New Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless: First Impressions and Discussion Thread.
Jan 14, 2015 at 4:42 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 59

Giogio

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Hello everybody!
 
So, I have got them today.
And although it is too early to make a real review and add them to my "Huge Comparison" thread, I wanted to give some first impressions :)
 
So. The build is first class. Really high value. Solid, and attractive.
 
They are very comfortable, although people with big ears would probably find their 5cm diameter round pads somehow small for an Around the Ear.
Not very light with 300grams (only 50 less than the heavy UE9000) but somehow they do not feel so heavy at all.
The fit is a bit loose (no vigorous shaking head possible). This also causes a little leak of sound when I turn my head very much (like the Exorcist movie) or when I eat or drink or chew, because the speakers move. On heavy bass tracks this is noticeable with a change of pitch of the bass. Which I personally find funny, I can interact with the music and do like a cutoff while I chew :D
Anyway by setting the cups at a right position and place the headband a bit towards, I was able to almost completely eliminate this leak.
Maybe people with a bigger head would not have this problem.
 
The sound is absolutely excellent, very detailed, clean, precise, dynamic, fast, with a very good performance in all frequencies, and predictably a dominant bass, being advertised as "club sound".
The soundstage is quite good but not excellent. The Plantronics Backbeat Pro win here.
Without EQ they sound already pretty damn good. But I felt like EQing them, mostly because of slightly dull upper-bass and low-mids.
They respond quite good to the EQ.
I tested them immediately with Dubstep and Techno, to see how good is their Bass.
Well, I am not so impressed, but not because the bass is not good. The bass is actually very good. But I have at home the 2 best bass performing BT Headphones, FidelioM2BT and UE9000, which do not leave much margin to surprises, even if I hoped otherwise.
The detail and precision of the bass is for sure better in the Sennheiser, but for example the Sub-Bass is better in Fidelio and UE, fatter, with more rumble.
The Sennheiser have maybe a bit more Punch or at least a more clean one, which I liked in some Techno tracks.
Their bass is faster and dryer.
 
The mids are very good too, which surprised me pleasantly, as the MM400-X and MM550-X sounded terribly cold to me.
These Urbanite sound quite warm.
 
Highs are not at the level of the Plantronics but are very good and, once again, clean and detailed.
 
Tested with other musical genres, and they always perform very good. Even with Classical Music, where and I can appreciate their soundstage and detail and their clean bass.
 
They have very cool touch controls. Have to get used to them though.
Something which I did not know is that they have Voice Prompts, which I always find a nice thing.
The Multipoint works better than in all other three Multipoint Headphones I have tested (Plantronics, Fidelio, and Bose Soundlink On Ear). In all these devices the music on the PC is correctly paused when you receive a call on your phone, but you still have to close the music player of your PC or the call is disturbed. In the Sennheiser this does not happen.
 
Only negative note: the range is not very good. I mean, it is in the lower half of the standard Class 2 range. I have seen better range among Class 2 headphones.
Even the Fidelio have a slightly better range, and it's not a very good one :)
 
So, bottom line: pretty much excellent Headphones.
One of the three best ones for Bass, and one of the best BT Headphones generally.
Worth each cent of what they cost.
I am very happy to see that Sennheiser has finally got serious on BT, and I can't wait to try the new Momentum!
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 3:47 AM Post #2 of 59

danivar

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I recently tried the regular Urbanite XL against Momentum Over Ear (which is also being released in a wireless version) that are the same price. The Urbanites was a real dissapontment. Comfort was good but the quality seemed very cheap and plastic compared to the Momentums. SQ was poor for the price - there was an overall lack of resolution, especially in the bass. Mids sounded thin, tinny and grainy compared to the Momentums. Urbanites XL had a slightly larger soundstage but I found the Momentums imaging more precise.

Bottom line is, unless the design of the Urbanites is what you're after, you might as well go for the Momentums instead. Their completely superior bass Quality (not quantity), richer and more organic mids, and their overall better clarity and lack of grain makes them a pair of headphones that gives you a hifi experience. The Urbanites does not.

I myself have the Amperiors but found myself almost lusting for the Momentums after this test.
 
Jan 16, 2015 at 4:23 AM Post #3 of 59

Giogio

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Oh, thank you for the details.
I am of course very willing to try the two Momentum (On and Over ear).
I have read of people preferring the On Ear. It may be probably a matter of tastes, I imagine that the On Ear will be more "present", with less soundstage, more balanced, and the On ear more direct, more tight bass...
I'll see.
 
I have found the detail of the Urbanite Wireless very good. Strange that the Wired are not good.
But well, if you are used to very very good wired cans, that may be the reason: I have no wired cans. I only am interested in BT Cans. So my reviews are always only talking of the qualityamong the BT world.
And among all other BT cans tested, the urbanite have excellent detail.
 
There is, yes, something strange in the bass. I am a bit getting used, specially with EQ.
Btw did you EQ them? I also did not like them at all at first listening without EQ.
With EQ they improved a lot.
But the Bass is still a bit too hard for me, nor enough rumble, and somehow dark.
I could reduce some darkness and dullness with the EQ, but I need to increase some bass frequencies to have more rumble and power for EDM and Dubstep, and then a bit of darkness comes back.
These things are anyway higly subjective and depend largely from the headphones one is used to.
I am using a lot Fidelio M2BT and UE9000, which have ton of sub-bass, rumbling and round, and an overall warm and sweat sound.
So maybe the German hardness of the Urbanite arrived as a shock.
But for example it was excellent for Hardstyle and Hard Techno.
 
In this moment I need to find a wireless headphones for Home (so, portability is not requested) with very good Wireless Range and powerful, high quality deep bass which has both rumble and punch.
And of course an overall good sound.
 
I am tempted to completely change strategy and try the Sennheiser RS185.
They say the quality of RF is always better than BT. And the Range is it for sure.
 
But it is less practical. The Base/Station must be connected with cable to the source (notebook, smarthpone).
So, with smarthphone is quite unpractical, and with notebook, well, when I take it to bed with me I need to switch to the BT headphones...
 
Jan 17, 2015 at 7:56 PM Post #4 of 59

Beyakusenn

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I recently tried the regular Urbanite XL against Momentum Over Ear (which is also being released in a wireless version) that are the same price. The Urbanites was a real dissapontment. Comfort was good but the quality seemed very cheap and plastic compared to the Momentums. SQ was poor for the price - there was an overall lack of resolution, especially in the bass. Mids sounded thin, tinny and grainy compared to the Momentums. Urbanites XL had a slightly larger soundstage but I found the Momentums imaging more precise.

Bottom line is, unless the design of the Urbanites is what you're after, you might as well go for the Momentums instead. Their completely superior bass Quality (not quantity), richer and more organic mids, and their overall better clarity and lack of grain makes them a pair of headphones that gives you a hifi experience. The Urbanites does not.

I myself have the Amperiors but found myself almost lusting for the Momentums after this test.

I completely agree. Every point you made, remembered me of my own listening experience. For the price I prefer other headphones like the Beyerdynamic t51p. It has a much more accurate bass response and is less coloured (not as dark as either of the 2 Senns). The on-ear design might be less comfortable for some ears though.
 
  I have found the detail of the Urbanite Wireless very good. Strange that the Wired are not good.
But well, if you are used to very very good wired cans, that may be the reason: I have no wired cans. I only am interested in BT Cans. So my reviews are always only talking of the qualityamong the BT world.
And among all other BT cans tested, the urbanite have excellent detail.

You should try the AKG K845BT. Those are the best wireless cans I can think of.
 
 
  There is, yes, something strange in the bass. I am a bit getting used, specially with EQ.
Btw did you EQ them? I also did not like them at all at first listening without EQ.
With EQ they improved a lot.

No EQ could make these sound good to my ears. I like my music as uncoloured as possible and the Urbanite XL can't deliver that.
 
Jan 17, 2015 at 9:02 PM Post #5 of 59

Giogio

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You should try the AKG K845BT. Those are the best wireless cans I can think of.
 
 
No EQ could make these sound good to my ears. I like my music as uncoloured as possible and the Urbanite XL can't deliver that.

We differ here. Which is normal :)
I hated the AKG K845 for being too uncolored :D
I also do not like headphones which make music sound completely different from what it is supposed to sound, but I just, well, I have no idea what "uncolored" is really supposed to mean.
how can you know (unless you composed and mixed something yourself) that these headphones are REALLY making this music sound as the composer and producer wanted it to sound?
Then, what with the individuality of human ears?
 
I like headphones which are able to transmit the emotions of music. I am not sure that this is what a "neutral" headphone does.
Too much salt is not good. But too few also not.
 
I have found the AKG to be saltless.
They also almost completely lack bass to my ears. No bass, no fun.
But yes, they impressed me technically for their clean and very detailed sound.
 
Also, much depends on which music you listen to.
 
 
I wanted to give a second impression about the Urbanite XL Wireless (which is not yet sure they sound exactly like the wired ones).
I think they are worth their price.
Selling price is 270 Euro here.
The Momentum Over Ear will be almost 500 Euro.
So, I suppose that the Momentum wired cost less now because old (also, probably the colored models are even cheaper because they did not move much, which is why Sennheiser will only do one color for the momentum wireless).
The Urbanite wired are much newer and so also more expensive and I can agree they are not worth the same money than the Momentum.
I did not ear them but I easily believe you.
 
The urbanite Wireless are very good for what they claim to be: club sound, with powerful bass, and good performance all around.
They are not supposed to be balanced, they do not aim to be so.
They surely are coloured but they want it. Like also the people who will buy them.
 
I have listened to many many many BT Headphones.
In the moment I use these urbanite, i can promise you that the precision and clarity or the sound is very very good for a BT.
It is really at the top.
The colour, well, that is another thing. They surely are boosting some frequancies, I can't really understand which, I am not so trained (I would like to, but I do not know how).
It is a bit dark in the lower half region. I think there is a bit of an invertec v shape maybe. Because of this darkness and slight dullness on the lower region which should mean too much upper bass and a bit too much lower mid. And I think to ear also a boost in the middle mid region.
But i like the upper half a lot, Never ever harsh in the highs and still very clear. Very present in the mids and not too warm.
I have got used anyway. So now I like them much more. There are songs where they sound at best, other ones where they do not.
 
But I suppose you are right. They colour a bit too much so they are not universal.
Now for example I am testing them again without EQ (I have to be clear on this: when I review Headphones I give a judgement basing on how they sound both without and with EQ, because I consider that if a headphones can become wonderful with just some EQ, it should not reviewed badly).
They have something very wrong. exactly where I had just supposed, low-mid, upper bass. A boost between 200hz and 2khz.
For example Entre Dos aguas of Paco de Lucia sound not well. While my Fidelio m2BT sound very well.
But Balloons by Nils Hoffmann (Club Mix) sound just DIVINE with these Urbanite Wireless. Actually, WOW!!! Perfect out of the box, no EQ needed.
So, as said, they ARE perfect for what they say they want to be: CLUB SOUND.
Then, with some EQ, also Entre dos Aguas sounds very good.
So... It is not bad hardware.
Bad Hardware is for example the Skullcandy Hesh2 Wireless. Good with some not demanding songs, but boost a bit the bass, and they eat the mids away.
 
Jan 18, 2015 at 6:43 PM Post #7 of 59

Giogio

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I very much agree.
I am happy to read this.
I am lately saturated of those arrogant snob pseudo audiophiles who think that only a perfectly neutral headphone can be called "objectively good sounding", because they believe that headphones must not have colour.
The way I see it is that in each headphone there are objective and subjective things, and I see colour or absence of colour as a SUBJECTIVE one, not only for personal tastes (= many people hate neutral headphones, so, it would be false to consider them objectively good for everybody) but also for psychoacustic reasons (each person ear frequencies differently and an "objectively" unbalanced or coloured headphone may sound more balanced to him than a flat one).
Neutrality is NOT one of the objective qualities of the sound. Because people are not computers. And they have not neutral ears and neutral brains.
 
Besides, I do not believe there is ONE universal headphone good for everything.
Try to listen Dubstep with a AKG K845BT and you will not smile.
Listen, as said, Paco de Lucia with the Urbanite, and you will not smile.
Invert, and you will smile.
It was not the headphone to be wrong. It was the choice of which headphones to use.
 
Of course, extremely coloured headphones are not likely to be appreciated by many people.
But most people like a slight v shape.
 
I am kind of using this post as decompression chamber for my indignation against a couple of individuals somewhere else, so there is a certain temperamental emissivity in how I express my opinions, but I´m open to a dialogue and interested in hearing other's opinions about this subject of objectivity (or should I say "object"?).
 
May 4, 2015 at 5:41 AM Post #10 of 59

AcademicBarzo

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Big fan of these headphones. Comfortable (for me), look good, sound great. Think Sennheiser are doing themselves a disservice with their marketing. This is not a 'club' headphone, with uber bass thump and heft and a zingy treble. It's much more balanced than that. Yes, there is a push in the upper bass region, giving some punch to bass, but midrange is smooth and well presented. Treble is rolled off, but seems to have a bit of a spike at the top to give it some energy. Net result is an excellent portable headphone with a good , fun balance for all types of music and movies. It's not a monitor, nor does it pretend to be, but is more sophisticated than the marketing blurb would have one believe.

BT performance is excellent and stutter free, and battery life (25 hours) excellent also. The wired performance is also very good, and the cord included is not an afterthought - includes remote button, mic and inline volume (unlike M2AEBT, the Momentum wireless). Passive noise cancellation from the headphones is very good too.

Only disappointment is the lack of a hard carry case, but solved that cheaply by buying a Brainwaves hard case from Amazon, which is a great fit.

Highly recommended.
 
May 4, 2015 at 6:12 AM Post #11 of 59

Giogio

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Big fan of these headphones. Comfortable (for me), look good, sound great. Think Sennheiser are doing themselves a disservice with their marketing. This is not a 'club' headphone, with uber bass thump and heft and a zingy treble. It's much more balanced than that. Yes, there is a push in the upper bass region, giving some punch to bass, but midrange is smooth and well presented. Treble is rolled off, but seems to have a bit of a spike at the top to give it some energy. Net result is an excellent portable headphone with a good , fun balance for all types of music and movies. It's not a monitor, nor does it pretend to be, but is more sophisticated than the marketing blurb would have one believe.

BT performance is excellent and stutter free, and battery life (25 hours) excellent also. The wired performance is also very good, and the cord included is not an afterthought - includes remote button, mic and inline volume (unlike M2AEBT, the Momentum wireless). Passive noise cancellation from the headphones is very good too.

Only disappointment is the lack of a hard carry case, but solved that cheaply by buying a Brainwaves hard case from Amazon, which is a great fit.

Highly recommended.


Hi, you have tried the M2AEBT too, right?
 
May 4, 2015 at 6:25 AM Post #12 of 59

AcademicBarzo

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Ear, yes. Quite a few posts in the M2 wireless thread. Tried three different pairs, but horrific BT stuttering, ANC useless on a commute to work via bus (and no way to switch off if using BT) and performance via cable not as good as I'd like. Great sound signature, and a more sophisticated listen than the Urbanites, but just not for me. Wanted them as portable phones and a failure for me in that regard.
 
May 4, 2015 at 12:06 PM Post #13 of 59

Giogio

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Ear, yes. Quite a few posts in the M2 wireless thread.

Could you then please post a comparison on my Huge Comparison thread?
I remember that you have posted your impressions on the M2 thread and then a cross post in my thread, but no real detailed comparison of the sound.
It would be nice if you can do that, for everybody, but also because in this moment I was doing some dedicated comparisons (I mean, I have quite a few bt headphones in comparison so I offered personalized comparisons to people, using their preferred music and concentrating on the area of their interest) and a guy needs something warm, with good bass and with zero harshness.
I believe that the only three headphones in my list which can satisfy those requests are the M2AEBT, the ATH-WS99BT, and the Urbanite.
Now, the ATH are more difficult to get, so maybe the guy would be happy to know more about how the Momentum compares with the Urbanite.
I have tried the Urbanite, and I have the Momentum here, but I could not do a side to side.
You could.
Or at least less time passed between when you tried one and the other.
If you think you can tell him something more about the sound of both headphones, specially about bass, loudness, harshness and warmth, it would be great.
 
May 19, 2015 at 6:46 AM Post #15 of 59

LittleBigDave

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Thinking if picking a pair of these up as I'm looking for some fun BT headphones. Was leaning towards the Momentums but the issues I've read about with the noise reduction have put me off. 
 
One question I have is how the touch controls work. Would they only work with something like an iphone, or could they control something like an AK100ii?
 

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