Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Skullcandy - Back in the Game...?

Skullcandy - Back in the Game…?

A Jonathan Black Observation

*Affiliate Disclosure: I only recommend products I would and have used myself. All opinions expressed here are my own. However, this blog may contain affiliate links that - at no cost to you - I may earn a small commission. 

Skullcandy is one of those trendy brands that creates fun products with unique designs to call the eye's attention and can sometimes borderline pop-culture passing fad status with one HUGE exception - they have the goods to back it up.


A quick search of the brand across any retailer pulls up a host of headphones, earbuds, portable battery chargers and the list goes on for somewhat budget-friendly audio sets to suit any style. While a thriving brand in the headset space, they've chosen to focus heavily on Bluetooth consumer gear, shying away from gaming in general since selling their gaming division, Astro in 2017 and handing over a hopeful line to Logitech. 

In fact, you could say Skullcandy seems to have a relationship with gaming more out of convenience than pure drive or direction. They acquired Astro gaming early on in 2011 while looking to expand their product line. Six short lived years later, Logitech, rightly motivated to enter into the gaming market makes a splash in purchasing headset maker Astro Gaming in an $85 million all-cash deal.

Now, Skullcandy is back with the wired SLYR and SLYR Pro headsets, as well as the PLYR wireless model. All three are fairly priced for a mid-tier budget (compared with top performer SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless at $359 or even JBL Quantum One retailing $299.) And all 3 are fashioned in full-flair proudly displaying designs of fashionable, yet not outrageous borders.

I will be honest, as I always am in my reviews, and say that I really had no idea Skullcandy was slated for the release of the SLYR or getting back into gaming headsets either. I was graciously sent a box to test and review from the mad makers themselves and I have to say they read my mind. 

This literally arrived on my doorstep 2 days after I had just slipped past the crowds at my local best buy, avoiding the store security footage that I'm no doubt seen pulling a Hunger Games inspired sprint past impatient techno-nerds clenching to my chest and in my strong arms, clutching hold for life or death battle to get out as quickly as possible with my Limited Special Edition God of War-Ragnarok PS5 console bundle I'd jumped on when it hit Deal of the Day status. 

Yes, regardless of progression in the storylines in my eyes Kratos is and always will be The God of War! And I had to have it. Though truthful as I am, the hubby was more excited on the front for GOW and I was eager to get my DualSense Midnight Black wireless controller clad hands on the insanity that is Ratchet & Clank! 

So, to my surprise these arrived in the nick of time as I was shopping for new headsets. If you know me well you know I'm a home theater junkie that thrives on epic visuals, intense surround sound and ambient light to maximize the experience whether streaming my Spotify playlist, cruising through Google TV or taking on the challenge of a new gaming system. The louder and more intense the better.

However, I'm nocturnal by nature and never sleep so in the spirit of consideration for neighbors - not hubby who's dead to the world at first snore - I needed a headset. And thanks to Skullcandy, I got to test it on the most advanced gaming system available today. So now, THE SLYR.

The design, although it has an all-plastic build to it, has a nice heft in the hands to give you something substantial but lightweight enough for extended play. The interior of the headband is lined with soft silky fabric, (mine serendipitously in a hot pink dramatic overlay-pink my least favorite color on the wheel but who can complain about free.) 

The hinges swivel a full 180 degrees, and the ear cups pivot on cleverly installed ball joints to allow for a truly custom fit no matter how weird your head is shaped with plenty of room for adjustment. 

The fit is almost custom once on and adjusted and thanks to the silky pillows in the puffs of the ears - rightfully labeled with an R & L - it really is a comfy fit. Insanely soft yet firm enough to maintain its shape and support your adjusted position, this headset is made for the avid gamer and can hold up its luxury treatment as long as you can play. They're so comfortable that I'm actually doubling their usage for a working headset in my home office when not plugged into the console. 

The headband itself is somewhat thin and will conform to your shape but it's not uncomfortable and I'm onboard for their logic to keep things light weight. The shells are exactly noise canceling, but you could easily be listening to light music in a public space and not be bothered by the crowd. I've used them in a dozen scenarios where I use headphones and they've easily passed my prerequisites with flying colors, in a few cases outperforming.

Equipped with “Supreme Sound” Skullcandy's in-house signature sound, the dynamic output can just as nicely supply the clarity of notes in a philharmonic orchestra as they can immerse your buds in bloody battle to the death and pick up every faint whisper or cracking blade of grass overturned yards away by an approaching threat. 

A nice mid range sound with crisp treble to elevate footstep noises and make explosions more immersive, however sometimes overpowers the full force epic scores central to any game. While I admit I'm thoroughly impressed with this headset and it's near perfect, I'd have one criticism and that's to say the bass leaves something there to be desired. It's not dull or flat by any means so this is simply personal taste I'm speaking to. Still, if that's the only critique against this set, that's a record even for me. 

The feature I particularly loved and swooned over on unboxing was the fact that the boom mic is easily removable, plugging in or pulling out for quick adapting usage. Another interesting feature is the mic mute LED. This LED is powered by the analog audio signal itself. Normally you’d have to buy a wireless or USB-powered headset to have an active mute LED, so it’s cool to find on a budget friendly wired set.

For a surprise re-entry into the market, Skullcandy landed a hit with this line. The sound is clear and engaging. The set is insanely comfortable for long  with an optional mic that's easy to plug and play. For a set of this quality to sit at its current price point, retailing just $59 for the basic model, it's the perfect pick for easy gifting, an extra add on to your cart when upgrading your gaming goodies or even to add a little extra flair to your day at the office. 

I have to say it. For the sound quality and the price point I definitely have to recommend picking up a pair if you're in the market for a headset with a fun, fresh look and sound! It looks like Skullcandy picked the perfect time for a relaunch into gaming with new consoles slated for release around every corner and with the rising costs surrounding even the most casual play they are very warmly welcomed in my collection. 

As Always…more to come. This has been

A Jonathan Black Observation

#AJBO #BasikBlack #BasikBucks #complimentary #Skullcandygaming #gaming #headsets #tech #testing @Influenster @Skullcandy 

"I received this product for free from Skullcandy & Influencster in exchange for my Honest Review."