Product Reviews

Urbanears Plattan II

You’ve no doubt seen people wearing the Urbanears Plattan on your commute without ever realizing what they are, and that’s the point. Urbanears’ styling is a mix of modern design with traditional Bauhaus minimalism that doesn’t stand out, but manages to be iconic nonetheless. 

While the original Plattan headphones were just fine, Urbanears wasn’t satisfied with being mediocre. The company took customer feedback to heart and addressed many complaints about comfort, sound quality and isolation. For the most part, Urbanears succeeded, making the Plattan II a worthy sequel to the company’s most popular headphone.  

Urbanears addressed user complaints about discomfort by revisiting the ear pads. The Plattan II feature thicker, comfier ear pads that also isolate better. We had no problem wearing the Plattan II for extended periods of time. Clamping force is just about perfect, though your mileage may vary. 

Externally, the Plattan II look nearly identical to the original Plattan. It’s not until you look closer that you notice the subtle differences in design. Besides the thicker earpads, the Plattan II features more metal accents, namely on the headband and polished rings around each earcup. As with the original, the only branding can be found on a small fabric flap on the right side of the headband. All said, those who hate obnoxious branding will love the look of the Plattan II. 

One of our favorite parts of the Plattan II’s design is the friction size adjustment. Instead of clicky stepped adjustments, you can simply put the headphones on and slide them in place. The headphones are also easily folded up for transport. The headband can also be bent at severe angles but will always pop back into place, which should help them to withstand abuse. 

The Plattan II are wired headphones but with a couple of tricks up its sleeve. The headphones feature a 3.5mm jack on each earcup, meaning you can attach the removable cable to either side, giving users more flexibility.

Having two 3.5mm jacks on the earcups means you can share music with a friend. All you have to do is plug your friend’s wired headphones into the free 3.5mm jack on the Plattan II. If you and your friend have Plattan headphones, you can daisy chain them to share with even more friends. This is a great feature that wireless headphones struggle with, as devices will default to only playing audio through one pair of Bluetooth headphones at a time. 

The one downside is that the Plattan II’s cable features a mic and remote with only one button. This means you can’t change volume via the remote, but that’s probably not a deal breaker for most potential listeners. 

In terms of sound, there’s no getting around the fact that Urbanears has tuned the Plattan II to be bass heavy. However, the bass isn’t so overbearing that it’s difficult to listen to. The added warmth in the low end makes listening to rap, electronic and dance music fun. 

We weren’t impressed with the muddy sound quality of the more expensive Urbanears Zinken headphones, but if the Plattan II are any indication, the company’s other headphones may soon get retuned with better sound.

More critical listeners won’t like the Plattan II for that reason, but they’re not made to please audiophiles, especially at their $50 (£45, about AU$69) price point. For the money, we found the Plattan II’s warm sound signature and slightly muddy bass perfectly acceptable in its class. 

One of the biggest complaints about the original Plattan headphone was its middling sound quality – though, the re-tuned Plattan II fixes this issue. The headphone’s highs are crisp (and a bit lacking resolution). Its bass is fun and impactful, but can be muddy at times. Its soundstage is also quite narrow, but most listeners probably won’t notice nor care. 

Final verdict

While the Plattan II may look nearly identical to the original, subtle tweaks have made the headphone a great value buy at $49, £45 or about AU$70. Not only are they super comfortable, but they can withstand the abuse of your daily commute, too. 

The ability to fold up the headphones into a small package make them easy to transport in your backpack or purse – which we like – and Urbanears’ decision to go with a thicker ear pad means you’ll be able to listen for hours without painful pressure on your head. The thicker pads also increase give the headphones good passive noise isolation for an on-ear headphone. 

The Plattan II’s sound signature is strictly mainstream with a warm bottom-end but that’s not a bad thing. They offer a fun sound signature with impactful bass and sparkling highs, but lack the soundstage width and resolution of more expensive on-ear headphones like the Klipsch Reference On-Ear II. At a quarter of the price, the Urbanears Plattan II are a great value for those looking for a fun sounding pair and stylish pair of headphones that won’t break the bank. 


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