BEST BASS-FOCUSED HEADPHONES
SONY WH-XB900N VS. SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC
SONY WH-XB900N
VERSUS
SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC
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DESIGN & BUILD

The Sony WH-XB900N has a rather subtle and simple design which makes them low-profile and flaw free. Whereas the Crusher ANC is rather stylish even though they still on the subtle side, they have chamfered edges on the headband itself and lines that flow rather smoothly all around which makes them much more iconic. Both headphones have metal headphone extensions and plastic builds, but the Sony’s feel more plasticky due to the lightweight materials used. Overall, the SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC wins this round.

COMFORT

Moving on to comfort, both headphones are rather comfortable enough to wear it for long listening sessions. The clamping force is just right on both since the earcups pivot left or right to fit users' head shapes. However, the Sony's have an edge due to the spacious earcups which encase your ears without actually touching them. The WH-XB900N weighs in at 254g while the Crusher ANC weighs in at 308g which is on the heavier side of headphones. Hence, the round goes to the SONY WH-XB900N.

SOUND QUALITY

Next, Sound Quality. None of the feature is worth looking at if the sound cannot meet your standards. In my opinion, I find that the sound of the Crusher ANC & WH-XB900N is catered to a very dedicated group of music listeners. Those who like serious bass response and feel heavy thumps of it in their ears. The Sony's do the job better even though in comparison the Skullcandy's have way more bass. This is due to the headphones' ability to separate the mids and highs more so than the Skullcandy’s. With the bass slider on the Crusher's all the way up, every other detail from treble, vocals to instruments are lost. However, with the bass slider at a reasonable level, the Skullcandy sound really good after doing the sound personalisation in the Skullcandy app. While with the Sony's at +10 level, the sound is still clean, and everything stay as bright and forward. So, the SONY WH-XB900N is better if you value realistic and clean sound. But if you here for ultimate head-rattling bass, then the SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC is the right way to go.

NOISE-CANCELLING

Moving on to noise-cancelling. I find that the WH-XB900N is much stronger than the Crusher ANC. This is partly due to the headphones passive noise isolation to muffle down surrounding noise better than the Skullcandy’s. However, with both headphones, the noise-cancelling is nothing fantastic, just mediocre performance since they have a lower price point than those of the market leader. Overall, the SONY WH-XB900N is better if you want better noise-cancelling. 

PORTABILITY

In the portability category, both headphones fold up into a much more compact profile for easy storage. The Sony’s come with a soft carrying pouch to protect the headphones while the Crusher ANC comes with an excellent hard-shell carrying case. Therefore, this round goes to the SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC.

CONNECTIVITY

Both the Sony's and the Skullcandy’s have their own advantages. The Sony's offers an app called Sony | Headphones Connect available for download on the App Store and Play Store. It allows users to take full control of the amount of bass they desire and adjust the noise-cancelling to their liking. On the Skullcandy’s, this feature is much more straightforward it is on the headphone itself. There is a bass slider at the back of the left earcup which allows for control as well. It is definitely easier on the Skullcandy’s, but you do lose the ability to adjust the sound setting to your liking and control the strength of noise-cancelling. Moving on to wireless usage, with both headphones I experience absolutely no Bluetooth dropouts or hiccups. The Skullcandy uses Bluetooth 5.0 while the Sony’s are still stuck at Bluetooth 4.2. However, in wired usage, the cable of the WH-XB900N does not have any inline controls or mic. Hence, playback controls or answering of calls is unavailable. On the other hand, the cable on the Crusher ANC has an inline control and mic which will function even if the headphone power is switched off. The 30-hour battery life on the Sony’s is also longer than the Skullcandy's 24-hours. Notably, the Crusher ANC has Tile integration which allows you to locate your headphones should you lose it. Overall, the Connectivity category is a TIE. Both headphones have their perks in various ways of controlling.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Overall, both headphones excel in different categories. But it all boils down to what you really prefer. If you are looking for a headphone with strong head-rattling bass, Tile integration and a better protective case, then the SKULLCANDY CRUSHER ANC is ideal for you. But if you value clean bass-heavy sound, slightly better battery life and noise-cancelling more. Then, the SONY WH-XB900N is an obvious contender for you.

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