Live a mobile, active lifestyle with the sweat-resistant Boston Urbanista earphones.

When it comes to music, there are multiple genres, which fulfill a variety of tastes.  Just as there are tastes in music, there are a plethora of options to privately enjoy our music, in our own comfortable way.  When considering headphones, there are three main types of devices: supra-aural (on-ear), Intra-aural (in-ear) and circumaural (around ear).  My preference has been for the in-ear and the around ear styles for comfort and sound.  For prolonged use, for quality full sound, I have enjoyed my Bose AE2 headphones.  I have also enjoyed the on-the-go portability of my favorite in-ear headphones the Quad Driver headphones from 1 More.  Their sound is one of the best I have achieved with an in-ear system.  However, they too succumb to falling out of my ears while running.  After testing the Boston Urbanista earphones, which seem to be a hybrid in-ear/on-ear, I have a new set of earphones to use while exercising.

urbanista unboxed

The Boston Urbanista Coral Island earphones are packaged in a black box, with colorful teal coloration about the front and back. The packaging promises a perfect system for sport and adventure, everyday use in the city, built-in microphone, sweat resistant IPX5 resistance, and Bluetooth 4.0 for increased features and longer battery life. Within the packaging, you can expect to find the 25-inch long pair of teal colored Boston earphones, a 6-page instruction manual, a black drawstring carry pouch (3.25″ wide by 3.75″ tall), a 7″ USB A to USB micro charger and two extra pairs of silicone wings.  The GoFit silicone wings are available in 3 sizes: small, medium and large. The tips are easily interchangeable and should fit most of our ears.  The silicone tips are soft and designed to fit comfortably at the opening of the ear, with a small piece resting at the opening of the ear.  These are not truly in-ear earphones and feel quite unique.

One of the first sources that I use, to test the sound of a pair of earphones, are the test files within the audiocheck.net site.  Starting with the low-frequency range test, I like to see the lower range of the headphones.  Human hearing universally is capable of detecting 20Hz, at the lower range, and up to 20kHz (age dependent). The average middle aged male can hear at roughly 14 kHz.  With the Boston earphones and using the audiocheck.net site, I was able to hear sound between 20Hz and 15KHz.  Using the noiseaddicts.com site Hearing test, I was able to hear to 15kHz, but there was more feedback/distortion of the pitch than with the audiocheck.net site.  Using the test file Left/Right stereo, the left and right channels were backward.  Pressing left stated “left channel” in the right ear and “right channel” in the left ear.   This is likely not a big deal unless you know what to listen for.  Using Bohemian Rhapsody, the call/response will be reversed.  Once you know how the songs are supposed to sound, it is a little weird.  To prove that this was not an audiocheck.net issue, I turned to testmyspeakers.com and tried the left/right/both feature.  Lastly, I pulled out my 1 More Quad Driver in-ear earphones and the Left/Right channels were correct.  There is a tiny R and L on the inside of the ear pieces.  It seems that the programming has the channels reversed.  Again, it is weird, but not a deal breaker.  I did reach out to customer support and I am awaiting a response,

Boston Urbanista tips

With range testing and channel testing complete, I turned to actual song tests.  For the bass, I love to listen to “Why so Serious?” Dark Knight Rises Joker theme, the Opening to Star Wars Episode III Attack of the Clones, and the Gladiator Soundtrack.  Personally, I have never liked the earphones that rest just inside the ear concha and do not actually go into the canal.  That type of earphone seems to produce less bass unless you crank the decibel and then you risk worsening hearing loss.  I will tell you, the Boston earphones are clear and they are loud.  Additionally, they have great fit into the concha (region inside the antihelix, the crater just at the opening of the ear).  The bass was clearer and more powerful, even at roughly 25% volume on my iPhone 7plus.

To test the upper range, I love to use the Far and Away and Braveheart soundtracks, as they show a broad spectrum instrumental sound.  To test mid range songs, I love Eagles “Hotel California,”  “Paradise by the dashboard light,” by Meatloaf, anything CCR, “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel, and lately “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede.  Throughout the testing of the songs, I had no complaints about the quality of the sound. Using my iPhone as the media source, I was able to get a really quality sound at about 1/3-1/2 volume.  Anything above 50% was almost painful to hear.  I thus did not get to any tinny sound, empty sound etc.  Additionally, for a really neat test of your headphones, navigate to and listen to Yosi Horikawa’s Wandering EP and listen to the variety of sounds (Bubbles, Wandering, Letter, In the distance).  These headphones did not provide as good of a soundstage, as others I have tested, and the phantom central speaker (Left+Right in stereo create an imaginary middle/central speaker) did not sound as good as some others.

I am no audiophile.  However, I have now tested multiple headphones and have an idea of what is good, what is mediocre and what is poor.  I am disappointed in the channel error listed above.  Despite this setback, these are some of the most comfortable earphones I have used.  They do not rest deeply into the canal and thus did not cause the fatigue that some of the in-ear systems cause.  Running on the treadmill, using the small GoFit wings, allowed me to truly appreciate the benefit of this device.  This is the niche, the strength, the benefit of this product.  Turning my head side to side, jogging, running, jumping, did not cause any type of wiggle or for the devices to fall out of my ears. There is a lapel clip, which further enhances the earphone staying potential.

Urbanista coral

The in-line controller is 2 7/8″ from the base of the right ear speaker and has 3 buttons, each with rubberized raised texture.  The buttons are arranged in order +/S/-.  The plus icon, when pressed singly, will increase volume and will advance track if held.  To the corollary, the – icon will decrease sound/previous track. The S button will answer a call, hang up a call and will turn off the device with a 5-second hold. Along the middle of the cord, you will see a 2 1/2″ Bluetooth unit.  This is about 1/2″ thick versus the 1/8″ thick cable.  The Bluetooth unit is the point of charging and has a built-in blue LED, which flashes 3 times every 3 seconds.  I personally wish that this could be deactivated.  It will serve as a flashing point for runners/bikers, which may have a benefit beyond that of my usage.  The device promises around a 6-hour playtime and 10 days of standby time.  I have used the device for just at an hour a night for the past 6 days and I still have power, as reported by the widget on my iPhone. The device charging time is listed at about 1 hour, but I found this to be closer to 1.5 hours with a standard apple wall charger.

For someone who is looking for a good pair of earphones for exercise, the Boston Urbanista headphones will surprise you. I received the coral coloration (blue), which is actually quite nice considering darker colors are harder to see at night.  If interested you can purchase the Urban Highlight (yellow/green),  Night Runner Reflex (Black/with silver gray cable), Sunset Boulevard (orange), Pink Panther (Pink), Dark Clown (All black).  I think my favorite colors are the orange and possibly the yellow/green. Using Bluetooth 4.1, you can expect a good 30 feet 10-meter range, with good connectivity.  There was some mild distortion with the addition of a single wall between myself and the phone source.  The frequency range proved to be full.  The microphone on the controller picks up ambient sounds and there is some muffling.  My wife felt it was as if I was talking through a tunnel.  This is essentially the same response/effect that I found with similar style headphones/microphones.  I do not typically use this for phone calls outside as there is too much wind noise.  All of these features come packaged in a pair of 23-gram earphones, which is respectable.

I would rate the Boston Urbanista at 4/5 stars.  The sound was much better than expected and the comfort was surprisingly better than expected.
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