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

Earphones and in-ear monitors
Urbanears Medis

Urbanears has dubbed the Medis as an “EarClick” design. The first time you put on the Medis you’ll understand how they came up with the term. To put on the Medis you rest their bases on the lower curve of your ear, bend the bumper slightly and give the buds a slight counter-clockwise twist. Once in place, I found the Medis were as secure and as hard to pull out as a pair of well seated in-ear-canal earphones. The Medis are well marked as to which is left and right, but if you do accidentally try to put the left bud in your right ear you’ll discover that each bud is specifically shaped for an individual ear. The left bud will simply not fit into your right ear.

The Medis have zero noise isolation capabilities. Well, okay, maybe they attenuate outside noise by a couple of dBs, but not much. But that’s intentional. The Medis were created for runners and others who need earbuds that allow them to be aware of the outside world around them. At lower volume levels it’s easy to listen to music and carry on a conversation. At higher volume levels all you’ll hear is music.

Unlike the Urbanears’ Bagis, which uses a special rubberized covering for the first section of the cord to minimize microphonics, the Medis cable is cloth covered over its entire length. Because the Medis do not sit in direct contact with you ear canal the cable’s microphonics are far less audible than an in-ear design, so it didn’t need additional attenuation. If you rub the cable near each bud you will hear noise, but it’s not loud.

The Medis can be worn the standard way with the cable hanging straight down or with the cable routed around the top of your ears. Unfortunately, if you route the cable around the top of the ears it will put the mute control two inches behind your left ear—doable, but not ideal. But at least the cable is long enough at 47 inches, so it will still reach an iPod in your front pocket. The cable is also quite flexible so running it down your back or your arm is a snap.

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