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The new Hesh 2 has arrived as an innovative upgrade from its iconic predecessor, proving that even the rebellious evolve. Designed to be the sleek and simplified version, Hesh 2 features conical over-ear cans that drive an even more powerful sound.
This single button in-line remote and mic duo delivers ultimate clarity and functionality. Connect effortlessly with your cohorts, or to switch up the track in a flash.
Celebrate your individuality with Hesh 2! Available in more than 20 different colors and patterns, we’ve made it easy for you to get exactly what you want.
Sound Pressure Level105 dB (1mW/500Hz)
THDless than 0.1% (1mW/500Hz)
Weight (without cable)approx. 180 g
One of the benefits of being a huge music fan, and writing here at GeekDad, is getting to review a lot of great independent music and the tools used to enjoy that music. Music is nothing without something to amplify its sound directly to your ear holes. I prefer headphones, as my ears are usually places where other people don’t want to hear what I’m listening to. My latest review set is the Skullcandy Hesh 2 headphones.
Like many Skullcandy offerings, the Hesh 2 headphones come in a variety of color combinations. I’m simple, so I opted for the black (even though I do have the Jamaican color scheme earbuds, just ’cause I like the flat cable). I immediately liked the leather touch ear pillows and strong, sturdy construction. They are adjustable for head size of course, and come with a little carry pouch that offers no real protection.
When it comes down to evaluating headphones though, it’s all about the music. I mean, the look and feel of the headphones on your head is important of course, and the Hesh 2 headphones are lightweight and fit pretty snug without crushing your ears. That’s a definite plus. Once that physical stuff was out of the way, it was time to break out the tunes.
Here’s my pressure test playlist for this particular pair of headphones, song by song. I’ve found that the best way to test out headphones, especially over the ear ones is to just pick a bunch of different music and jam on. That’s right, I said jam on.
Starting off with “Lies Greed Misery” off the new Linkin Park album Living Things I immediately noticed that I needed to increase the volume over what I had it set for my current in-ear headphones. I’d say a good 10% increase over current volume levels. Now I have custom equalizer settings, but there are certain generalities you can pick out in music to properly evaluate a pair of headphones. The screaming lyrics in this song are perfect to check out the vocal highs, to determine if there is any distortion at this level.
There was no distortion at this level. I really liked the way that this song felt in the Hesh 2 headphones. There is a lot going on in this track, and you could get the driving guitars behind the screaming without it being overwhelming or indiscernible. On a side note, this new Linkin Park album is probably the best Linkin Park album since their first one. I’m not a huge fan, but I’m liking this album.
Next up I put on some Maroon 5 — just kidding. I needed some bass and the most bass-filled track that has become my go-to song for headphone reviews is “R2D2″ by Service Lab off their R2D2 EP. I was a little disappointed by the bass levels here. The bass was clean, but I could tell wasn’t coming through with all its intensity. I held my hands to the headphones, squeezing them to my head and the bass increased and then I was impressed as it was really sharp and didn’t distort anything. And this difference just might be caused by my head and glasses, rather than how the headphones sit because we’re talking about an 1/8th of an inch difference in pressure.
Then the room got really loud and started to spin. I needed something a bit more… chill. Fiona Apple has a new album out and of course I have it, so “Every Single Night” off The Idler Wheel… seemed like a good test track for that quiet time music. Her new album is a very minimalist effort, tons of tiny sounds instead of large sounds outside her voice. The Hesh 2 headphones did a good job of picking up some of the tiny sounds that I missed with my in-ear headphones. Such as something in the background that sounds like a Ziploc bag full of beans being shaken.
Next up, I needed someone with a loud voice and some heavy metal guitars. Michael Poulsen of Volbeat is perfect for the deep voice test. Falling into about 10 different genres of rock music, I put on the album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood to get a good range. On the song “Still Counting” you could definitely hear Poulsen over the music, which is the point of the beginning of the song. Then the guitars kick in on the bridge and I was suddenly headbanging at my desk.
Finally, I went to my go-to track for headphone evaluation. That would be BT’s “Suddenly” off his modern electronic classical masterpiece These Hopeful Machines. While his latest albums offer some interesting transitions, they don’t represent a wide enough audience. “Suddenly” has all those little interesting quirks that makes BT’s music enjoyable, as well as unique. With its range of bass, stutter-edit and transitions, it makes for a great headphone review track.
So I took off my glasses, closed that 1/8th of an inch with my hands and melted away. The Skullcandy Hesh 2 headphones pulled me away from the depressing realization of life in a cubicle, and the music running through my skull gave me hope for the future. How’s that for romantic? Overall, with this last song, all the elements came together and well, you really can’t go wrong with the Hesh 2 headphones at this price point.
The Hesh 2 headphones sound just as good, if not better than some more expensive headphones I’ve reviewed. They are much lighter than more expensive pairs, and I still laud Skullcandy for their attention to the tensile strength of the cable coming out of the headphone. The nice thing on these headphones is that the cable is not fixed to the ear piece. So any standard 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack will work.
There are no batteries to replace, or having to plug in the headphones to charge (which I can’t stand doing with other headphones) so that means they are completely powered by the device they are plugged into which of course comes with some pros and cons. The pros being you never have to charge them or worry about batteries and don’t have to suffer the extra weight of one. The con being that the device they are plugged into might drain power more quickly. The sound quality doesn’t seem to be something that is affected by no internal battery.
Overall, the Skullcandy Hesh 2 headphones are a great buy for the money. They retail for $60, $70 if you want a pair with a microphone (not reviewed). Considering how much people pay for other headphones that have a popular beat sounding name but are nowhere near the best headphones on the market, that’s a very fair price for a pair that requires no internal battery but sounds like they are powered by one.
Skullcandy has quickly become one of my most reliable and sturdy manufacturers of headphones, and when combined with a consistent sound offering in their product line, I have true love for this brand. I currently own no less than three pairs of Skullcandy headphones, and that’s only cause I had one pair stolen out of my car. While I don’t prefer over the ear headphones, the Hesh 2 is a nice set, with great sound at a very reasonable price.
The Hesh 2 headphones are available via the Skullcandy website or Amazon.com.
There’s a huge difference between like and love. I like cheese, but I love Gruyere. I like beef, but I love filet mignon.
I like phones, but I love my iPhone. You get the gist.
Long story short, I really like Skullcandy’s latest pair of over-ear mid-range headphones, the Hesh.
But do I love them?
Skullcandy has been revamping its roster over the past year, including re-engineering their popular over-ear mid-range headphones. They promise “attacking bass, natural voice, and precision highs.”
Where voice and highs are concerned, Skullcandy nailed it. But “attacking bass” is an overstatement. There’s no true thud, no tangible feeling that comes along with the bass on these things. Just a low note, like any other low note.
Truth be told, I don’t feel transported to a higher plane of audio ecstasy with these things on my head, but sound quality isn’t bad by any means. I’ve been running around with an older set of Bose over-the-ears for the past few weeks and it’s hard to compete with those noise-cancelling beasts. When I put the Bose cans over my ears, all the excess sound instantly disappears. I’m in my own little suction cup of silence, until I turn on the tunes, at which point I can feel the bass buzzing through my brain.
On the other hand, the Hesh headphones are certainly loud enough for just about any setting, including a subway platform, but passersby won’t have any line of defense from your tune choices. I made the mistake of listening to “Superman” by Eminem on the crowded elevator in AOL HQ this morning at full volume — I’m sure I’m only more popular now.
I don’t get the same kind of satisfaction from the Skullcandy Hesh as I do with my Bose cans, but I also don’t pay as much. The Skullcandy Hesh headphones only cost $69.99 with a mic, and $59.99 without, as opposed to the $250+ set of Bose. That said, sound quality is perfectly acceptable at this price point.
Comfort-wise, I’m pretty pleased. I wish the headphones cupped my ears a bit more tightly — feels like there is a little pocket of space that sound escapes through. The leather pillow cups are nice, weight isn’t an issue at 180g, and the soft-touch headband is properly flexible.
The Skullcandy Hesh headphones come in a variety of color flavors, a few of which you can see below. Availability begins May 7 on Skullcandy.com.
Publication: Sound & Vision Magazine
The original Skullcandy Hesh represented a revolution in headphone marketing — one I’m sure Skullcandy’s competitors wish they’d thought of.
When I checked the website, the Hesh was available in 24 different cosmetic schemes, some super-hip, some sports-related, some just garish. But while the Hesh’s sound has won acclaim from consumers who leave comments like “BLOWS YOUR SKULL OFF” on the company’s website, discerning listeners I know thought the Hesh sounded muffled and overly bassy.
With the hiring of Dr. Tetsuro Oishi — an extremely knowledgeable scientist fresh off a gig at Bose — as its new director of electrical and acoustic engineering, Skullcandy seems to be getting serious about sound. The Hesh 2.0 is Tet’s first major effort, an attempt to refine the sound of the headphone without losing the love of those who write their user reviews with the caps lock on.
Like the original Hesh, the 2.0 (which at press time wasn’t yet up on the company’s website) has a somewhat bulky, plasticky look, but it’s a sleeker design. It’s the only headphone in this test that’s an over-ear, as opposed to on-ear, design, so it’s likely to give you better isolation from external noise. The detachable cable has 3.5mm plugs on both ends so it’s easy to replace. An inline mic will cost you an extra $10.
The ear cups tilt slightly up and down for better fit, but I found myself wishing they swiveled in every direction; I noted a little bit of leakage around the sides of the pads. Lauren noted when she moved the earpieces around her ears to adjust the fit that the pads made a loud, annoying crinkling sound when she released them.
The Hesh 2.0’s sound earned both raves and pans from the panel. Joe ranked it #1, Lauren ranked it #6, and Howard and I put it in the middle.
The 2.0 retains the bass-heavy balance of its predecessor — Howard and Lauren noted a boomy resonance in the bottom end, which made the bass sound sloppy. However, based on my memory of the original Hesh, the 2.0’s mids are much clearer. In fact, I’d rank its fidelity with voices at least the equal any headphone in this test. The powerful bass did seem to have the subjective effect of dulling the highs somewhat, reducing the apparent treble detail, but to some ears the sound is definitely appealing: “It made music sound the way I wanted it to,” Joe said.
The Hesh 2.0’s tonal balance didn’t work for most of the music I listen to, but when I put on Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” and The Cult’s “King Contrary Man,” the 2.0 outclassed all the other headphones we tested, with a lot more dynamics and drive, and a big, exciting sound.
Measurements: The Hesh 2.0’s frequency response is definitely tilted toward the bass and lower midrange; treble response rolls off pretty fast above 2 kHz. Adding 70 ohms output impedance to the V-Can’s 5 ohms to simulate the effects of using a low-quality amplifier had only a mild effect, boosting bass by +1 to +1.5 dB below 60 Hz. Total harmonic distortion (THD) is rather high, hitting 7% at 20 Hz at 80 dBA and really spiking below 45 Hz at 100 dBA. (I know the measurement looks weird, but I repeated it several times and double-checked my calibration, and I did this measurement at the same time and with the same method as all the others.) Impedance is close to flat, averaging 35 ohms. Isolation is just OK, maybe a tad below average for an over-ear, measuring -10 to -25 dB above 1.3 kHz. Average sensitivity from 300 Hz to 10 kHz with a 1 mW signal at the rated 35 ohms impedance is 99.4 dB.
Bottom Line: For heavy rock and hip-hop, the Hesh’s balance seems perfect. If that’s the kind of music you dig, you’ll probably love the Hesh 2.0 — and it’s a sure thing Skullcandy will offer it with graphics that suit your style as much as the sound suits your taste.