When we reviewed the Skullcandy Venue, we were impressed with the headphone’s relatively balanced sound – Skullcandy, alongside Beats by Dre, has always been known for its over-the-top bass.
If you were worried that was part of a larger trend away from the brand’s bass-heavy sound signature, however, don’t be – Skullcandy still offers some of the hardest-hitting bass, especially with their flagship Crusher 360 headphone.
After spending several weeks with the Skullcandy Crusher 360, we were torn. The headphone is beautifully crafted, comfortable, and lasts nearly 30 hours on a single charge. But its headlining feature, bass you can feel, makes the headphones a one-trick-pony and only the most hardcore bass-lovers should consider them.
Unfortunately, for the $300 (about £230, AU$417) that the Skullcandy Crusher 360 commands, there are much better headphones for the money.
The Skullcandy Crusher 360 are made of metal, plastic and leather and feel extremely premium. These are by far the best built headphones Skullcandy has made. Our review unit featured a black and brown color scheme which helps to give the headphones a more professional feel.
The headphone forks are made entirely of a single piece of aluminum and feel extremely robust. The headband and ear cups are lined in synthetic leather which makes them very comfortable on the head.
The right ear cup houses buttons to control playback, pairing, and volume while the left earcup features a single power button, battery level lights, and a touchpad for adjusting the bass. The touch control works by sliding your finger up and down to adjust bass but it’s a bit finicky to use as it’s easy to overshoot the amount of bass you want to dial in. We also found that adjusting the bass would randomly increase the volume at times, which is annoying.
Skullcandy includes a microUSB power cable and 3.5mm cable if the headphones run out of juice. The included cable features a three-button remote for controlling music playback and volume. It should be noted that the sensory bass feature only works in wireless mode. While USB-C is notably absent here, the Crusher 360 does manage to offer fast charging. The company claims you’ll get 3 hours of playback from 10 minutes on the charger.
The sound of the Crusher 360 is typical Skullcandy, which is to say there’s a ton of bass and not a lot of detail. The sound’s soft and there’s an overwhelming amount of bass, even with the headphone’s sensory bass feature dialed all the way down. When you start turning up the sensory bass, expect the bass quantity to increase but bass quality to suffer.
With bass turned up to 50%, bass response becomes loose and boomy, but there’s an amazing amount of impact. Crank the bass to max and your skull will start reverberating with the amount of bass the Crusher 360 offers. It’s fun but gets fatiguing after several minutes. Thankfully, the headphones do a great job of keeping your music in so your neighbors aren’t bothered by the incredible amount of bass.
Battery life is rated at 29 hours but we saw closer to 25 with a mix of sensory bass dialed up and down. If you have the sensory bass dialed up all the way all the time, expect battery life to go down a few hours. Still, this is an incredibly long-lasting pair of headphones and the fast charging feature means you’ll rarely need to reach for the included 3.5mm cable.
The Skullcandy Crusher 360 delivers on its promise of skull-rattling bass. These are a unique pair of headphones that let you feel bass more than any other headphone on the market … it’s just a shame it doesn’t sound very good. Highs are dull, bass is uncontrolled, and the headphones lack resolution across the board. But if you love bass, you’ll love these headphones.
That said, for $300 (about £230, AU$417), there are a lot of other headphones you can buy. The Bose QC35 II or Sony WH-1000XM2 are excellent choices for those who need noise cancellation or, for $100 less, you can get the excellent Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, which offer ANC, stellar battery life, and better sound. If you want to stay in the Skullcandy family, the Skullcandy Venue ANC are a better value and sound better.
But if bass is what you live for, the Skullcandy Crusher 360 are in a league of their own.
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