For anyone looking for a comfortable and good looking pair of over the ear headphones the new Crown series by Plugged deserves your attention. For $99.99 the Crown headphones hold their own against the competition, delivering a solid performance for the price while looking great in the process.
My favorite aspect of the Crowns is the simplistic design. Unlike so many others in the field the Crown headphones stand out by not standing out. While the rest of the pack relies on flashy design and colors to draw your attention, Plugged has taken a more simple approach. Our sample unit featured a plain black on black color pallet with gold metal accents, but you also have the choice of white on white with rose gold metal. The gold metal accents are very subtle and act nicely to highlight the overall cleanliness of the design. Two choices, equally simple and clean.
The Crown headphones aren’t all about style, comfort hasn’t been sacrificed for the sake of looking good. The plush over the ear cups fit comfortable around your ears with 45mm drivers behind each cup, while the padded headband fits with enough pressure to provide support without irritating the top of your head after long duration of wear.
However, the most unique feature of the Crown’s design is also its most practical. Plugged has designed the Crown series to give the user the choice as to which ear the cable connects to. While this may sound trivial to some, it actually serves the user exceptionally well. You likely would never notice how convenient it is to choose the side the cable falls on until you actually have the ability. From which pocket you keep your iPod in, to which side your computer sits at your desk, you have always had the headphone jack location on your headphones dictated for you. With the Crown’s ambidextrous design you don’t have to deal with a wire crossing your lap at your desk, or going across your body from left ear to right pocket. You can simple switch to whichever side makes the most sense at the time. This was really the biggest draw for me, it is a small feature but it means so much. While they aren’t the first to have done this, they are one of the first to bring it to consumer level headphones, and the effort is appreciated.
In the spirit of inclusion (and not alienating half the world) both iPhone and Android cables are included with every pair of Crowns. So regardless of your phone preference the inline remote retains full functionality. Many comparable headphones only ship with one of the two cables, so you have to keep a sharper eye on the packaging to make sure you get the proper version. Another small touch by Plugged that really makes a difference.
The Crown headphones are definitely designed for normal listening levels, so if you are the type who likes to turn the volume way up and drown out the music with the bass these aren’t for you. The Crowns are solid mid level performers that do an excellent job under normal listening conditions, but distortion starts to come up quickly at higher volumes. This is par for the course with headphones of this price range so that isn’t a knock against them, but we would have been happy to see them break away from the pack on this.
The overall sound comes off very balanced, they aren’t over-weighted with bass and treble like so many others. While bass and treble heavy headphones seems to be popular today (looking at you BEATS), we really appreciate the balanced listening experience. The music comes off as clean as the Crowns physical design.
For $99, the Plugged Crown headphones certainly hold their own against the field. We especially appreciated the simple design and reversible cable positions. The sound is on par for the price, and while we would have liked to have had our expectations exceeded, the Crown headphones still met them with ease.