Skullcandy’s newest noise-cancelling headphones manage to impress


Skullcandy is a headphone manufacturer that immediately invokes derision from audio snobs. Expectations inevitably sink because a.) it’s a pocket money-friendly brand that targets the lower end of the market, and b.) some of its earlier, cheaper products incorporated designs that were more vulgar than a rack of Ed Hardy t-shirts.

That means they’re often overlooked. Perhaps not for long though, as the Skullcandy Venue is one of the most compelling entry-level noise canceling headphones I’ve ever reviewed.

Sure, in making the £149 ($180 in the US) Venue, Skullcandy did cut a few corners (we’ll get to those later). That said, the Venue impresses in what it manages to incorporate at this price point, with the cans packing long battery life, fast charging, active noise canceling (ANC), and support for Tile’s gadget tracking tech.

Design

As I alluded to earlier, Skullcandy has earned itself a reputation for designs that touch upon the far fringes of taste and sound design. The epitome of this is the horrendously tacky Skullcandy G.I., which included a headband adorned with fake bullets, and even a secret pocket for a bottle opener. This combo earned the G.I. a place on Gizmodo’s list of the ten ugliest headphones ever made.

With the Venue, Skullcandy has embraced a more conservative and conventional design approach, and it’s welcome. These are cans I’d be happy to wear in public.

For better or for worse, Skullcandy has elected to strip the Venue of all branding, save for a tiny (and scarcely visible) logo on the headband. There’s very little that betrays its origins. It’s deliberately anonymous.