Skullcandy Venue Review

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If you ask me, the Sony 1000XM3 are currently the best ANC headphones on the market right now… but I know some people just cant afford to drop $350 on a pair of headphones. And when Skullcandy first announced their first ANC headphones, the Skullcandy Venue I was really excited cause sub $200 ANC headphones are actually getting pretty good now. But, even though the Skullcandy Venue has a few things going for it… over all, I’m still kind of disappointed in them.

I’ve found that sub $200 ANC headphones can be very hit or miss, and in this case the Skullcandy Venue are a miss. They retail for $180, so the Venue’s would definitely appeal to someone on a tighter budget, but with other better performing options out there in the same price range or even below it… namely the Sony WH-CH700N or the Sennheiser 4.50BTNC, its hard to recommend the Skullcandy Venue. So, if you want to pick up a good pair of sub $200 ANC headphones… I’ll have the Sony’s and Sennheiser’s linked down, and if you use the links it really helps out the channel. And I highly suggest you check them out cause both of those headphones routinely go on sale. And if you want to learn more about either of those headphones then watch their full reviews. 

First lets talk about the accessories cause Skullcandy has always out down them selves in that department. The Venue’s come included with a very nice carrying case, its going to protect whatever is inside like no one’s business and its easily a much nicer case than what comes included with $350 ANC headphones like the Sony 1000XM3, Bose QC35, and Beats Studio 3. The 3.5 millimeter audio cable and micro USB cable are also pretty nice for $180 headphones. But given that its late 2018, I would have preferred if these headphones came included with a USB-C port instead. 

Now lets talk about these headphone’s design, fit and build quality. Right off the bat I can tell you these headphones are not big head approved. In order for me to get a somewhat comfortable fit I actually have to extend the headband basically all the way out, leaving only two extra clicks. And every time I go to put these headphones on Im afraid they’re going to snap cause they creek A LOT compared to the Sony WH-CH700N. 

When you actually put on the Skullcandy Venue’s you’re going to notice that they have a lot of clamping force which do make them pretty uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time… no matter how much I shifted them around I’ve never managed to get a comfortable fit with the venues. Where as both the Sony WH-CH700N and Sennheiser’s have a snug fit, but they are still comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time. But clamping force aside, the shape of the ear cups on the venues are also pretty cramped compared to most other over ear headphones. My medium sized ears just barely manage to fit inside them, but if you have larger ears or ears that stick out a lot, then these are a hard pass. I feel the Venue’s are only going to fit grown adults with smaller heads, or teenagers that still have some growing to do. 

When it comes to the active noise cancellation on these headphones, honestly I’m not impressed… The venues block out less noise than the Wh-CH700N, and they do so more cabin pressure, its not as bad as the JBL E65’s but you’re defiantly going to know when its on. Theres also a good amount of hissing, now the hissing goes away if you’re listening to music… But if you’re listening to a podcast or some videos, you are going to hear some constant hissing in the background when someone is talking.  

And the active noise cancellation on the Skullcandy Venue’s also takes a toll on the sound quality of these headphones.  With ANC turned on, the soundstage on these headphones is a little narrow, but the EQ changes so there’s an emphasis on both the treble and bass. But whats ends up happening is that if the highs really get going then these headphones start to sound very bright. But also if you’re listening to hip hop, rap, or anything with a lot of bass then these headphones are going to bottom out a lot. Way more than what I feel is acceptable these days. But with ANC turned off, the sound stage on these headphones opens up a little bit, but the emphasis on the bass and treble goes away. Now even though there is a lot less crashing in the bass and the highs don’t get as bright with ANC turned off I still cant help but notice instrument separation and clarity on these headphones is over all pretty weak… and they don’t get all that loud. 

So unfortunately, since the Skullcandy Venue’s fall short for me when it comes to Fit, sound quality, and ANC performance I just cant recommend these headphones over other headphones. But like I said at the beginning of this video, the Venues do have a few cool things going for them. First up I think its awesome these headphones have tile integration. Straight from the tile App you can locate your headphones and you can make them play a chirping sound. And for high school or college students, this is an awesome feature to have. Maybe you’re in a hurry to get to your next class and you end up leaving your headphones in the mess hall or library. Or if someone steals your headphones you have to option to track them down. Another cool feature these headphones have over other $200 headphones is their monitoring mode, which is very similar to Sony’s quick attention mode on the 1000XM3. If you’re playing music, and if you press the ANC button the headphones will lower the volume of your music and pump in all of the ambient sound so you can talk to people with out having to take the headphones off. 

And when you press the ANC button again the headphones will go back to normal. I love when headphones have this type of feature, it comes in very handy when you’re traveling or commuting. 

When it comes to battery life, the Venue’s have an advertised battery life of 24 hours with ANC turned on. And even though a 24 hour battery life is pretty average for wireless headphones these days, whats not average is their fast charging. If you charge these headphones for 10 minutes from a dead battery they’re going to get you 5 hours of playback time. Thats the same as the 1000XM3. 

And finally, I cant deny the Skullcandy venue are a good looking pair of headphones. They have a very clean and minimalist design thats going to look good everywhere you wear them. The buttons on the back of either the ear cups are very easy to find and they have a good amount of tactile feedback, and the battery gauge is also a nice touch. I just wish the Plus, Minus, and ANC text were raised to they were easier to tell apart. And I know this is just me, but I just hate that you have to press and hold the plus or minus button to skip or go back a track, its just takes to long. But if you double press the center button you’ll activate your voice assistant

And finally heres the microphone, and long story short I just wouldn’t take phone calls with these headphones. But this audio clip is being recorded with the microphone on the Skullcandy Venue, so you can be the judge of that.

So over all, even though the Skullcandy Venue has a few cool things going for it like tile integration, ambient mode, and some very impressive rapid charging… for me they fall short when it comes to fit, sound quality, and active noise cancelation. And these are the top 3 things to take into consideration when choosing ANC headphones. With the way they fit and sound, I cant help but feel the Skullcandy Venue’s were made for kids. So if you want a good pair of sub $200 ANC headphones, I would recommend the Sony WH-CH700N or the Sennheiser 4.50BTNC’s over the Skullcandy Venue. The Sonys have the better built in tech cause they have a longer battery life, they have an app which allows you to adjust their EQ, their bass is deeper and punchier, and since they’re ear cups are much more spacious they’re more comfortable to wear. But if you want that timeless, minimalist design like the Venue then the Sennheiser’s might be more your style. Those are also a very good pair of sub $200 headphones with some really amazing build quality.