Holua2

Wood has been used for centuries in building instruments due to its resonating and acoustic capabilities.  Speakers of all sizes have been made out of wood but never as small as this. The SkullCandy Holua’s are the first pair of earbuds I’ve ever seen that are made almost entirely of wood.  Strikingly beautiful, I could not find out what type of wood these earbuds are made from.  I tried the SkullCandy site and various others but to no avail.  As long as SkullCandy didn’t destroy some ancient civilization to harvest some magical wood to make these earbuds I guess it’s ok.

The pair I received to review seemed unique to just me as they were not pictured anywhere online or on the SkullCandy site or catalog.  That’s the thing, the Holua’s are so nice looking that it’s hard to imagine a machine made them.  They have a very hand made look that screams “I got this at a craft fair!”  That being said, the earbuds themselves are remarkable looking with a nice gold leaf type SkullCandy logo on them, but the cable itself leaves something to be desired.  Definitely flashy and bordering on tawdry, the cord looks like it was conceived on the streets of Tijuana.  It gives off that impression because it never really straightens out and has a sort of trinket like quality that takes away from the awe inspiring achievement of the earbuds.

The packaging is another really nice element to the Holua’s with a SkullCandy etched wooden and plastic box.  It holds the Holua’s decently, but would be more functional if it had a coiling option and was more compartmentalized.  The 3.5mm jack is in accordance with the rest of the design with a shiny gold casing that actually seems a little more quality that the cord.  Aesthetically, the wood aspect is stunning but the other visual aspects bring the total package down a notch.  I think SkullCandy could make the next iteration even better next time around with some more complimentary design choices.  Note:  There are other wood color and cord variations available.

Sound wise, the Holua’s are competent and fair but vary depending on which inserts you end up using.  Included are three rubber sizes and two malleable foam sizes.  I found the two foam sizes to deaden the sound and I didn’t like them.  Switching to the rubber inserts, I settled on the medium sized ones.  They had good bass depth, accurate mid range and fair treble response that was sometimes a little too shrill for my liking.  The inserts fit well and stayed in my ears for the majority of the time, and the cord was a good length to have your MP3 player in your pocket and walking around.

My absolute biggest gripe however, is the fact that the Holua’s have no markings designating left and right speaker!!  Anyone who knows anything about music knows that it is recorded with a stereo field dictating the final sound.  This should be common knowledge!!  Certain cymbols are supposed to crash on the left and the snare can hit somewhere on the right or anywhere in between!  Recorded music is designed and made with this stereo image in mind at all times.  It’s extremely important.  Whew! After all that I still don’t feel much better.

Anyway, I thought it would be the sensible thing to look at the plastic SkullCandy logo piece that separates the cord for each bud and go left and right from there but it was actually the opposite in most occasions.  I don’t have the pan settings memorized for all the music I listen to but I could clearly tell that the obvious way to discern which was left and right was not the right way.  I know that most casual music listeners could be ignorant to how music is recorded and won’t be able tell the difference, but it will be really frustrating for those who do.

I could not tell wether or not the wood had any effect on the overall sound.  Maybe if the inserts were wooden you’d be able to tell.  That would would be crazy if SkullCandy could pull that off!

In the end, I really admire SkullCandy’s unique attempt at bringing the Holua’s to market.  While not perfect, I can see the Holua’s next version gaining some major traction with some design changes and some minor sound tweaking.  And some left and right speaker markings!  While some may see the Holua’s as more of a novelty than a necessity, they are competent sounding and beautifully crafted and will definitely garner some attention from heads at the local skate shop.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous,”hand crafted one of a kind looking”
  • Capable sound
  • Inserts fit well

Cons:

  • Totally weak lack of left and right speaker designations
  • Cord is kinda wack, doesn’t work well with with wooden case
  • Cord doesn’t match quality of earbud

Buy them here for $89.91



Jeff B