Sennheiser is a company that never lets its core audience down. Even though many of the company’s products are pricey, audio purists often appreciate the level of detail Sennheiser gives to both the design of the headphones and the audio quality. But audiophiles aren’t the only guys that buy high-priced headphones these days. There is also a younger hip crowd that prefer heightened bass and pumped up audio fidelity. Most of Sennheiser’s products don’t jive with that crowd, but the Sennheiser Urbanite headphones hope to make a difference judging from the name alone. What is more interesting is how this ambitious pair of headphones fares against the heavy competition in this segment.
Design and Comfort
Sennheiser is in a unique position in the headphones market and is fully taking advantage of this. The company has great experience in making premium-looking headphones. They are applying that knowledge to the Sennheiser Urbanite, while adding a few twists that make them look and feel great for the younger generation. The outer portions of the headphones have a canvas cloth-like feel with noticeable stitches. Unlike the XL version which are over-ear headphones, the Sennheiser Urbanite headphones fall under the on-ear category.
Comfort is one of the areas Sennheiser’s Momentum headphones didn’t do so well, in but the Sennheiser Urbanite turns that perception around. The rubberized padding on the inner part of the headphones has a nice soft touch feel and boasts excellent pressure distribution, while the ear cups use a special rebounding memory foam with an outer covering that feels like velvet. Together, these elements not only make the Sennheiser Urbanite headphones extremely comfortable to wear, but also helps significantly in keeping the headphones in place. The headphones hardly gets affected even if you shake your head while wearing them. The ear cups can be adjusted with ease using this interesting retractable adjuster that is designed not to catch on clothing. You can also fold the ear cups and hear this very satisfying snap if folded properly. The hinges are made of stainless steel. Once folded, you can easily store these headphones in their own special storage pouch which you get as a part of the package.
With a classy design and very good build quality, the Sennheiser Urbanite is pretty much in the same league as other Sennheiser products. The company knows how to draw attention to the hip crowd, and the Urbanite’s come in several neat colors like Denim, Sand (dark brown) and Plum. On a design and comfort standpoint, the Sennheiser Urbanite headphones are everything the Sennheiser Momentum model should have been.
The Sennheiser Urbanite does not offer any active noise reduction or isolation features so you might want to look for more dedicated models if you really need that feature. However, the ear cups do a pretty good job of cancelling out noise in a passive manner.
The 1.2-meter cable of the Sennheiser Urbanite headphones is detachable, and you shouldn’t experience any problems with tangles due to its flat nature. An angled 3.5mm jack can be found at the end of the cable. This is the only cable included in the package and it comes with a module containing the common 3-button setup and omnidirectional microphone. Anyone familiar with headphones these days will know that the 2 volume buttons are platform agonistic, while the center button is tailored for iOS devices. You can press the button multiple times to initiate a skip track, or you can use it as a play/pause/answer call/end call button. Sennheiser doesn’t want to leave Android users with the short stick so you also get the option to choose an Android-compatible cable where the middle button works as if it was connected to an iOS device.
The overall audio performance is what really defines the “Urban” nature of the Sennheiser Urbanite. The sound signature is noticeably different than the Sennheiser Momentum, so fans of these headphones might not be completely onboard with the Urbanite. The Sennheiser Urbanite headphones focus more on making hip hop, dubstep and electronic music sound great. It can pump a lot of bass at high volumes without distortion, although the mids and vocals suffer slightly because of this. Audiophiles and purists may not fully appreciate Sennheiser’s decisions with this product but then again, this Sennheiser Urbanite isn’t targeting them anyway.
The Sennheiser Urbanite headphones were never designed to replace the Sennheiser Momentum. The Urbanite basically represents a new vision for the company which is to get teenagers and other hip music fans to give the Sennheiser brand a try, because let’s face it, Sennheiser’s forte will always be making products for the purists. The Urbanite is a good first step and many of the product’s greatest strengths can be considered fantastic ideas for a future Sennheiser Momentum model. The Sennheiser Momentums still sounds excellent, but they do not feel as comfortable. The Sennheiser Urbanite nails that part and is easily worth trying out if you like to listen to lots of bass and beat-heavy tracks for long periods of time. It is actually recommended to try before you buy, because you might be interested in the XL version of the Urbanite. The original Urbanite costs $199 which is a pretty fair deal and could prove to grow up to become a legitimate threat to the competition. It isn’t every day that you see a unique blend in craftsmanship, audio quality and price.