Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless Headphones

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Product: Sennheiser Urbaite XL Wireless Headphones
Provided By: Sennheiser
Price: ~$299 MSRP at time of publication

Introduction:

Today we are looking at one of the first wireless pair of headphones I've seen from Sennheiser. Sennheiser makes some great wired headphones and I've tried out the wired Urbanite headphones a while back out of a personal curiosity. Today we have the Urbanite XL Wireless and are here to share our thoughts on these over-the-ear headphones that provide you with either a wired or wireless experience.

Urbanite XL Wireless Box

 

The Urbanite XL Wireless has some pretty impressive specifications and while they also feature a folding design, they are strong enough to stand up to daily use and even some abuse. I don't recommend tossing a $300 pair of headphones in the bottom of your suitcase, but I'm sure these will stand up to more bumps, drops and heavy use than many other headphones.

While there are many other Bluetooth headphones on the market for a lot less money these days, you will have to look long and hard to find another pair that is as robust and high quality (both in build and audio) as the Urbanite XL Wireless. With that being said, let's take a look and see what we are up against.

In The Package Bundle

 

First Look:

The Sennheiser Urbanite Wireless XL is a nice addition to the existing Urbanite lineup from Sennheiser. The pre-existing models include the on-ear Urbanite headphones as well as the over-the-ear Urbanite XL. The XL Wireless is pretty much a wireless twin of the Urbanite XL. As far as the headphone speakers go, they are spec'd out the same, but the Urbanite XL Wireless as a dual-microphone array instead of an omni-directional microphone found on the wired version.

Left Side

Left Side

Right Side

Right Side

Inside the XL Wireless of course is a battery and a Bluetooth radio that offers up a few different profiles including: Headset 1.2, Hands-free 1.6, GAVDP, A2DP 1.2 and AVRCP 1.4. These different profiles allow you to use your headset to play/pause music on your device, answer calls, and stream other audio in addition to voice calls. It's a full-featured Bluetooth setup that should operate up to 10M and last 25 hours of continuous operation or 15 days of standby.

Bottom Controls and Ports

The Urbanite XL Wireless are pretty slick overall and are made of high-quality plastics, cloth as well as a fair share of metal on the hinges. As we start taking a more detailed look at the bottom of the headphones, you can see that they house a connector for a cable, the power switch for Bluetooth as well as a MicroUSB port for charging the internal battery. All of the controls, connectors and the switch are located on the right side.

The top of the Urbanite is made of a very rugged and durable cloth with stitching for accent. The underside of the headband feels like a very soft leather, and contains a bit of padding for comfort. This material wraps all the way down to the hinge area where you can see a very large ribbon cable that connects the closed circum-aural headphone to the headband. These are adjustable and extend just below the hinge and work flawless.

Profile Top Bottom Profile

A closer look at the hinge reveals there are a few screws to help keep in in place as well as allow for service. That's right. Sennheiser actually repairs stuff if it breaks - unlike many other companies that throw their products away and just replace them, the Urbanite's are serviceable - should you ever be rough enough to break these very sturdy headphones.

On the next page, we'll take a look at the features and specifications of the Urbanite XL Wireless as we continue on through our review.


Features:

The following information has been pulled from the Sennheiser product page and posted here for your convenience. We have posted some of the information and if you want to get all of the details, please be sure to check out the product page.

All the power, all the music, total freedom
The URBANITE XL WIRELESS headphones add Bluetooth and NFC to the winning URBANITE formula. Set up is effortless thanks to NFC which allows easy Bluetooth pairing to NFC compatible devices. Use of the latest Bluetooth 4.0 standard enables multi-connectivity pairing up to 8 different devices as well as simultaneous connection to 2 devices.
 
Intuitive touch control panel
URBANITE XL WIRELESS includes a state-of-the-art intuitive touch control panel on the headphone: just slide your finger to adjust the volume or tap to control music and calls.
 
Massive bass without compromised clarity
The URBANITE XL WIRELESS is completely dedicated to delivering only the most intense sound pleasure that will reflect the skill of Sennheiser's uncompromising aural expertise. It serves up massive bass, while still ensuring excellent clarity through the entire frequency range, making ears feel like it's their first time with a pair of headphones all over again.
 
Designed with durability in mind
The materials of the URBANITE XL WIRELESS have been selected for lasting passion. The robust quality of its premium stainless steel hinges and aluminum sliders mean they last for years.
 
Always ready to go
With its outstanding flexibility, the URBANITE XL WIRELESS can bend over backwards for you again and again. Its supple, foldable design allows for pleasuring listening and its collapsible sides allow it to cuddle right after in its own special storage pouch.

 

Specifications;

Specs1

Specs2

 

Even though these are Wireless headphones, it is nice to see that they have a wired option as well. Sennheiser doesn't make this feature and afterthought though as the cable included has volume controls as well as play/pause features as well. These features, combined with gold-plated connectors should give you a great listening experience whether or not you're plugged in or enjoying your wireless freedom.

On the next page, we'll take a listen to these plugged into several different audio sources as well as wireless to see how they perform.


Testing:

Let me get this out of the way; I'm not an audiophile. Granted, I love good audio. I do have a pretty good ear and I really enjoy music. With all that being said, I don't believe that there are a lot of objective ways to test headphones. The experience is very personal, very unique and everyone has a different idea of what sounds "good". I generally prefer the overall clean sound of products like the Sennheiser Momentum and Able Planet NC1000's but I’m trying to keep an open mind when it comes to more "bassy" headphones. We'll see how these Urbanite's sound and if they can deliver clear and clean mid-range in addition to the heavier bass.

As the Urbanite XL Wireless, is well, wireless, I listened mostly through my Nexus 6 this time around. I also plugged the headphones into my Xonar U3 as well as the on-board audio of an ASRock X99E-ITXac motherboard. The volume when plugged in seems to be slightly louder than when running wireless, but I can't tell the difference in terms of quality. No matter what device I plugged these into or paired with, the audio quality was really, really good.

As some of you may know that have read a few of my audio reviews, my musical taste is all over the map. I listen to a lot of different music as well as some audio books to find out how these sound. I listened to pretty much everything from 90's alternative to modern pop, country, rock and some hard metal - just to round out the listening experience. While the Momentum M2 provided a super-balanced music experience, the Urbanite XL Wireless is geared for a different audience. These are geared up with a bit more bass for those consumers who would be found listening to a pair of "Beats" headphones. One thing that really impresses me with the Urbanite XL Wireless is that even though the bass is ramped up (which is especially noticeable with hip-hop and modern pop), the midrange and vocals are just as clear and clean as when listening to the Momentum M2.

I hopped into one of my recently favorited albums, "American Beauty/American Psycho" from Fall Out Boy and sat back to enjoy "Immortal". While I stated in a recent review that the M2 headphones provided a "just right bass track" in that particular song, the way the Urbanite XL Wireless reproduces that song - with a little bit more bass, yet all the clarity - makes it just a little better.

I really didn't think I'd like the Urbanite XL Wireless as I really like accurate music reproduction and love high-end headphones that do just that - without the amped up bass, but after spending a month with these, my opinion of them is changing. I do really like the overall experience of audio and how it all sounds.

As far as comfort goes, the Urbanite XL Wireless are not as comfortable to me as the Momentum headphones we looked at a few months ago. These are a little tighter on my head and while the ear cups are large enough not to crush my ears, the material and the extra force they use to keep them in place while you're active, makes for a pair that isn't quite as comfortable as other products from the same company. They are not uncomfortable per-se, they just aren't as comfortable as other headphones I've used. That of course is a personal opinion and represents how they fit my own head.

I've worn these for hours with no ill effects, but I do notice that my head is thankful when I shed these - unlike the Momentum M2's which made my head sad to see them go.

 

Conclusion:

The Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless is an interesting product. While they are not as "accurate" in reproducing the exact audio that is recorded by enhancing the bass, Sennheiser does it in such a way as to preserve the audio quality that we've come to expect from this company. They are a bit more bass-heavy than the Momentum M2 headphones, but the midrange and high notes are equally clear and not smothered or muddied up by the extra boost on the low-end.

The folding mechanism of these headphones is really solid and I can't say enough good things about the overall build quality of the product. The materials, construction, size and overall fit and finish of the Urbanite XL Wireless is great. Even though they pack a bit more electronics inside (including battery), they aren't overly heavy and I had no fatigue from carrying a big chunk of weight on my head.

The battery life, range and wireless quality of these is very good and while you may have to charge them up once a week if you use them heavily, you won't be running to the charger every night. Speaking of chargers, that is another thing that Sennheiser did well; they use a standard MicroUSB cable to charge them up.

I really can't find much wrong with these, although if you're an audio purist, you probably won't like the extra bass that they covertly add into your music. I didn't at first. After listening to them for a week or more as part of the review process, I was a bit disappointed when I used different headphones. The extra thump of the bass is not overpowering, and quickly become an added touch to your favorite music - whatever it is.

 
Pros:
  • High quality construction
  • Great bass without overpowering the rest of the spectrum
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Modern/Urban look and feel
  • Works equally well plugged in as wireless
  • Touch controls on side are nice and intuitive

 

 

Cons:
  • Not as comfortable as other headphones from Sennheiser
  • Not for audio "purists"

 

I'd like to thank Sennheiser for sending over the Urbanite XL Wireless for us to review. If you have any questions, comments or general feedback, please feel free to post in the forum here.