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Skullcandy Indy ANC Review

Last updated: 1 month ago
9 min read
Editor
rating
3.8
Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds and the case

Skullcandy’s flagship true wireless earbuds have a reasonably accurate sound and are comfortable to wear, but most of the extra features feel half-baked.

Skullcandy Indy ANC are top-of-the-line wireless earbuds from the American company, mostly known for their bassy headphones geared towards youth.

Thankfully, much like Beats, Skullcandy is taking a different approach with the Indy ANC. While they still have a bass boost, the rest of the spectrum remains fairly accurate and natural.

Comfort is also excellent, and the included ear fins help the earbuds to stay in place during sports.

To unlock earbuds’ full potential, you have to connect them with the Skullcandy app. In it, you find the Personal sound feature and Tile support for tracking lost earbuds.

The active noise cancellation works pretty well but can’t quite block high frequencies. In contrast, the ambient sound mode hardly makes any difference and is best left disabled.

Then there’s the battery life, which gets significantly shorter when you enable ANC (5 hours with ANC, or 9 hours without ANC).

Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds usually sell for over $100. Are they worth it? How do they stack up against the competition? Find all the details in the review below.

And check the HeadphonesAddict sound test in the video.

  • Pretty good sound quality (after some tweaks)
  • Very comfortable and suitable for sports
  • Decent active noise cancellation performance
  • Great passive noise isolation
  • Tile integration
  • Microphone quality could be better
  • Mediocre ambient sound mode
  • ANC heavily impacts battery duration
Editor
rating
3.8
By HeadphonesAddict
User
ratings
3.6
User Ratings: 8
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Table of Contents

    Sound

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    With a little bit of tweaking, the Indy ANC can have a pretty accurate sound signature. However, they’re lacking in technical performance.

    Check the Skullcandy Indy ANC sound test

    Skullcandy Indy ANC Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Learn how to understand sound comparisons.

    Even though Skullcandy is known for bass-heavy headphones, their latest products have a much more natural tunning.

    While the Indy ANC earbuds sound way too warm out of the box, you can change their audio by tweaking a few settings in the app.

    You have to select Movie mode, turn off the ANC, and enable the Personal sound feature that supposedly creates a personalized sound.

    That mode slightly elevates the upper midrange, whereas turning off the ANC help with tighter bass.

    The Personal sound feature performs a hearing test by playing sounds at different frequencies and slightly tweaks the overall frequency response. However, don’t expect a very noticeable difference. In my case, it reduces the bass and brings up the treble.

    Sadly, the Skullcandy app lacks customizable EQ, so that’s all in terms of sound customization.

    Bass

    Music mode makes the bass feel quite rumbly and punchy, especially if you enable ANC.

    The sound is warm and occasionally bloated, lacking control on songs with faster-changing bass lines. The bass quantity remains the same with Movie mode.

    In contrast, Podcast mode completely cuts away the lower frequencies under 140Hz (as you can see in the frequency response graph below).

    On the other hand, disabling ANC makes the bass tighter and less bloated. Even the quantity is much more tolerable.

    Strangely, our measuring rig doesn’t show any significant change on the frequency graph.

    Midrange

    The mids feel a bit recessed and lack fullness, which is slightly corrected when enabling Movie mode.

    Performing Personal sound measurement boosts up the upper midrange. That helps to make the audio quality slightly clearer.

    Because of that, the vocals sound natural and free of sibilance. However, due to somewhat poor dynamics, both vocals and instruments aren’t very impactful.

    Treble

    Higher frequencies have a decent texture and detail. They’re smooth and don’t become harsh.

    Cymbal crashes sound good with genres like jazz, with a decent amount of air. On the other hand, they will start sounding splashy on busier tracks with lots of instrumentation.

    As mentioned before, the biggest problem with sound quality is dynamics. Compared to the competition, the Skullcandy Indy ANC simply don’t sound as impactful and engaging.

    The soundstage is pretty average for in-ear headphones, and the imaging isn’t that stellar either.

    In conclusion, while Skullcandy had a good idea of how to tune their flagship model, they made some cuts in the technical area.

    Nevertheless, if you aren’t a too demanding user, their solid sound should serve you well for all kinds of music genres.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC EQ Presets Comparison

    Skullcandy Indy ANC EQ Presets Comparison – HeadphonesAddict

    Skullcandy Indy ANC Frequency Response

    Skullcandy Indy ANC EQ modes comparison
    A comparison between 3 EQ modes (Blue: Podcast, Red: Music, Green: Movie) with ANC enabled.

    Comfort & Fit

    Star Rating
    4.5 Almost Perfect

    Despite their big size and long ear gels, wireless earbuds feel very comfortable for extended periods. Stability is excellent as well, but you have to use one-size bigger ear tips.

    The design of the Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless noise cancelling earbuds resembles the Apple AirPods Pro but with longer stems and the inclusion of ear fin stabilizers.

    Starting with comfort, you barely feel these inside your ear canal. Their design is unintrusive and doesn’t create any hot spots.

    You get 3 pairs of silicone ear tips that are similar to the ones found in much cheaper models. However, they’re of good quality and don’t seem to tear that easily.

    Choosing ear tips is crucial if you want optimal stability. I usually use medium size. However, in the case of Indy ANC buds, I’m constantly losing seal and, therefore, deep bass performance.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC on the rock
    To ensure a proper fit on Indy ANC, you have to use one size larger tips than usual.

    Using large tips solved all my problems, and the earbuds even passed the head-shaking test.

    However, that brings some concerns for users who typically use large tips. Since they can’t pick even larger tips, they might encounter seal issues.

    Durability

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    Apart from the slightly wonky lid, both earbuds and the charging case feel solid in construction. An IP55 rating means these will survive sweat, rain, and dusty conditions.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds are mostly plastic and surrounded by a silicone ring (the way you attach ear fins).

    Even though they have a long stem, it doesn’t seem like they will snap in half that easily.

    Even the silicone ear gels themselves are pretty sturdy and shouldn’t break with regular use. You would really have to pull on them to tear them apart.

    On top of that, the earbuds have an IP55 rating, protecting them from excessive sweat, rain, and smaller dust particles.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC charging case
    Because of the bigger earbuds, the charging case is larger as well.

    The case is also plastic and very bulky. While that makes it unfriendly for pockets, it does an excellent job of protecting the earbuds.

    The only flimsy part is the lid, which does have some loose tolerances.

    Battery

    Star Rating
    4.0 Good

    A pretty long battery life up until you enable noise cancellation. Then the runtime is only average, with 5 hours and 38 minutes on a single charge, and extra 14 hours inside the case. Fortunately, they support wireless and rapid charging.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC battery comparison

    Skullcandy Indy ANC battery graph

    The battery life on Skullcandy Indy ANC varies significantly whether you use active noise canceling or not. When you disable the feature, you get around 9 hours on a single charge and another 23 hours from the charging case.

    However, with ANC, the playtime drops to 5 hours and 38 minutes. Consequently, the case only adds an additional 14 hours of juice.

    Thankfully, earbuds do support fast charging:

    • Providing 2 hours of battery life in a quick 10-minute charge.

    The case also supports Qi wireless charging if you ever want to simply place it on a wireless charger and forget about it until the next morning.

    Features

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    Earbuds come packed with various features to improve user experience. Unfortunately, the Skullcandy app doesn’t offer custom EQ or controls.

    The Skullcandy app definitely got better since we last saw it (when testing Skullcandy Push Ultra).

    There are now more features to play with, like EQ presets and Personal sound features. Sadly, you still can’t fully control the EQ or change command gestures.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC app first page
    The Skullcandy app now offers more features than before, which is great, but they don’t go in-depth (customizability).

    Inside the app, you can toggle between:

    • ANC on
    • ANC off
    • Ambient mode

    When selecting one of the modes, a woman’s voice tells you which mode is selected. The voice is very loud and annoyingly sibilant.

    As mentioned, touch controls are fixed, so you can’t change them in the app. Thankfully, earbuds support a wide array of commands, from volume control, calling voice assistant, and selecting an EQ mode.

    Be aware that instructions are sometimes a bit unclear and overly complicated, so it takes some time to master the controls.

    Much like other Skullcandy products, the Indy ANC true wireless earbuds offer Tile support as well. The latter is great if you want to find your lost earbuds. Tracking only works inside Tile app.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC app second page
    If you want to initiate the Personal sound feature, you have to swipe to the right and launch it from there.

    Microphone Quality

    Earbuds with long stems are usually pretty good for call quality since they put the mic closer to your mouth.

    That’s only half true for the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds. They have an overall good performance inside a quiet room. However, when the noise gets louder, the quality gradually drops.

    Skullcandy’s can block a decent chunk of background noise but at the expense of clarity and distortion.

    Therefore, if you’re in a noisy environment, it’s best to use the Indy ANC for emergency phone calls only.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC microphone test

    Noise Isolation

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    Earbuds take away a large chunk of ambient noise, making it easier for you to hear your music playing even in louder environments.

    Using proper ear tips, the passive noise isolation is pretty good. It should be enough to ensure a pleasant listening experience even in a noisier place.

    Effective isolation comes in handy since the ANC tends to change the sound for the worse.

    Interestingly, wind noise isn’t terrible either, despite their long stems. Simply walking outdoors with a mildly blowing wind shouldn’t pose any troubles.

    Noise Cancelling

    Star Rating
    3.5 Almost Great

    The active noise cancellation is overall quite good and can successfully block all low-end noises. However, the competition can do a better job with higher frequencies.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC active noise cancelling test

    Skullcandy Indy ANC ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Many true wireless earbuds around $100 already come with great active noise cancelling performance.

    The Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds do come close to them, but they could’ve been slightly better for the price.

    On the positive side, Skullcandy earbuds manage to reduce bass frequencies entirely. Therefore, they’re an excellent tool for blocking constant noises like bus engines on your way to work.

    However, higher frequencies remain relatively loud. That is where competition like EarFun Air Pro 2 do a better job.

    The ambient sound mode is a bit disappointing. It doesn’t do much to amplify surrounding noise, so you have to take your earbuds off if you want to speak to someone.

    For alternatives with ANC check the best noise cancelling earbuds.

    Bluetooth

    Star Rating
    4.0 Great

    Wireless connection has an excellent range but does occasionally stutter. While you can use one earbud in mono mode, they don’t support multipoint or any high-quality codecs.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 and are reliable when it comes to connection range.

    They surpassed the range of 65 feet, with 2 brick walls in between. Despite a few minor stutters, they kept playing.

    However, I’ve noticed that sometimes, they stutter for no reason. Thankfully, that happens very rarely.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC charging case opened
    Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds have a surprisingly long range, passing at least 2 brick wall with ease.

    The first pairing is easy since you only place them out of the case to initiate the pairing process. However, the second pairing is much more complicated.

    1. First, you have to hold controls on both buds for 6 seconds to turn them off.
    2. Then you hold the controls again for 15 seconds or until both LEDs shine solid blue. At that point, you tap controls twice.
    3. Pink LEDs mean that both ears were successfully reset and are now ready to pair.

    All of that means that if you want to pair them to another device, you have to reset them completely, eliminating the possibility of multipoint support.

    Thankfully, settings like the Personal sound profile remain in the app, even if you later pair them back to your smartphone.

    What Bluetooth Codecs Do They Use?

    You only get SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, with the latter being a default choice on both iOS and Android.

    For the price, it would be nice to see codecs like aptX for better performance with Android devices.

    Is There an Audio Lag?

    No, there’s no perceptible audio lag when watching videos on neither iOS devices nor Android. The same goes for mobile gaming.

    Should You Get Skullcandy Indy ANC?

    If you don’t mind fiddling with the Skullcandy app settings and making sure everything is to your taste, these are a pretty good option.

    They have a balanced yet punchy sound with good detail. On top of an IP55 rating and excellent stability, they also make for great workout earbuds.

    Active noise cancellation is good and will do a decent job if you really need it. But since the ANC mode alters the sound, I would stay away from using it too often.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC in the hand
    Skullcandy Indy ANC are fun earbuds to use, but the price is a bit too high for what they offer.

    However, we aren’t living in a vacuum. The competition is fierce and even comes at a lower price point. Some of them have better sound, whereas others have better-performing features.

    Therefore, the biggest problem of the Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds is their original price of $130. It’s simply too high for what the earbuds offer.

    On the other hand, they can be a very compelling buy if you can get them for a reasonable price (less than $100). Or you can opt for Skullcandy Indy Evo which lack ANC but have a similar sound.

    Skullcandy Indy ANC Alternatives

    JBL Reflect Mini NC

    JBL Reflect Mini NC earbuds

    Similarly bassy but overall more balanced and dynamic sounding earbuds with fully custom EQ. Controls are also customizable.

    Furthermore, they’re more durable with an IPX7 and have a slightly longer battery life.

    Earbuds can also cancel out noise, but their performance is noticeably worse than on Indy ANC.

    JBL Reflect Mini NC review

    EarFun Free Pro 2

    EarFun Free Pro 2 buds and case

    V-shaped sound quality is more energetic and controlled but ultimately less faithful to the original in comparison. There’re no app or EQ presets.

    The ANC performance is better, reducing a larger portion of background noises. Ambient sound mode is also superior to the one on the Indy ANC.

    Batteries have similar runtime and come with a Qi wireless charging case as well.

    EarFun Free Pro 2 review

    SoundPEATS H1

    SoundPEATS H1 earbuds with case

    While the bass is heavily boosted, their overall great sound stays more balanced and smoother in comparison.

    They’re equally comfortable and stable, especially when paired with included foam ear tips.

    Their battery life is superior, with up to 10.5 hours of playtime per charge.

    On the other hand, they lack ANC feature, EQ, and a companion app from the Indy ANC Buds.

    SoundPEATS H1 review

    What’s in the Box?

    Skullcandy Indy ANC accessories
    • Skullcandy Indy ANC true wireless earbuds
    • Charging case
    • USB-C charging cable
    • 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
    • 2 pairs of ear fins
    • Quick guide & user guide

    Specifications

    Type: True wireless
    Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Back design: Closed-back
    Drivers: 12mm
    Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Impedance: 32 Ohm
    Weight: 76g (both the case & buds)
    Mic & Controls: Yes
    Water resistance: IP55
    Battery life: 9h + 23h in case (ANC OFF) | 5h + 14h in case (ANC ON)
    Charging time: Quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging
    Active noise cancelling: Yes
    Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC
    Wireless range: 65ft (20m)
    Microphone: 4-mic ANC array