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Get to know the Skullcandy Cassette.

HATS-Front Image
HATS-Side Image

Here's the speaker element. Not much to guard it from the outside, but if you're truly messing around with the headphones' different capabilities, there's other stuff that will fill that role nicely.

Uninterestingly enough, the backs of the are featureless and flat. This is most likely due to the fact that they are made to slip into objects.

Here's the coolest thing about the headphones: the band is optional. Though it's made of a relatively cheap plastic, and can fold up, you can pop the speakers out on a whim if you want to!

The Y-shaped cable of the s is a standard 3.93 foot affair, punctuated by a small remote with a Skullcandy logo and a microphone on it for smartphone use.

At the end of this detachable cable is a standard, run-of-the-mill, regular ol' 1/8th inch plug.

Cableguards for headphones with removable cords are less important in the long run because they can be swapped out, but nonetheless they are quite thin on the .

Also included with the headphones are a removable band, and rubber ear pads.

Inside the packaging for the s is the band, speaker pods, a cable, assorted documentation, rubber ear pads, and a carrying pouch.

Despite being made of cheap plastic, the world is not over if you destroy the band. In fact, half the fun of these headphones is the ability to stick them in Skullcandy branded beanie hats, hoodies, or Smith ski/snowboarding helmets. If the cable breaks, no worries: you can replace it. Still, don't let these things get wet, as that will ruin them.

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Even though the s don't look too ugly on their own, they were primarily meant to be hidden away, so there really aren't many interesting aesthetic features to them. Regardless, they look the part of cheaper, fun headphones.

Well, here's the tradeoff: somewhat bad audio quality. While the lower frequencies are somewhat flat, there's a gigantic overemphasis of some of the mids, and then an extremely erratic high end. Additionally, though it's not pictured here, there's a massive dropoff at about 90Hz, so bass lovers will really hate these cans.

Frequency Response Graph

That hump in the middle means that some notes will sound up to four times as loud as they should.

[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Frequency_Response) It's pretty much inaudible, but there is a 1% level of general distortion with the s. Not enough to ruin your music, but enough to sink the score a bit.
Distortion Graph

General distortion, but not too bad.

[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Distortion) For most of the range of audible frequencies, there are no audible issues with channel preference, so you shouldn't really notice much in the way of one side being louder than the other at any point.
Tracking Graph

This little channel shift? Don't worry about that little channel shift.

[Click here for more information on our frequency response test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Tracking) It feels a bit disingenuous to tell you that these headphones don't attenuate noise well, because that really depends what you put them in. That being said, we did test them using the included ear pads and band. Additionally, the attenuation is much better when you put them into a helmet's headphone slots, but because that's a non-standard use of the headphones, we did not score them based on that.
Isolation Graph
[Click here for more information on our isolation test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Isolation) It comes to very little surprise, but these things leak a ton of noise. If you're anywhere but on the slopes, we'd say you should probably keep the volume to a minimum so as not to tick anyone off. [Click here for more information on our leakage test.](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Leakage) In our labs, we managed to blast out our test sounds at over 120+dB before the s reach the dreaded 3% total distortion. While it's always nice to know that headphones are theoretically capable of bumping tunes at a ridiculous volume, we advise all of our listeners to keep their volume in check, as it is a [health risk](https://headphones.reviewed.com/News/Noise-Induced-Hearing-Loss-and-You.htm). [Click here for more on our maximum usable volume test](/content/How-We-Test-149.htm#Maximum Usable Volume) This is a rather strange thing to discuss, because the comfort of these headphones depends almost entirely how you wear them. If you use them with the band, you'll notice a little bit of clamping force, but not enough to elicit a cry of pain or anything (score reflects this type of wear). It only gets better if you drop them into your Skullcandy beanie, or compatible helmet, as the fabric and removal of clamping force makes for a softer experience.
Short-Term Use Image

Over time, the fit doesn't really change unless the speakers are improperly installed. Similar marks here.

Users looking for headphones that will last them an entire day of bombing down a mountain should note that while ear buds that stick into your ear canal can have some rather nasty and painful consequences should you hold an impromptu yard sale on the mountain, these will sit outside your ear and be generally unobtrusive.

While you can't really do a lot to the headphones, you can do a lot with them. Consequently, the score here doesn't reflect their total versatility all that well, but we did give it a bump to reflect this. Seriously, with what other headphones can you put into articles of clothing, their own band, or put them in a ski/snowboard helmet? I suppose the predecessors, the Skullcandy Single Shot, but that's about it.

The s have a regular, albeit boring, 3.93-foot long y-shaped removable cable that uses 1/8th inch plugs to connect the speaker elements to the source. The cable is punctuated by a remote and microphone.

These headphones are extremely portable, as they are small, light, and are designed to fit into places most headphones could never go. Needless to say, these are getting top marks, because very few headphones (save for in-ears) are as portable as these.

While there really isn't much you can do to maintain the s, you can replace the cable in the event of breakage, provided you can find one that splits into a y shape.

Remote & Mic

The bland remote of the s punctuate the cable on the left side, which allows you to use your smartphone on the go. Extra solder points add potential sources of failure, so be careful not to tug on the cable.

You've seen them everywhere, they're iconic, and absolutely terrible. Not only are they very chintzy, but they never seem to want to stay in your ear. Though the s aren't much better, they're at least more durable, and generally stay in place if you use them correctly.

The s have issues, while the Apple earbuds seem to have a fairly good frequency response, but there are other problems here.

Looking at the two different graphs, it's easy to overlook the general distortion of the s, as the Apple earbuds have an insanely high level of distortion in the low end which is more than enough to ruin bass-heavy music.

While both have fairly good tracking, the channel preference problems of the Apple iPhone earbuds are audible and annoying.

Neither attenuate much noise at all, but the s are technically better in this regard.

Both sets of headphones are fairly comfortable, but the Apple earbuds definitely have a tough time staying in ears that aren't shaped just so.

Aside from the frequency response and the fact that they're free with an iPod, there really isn't any reason to use the Apple earbuds over the . Not only are they less durable, but with a higher distortion level, worse tracking and the frustration of the earbuds falling out, it's hard to argue with the s.

It's hard to find headphones more durable than the Crossfade LP-2s, and we certainly haven't found them yet. The s hold their own, but they really don't hold a candle to the Crossfade LP-2s with their metal construction, shock-resistant housing, and kevlar-wrapped cables. Still, they don't fit under a helmet or hat all that well, negating that advantage over the s.

No contest, the Crossfade LP-2s blow the s out of the water in sound quality.

Here too the Crossfade LP-2s outmatch the s.

While the s have the better tracking response, the errors present with the V-Moda cans are largely inaudible, or so small as to get lost in music.

The Crossfade LP-2s block out a bunch more noise than do the s.

This one's tough because of the varied uses of the s, but you should know that the Crossfade LP-2s don't fit under a helmet all that well, nor are their speakers detachable, so if that matters to you, you might want to pick up the s.

If you care more about audio quality, and don't really care all that much about pulling your headphones apart to stash in another article of clothing, the s are for you. They carry a much heavier price tag, but they're worth it.

While the s are more durable, the Klipsch in-ears will give you far better sound, and because they're tiny, are often okay to take on the slopes. Both sets of headphones are highly portable, and both are very affordable.

Klipsch wows with a fun frequency response for bass lovers, relatively flat everywhere else. The s have a pretty terrible response.

While the S4is do have a strange blip, the s have a 1% general rate of distortion.

Both have fairly good tracking.

Due to the fact that the S4is jam directly into your ear canal, they attenuate a bunch more noise than the s do.

This one's a tossup, and it's tough because of the several different wear options for the s. Still, The S4is are in-ears, and those can be uncomfortable if you can't find the right fit. Try to give each a shot before making a decision that's right for you.

The Klipsch S4is are a fantastic set of entry-level in-ears that will definitely please you if you are new to the high-end audio game. The s will not, but they do offer some unique portability options that are simply unmatched by most headphones. Also, due to their price point, you won't feel terrible if you break them, though they are quite durable on their own. It all comes down to what you want, though fans of better audio quality will definitely want to stick with the Klipsch S4is.

Before opining on just how good or bad the s are, it's important to note that there are headphones out there that fill a niche role that most people are unwilling to touch. For the segment of the population that rides a skate or snowboard, listening to music is essential, but there aren't often good ways to get headphones under your helmet's ear pads. Enter Skullcandy, a headphone company that goes out of its way to cater to boarders of all stripes.

In order to appeal to the segment of people who use a snowboarding helmet, or those who use Skullcandy's line of beanies and hoodies with speaker pouches, Skullcandy needed a set of cans that can accommodate this strange need. The s fit this niche role perfectly, though they do have tradeoffs due to their price: namely audio quality.

The dirty little secret about headphone reviews is that headphones will almost always appeal to somebody no matter what their limitations, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you want a set of headphones that can go to the ends of the earth and be used in the ways outlined above, the s are a great pickup for $50. If not, there are plenty of other options in the world.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging


A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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