Skullcandy makes some incredibly stylish and affordable headphones which are a popular choice amongst students. When I bought my iPod, I immediately grabbed a pair of low-end, in-ear Skullcandy Ink’d buds for $10 to replace the awful Apple headphones — money well spent. More recently, Skullcandy was kind enough to lend us one of their most expensive headphones, the SK Pro, and I’ve been putting them to the test. Coming in with a positive bias, I was quite excited to see how these sound. While they get the job done, there are some things worth mentioning.
The SK-Pro’s are available in two different color schemes. One model is as colorful and prominent as you would expect from Skullcandy: a bold emerald green with white lining. The other model is perfect if extra-flashy designs aren’t for you: a sleek and simple black with bright lime-green highlights. The latter will easily blend into a open office environment. It might be hard to pick your favorite with looks like these, though you can’t really go wrong with either style.
Build Quality ★★★✩✩
The plastic body makes these circumaural headphones look a bit cheap and toy-ish when examined up close. However, with plastic this thick and a build this solid, I bet it could take a beating and still last a few years. Even if I’m wrong, you could throw the SK-Pro’s into a tree mulcher and Skullcandy will still send you a new pair for half the price. The headphones fold up for easy storage and better portability while traveling. This mechanism can also be used as a vertical adjustment, which allows DJ’s to comfortably move one channel out-of-the-way while listening to another. It becomes pretty annoying when holding up your headphones while mixing, therefore the ability to fold up one side is a huge advantage. This feature alone might qualify the SK-Pro for the “DJ headphones” title. The headset also sports a thick spring-coiled wire with a gold-plated 3.5mm plug, plus a push-in adapter for 1/4″ jacks.
People with normal-sized heads say the SK-Pro’s are comfortable. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same since the SK-Pro’s couldn’t adjust laterally for my plus-sized noggin. The extra tightness creates a great seal, but it began to hurt my head after a couple hours of use. I can’t imagine why Skullcandy thought moderately plush foam wrapped in perforated vinyl would be the best choice for a cushion. It’s nowhere near as plush as $150 headphones should be, and induces sweating around your ears after prolonged usage. The tightness and extra sweat are common side effects of closed circumaural headphones, so it’s expected for the SK-Pro. I should note that the SK-Pro’s may look and feel like closed headphones to the listener, but they sound open to everyone else in the room. In other words, people sitting next to you on the bus can hear everything you are listening to. If you are looking for something a little easier on your ears (or your roommate’s ears), I encourage you to read this Consumer Reports article that explains the different types of headphones and decide which one is right for you.
Sound Quality ★★✩✩✩
The large 50mm drivers shake my skull during songs with a thumping bass. That isn’t an attempt at a “skull-candy” pun: these headphones have such a powerful bass driver that if you were to set them on a table while blasting hip-hop or techno, they may literally vibrate off the table. The lows are by far the most prominent characteristic. When the middles and highs aren’t garbled out by the bass, the SK-Pro headphones actually produce a deep, pleasantly bass-heavy sound. I like the sound these cans put out, but I’ve heard better for the $150 price tag. The SK-Pro’s simply don’t deserve the “Pro” title. Vocals and lead instruments compete with the boosted bass line, producing poor articulation. I can see the appeal for DJ’s and casual listeners, but if you are looking for clean sound that isn’t muddled by a pounding bass, look elsewhere.
Skullcandy has a very admirable warranty that covers all of their headphones. Like I said before, you can do anything to these headphones and Skullcandy will still offer a 50% discount on your next pair. If you have a defective pair, they will replace it for you at no charge. You can even swap it for a different color if you want. No receipt is necessary; you only need to fill out a form. While cost may have been negligible for my $10 buds, it’s not going to empty your wallet to replace an expensive model.
The Skullcandy SK-Pro DJ Headphones are fashionable, durable, and come with a fantastic NBD warranty. If you are a casual listener looking for stylish headphones at a moderate price, the SK-Pro’s are a great choice. If you just bought an iPod and want a step up from the unholy stock iPod buds, these cans are huge improvement, though a bit bulky. If you intend to use these headphones during strenuous activity or harsh weather, or you are what Skullcandy calls an “aggressive listener”, the Skullcandy warranty has your back. However, if sound quality is a higher priority for you than style, then check out the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro or the Audio-Technica ATH-PRO5MSA for better articulation in the same price range. You will lose the warranty and the Skullcandy looks, but the difference in quality is well worth it. If you are ready to grab a pair of the SK-Pro, it’s available for $150 from Skullcandy’s website and through other retailers.
Buy: Skullcandy SK Pro DJ Headphones for $150
Links: Skullcandy.com SK Pro Headphones
Hearing those Scottish voices no one else can hear inside your head, is this time a good sign. Incorporating the best possible audio components, all the elements to create the right shivers down your spine, utterly the best for enchanting the sound of urethane on asphalt or just match those who dress to kill.
Reviews of this headphone vary fairly dramatically, so I’ll try to provide some balance to what I’ve read and experienced directly.
COMFORT (3 out of 5): For someone with a smaller head, I suspect these headphones would be comfortable, but for a man, to me it seems a bit snug. Since I’ve only been using them for an hour or so, I’m hoping they’ll loosen up over time. They’re not THAT uncomfortable though, and can be tolerated for at least an hour or more at a stretch. (I have a pair of AKG headphones I can wear all day, and almost have…) In any case, comfort was secondary to sound for me.
OVERALL DESIGN (3 out of 5): If feels rather sturdy, even though it’s entirely made of plastic and vinyl cups, which make them lightweight for the size. The curly cord design is a bonus to me, and brightly colored so you should have anyone snag into them. I bought the black one, because a 54-year old man would look pretty darn stupid wearing the “Hello Kitty” green ones. More padding could have been provided in the earcups or some ventilation, as it gets a bit warm after time. Not a problem in the winter, but summer months might be a bit much.
SOUND (4 out of 5): Regardless of what I’ve read elsewhere online, I think the imaging is fairly crisp, with good tonal balance. Not super-flat frequency response, but then again, for the price you can’t expect miracles. You have to spend $500 or more for (near) perfection. All reviews emphasize the whopping bass. Based on the musical selections I’ve tried, to me, the bass is complete even, especially down in the 20-40Hz range, with a definitely drop-off below 40Hz, but smooth, and you can still hear 20Hz flapping in your ears at about half the volume. Again, not too shabby for the price. Headphones can sound quite different depending on the hardware you attach it to. So, don’t judge the sound using only one device, whether that’s your laptop or a receiver. Mid-range isn’t mindbogglingly “there” but it is clean and pleasant. Highs are good, with only some lack in the mid-high end, but upper end appears quite solid. Overall, I’d say there’s some room for improvement, but still a wonderful musical experience and worth the money.
PRICE (4 out of 5): I have seen prices between $140 and $200, and I was lucky enough to pay $100 at Winners. I think you could find something better in the $150+ category, but even at that price, still not a bad purchase. I’m keeping them, so I’m a satisfied customer at that price. Certainly a better buy for those used to crappy earbuds or low-fi headphones and with a bit smaller head than mine. Maybe women have smaller skulls than the average man, and that might have been their target audience, especially the green phones. In any case, sound is really what matters to me, so until I can afford to buy those $1,000 Sennheiser headphones, these will do nicely.
Sk pros are garbage. Swear to god airplane complimentary headphones are more comfortable… The frequency response is the usual skullcandy 20-20k. Bass is alright, mids and highs suck balls. Save your money, you’ll be glad you did.
I love listening to my lowriders and just got my sk pro’s in the mail today. I have to say that I almost prefer the lowriders. I am not trying to spark argument or anything; but I am just slightly disappointed… I bought them because skullcandy’s cheap headphones are just amazing for their cheap price! The build quality on the sk pro looks very strong. My lowriders look like the would break, but have survived abuse very well. I can only assume the sk pro’s can definitely hold their own, assuming normal care of course.
Giving it more time, it sounds great when watching movies!