A Durable and "Well Rounded" Ear-Bud

Dec 29, 2010
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Sturdy, good sound, clear at high volume

Cons:Not the first choice for very dynamic or soft music.

The Bottom Line: Fit like a uniform, sound better than the Marine Band, packed with a bunker full of volume, and bulletproof.  Crank them up and head in to battle!

I purchased the "Full Metal Jacket" headphones from Skull Candy in 2010 and have been working them regularly since.  At this point I have taken them fishing, skiing, working out, running, on a trip to Hawaii, and on many trips around the yard with the lawn tractor.  I consider these my "utility" headphones.  I own several pair of high-end headphones which usually stay indoors so it's nice to have a durable, good sounding pair of buds that you know won't let you down.  The Skull Candy FMJ's are the ticket.  
Averaging about $75 at the time I bought them, these middle of the road headphones have some rather high-road qualities.  Firstly I love the overall build. Perhaps it's odd that build should be first when sound is the real measure of a headphones' true grit. However, the fact that I have practically abused them and they are still in rather perfect condition is a huge attribute.  I can't count how many pairs of buds have met the round-file over the years due to poor construction, faulty wiring, or unexplained automatic self destruction...  While the FMJ's seem indestructible, I'm sure they have a weakness but I haven't found it yet.
Sound quality takes a quick second spot behind build when evaluating the FMJs.  The overall sound is solid with the midrange and high-mids being the sweet spot.  With an 11mm driver(upgraded from a 9mm driver in earlier versions) they also have good bass.  I wouldn't say the bass is overly defined but it is not flabby or loose and is certainly respectable for this price range.  The presence is good although if you like to listen to very dynamic music such as chamber quartets or some classical, I might direct you somewhere else.  They loose a bit of separation at low volumes.  The sound stage is what I would describe as "up-close" rather than expansive.  Very good if you like to listen at higher volumes or in a noisy environment.  You can hear everything from backing vocals to lead guitar riffs with almost an equal clarity. 
Noise isolation is better than average for a non-noise canceling headphone.  A selection of both noise-isolating foam and the standard silicon ear pieces was included with them in(a total of 6 pair) S, M & L sizes.  It was easy to find a good fit.

Volume output is substantial from the FMJ's and I would be careful of trying to drown out very noisy environments by cranking it up as I would guess they are very capable of ear-damaging levels.  Certainly not a unique feature to these buds but on the upside they will sustain very high volume without any perceptible distortion which is unique and useful at times.
They are a center drop with both ear piece cords the same length. The cord is quiet, durable, and does not tangle easily.  it is a bit stiffer than others due to the shielded construction(shield wire and core wire rather than side-by-side wires)  The buds are light-weight and look great.  They are very comfortable even for extended periods.  A 24" extension cord was also included which is nice since the primary cord is only about 36" from the junction.  Standard 1/8" straight plug.A good value for a very durable ear-bud style headphone. 

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