SCOTSMAN GAMES: For those audiophiles who want their music to carry the weight and power of a home AV setup while they are on the move, the search for a suitable pair of headphones can often be elusive.
Gadget Review: Skullcandy Crusher headphones
A pair of phones that fails to capture the lowest frequencies tends to deliver thin and inconsequential results, robbing even the most powerful tracks of their import. Little wonder then, that manufacturers have spent years tweaking their devices in order to hit upon the perfect formula.
Skullcandy’s solution to the dilemma is to throw caution to the wind, dropping the bass with aplomb in the appropriately named Crusher. As the title suggests, these are not headphones which hide their light under a bushel. The Utah firm promises a device that allows you to “feel,” not just hear your music, thanks to its Sensation55 bass extension driver.
The tech is designed to achieve bass with more power than the average headphones, dispensing with design motifs which dictate that a lightweight coil and speaker cone move to produce the sound. With the Crusher, the coil is stationary, with a moving magnet the source of bass-like vibrations, all powered by an AA battery that slots discreetly inside the right earcup.
Vibration, however, is an understatement. With the sliding bass control on the left earcup turned up full, the Crusher hits home with a tremor, the phones rumbling against the side of the head. The effect is startling and when employed with certain genres - we tested with a playthrough of Dr Octagon’s Dr Octagonecologyst - it makes for an entertaining and visceral experience.
The phones are also a good option for those looking for an audio gaming headset, especially if you play a lot of first-person shooters. The Crusher performed admirably with Killzone: Shadow Fall on Playstation 4, its flagship feature ensuring the gunfire and explosions came through loud and clear in the over the ear, enclosed headset.
By contrast, other sounds fare less well with the latest Skullcandy offering. A Chess compilation album saw the set rattle rather than throb, giving the sense that although there was vibration aplenty, there was not a great deal of clearly defined bass accompanying it. An iPlayer documentary also overemphasised lower frequencies without producing especially refined sound.
The Crusher, mind you, is not designed for refinement, nor blues and television viewing. The majority of rock music tested came across very well. At mid-level, the vibrating effect is amenable and does not smother the rest of the audio. Ultimately, the mix is customisable, although given the fact the product is aimed at bass masochists, it is likely most owners will keep the slider turned to max.
With a well cushioned headband and its light weight, the Crusher offers ample comfort to counter the masochism of the bass. Anyone looking for a delicate sound balance would be advised to continue their search, but if it is punch and bluster you seek in your cans, the Crusher is likely to appeal.