Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
The Momentum lineup of Sennheiser is designed for the high-end consumer. As such, Sennheiser has continued its street-like design with the Momentum Wireless today rather than the muted conservative feel we have seen from some other Sennheiser products. This is the third generation of Sennheiser's Momentum over-ear headphones and it is similar to the previous Momentum headphones. One thing I am happy to report is the number of premium materials found here. For one, this is the first time I have seen real leather on both the earcups and the headband. The headband is padded well at the top to ensure comfort. Stainless steel is used for the folding arms where the cups sit, while a metal frame sits internally to keep the whole headset sturdy. While it may add a bit more heft, build quality is improved because of the inclusion of these materials. There are still some plastic elements, such as the rest of the earcup, but it feels solid. There are no squeaking or odd noises when flexing these headphones, feeling flexible and solid enough to fit on most head sizes. Overall, I am really liking these material choices, which translate into a better feeling product.
As you may or may not know, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless folds up into a more compact form, making it a lot easier to stuff in your bag on the go. Folding it up is also necessary to store the headset in the provided carrying case. This can be done by pushing one of the sides into the headset and folding the other earcup over it. Sennheiser actually implements an automatic on and off feature based on the folding mechanism of the left side, so I would recommend folding the left side first to ensure it stays off when you want it to be off. Folding action is smooth but provides enough resistance to keep the folding arms in place. It does not necessarily become the most compact headset, but I think this is still helpful for those on the go.
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless tips the scales at approximately 304g, which is decently light. Comparatively speaking, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC weighs approximately 66g less, while the V-MODA Crossfade II Wireless is only five grams heavier. Considering the materials used in aforementioned headphones, these numbers should not be too surprising. This pair of circumaural headphones feature 42mm Sennheiser drivers. The rated frequency response is 6Hz to 22kHz, which is wider than the normal human hearing range of 20Hz to 20kHz. The rated impedance is 100 ohms in passive mode, which seems quite high. On the other hand, these are Bluetooth headphones, so you probably will not have to worry about this.
In addition to the drivers, there are other electronics and materials in the headset to provide active noise cancelling capabilities. Sennheiser's solution, which is dubbed NoiseGard, utilizes tiny microphones to pick up ambient external noise and cancel out sounds. By using polarity reversed signals, lower frequency sound waves can be removed to the listener through the phenomenon of destructive interference. While this may not necessarily be required for daily use, this is especially helpful in any environment outside the home, such as in an airplane, on the train, or even in office environments with louder cubicle neighbors. Sennheiser mentions there are four microphones on the headphones to pick up the ambient noise. With Sennheiser's app, you actually have three different modes of active noise cancellation, as we will look at later on.
Otherwise, these earpads are removable. The ones that come with Sennheiser Momentum Wireless are again made up of genuine leather, and work well to seal ears inside. These oval earcups with memory foam underneath have a good amount of depth to keep your ears from pressing against the plastic underneath. They also have a foam lining inside to further prevent ears from touching the plastic frame. The overall clamping force of the headphones and the soft pads makes the Momentum Wireless quite comfortable while feeling secure as well. If they wear out over time, you can also replace these. Even still, comfort and feel will vary from user to user, so I would still advise you to try them out.
As for the controls of the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, all of the functions are located on the right earcup. Starting at the top, we have a multicolor LED light to indicate power status as well as for other status information like when charging or pairing. The next button is a slider to control active noise cancellation or ANC. When it is pulled up, it is off, and when the slider rests in the middle, ANC is on. Moving the slider down toggles transparent hearing, which we will talk about later when we look at the app. The next three buttons are close together and they provide typical controls. The top and bottom buttons are used for Volume Up and Volume Down, respectively. The middle button can be used for media, such as a single press for Play/Pause, double press for Next track, and triple press for Previous track. In various calling scenarios, the middle button can be used to answer and end calls. Finally, the bottom button separated from the rest serves a dual purpose to either activate your voice assistant, such as Google Assistant, Siri, or Alexa. If held down, this will force the headset into pairing mode. Finally, we have two inputs. The first one is a USB Type-C port for charging the headset, while the other is a circular hole so users can plug in the included cable for wired mode. The cable is proprietary in the sense it uses a locking mechanism on the cable, while also employing the lesser common 2.5mm sized plug.
As for getting the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless paired with your devices, the process is pretty straightforward compared to other Bluetooth audio products. Bluetooth 5.0 is implemented here, and multiple profiles like HFP, HSP, AVRCP, and A2DP are supported. In addition, we have support for aptX, aptX Low Latency, and AAC codecs. When you first turn on your pair of headphones, it will automatically go into pairing mode. If you have NFC or near field communication available to use on your phone, you can tap the right earcup near the Sennheiser logo with your device for immediate pairing. This handy feature is really nice to see. Multiple devices can be paired, but you can only listen to one device at a time. Overall range of the Bluetooth signal is pretty good with a range of up to ten meters. Of course, you can also plug the included audio cable into the right side earcup to enable wired mode while disabling the wireless electronics. This will bypass wireless limitations and the internal digital to audio converter for improved sound quality and reduced latency. In addition, wired mode will work whether the headphones are turned on or off. On the other hand, you can still use the active noise cancellation in wired mode. As for wireless use, we have an internal minimum 600mAh battery to provide up to seventeen hours of use with NoiseGard enabled.
Onto the included accessories, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless comes with a large fabric gray bag with side pouches inside. This way you can carry around the headphones with its included 2.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, a Type-C USB charging cable, and a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter. All in all, it is great to see all of these accessories, though I think I would have liked to see a hard-shell case with the Momentum Wireless. While the top and bottom circular surfaces are rigid, the rest of the body is soft, making it easier to crush under heavy loads. Obviously, I do not plan to stick this case or my headphones under a large load, but considering other manufacturers provide more robust cases with their headphones, I think Sennheiser could too.
As for the application, you can download Sennheiser's Smart Control app for Android and iOS devices from their respective app stores. Launching the app will automatically connect the app to your headphones where you can make changes. It will show you the device you are connected to as well as its current battery life. At the front page, you have shortcuts to the Noise Cancellation, Transparent Hearing, and Equalizer settings. The Noise Cancellation toggles between three modes including Maximum, Anti Wind, and Anti Pressure. Maximum is pretty self-explanatory, but the other two are used to block out wind noises only, or reduce the amount of pressure perceived when ANC is active. As we have commented on previously, Transparent Hearing is an ambient mode that lets you hear your surrounding environment through the headphones by using microphones on both sides to pick up external noises. It is a pretty neat experience as you could hear other people speaking to you while listening to your music. As for the equalizer, this lets you further adjust the audio balance. It is not the most flexible of equalizers, since it does not let you adjust for each frequency level, but rather applies different generic curves.
Finally, the cogwheel at the top corner lets you unlock a few other things. Smart Pause can be turned on here, which means your media will automatically stop playing when you remove the headset from your ears. This uses some sort of proximity sensor of sorts in the headphones. I think Sennheiser has implemented this well, but it is sometimes a bit too sensitive. Otherwise, you can allow it to automatically pick up calls and change if you want to let the headphones have access to your voice assistant on your phone. Finally, you may need to update the firmware on the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless, which requires the app to do so. During my review, I received two firmware updates to get up to version 3.0.5. Otherwise, the app is pretty easy to use and I encountered very few issues compared to when I was testing the Momentum True Wireless earlier this year. One other neat thing included with the Momentum Wireless is the ability to find the headphones with Tile, a Bluetooth tracking system. Originally, this was first realized as a keychain attachment for keys or your wallet, but it is pretty neat to see Sennheiser include this tracker to help users locate their pair of headphones.
All in all, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless has a pretty polished exterior with excellent features. Its active noise cancellation and build quality is great to see here. However, we do have to answer the more important question: How does it actually sound like? Thankfully, our next page is where we will investigate these questions and more, so let us get on to the audio analysis!
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis