Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Headphone Review

If you want to skip the fluff, the two sections you want to read are the Sound Quality and Conclusion sections.

Introduction

Over the past few years, I’ve tried and owned a number of Bluetooth headphones. They included the Sony MDR-1BT, Sony MDR-1BT Mark 2, Bose AE2w (now known as the SoundLink Around-Ear), Logitech UE9000, and Parrot Zik.

Below is a list of shortcomings I found with them:

  • Sony MDR-1BT/MDR-1BT Mark 2 had great sound quality but did not have active noise-cancelling
  • Bose AE2w had comfort as its hallmark trait. But lacked in sound quality (aptX made ZERO difference) and did not have active noise-cancelling.
  • Logitech UE9000 had great sound quality and OK active noise-cancelling. But it was too heavy, felt like wearing a helmet on your head.
  • Parrot Zik had OK sound quality (it is OK because the sound signature is not to my taste, I prefer a neutral sound), OK active noise-cancelling, and looked very stylish. Great to look at, but not very comfortable to wear.

I know the Bluetooth headphone market has changed dramatically in the past few years, with new iterations and successors to the above-mentioned list of headphones released on almost a yearly basis. But this will give you an idea of my background.

Packaging

There is not much to say about the packaging. It’s comparable to the size that other similar-sized headphones came in. And like other headphones that come with a carrying case. The headphones are pre-packed inside the carry cases – yes, there are two carry cases – a soft carry case and a hard carry case.

Figure 1. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless box.
Figure 2. First look inside box.
Figure 3. First look into carry case.

The Goods

Included with the headphones are:

  • a soft carrying case
  • a hard carrying case
  • 2.5mm to 3.5mm headphone cable
  • airline headphone jack adapter
  • USB-A to microUSB cable
  • documentation
Figure 4. All the contents of package.

Design

The Sennheiser Momentum line of headphones is undeniably one of the best (if not the best) looking pair of headphones on the market.

To highlight my point, the designers of the Momentum headphones took special note of where they placed the folding point in the headphones to avoid breaking the exquisite minimalistic design. Something I have yet to see any other headphone manufacturer do.

A real masterpiece of engineering and design.

Build Quality

Sennheiser has bucked the trend of using plastic to keep the weight down like what other manufacturers have done (looking at your Sony).

The materials used in the Momentum line of headphones are premium materials as touted by Sennheiser’s advertisements.

The Momentum Wireless’ build is top notch. Probably the most well-made pair of headphones I have owned to date, even better than my Oppo PM-3s. Best of all, every part is self-serviceable.

Sound Quality

Like other Bluetooth headphones, the headphones sound differently based on how it is connected to the sound source.

The Momentum Wireless offers three ways to connect to sound sources: Analog/Wired Mode (using included audio cable), Bluetooth, and Digital/USB Mode (using included USB cable).

Note: I have arrived at the below conclusions after using the headphones for over a month (so they have had a good time to burn in).

Bluetooth Mode

Out of all the Bluetooth headphones, I have heard so far, the sound quality of the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless is noticeably better.

The sound is vibrant, not recessed or flat. The bass is not over emphasized and there is a good separation of the instruments.

USB Mode

Notes:

  • To use headphones in USB mode: connect the headphones to your computer and switch the headphones on – remember, switch the headphones on after you have connected the headphones to your computer.
  • If the headphones are paired with your computer, make sure you disconnect it from your computer (otherwise you are using the headphones in Bluetooth mode and not USB mode).

Using the headphones in USB mode provides a step up in sound quality from the Bluetooth mode.

The step up in sound quality is only marginally better (unless you have sensitive ears like me) when listening to MP3s and other lossy audio formats.

It is more noticeable when the audio source is a lossless format.

Wired Mode

Wired mode provides the best sound quality out of the three modes – provided you have a good DAC/AMP to drive the headphones.

Like other reviewers, I was shocked at the step down in sound quality when I switched to wired mode. Then I remembered my experience with the Sennheiser HD600.

The Sennheiser HD600 sounded OK without an amp but coupled with a good AMP, it really shined.

So I put my hypothesis to the test by connecting the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless to the Creative Sound Blaster E5. What a difference it made.

Note: The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless are not designed for pure sound quality. They sound great, but will not sound anywhere near as good as a pair of headphones designed purely for sound quality in its price range such as the Oppo PM-3.

Figure 5. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless connected to Sound Blaster E5.

Active Noise-Cancellation

We used to have to make a trade-off between sound quality and active noise-cancelling – usually in the form of getting a Bose QC-series headphone (for active noise-cancelling) and for sound quality, a headphone from the likes of Sennheiser, Sony, etc.

But those days are long gone. Sennheiser and Sony (at least) have caught up and in Sony’s case, even surpassed Bose in active noise-cancellation technology.

Now there is no longer a need to sacrifice sound quality for active noise-cancellation and vice versa.

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless’ active noise-cancellation capabilities are on par or very close to the Bose QC25’s. All while providing superior sound quality.

Note: There is no switch to turn the active noise-cancelling feature on/off. The active noise-cancellation feature is always on when the headphones are used in either the Bluetooth or USB mode. And it’s always off when used in wired mode.

Comfort

One of the often overlooked item on the spec sheet people do is not looking at the weight of the headphones.

From personal experience, you do not want a pair of headphones that is heavier than 290grams. Anything beyond the 300grams and it will feel like a helmet.

For optimal comfort, I recommend less than 265grams.

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless slides just under the 265grams mark at 260grams and is a pleasure to wear.

I have read reviews of the previous generation of Sennheiser Momentums being uncomfortable due to small ear-cups and were resolved in the M2 (the same model the Momentum Wireless is based off on). I can confirm, this issue is not present in the Momentum Wireless.

Conclusion

Sure there are better sounding or better noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones on the market. But if you factor in the design, build quality, and maintainability. The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless is one of a kind.

A good rule of thumb I use to measure the quality of a product is the product’s lifespan.

Most manufacturers refresh their headphone lines once every year or two.

What this means is:

  1. The engineers and designers at these manufacturers have less than one year (or two) to complete the new product.
  2. They need to reserve some ideas for the ‘next’ model.
  3. Design in a way that will require or encourage consumers to buy the new model in a year or two’s time. (use material that deteriorates shortly after warranty expires in a year or two’s time? not user self-serviceable?)

As mentioned in the build quality section, every part of the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless is self-serviceable, you will be using it for many years.

If you could get past the price tag. The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless headphone is a fantastic pair of wireless headphones, that not just packs, but delivers all the goodies one would want in a pair of wireless headphones.

I highly recommend it – not something I say often.

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