Finding a pair of good, wireless headphones with noise calcellation below GBP 130 has proven to be nearly impossible. Apart from the Sony WH-XB900N which has fallen so much in price.
But now Urbanista has released a pair of wireless with noise reduction, which does not have a long list of meaningless numbers and letters in the name, but is simply called Urbanista Miami. The name is due to the fact that they are inspired by the colors in Miami, Florida, and our test specimen was called Ruby, and have a red color with hints of purple and pink. I guess Ruby will hardly be a hit here in the Nordics, but there are other colors.
The other colors are Teal, which is medium green, and the obligatory black and white, which usually sell best. And these are going to sell. Wireless headphones with active noise cancellation in this price range are in short supply, and if you add good battery life and good sound to the list, Urbanista Miami ticks all the boxes.
Urbanista Miami is akin to the Sony WH-XB900N, but Miami can not be controlled from an app (yet), and there are no eq adjustments (which the WH-XB900N needs), but the battery life is great with a playing time of 50 hours (40 with noise reduction), and they are delivered in a travel case with charging cable, aircraft adapter and a minijack cable for physical connection.
The noise reduction and sound are operated with buttons on the earbuds. On the right, you control the volume and playback, answer calls, and turn on and off the headphones. On the left you choose between active noise reduction, listening – Ambient Sound Mode, and here you can also turn off the sensor that pauses playback if you remove the headphones.
Built-in microphones are used for listening and noise reduction, and Miami supports mobile voice control via Google Assistant.
Urbanista believes that Miami is so big that they are ‘around-the-ear’ headphones (overe-ear, rather than on-ear) the correct one should be a middle ground. For the angled, oval ear pads are actually a bit narrow. Even for normal-sized ears, otherwise the wearing comfort is good, even if they sit tighter on the head than AirPods Max.
The quality of the Miami headphones is trustworthy, and much better than we are used to in this price range. Pairing with the mobile takes place by pressing and holding the power switch, while opening the Bluetooth settings on the mobile. Then the charging LED in Miami flashes and when they appear on the screen, you choose to connect.
As I said, you control the noise reduction with the button on the left earpiece, and you notice well when it is on. As all sounds from outside are muted. Some sounds – high frequency and rumbling at low frequencies, still sound albeit somewhat muted. But it is better than no noise reduction.
You should not expect as good noise reduction as in the more expensive headphones we have tested, and the Miami headphones have a long way to go before they are on a par with the best. Still, the noise reduction is effective enough that the rumbling of the bus is not too distracting, and then the music often comes out better.
The headphones are at their best when they get to play pop, rock, hip-hop, electronics, electronic jazz, metal or dance, ie distinctly rhythmic music with a lot of dynamics and bold bass. It fits in best with the sound balance here, which favors bass rhythms more than the undertones and overtones of the strings in an orchestra. For that, the headphones are not detailed enough, they lack a bit of focus and sophistication in midrange and treble, but you world how juicy the bass is.
Without being intrusive.
Terje Rypdal’s Conspiracy sounds rock hard with the drums that set the rhythm from the beat, and the guitars rip well and powerfully in the midrange, while the organ colors the soundscape with tones in amber and blue. What you do not notice much, are the symbols, which drown in the soundscape.
Edge beats on the snare drum are not much noticeable either, but the carillon on Keith Jarrets For Miles, comes out better in the soundscape.
Piano tones work well and even large concert pianos sound adult and well defined, but even here I miss a bit of timbre in the treble. But look at Zara Larsson’s Look What You’ve Done, and the Urbanista headphones are at their ace. The sucking bass becomes physical, the vocals are well defined, and the only thing I miss is the opportunity to play even louder.
The wireless Urbanista Miami, is a bargain at the price. Although the active noise reduction is not as effective as hoped, it does a far better job than no noise reduction. When even the sound is a pure feast of an engaging though not very refined fireworks display, we can only recommend Miami to anyone aiming for the budget class, when looking for new wireless headphones. With noise reduction. Because it is not easy to find in this class. Urbanista Miami has it, and at the same time they look good and, the quality is better than we are used to in this price range, so the choice is easy.