Published on July 6th, 2015 | by Greg


Sennheiser’s Travel Pros: Urbanite XL Wireless Headphones

We end up doing a lot of traveling over the summer: conventions and conferences, weddings and family events, plus the occasional vacation or weekend getaway. And everywhere we go, we’ll be taking a pair of headphones with us, testing out each pair and seeing how it fits, works, and sounds over the course of a journey that typically includes a subway ride, an airplane trip, and some time on the busy and noisy city streets.

We’ve tried plenty of Sennheiser gear, from their new gaming headsets to their audiophile Tesla closed-back headphones. Their latest set takes an excellent stylish headphone and elevates it with Bluetooth, much like the recent Momentum wireless did- the Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless. The heavy-duty materials are carefully chosen for durability, rather than a lot of leather that is better suited for indoors use only. Stainless steel hinges add strength and the earcups are comfy and plush. Plus, the entire set folds for portability, and it’s compact enough to fit easily into a purse or bag, though they are fairly heavy. And there’s a cool touch feature on the side of the earcups for volume, track, and call controls, plus dual microphones for better call quality.

Technically, the XLs are over-ears, with a sibling model absent that are smaller on-ears. But these aren’t particularly big, and those with larger heads or large ears might feel a bit of discomfort before break-in. We connected a few devices via Bluetooth 4.0 and had no issues, whether trying iOS, OSX, PC, or Android. The aptX protocol offers high-resolution audio, which means you won’t notice much difference (if any) between plugging them in directly and streaming your music. What’s more, you can connect two sources simultaneously and easily switch between them, and the Urbanite XLs will remember up to eight of your different devices. Like many higher-end models, these offer NFC pairing if your phone supports it. Battery life is excellent, thanks to lithium-polymer cells that provide up to 25 hours of playtime between charges.

The drivers offer plenty of power, and the overall sound signature was fairly neutral, dynamic, and punchy. Bass isn’t overwhelming, but ever-present, and they tilt towards warm rather than cold, meaning they sound great with acoustic sounds and not quite as good with electronic ones. Crisp and clear mids and highs brought out plenty of detail, but on rock and hip-hop they didn’t quite have the depth that we’ve heard from some, and they could tilt towards brassy. On operatic scores and soundtracks, though, they made our ears soar.

The Urbanite XL Wireless are only available in black at the moment, but we hope to see them in other colors (the rest of the family offers four others that are pretty stylish). The only real feature missing was active noise cancellation, though they do a pretty decent job of blocking out external sounds. Available now, online and in stores, you can expect to spend just under $300.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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