Looks matter. In a perfect world, headphones would be a functional device, meant purely as a tool to facilitate the process of listening to music — to assist it, to maybe enhance it. But where’s the fun in that? The flashier the look, the easier it is to flaunt these things — they act as a kind of headgear, so if you’re out and about in public with giant headphones covering two-thirds of your skull, aesthetics are damn well important. It’s where Skullcandy’s new series, called Grind, fails and succeeds. The straightforward, minimalist design is understated in its appeal. But the hazy blue finish, tinged with more black than required, is a bit off-putting visually. It almost gives the illusion of a really dirty pair of headphones. I have
Without a mirror, though, you can’t see yourself wearing the cans. That’s why the audio quality becomes primary. Priced at around Rs 3,000 (depending on which online retailer you’re loyal to), this pair offers a solid, balanced output — nestled comfortably in the mid-range without unnecessary highs or lows. You probably wouldn’t get these if you run a studio, but that doesn’t seem to be the intention of Skullcandy’s Grind range anyway. What they seem to be going for is an all-round product with above average quality, comfort and looks all rolled
As someone who’s never been big on Skullcandy — the company name might just be behind my bias — I would have to concede that this set gets a lot of things right. There’s the soft padding around the ears that seems geared to support long listening sessions without stress and the passing fatigue that sets in on the outer ear and the cartilage. These are on-ear headphones and they don’t settle around the ear, so there is some concession in terms of ergonomic design, but that’s a stylistic thing; different individuals tend to favour different types. It also means there’s no noise cancellation, while the quality persists. See, a lot of listening devices seem to have a superfluous emphasis on bass quality, but a balanced sound — added to the fact that they’re right around your ears — takes care of the low-end frequencies adequately here. Instead of a rumble, you get clarity, with different elements of the music shining clearly, though just a little bit more brightness would possibly have helped, as also maybe more volume for when you’re in the outdoors.