Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones Test

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones Test

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones Test

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones Test

Wireless headphones have two main problems: sound quality and battery life. The guys at Qualcomm and other companies are constantly striving to improve sound quality by regularly updating Bluetooth protocols and modifying codecs - in short, learning to transmit audio in its best and best form. And in terms of nutrition, the designs are also changing.

The beauty of full-size wireless earbuds is that they can fit a battery that lasts for 40+ hours of use. And here I reproachfully look at Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 , which, with their rather big dimensions, work for 15 hours on a single charge.

However, such a large battery has its drawbacks: you quickly get used to its spaciousness and slowly begin to ignore the “low battery” reminder until the headphones give you the last warning and turn off. And, having become unaccustomed to the fact that the equipment, it turns out, needs to be charged, you are frantically looking for a cable, trying to somehow come to terms with the fact that you will have to spend the next hour without music.

This problem is solved, for example, by the introduction of fast charging systems, thanks to which you will have to suffer without musical accompaniment for about 15 minutes - during this time, the headphones will be charged enough to work for another couple of hours. But the Swedes from Urbanista went further.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

In full-size wireless headphones with the sunny name of Los Angeles, they used Powerfoyle material, which is in fact a photodetector - and with it you can recharge the headphones with light. Not only natural, but also artificial.

scandinavian summer

Urbanista is a young Swedish brand that specializes in lifestyle technology and tries to capture the essence of the vibrant city in it. Stockholm, of course, is not a standard of bright and exciting city life - it is rather comfortable and balanced. And this is perfectly reflected in the design of Los Angeles.

In the classification of the brand itself, headphones are included in the full-size category, but they feel like they are balancing on the verge between full-size and overhead. The ear does not fit into the cup entirely and is partially pressed against the head with ear pads - because of this, Los Angeles sit quite tightly. 

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

The oval cups are made of soft plastic with a soft-touch coating, on which dust particles readily stick. The laconic brand logo is embossed on both cups. The design is interesting in the sense that the ear pads move slightly relative to the cup itself, providing a better fit. In addition, the cups themselves are attached to the headband on hinges - they can be rotated 90 ° and the headphones can be folded flat. 

Inside the right cup is a sensor, thanks to which the headphones recognize whether they are worn or not, and, accordingly, start playback or pause it. The sensor works clearly and quickly. A simple plastic plate is placed in the left cup in the same place. The autoplay feature can be disabled.

The temples are thick and rounded, and the headband is large and soft. The outer part of the headband is just decorated with Powerfoyle material, which accumulates light - a strip with it is planted in a small niche.

In general, it is quite comfortable to sit in the headphones, they hug your head tightly and sit on it securely. In this case, the mechanism for adjusting the width of the headband will not move apart from an accidental touch.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

For control in Los Angeles, buttons are used - they are located on the ends of the cups. On the right are the pause (and power) keys, as well as the volume control. The same buttons switch tracks - you just need to hold them down. The middle key, which is responsible for the pause, is slightly raised above the rest, so it's easy to feel for it - I didn't have any erroneous presses.

There is only one button on the left cup, with which you switch noise reduction modes. There are three of them: noise reduction, noise transmission and the absence of any processing. In the Urbanista app, you can choose how this button works: it either cycles through all the modes in turn, or selects one specific one. 

I have one complaint with Los Angeles: when you turn on the headphones, they always start in mode with noise reduction turned off. Many manufacturers, for example, remember the mode that was last used, and when restarted, the headphones automatically work in it. Urbanista, on the other hand, suggests starting from scratch every time.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

The left cup also has a USB-C port for charging. But they are unlikely to be used.

All life is food

The main screen in the application is given over to a diagram that displays the battery charge. The discharge and recharging speeds are also indicated there - and these processes can go on simultaneously.

Los Angeles has a fairly solid battery - 750 mAh, which, according to the developers, is enough for 80 hours of operation with noise reduction turned off and 50 hours with it turned on. It is easy to believe in this: Bluetooth 5.0 is used for signal transmission, and the chips that support it are not so voracious.

Yes, and SBC and ANC are available from codecs - that is, there are no aptX or LDAC that require serious power. In my case, at the beginning of the test, I took out the headphones with 85% charge, and put them back with 86% - and I never used the cable.

But for some time I kept the headphones under the ring lamp, walked down the street in them on sunny frosty days and just lived with them. Instead of being discharged, the headphones were charging.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

Powerfoyle was developed by another Swedish company, Exeger. The Swedes are pragmatic about the fact that the sun is not seen very often in their country, so the photovoltaic material collects energy not only from natural light, but also from artificial light. That is, the headphones can be kept under the lamp and charged, which I did.

The top layer of Powerfoyle can be decorated with almost any texture: make up under the skin, wood, metal - as long as it retains its black color, which captures the rays of light as efficiently as possible. I had the black version of Los Angeles, I still have the beige one, but the headband plate is still black.

It would seem that the technology should simplify life in many ways, but, unfortunately, Powerfoyle does not work fast enough for large and voracious electronics, so we will not see laptops fully decorated with this material in the near future.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

In my case, the discharge rate of the turned-on headphones, in which no music played and no noise reduction worked, was 2.3 mA, and the charging rate under the lamp was 0.9 mA. In bright sunshine, the charging speed rises to 22 mA, and I was able to achieve a maximum discharge rate of 11.6 mA by turning Spotify on full volume with noise reduction. So the function is fun and useful, but its use is still limited to medium-sized equipment. And here she really is in her place.

The charging process goes both when the headphones are turned off and when they are turned on. If there is light on the headband, Los Angeles use it without hesitation. So the owner also does not have to think about the charge.

A modern reading of the origins

40mm drivers are responsible for the sound in the headphones - a standard caliber for a model of this size. Their sound sends me back to the recent past.

A couple of years ago, when active noise-cancelling technology in full-size headphones was just starting to gain momentum, it often happened that such models actually worked in a two-in-one format: the sound with noise cancellation on and off was different. Now, most manufacturers have learned to make sure that noise reduction does not affect the character of the sound, only removing the background rumble of the subway. But not Urbanista.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

And this is good! Because the ability to get two sound options in one headphone is useful. With noise reduction turned on, Los Angeles plays tighter, darker and more massive. In this mode, a little more intimacy and intimacy is added.

Jazz-hop from BadBadNotGood and Japanese jazz from Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Trio move from rain-drenched noir squares to smoky bars. The bass is soft, accurate and fluid - it is more supple than collected. Ideal for old school hip hop and trip hop.

The track “Still Island” by DJ Krush is one example of what suits Los Angeles. True, the brass could be a little more textured - but this is easy to fix by turning off the noise reduction. 

In this mode, more air and openness returns to the music, but at the same time, some compositions, in contrast, seem too empty and fragmented. However, this feeling passes through a couple of tracks, when the ears get used to the new sound.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

Women's voices in this mode sound more pleasant and expressive - even Imogen Heap, even Madonna, even Utada Hikaru. More volume, air and life appear in the vocals, maybe even a little more emotions, and the bass clogs them less. And the same wind instruments seem to open up, get more space on the virtual stage, while the stage itself grows in breadth.

For electronic music, metal and industrial, I lacked a little intelligibility in both modes: Los Angeles got lost in too noisy and fast tracks, trying to play everything at once, but not keeping up with the rhythm and samples flickering around.

So Noisia, Haggard and classic Astrix are best put aside and given preference to something slower. The presentation of Los Angeles and the mood of the headphones themselves fit something like Groove Armada or The Heavy: it seems to be perky, but with overtones.

They have one drawback: they are quiet. These are the first headphones that I had to turn up to 85-100% volume outdoors. Fortunately, the noise cancellation works well and dampens external sounds quite well, so the volume in the metro was quite enough - but there is nowhere else to increase it.

At the same time, at maximum volume, the headphones did not wheeze, did not give in to distortion, and behaved exactly as they should. However, perhaps I like to listen to music too loudly, and you will have enough headroom.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

Noise reduction does an excellent job with urban ambient - and buses, and construction sites, and the same subway become almost invisible, so this function adds a lot to life comfort. The noise transmission mode raises the voice range quite well, thanks to which various announcements and appeals are clearly audible.

Like it was

Many people wanted to make light-charged headphones, but Urbanista was the first to bring a fully working model to the market. And, despite the manufacturability, Los Angeles is first and foremost headphones. They look like headphones and act like headphones. And good ones.

A huge battery and constant background charging make this model incredibly convenient. It seems to me that it is quite possible to forget about the existence of a cable with them. Of course, by the name it is clear that in sunny Los Angeles such a function will obviously be more in demand than in gray Stockholm, but there is always artificial light, from which the headphones are also charged, albeit more slowly. The question so far is how long the battery itself will live in constant charging mode - but we will know this only in a couple of years.

Urbanista Los Angeles noise-canceling wireless headphones test

About the sound, we can say that it is modern, but tries not to miss the details. It doesn't always work out. And the fact that with noise reduction on and off, the headphones play a little differently - in my opinion, this is a plus that allows you to choose the nature of the sound for a specific song.

The main success of Los Angeles is that they were able to make friends with a new technology with a classic headphone form factor. The Powerfoyle stripe does not stand out from Scandinavian minimalism and, in principle, does not attract attention to itself. Outwardly, these are the most ordinary headphones - they just last a very long time on a single charge.

Perhaps this is how progress should be: imperceptible from the outside, but completely obvious from the user's point of view.

Pros

Huge battery, proprietary technology for recharging from any light, including artificial, calm minimalistic design, effective noise reduction, perky and expressive sound

Cons

The maximum volume level is not very high, no support for high-definition codecs, no 3.5 mm jack

OFFICIAL SITE

Urbanista Los Angeles

Specs Urbanista Los Angeles Headphones

Headphone type: full size wireless

Drivers: 40mm

Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5.0

Supported codecs: SBC, AAC

Battery life: up to 80 hours with noise canceling off, up to 50 hours with noise canceling on

Battery: 750 mAh

Features: active noise cancellation, support for voice assistants, Powerfoyle light charging technology

Package contents: USB-C cable 1.5 m, hard case

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