Skullcandy 50/50 earbuds
Skullcandy has made quite a name for itself in the headphone world, thanks largely to its focus on funky fashion and its aggressive marketing tactics aimed at tweens, teens, and young adults. However, the latest Skullcandy earphones to come down the pipe are perhaps the most adult-oriented we've seen from the company. The 50/50 earbuds, which are moderately priced at $49.95, come in an array of relatively muted color options and feature inline controls for the iPhone and iPod as well as a striking low-end response. The clarity isn't the best and they feel a bit cheap and fragile, but if you're after some earphones with a hint of style and plenty of oomph, these aren't a bad option.
As noted, the Skullcandy 50/50 earbuds aren't going to win any awards for top-notch construction. The earpieces are rather chunky and--like the accents and mic module--are made of hard, cheap-feeling plastic. The cable is flexible, but it tangles very easily and seems fragile at the connections to the plug and earpieces, both of which indicate the set may not be durable in the long run. The other downside to the design is the relatively large aperture of the earbuds, which may cause some discomfort for those with smaller or not perfectly round ear openings.
Design gripes aside, the style of the Skullcandy 50/50 earbuds is actually rather appealing. They come in a choice of six colors--black, white/chrome, shoe red, shoe blue, green/white, and black/chrome--all of which are rather subdued (at least for Skullcandy). A tiny skull logo adorns the outside of each earpiece as well as the mic module, which resides a few inches down the right Y cable. This module is also where you'll find volume and playback controls for the iPhone and iPod. One click on the button plays/pauses tracks, two skips forward, and three skips back. Skullcandy also includes a decent zippered carrying case and three sizes of silicone tips (not enough, in our opinion).
We have little doubt that the Skullcandy 50/50 earbuds will represent a substantial improvement for those who have been listening to the bass-deficient stock earbuds that come with most MP3 players. Certainly, they sound better than what you get with the iPhone. Notably, the low-end oomph is considerable, and the 50/50s manage to provide it with minimal distortion, though bass is mushier and looser in this case. For those who prefer a tighter, more hemmed-in low end, these earbuds will not be satisfactory. Also, clarity is not the greatest, and the highs tend to roll off and become blended together in some cases, so if classical is your thing, steer clear. However, the mids are nicely warm and not completely overwhelmed by the huge bass.