If ‘mass-produced with inexpensive components’ doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in when considering your next set of headphones, then you’ll be pleased to know that you have options. Aëdle’s VK-2 Legacy Dynamic High-Performance On-Ear Headphones are designed and assembled by hand with quality materials in small batches; their look is refined yet striking, but how do they sound?
Aëdle produces two batches of the VK-2 Legacy Dynamic High-Performance On-Ear Headphones per year; each batch is limited to 500 units, and they are all handcrafted in their Parisian workshop, Rue Campagne Première. Aëdle uses CNC precision machined T6063 Aluminium for the body of the headphones; the headband and ear cups are made from lambskin leather sourced from the south of France, and the headphones use Titanium drivers.
Included in the box are the VK-2 Legacy headphones, two detachable magnetic earpads, a 1.2meter plastic wrapped (tangle-free) cable with microphone and remote, a 1.8meter cable, a 6.5mm stereo adapter, an airplane adapter, a microfiber cloth, and a QR code that directs you to the headphones’ user manual.
Presentation in the box is absolutely premium; there are many included accessories so that the headphones can be used with your home stereo, on a plane, with an Android phone, or with an iPhone. The headphones are wired, so if you are using a newer iPhone you’ll have to use the Lightning adapter dongle.
The VK-2 headphones have “Titanium and neodymium high-definition transducers [with] an impedance rating of 32 ohms and sound pressure level of 129 decibels.”
- 40mm dynamic driver made of titanium neodymium
- 32 Ohms DCR
- 129Db sound pressure level
- 20 Hz – 20 kHz frequency range
- <0.5% total harmonic distortion
The ear cups are made of CNC machined aluminum, and they have a lovely spiral pattern cut into the flat exterior. The rod that extends to the headband rotates 90º so that the ear cups can either properly rest on your ear or fold flat for storage.
All of the hand stitching is done either on the edges of the headband or on the interior of the ear pads, so there is nothing that might rub or irritate your head or ears.
The ear pads are made of protein foam that has been covered with lambskin; they are soft and plush to the touch.
Each ear pad is held to the headphones with three magnets; they are easy to remove, but there is no worry of them accidentally coming off.
Each side of the headband can extend about 0.75″ to accommodate a larger head.
The first time I used the headphones, I wore them for a couple of hours and felt like they were a bit tight on my ears. My issue was easily solved, thanks to the adjustable Manganese spring inside the headband.
After flexing the headband a bit, the headphones now fit very comfortably, and I can wear them for hours on end.
These are the two plastic-coated tangle-free cables included. The longer 1.8meter cable doesn’t have any controls on it; the shorter 1.2meter cable has three buttons — volume up, play/pause, and volume down. When using the cable with the controls to listen to Spotify on my laptop, I noticed there was a bit of confusion; if I pressed the play/pause button while listening to Spotify, the song on Spotify would stop. iTunes would open, and pressing the play/pause button again would cause a song in iTunes to start. Pressing the volume up button would make the volume go all the way up, and pressing the volume down button would cause the volume to go all the way down — eventually muting. However, when I used the cable with the controls on my BlackBerry KEYone, everything worked as expected.
TL;DR: use the cable without controls when listening on your laptop, and use the cable with controls when on your phone.
Everything about the Aëdle VK-2 Legacy headphones screams refined quality; they feel exceptionally good in my hand and on my head, and they look amazing.
But how do they sound? Well, the good news is that they sound really, really good — so good that they are my new favorites. I feel like the VK-2 Legacy headphones were tuned just for my ears because whether I am listening to Radiohead, Alt-J, FKA twigs, Fiona Apple, MISSIO, or Sylvan Esso, they sound fabulous. Bass is strong without being overwhelming, midrange is clear, and highs are pure.
I gave some of my favorite songs a listen, and here’s what I discovered: Alt-J’s “Deadcrush“ isn’t unintelligible through the VK-2 headphones like it is on my car stereo — I can actually discern all of the lyrics. I’m laughing as I write this, by the way; I love the song, and I think that Volvo owes Alt-J a thank you. MISSIO’S “Bottom of the Deep Blue Sea” sounds incredibly lush and multi-dimensional; Manchester Orchestra’s “The Moth“, a song which can easily sound bogged down with muddy mid-range sounds clean and multi-layered through the VK-2 Legacy headphones. Phantogram’s “When I’m Small” — even though it was basically recorded to sound like a scratchy record player was playing the song, the sound is so pure and heartbreakingly beautiful when you listen to it through the VK-2. This is the playlist I used heavily while testing the headphones …
I haven’t heard anything yet that didn’t sound better while coming through them.
The Aëdle VK-2 Legacy headphones come with a 2-year limited warranty; if you prefer brown, look for the VK-2 Classic.
If you’ve been looking for a pair of hand-crafted headphones that look extraordinary, sound fabulous, and that comes with all of the accessories you might need for various listening scenarios, you should give the Aëdle VK-2 Legacy Dynamic High-Performance On-Ear Headphones a try.
The Aëdle VK-2 Legacy Dynamic High-Performance On-Ear Headphones retail for $420, and they are available from Waremakers (for $370.50) and other retailers.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Beautiful headphones; Quality materials; Flexible headband spring that can be bent to properly fit your head with no pain from the headphones pinching; Exceptional sound; Multiple included accessories; Aluminum and lambskin; Did I mention that they look and sound amazing?
What Needs Improvement: Wired only, and that will be a problem for some