Urbanears Pampas headphones review: Minimalistic design meets solid sound

Audio / Audio Hardware Reviews / Reviews

The Urbanears Pampas headphones are the company’s first effort in the over-ear headphone department.

9.3/10 rating

Here we go with more headphone reviews. Sometimes I wonder if I should make a separate website dedicated to audio products, but I digress. This time around we have the Urbanears Pampas over-ear headphones. This Swedish company has been around since 2009 and is popular due to its minimalistic designs and decently priced audio gear.

The Urbanears Pampas headphones are the company’s first effort in the over-ear headphone department. They announced this first effort back in May, and we’ve been using them since late June. Read on for the full review of the Urbanears Pampas over-ear headphones.

Specifications

The Urbanears Pampas over-ear headphones have the following features and specifications:

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Transducer
  • Driver Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz~20 000Hz
  • Battery Life: 30+ hours
  • Weight: 260 grams

What’s In The Box

  • Urbanears Pampas
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Users guide and documentation

Design

So first let me say, I am a fan of the Swedish design language. I personally drive a Saab 9-3 ARC and absolutely love it. I’m also a fan of many of the products IKEA has to offer. So it was only natural that I would like the Urbanears Pampas design.

Simple. This is the best way to describe these headphones. Our review unit came in black and there is only a small tag on the headband indicating they are made by Urbanears. The entire design lacks the flair other headphone companies tend to include. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a great thing.

The clean minimalistic design just blends in, giving no one any reason to pay attention to you. The build quality is actually really great. Even with mostly all plastics being used here, the materials are of high-quality.

The minimalistic design extends into the functionality of the Urbanears Pampas. There are only two ports, one on the left ear-cup which they call the Zound plug. The Zound plug can be used to connect a second pair of wired headphones to Pampas, allowing others to share the audio single. The right ear-cup simply has the USB-C port for charging.

Urbanears Pampas headphones audio
The Control Knob and USB-C charging

There are also microphones on the right ear-cup for taking phone calls. The only other control on the Urbanears Pampas is the Control Knob. We’ll go over that more in the ease of use section.

Other materials used are some mesh fabrics and synthetic leather and foam materials. One thing I noticed, the folding ear-cup mechanism doesn’t lock. Instead, it sort of leaves the ear-cup to flop in and out at will. I’m not a fan of that. Also, there is no carrying pouch or case included, something headphones of this price should have.

Overall, the design is exactly what you’d expect from a Swedish brand, clean and minimal. This type of design is probably not everyone’s cup of tea but I really liked it.

Urbanears Pampas headphones audio
The Zound port

Ease of Use

The Urbanears Pampas are super easy to use. The most difficult part of these headphones is probably the Control Knob, which still isn’t hard to use. Here is the breakdown of the Control Knob features:

  • On/Off: Press and hold for 3-seconds
  • Bluetooth pairing: Press and hold (when headphones are off) for 5-seconds
  • Play/Pause: Click once
  • Track forward: Push Control Knob to the right
  • Track reverse: Push Control Knob to the left
  • Fast Forward: Push to the right and hold (this did not work while streaming on an Android device)
  • Rewind: Push to the left and hold (this did not work while streaming on an Android device)
  • Increase volume: Push Control Knob upwards
  • Decrease volume: Push Control Knob downwards
  • Handle Calls:
    • Click once to answer or hang up
    • Double click to reject an incoming call
  • Activate Siri: Double-click (did not work with Google Assistant)

Once you’re paired up, these are very simple to use and that’s exactly how Urbanears likes it. Overall, the Urbanears Pampas are super simple to use and operate.

Clean look and design

Sound

My initial impressions of the Urbanears Pampas soundstage was that it had a flat sound signature. After some weeks of use, I found they settled into a slightly more bass-centric soundstage.

The bass isn’t overbearing, as a matter of fact, it falls in pretty close to what I prefer. The bass frequency is tweaked to hold up the rest of the frequencies a bit more. It doesn’t overpower the mids and highs but, instead, it keeps them elevated.

Vocals come through nicely here and you can also hear guitars, keys, and cymbals with clean crispness. I would say that most people will find this soundstage acceptable and enjoyable. If you like heavy bass then these aren’t for you, unless you use an EQ to tweak those frequencies.

Overall, the sound is pretty great here. Yes, the bass is a bit stronger but not where it is destroying the rest of the frequencies. Urbanears did a good job of controlling the bass while beefing up the bottom end.

Urbanears Pampas headphones audio
Comfy

Reception/Call Quality

Bluetooth reception is standard and holds well. Call quality is also good, pretty standard stuff. Overall, no complaints here.

Battery Life

The Urbanears Pampas have some amazing battery life. Urbanears claims 30+ hours. I’ve stopped doing stress test battery tests on my headphone reviews. Instead, I just use them until they die. I was able to get a few weeks of use out of these with an average use per day of 2-hours. So I think we got pretty close to 30-hours, give or take.

Remember, battery life is going to vary with volume levels and distance from the Bluetooth source. Overall, I think these performed really well in the battery department.

Price/Value

The Urbanears Pampas are interesting when it comes to price. They’re not the most expensive headphones out there but also not the cheapest. There are higher priced headphones that perform about the same and some slightly cheaper that also perform about the same.

I think the price of US$149.99 is fair for these. Some of that price you pay is for the design. I think there’s plenty of value in the Urbanears Pampas.

Wrap Up

The Urbanears Pampas are a solid first effort for the company in the over-ear market. The design is simply amazing. They are comfortable. They’re well-built. They sound good, with a slight leaning to the bass side. They’re priced fairly. They do lack a few things, namely a pouch or carrying case, but also the ear cups are floppy when they are off your head. I wish the ear cups would lock for storage. Still, the good outweighs the bad. I think these are a great choice for many users looking for over-ear headphones.

*We received a sample of the Urbanears Pampas headphones for the purposes of this review.

Urbanears Pampas

US$149.99
9.3

Design

10.0/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Sound

9.0/10

Reception/Call Quality

9.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Just a nice simple design, the lack of flair makes them all the more appealing
  • Very easy to use and setup
  • They sound great, they lean a bit more to the bass side but not really bad
  • BT reception is good and call quality is good
  • Excellent battery life
  • Price is good at US$149

Needs work

  • I don't like that the ear cups don't lock in place when folded
  • No carrying pouch or case included
  • No AUX cable included
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