Sennheiser URBANITE on-ear Headphones

Thursday, 22 January 2015 |

The URBANITE is completely dedicated to delivering only the most intense sound pleasure that will reflect the skill of Sennheiser's uncompromising aural expertise. It serves up massive bass, while still ensuring excellent clarity through the entire frequency range, making ears feel like it's their first time with a pair of headphones all over again.

The URBANITES aren’t just style-infused, they are – as the name suggests – positively urban. And with that comes a greater bass emphasis that often becomes such an issue in headphones of this type.

Design
There are more angles, and some style elements that aren’t desperate to please absolutely everyone. Things like the rough fabric-topped headband and the squared-off, bulky ends of the band give them a slightly more youthful style.

You can get the Sennheiser URBANITES in black, blue, bronzey brown, purple and red/blue – the loudest of the lot. For a company that has spent most of its 60-plus years making pretty boring black headphones, this pair is quite a looker.

They’re very well-built too. The outer part of the headband is either metal or fabric covered, and while there’s plenty of plastic going on, there’s little of the telltale creaking when you twist them.

It’s clear that the Sennheiser Urbanite care an awful lot about comfort, which is frequently a big problem with mid-firm on-ear headphones. The pads are topped with a velour-like fabric, which is generally a bit softer and comfier than the synthetic leather that’s more commonly used.

It works wonders – these headphones are very comfortable in their class, even for glasses-wearers.



Sound Quality
But what about the thing that really matters, the sound?

Here’s the official word from Sennhesier’s Linda Irvin:

“In terms of the sound, the Urbanite and Urbanite XL deliver a high-quality and substantial bass response to suit the target audience's sound preference but due to Sennheiser’s uncompromising audio expertise we can also ensure excellent clarity throughout the entire frequency range.

“Rather than artificially amplify the bass in the specific frequencies, we use decades of experience and innovation in the true physics of sound technology to naturally amplify the existing bass in order to reproduce ‘true sound’.

“Often loud, thumping volume is sometimes misinterpreted as indicative of best bass but this is definitely not the case and more importantly, not suitable for protecting hearing over the long term.”

Verdict
Good looks, a practical design and bass with balance make the Sennheiser URBANITE headphones a good choice for the more discerning basshead. Give us a call or visit us at either branch to experience the URBANITES for yourself.

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165


Yamaha R-N500 - reviewed

Tuesday, 20 January 2015 |

Yamaha has introduced an age-old favourite, the stereo receiver, into their line-up. But, they have included modern features for today’s digital customers. Where many stereo receivers stop short of streaming music options, the R-N500 embraces them with full support for Apple AirPlay and DLNA-compatible devices. Connect this receiver to your home network router and turn your compatible computer, smartphone, and tablet into a wireless music source. They'll make sweet music alongside your CD and Blu-ray players, turntable, and other components thanks to the R-N500's high-power, low-noise construction.

Stream your iTunes® library wirelessly with AirPlay

If you use any Apple portable devices or iTunes on your computer, then you'll love the R-N500's built-in support for Apple AirPlay. It lets you stream music directly from an iPhone®, iPad®, or iPod touch®, no wires required. Plus, if you have a large iTunes library on a networked computer, all those songs can be sent to the receiver as well. If you're not an Apple user, this receiver's DLNA-compatibility opens up wireless streaming to compatible PCs, music servers, and Android™ devices. AirPlay requires a wireless home network and a wired connection between the receiver and network or a wireless connection using an optional Yamaha Wi-Fi adapter.

Free control app for Apple and Android
A network connection also offers you the opportunity for smartphone control using Yamaha's free Network Player Controller app. Download it to your Apple or Android device to use it as a Wi-Fi® remote. It lets you select streaming music options and even view album artwork with select sources.

Modern sources are welcome, as well as legacy components
In addition to network sources, the R-N500 offers plenty of digital and analog inputs for sources like disc players, as well as a phono input for a turntable. If you're interested in more modern equipment, there's a front-panel USB port, offering direct digital connection for iPods, iPads, and iPhones. It also accepts USB thumb drives — perfect for loading high-resolution FLAC and WAV files to take advantage of this player's 24-bit/192kHz digital-to-analog conversion.

Product Highlights:

  •         80 watts x 2 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.04% THD
  • ·       4-ohm capability allows use with a wide range of speakers
  • ·       Internet-ready for listening to music from a networked computer
  • ·   Apple AirPlay for streaming music from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or computer running iTunes
  • ·   DLNA 1.5 certified for streaming music with compatible computers, music servers, and portable devices
  • ·       Plays high-resolution digital music files via USB storage device or a networked computer (up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution)
  • ·    Free Yamaha Network Player Controller app lets you use your Apple or Android device as a Wi-Fi remote
  • ·       Front-panel rotary controls for loudness, bass, treble, and balance
  • ·     Pure Direct mode bypasses tone, balance, and loudness controls for cleaner sound
  • ·       40 AM/FM presets
  • ·       Remote control

Verdict
The R-N500 is a bargain for the money. A combination of retro and contemporary features, there's very little missing. For many people the Airplay function will be extremely handy, but if you happen to be into both Spotify and vinyl then this machine is made for you. And if you are into anything other than surround sound, it still is all you'd ever need. Even just as a network player this is outstanding value. Well done Yamaha.

Give us a call or visit us at either branch to experience the Yamaha R-N500 for yourself.

Sound & Image Menlyn 012 368-1440
Sound & Image Sandton 011 884 5165