Focus in on your music with the new Skullcandy Venue (Review)

Skullcandy has spent the last 15 years catering to the younger, fast-paced generation that’s always on the go. But as time goes on and new technologies develop, it was time for Skullcandy to step back just a bit and approach the market with a new outlook. They still want to cater to the “always-on-the-go” generation, but this time around they want to give them an upgraded look and feel.

In previous years, Skullcandy headphones weren’t really known for any type of active noise cancellation (ANC), but it looks like that’s all going to change with the new Skullcandy Venue headphones. The Venue is a brand new over-the-ear Bluetooth headphone with ANC that aims to keep up with the demands of today’s fast-paced movers.

The Venue carries a nice minimalist design. The black version adds a hint of sleekness to the headphone. It is constructed from plastic but surprisingly doesn’t feel cheap and fragile. The headband has some nice flexibility to it and the earcups feel sturdy, well built and offer some nice protection for the electronic components inside. On each side, you’ll find multi-use buttons that allow you to power on your headphones, control your music, activate ANC, and access your smartphone’s assistant. On the Venue you won’t find any large, glaring Skullcandy logos. Instead, you’ll be treated to a small skull about the size of your fingertip carefully placed on the headband. And if you opt to go with the black color, you’ll hardly realize that it’s there.

As far as comfort you won’t see anything special. You’ll get your typical memory foam on the earcups and headband, which does do a great job of providing just enough comfort where you can use your headphones for a few good hours. The earcups do swivel which allows you to lay them flat for easy storage. The physical buttons on the headphone are made out of rubber and have a slight protrusion to them, which makes them easy to locate when you’re using the headphones.

When it comes to sound, the Venue does very well. The lows have a nice punch to them, while the mids and highs come in balanced. At high volumes I did realize some noise distortion, getting that tinging noise in the highs, but it’s nothing too bad to make you worry. Pairing the headphones with an equalizer is when you’ll really get to hear the range of performance the Venue is capable of. Using a bass-heavy profile in an equalizer, you’ll get some very impressive kicks and rumbles from the lows when listening to hip-hop or EDM music. Switch your equalizer to a classical profile and you can really hear the musical layers when listening to movie soundtracks or orchestral music.

The Active Noise Cancellation performs very well on the Venue. Sitting next to TVs, speakers, or being outside, I didn’t really hear any of the noise. One great feature that Skullcandy has incorporated is what they call “Monitor Mode.” It allows you to easily turn off the ANC with just a push of the button. So if someone is talking to you or you’re in an airport or subway and need to hear announcements, you can easily hear the outside noise without taking off your headphones.

The Venue also marks a partnership with Tile, a GPS-enabled tracking device. This allows you to easily find your headphones if you ever misplace them. Using the feature is simple, it will just require you to download the “TIle’ app on your smartphone and pair it with your headphones. I did find the pairing a little bit difficult, as the Tile app had a hard time pairing with the headphone even when it was right next to my smartphone. But once it was paired, it worked like a charm. The headphone would make a loud chiming noise when I activated it on my phone.

Final Reaction

With the Venue, Skullcandy has shown a great step forward in the right direction. They have upgraded the quality of their headphones while staying true to the young on-the-go generation they’ve always catered to. The physical buttons on the headphone take some time getting used to. At first, it’s difficult to figure out which button does what, especially when you need to access them quickly, and the long presses to access some features like skipping tracks could have been thought out a little bit more. At high volumes, you will get some sound leak from the headphones, so people sitting next to you will be able to hear what you’re listening to. The design is nice and sleek but can run a little bit tight for some people. The headband does offer some flexibility, but the headphone can still feel as if it were squeezing your head. Overall the Venue has great sound, an impressive ANC, and packs in some cool features that you don’t often see in headphones with the same price point.

Score: 4/5 Atoms

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