The Urbanears Zinken has just been launched and I am lucky enough to be one of those given the chance to review the product. Urbanears calls the Zinken headphones its most ambitious product yet. Urbanears says that Zinken is a new approach to the concept of headphones. What makes the Zinken a new kind of headphones?
The TurnCable is the novel feature of the Urbanears Zinken, and therefore its main selling feature. The Turncable is Urbanears’ attempt to do away with cable adaptors. If you own headphones with a 3.5mm plug, you would need a 6.3mm adaptor if you want to plug it to a 6.3mm slot. Urbanears just solved this pesky inconvenience with the TurnCable.
The TurnCable has two plugs, one on each end. There’s a 6.3mm plug on one end that connects to DJ mixers and a more common 3.5mm plug that connects to players. The Zinken is therefore ideal for people who use their headphones on 6.3mm sockets. DJs are definitely among these people since mixers have this type of socket but there are other music players, like those huge kickass component players, which also need 6.3mm plugs.
Switching the cable from 3.5mm to 6.3mm is as easy as unplugging the other end which is connected to the socket in one ear cap. The ear caps host the two types of sockets, one a 3.5mm socket where you plug the TurnCable if you want to use the 6.3mm plug, and the other hosts the 6.3mm socket. The fit is quite firm, so the cable doesn’t get removed easily, if ever that’s one of your worries.
If you’re not sold on the TurnCable idea, the Zinken is a very good set of headphones by itself. I myself do not see the need for a 6.3mm plug since I do not have devices with 6.3mm sockets. But I’m still sold on the Zinken.
The design of the Zinken is one of the reasons I like it a lot. It is not revolutionary or futuristic or what have you. It is simple yet elegant, with just the right set of features an audiophile needs. The ear caps are rounded in shape, just the shape I want in headphones. There are some headphones that deviate from the round shape and in terms of aesthetics, I don’t like how the ear caps end up.
The Zinken has a collapsible design which makes it easy to store and transport. It can easily fit in your bag when it is in its collapsed form. It is very sturdy so it can be tossed anywhere without worrying it will be damaged easily. The Zinken’s swivel caps contribute to its strong, durable build. The swivel caps are held by silver-colored metal that feels as strong as it looks. It does not only handle the swivel movement, it also makes the Zinken sturdy and ready for heavy use. The Zinken also has an adjustable headband that allows adjustment for perfect fit.
One of the things I like about the Zinken is the coiled section on the cord. I like this on headphones as they help keep the cable shorter in length but still longer in reach. It also lets me move easily without worrying that the cable will get unplugged tangled. For maximum durability, Urbanears used a Kevlar core on the cord.
One of the most important things to consider when buying a set of headphones is the level of comfort it offers. The Zinken answers this concern definitively. It has to be one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve used in a long while. The ear cushions are made with increased foam density so the comfort level is top notch. You can use the Zinken for hours on end without needing to worry about pain or discomfort. So whether you’re in that long commute or inside your room doing DJ mixing, that Zinken offers real comfort. The headband also has foam cushion, providing added comfort to the user. As if the design is not enough to provide a comfortable experience, Zinken has also been made with materials that don’t absorb sweat or odors. The headphones stay clean and odorless even after long use.
Another feature of the Zinken that’s worth mentioning is what Urbanears calls the ZoundPlug. It is a feature that allows others to listen also to what you are listening to. What they need to do is simply plug into one of the ear caps with their own headphones and start listen to your music.
The Zinken can be used on mobile phones as it features a microphone and remote that’s compatible with iPhone, Blackberry, HTC, Samsung and other handsets. You can therefore use the Zinken to pick up and make calls.
The Zinken is not the best sounding headphones in the world. That honor belongs to the very expensive brands. But the Zinken definitely delivers a very, very good overall performance.
The Urbanears Zinken uses custom-designed 40 mm dual diaphragm drivers. Urbanears claims that it has finely tuned these drivers “in order to provide amazing sound across the entire frequency spectrum, with slight adjustments to the low and high frequencies.” To most of us this sounds like an embellishment or an exaggeration. But having heard the performance of the Zinken headphones first hand, I’d say Urbanears is not kidding when it claimed it has a good product in its hands.
Noise isolation is good on the Zinken. It’s superior to most headphones I’ve used and it’s highly effective in drowning out noise. The increased foam density in the cushion possibly contributes to noise isolation, but it could also be the perfect fit of the headband.
The Zinken is capable of delivering great clarity of details on all frequency levels. The result is a dynamic sound signature with the right amount of warmth. Hat tip to the sound engineers of Urbanears for delivering a good sound signature for the Zinken at this price level.
The best thing I like about the performance of the Zinken is how it handles details in low frequencies. The sound details on bass are almost unreal. It’s boomy, without being muffled or too controlling, and yet it’s also soft and clear. The Zinken is clearly made for DJs but ordinary folks should love it nonetheless. If you get a Zinken , you might never want to take it off.
I will update this post for the price and available colors. Watch out for the Zinken in Urbanears resellers. It should be available very soon. Watch out also for the opening of the Urbanears concept store this July at the Podium.