Personal sound systems—headphones and earphones—have become so popular these days that it seems almost everywhere you go, you see people of all ages tuned into what they want to hear and tuned out of the world around them. And when they are not on people’s heads, they are around their necks quite literally. This is also attributed to the fact that mobile phone sales are skyrocketing and right alongwith it there is an increasing demand for good portable headsets as well. No wonder, headphone makers are scurrying to respond and consumer choice for portable headsets is getting better by the day. Recently, I received Sennheiser’s new on-ear headphones, called Urbanite, for a product review. It retails for Rs 15,990. I have been using them for almost a month now and here are my takeaways.
Personally speaking, on-ear headphones don’t sound as good as over-ear headphones. Because they can’t form a seal over your ears and all sorts of outside noise tends to sneak inside and disturb your music listening experience. However, over-the-ears’ biggest drawback is size; they are larger than on-ear headphones. I like the larger soundstage over-the-ear headphones produce, but some listeners prefer the more immediate sound of on-ears. Therefore, I recommend over-the-ears for sound quality and comfort, but over-the-ears are less portable. Besides, on-ears are easy to carry.
I am a proud owner of the Momentum headphones; these were Sennheiser’s bold attempts to shed its tag of making boring black headphones in favour of more stylish headphones which will appeal to the audiences of today. The new Urbanite headphones take a more utilitarian approach with a foldable headband and sharper design. Basically the Urbanite on-ear take the lifestyle
angle the company started playing within the great Momentum and Momentum on-ear headphones and move it a step further. However, one thing that’s the same is Sennheiser’s commitment to good audio and comfort, which the
Urbanites more than deliver.
The Urbanite headphones do a good job at keeping outside noises from getting in, largely assisted by the comfortable ear cups. These on-ears aren’t just style-infused, they are—as the name suggests—positively urban. The outer part of the headband is denim fabric covered, and while there’s plenty of plastic going on, there’s little of the telltale creaking when you twist them.
Like many portable headphones, the Sennheiser Urbanite fold up to become as small as possible. The pads are pretty soft and comfortable on the ears. The headphones are easy to wear, even for those who use glasses in everyday life. They also use a removable cable, which is pretty thick and flat and is therefore tangle-resistant.
In terms of the sound, the Urbanite delivers a high-quality sound with substantial bass response that is strong and well-defined to suit the target audience’s sound preference. The entire sound emitted is quite warm and thick, clearly aiming to sound rich and full rather than razor sharp. Whether you are listening to something bouncy or more laidback, the performance is great with a lot of clarity. The sound is clear, and there’s a decent amount of detail on hand. Sound isolation has been much improved in these headphones too and as such, they are better for the commute.
Headphones have become more flamboyant in recent years. These days it’s not just about the sound, but also the looks. Take my word, the Sennheiser Urbanite are clear-sounding headphones with a stylish design and solid build. Highly recommended.