Having admired Urbanears from afar, on the shelves of local retailers, I was blown away when I finally got my hands on a pair of the new Zinken over-the-ear headphones. Urbanears is clearly a company priding itself by paying attention to the little things and even places a 63 page booklet in their headphones’ box to prove it.

As a reviewer, I come across a lot of products for iOS devices on a regular basis and I can count, on one hand, how many times I have been impressed with product packaging (excluding actual Apple products). I must say, when it comes to accessories, often, a book should be judged by its cover and Urbanears spares no expense. Let’s open the box on this pair of Zinkens my friends at Urbanears sent over and you too have a chance to grab a pair of your own…

Designs, and ZoundPlugs, and TurnCables, oh my!

Let’s get serious. Packaging makes a huge difference in presentation, but most importantly, it tells me how seriously a company takes its products. Opening the Zinken box and slowly unveiling the headphones was just as fun as slipping them on my ears the first time. Even the included book, binding and all, is vibrant and interesting, great images of all product lines are included with a playful splash of color.

Urbanears boasts the Zinken is a full size on-ear monitor, designed both for the serious at-home amateur or the professional DJ. The ear cups provide a noise isolated environment next to the ear through which vibrant, rich music is pumped. The collapsable design is appreciated due to the size of the headphones, making them easy to throw in a bag or case, but the actual headband is not flexible. Once on, they are immediately comfortable, but after extended use, I started to notice some ear ache at hour 2 or so. The cushioned ear cups greatly improve wearability and help provide the isolated chamber for your tunes. The hardware as a whole seems extremely durable and ‘solid,’ as if the Zinken could take a beating on a nightly clubbing tour in your DJ bag.

With the professional or serious music fan at heart, Urbanears designed the ZoundPlug system which places a 6.3mm jack on the left ear and 3.5mm jack on the right… but, why? The included straight and coiled cable is also another small detail not overlooked. The included TurnCable is 6.3mm on one end and 3.5mm at the other. Matching the TurnCable and ZoundPlug system allows the user to plug into something as small as an iPod Nano or as large as a professional sound board or mixing table. Like a cheap car salesman, “But wait! That’s not all you get.” The ZoundPlug system pushes audio both directions, which means your friend can plug their headphones into the 3.5mm jack and listen to your music simultaneously. Yep. Details.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnuhIACylBE

Sound

Zinken uses 40MM handmade dual diaphragm drives to provide a frequency response between 20Hz and 20KHz. The impedance is 85 Ohms with a sensitivity of 98dB. These tech specs combine to provide a rich full sounding ear monitor that is perfect for casual listening or in front of your turntable. From a rounded listening schedule from hip-pop, to classical, and electronic, the Zinken took all genres in stride.

Hip-pop / Rap: Running through Chris Brown, Ginuwine, Usher, and Wiz, the low range deep hits on the bass felt full and whole. The punch is definitely there if you crank it up a bit and vocal range is not distorted by the heavy bass of the track.

Rock: Taking it back to American classic rock with Supertramp, The Eagles and some 1980’s rock with Autograph, the guitar is strong and mids are clearly defined and rich. Actually, the headphones made me wish I had clearer recordings of some of my music because I could tell there was room for growth on my tracks. It was almost as if the headphones could have done better had some of my tracks been crisper recordings or higher kbps.

Electronic: A dub-step fan and aspiring electronic bandwagoner with Skrillex and Passion Pit, I am happy to report Zinken produced the desired effect with the heavy handed bass blaring the boom of Monsters And Sprites plus, floated like Moths Wings.

Conclusion

Overall, I would say these over-the-ear monitors drive music the same way a pair of quality earbuds get music straight to your ears. Sometimes headphones do not provide that straight through sound, instead offering a tin can feeling to the music as the drivers fail to produce enough sound to fill the space between the ear cups and the ear drum. The Urbanears Zinken certainly fill the gap and offer an affordable price tag of $99 for the quality. I am disappointed they do not come with a travel case, but would rather keep the price low and the sound quality high without compromising one-or-the-other for a case.

The quality and price line up nicely enough for me to recommend them to friends who are casual listeners looking for some extra oomph or even to a professional music entrepreneur looking for a set of road warriors. They come in a wide variety of colors and styles which vary by season and you would be happy if you nab a pair for the upcoming holiday season. Oh and one last thing, stop trying to compare everything to other branded headphones. Just because they have a “B” logo on the side, doesn’t mean they are the cream of the crop.

Pros:

  • Affordable for the quality
  • Mic and one button control for answering calls
  • Reversible coiled cable
  • Share music with your neighbor using headphone jack
  • Noise isolation
  • Swiveling ear cups

Cons:

  • Hurt your ears after extended play
  • Do not fully collapse
  • No carrying case provided
  • Cannot change the song from the earphone cord

Giveaway

What do you have to do to win?

Yeah, that’s right. We have teamed up with Urbanears to make sure one of our readers gets to experience the excitement! One lucky winner who follows the next steps will be chosen to win a pair of Zinkens of their choice:

Thanks again to Urbanears for the chance to draw a winner from our readers! The winner will be contacted via Twitter DM by week’s end.

And the winner is…

And the winner of our giveaway is @DJZiller. Thanks to everyone for participating, and thank you to Urbanears for making this giveaway possible. Don’t go anywhere as we already have more giveaways lined up.