I’m not a big fan of headphones. I believe that music needs to be listened to streaming out from speakers—and nice speakers, not the high-PMPO variety everyone advertises and sells in India—filling the room with sound.
Still, there are times when you need ’phones. When you’re running, for instance (in my running days, I used a pair of Sennheiser sport earphones in neon-green; they’re still around somewhere), or in an aircraft, where the ’phones need to be as much noise-cancelling as they are nice-sounding.
Somehow, however, I’ve never gotten around to buying noise-cancelling headphones, from Bose, Sennheiser, or even Sony. It could be the cost, although I don’t think it is entirely that. I had heard of Skullcandy ’phones and even seen them, and so was happy to review a pair that someone thoughtfully sent to the Mint office.
Skullcandy products have always been as much about looks as performance. The pair we got were the CMYK (named thus for obvious reasons) ones featuring the Skullcandy motif and I have to admit that they looked very cool.
The true test of ’phones, however, isn’t just how they look, but how they perform, and how they feel. Let’s get to the feel first. The Skullcandy ’phones are those that cover your ears—the technical term for this is circumaural. These ’phones sport ellipsoid heads and were a perfect fit around my rather large ears. The leather on the outside and the foam on the inside felt fine too, although it remains to be seen how they age. The heads also sport a nifty little hinge on which they swivel, making it possible to sort of lift each head independently, should one want to let the outside world in.
As for the sound, I tested them out on a variety of music, and at several volume levels, and am happy to report that the ’phones did well. The ’phones have to be switched on for any sound to be heard, and the small control widget also sports a scroll wheel which controls the bass. I’ve never been a basshead, and these ’phones are unlikely to convert me into one, but some of the music I tested did sound very nice with the bass turned all the way up.
Would I buy these? Well, if I were in the market, I would—simply for the way they look and feel.
The phones are large and are a bit unwieldy to carry around. Also, Skullcandy must provide a better case and not the small cloth bag that the ’phones come in now. Bose has a stylish carrying case.
The ’phones cost Rs3,469. Comparable model from Sennheiser costs about Rs5,800, and Sony’s noise-cancelling headphones are at Rs4,490.