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

Earphones and in-ear monitors
Urbanears Medis

The Medis’ permanently attached cable is terminated with a three-section mini-plug that allows it to control an iPod’s mute function. The Medis comes with two additional adapters, one for Nokia-compatible devices and the other for standard MP3 and stereo devices. The nice thing about these adapter cables is that they also serve as strain-relief quick-releases—if you snag your cable on something the connection between the permanently-attached cable and the adapter cable will pull out first, protecting the rest of the cable from damage.

The Medis comes with a one-year “premium” replacement warranty. What this means is that for a year if the product fails the original authorized dealer, at their discretion, can replace it. Not only is this warranty longer than for most $50 earbuds, it also doesn’t require returning them directly to Urbanears for warranty replacement. Of course the warranty doesn’t cover abuse, which would include trying to use the Medis during the swimming part of your Ironman competition.


•Brighter than neutral with some bass energy.
•Smooth but slightly forward midrange.
•A detailed high-end.
•Decent imaging specificity.
•Fair dynamic contrast.

I mentioned earlier that the fit is the most important and influential aspect of an earphone’s overall performance. With the Medis the fit will strongly affect your perceived bass response. For me the Medis’ bass was on the light side when they were worn in a standard manner, but if I put on a knitted skullcap (not my normal headgear) the cap pushed the Medis inward slightly and made marked a difference in the amount of bass I heard—to the point that the bass could become overbearing. So, you could consider the Medis bass response adjustable, if you don’t mind wearing headgear that comes down over your ears.

The Medis bass resolution overall was good, far better than the thick and woolly sound of the Urbanears Bagis earphones. Because the Medis doesn’t make much direct contact with your ear canals, its bass frequencies are primarily airborne, which give them less impact but better definition. The bass through the Medis is more like what I hear from an open-back headphone rather than a traditional earphone or a closed-back headphone. The bass is clean and well delineated but lacking in slam and visceral impact.

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