Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds evaluate: A whole lot of options for little cash

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Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds firmly in place and Katy Perry queued up, I ready for a run across the neighborhood. I deliberate to check the customizable sound and energetic noise-cancelling of those true wi-fi earbuds—the whole lot I may use to get within the zone—once I noticed my spouse waving. Tapping twice on the Skullcandy earbuds to pause the music, I heard my 3.5-year-old daughter Ria yell, “I need to come!” as she sprinted towards me, scrambling to slide on her pink Crocs. Identical to that, the plan modified, the operating stroller and one earbud got here out, Ambient Mode changed ANC, and I set out on a really completely different outing. Katy’s fireworks in a single ear, my daughter’s dialog within the different, I pushed the Skullcandy Indy ANC’s versatility to its restrict and it proved succesful.

The first promoting level of the Skullcandy Indy ANC is an inexpensive pair of true wi-fi earbuds simply as geared up at tuning out the world and turning up a exercise’s depth as they’re at delivering the hushed tones of NPR podcasts throughout a commute. The flexibility is available in half from the Skullcandy app, which helps you to customise the sound combine on the contact of a button—a function that rivals a few of the greatest earbuds on the market. Whereas the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds can’t fairly match the sound high quality of actually top-of-the-line ANC earbuds, additionally they gained’t match top-tier costs, both. So in the event you’re searching for a stable middle-of-the-road set of ’buds that’s prepared whether or not you propose to push laborious or decompress, these Skullcandy earbuds stands out as the good match. Let’s take a more in-depth look …

What are the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds?

Promoting for $129, the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds sit on the prime of the Park Metropolis, Utah, firm’s lineup of wi-fi earbuds. You’ll be able to drop the energetic noise cancellation and save $30 with the Indy Gas, or drop one other $20 (and the wi-fi charging case) with the Indy Evo. The cheaper Indy fashions decrease value and battery life—to a complete of six hours (30 hours with charging case) versus the 9 hours (32 with case) you get from the Indy ANC. The Gas and the Evo do truly add water and mud safety, although—that includes an IP55 ranking versus the Indy ANC’s appropriate however hardly swimsuit-worthy IPX4 (which implies the ’buds should not examined in opposition to mud and can solely guard in opposition to sweat and transient splashes of water). 

With ANC and spectacular sound customization, it’s clear these flagship Skullcandy wi-fi earbuds hope to problem high-end noise-cancelling earbuds such because the Jaybird Vista 2, the Apple AirPods Professional, and the Sony WF-1000XM4. And from a customization standpoint, the Skullcandy earbuds undoubtedly got here to play, with the app letting you set your personal personalised EQ combine and providing presets optimized for music, podcasts, and films. The EQ choices aren’t as boundless as these you get within the Jaybird Vista 2, and the Skullcandy ’buds don’t mechanically adapt the EQ combine to match your environment—a function discovered within the Apple AirPods Professional—however the customization from Skullcandy is greater than practical. It surpasses the sliding adjustors you get from the equally priced Sennheiser CX True Wi-fi. Plus, isn’t a personalized combine and the choice to change between music and talking modes could be all most individuals really want. 

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Sound high quality is the place the Skullcandy Indy ANC ranges off. The bass is beautiful to make sure, however the degree of element doesn’t match what you get in the perfect earbuds. Utilizing 12mm drivers, the Skullcandy Indy ANC delivers a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz and a sound stress degree of 98-103dB. For comparability, the Sony WF-1000XMF solely makes use of 6mm drivers however can drive the frequency vary to 40 kHz (when linked by way of the high-resolution LDAC 96 kHz sampling, 990 kbps Bluetooth codec). 

Measurement and weight is one other place the place Skullcandy minimize corners—or, extra precisely, didn’t trim as a lot—so as to hold the associated fee down. The charging case, with the earbuds inside, weighs 76 grams. That’s a lot heftier than the sub-50 gram bundle of the Sennheiser CX True Wi-fi. Plus, at 2 inches tall, the case itself is twice as tall as different charging instances of earbuds I’ve examined (the Dime charging case is 1 inch tall). Nonetheless, the width and size of the Indy charging case compares to different instances, measuring lower than 2.5 inches lengthy and fewer than an inch deep. 

Regardless of the case and earbuds being a bit bulkier than different pairs, they match comfortably in my ear because of noise-isolating silicone ear gels with a useful extension that notches into the ear’s concha for stability. (The earbuds include three extra silicone ear gels, half of which don’t function the highest extension.) In the meantime, the earbuds’ lengthy slim stem prolonged simply previous my earlobe for a balanced, comfortable match that assured they stayed in place at the same time as I jogged, rollerbladed, and did leaping jacks. 

Organising the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds

The Skullcandy Indy ANC virtually arrange themselves. I eliminated them from their charging case, which mechanically began the pairing course of. They synced to one another after which I synced them to my iPhone by clicking “Indy ANC” in my listing of accessible Bluetooth units (they assist Bluetooth 5.0 SBC for steady connectivity). 

Subsequent, I downloaded the Skullcandy app—although this step was solely for sound customization since you need to use the Skullcandy earbuds with out the app. Within the app, I arrange my private EQ combine (extra beneath) and toggled between ANC and Ambient Mode, in addition to between sound mixes designed for music, spoken phrase, and films. 

Skullcandy Indy ANC in case
The Skullcandy Indy ANC desires to make a case that it could actually problem the top-tier. Andrew Waite

Key options of the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds

The Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds are filled with options, particularly when you think about the value level. From ANC to EQ customization, there’s lots to love. 

Skullcandy means that you can management just about the whole lot from the earbuds themselves. To vary tracks, maintain one of many earbud’s buttons for 2 seconds. To regulate the quantity, faucet as soon as. The pause, faucet twice. To speak to Siri (or your digital assistant) faucet 3 times. All of that labored pretty seamlessly (although I choose a press-and-hold quantity management that works extra like a dial). However utilizing the earbuds to alter the EQ mode or change out of ANC was extra irritating. These controls depend on a mixture of tapping and holding and as a rule I discovered the earbuds responding to the faucets (adjusting the quantity, pausing) fairly than switching sound modes. Nonetheless, switching sound modes within the app was no hassle in any respect.

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Sound examine

If the Skullcandy Indy ANC ’buds are your first pair of true wi-fi earbuds, it’s possible you’ll be completely content material. Total the sound is pretty wealthy, particularly on the decrease finish. However I couldn’t assist however examine them to 2 completely different pairs of earbuds. I used to be most curious to see how they fared in opposition to the $25 Skullcandy Dime, Indy ANC’s littlest brother. To create a good check, I set the Indy ANC to music mode and turned off ANC and my private EQ. Then I placed on John Mayer’s “Within the Blood,” which has a repetitive construction, and switched between the Skullcandy Dime earbuds and the Indy ANC earbuds. To my ears, the excellence was imperceptible. To be honest, that check in contrast a neutered model of the Indy ANC that didn’t make the most of the four-mic digital ANC and sound EQ customization. 

Subsequent, I wished to check the Indy ANC to the Jaybird Vista 2, which, on paper, supply most of the identical options because the Indy ANC ’buds however promote for about $70 extra. It seems that extra cash pays off in the event you care about crispness throughout all frequencies. Whether or not it was Chadwick’s cleaner vocals on Dispatch’s “The Common,” the fiddle bowing or the banjo plucks in “Wagon Wheel,” or the thumping percussion in Katy Perry’s “It Takes 2,” the Jaybird Vista 2 constantly supplied a cleaner, extra full sound that made me really feel nearer to the music.   

Sound’s proper to you

Flat, the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds didn’t stand out. However a part of the earbuds’ attract is they provide superb sound customization. Choose “Private Sound” within the Skullcandy app after which click on whether or not you’ll be able to hear varied tones—the check measures your listening to capability in each ears and throughout frequencies. You may as well select between Music, Podcast, and Film modes, whereas nonetheless maintaining your private combine energetic. Music is the usual mode, the podcast mode reduces the bass and sharpens human dialogue, and the film mode pumps the bass for these booming motion scenes whereas nonetheless presenting crisp dialogue. 

You may as well customise what you hear round you. In ANC mode, 4 microphones energy a system of sound-neutralizing tones that successfully mute the world. Virtually too successfully, truly. I used to be listening to an episode of “Recent Air”—and Terry Gross’s voice doesn’t precisely growth—and I couldn’t in any respect hear that my daughter was attempting to get my consideration. 

If the ANC did precisely what it was purported to, Ambient Mode was sadly the alternative. Whereas in Ambient Mode, I had hassle listening to vehicles coming behind me on jogs or my spouse calling to me in the home. The noise-isolating ear gels merely eradicated an excessive amount of sound on their very own. If I wished to securely jog on busier streets, I needed to make the most of the Solo mode—which simply means utilizing one earbud as an alternative of two (not a function all earbuds supply, and a welcome one at instances). That labored properly for listening to sounds round me, nevertheless it additionally felt like I used to be solely getting half of what the earbuds are able to providing. 

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Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds on wood table
Now ’ear this: The Skullcandy Indy ANC presents lots for a bit. Andrew Waite

Lasts all day—after which some. 

The Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds’ battery life greater than met my wants. The earbuds provide as much as 9 hours of runtime with ANC off and an ample 5 hours with ANC on. The case boosts the availability by both 14 hours or 23 hours, relying on whether or not ANC is activated (providing you with a complete of as much as 32 hours between expenses). Plus, the fast charging function generates two hours (with ANC off) in simply 10 minutes. 

I additionally appreciated that purple LED lights signify whether or not every earbud is correctly linked to the magnetic charging ports within the case. A couple of instances, I’ve been dissatisfied to search out the Jaybird Vista 2 earbuds out of battery as a result of I’d uncared for to ensure they have been correctly resting in opposition to the case’s magnetic dots.  

Are you able to hear me now? 

The Indy ANC earbuds function 2-mic noise discount that makes for clear calls. My accountant had no hassle listening to me, even once I interrupted her to provide completely different numbers. And Siri was capable of appropriately hear and reply to my query in regards to the climate, the Mets rating—not that I actually wished to know, given their current spiral—and the title of the president.   

So, who should purchase the Skullcandy Indy ANC?

Anybody searching for an inexpensive set of true wi-fi earbuds that’ll work as properly for podcasts on the practice as they’ll for pumping tunes on the treadmill ought to contemplate the Skullcandy Indy ANC earbuds. For $130, you get energetic noise cancellation and personalised sound customization that competes with the perfect earbuds on the market. Plus, the ’buds match snugly and comfortably within the ear, even throughout rigorous exercises (although the IPX4 ranking means you’d be smart to wipe them off earlier than placing them again within the charging case). 

You’ll be able to spend extra for higher sound from earbuds just like the Sony WF-1000XM4 or the Apple AirPods Professional. Or you’ll be able to spend $200 for the Jaybird Vista 2 and get extra sturdiness; the Jaybird earbuds’ IP68 safety ranking means you’ll be able to drop them within the sand and even within the waves crashing alongside the shore, and so they’ll nonetheless be tremendous (plus the Vista 2’s stereo sound topped the Skullcandy). For the same value to the Indy ANC ’buds, the Sennheiser CX True Wi-fi earbuds supply a extra evocative audiophile sound however a much less comfy match and no ANC. In the meantime, the Beats Studio Buds supply ANC and stable sound however function no sound customization.

You would additionally go the opposite path, price-wise, and sacrifice ANC, customization, sturdiness, and battery life for the ultracheap however efficient Skullcandy Dime earbuds. Nonetheless, in the event you’re searching for one-pair-fits-all-uses Skullcandy Bluetooth earbuds that’ll crank the bass however not jack up the associated fee, the Indy ANC earbuds are a sound alternative.