Urbanears Medis High-Performance Earbud/Headset (Playback 58)

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Urbanears Medis
Urbanears Medis High-Performance Earbud/Headset (Playback 58)

Medis is a district of Stockholm, Sweden, located at exactly N 59º 18’ 54.46” by E 018º 04’ 20.91”. How do I know this? It’s written on the outside of the Urbanears Medis earphone’s box. And why is the location of Medis on the box? That’s just the way Urbanears does things.

The Medis are the second earphone for Urbanears I’ve covered recently. The first was the $35 Bagis, which proved to be quite a value. But other than sharing a similar overall design aesthetic, the $50 Medis have little physically in common with the Bagis. While the Bagis are a noise-isolating sealed in-ear design, the Medis are an on-ear, unsealed design with no noise isolation or noise cancellation. Indeed, this means the Medis is essentially that most rare of rare birds: a true high performance “earbud.” In short the Medis isn’t “better” as in good/better/best, but a completely different product designed to be used in situations where an isolating in-ear design wouldn’t be desirable. Urbanears carries the concept of the right tool for the job to a logical and well-designed conclusion.

One aspect of the Medis design that it shares with all the other Urbanears earphones is a celebration of color. You can get Medis in black, teal, raspberry, orange, tomato, sage, indigo, mocha, mustard, cream, grape and dark grey. My review samples were black, which is too bad, since I’m sure I would have looked fetching in mocha. But if you want to make sure you never leave your Medis lying on a locker-room bench I’d opt for tomato.

The Medis have a different driver than the Bagis so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they have a fundamentally different sound. The published Medis frequency curve shows a gradual 5 dB lift, which begins around 750 Hz. All the frequencies between 1kHz and 7 kHz are hotter than the rest of the Medis’ frequency range. At approximately 7 kHz there’s a 2 dB spike before the Medis begin a gradual roll-off that leaves them 40 dB down by 20 Hz. This harmonic frequency curve gives the Medis an added helping of clarity, especially in the human voice range.

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