The quest for great headphones never stops, and this time it is the Skullcandy Hesh ANC on the DRN test bench at DRN.
The original Hesh has been a success for Skullcandy, and now they have added ANC into the mix and still sitting on the lower price bracket. It is certainly worthy of exploring.
This time round I changed things up and made the teenager work for it. After all, he is constantly listening to music and with earbuds he can hide them pretty well and ignore us. With headphones it is a different story. Besides if he’s too teenagey to talk, he can write me some notes.
These are some lightweight headsets coming in at 228g. There is a choice black on black, and the bulk of the material is a hard plastic.
The padding on the ear cups are quite thick, although the cut outs tend to be a bit more squared off. They do fit over my ears – just, and I have just average sized ears. On Master J they fit just fine. An 8cm long strip of padding sits on the underside of the band over your head. The ear cups can also swivel a bit to fit the shape of your head.
The right ear cup has all the controls – power, volume, play and ANC / ambient mode. There is a USB-C port for charging, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The ear cups folds up easily for storage, and it also comes with a tough nylon bag for that purpose. Notably despite the appearances, there is a soft lining on the inside of the bag to protect the Hesh ANC.
I kind of threw the teenager into the deep end, and in the weeks of use, he never came once to complain or moan about any issues was my barometer. The Skullcandy Hesh ANC were easy to connect to the phone and use.
In the (very few) words of Master J, the sound quality is good with even distribution of bass and sound. Thanks. In my testing, I have to admit for what they are, the Hesh ANC sound reproduction is impressive. The mids are crisp and accurate, the bass is strong but can be a little muddied at times, and vocals are generally bright and exciting.
Master J did not have any issues with the button controls, using them to control his music and volume without having to resort to disturbing whatever he is doing on his phone (with one caveat that I will cover later).
Is it going to satisfy an audiophile? I would say no, but considering the price point they are definitely quality headsets.
The ANC / ambient mode shows a distinct difference. We have the construction of a new dwelling going on next door, which happens to be right outside Master J’s room. He is more than happy to chill in his room with the Hesh ANC on and not be bothered by the noise. In fact the ANC is good enough to the point where I have insisted that Master J use the ambient mode when walking home from school.
Master J reported that the battery life is impressive, lasting him easily through all day long sessions of listening to music. The Hesh ANC are rated for up to 22 hours of battery life. Although I am sure that he hasn’t hit that mark likely due to his perchant for deafening volumes, it still goes an easy two days before he recharges.
The Hesh ANC also support quick charge for when he fails to plan properly, 10 minutes of charging will give him an impressive 3 hours of playback time.
Like all the current crop of Skullcandy devices, this one comes with integrated Tile tracking. Master J is already familiar with these as we have been long time users of Tile for tracking things.
A few gripes for the Hesh ANC.
There is no custom sound profiling or equaliser to fine tune the sound.
Not so much a gripe but a consequence of design. Because Skullcandy has doubled up on the buttons, you can’t use the buttons to go back a track on Spotify. You can only restart the song.
When wind is blowing in your direction, you can hear the wind channelling in and out of the headphones.
These are budget friendly headphones with ANC, and punch above their weight in sound quality. For the teenager with his long music and YouTube sessions, tuning out everyone else in the house, the Hesh ANC suits his use perfectly.
The Skullcandy Hesh ANC retails for $249.95 and is available directly from Skullcandy, or JB Hi-Fi.
Headphone Type: Bluetooth® Over-Ear
Connection Type: Bluetooth® 5.0
Impedance: 32 Ohms ±15%
Driver Diameter: 40mm
Sound Pressure Level: 99.63
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20KHz