The Bagis ‘phones are designed to be worn with their signal cables dropping straight down from your ears. I tried to use them with the cables routed up and around the tops of my ears and down my back, but they didn’t stay seated in my ears and the mute button on the cable was impossible to use. If you have to run the cables behind your ears, the Bagis won’t be your first choice.
Even the Bagis cabling shows an attention to ergonomic detail not usually found in $30 earphones; the first fourteen inches of cable before the left and right junction utilizes a different cover material. This rubberized surface was made to slide easily to minimize any microphonics from rubbing against your shirt collar or neck. After the junction the cable covering changes to a rugged cloth that will withstand abrasion and physical trauma better than the rubber covering. The 47” cable length was long enough to reach an MP3 player even if located in a hip or back pocket.
While the Bagis cable is not removable or replaceable, if you use the Bagis with a standard MP3 player the (included) 5-inch standard stereo adapter cable will act as “quick release” break-away that will protect the rest of cable from trauma. The first time I used the Bagis during a workout this design feature saved the cable from damage when it got caught on a leg abductor machine; instead of breaking, the adapter cable merely pulled out of its socket with no harm done.
The Bagis come 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 under $100 earbuds, it doesn’t require returning them to directly to Urbanears for warranty replacement. Of course the warranty doesn’t cover abuse, which would include trying to use the earbuds under water or in outer space.
Designing a harmonically neutral earphone is a delicate balancing act, whether it costs $35 or $350. It’s all too easy to end up with an earphone that is bass-heavy or bass-light. Judged in terms of absolute neutrality, the Bagis bass is overly richly endowed (especially in the kick-drum range), and slow. But somehow the Bagis manage to survive this extra dollop of bass without irrevocably interfering with the midrange.
The Bagis bass resolution was slightly soft and woolly, especially when compared with the clarity and control of its’ midrange. The bass was also a bit slow, meaning it hung around after a note had stopped, giving you the sort of response you might hear if listening to bass instruments in an overly reverberant space. The bass tended to “bloom" so that the listener perceives a slight increase in low-end volume after the initial attack, which obscured some bass definition and detail. But despite these sonic issues the Bagis bass was qualitatively superior to the $49 Paradigm Shift E1 earphones. The Bagis bass was cleaner and better controlled with no renegade bass notes interfering with the midrange. The Bagis also avoided the E1’s occasional sympathetic resonances during high-level bass passages.
It’s hard not to like the Bagis’ midrange presentation. Judged by the Occam’s razor of absolute neutrality, the Bagis’ midrange balance is definitely on the dark side of neutral. But most music benefitted from the Bagis’ sympathetic ministrations. Male voices had real presence and weight, and while female vocalists, especially altos, such as Mary Chapin Carpenter, sounded somewhat darker than usual, they still retained some clarity and sparkle.