Since their unveiling at CES 2012, Sennheiser’s Momentum line has included some truly outstanding headphones, seamlessly combining awesome sound quality with a durable build. So how do the latest pair stack up?
Sennheiser’s latest entry in the Momentum line-up signals a big change for the series - no more wires. Yes, these are Bluetooth cans now, but will they still fill our ears with glorious sound? And does sticking with the same general design for over two years mean these once beautiful headphones feel a bit old fashioned?
Find out in our Sennheiser Momentum Wireless review…..
Same design, refined
Upon first glance you’d be hard pushed to find any visual differences between the Momentum Wireless and the wired version, which has in fact also received a small bump to version 2. We’re actually rather happy about this, as the mix of metal and leather combines to create a really industrial design that we love. The stainless-steel ridge is sturdy, bend it and there’s little give. The only plastic on these cans can be found on the front of the ear-cups, but even this is solid and resistant to scuffs.
Delve a little deeper and there are a couple of changes to the overall design. The biggest alteration fixes one of the grievances we had with the original pair, the complete lack of portability. The rigid headband was great, but it meant the cans couldn’t be folded and the accompanying carrying case was pretty monstrous in size. This time around though they’re foldable, which without sacrificing any of that design is an impressive feat. Folding the ‘phones up means they can fit much better into a bag and helps make the carrying case about half the size as before.
The other change involves the soft ear-cups, which have been increased ever so slightly in size. Sennheiser tells us this was done to address consumer (constructive) criticism and while the change isn’t instantly obvious (if you’ve never worn the older pair, you won’t notice anything) after a quick comparison you can tell they fit more comfortably over a range of ear sizes than before.
Our review model came with creamy white ear cups, but a slightly more subtle black model is also available.
Not everything is perfect though. With the ditching of the wires, the in-line remote and the new Bluetooth controls have been moved to the ear-cup, but the buttons themselves are a little plasticky and mushy. You hold down the Standby button to turn them on, and keep it held down to put it into pairing mode.
There’s also NFC, so you can tap an Android or Windows 8 smartphone against the cup to initiate pairing. As you’d expect, this works well and is the quickest way to set up a connection.
Speaking of comfort, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Over-ear cans really impressed us. Having used the wired pair on a daily basis for about a year now, we're not shocked by this, but the slight increase in ear-cup size helped them sit that bit better over our ears.
Actually, they were so comfy that after sitting with the on with a number of hours, we forgot they were there. Long after the music had stopped playing. Now, if that isn’t a ringing endorsement of comfort, we’re not sure what is.
Awesome audio, no wires
You can have a stellar build, classy materials in the construction and just about all the added extras under the sun, but a pair of headphones, a £379 pair of headphones nonetheless, lives or dies by just how damn good they sound.
Spoiler: these are very, very impressive.
They feature the same closed-back design as the wired model, but that brings with it a fantastically balanced sound that really impresses, whatever music you throw at it. We bounced between genres, playing everything from loud, vibrant pop to thumping bass heavy rap and the cans shone through on all accounts.
Yes, they’re not as bass heavy as say the Beats By Dre Studio Wireless, an obvious competitor, though slightly cheaper (ahem) at £329, but there’s still enough of it, punchy and detailed. Actually, the toned down bass is a plus point, as the Studio Wireless ‘phones often left a ringing in our ears after extended listening.
We’ve tried a lot of Bluetooth headphones, but it’s an easy thing to say that these are these best, the best of an ever-growing bunch. The mid and high tones are perfect, interference never happened and the classy British voice that alerts when you’re connected and ready to go is a nice touch.
There’s active noise cancelling here too, so you can zone out completely and just concentrate on the perfectly recreated tunes blasting deep into your ears. The isolation is pretty impressive and it uses some tech Sennheiser calls NoiseGuard.
Thankfully, the sound quality isn’t affected by the noise cancellation (sometimes with other cans you hear an incessant buzzing) and we were able to spend an entire tube journey hearing nothing but the soothing vocals of Drake in our ears.
The cups also house microphones, letting you use these cans as the ultimate voice conferencing tool, with Conversations coming through crisply and clearly. Not that we expected anything less.
Across the world with one charge
Bluetooth headphones need great battery life. We’ve become used to charging our phones every night, maybe juicing up a smartwatch and or a tablet, but headphones - not so much. If you get into a situation where you’re running out of the house and your cans are in the red, the next time you’re just going to pick up those wired buds that are always ready to go.
Thankfully, Sennheiser gets the thumbs up from us in this category too. We used these headphones throughout the day for about a week and half and only had to charge them once. The stated 22-hour battery life is, for the most part, accurate, if slightly pessimistic.
And, even when the battery is flat, the included cable ensures the music doesn’t stop. This is a feature that is surprisingly left out of a lot of wireless, active noise cancelling headphones, but we’re glad it’s included here.
As these phones are wireless, you won’t be running into any issues with the cable fraying or scuffing after use, but the included 1.4m cable is sturdy and feels premium enough. The right angle jack may seem like a small detail, but it’s a vital detail and adds further to the durable feels of these cans.
The combination of brushed aluminium and leather, along with the new foldable mechanism, create a pair of headphones that we think will last pretty well. There’s no bend, unless you try really hard, while the materials haven’t scuffed so far in our testing.
Obviously, this could all change. But, going from our experiences with previous entries in the Momentum line, you’ll be making a good investment if you pick these up.
Yes, these are very expensive headphones. But, you’re paying for quality, quality in all areas. The build is sturdy and durable, the materials used are premium and the neat additions, like the foldable frame, are genuine advances over the previous wired models.
They sound like they cost nearly £400 too. We doubt very many people would put these on and come away disappointed. Deep, rich sound is pumped into your ears, with enough bass to please the masses.
NFC, active noise cancellation and the microphones all add to the fantastic package, but sound is the real winner here.