Skip to main content

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Review

Last updated: 2 months ago
12 min read
Editor
rating
3.8
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headphones

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are the genuine bass monsters for the most extreme basshead commuters. But they suffer from strange sound issues that are inexcusable at $200.

The new Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have an attractive design, a new Skull-IQ app with tons of features, and a protective traveling case.

Furthermore, the Crusher series is all about the bass. So, you get ample of it. By rotating the wheel under the left ear cup, you can adjust the “Sensory Bass” effect to absurd bass levels.

However, at least with the current firmware, Crusher ANC 2 have a sound issue. For some reason, they are continuously crushing the dynamics.

Anytime a sound wants to get slightly louder (like a loud hit on a snare or a bass drop), the DSP briefly lowers the volume. This is unacceptable from a $200 headphone.

But even without this problem (it hopefully gets fixed via firmware update), are Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 worth your money? Let’s dissect them below.

Price:

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Pros & Cons:

  • Great battery life of over 48h per charge
  • Premium-feeling build with replaceable earpads
  • Most features we've ever seen in a headphone
  • Robust indoor Bluetooth connection range of 65 feet
  • DSP is crushing dynamics for no reason
  • Crusher Sensory Bass completely muddies the sound
  • Heaviness makes for a bad on-head stability
  • Ambient sound mode barely amplifies the ambient sound

Category ratings:

Editor
rating
3.8
By HeadphonesAddict
User
ratings
3.9
User Ratings: 9
Our rating
  • Star Rating
    2.5
  • Star Rating
    3.5
  • Star Rating
    4.0
  • Star Rating
    5.0
  • Star Rating
    5.0
  • Star Rating
    3.0
  • Star Rating
    3.0
  • Star Rating
    5.0
  • Star Rating
    3.5
User rating
  • 3.7
  • 3.8
  • 3.6
  • 4.1
  • 4.5
  • 3.4
  • 2.9
  • 5.0
  • 4.3
RATE THIS MODEL
CONTENTS (show more)

    Sound

    Star Rating
    2.5 Average

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have boosted bass out of the box which you can raise to insane levels. While they’re decently tuned, mids help balance the overall sound. Just don’t expect details or dynamics.

    Check the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 – A/B sound test:

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Learn how to understand sound comparisons.

    While recent Skullcandy models proved that the company can make relatively balanced-sounding headphones (Skullcandy Dime), their Crusher series still follows their bass-oriented roots.

    The new Crusher ANC 2 replaced the bass slider with a wheel where you can adjust the booming effect on the fly. And now you have even more features than before. You can personalize how much rumble and boom you want.

    However, although they carry a premium price, you don’t get the premium sound. And with a dynamics problem, which is, fortunately, more apparent in some songs than others, it’s hard to justify the cost.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Frequency Response

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 ANC off vs on
    The black horizontal line represents a neutral target, and as you can see, the tuning is all over the place.

    Bass: Subwoofer on your head

    If no headphones have yet satisfied your bass-loving needs, Crusher ANC 2 should be right up your alley. 

    Let’s point out that when you turn off all bass-boosting features, the low-end is still elevated but passable, even for those who don’t like bass. You get a good rumble and an adequately controlled punch. However, things change as soon as you enable the Crusher mode.

    You quickly notice that these headphones aren’t designed for a tactile response. For example, faster double-pedal drumming gets noticeably muddy.

    Enabling Crusher mode starts at 5% intensity (level 1) and adds a 3dB boost, adding more rumble and warmth. The first slam, in “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, hits like in no other headphones.

    You get a total of 8 intensity levels, with the last one boosting bass by 17dB over the default tuning. That’s 35dB over the neutral target.

    35dB of bass over the neutral target is an absurd level of bass.

    At the highest intensity, the bass is ludicrous to the point you don’t even know what song you’re listening to anymore.

    Freq. response in different Crusher modes:

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Crusher feature intensity comparison
    Toggling the Crusher mode right up to 100% boosts the bass up to 35dB over the neutral target.

    Midrange: Fairly well-tuned

    Looking at the frequency response graph, the midrange seems off. However, compared to the bass, it actually sounds good.

    That said, the vocals sound thin, predominantly female, which was noticeable when listening to some tracks from Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa. Male vocals aren’t as affected but still relatively thin.

    Electric guitars could also sound a bit angrier, but due to the dip at 4kHz, they lose some of their power. It’s important to note that Crusher ANC 2 aren’t suitable for rock or metal genres. More on that later.

    Treble: Where is it?

    Treble in these headphones is tuned way too politely, hiding somewhere back in the mix.

    And even when you finally hear it, it lacks texture. Cymbals and shakers in “Ride Across the River” by Dire Straits lack resolution or aren’t even audible.

    Going through the Personal Sound feature helps to add higher frequencies slightly more energy and contributes to better overall sound quality. I tried to recreate the same improvements with the in-app’s EQ settings but had no luck.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 driver
    A little sneak peek of the 40mm dynamic driver inside.

    The soundstage is quite intimate for over-ear headphones. There’s slightly better width than depth, but don’t expect to feel immersed.

    Due to the poor treble performance, imaging is also average. You get the sense of separation and location, but you can’t pinpoint the exact direction.

    Crushing dynamics issue

    Dynamic range in audio is the difference between the quietest and the loudest sound in a recording. Good dynamics help orchestral music switch between loud parts and quiet passages.

    However, some headphones crush dynamics, especially Bluetooth ones to prevent speaker damage (although, in this case, it might be a firmware issue).

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Custom EQ/Crusher Comparison – HeadphonesAddict

    Every time Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wants to play a loud sound (snare drum hit or a bass drop), the audio decreases in loudness for a split second. The effect is much more noticeable during rock/metal songs than pop/hip hop.

    You can hear this crushing at the beginning of the chorus of “Seven Days to the Wolves” by Nightwish or “Promise” by Voyager. It’s like headphones are afraid of loud sounds.

    How does wired mode sound?

    Using the included cable, headphones actually sound better when it comes to dynamics, which are no longer crushed.

    That leads me to believe it is a firmware issue, especially since the Crusher effect still works in wired mode. However, ANC and ambient sound modes remain off.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wired
    The included cable has a connector with 4 poles, meaning you’re using a built-in mic when making phone calls.

    In conclusion, Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 target people who crave bass above all else. They hit you in the head with a deep rumble and beat.

    And if Skullcandy addresses the abovementioned issues in the future, these are an excellent pick for bassheads.

    On the other hand, If you’re an audiophile, keep in mind these headphones have so much bass their THD is <3% (compared to normal <1%), so they are unsuitable for those seeking accurate sound quality for critical listening.

    Check similar headphones for bass lovers:

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are plush from top to bottom but pack a noticeable weight, which is why sudden head movement causes them to fly right off.

    The new Crusher ANC 2 headphones have a premium feel. Headphones use relatively thick memory foam earpads with soft pleather. They barely fit 3 knuckles (which represents the size of a normal human ear), but with some wiggling, they fit regular-sized ears.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 wearing
    Crusher ANC 2 are quite comfortable, but due to pleather earpads, they can get quite hot during the summer.

    Headband is nicely thick in the middle and uses standard foam (not memory). It’s dressed in fabric, which helps with breathability, sweating and has a longer lifespan. Pleather covers start peeling after a couple of years.

    However, at 11.7 ounces (332 grams), Crusher ANC 2 are heavier than your typical Bluetooth headphones. Even more than Edifier WH950NB, which are equally as big.

    Extra weight makes you more aware something is sitting on your head. But they don’t get uncomfortable.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headband
    Well-padded headband with a breathable fabric.

    On the other hand, heavy headphones suffer from poor stability. While you can wear them normally while sitting or walking, any sudden head movement can dislodge them from their place.

    Consequently, they are not the best choice for gym-goers or those who often run to catch a bus.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have a build quality that reflects the price, with an included hard-shell carrying case and replaceable earpads. However, there could be more metal parts.

    The touch and feel of the Crusher ANC 2 resembles the Sony WH-1000XM4 with their plastic exterior and soft, silicone finish. The only shiny plastic part is on the inside of the headband.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headband extender
    The only metal part is the headband extension.

    However, the headband extender is the only part where you can see some aluminum. Even the folding mechanism is plastic (except for the screws holding everything together).

    That raises some concerns about the longevity of the mechanism and resistance to drops. Fortunately, headphones have a carrying case that protects them from that.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 in case
    The carrying case is designed to hold Crusher ANC 2 firmly in place.

    The case has cutouts for both ear cups, so the two don’t rub each other while in the box. In it, you can also store the included charging and 3.5mm audio cable.

    One thing worth noting is that the ear pads are removable. Since they’re made of pleather, they will start cracking after 2-3 years, so replacing them is helpful.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 removable earpads
    Earpads are removable, but it takes some time to put them back on.

    Gym-goers must be aware that the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 don’t have any IP rating, not even against sweat, so use them at your own risk.

    Battery

    Star Rating
    5.0 Perfect

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have an impressive battery life of 48 hours and 50 minutes with ANC, which is one of the highest scores for noise-cancelling headphones. They also support quick charging.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Battery Comparison

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 battery comparison

    Active noise cancelling normally takes a big toll on battery life. However, in the case of Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2, we were pleasantly surprised they lasted almost 49 hours on a single charge.

    In our battery life test, by enabling ANC and playing music at 50%, we got:

    • 48 hours and 50 minutes of playtime.

    Skullcandy promises around 50 hours in their advertising, which normally means battery duration without active noise canceling. That makes the result even more impressive.

    Inside the Skull-IQ app, you can see the precise battery percentage left in headphones. Also, a voice prompt tells you the approximate percentage every time you turn on the headphones.

    Furthermore, headphones support a fast charge feature, but they don’t state how rapid it truly is.

    Features

    Star Rating
    5.0 Perfect

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are rich in features you can play with. From typical ANC to Personalized sound, equalizer, custom controls, Tile support, and Bluetooth multipoint.

    Skullcandy packed a ton of features in the Crusher ANC 2. For that, they made a new app called Skull-IQ (headphones can’t connect to the previous Skullcandy app).

    In the app, you’re met with many different features:

    • Active noise cancellation
    • Ambient sound mode (Stay-Aware mode)
    • Crusher mode
    • Personal Sound
    • Custom equalizer
    • Custom controls
    • Voice Control
    • Spotify integration (Spotify Tap)
    • Bluetooth multipoint
    • Using headphones as a camera trigger (Take a Photo).
    • Tile
    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 features
    Headphones offer a ton of useful features, although some are a bit strange, like taking a photo.

    Skullcandy headphones have supported Tile for quite some time now. It helps you find your lost headphones.

    Having this over a proprietary tracker is great since other Tile users can help you locate the headphones. You must download the Tile app to ensure tracking.

    Personal sound

    A feature found in other premium Skullcandy headphones, like Indy ANC, determines what frequencies you hear the best and which the worst.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 personal sound
    You must perform the test in a quiet environment.

    Performing a hearing test, you go through a series of beeps at different frequencies that slowly rise in loudness. You select at what point you start hearing the beep.

    Afterward, you get a visualization of your hearing and how the app will boost the sound using this feature.

    At least in my case, Personal Sound brings the treble back to life. However, keep the feature’s intensity low as higher settings can get too fatiguing.

    Custom controls

    Headphones don’t have touch controls, only physical ones. However, unlike other Bluetooth cans, they let you change the commands. While the single press gesture is fixed, you can adjust double, triple, and long presses.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 custom controls
    All commands are already designated to a specific button, so this customizer doesn’t allow you to use any new command.

    That said, all the controls are already allocated to buttons. The customizer only allows changing the buttons. So, it’s helpful if you prefer to use a different button to pause music, for example.

    Hands-free voice control

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 use a wide selection of voice commands for activating different features, from ANC, “Stay-Aware”, Crusher mode, etc. You simply say: “Hey Skullcandy, *feature* on/off.”

    Here’s a screenshot with available voice commands:

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 voice control
    You can even change the language of voice control.

    Commanding headphones using voice works pretty well, and I haven’t encountered any issues with voice recognition. It can be helpful when you can’t use your hands, although you might look goofy in public.

    Custom equalizer

    Apart from Music, Podcast, and Movie presets, the companion app also offers a custom EQ. You get 5 “bands” covering lows, low-mids, mids, high-mids, and highs.

    However, from using it a little, it could offer better control over the sound, as you can’t toggle the regions that are actually problematic.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 equalizer
    You get a small selection of EQ presets (left), or you can play with a custom EQ (right).

    Microphone Quality

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have great call quality, but only when speaking someplace quiet.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 microphone test:

    When making a phone call with Crusher ANC 2, do so in a quieter environment. In those conditions, the mic picks up your voice with clarity and fullness.

    But you start noticing distortion once you introduce some background noise. People on the other side of the line will understand you, but your voice gets muffled.

    Furthermore, the noise reduction tech can’t entirely cancel noise, so callers can still hear cars or other environmental noise.

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 have a pretty average passive noise isolation, letting through all the bass and lower midrange frequencies. That said, you can still enjoy music in peace, even on public transport.

    Measured average noise isolation14,35 dBA

    Despite thicker earpads and dense-feeling earcups, Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are only average at passive noise isolation.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Passive isolation comparison
    Edifier WH950NB (green) attenuate ambient noise much better than Crusher ANC 2 (red).

    Looking at the measurement, you can see they only start blocking frequencies above 400Hz. In comparison, Edifier WH950NB start blocking at 200Hz.

    On the other hand, they do a better job than Edifier W820NB Plus, which actually boost some midrange frequencies.

    Nonetheless, you can easily use the Crusher ANC 2 in noisy places like on public transport. As long as you play music, you shouldn’t get bothered by sounds around you.

    Here’s a table of how effective is Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2’s passive noise isolation at blocking specific frequencies:

    FrequencyNoise reduction
    dB SPL
    Noise reduction
    dBA (A-weighted)
    100 Hz0,1 dB-19 dBA
    200 Hz0,1 dB-10,7 dBA
    400 Hz1 dB-3,8 dBA
    600 Hz5,5 dB3,3 dBA
    1 kHz12,5 dB12,5 dBA
    2 kHz24,9 dB26,1 dBA
    4 kHz32,3 dB33,3 dBA
    6 kHz21,6 dB21,7 dBA
    10 kHz26,6 dB24,1 dBA
    15 kHz28,5 dB22,5 dBA
    Average14,35 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    Noise Cancelling

    Star Rating
    3.0 Good

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 reduce frequencies quite evenly, but they aren’t nearly as effective as competitors. Even ambient sound mode could use some work.

    Measured average noise cancellation7,8 dBA

    Check the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 active noise cancelling test:

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Active noise cancelling is a necessity in modern headphones, but not all do an equally good job. Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are good, but they fall flat compared to even cheaper alternatives.

    Crusher ANC 2’s noise cancellation starts reducing sounds at around 50Hz and up. It does so relatively evenly, with about -25dB effectiveness at the lowest point.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 ANC comparison
    Again, Edifier WH950NB beat the Crusher ANC 2 in all frequency regions.

    Here’s the table with Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 ANC test results:

    FrequencyNoise cancellation
    dB SPL
    Noise cancellation
    dBA (A-weighted)
    30 Hz2,7 dB-37,9 dBA
    50 Hz10,5 dB-19,8 dBA
    70 Hz10,2 dB-14,3 dBA
    90 Hz14,2 dB-6,4 dBA
    200 Hz19,1 dB8,3 dBA
    400 Hz14 dB9,2 dBA
    600 Hz12,8 dB10,6 dBA
    800 Hz13,7 dB12,9 dBA
    1 kHz14,2 dB14,2 dBA
    2 kHz21,6 dB22,8 dBA
    Average7,8 dBA
    A-weighted values from the International standard IEC 61672:2003

    That makes them slightly better than Edifier W820NB Plus, which cost $80. On the other hand, the Edifier WH950NB crush the Crushers, and those cost $150. $50 less than Skullcandy.

    Nonetheless, they moderately reduce louder noise during your travels and commutes. So, it’s a useful feature.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 ANC settings
    You can select the intensity of the “hearing modes”, but it’s best to leave them at the highest setting.

    How good is ambient sound mode?

    The ambient sound mode in Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 isn’t too impressive. It marginally boosts frequencies between 800Hz and 5kHz, but not nearly enough for the sound to be natural.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Stay-Aware comparison
    Ambient sound mode (Stay-Aware) doesn’t boost essential frequencies for speech, so you hear it slightly muffled.

    Consequently, ambient noise is still quite muffled and quiet. So, even if you need to chat with someone for a few seconds, you must take the headphones off.

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    5.0 Perfect

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 offer excellent Bluetooth connection range and stability. On top of that, you get Bluetooth multipoint for pairing to more than two devices simultaneously.

    Fortunately, Skullcandy picked a powerful Bluetooth antenna for Crusher ANC 2. Headphones offer a reliable close-range connection without any hiccups.

    Even during our long-range indoor test, the headphones performed admirably.

    • We got around 65 feet or 20 meters of the indoor range.

    That puts them among the best headphones we’ve tested, alongside Apple AirPods Max, TrueFree F1, and Edifier W820NB Plus.

    On top of that, headphones also support Bluetooth multipoint pairing so that you can connect them to 2 devices simultaneously. The audio source automatically switches to whatever device is currently playing.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 sensory bass wheel
    By holding the orange (power) button, you activate pairing mode.

    How to pair Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2?

    1. When you use the headphones for the first time, turn them on, and they’ll start the pairing process.
    2. For additional pairings, you must turn the headphones off and back on while holding the power button. After a few seconds, you should hear the voice saying, “Pairing.”

    Here’s a step-by-step Skullcandy pairing guide.

    What Bluetooth codecs do they use?

    Headphones use standard Bluetooth codecs like SBC and AAC. While basic, the two codecs can provide more than adequate audio quality and ensure stable audio latency.

    Is there any audio lag?

    There’s maybe a hair of lag when watching videos, but we’re nitpicking here. They’re overall good enough for watching video content over Bluetooth.

    On the other hand, you will get some lag during mobile games. And since there’s no game mode, we can’t recommend these for wireless gaming. That said, a wired connection will fix the lag issue.

    Should You Get Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2?

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 primarily focus on bass lovers. And for bassheads, these headphones bring everything you could possibly want. More bass than any other cans. And a vast selection of features that regular users can appreciate too.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 on head
    Turning the Crusher feature all the way up will definitely raise your eyebrow.

    That said, even without the mentioned sound issues, people expecting the headphones to sound like $200 Bluetooth headphones will be disappointed.

    If you’re a massive basshead and crave massive amounts of bass, get them.

    But if you’re not, you’re better off picking the alternatives below or check the best headphones under $200.

    How do Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 compare to the competition?

    • They are better for bassheads, with a much stronger bass response than alternative headphones.
    • Skull-IQ app offers more & more useful features than competitors.
    • Impressive indoor Bluetooth connection of 65 feet.
    • Support for Tile is better than the proprietary tracking solution companies like Jabra or Jaybird offer.
    • Equally plush and removable earpads than the competition.
    • Subpar stability due to weightier construction.
    • Less detailed sound than other headphones at around $200.
    • Below-average ambient sound mode performance.

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 alternatives

    Edifier WH950NB

    Edifier WH950NB headphones with a laptop

    Expect a much more natural sound signature and detailed presentation. But you can’t boost the bass nearly as much.

    Headphones are lighter, overall comfier, and better made. Also, they match their long battery life. ANC is where they easily beat the Crusher ANC 2, being a better pick for commuting.

    In contrast, they don’t have as stable Bluetooth connectivity or as customizable EQ.

    Edifier WH950NB review

    Treblab Z7 Pro

    Treblab Z7 Pro with the case

    Z7 Pro have a much more natural bass with a smoother and a tad more detailed sound, although not a massive difference in technical performance.

    They’re lighter and equally as comfy but better suited for gym use due to an IPX4 rating. Also, they last longer, almost 40 hours with ANC.

    On the other hand, you can’t replace earpads or customize settings due to the lack of an app.

    Treblab Z7 Pro review

    Anker Soundcore Life Q35

    Anker Soundcore Life Q35 on the case

    Headphones with more exciting sound and deeper sub-bass. The in-app’s EQ offers better control over the tuning, so you can make them more or less bassy.

    Build quality is similar, with Crusher ANC 2 offering replaceable earpads, whereas the Q35 are comfier.

    Battery duration of 60 hours means they’re better for longer trips. Otherwise, they offer similarly excellent Bluetooth and multipoint support, and even NFC pairing.

    Anker Soundcore Life Q35 review

    What’s in the Box?

    Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 accessories
    • Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Bluetooth headphones
    • Hard-shell carrying case
    • USB-C charging cable
    • 3.5mm to 3.5mm (4-pole) audio cable
    • User manual

    Specifications

    Type: Over-ear
    Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Back design: Closed-back
    Drivers: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range: n/a
    Impedance: 32 ohms (8 ohms for Crusher)
    Weight: 11.7 ounces (332 grams)
    Mic & Controls: Yes
    Water resistance: None
    Battery life: 49h (with ANC)
    Charging time: Quick charge – USB-C
    Active noise cancelling: Yes, adjustable
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC
    Wireless range: 65 feet (20 meters)
    Microphone: 4 mics

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *