In the world of audio devices and accessories, branding can be really powerful. Just look at companies like Skullcandy and Beats; they are often picked on by audiophiles for being overpriced yet they sell like hotcakes because their fancy designs and logo placement attract younger audiences. The Skullcandy Aviator also had the high price fever but has a few differences from much of the other Skullcandy headphones. Basically, it targeted a more general audience but the $149 price tag made it difficult to really recommend considering its weaknesses. But now, the product is more than 3 years old and you should be able to find it in stores for under $100. As a result, the Aviator deserves another look as it has some critical strengths as well.
Design and Comfort
When looking at the black design, the Skullcandy Aviator doesn’t look like your average Skullcandy headphones. The earcups are cleanly designed with the small white Skullcandy logo only found on the connection points connecting the headband and earcups. There are a few minor white accents as well although there is another black style without those accents and a black Skullcandy logo that is even harder to notice. For a more elegant design, you can consider the black chrome design instead. Even designs like the brown/gold have that classy and unique look. Then on the other end of the spectrum are some fun designs like the Paul Frank style, tortoise and even a design with the New York Yankees logo on the earcup.
All of the designs of Aviator have one interesting thing in common and that is the semi-translucent covers found on the back of the earpieces. This lets you or possibly others check out some of the internals like the Mylar drives and 40mm speakers. It is really something that you have to see yourself to like it or not but is unique nevertheless.
The earcups themselves take the classic egg shape approach to focus on comfort. When taking the adjustable rails, pliable leather headband and adequate memory foam padding on the earcups, the Skullcandy Aviator is a pretty comfortable pair of headphones to wear. You can also fold them so they can fit in this rather small zippered pouch that also comes with the package making the Aviator great for taking with you. The use of plastic does give a bit of a cheap feeling to the headphones but at least Skullcandy made more effort in making the 1.3-meter nylon-braided cable feel durable. It is also single-sided so it is less likely to tangle. The only downside is that it is not removable.
The cable of the Skullcandy Aviator features the usual set of volume controls although the special thing is that it supports Mic3, which is basically Apple’s standard that benefits iOS users. It has the essential set of volume controls along with a center button that can play or pause the track. Double-clicking this button will fast forward while triple clicking it rewinds. Because this is a pair of headphones geared for listeners, you won’t find any other features here.
The Aviator is equipped with Mylar drives and neodymium magnets, which sound like a great recipe for solid audio quality. It isn’t the best in the $149 category but it sounds pretty good especially if you listen to rock or country music. Some upbeat tracks sound really nice as well thanks to the good sounding highs and lows. The bass is on the decent side as well and isn’t for the ones that like boomy bass. Skullcandy fancily refers to the bass of the Skullcandy Aviator as “Attacking Bass”.
The Aviator also has better noise cancelling than some of the other similarly priced headphones but the Skullcandy Aviator shouldn’t be the top pick if you are specifically looking for that feature. The seal isn’t very tight so you can still hear ambient noises while getting that sound isolation feel.
With so many factors to consider when buying a pair of headphones, there will always be some things that companies can do to make a pair of headphones better. But with the case of the Skullcandy Aviator, all the product really needed was a price drop. When priced under $100, the audio quality can now exceed expectations. The less sophisticated take on the design also signifies Skullcandy’s intent to reach out to more people. It is good to see Skullcandy consistent too by not making the bass too overpowered and giving importance to other areas like the midrange. While the branding of the Aviator is more subtle, it still has the typical qualities like the fact that this pair of headphones was endorsed by Jay-Z. The full name of this Skullcandy product is the Skullcandy Roc Nation Aviator after all and Roc Nation happens to be Jay-Z’s record label. So in a nutshell, the Skullcandy Aviator keeps its cool while looking sleek, feeling comfortable and sounding just right for a sub-$100 price.