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Cranium-rattling levels of bass (if you like that sort of thing)
Personalized audio profile
Built-in Tile enables locating misplaced headphones
Up to 24 hours of battery life plus rapid charge
Noise canceling doesn’t cancel much noise
Lacking audio finesse and fidelity
Skullcandy Crusher ANC noise-canceling headphones visually buck the brand trend of being brash. However, they lean fully into the brand’s unrefined personality with some of the loudest bass notes you’ll find in over-ear headphones today. Just don’t expect a lot of noise-canceling as a result.
When customers step above the $300 mark for a pair of Bluetooth-enabled, noise-canceling headphones, they expect a lot—and rightfully so. In addition to the basics, they want high fidelity, lots of audio finesse, an easy-to-use app, and plenty of bass. In the case of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones, they get most of those.
I found the Crusher ANC headphones to be about as subtle and nuanced as the brand and model name suggests. The Crushers are the sledgehammers of over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones. They have an impressive battery life, pretty good audio quality, and face-shaking bass.
But how do they hold up during day-to-day use and against the competition? I tested them for over 26 hours to find out.
It likely won’t surprise anyone that the Skullcandy brand is known for being a bit brash and ostentatious. Thankfully, in the black color scheme, the Crusher ANC headphones buck that trend—at least visually (though Skullcandy does sell the Crusher ANC in a deep red color that is a bit bolder).
In terms of the overall design, the Crushers are good, but not great. They don’t have any really high-end touches but the build quality seems good. They didn’t creak in the way that cheap plastic headsets do when they flex and shift, and are solidly constructed from quality materials.
The multi-function buttons on the right earcup are easily accessible, large enough to locate by fingertip right away. However, they lack some of the nice clickiness of other high-end over-ear headphones.
Weighing in at 10.8 ounces, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones are not the lightest noise-canceling headphones you can buy. However, at that weight, they’re not annoyingly heavy.
When on my head, I found them to be fairly comfortable with minimal ear sweat. That said, I tested these during the mid-autumn, so your experience may be different in the summer in more humid climates. Overall, they're moderately comfortable and didn’t cause any abnormal discomfort or strain.
The Crushers are the sledgehammers of over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones.
You may be interested in the Crushers for their noise-canceling technology, but the real reason you should buy them is for their monumental bass. While the noise canceling is lackluster, the bass is other-worldly.
Let’s start with the noise-canceling, though. It can be toggled on and off by holding your fingertips against the left earcup for a few seconds until you hear a voice say “ambient mode,” which will pass outside noise into the earphones, or “noise canceling on" when ANC is activated.
The noise-canceling is adequate, but not nearly as robust as other offerings in the marketplace for a similar price point, including the Sony WH-1000XM3 or Bose 700. The Crushers produce an unfortunate bit of white noise hiss when the ANC is activated. However, what the Crusher ANC lack in noise-canceling capabilities, however, they more than makeup for with bass.
On the left-hand earcup is a slider that adjusts the bass. These headphones produce so much bass—akin to wearing a subwoofer on your head—that your jawbones, cheeks, ears, and most of your scalp will vibrate. I don’t mean you’ll find yourself saying, “My, that’s excellent bass.” Rather, you’ll be ripping them off your head shouting, “Holy moly, that’s insane!”
In terms of overall sound quality, the Crushers are good, but not great. They lack the finesse and fidelity of other high-end noise-canceling headphones in their price range. That said, you can dial them in a bit to suit your own audio tastes by using the Skullcandy app’s personalized audio profile function.
To set your personal audio profile, the Skullcandy app plays various tones through the Crusher ANC. While listening, you indicate on the app screen which tones you hear and in which ear. Based upon that, the app will tune sound output to the range it determines is ideal for your hearing.
I, however, found its sound profile for me far too bright with far too much treble. Even with the bass slider cranked, I felt like I was being bombarded with too many high frequencies. However, when it turned off my personalized audio profile, the sound quality was much more pleasing, albeit lacking the nuance of other high-end headphones at the price range.
Skullcandy boasts that listeners can get up to 24 hours of playback on a single charge. Typically, figures like this are given under ideal circumstances and at lower playback volume levels. However, I found that at half volume playback the Crushers managed 22.25 hours of listening time on a single charge. I was very impressed to see the battery life last almost as long as rated by the manufacturer.
Since Skullcandy offers setup tutorial videos on its website as well as an app, I was expecting set up to be a breeze. And it was—once the app recognized my Crusher ANCs. Unfortunately, that took a while.
To start, I paired them with my iPhone. Then I downloaded and opened the Skullcandy app, but the app couldn’t find my Crusher ANCs despite there being inches apart. I had to turn the Crusher ANCs off and on several times and reboot my iPhone before they synced. Once that was set, it was mostly easy, but it was irksome that a brand’s app had trouble locating and pairing with its own product for which it was specifically designed.
These headphones produce so much bass—akin to wearing a subwoofer on your head—that your jawbones, cheeks, ears, and most of your scalp will vibrate.
The super-powered bass levels aside, the standout feature of the Skullcandy Crusher ANC headphones is their built-in Tile technology. This allows owners to use the Tile app to locate their headphones and view a 30-day history of their headphones’ location. You can even have the app play a chirping sound from the Crusher ANCs to locate them more easily.
Skullcandy’s MSRP for the Crusher ANC is $312, $80 below the comparable Bose 700 headphones (view on Amazon), which are highly rated noise-canceling headphones. In between the Skullcandy and the Bose are the Sony WH-1000XM3 (view on Amazon) noise-canceling headphones, which can be had for $348—$29 more than the Skullcandy Crusher ANC.
Clearly, the Skullcandy is at the lower end of the high-end noise-canceling headphones market. The Crusher ANC are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. However, they are slightly more accessible than their chief rivals. This makes them somewhat well-priced, considering their durability and unrivaled bass output.
The Sony WH-1000XM3s (view on Amazon) are comparable to the Crushers in terms of the relative retail price and build quality. Sony is far from the better choice for audiophiles because of its built-in amplifier, which enables a wider frequency. This means Sony can simply put out a more nuanced sound. The Crushersfar outshines the Sony alternative, however, in terms of bass output. Comparing the two in terms of audio quality comes down to what you value from your sound: high fidelity or tons of bass.
The two headphones are further distinguished by their features and extras. Skullcandy added built-in Tile, which makes finding your misplaced headphones easy, while the Sony headphones have Amazon Alexa voice control.
Of course, these are not the only high-end noise-canceling headphones. If you’d like to see other options, check out our list of the best wireless headphones on the market today.
Like a wearable subwoofer. The Skullcandy Crusher ANC is an ideal noise-canceling headphone for a customer who cares less about subtle audio finesse and more about brain-shaking bass. If you’re the kind of person who would rather block out the noise of the environment around you with bumping bass tones than through intelligent noise-canceling technology, these are the headphones for you.