The Sennheiser Urbanite line is Sennheiser’s shot at taking on other bass-heavy headphones. Many customers want a headphone that just screams bass into their ears. This can be fun, and impressive in the short term. Several brands dedicate whole product lines to bass emphasis.
I used to enjoy this sort of sound from time to time. I don’t really any more. But once again I’m getting sidetracked.
The Sennheiser Urbanite is a great, durable, bass-focused headphone. It’s built from solid materials, and has one of the best build quality-to-price ratios in the business. I like the Urbanite. It’s a fun headphone.
The Urbanite XL takes that solid foundation and breaks it by changing one design element.
The XL has the exact same headband as the regular Urbanite…but with giant ear cups attached to it. Huge. Massive. So big that the pads didn’t seal against my head. They hung down below my lower jaw, and didn’t press correctly against the back of my head behind my ears. Also the ear holes are round instead of ear-shaped, and my ears didn’t really fit correctly into them, further breaking the seal.
A good seal is a must with a closed-back headphone. When a closed headphone doesn’t seal properly against your head…you lose bass response. Significantly. Even a tiny fluctuation in the amount of seal can cause a loss of bass. So, when a bass-heavy headphone won’t seal properly against your head…you lose what makes that headphone unique in the first place.
That’s just what my personal experience with the XL was like. The lack of seal meant that I wasn’t getting any bass emphasis, and that I wasn’t getting good isolation from outside noises. It’s the only headphone I’ve ever owned that didn’t seal properly against my giant head. If it won’t seal on my head, it probably won’t seal right on most heads. Sometimes I’ve had issues with my glasses interrupting a seal, but this was just sad.
A bass-heavy headphone with no bass is stupid. If you’re going to get one of the Urbanites, get the regular non-XL model. Yes, it’s an on-ear design, which means it’ll get fatiguing after a while, but it also offers crisp, powerful bass. It’s the better buy of the two models.
Always try a demo unit if you can, and always buy headphones from places with good return policies!