their day and those who simply want to add a little extra pep to their music collection.
At $99 (£89.99), the Skullcandy Crusher 2014 set is a decent experience that is sometimes great and sometimes bad. Get these if you need a pair of on-the-go headphones that don’t require any maintenance and produce a lot of basses. If you like the price, another over-the-ear option with a more balanced sound is the AKG Y50.