Skull Candy is the leader in cool as far as audio headgear goes. They also produce great sound, and have a lot of options for customization to create your own unique style. Skull Candy makes sets specifically for gamers and extreme sports athletes. Sony is a trusted name in electronics and they make quality audio accessories with many options for combining different features with several different models to choose from. Panasonic is another trusted name in the business. They offer the same basic models as Sony and Skull Candy, however, they do not offer the same variety. If you're looking to impress and make a statement, Skull Candy is a great way to do that. If you're looking for a name you can trust, Sony and Panasonic have a much longer history in the tech game.
Covered in this report
Has the most options for very different audio purposes.
Most options for custom choices in color and design.
Best for: Skateboarders, snowboarders or anybody into extreme sports and people who want to show off their own unique style.
Very well-made and reliable products with a range of styles and options.
A very trusted name in quality electronics.
Best for: Proffesional, high quality recording studios and DJing.
Inexpensive yet functional models of earphones.
Makes very lightweight headphones for runners and bikers.
Best for: Reliable and functional everyday headphone usage.
Skull Candy has been in the audio accessory business since 2003. This Park City, Utah company focuses pretty much exclusively on headphones, ear buds and MP3 players. Skull Candy's appeal has everything to do quality audio coupled with an array of hip designs and promotional affiliations with extreme sports athletes.
Skull Candy makes four different types of headphones:
Over the Ear
Over ear headphones, as the name implies, are headphones placed over the ears completely covering them. This type of headphone blocks out most of the outside world so it's not recommended for sports. The advantage they have, in addition to a snug fit, is the excellent sound quality. Skull Candy offers five main models in over the ear headphone products:
The Crusher features two drivers: The Sensation55™ bass extension driver and the REX40™ Driver which delivers what Skull Candy calls Supreme Sound that is; minimal distortion and smooth frequency response. The headphones come with a detachable cable and an in-line Mic1 remote. You can also fold the headphones down to 40% of its original size for quick stash and storage. The Crusher is available in three different colors (black, white and red) and sells for $99.
Other features of the Crusher include:
The technology site Tech Crunch had this to say about the Crusher:
"Rather than trying to fake a bunch of bass with digital signal processing, the Crushers use an individually powered second driver to trigger a proprietary (and rather hush-hush) vibration system. Even in the sub-optimal audio testing environment that is the parking lot outside of CES, we all walked away pretty impressed."
Comes in a variety of colors and is priced from $50 to $80 per set. Sports themes are available for a few NBA and MLB teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and the Chicago Cubs. The Hesh 2 features what the company calls "Supreme Sound" which concentrates on delivering great acoustics coupled with a great design and package.
With pricing starting at $140 up to $200, the Aviator is a little higher end and there are more color options. The Aviator features the components of:
The Custom Aviator features Mic3 which allows you to use the device to receive and make phone calls. It also comes with a travel bag. Starting at $179, you can chose the colors for the four components of the set including headband, frames, caps and cord.
This set was designed specifically for fellow DJs of Mix Master Mike. As Mix Master says himself, "These headphones are the truth." These headphone also come in a variety of different styles and are ranged in price from $200 to $400.
On the Ear
On the ear headphones sit on the ear, of course. This style of headphone is better for people who listen to music while out jogging or bike riding. They will allow outside noise to filter in so you can be more aware of your surroundings. Skull Candy offers five different styles ranging in price from $20 to $40:
For gaming enthusiasts who want to experience maximum volume while playing their favorite video games, Skull Candy offers three models of headphones, PLYR 1, PLYR 2 and SLYR. These headphones are wireless so you don't have to worry about tangling cords interferring with your gaming style. They also feature adjustable headbands. Works with Xbox 360, PS3, personal computers and mobile devices. Prices range from $70 to $179.
Ear buds, or earphones, fit snug in the ear canal so they stay put. These are the preferred headphones for many skaters and other extreme sports enthusiasts. These buds also feature Mic1 which allow you to use them with your phone. There's quite a variety of models to choose from including:
Sanghyun had this to say about the Skullcandy Hesh Headphones:
"I think that these are pretty beast for $50 headphones. They sound amazing & the bass is awesome as well but not so overpowering that it distorts the sound. They also do an awesome job of blocking out surrounding noises. I know there are a lot of people who say these hurt your ears after wearing them for too long, don't worry about that too much. Just a simple readjustment will stop that from happening."
Where to Buy
You can purchase Skull Candy headphones through the company website and from individual dealers such as
Sony has been in the technology business for a long, long time. While they have struggled to maintain their lead in the industry amidst changes in technology and the economy, they have continued to make quality products especially in the area of audio components and accessories.
Sony offers headphones for different purposes. They have five main categories of headphones, but they are interchangeable. For example you can get an over-the-head model that is both wireless and has the noise canceling feature. The five categories of headphones are:
Sony has a variety of over-the-head models of headphones. You can purchase the ZX stereo headphone for just under $20. They offer different styles for DJs, styles that are bass heavy and professional studio headphones for just under $500. Sony also makes sizes for children.
There are a few different types of ear buds available depending on what their planned use is. Sony makes extra bass ear buds, fashion ear buds and clip-on ear buds that are good for running or biking. They have ear buds that will work with your cell phone, wireless buds and noise canceling models as well.
There are models available in ear buds and over-the-head headphones that also offer noise canceling options. This feature helps cut out the background noise of everyday life. Not recommended for running or biking for safety reasons.
Wireless is the wave of the future and Sony offers wireless options for their ear buds and over-the-head headphones.
Featuring smart phone and iPod/iPad compatibility, Sony mobile phone headphones are available with wireless and noise cancellation features.
A customer going by the name of prostovtheov made this review of the Sony MDRZX100/BLK ZX Series Stereo Headphones on Amazon.com:
"Generally, hardware with SONY written on the side of it performs well. This is certainly the case here as well. The overall sound quality of this set is great. Deep bass, yet not too overpowering. Vocals sound clear... not too much hiss in the highs. The range of sound is good... nothing really over powers anything else. With the sound quality these things produce, you'd expect to pay a lot more. The low price is actually a little ridiculous for these headphones (but I'm certainly not complaining.)"
Where to Buy
You can buy Sony headphones from big box retailers like Best Buy, Staples, Walmart and Target as well as through e-tailers like Amazon.com and through Sony's own website.
Panasonic is a Japanese electronics company that can trace its origins back almost 100 years. They are one of the top electronics companies in the business. They were the fourth largest television manufacturer in 2012 but they also make quality audio accessories.
Panasonic offers six different categories of headphones:
Panasonic offers a limited number of professional headphones. One such model is the Technics Professional DJ Headphone set which sell for a little over $200. The set features a detachable, coiled cord for easy use in the DJ booth, as well as these important features:
For around $20, you can purchase a pair of ergonomically designed ear buds. You can use them with your cell phone to make or answer calls. Also available in noise canceling versions.
Noise Reduction is the name of the game with this feature. Panasonic makes noise canceling headphones in both ear bud and over-the-head models. The noise canceling ear phone is $99.99
Clip on ear buds are great for exercising while listening to music. The clips fit on the back of your ears while the bud fits snugly in the ear canal.
Panasonic's Monitor headphones are an over-the-head model that are lightweight and bass heavy. They're great for traveling or listening to your home stereo. There are a few different styles available starting at just under $40.
The lightweight on-the-ear model is just under $50 and comes with an iPhone controller. Panasonic also makes a lightweight clip-on version for about $12.
Lewis A. Edge, Jr. had this to say on Amazon.com:
"Depending upon your listening needs, these earbuds offer a lot of value for a very low cost, but they don't stand up well in comparison with more expensive, higher-end earbuds. For voice and music that isn't demanding, these earbuds are highly efficient and offer a selection of three different-size rubber earpads to fit most ears."
Where to Buy
You can Panasonic headphones from big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart as well as on-line through Amazon and the Panasonic website.