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Tech Reviews

Reviewed: VAIN STHLM ‘Originals’ Headphones



Looks aren’t everything – or so our mother keeps telling us – but they can certainly take you a long way. With this in mind Swedish headphone manufacturer VAIN STHLM enter the market with a considerable advantage over the vast majority of even their most established competitors; put simply their in-ear offerings look gorgeous.

Oozing Scandinavian cool, they include copper details to reflect the their country of origin’s heritage (Sweden used to be home to one of the world’s largest copper mines) and come in range of on-trend pastel colours. Then there’s the case. Taking inspiration from a traditional snus tin, the carry case looks almost as good as the headphones – if you’re a woman. Now, whilst we adopt a pretty gender neutral stance at DT, we are aware that the not everyone in the world shares our liberal views and for some the case – reminiscent of a make up mirror – might be considered too effeminate by some men. DT being DT, we weren’t bothered and actually found it to be an interesting ice breaker on our daily commute…

Modern and sleek, the headphones themselves are stylish without drawing too much attention. They come with a variety of different size inserts to ensure a good fit and offer a sufficient level of noise reduction, even at low volumes. The colour-coordinated 49″ tangle-resistant fabric cord cable is of good quality and has showed boasting L-shaped rubber for flexibility and a 3.5 mm gold plated plug currently shows no sign of wear and tear despite being used daily use since they arrived at Data Transmission HQ a few months back. If only everything this pretty were this hardy.

Now to the sound. The manufacturer promises to offer listeners “deep heavy bass, excellent treble and a perfectly balanced midrange” and having put these headphones through their paces with a variety of genres – think everything from classical to dubstep – we’re pleased to report that for the most part they make good on their claim. Sure, they could probably do with a little more bass – what in-ears couldn’t? – but their indeed the perfect tool for casual listening whilst say, travelling, in the gym or simply taking a stroll. That’s not to say they’re not good enough to use at home – they are – just that’s when we, as self-confessed audiophiles break out our heavy studio cans.

Designed with phone users in mind, these ‘phones also allow users to easily switch between phone calls and music using the remote control on the microphone. This built-in feature also allows you to turn music off and on, or change songs with the simple push of a button. Ingeniously, the ear pieces also connect together magnetically which enables you to connect them around your neck when not using them and helps prevent tangled cords. Why someone hasn’t introduced this idea earlier we don’t know. It’s so simple yet makes such a big difference to usability.

Overall, the ‘Originals’ present a strong entry for VAIN STHLM. At £62.50 they are competitively priced, with that seemingly being around the average price for headphones of this quality these days. So if you’re looking for beauty and the beats in a pair of in-ears you know where to look, and with the company offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee you’ve got nothing to lose by giving these a whirl. We’re glad we did.

Technical Specifications

Driver: 11 mm dynamic driver
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 16 Ω
Sensitivity: 107dB @ 1 kHz