I’ve gone through a pair of headphones, or two, in my time. Okay, maybe more like a dozen, but who’s counting? As a frequent user of public transit and communal working spaces – as well as someone who needs music to function and concentrate – headphones are like an extension of my person. If I head out the door without them, I feel incomplete.

So, when the latest from Sennheiser – a sleek-looking pair of black and white over-the-ear headphones dubbed the Urbanite XL Wireless – arrived in the mail, suffice to say I was looking forward to putting them to the test.

For the everyday avid music lover, like myself, I needed to put the XL Wireless headphones through my type of testing – one that was more practical and less technical.

Given the current state of advanced technology, I suppose from a marketing perspective the fact that the headphones are wireless, can connect to up to eight devices using Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) and have a new ‘state of the art’ intuitive touch control feature that allows volume control with a swipe of the finger over the earphone would be the XL Wireless’ highlights.

But for the everyday avid music lover, like myself, I needed to put the XL Wireless headphones through my type of testing – one that was more practical and less technical. Hell, I only discovered what the abbreviation NFC meant writing this review.

AURBANITEXLWirelessFirst, did the headphones squeeze my ears too hard and cause a sharp pain after two to three hours of being in a work zone? Nope – the soft, velvet-like ear pads worked well to prevent the pains I often experience after long sessions using large, over-the-ear headphones. And since I’m unable to wear ear buds, I’ve had a fair share of experience in this area.

Second, can the headphones fit snugly into my travel bag of choice for the day? Yes. The bendable arms and stylish grey pouch allow for this, and don’t even cause me to wince in hopes of not breaking the headphones when I fold them (it’s happened before). Added bonus being, because they’re wireless you can opt to go without the cord, meaning, even without the pouch, there’s no chance of it getting tangled up with everything else stuffed into my bottomless pit (a.k.a. my bag) or getting snagged on other passengers on crowded buses and streetcars.

Finally, how does my diverse range of selected tracks that get me through the day – ranging from Nas and J Cole to Ace Hood, Miguel and Nipsey Hussle – sound in the headphones? No complaints there. It’s clear. The bass comes through just right. It’s loud enough to drown out the roar of the subway (or the Scarborough RT – Toronto readers will know the reference), but not so loud that the entire subway car can rap along to “NY State of Mind”.

The only downfall might be that with a $349.99 ($299.99 USD) price tag. But for those lovers of over-the-ear headphones like myself, take it from someone who has shelled out a lot of money replacing headphones that broke, stopped working in one ear (often caused by faulty cords), or simply couldn’t stand up to my aforementioned test, saving up for a pair of the Urbanite XL Wireless’ would be money well spent.

Priya Ramanujam is the editor of Urbanology Magazine. She co-founded the publication in 2004 with Adrian McKenzie, while a journalism student at Humber College.

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