Skullcandy - Skullcandy Venue


Skullcandy Venue, an ambivalent nomad helmet

Aprox. 129€ - see price -

With the Venue, Skullcandy promises a very complete nomadic model, benefiting from true Bluetooth ergonomics and active noise reduction, but also from fast charging or even the location of the headphones thanks to an integrated Tile tag.

Our review


All dressed in black or white, the Venue is an over-ear headset with a fairly minimalist design whose membership of the Skullcandy family is only betrayed by the famous skeletal logo at the front of the headband.

The construction as a whole returns an ambivalent feeling of robustness and fragility. The metal core of the headband, its great flexibility and the lightness of the plastic guarantee good resistance, while the rattling, assembly marks and visible screws give the impression of an unfinished task.

The circumaural memory foam closely encloses the pavilions and creates a narrow cocoon, pleasant for small hearing aids, disturbing for slightly larger models. Despite the fineness of the imitation leather lining, the cranial contact proves to be quite comfortable, even for several hours.

The pressure points are distributed homogeneously at the level of the arch, a little less on the side of the temples - phenomenon accentuated for the large skulls in which the auricles tend to stick in front and to yawn slightly in the back. After 2 or 3 hours of wearing, certain morphologies can be inconvenient, even sore at the level of the anthelix. In short, we have known much worse comfort, but we have also known better.

The Venue is not foldable on itself, but the ear cups rotate flat to make it more compact, in the semi-rigid case provided or occasionally around the neck. Counterintuitively, when the helmet is worn flat, the pads and speakers point outward while the shell of the earpieces rests on the user's collarbones. The opposite would have been more comfortable.

The controls are comprehensive, functional and easily identifiable by touch thanks to the different reliefs. On the left is in the middle and in the hollow, the Bluetooth on / off and pairing button (long press when the headset is off), overhung by 4 LEDs indicating the battery status (simple press on the main button) and the headset mode (Bluetooth / wired / ANC). Below, the letters ANC mark the on / off command for active noise reduction - a short press to switch between noise reduction and listening to the environment, a long press to deactivate the microphones and switch to passive isolation. As often, the other headset accommodates the volume adjustment, the play / pause, the passage to the next / previous track (double / triple press on the central button), the answer / reject of calls and the invocation of the assistant (long press). The multipoint Bluetooth connection is there, making use even more fluid: it is possible to connect simultaneously to two sources (his smartphone and his computer, for example), the last device launching a reading automatically taking the hand (this which also works for calls ).

Thanks to the analog input and the supplied mini-jack cable, the user can prefer the wired connection to Bluetooth, or fall back on it in the event of a breakdown. Note that the active features remain operational, even when the connection is wired. Next to it is the micro-USB charging port, the battery offering the headset 26 hours of autonomy with all options activated, and more than 35 hours only in Bluetooth (without active noise reduction). Note also that 10 minutes of charging guarantees no less than 5 hours of autonomy, a promise that we have verified at 75% of the maximum volume with RBA.

Latency, measured at 200 ms, induces a noticeable lag when watching videos. There is no latency compensation on compatible applications (Netflix, YouTube).

The hands-free kit is surprisingly effective for this type of model: the user's voice seems much less "underwater" than usual, the timbre is better respected, and the words are quite understandable, even in noisy environment.

The integrated Tile tag makes it possible to geolocate the Venue and, when its owner is nearby, to find it thanks to an acute sweep diffused by the loudspeakers of the helmet. Note that the helmet itself does not carry a GPS: its position is saved each time the Tile application is opened, which is why it is recommended to leave it running in the background. Furthermore, if you believe in humans, you can also count on the Tile community: if another user's application passes in front of your lost object, you will be instantly informed of its position.



With or without noise reduction, the Venue benefits from a nice extension in the bass (clearly noticeable from 30 Hz). The rendering with RBA and in passive isolation clearly signs in V. The bass, very round and lacking in control, is quite sluggish (feeling of pressure with certain games / instruments - double bass pizzicato, kick). The low mids benefit from a level capable of offering an appreciable sound immersion, but also suffer from a lack of precision causing a certain confusion, comparable to a slightly muddy side when the mix is particularly active in this region. In general, there is a slight distortion of the mids as well as a "compactness" of the mix (difficulty in discerning the different layers), however the different sound speakers (instruments, noises, voice) remain despite everything very identifiable and differentiable. Voices in particular benefit from a clear presence and good intelligibility. The high mids and highs are highlighted, with a tendency to hissing (in the sense of the sound "ch", not whistling), without going as far as wheezing. The fricatives and the acute percussions come out of the mix ("pssht pssht") without attacking the eardrum. You can for example listen to voice content (radio broadcasts, audio books, etc.) without ever being disturbed by whistling.

The power of the helmet once the RBA is activated or in passive isolation is very good, more than enough for mobile use. Listening to the environment, the level is drastically reduced: at maximum amplification volume and 0 dB FS, the speakers reach 87 dB SPL. Active noise reduction distortion goes up a notch, flirting throughout the spectrum with 0.5% and even climbing to the 1% threshold between 4 and 5 kHz. Note that the harmonic distortion rate is identical in wire.

If in view of the lack of homogeneity of the attenuation throughout the spectrum, the RBA is not here up to that of a PX, it is nonetheless quite efficient on the first part of the spectrum - engine noise, urban hubbub. As can be seen on the curves above, the algorithm chooses to make the voices more perceptible than in passive isolation: the Venue is therefore quite capable of cutting the majority of the deaf noises of a noisy environment, but leaves the surrounding conversations perceptible. Listening to the environment, the quality of which frequently goes hand in hand with that of RBA, is rather discreet but functional: far from the usual acid pitfall, the rendering is natural, airy without being aggressive, fairly realistic at all along the spectrum. Alas, in listening to the outside as in active noise reduction, the Venue has a fault, and not least: it is extremely sensitive to wind noise. The slightest breeze, and the helmet turns into a RATP driver's microphone.



Regarding its promises, Skullcandy makes a flawless one: the use in wireless, the reduction of active noise, the autonomy and the localization of the headphones are all successes, just like the good quality of the kit hands- free, the natural of listening to the environment and the highly practical multipoint connection. On the other hand, notable ergonomic and audible defects considerably tarnish the table, lowering the rating to 3 stars.