When I first received my pair of VAIN STHLM Commute wireless headphones, I was actually more interested in the company rather that the headphones themselves. A brand I never heard of before, based out of Sweden that specializes on headphones peaked my interest, and just from the presentation of the Commute Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, I was prepared for a treat.
VAIN STHLM is a company began as a simple idea from Mathias and Michael, two brothers who grew up in Stockholm that eventually grew up to become respective DJ’s that wanted to take their music to the next level. As an engineer, Michael took what was a passion for him and committed to it, by buying things that would help him further his love for sound which resulting in him created a set of loudspeakers that ended up bringing more life to the dance floor that he felt other brands lacked at. Mathias, the younger of the two created Street Sound Electronics, which originally was just a hobby that resulted in what is now known as VAIN STHLM, the perfect bridge between perfect design, and perfect sound.
The company currently has their Originals, which is their in-ear headphone model, however, I received the Commute, which is their Bluetooth Wireless headphone, and I must say, they look and feel amazing. From the packaging, I was drawn in, a simple setup that showcases the company’s “V” logo, accented with an exotic Rose Gold flair to go with each of the three colorways that are available. I received the Rail Grey version, however, there is a Slate Blue or a Misty Grey available that are just as spectacular.
Here are some of the specs of the Vain STHLM Commute Bluetooth Wireless Headphones:
- Bluetooth 4.1 + aptX
- Built in Microphone with DSP Wind Noise Reduction & Echo Cancellation
- 40 mm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz-20kHz
- Impedance: 32 ?
- Sensitivity 108 dB SPL
- Talk & Music playback 12 hours
- Standby 26 days
- Charging 2 hours
- Li-ion polymer battery 220mAH
- Wireless range 10m (free space)
After unboxing, you’ll notice that you get not only the headphones, but a USB cable for charging, and of course all of the literature that comes with it. There’s an additional audio 3.5mm plug if you decide you want to plug it into your device as well.
The Commute headphones look simply amazing. Featuring a leather stitched headband, not only are the headphones super comfortable to wear, but they are currently the lightest pair of headphones that I’ve tried this year, which is surprising because with its features you’d think that they weigh much more. The ear cups while not memory foam, are just as comfortable. Made out of protein leather, I wouldn’t advise making these your gym headphones at all because I can’t see sweat lasting the test of time on these, but I’ve been very impressed by how much they’ve held up on just a day-to-day commute to and from work.
Each ear cup features the DSP Wind Noise Reduction and Echo Cancellation that the company prides itself on allowing the user to not be bothered with anything going on in the outside world. Don’t let me forget to mention how the little triangles do add a bit of flair to each ear cup as well. On the right ear, you’ll get the volume control and power button which work as they should. USB connectivity is below that with the option to plug in the 3.5mm jack being on the left ear cup.
In terms of audio quality when listening to “All we Need” by Odesza, which seems to be one of the few go-to tracks I choose when testing out speakers and headphones, I get a clarity that I wasn’t truly expecting from a sub-$200 pair of headphones from a company I never heard from, which is pretty neat. Listening in a crowded train car in rush hour traffic, I felt comfortable enough to listen to my tunes without the person next to me being able to hear every word of my songs, and while they are not the most bass-rich headphones I’ve tried, vocals come through clear, instruments are able to be heard without sounding strenuous and since the headphones feature aptX Bluetooth audio technology, I have experienced no shortages or cutouts while listening to CD-like quality tunes. Sure, mp3 is the past, however, The Commutes by Vain STHLM are just constructed great, sound great, and come at a great price.
If there was anything that I would improve on, would be the physical hinge itself. I found that while the Commutes are great, when maneuvers such as walking up an escalator, the ear cups did manage to move a bit. Now, this could be related to my small head of course. Now the ear cups are already pretty tight-fitting and can easily accommodate “most” people, leaving the few of us to just simply go with the smallest setting possible with the tradeoff being it may or may not slightly move on your head, but this is not a big deal at all. They still sound great, look incredible, and you truly cannot go wrong with the price. Speaking of that, they will cost you $173.96 which might be the oddest pricing I’ve seen since writing for Gear Diary, but I’ll take odd over expensive any day. I love mine, and they will be put to great use for a long time. I expect many more great things to come from VAIN STHLM, especially a set of speakers if Mathias and Michael can keep the demand up from the Commute headphones!
For more information about the Commute Bluetooth Wireless Headphones, head over to VAIN STHLM’s site today.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: The rose gold is a great touch, and the simple design makes it elegant; Audio quality is very good as well
What Needs Improvement: Not very bass-heavy