First thing to notice is the fur. These are the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. I worried before I got them that they'd look tacky, but they definitely don't. They trap in sound and fit like earmuffs. There's a regular pair or leather pads if I want to swap out, which will probably be nice for summer, when earmuffs won't be desirable. But for now, these are perfect.
Sound wise, they're pretty nice. They pretty damn loud, but never too loud to the point that sound quality is lost. During dead air between songs and on quiet parts of tracks is virtually silent, with none of the static or white noise that other headphones may produce.
One complaint that I found online was that they don't fully mute all outside noise. I'm perfectly fine with this. When they're turned up you can't hear a single word from the person standing next to you, but you will catch something loud like a car horn. I'm not trying to get run down by a truck crossing the street cause my Bob Marley was too loud.
Some headphones are better for bass, others for treble, etc. So, since I listen to a bunch of different genres and styles, I decided to test these out with all of them for a full-range review.
- Hip-Hop [GZA, "Liquid Swords"] - The intro to this classic track is dialogue from the narration of the old-school Kung Fu classic "Shogun's Assassin." Sound quality on spoken word is golden. When the music track fades in, the stereo quality is the first thing noticed. High quality instrument separation is a plus. Now, a lot of people into hip-hop and rap like heavy-duty bass. These headphones aren't for those people. This won't shake up your brain while you listen, all for the sake of quality. Bass is heavy enough to get your head bumpin, but not overwhelming. Perfect by my standards.
- Acoustic [The Good, The Bad, & The Queen, "Kingdom of Doom"] - Treble quality is high. The frequency range is large enough that you can hear all effects at all volume levels. Now, at about half-volume, some quality is lost. But I think that's to be expected.
- Rock [David Essex, "Rock On"] - I was told by my girlfriend to listen to this track ONLY when I received these headphones. She knew what she was talking about! This is what these things were made for. Effects change from left to right speaker constantly and, as mentioned, the stereo quality of these things is amazing. The steady bass thumping in the background isn't lost. Nor is the layered quality of the vocals, which would certainly fall short on regular speakers. Hi-hat taps on the drums stand out as the most impressive sound captured by the TI. For some reason it just sifts perfectly. I love it!
- Classical [Frederic Chopin, "Nocturne in F minor Op. 55 No. 1: Adante"] - One thing Chopin is great at is fading out gently, only to crash back into being with power. This means two important things must be right for full enjoyment: (1.) a good sound range, and (2.) enough outside noise elimination to keep the silent parts silent. Like I said before, the range on these is impressive, so nothing is lost there. However, since these aren't made specifically to kill all outside noise (like some headphones are) the softer parts of the song weren't completely silent. BUT, like I said before, I'm not totally convinced that's a bad thing. When walking around campus, I didn't hear my cell phone ring or the people down the hall calling my name, but I did hear the Metro ride by when I was outside. Again, not trying to get hit by a train, so I'm ok with that. All that being said, if you're walking around outside you can expect a lot more outside distractions anyway, so nothing new hear. Lounging around in my room listening to this one later (especially with the uber comfortable fur earpads) was perfect. I didn't hear the airplanes flying overhead (which is a constant since we live right by the airport), nor did I hear my roommate knock on the door. He thought I was ignoring him, but he got over it.
- Reggae [Desmond Dekker, "Reggae Recipe"] - This one is a good test song for reggae because it brings the instruments in one at a time, starting with organ and drums. Those are excellent. Next comes the "swingin' guitars", which are also good, along with the piano. Finally, the bass kicks in. This track best exemplifies the reserved strength of the bass in these things. If you want something with a full bass kick, check out the Skullcandy Skullcrusher. If you want a smooth-sounding bass that doesn't overwhelm the rest of the instruments (which are just as important, if not more important, to the song), stick with the TI.
If you can't tell, I'm smitten with these things.
Now that we've tackled sound, check out the artistic design of 'em. Despite the fur accents, these ones are a more reserved version of the typical TI model, which is easily spotted by its shiny gold finish, or flashy graphics.
The one I got is a bit classier - note the finely stitched Skullcandy name and logo on the top. Also, the fancy silver end-caps on the phones themselves. Stylish, eh?