Urbanears Pampas :: Headsets don't have to be black

by Volker Weber


Urbanears makes some stylish, inexpensive headsets. So far they have all been on-ear or in-ear. Pampas is is their first over-ear headset and I get to play with it, before it even hits the market.

Urbanears is a Zound Industries brand, the company which also makes Marshall Headphones. Completely different brand, but there are technical similarities.


Pampas is very similar in features to the Marshall Monitor, which I like a lot. Pampas moves to USB-C from the Monitor's MicroUSB, but they both are controlled via a tiny knob. Move it right for the next track, left for the previous track, up and down for volume up and down.

There is a braided USB-A to USB-C cable in the box, but no case, not even a bag. Setup is dead simple. Just press the knob for three seconds to turn it on or off, and keep pressing it longer from the off state to get into pairing. Pampas connects to one device only at a time, and it does not have voice prompts.

The left can has a 3.5mm socket, where you can plug in a second headset if you want to listen with a friend. Urbanears calls it Zoundplug and it is available on all their headsets. Their is no audio cable in the box and the user guide does not mention it, but you can plug a cable into the Zoundplug and an airline seat or a computer to use Pampas as a corded headset. I tried that with the a provided with an older Urbanears headset and the Marshall Monitor cable. Of course it worked, since this is just another incarnation of the same technology.


Pampas folds, but since it is rather large, only one side at a time. You cannot fold both cans inward at the same time. Although it is large, it does not feel as comically large as the Surface Headphones, probably because the cans are not round but oval.


The headset is firm. I cannot remove it with head-banging. At the same time it also is quite bendy, so it adjusts to large heads, even to the box it came in.

Pampas should have been out two weeks ago for 149 € list, which is reasonable but not cheap. Street prices will be lower in no time. Almond Beige, Field Green and Charcoal Black are the color choices and I will let you know when it hits the market.


Reading the text above, I have to say that I am eager to see you doing the head-banging test.

Dominique Roller, 2019-04-29

Does it have any kind of ANC, too?
Comfortable to wear?

Johannes Koch, 2019-04-29

Passive NC only. But it's a closed over-ear. Like the Monitor, you don't hear much else when the music is playing. I find it comfortable but my shoes might not fit your feet.

Volker Weber, 2019-04-29

Interesting. Thanks.

Johannes Koch, 2019-04-29

I have my problems with active noise cancellation, did you try these on a flight yet? Or any other ideas for good in-flight passive cancelling headphones?

Johannes Neubrecht, 2019-04-29

No, and I don't have to. It's quite easy to simulate. What kind of problems do you have with ANC on flights? It is well suited for this kind of noise.

Volker Weber, 2019-04-30

I tend to get “seasick” from ANC (Bose QC35s), that’s why I prefer passive cancellation.

Johannes Neubrecht, 2019-04-30

That effect is called "cabin pressure" or "eardrum suck". Here is an interesting reading: https://www.soundstagesolo.com/index.php/features/178-eardrum-suck-the-mystery-solved

The interesting take-away is that this happens exactly because the ANC on these headphones works so well against cabin noise at 100 to 300 Hz. The first thing I would do is to reduce the amount of ANC in your Bose QC35s. You need to install the Bose app to do that. See if that works for you.

The only other way to block out low frequencies is to use ear-canal-headphones or ear-plugs. Passive NC from over-ears blocks out higher frequencies.

Volker Weber, 2019-04-30

I think I posted that link to Kaizala. I got rid of the Qc35s because of that effect and now I'm not sure and can't replicate whether what I had was getting seasick because of the ANC or if that is the eardrum suck. Because I can't remember feeling annoyed by the "suck" of the headphones. Which blocking earplugs do you recommend?

Johannes Neubrecht, 2019-04-30

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