The Shredders be Happy with Skullcandy's Grind Measurements


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Raw frequency response plots show the Grind fairly close to the Harman Target Response. Bass boost is somewhat excessive and bleeds into the mids above 200Hz, which makes for a "thick" sounding mid-range response. Rise to the peak at 3kHz should start slowly much sooner, causing these cans to be a little laid back in the upper mid-range. Peak at 3kHz is a few dB too high, and remains so until about 10kHz where it comes down to an appropriate level. The overall shape of the curve, though close to target, is somewhat herky-jerky and combined with some spikes in distortion and features in the impedance plot in the low and mid treble, have me thinking that there's some driver break-up problems in this area. I did hear the area get hard sounding sometimes.

While the frequency response shows good extention into the bass, the 30Hz square wave has a slight sway back and looks like it has less bass than the FR. This can happen when the bass response goes out of phase from where it's supposed to be. THD+noise plot shows a lot of distortion in the bass as well. While the bass distortion was the worst problem I heard with the Grind, I'd also say it's not quite as bad sounding as it looks in the plots here.

300Hz square wave definitely looks like something that might sound strident, but again, these cans seem to sound better than they look. Certainly the very fast, singular spike at the leading edge followed by a modest amount of noise, and a similarly clean impulse response, indicates an articulate presentation in the treble range, which was heard in listening. Mentally combining the fairly large leading edge spike on the 300Hz square wave and the mid-treble spikes in the distortion plot would have me and my aversion to harsh or strident treble quite on edge. Fortunately, here again these cans sound better than one would expect from their chart.

THD+noise plots show some significant problems in the bass and mid-treble, but fairly good performance and power handling otherwise. Distortion spikes in the treble match up with erratic wiggles in the electrical phase, impedance, and frequency response plots, which usually indicated problems in the acoustic spaces around the driver and/or driver diaphragm break-up. I think this is indicative of the "hard" sounding treble I heard in listening.

Isolation plot shows a fairly poorly isolating sealed headphone with -12dB broad band isolation. Needing 49mVrms to achieve 90dBspl at the ear, these cans will be driven to solid listening levels on portable devices.

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maelob's picture

Don't forget about the surfers too, we are the original shredders LOL

tony's picture

I just went to Google Video on the Grind and discovered scads of fresh reviews, every one of them say nearly the same thing, looks just like how we in the Auto Industry do a new Chevy product release.

Not one single review quotes the Wt. of the phones or emphasizes the detachable cable. All use the same sequence of descriptions ( we would script this too ). Everyone thought they sound quite good but seemed to all have the same reservations about the sound quality.

Every review seemed the same, nobody had one single unique thing to say except our Tyll mentioning the Ball fastening and demonstrating the smash ability of the device's design.

Your review was uniquely informative and substantive, the rest seemed to be "in the box" reviews as Gordon Holt used to say.

If I am Scullcandy I'd be giving you the "Best of Reviewers", paid-in-full loan of a BMW touring 1200 cc Motorbike, a case of 10 year Scotch from Islay and a nice box of Castro's Churchill Cigars.

As it stands, "I" give you my "Atta-boy" award, again!

Tony in Michigan

ps. Have your Agent get you some Car Review Work, you'd be darn good at it, I suspect.

Long time listener's picture

"Bass boost is somewhat excessive and bleeds into the mids above 200Hz, which makes for a "thick" sounding mid-range response."

Uh, I'm not really understanding this. Above 200Hz (from 200-700Hz), the response actually dips relative to the bass below and the midrange above. How does this recessed area result in thick sounding midrange? Wouldn't that more likely be the result of the overly emphasized region between 1-2000Hz above it(which looks like midrange to me)? Or the relatively high distortion levels between about 1500 and 2000Hz--since distortion also results in a thick sound?

ultrabike's picture

Like! Kudos to Skullcandy!

Three Toes of Fury's picture

Thanks bunches would be easy for you to give skullcandy a pass on its name and look alone. And, in this case, to pass by given the price range (a tough price range to find really good headphones).

However the company is certainly capable of turning out some decent sounding headphones that offer great value for $$. The stand-out for me being their Avaitors which i keep in constant rotation for my "closed over ear" headphone listening. Additionally ive had great experience with their cheaper in-ear headphones for activities like biking or working out.

Of course, as discussed before, the quality and consistency across their product lines is hit/miss and rocky. (IE: the early model skullcrushers were quite possibly the worst pair of headphones i'd ever purchased). Therefore i rarely blind buy their products any more and very much appreciate your help in finding the diamonds in the rough.

Peace .n. Living in Stereo


Danger's picture

Skateboarder here. When I skate with headphones I usually just throw on some iGrados. Not a fan of buds or iems and those iGrados are very hat friendly. At home it's a 2nd Gen FiiO X3 as a DAC, Audioquest cable, Little Dot 1+ with Sylvania tubes ending up at Fidelio X2's. Listen and Destroy!!!

Danger's picture

Also, as an aside it's probably worth mentioning that this kind of headphone would never even be worn while actually skateboarding. One fall and they are off one's head. Buds rule the day at local skateparks. Go see for yourself. Since I don't like buds I opt for iGrados, which stay pretty damn secure - even during falls or running out of a potential fall.

RPGWiZaRD's picture

Skullcandy has come a long way since their early days when they only were able to offer style and not so much else.

Leonidas037's picture

Just got my third pair of PortaPros and finally did the Kramer mod and quarter mod. Really enjoying the sound but was just curious... do these Grind headphones even come close to the sound quality of the PortaPros?