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Valco VMK25

Wireless ANC headphones with powerful sound and feisty style

In a nutshell

The Valco VMK25 are wireless headphones with ANC, Bluetooth 5.1 and aptX HD codec. This foldable model impressed us with extremely fast quick charging, hands-free features, smooth handling and high wearing comfort. In terms of sound, they were particularly convincing at low and medium volumes, providing low basses to fine highs.

Pros:
  • High quality aptX HD codec
  • ANC with hear-through function
  • Deepest basses, differentiated mids and trebles
  • Exemplary handling & high wearing comfort
  • Quick charging function
Cons:
  • Slightly "doshy" sound at medium volumes
  • Slightly compressed sound at high volume
  • (crude humor in the documentation)
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With the Valco VMK25, the Finnish headphone manufacturer is building on the experience of its VMK20 ANC headphones. The new model is supposed to take things up a notch for wireless dynamic over-ear headphones. We took a closer look at these Bluetooth headphones to see who they could be suitable for.

Valco VMK25 package

The Valco VMK25 come in a smart soft case. Inside, the headphones rest securely with a precise fit. A mesh compartment holds all the accessories, which means there is room for the USB-C charging cable and an aeroplane adapter. And even though we are dealing with wireless headphones here, Valco also includes an aux cable with 3.5 mm jack plugs with the VMK25, just to be on the safe side. So, if the worst comes to the worst, these headphones can also be used as purely passive headphones. The package also includes an instruction manual, and I don’t think I would be going too far out on a limb when I say that the coarse Finnish humour that they use in this leaflet might not be everyone’s cup of tea. To get to the useful instructions, you will have to try to fish out some helpful functional descriptions from the sea of bawdy jokes and graphics it contains.

Construction, material and technology of the Valco VMK25

As over-ear headphones for use on the move, the Valco VMK25 have appropriately compact dimensions. The dynamic drivers have a diameter of 45mm and are located in oval ear cups with a closed back. These are covered with black fabric bearing the company logo. This matches the matt black look of the other components. Incidentally, if you want to redesign the headphones, then you can find STL files on the manufacturer’s website, and these can be used to customise the VMK25’s ear cups using a 3D printer.

For the wireless connection, the VMK25 rely on Bluetooth 5.1 and uses aptX HD for audio transmission, in addition to the standard codecs SBC and AAC. This gives this pair of headphones a clear advantage over some older models. The frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz covers the typical range of human hearing. The impedance of 32 ohms also makes them a suitable wired match for smartphones, laptops, etc. These headphones have active noise cancellation with a hear-through function for listening to outside noise. Smart features include connectivity with Siri and Google Home.

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Handling of the Valco VMK25

When unfolded, the Valco VMK25’s ear cup supports gently snap into place in the headband. This locked their position and stabilised the shape of the headphones. This was pleasing. The headband’s ratcheted size adjustment stored the last setting selected. And the ear cup padding truly deserves the name “memory foam”. The foam adapted perfectly to pressure and only returned to its original shape very slowly. Therefore, these headphones gave us nothing to complain about in terms of comfort.

The satin surfaces of the headphones felt velvety soft and were really eye-catching. However, they were also susceptible to fingerprints. For headphones that aim to be used daily in everyday life, this might cause problems in the long run. The position of the info LEDs was a nice technical detail. Unlike most other Bluetooth headphones, they are on the inside of the ear cups rather than the outside. This made using the VMK25 very discreet.

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The built-in microphone allows you to use the headphones hands-free when calling a connected smartphone. To ensure that the voice signal is as intelligible as possible, it is equipped with CVC, which helps to significantly reduce background noise. The VMK25 can be used for up to 45 hours of phone calls. If you are concentrating on listening to music, you can get an impressive 50 hours with ANC switched on. This is especially impressive when you consider that the headphones’ quick-charge function ensures that its 1,050 mAh battery is full again in just two to three hours.

By the way, the pairing of these headphones worked smoothly. It was accompanied by a male voice that is aiming to be slightly humorous. So, at least Valco is being consistent. The functions behind the control buttons were easy to grasp quickly. Overall, we would therefore rate the handling as really good.

The sound of the Valco VMK25

According to the manufacturer, the Valco VMK25’s audio reproduction is said to be “studio neutral”. These headphones have a powerful reproduction, and the bass is full and round. The VMK25 are able to confidently push the low bass parts of hip-hop and R’n’B to your ears. In the midrange, the sound was strongly positioned in the presence range of vocals and speaking voices. This means that concisely mixed voices in pop music might end up being on the verge of piercing. The highs sounded brilliant without being hyped. And last but not least, the super high-frequency range seemed more open than one would expect with a limitation to 20 kHz. Accordingly, the signal resolution of these headphones seemed fine to me without the sound sounding too thin. A neatly set-up stereo impression and an equally solid low end did the rest.

Dynamic impulses from drum beats and the like could be differentiated by these headphones, especially at low and medium volumes. With a conventional Android smartphone, the VMK25 played wonderfully loudly without distorting even slightly. However, I couldn’t shake off the impression that the VMK25 compressed a lot, especially at higher volumes, and that they sounded like proper “cans” even at medium volumes.

The acoustic isolation from the outside and the attenuation of external noise were within the usual range. The active noise cancellation worked impeccably. The kinds of disturbing volume differences that may occur with some competitor models were not audible when the ANC was activated.

A few words about the hear-through mode. It did a much better job than some competing headphones. Here and there, I have heard a much quieter implementation of external noise.

Conclusion

The Valco VMK25 are foldable, circumaural Bluetooth headphones that enable you to use the aptX HD codec for high-quality audio playback. The active noise cancellation, including the hear-through function, worked flawlessly. With subtleties such as an info LED mounted inside(!) the ear cups, they provide some sensible innovations.

In terms of sound, music lovers can expect fine signal resolution, differentiated mids and the deepest low bass from the VMK25. However, particularly with very dense music productions and at high volumes, the sound was noticeably compressed. At medium volumes, the sound seemed ever so slightly “drowsy”.

In terms of handling, these Finnish headphones were exemplary. However, you might find the raunchy humour of the manual and the manufacturer’s website a bit too much. It is both very dark and somewhat below the belt, and rather out there for mainstream taste.

The Valco VMK25 are good everyday headphones in terms of technology, handling, comfort and sound, but they have a few belligerent mannerisms.

6 months ago by Carsten Kaiser
  • Rating: 3.63
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOver-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Impedance32 ohms
  • Weight with cable300 g
  • Weight without cable284 g
  • Cable length140 cm

What's in the box

  • USB-C charging cable
  • Aux cable with mini jack
  • Airplane adapter
  • Soft case

Special features

  • BT codec: SBC, AAC, aptX HD
  • BT version: 5.1

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