The $60 Urbanears Plattan Plus headphones are an Apple Store exclusive and appear nearly identical to the original Plattan model, but with an added remote control on the wire and Urbanears' unique ZoundPlug that lets a friend attach another pair of headphones directly to the underside of the right earcup. The four bright color options are embellished with a textured cloth headband, matte earcups, and a braided cord, adding stylish appeal for the young crowd. Unfortunately, the headphones lack clarity in sound and come off muddy in tracks with deep bass, so we couldn't recommend them to hard-core AV geeks looking for the best over-ear cans. On the other hand, if you're simply hunting for an inexpensive pair of headphones to match your bright wardrobe and don't necessarily need top-notch sound quality, the Urbanears Plattan Plus are a worthwhile pick-up.
The coloring doesn't end at the headband and earcups--the textured cloth headband, matte earcups, braided wire, and even the plastic connection hardware and cords all get the monochromatic treatment that gives the headphones a unique aesthetic. If you're not a fan of the four Plattan Plus colors, the regular Plattan headphones come in 14 hues that are sure to satisfy.
The Plattan Plus headphones show no Urbanears branding when they're on your head--the only visible company marks are small nameplates just inside the small rectangular blocks that connect the earpads to the interwoven cloth headband. The design of the Plattan Plus harkens back to vintage supra-aural (on-ear) headphones, with a swiveling wire cage that permits vertical adjustments and also bends to fold into the headband area for organized storage.
The earcups measure 2.5 inches in diameter and are covered in a synthetic leather material that can get hot over long listening periods, so we recommend a short break every 20 minutes or so to alleviate the ear fatigue commonly associated with tight cans that hug your temples.
Perhaps the most forward-looking feature on the Plattan Plus is what Urbanears calls the ZoundPlug, which is basically a stereo audio-out plug built into the bottom of the right earcup so a friend can hear your music on a second set of headphones. Though it seems like a relatively simple addition, we're sure that students and frequent travelers will find the Plattan Plus's ZoundPlug a valuable replacement for the external Y-splitter plug that's too easy to lose in the shuffle of daily transport.
The single-sided cloth cable exits from the left earcup and descends about 45 inches, ending in a straight plug with rubber reinforced lining to prevent degradation over time. The braided cloth cord keeps it from tangling up in a bag, but you can also wrap it around the folded headphone in storage, although we're disappointed that Urbanears doesn't include a carrying case.
The top of the cord also has a microphone module with a three-button remote control on the other side that's comfortable to use and easy to distinguish thanks to the raised middle button used for navigating tracks. The other two buttons control volume up and down.
It's no surprise that brightly colored headphones that cater to a younger audience tend to emphasize the deeper end of the sonic spectrum, and the Urbanears Plattan Plus headphones have no shortage of bass. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of clarity, and you'll notice this deficiency immediately if you're playing a track with a booming drum machine or other synthetic sounds--these tracks are overrun with a muffled quality that you might not enjoy if you're used to the crisp, detailed tones of an audiophile headset like the Grado SR80.
Of course, some people prefer that extra bass push, as we've seen with the popularity of the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones, so some of you might consider that pounding sound a bonus, especially since the Plattan Pluses run loud.
The Urbanears Plattan Plus aren't made for discerning headphone enthusiasts, but rather for the city dweller who wants to express his or her individual style with a brightly colored headband that also happens to play music. We like the ZoundPlug that encourages multiple users to listen simultaneously, and small details like the cloth-protected cord and the useful in-line remote make the Plattan Plattan a nice choice, especially at such a low price.