Skullcandy Venue Review: You Wouldn’t Want to Lose These Headphones, And You Can’t
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The Venue indicates a new direction for the higher-end Skullcandy headphones, and we are impressed.

Think of Skullcandy headphones, and you would probably think about attention seeking designs and colours which to be honest don’t look at all bad, but don’t really appeal to everyone. Off late, the company has toned down some of the visual elements in headphones, and that journey is perhaps complete with the Venue. This headphone, at first glance, looks something that could very well have emerged from the production lines commanded by Bose, Sennheiser, Sony or V-Moda—Good thing too, since it costs Rs18,999 and the same as most of its more established rivals. And that is a huge testament to its very understated yet sophisticated looks. But looks aren’t the only thing that the Skullcandy wants to attract you with. 

We really cannot stop raving on about the fact that the design, the finish and the overall understated sophistication of the Venue is truly a refreshing change. The matte black finish is good to look at, doesn’t get smudged by fingerprints and the persona isn’t spoilt by specs of dust. The Venue are largely unmarked headphones, with no unnecessary shiny inserts on either earpiece. The headband is nicely padded, and so are the earcups. The plastic construction has the advantage of feeling light to wear, but it doesn’t feel flimsy at all. The Venue also doesn’t betray its noise-cancellation capabilities, till you land on the left earcup to find the noise cancellation controls—or see the two “X” on the outside of each earpiece which hosts the microphones. 

Noise cancellation is now a much-wanted feature among headphone buyers. The way Skullcandy have deployed this feature is that you press the ANC button once to activate it, press it a second time to switch on the Monitor Mode (this allows some ambient noise to stream in) and long press to turn ANC off. With the ANC active, the irritating clicking of the keyboard, people chatting around you and even the noisy central air-conditioning units in most offices. That said, it is hard to ignore the faint ‘hiss’ sound when ANC is activated—it isn’t distracting or irritating, but you know it is there. 

In terms of the sound, the Venue ticks off most of the boxes. This is not exactly an affordable headphone, and that is why all the more important for sound to be up there with its competitors. There are two schools of thought when it comes to headphones—one leans more towards neutral sound letting the music playback device take care of the equalization changes for you, and the second one is all about bass heavy sound for up-tempo music. For the most part, this does well with most genres of music, including the vocals which sound crisp and detailed without ever feeling sharp. The soundstage is wide, and fine elements of a music track are reproduced well—this is what defines an expensive headphone, and the Venue is ticking this off easily. Sound is a tad biased towards reproducing punchy lower frequencies, which is great for music genres that rely on bass. That said, the Venue isn’t lacking with other music genres either—but you do notice from time to time that lower frequencies tend to be more powerful than they perhaps might with certain tracks. What we really appreciate is that the mid-range frequencies are not overshadowed or muddled at any time, and the balance is maintained. All in all, Skullcandy have done a good job with the well detailed sound. 

Saving the best for the last. The Venue headphones are hard to misplace though. Skullcandy has integrated within the Venue headphones something known as a Bluetooth tracking technology. A company called Tile makes Bluetooth tracker tags that you can attach to devices and if you misplace them, can get searching for them with the help of the smartphone app. In case of the Venue, this feature is integrated and lets you ping the headphones if you happen to misplace them underneath a pile of stuff or in your backpack—the jingle it plays is loud enough from the headphone and you can find them. 

Would you spend Rs18,999 on a Skullcandy Venue headphone? Competition is tough. There are the neutral sounding Sennheiser headphones, the bass focused Sony headphones and the noise cancellation capabilities that Bose and Marshall do very well with. What the Venue certain is, is that it is a fine headphone. And it is doing a lot of things well. But let us just say that this is the first step in a new journey for Skullcandy, and it is a great start. The sound isn’t for purists, but if your music library is more about up-tempo music genres, this could just be the ticket. 

 
 
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Prashnavali

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