Category: Personal Audio/BT (Earbuds)
Price: $19.95
TiP Rating: 4.1/5 stars
Seller: Skullcandy, Inc.
Requirements: Compatible with all iPods, iPhone, and anything with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Summary: The Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds are an entry-level set with a surprising amount of performance for the price. They do have some downsides, including very little shielding on the wire.

Accessory Review Skullcandy Ink’d Earbuds

Accessory Review

Review: As earbuds go, the choices are quite staggering. They range in styles, prices, performance, and overall quality. (I am separating two distinctly different categories here — earbuds and headphones. To me, true headphones are over-the-ear and meant to be used at home. Earbuds are meant to be portable.)

The Skullcandy Ink’d buds fall into the upper-low-end or lower-mid-end range, depending on how you want to look at it. At 20 bucks, they are affordable to everyone, and are a huge leap above the 10 to 15 dollar varieties. Only five bucks more, but it’s been a while since a five made so much difference.

I never even opened the set that came with my iPhone. I don’t know of anyone who has opened them without putting them right back in the box. For a company that prides itself on musical tendencies, the stock headset is just subpar. I learned my lesson on my previous iPod Touch.

I was very disappointed to learn that Apple decided not to included their upgraded set with the 3GS, but I understand. What’s another $79 for the in-ear set when you’re buying a $200 phone? (A note: Ink’d do not have an in-line mic, so the cord will have to be unplugged to make/receive calls.)

One of the most basic functions of the iPhone is the iPod burning inside, and to truly appreciate it, you need a good set of earbuds (or headphones). The Ink’d set are one of the seventeen thousand (rough estimate) available for under $20, and they perform admirably.

My musical tastes are quite diverse. I can listen to Led Zeppelin right after Frank. Or John Williams (the pre-2000 stuff at least) right after U2. In all musical styles, the Ink’d performed well, but it has to be said they are best suited for rock. I have to adjust the EQ depending on what I’m listening to, something I don’t have to say about a bigger Sony headphone set I also frequently use.

These have good bass and treble performance, but the mids can be drowned out quite easily if the EQ is not adjusted. When listening to a little Superman, the bass becomes a bit boomy and almost completely eliminates any sort of clarity in the mids.

However, a simply switch to flat or classical takes care of that. Listening to an entire orchestral performance is very enjoyable, especially because…

Skullcandy Ink’d Earbuds

…these are extremely comfortable. They come with three different sizes of silicone tips, something that can’t be said for all earbuds in this price range, and one of them will surely fit your ears. They have one of the best qualities earbuds can have: you forget they are in your ears. Unless, of course, you decide to move at all in between songs.

One major downside is the cord. It is paper-thin, and while that adds to the enjoyment while on the move (an old phrase from Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus — ‘adding lightness’), when the music stops, you can tell exactly when and how much of the cord is rubbing on your shirt.

Just a millimeter or two more shielding might have solved this, and it’s an oversight on their part in my opinion. It’s especially annoying when you just happen to be listening to Miles Davis, and as the music gets softer, you realize you are walking in step with the beat because the cord is rubbing on your sleeve.

But if you listen to mostly rock like I do, this won’t matter at all. (From Joe Montegna in the modern day classic Airheads: If it’s too loud, you’re too old.)

Overall, I would recommend this set to just about anyone. For the price, you really can’t go wrong.

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