The idea for Skullcandy was born in 2003 when the company’s founder, Rick Alden, was chilling on a chairlift and found it unacceptable that he had to unplug his headphones from an MP3 player and plug them into his phone to answer a call. Too many steps. Too unwieldy. Beyond that, his headphones didn’t look appealing either: just the same old drab, single-function earphones everyone else was using. It was an opportunity to do something more exciting. And, to paraphrase: when opportunity called, Alden developed a headphone that could answer it.
Next came audio enabled helmets, then earbuds, then more and more, all snowballing into what has come to be perhaps the most vibrant active audio brand around — you’ve seen the colors; you’ve admired the logo. Along with keeping their brand fresh with a full range of wired products and a plentiful selection of wireless offerings too, the Park City-based company continues to gain ground in the audio gear space. Their latest is a line of wireless speakers that’s at once both rugged and refined.
The Barricade speakers are sleek and stylish enough to use in your living room and capable enough to take water skiing. Three flavors — the Barricade, XL and Mini — round out the series, each with a specific personality. The Mini and its six-hour battery are water-resistant. The second Barricade is impact resistant, waterproof up to to three feet, has an eight-hour battery life and can charge other, external devices. Top of the line XL models build on the middle speaker’s stats with two extra hours of battery life and the ability to daisy chain multiple speakers together for a true concert experience. The larger two models both float, and all three are engineered, designed and tuned for an optimal audio experience and to survive everything you subject them to.
All of that — ruggedness, go-anywhere-ness, style, capable performance — fits the Skullcandy philosophy perfectly. Their products are character driven, made to perform in harsh conditions but also add a dose of tech style to your place so you can enjoy great music in any situation. The brand’s axis is smack in the middle of the point at which “sports, music, creative culture and technology” meet, and they operate with that mindset — active, smart and stylish.
Just as much as they make audio gear that will match you run for run down a mountain, the challenge here is that you might rise to the occasion and be as tough high tech and high quality as the headphones and speakers Skullcandy makes.