When it comes to headphones, there’s no question that there isn’t a shortage of choice. Skullcandy is a company I’d heard of before but haven’t really followed. To be completely honest, I associated them more with earbuds than I did with full over-ear headphones. Their PR company reached out with an offer to review their latest set of headphones.
On that note, our Skullcandy Crusher ANC review takes a look at the company’s latest wireless headphones complete with active noise cancelling, haptic Sensory Bass, Personal Sound, and Tile tracking support. Read on to see what we thought!
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones have the following features and specifications:
- Adjustable Sensory Bass
- Digital Active Noise Cancellation
- Personal Sound
- Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
- Up to 24 Hours of Battery + Rapid Charge
- Built-In Tile® Tracker
|32 Ohms ±15%
|Sound Pressure Level
|105 dB @ 1 KHz
|20Hz – 20KHz
What’s in the box
- Crusher ANC Wireless Headphones
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Backup AUX Cable
- Protective Travel Case
- User Guide
- 2 Year Warranty Guide
- *socks not included although they were a nice touch to the reviewer’s box!
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones look more or less like many other over-ear headphones. The top of the headband is a hard black plastic with a couple of ridges going along it to give a sleeker look. The underside is nicely padded with a nice black pleather finish. The adjustable arms of the headband meet with the top portion of the headband and are capped with a greyish/silver piece. On the inside of the arms is an L or R to help you properly orient the headphones. The arms have a silver Skullcandy logo positioned just above where the earcups are attached. On that note, that is the only visible branding on the Crusher ANC headphones.
The earcups are attached with the typical inverted U design and swivel a full 90° in both directions. This swivel provides a customizable fit for optimal comfort, as well as allows for the earcups to lay flat when the headphones are hanging around your neck.
The outer shell of each earcup is the same quality black plastic as the headband and arms. The left earcup has the ANC letters barely visible partway up. Each earcup also has a small cutout near the bottom for the active noise cancelling feature. On the inside of the earcups where they meet the ear pads is a thin greyish/silver piece that matches the one on the headband arms.
When worn, the on-ear controls are located towards the back edge of each earcup. The buttons are the same color as the greyish/silver trim on other parts of the headset. The left earcup is where you’ll find the power button and haptic Sensory Bass slider. The battery and pairing indicator LEDs are also on the left earcup but in the silver trim portion. The right earcup is where you’ll find three buttons for playback and volume control. On the underside of the right earcup is the USB Type-C charging port (yay!) and the 3.5mm AUX port.
Finally, the ear pads are wrapped in the same comfortable pleather finish as the inside of the headband. They fit nicely over my ears and are quite comfortable when worn for extended periods.
Overall, the design of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headset is pretty low key while still looking sleek. The button and slider placement is also very functional and easy to access and use once you get used to them.
Ease of Use
Like most other Bluetooth headphones, these ones are also pretty easy to use. When turned on for the first time, they will enter pairing mode and you can then find “Crusher ANC” on your device in the Bluetooth settings. If the headset doesn’t enter pairing mode, turn them off by pressing the power button for about three seconds on the left earcup. Once off, hold the power button for about five seconds to turn them back on and enter pairing mode. This is also useful if you wish to pair the Skullcandy Crusher ANC to a new device.
As for the buttons, the aforementioned power button lets you turn the headset on or off by pressing it for about three seconds. When turned on, pressing it once will indicate the remaining battery life. The haptic Sensory Bass slider lets you adjust the intensity of the bass by sliding it down to lower or up to raise it.
On the right earcup, a single press of the middle button lets you play or pause the current track, as well as answer or end phone calls. Pressing it twice will activate your voice assistant, if applicable. Pressing the top or bottom button once will raise or lower the volume accordingly. Holding the top button for three seconds will skip to the next track. Holding the bottom for three seconds will skip to the beginning of the current track or skip to the previous track (if already at the beginning of a track).
Finally, holding the outer side of the left earcup will toggle Ambient/ANC mode on or off. Turned off, it allows you to better hear your surrounding environment. When on, it does a great job of drowning out your surroundings and I had a chance to test that out on a flight to Vegas for CES 2020 recently.
The headset can be used in wired mode and doing so will disable Bluetooth as soon as you plug the cable in. The AUX cable does come with a multi-function button with microphone capabilities. As such, you can control playback, answer and end phone calls, skip tracks, and activate your voice assistant when in wired mode.
There are actually two apps that you can use with the Skullcandy Crusher ANC. The first, Skullcandy, configures an Audiodo personal sound stage based on your unique hearing. The second is the Tile app which allows you to locate your headset.
The Skullcandy app for Android and iOS is super easy to use. Fire it up and pair your Crusher ANC with the app if you haven’t already paired the headset through the Bluetooth settings. Once that’s done, you can name your sound profile and a series of sounds will play. When you hear a sound, you tap the screen. The app will run this test for both your left and right ears. When complete, it will create your personalized sound profile. You can then play a song and toggle it off and on to hear the difference. In my case, I did notice a slight difference with a more balanced sound with it enabled. Even better, the profile is saved on the headset so you don’t need to reconfigure it if you move to a different device. Your results will vary based on how good or bad your hearing is.
The Tile app, on the other hand, will help you locate the headset — as long as it has power. Once you’ve registered the headset with the Tile app, you can then select it by pressing a Find button. When pressed, the headset will emit a sound repeatedly and the app will show a series of circles to indicate how close you are to it. Once you’ve found it, pressing done will disable the sound it makes.
Skullcandy’s tagline for the Crusher ANC is “Don’t just listen to your music, FEEL IT” — and they’re not wrong. In fact, using these headphones reminds me of riding in a car with the music cranked and a subwoofer turned up that vibrates the seats. More on that in a moment.
As for overall sound quality, with the haptic Sensory Bass slider all the way down, there isn’t much, if any, bass. The highs and mids sound great but the lack of bass is, well lacking. I found that by setting the slider to around a third, there was enough “regular bass” to even out the balancing for those who prefer regular listening. On that note, if you are one of those then you are probably not interested in a headset with haptic bass.
At first, the haptic Sensory Bass feels odd and, in fact, a bit disconcerting having vibrations happening on your head. However, after spending a bit of time with, and adjusting the intensity of, the Sensory Bass, it really does help with the immersion and enjoyment factor. While it does add to regular music listening, I really enjoyed the haptic experience while watching videos and playing games on my Pixel 4 XL, especially through the Project xCloud preview. Gunfire and explosions in Destiny 2 fill the stage and rumble accordingly. Ripping around in Forza Horizon 4 and feeling the rumble of the engines just added that much more to the immersion factor of the game. I only wish I could pair these wirelessly with my Xbox One X. Unfortunately, the haptic bass doesn’t seem to work when the headset is plugged into an Xbox One controller.
With Bluetooth 5.0 on board, you should expect pretty decent reception when not beside the device you’re paired with. With my phone on the main floor of my house, I was able to go almost anywhere on the second floor or into the basement and still have a clear signal.
With the Skullcandy Crusher ANC, you can also answer and take calls. During our test call, the other party was able to hear me fairly clearly without having to speak up. They also didn’t mention much in the way of background noise either even though I had the TV on at the time.
During our battery life tests, I enabled ANC, had the Sensory Bass maxed, Personal Sound on, and the volume at about 75%. Skullcandy claims up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge and with our settings, which to be honest was a bit much, we managed just under 21 hours of music playing. As mentioned above, I found that the Sensory Bass at 20-50% and volume at around 50-60% were more than adequate for enjoyable listening.
Skullcandy also claims you can get 3 hours of further listening on a 10 minute charge. After a 15 minute charge, our Crusher ANC review unit was showing 54% battery life remaining. On that note, after the quick recharge, I set the volume to 60% and Sensory Bass to 50% with ANC on. With these settings, I was able to get another 9 or so hours out of it.
Because the headset works wired as well, when you do run out of battery, you can still use the headset. The haptic Sensory Bass may or may not work, it worked while connected to my Pixel 4 XL but not while plugged into an Xbox controller.
Skullcandy has also included a nice hard-shelled case with the Crusher ANC wireless headphones. With a nice grey fabric finish, the zippered clamshell case is nicely lined on the inside. The bottom is hollowed out for the headset to fit and remain in place. The drawback to this is it can be a bit tricky to remember the correct folding and twisting of the headphones to get them in place, but it works when you do. On a related note, while there is no pouch to store the charging or AUX cables, there is a little tray where you can place them.
With an MSRP of US$319.99, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones aren’t exactly cheap. They are chock full of features like ANC and on-ear controls as well as the unique haptic bass and personalized sound options. They are versatile as well and work both wirelessly and wired. In addition, they do have great battery life and a quick charge option to keep you listening for longer.
Overall, while pricey, they do offer great features and decent value.
These headphones easily earn a Top Pick of 2020 Award here at Techaeris. Once you get used to it and have adjusted it accordingly, the haptic Sensory Bass is a feature that I find is hard to leave behind. With decent sound, outstanding battery life, and plenty of features, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC wireless headphones are worth it if you’ve got the money to spare. They’re definitely not for everyone, people tend to love or hate the haptic bass so you might want to find a way to try them out first.
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Last Updated on February 3, 2021.