Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Style with substance
on 24 September 2012
When I saw that this headphone had been developed in consultation with Jay-Z, I wasn't optimistic about its sound quality - Skullcandy seem to be like Beats, producing headphones with dubious celebrity tie-ins and an inflated price tag. But I decided to give them a try with an open mind - I'm glad I did.
First impressions are good - the packaging is lavish, and the headphones come packed in a leather-look bag with a polishing cloth. The build quality of the phones is adequate rather than great - the overall feel is solid enough, but a bit lightweight in places, and there is a lot of flashy looking chrome trim that I suspect will wear badly. The earpads, while comfortable enough, are imitation leather rather than the real thing, so I suspect sustained listening might get a bit sweaty - that said, I had no problems in my listening sessions.
They are comfortable to wear - not too much pressure on the side of the head, and not too heavy. The cord is detachable - useful if you damage it - and includes a microphone and controls for Apple devices. So - the important bit - how do they sound?
In a nutshell - surprisingly good. The overall sound balance is excellent - there is decent, solid bass, but it doesn't overpower everything else, and the treble is vivid and detailed, but still smooth enough not to be tiring to listen to. In my first listening session, I tried a selection of high bit-rate AAC tracks on an iPod classic, and they never produced anything less than a pleasant, involving sound - from orchestral soundtrack music to progressive rock, they coped well with it all, and had me eagerly trying different tracks to hear how they would sound.
I then compared them against two competing lightweight headphones, being driven by an iPod nano - the Bose over the ear phones, which are slightly cheaper at around £100, and B&W's luxurious P5 at a substantially more expensive £250. The Skullcandys were easily better than the Bose - a much more natural sound, with stronger bass and a less glaring treble. The comparison with the B&Ws was less black and white - both sounded good, but the B&Ws did do a better job of making individual instruments discernible. That said, given the difference in price, you'd hope they would be better - that the Skullcandys largely hold their own against the much more expensive B&Ws is praise indeed.
These headphones aren't cheap, and the build quality does feel perhaps a bit flimsier than I would like for the price, but they are a genuinely good sounding headphone that will make the most of your iPod or iPhone. Recommended.