Press Release: Sennheiser launches URBANITE headphones
Jul 1, 2016 at 9:40 PM Post #436 of 446
  What is the deal with Urbanites? (smaller ones)
I got a pair a couple of days ago, really gave them a chance, really wanted to like them, knew what I was getting into and wanted a bass heavy headphone. I listened with all types of music, and sonically speaking they're simply worse than HD202's (which Urbanite was supposed to replace) in pretty much every single way. I don't get it. HD202's cost 4 times less, yet clearly sound better, and by some margin in most areas, in every single genre, even in hip hop, rap, edm, d&b, whatever genre in which Urbanites should shine.
Where's the amazing bass on the Urbanites? They have less than average bass for a closed back headphone. They have less bass (and worse) than M50X's, DT770Pro's or HD380Pro's. They can produce less bass than my Beyerdynamic T1's for gods sake, even though it seems like they're bassier since the mids and highs are so recessed. In a direct comparison, even HD202's have more bass (and more extended, albeit not quite as tight), more present mids and far better tonality in the mids (where Urbanites sound muffled and boxy), more detail and air in the highs (where Urbanites sound like there's cotton stuffed in my ear canals), a soundstage that is about 3 times as big and actually feels out of the head, etc.  All I get with the Urbanites is a slightly muffled and muddy sound lacking in highs, boxy mids and a bass that can't decide whether it wants to be flat or elevated. I mean, to me Urbanites don't sound like headphones with elevated or powerful bass, they sound like someone took cheap headphones and EQ'ed the upper mids and highs down by about 15 db relative to 1khz. Why Urbanites would cost as much as HD202's, let alone 4 times more, is beyond me. Ok, I guess the build quality is very good, but it's nothing spectacular that would make up for the sound. And I'm saying all this is a Sennheiser fan, who liked every Sennheiser headphone I got in the past, and I bought a lot of them until now.
Note that I was using both headphones out of an iPhone 5S as well as Musical Fidelity M1DAC and M1HPAP, so setup is not a problem, actually I didn't notice any significant difference between the desktop setup and my phone.
I really don't want to sound like a hater, and I really gave them a chance, but I was never this disappointed by a headphone. My disappointment is even bigger because it's Sennheiser we're talking about. The fact that these headphones cost the same or more than some of my other Sennheiser headphones, like HD380Pro's or HD558's, is absolutely hilarious, since both of those are in a different universe when it comes to sound. I know these are different headphones, but damn, they're supposed to be bass heavy fun sounding headphones, but they're less bassy than some studio models, and unless your idea of fun is muddy sound, they're no fun. Even though I obviously can't do a direct comparison, and I'm talking out of memory (and I can't believe I'm about to say this), I'm sorry I didn't get the Beats Solo 2's instead, since they actually impressed me as a bass heavy on-ear headphone, they actually had highs and sounded alive and fun.  I guess this is a lesson for the future, no matter how much you trust a brand, don't buy their headphones without testing them first.

It's a love-hate relationship really. I have them together with my several other Sennheisers. Sometimes they sound good (gotta play for awhile let ears settle in), sometimes they don't. Technically/objectively I would think they are at best mediocre for the price I have bought it for 1.5yrs ago (hey it's 79USD now from Amazon!), but sometimes mood does favour it.
The weight balance was bad. The flexi headband is one of their selling point but unfortunately they might have put too much weight into it. The headband-earcups weight ratio was off (headband heavy w.r.t. ear cups) coupled with a rather weak clamp force, such that you have to keep your head upright. Tilt your head a little bit down, the headband (and of course the whole headphones) slides off. I have posted a video in this thread sometime back iirc. I can't see how this can be worn when 1) sitting down doing something, looking up and down at computer/books/papers, and 2) outdoors on the move where head movement can be regular. But, perhaps just like sound being subjective, I may be in the minority having such problem.
I'm also very disappointed with the earpads. In just barely a year with occasional use, the velvety layer began to shed. I bought it for about 250SGD then, and Sennheiser quoted me 50SGD for the ear pads. Ridiculous! So it has been in cold storage without pads since beginning this year. I did try putting on the HD25 pads. Slightly smaller but still fits. Cheaper too. But I don't think I wanna spend effort and money on it anymore.
Btw, rare to see a fellow M1 user. I was also using the M1DAC/HPA(non-P). Have since been converted to R2R (AGD DAC19 10th Anni), but still with the HPA. Guess they are too low profile and didn't get the attention they deserve 
Sep 28, 2016 at 12:29 AM Post #437 of 446
A lot of the stuff that was written about these was written when you could get them for 200 bucks. 
Now that you can get them for less than half that, does that change what anyone has written about them? 
Oct 1, 2016 at 6:47 PM Post #438 of 446
Oh yeah, Urbanites are better deals now for the sound quality that you get.  Build quality is still superb.  If the scrawny cables give out, compatible cables are abundant on eBay.
Jun 8, 2018 at 7:11 PM Post #439 of 446
I recently got a free pair of NIB Sennheiser Urbanite XL.

They have surprisingly good sound for what they are. I like them better than my Momentum over-ears. I am impressed with the build quality as well. I only wish the driver wasn't sealed in a capsule. I understand why they did it that way, but it makes modding more of a PITA (driver transplants, etc).

Anyways, I find the pad quite interesting. I've never seen one with that exact same material. It's not a fuzzy velour like commonly seen, but more like a velour with all of the fuzz cleanly shaven off. They kind of remind me of (a synthetic) alcantara.

How would you classify the pads?
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Jun 8, 2018 at 10:05 PM Post #442 of 446
I like how comfortable the earpads are, but they hurt the bass a lot, in my opinion. Bass sounds immensely better with earpads off, lol. Unfortunately, I have yet to see similarly-sized proportioned earpads that could be used with the Urbanite XL. I've gained a little more modding experience ever since I last tried these gems, but laziness prevents me from picking up another XL. :k701smile:

I'm quite fond of the on-ear Urbanites, though. Not much modding necessary to bring out more of its potential, and it actually delivers the advertised "club bass" that the XL does not at all. More like they tried to go for a flat-ish sound with the XL, not that that's a bad thing at all.

It is indeed a pain in the arse to reach the drivers with the glue in the way, but my OCD would compel me to get to them so I can stick a bit of polyfill in the main chambers to kill the sound-marring resonances.

I think he meant that he doesn't like their aesthetic style, but is willing to find out if they are of worthy quality in person. A couple of guys I know also told me that they detest Urbanite's style, and they weren't willing to give these fun headphones a chance. Too bad for them. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Jun 8, 2018 at 10:23 PM Post #443 of 446
Ah, I gotcha.

Yeah, unfortunately all velour type pads reduce bass to some degree.

I planned on pad rolling to see what some different options sounded like anyways. Because I’m not really hearing the “club sound” on the XLs (they are pleasantly balanced though, which was a refreshing surprise since their target audience was the Beats crowd).

As far as cup mods (dampening, polyfill, etc), does the on-ear version have that sealed driver chamber like the XL does? That definitely makes modding a bigger PITA, and is what discouraged me from doing any mods to my Momentums. Sennheiser sure seems to love doing that in their closed cans.

I do agree the style is kind of ugly. The denim headband just screams cheeseball to me. The Momentums are way sexier. I can’t complain, because I got the XLs for free. Luckily mine were black, which is the most subdued of the available colors. The build quality and sound makes up for the looks.
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Jun 8, 2018 at 11:31 PM Post #444 of 446

For anyone that wants to swap pads on the XL (and gain back some sub bass), I found the following 2 pads work well:

1. LyxPro HAS-30 pleather pads. This is a deeper and much roomier pad (for larger ears), and gives you a boost in soundstage. They give a minor bump in sub-bass due to the pleather material. They do fit a smidgen looser than stock (as they are 5mm larger in OD), but they still fit fine and seal perfectly.
2. 3rd party oval replacement pads (95x80mm) for ATH-M50(x)/ATH-M40(x). They have the same basic internal volume as the stock pads, but a more comfortable fit due to the oval shape. The sound with these pads is the same as stock, except with a minor bump in sub-bass due to the pleather material.


Also, to anyone that wants the "club sound", simply open up the cups and peel off the nylon filter covering the vent holes. Once you do that, you'll have all the "club sound" you'll ever want.

I settled on only uncovering 1 of the 2 holes (ie putting the filter back, only rotated 90 degrees ie vertically instead of horizontally, allowing me to easily cover 1 hole only). If you want basshead levels of sub bass, uncover both holes.

Urbanite filter.jpg

You can adjust the level of "club sound" by uncovering more or less of the vent holes with the nylon filter. The nylon filter has a sticky adhesive attached to it, so you can reposition it wherever you want. You can also 'store' it by sticking it anywhere on the driver enclosure (that way, it won't be lost in case you ever want to go back to stock down the road).

With the filter removed, I have no desire to change out the stock pads now. You get all the comfort of velour pads with a healthy bump in sub bass. The way they sound now is really how the XLs should have come stock IMO (assuming they were trying to win Beats fans).
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Jun 10, 2018 at 12:43 AM Post #445 of 446
Yeah, but the Urbanite pads seem worse than normal for bass, as far as velours go. Interestingly enough, the on-ear is fine as far as pads, I think, even though they're the same thing, just smaller, lol.

The on-ear does have the sealed main driver chambers as well.
Dec 12, 2021 at 12:00 PM Post #446 of 446
I just don't understand Sennheiser. This bass mod from Slater is da bomb. I can't believe Sennheiser didn't do the other thing and did this. Bassheads will not modify their headphones, the audiophiles would. I think they would have sold more headphones if they recognized pretty headphones sell and basssy headphones are what vast majority of the average consumers buy. It's too bad Sennheiser was recently trying to get out of the headphone market. Sorry to resurrect an old thread. But there are deals to be found like this when you can be a little crafty. With this mod, I feel like I got a momentum sound without the momentum premium. And I haven't even done the ear pad mod yet. There is bass even with the velours. So I could imagine the bass will bump even more with the pad change as well.

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