51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Just going to keep this (relatively) quick... I have owned two pairs of Mix Masters, written a few shining reviews for them as far as comfort, style and sound.... BUT... these headphones are a lemon structurally.
Let me preface the next paragraph by saying that my Mix Masters (both pairs) are desk headphones. I use them while I sit at a computer at work, or at my home computer. Never anywhere else, so they have received VERY light usage.
My first set of Mix Masters were from the first production run a year or two ago. I completely loved them. SkullCandy had finally made a set of over ears that were stylish (all their headphones have at least one color that looks decent), comfortable (I defy anyone to say the GI's were comfy), and sounded GREAT. Unfortunately, about three months into owning them, I was sitting at my desk at work and place the headphone on my head an suddenly *POP*SNAP*..... the headphones fall into two pieces onto my desk. The headband had snapped in two.
After a brief, colorful rant, I took a look at the headband (I'm an engineer by training/trade) to see what had happened. What I found is that the aesthetic outer cover doubles as the sole support for the headband; there is no internal support to bear the brunt of the headband bending. that's not a terrible thing, a number of fine headphones take this approach. The problem here is that the rim they added along the outer edges of the band to make a neat edge with the other components that are installed. This acts as a stiffener, and significantly resists bending. Problem is, this lip is thin enough that over time, it eventually just splits and opens up a crack that can then propagate up and around the headband. The cracks tend to open up right where the panel with the foam padding is screwed in place. This panel provides some extra stiffness, so that stiffer portion tends not to bend as much, forcing the weaker middle section of the headband to bend more to make up for it (exasperating the issue more). <Armchair Designer Off>
As such, as I had been taking my headphones on and off over the months, the headband was developing fatigue cracks along the sharp (pretty looking) edges, and eventually they failed completely.
So with much dismay, I RMA'd the headphones, a process I was very familiar with as I had problems previously with the GI's, which spontaneously broke at the yolk (though they lasted a bit longer than 3 months). While waiting for the RMA to go through, I search the net and find other complains about the headbands snapping, and some pretty bad reviews on SkullCandy's site about the same issue. At least I wasn't alone, I thought. By the time I received the credit for the headphones, the Mix Masters were sold out and no longer in production. I figured this was due, in part, to the problems with the headband. Since there wasn't anything that I wanted from SkullCandy for $300, I sat on the credits.
Fast forward a year, and I hear the Mix Master is coming back! Woo! I (naively) assume that they must have fixed the issues and were restarting production. I put an order in, and around Christmas 2011 I get a shiny new pair of Mix Masters. Again, they sound awesome, look great, and are comfortable. I right a review for the product, still somewhat cautious about the structural issues, but giving them the benefit of the doubt and rating it well.
After about two months (happily) without issue, I go to put the headphones on at work... and hear a quiet *pop*. I take the headphones off and what do I see? A small crack, right where my last pair had broken. Upon further inspection, I notice that there are matching cracks at three other locations! I immediately update my original review
I went on, from there, to SkullCandy's site to write review (and, on a side note, notice all the bad reviews on the product that were previously there have been deleted, but I digress). I wrote a pretty honest, balanced review, highlighting the excellent sound quality and comfort, while pointing out the persistent weakness of the headband. I believe I gave the Mix Master a 2 or 3 star, and the review racked up quite a few helpfulness points and ended up in the top 5 for helpfulness (and but me in as a top 100 contributor to the site). I continue to baby the headphones, and watch the cracks grow over the months. Right now, all the cracks have spread, and one pair is about a half inch from meeting, and the other pair already have met, and a thin layer of plastic is holding on tenuously. I expect to RMA them in the next few weeks, giving them a 3 month life before cracks start forming, and another 7 months for the cracks to progress to complete failure (if you baby the hell out of them once the cracks show up).
On a side note, I returned to the SkullCandy site yesterday to check on my review, and it has been deleted. I rewrote and submitted with some updated information on how the cracks have gotten worse, and that review was denied.
Moral of the story, these headphones do, in fact, sound and fee great. Yes, SkullCandy has an awesome RMA policy (they have to with how often their products break). The bottom line, though; No headphones, much less ones costing $300, are worth RMA'ing every year or less.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Galaxy Note 10.1
- Published on Amazon.com
If you've purchased these then Welcome to the world of sound that you've been missing out on! These are without a doubt, my favorite headphones I own to date (doesn't mean most comfortable), which may or may not change since I have the PSB M4U 2, Yamaha Pro 500, House of Marley TTR Destiny, and thinksound On1 to look forward to as well.
Features: The Mix Master comes with large 50mm drivers and circular ear pads which are very large and comfortable. They're mounted on a ball joint that swivels in all directions to provide a good fit for any size head. They have an interesting setup which allows them to run in Mono when an ear cup is turned forward. It's a feature for DJ's who want to use one cup and hear both sides while listening to 1. the crowd (energy levels) 2. the next track to anticipate what to do next (mix and beat match) 3. Requests. On the headphones lies a switch which acts as the mute button. Do not confuse it as a play/pause button. It simply mutes the music for whatever reasons you need. It comes with dual port inputs which allows the user to hook up from either Left or Right and the headphones are not restricted with a L or R configuration (no Left or Right indicators). In other words, wear them the way you want to wear them. (For those that are picky about where the music is coming from virtually, you can play with a Left to Right fader if you have a program / app to do it. Winamp allows you to do so.) The dual ports also act as a daisy chain allowing another user to plug in a cable to your headphone and listen to what you're listening to. Keep in mind that when using this feature, audio quality takes a slight hit as the total resistance (Ohms) does go up causing a slight decrease in sound volume. If you're going to be daisy chaining a lot, then I suggest a portable amp. Fiio E11 for those on a budget otherwise opt in for an amp with DAC. These headphones come with 2 cords. A straight cord with a built in mic + apple buttons and a coiled cable. The coiled cable can be attached to a 1/4 inch adapter for higher end audio equipment / instruments and screws into the end of the cable securing it in place. The coiled cable is also screwed into the headphones to prevent accidentally unplugging them but the coil expands a long distance so doing so would mean... your gear caught on fire and you're trying to run away. In other words, they're secure when using the coiled cable. The straight cable is just a normal cable that plugs in.
Looks: It's a good looking pair. Nothing you'd see as an accessory on runway models but still very good looking (I'd say the Klipsch Mode M40 has that award). It's made of a shiny plastic and is a finger print magnet. Apparently those in Skullcandy knew this and it came bundled with a microfiber cleaning cloth. How much you want to stand out depends on the color model. The model I have is Black. It comes with chrome that outlines the diameter of the 50 mm driver and a large chrome Skullcandy logo. When resting around my neck, those in back of me read SKULLCANDY in shiny bold letters. (Free advertising)
Sound Quality: These are very very clean sounding. They aren't the most crisp sounding headphones ever, but are the best sounding from Skullcandy. The bass is tight with good impact. It's not a head rattling type of bass that's bloated and overloaded. It's bass you want to hear. The mid range is neutral, it isn't boosted or set back. Those who love instruments and hearing every detail in the background may not fall in love with these headphones, but they do still sound very nice (Tested with Mozart Violin Concerto No.4 in D Major FLAC file). Normal users won't notice (unless you're reading this and now music sounds different *Inception*) Highs aren't exaggurated but are slightly higher. The EQ for these would be like a gentle U slope a little more towards bass than highs but again, not over the top bass. Overall, very nice sound reproduction.
Comfort: Unless you're listening to music for hours on end, they're very comfortable. The leather wrapped memory foam ear cups are very big, nice, and soft. The headband has 3 sections of support making wearing them an enjoyable experience. As mentioned earlier, the ball joint that holds the ear cups pivot in multiple angles allowing adjustment for whatever size head it encounters.
Now on to the Cons: These are great headphones, and for the current price (at the time of this review) of around $150, the quality to cost ratio is excellent. HOWEVER, as with many many many other reviews, the headband is a problem. First of all, it's a very snug headband. It squeezes your head, maybe more than some people would want. Those who wear glasses MIGHT find these uncomfortable, I haven't had any problems until 3-4 hrs in. I found them to be a nuisance when adjusting my glasses with these on because of the tight fit. Second, the design of the headband, although very nice looking, is structurally bad. It's the weakest part of the assembly and prone to cracking. Skullcandy seriously needs to fix this problem since 1. It's their flag ship headphone at the moment. 2. The original price $300 would demand quality parts and life expectancy. 3. These sound so good you'll keep wanting to use them, but the more you do, the closer you are to sending them in for warranty repairs. Another bad point is the swivel hinges for Mono / Stereo mode. They do feel as if they'll snap if twisted too far. There are tiny plastic tabs to keep it from over rotating but accidentally twisting them would mean a new pair. These are NOT a pair that you would want to stress test and because of that, I'd consider the build quality sub par. Audio quality is on the other side of that spectrum. Other than those problems, these are great headphones. These headphones also come with a Lifetime warranty for any manufacturer defect but takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks to complete.
Would I recommend these? It depends, I've taken care of my headphones to the point that you could say I baby them, but regardless, the headband snapped, and just before leaving my car to go to class... Good thing I brought my S-11 Flex HD since I was going to hit the gym right after. I use these headphones 2-3 times per week and they've lasted 5 months. I'd recommend these to someone who has the patience to deal with the long warranty process or someone who doesn't see the need to use them often. If and when Skullcandy reinforces the headband, this will be almost perfect. I can't judge them as a 3 star because of the audio quality alone and 3 stars are considered "It's okay". They are better than "okay" but the build quality is 2 star. Amazon should have multiple ratings for build quality, comfort and sound.
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (older model) which comes with a built in Wolfson WM1811 DAC running on the Neutron player app.