We’ve been reviewing Skullcandy’s offerings for a few years now. While not for everyone, those who enjoy the bass in their music, the company’s offerings offer up some great audio quality. The Crusher series adds adjustable haptic bass to the mix, and the latest iteration improves on an already fantastic headset with even more features.
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes
Our Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 review takes a look at the company’s latest wireless headphones which offer longer battery life, better controls, and new features over its predecessor. Read on to see why it earns a Top Pick of 2023 Award here at Techaeris!
Table of contents
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones have the following features and specifications:
- Up to 60 Hours of Battery Life (ANC off): And up to 50 hours of battery life with ANC turned on
- Rapid Charge: 10 minutes of charging gives you up to 4 hours of playtime
- Adjustable Sensory Bass – Skullcandy’s patented bass technology, is responsible for the experiential bass for ‘Music You Can Feel’
- Adjustable 4-Mic Active Noise Canceling: Actively monitors the surrounding environment to filter out external noise, maintaining a crisp audio quality
- Skull-iQ Smart Feature Technology®: Issue simple, hands-free voice commands to take calls, change tracks, adjust volume, turn on and adjust Stay-Aware Mode, activate your device’s assistant, launch Spotify Tap, Take Photo and more
- Multi-Assistants Feature: Enable additional hands-free voice services, including “Alexa” and “Hey iHeart,” to connect directly to your favourite brands
- Over-the-Air Updates: Update headphones via the Skull-iQ App to add new features for enhanced functionality and to extend the life of the headphones
- Personal Sound: Tune your audio experience to your unique hearing ability by taking a real-time audio test to create a Personal Sound Profile for optimized audio levels
- Multipoint Pairing: Seamlessly pair to multiple devices at once, regardless of platform or manufacturer
- Clear Voice Smart Mic: Experience a reduction in background noise to ensure calls are crystal clear
- Preset & Custom EQ Modes: Choose one of the preset EQ modes or create your own custom EQ
- Customizable Button Functions: Personalize your headphones by customizing your onboard button controls
- Auto On/Connect: Enjoy automatic connection and pairing with the last device used
- Built-In Tile Finding Technology: If the headphone is misplaced, simply “ring” it from the Tile app
- Durable, Lightweight Design: All-day comfort with asymmetrical, ergonomic earcups
- Headphone Type: Bluetooth Over-Ear
- Connection Type: Bluetooth V5.2
- Driver: 32ohm
- Crusher: 8ohm
- Driver Diameter: 40mm
- THD: <3%
- Sound Pressure Level: 100 ±3dB @ 1kHz
- Weight: 332g
What’s in the box
- Crusher ANC 2 Wireless Headphones
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Backup AUX Cable
- Durable Travel Case
- Quick Start Guide
- User Guide
Skullcandy’s headphones aren’t for everyone. But if you love extra bass, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wireless headset is an excellent choice. Not only does it have more than double the battery life over the original model, but it also features upgraded controls, multipoint pairing, a new app, adjustable 4-mic ANC and more. All that, and Skullcandy managed to reduce the MSRP significantly, with the Crusher ANC 2 coming in $70 cheaper than the Crusher ANC at launch.
Improvements over Crusher ANC
The original Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones were a great set of wireless headphones. As one would expect, the Crusher ANC 2 offers some improvements so I thought I’d start this review with a comparison list between the two.
|Crusher ANC||Crusher ANC 2|
|Battery Life||Up to 24 hours||Up to 60 hours|
|Adjustable Crusher Sensory Bass||Adjustable via slider||Adjustable via click wheel, voice command, in-app slider|
|Noise Cancelling||4-mic ANC||Adjustable 4-mic ANC|
|Stay-Aware Mode||Yes||Yes, Adjustable|
|Active Assistant||Yes, button press – Native device||Yes, voice command – Native device, Alexa, iHeart|
|On-board Controls||Call, Track, Volume||Call, Track, Volume, Customizable|
|App Compatibility||Skullcandy App||Skull-iQ App|
|Built-in Tile Tracking||Yes||Yes|
|Portability||Flat-folding, Collapsible||Flat-folding, Collapsible|
|NEW Features||Skull-iQ Smart Feature Technology|
Hands-free Voice Control
Clear Voice Smart Mic
As you can see, there are significant improvements with the Crusher ANC 2, including better battery life, more customization, new features, and a lower price point.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wireless headphones are similar to its predecessor with a few updates in material and design. The top of the headband has a smoother soft-touch finish as opposed to the plastic of the original model. The underside is nicely padded with a fabric finish as opposed to the black pleather of the original model. The adjustable arms of the headband are manufactured with matte black plastic, glossy on the inside, and meet with the top portion of the headband. On the inside of the arms is an L or R to help you properly orient the headphones. The arms have a gloss black Skullcandy logo positioned just above where the earcups are attached. On that note, that is the only visible branding on the Crusher ANC 2 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 foldability also makes them more compact when stored in the included case.
The outer shell of each earcup is the same quality black plastic as the headband and arms. Each earcup also has a small cutout near the bottom for the active noise-cancelling feature.
When worn, the on-ear controls are located towards the back edge of each earcup. The left earcup is where you’ll find the orange power button and a wheel (defaults to haptic Sensory Bass controls). On the underside of the left earcup is the USB-C charging port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The right earcup is where you’ll find three buttons for playback and volume control, as well as a toggle for ANC.
The ear pads are wrapped in a comfortable pleather finish. They fit nicely over my ears and are quite comfortable when worn for extended periods.
Overall, the design of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wireless headset is pretty low-key while still looking sleek. The orange power button is a bit garish and the only splash of colour, but that’s a minor personal qualm. The button and wheel 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 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 2” 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 2 with a new device.
As for the buttons, the aforementioned power button lets you turn the headset on or off by pressing it for about a second to turn it on and three to turn it off. When turned on, pressing it once will indicate the remaining battery life. The haptic Sensory Bass wheel lets you adjust the intensity of the bass by rotating it down to lower or up to raise it. Pushing it in lets you toggle or cycle through three preset bass levels as well.
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 and holding for three seconds will reject an incoming call, as well as launch Spotify on your device if you have it installed. 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). Toggling the ANC will cycle through Stay-Aware, ANC off, and ANC on.
The headset can be used in wired mode and doing so will disable Bluetooth as soon as you plug the cable in.
Of course, all the functionality above is default, out-of-the-box, settings but can be customized using the Skull-IQ app.
There are two apps that you can use with the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2. The first, Skull-IQ, allows you to configure the headset to your liking as well as several other features, including configuring a personal sound stage based on your unique hearing with Mimi. The second is the Tile app which allows you to locate your headset.
The Skull-IQapp for Android and iOS is super easy to use. Fire it up and pair your Crusher ANC 2 with the app if you haven’t already paired the headset through the Bluetooth settings. If a firmware update is available, you will be prompted to download and install it. Once that is done, you’ll be taken to the robust home screen with plenty of options. In a nutshell, the tiles include the following:
- Voice Control: Lets you enable voice control, and gives you a list of possible voice commands.
- Voice Assistants: Set up Amazon Alexa or iHeart.
- Button Settings: Modify Wheel Press, Vol Up, Mid Button, Vol Down, and Double Press functions.
- Crusher: Lets you set the intensity level of the Crusher sensory bass experience.
- Hearing Modes: Choose between ANC off, ANC on, Stay-Aware, and intensity level of the ANC.
- Equalizer: Choose between Music, Podcast, Movie, and Custom.
- Personal Sound: Lets you optimize the audio quality based on your hearing with Personal Sound powered by Mimi.
- Spotify Tap: Lets you set up easy access to Spotify if you use it and have it installed.
- Take a Photo: An interesting, but odd, feature that lets you use voice commands or a button press to take a picture from your phone if your camera app is open.
- Multipoint Pairing: Allows you to connect to two devices simultaneously and easily switch between them (i.e. your phone and computer).
- Find with Tile: Basically a link to the Tile App or to install it if you don’t currently have it installed.
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.
Other settings you can access through the app include disconnecting the headphones, changing the voice language, viewing the app version, and accessing help and customer support.
There is a lot of functionality in the app for a pair of wireless headphones but it is pretty clearly laid out, making it easy to access and figure out the various settings.
As for overall sound quality, with the haptic Sensory Bass wheel 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 adjusting the “Crusher” setting 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.
If you haven’t experienced it before, Sensory Bass does take a bit to get used to but it really does help with the immersion and enjoyment factor. Depending on the type of music you listen to, you can really feel it, especially when it comes to rap, hip-hop, dance, and rock music. Heck, even classical was amped up a bit depending on the track and how much drum was involved in the piece. While it does add to regular music listening, I really enjoyed the haptic experience while watching videos and playing games on my phone.
From the lowest to maximum volume, the audio was never distorted with the 40mm drivers. You’ll want to take the time to install the Skull-IQ app and run through the Personal Sound by Mimi feature as well to fine-tune it to your ears and get the best out of your music enjoyment. It’s a straightforward process and walks you through it nicely. It basically consists of you listening over static in each ear one at a time for a beep. Once you hear it, you press and hold the “button” on your phone screen and release it when you can’t hear it anymore. After you’ve done this for both ears, your sound profile is saved and you can toggle it on or off 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.
With Bluetooth 5.2 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 2, 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.
In addition, the voice controls worked great, giving you even more control over the headphones with just your voice. The commands are prefaced with “Hey Skullcandy,” and then specific keywords like Spotify, play, pause, volume up, ANC on, more Crusher, take photo, assistant, and more. If you have it enabled, you can also just say “Accept” or “Reject” when a phone call is incoming to answer or ignore it.
During our battery life tests, I enabled ANC, had the Sensory Bass at about 75%, Personal Sound on, and the volume at about 50%. Skullcandy claims up to 60 hours of battery life on a single charge (with ANC off, 50 with it on) and with our settings we managed just under 45 hours of music playing. As mentioned above, I found that the Sensory Bass at 20-50% (depending on the current music track or genre) 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 10-minute charge, our Crusher ANC review unit was showing 40% 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 6 or so hours out of it.
On the off-chance you run out of battery while on the go, you can use these in wired mode as well with the included AUX cable and port.
Skullcandy has also included a nice hard-shelled case with the Crusher ANC 2 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 $229.99, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wireless headphones are a much better deal than when the first version launched. 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, they do offer great features and decent value.
The Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones easily earned a Top Pick of 2020 Award here at Techaeris back in 2020. Once again, the minor adjustments and improvements make this an easy headset to recommend and it, once again, earns a Top Pick 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 hard to leave behind. With decent sound, even better battery life, and plenty of features, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 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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Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2$229.99
Ease of Use10.0/10
- Great sound with Sensory Bass in music, videos, and gaming
- Sensory Bass easily adjustable
- Comfortable, sturdy feeling build quality
- Outstanding battery life with quick charge
- Headphones can be controlled via voice commands
- Pretty solid ANC
- Personal Sound based on your hearing
- Easy to use controls
- Tile tracking
- Very nice included carrying case
- Not much bass without Sensory Bass enabled
- Sensory Bass not for everyone