I covered the launch of Sennheiser’s URBANITE XL headphones last year. I tested them in the field then, and they sounded good. I’ve now got a pair for testing and review in the quiet comfort of my office, and I’m pleased to hear again the impressive performance of the URBANITE XL under better listening conditions.
Here’s a quick recap on the URBANITE XL. It launched together with the URBANITE in October last year. Both URBANITE headphones are almost the same, with the main difference being that the standard version is an on-ear design, while the XL version is an over-the-ear design. They both come with an inline remote and microphone, and they are available in separate versions for Android and iOS devices. Sennheiser has designed the URBANITE XL to look good, deliver an intense club sound, and functional for an urban lifestyle.
My review unit is an URBANITE XL in black colour, with the Android version of the inline remote and microphone. The URBANITE XLs are also available in Denim, Sand, Nation and Olive colours.
The URBANITE XL have foldable ear cups, which make them a little more portable if you had to carry them around regularly. The stainless steel hinge mechanism looks to be very sturdy and well made. I don’t think you need to worry about the hinge falling apart from frequent folding and unfolding. For that matter, Sennheiser says you can also bend the headband over backwards, and this was demonstrated during the launch event. Of course, I don’t recommend you go about testing that on a regular basis.
Notice the three raised dots above the inside of the left hinge. It makes for an easy way to feel which is the left side of the headphone when you’re trying to put them without looking at them, or when in the dark.
The sliders are made of aluminium, and they are painted to match the colour of the headband. The top of the headband is covered in a kind of canvas fabric, while the underside is covered in a smooth, soft, rubber material.
It’s easy to slide the ear cups into a comfortable position, so easy that you might worry they would easily slip out of position. In my tests, they seem to hold their position reasonably well. I’m not sure what wear and tear will do to them though.
The other parts of the URBANITE XL is mostly made out of plastic. The ear cushions are covered with velvety fabric. It’s not as premium as the material on the Momentum, but they are satisfactorily comfortable.
The inline remote is about 6 inches down from the left ear cup, with the usual 3-button controls you’d expect. The volume controls work with my phone (OnePlus One). There’s supposed to be track forward/backward controls too, but that didn’t work for me. Your mileage may vary with your particular Android device.
Before moving on to the sound, here are some of the notable technical specifications:
- Impedance: 18 ohm
- Frequency response: 16 – 22000 Hz
- SPL: 110 dB @ 1kHz & 1 Vrms
- THD: < 0.5% (1 kHz, 100dB)
- Transducer: Dynamic
- Microphone frequency response: 100 – 10000 Hz
- Microphone pick-up pattern: Omni-directional
- Microphone sensitivity: -44 dB V/Pa
The URBANITE XL is very enjoyable to listen to. The sound is tuned to be consumer friendly, meaning a V-shaped curve that emphasises the bass and trebles.
The bass is strong, punchy, and pretty well articulated. It is not at all boomy, and doesn’t interfere with the music. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver the very lowest frequencies well, though I think this won’t be something particularly missed by casual music listeners. The highs are clear, crystal, and smooth, with no hint of sibilance.
The mids, unfortunately, sounded a little subdued, but they are otherwise smooth and clearly presented. You can’t help but feel the sense of hollowness created by the recessed mids. This characteristics, however, does help create a more open sound for a closed headphones.
The sound stage and imaging is pretty impressive. You can hear the music coming in all directions, and you can sense the immense space.
Overall, the URBANITE XL will deliver the kind of club experience a club-goer desires.
The URBANITE XL retails for S$339. It is available at the Sennheiser Concept Store at Marina Square, and authorised retailers.
The Sennheiser URBANITE XL is a good looking, rugged, over-the-ear closed headphones designed to deliver a club sound experience.
- Looks good, sturdy design
- Enjoyable sound
- Sounds a little artificial