This is a review of Sennheiser MOMENTUM over-ears headphones. Sennheiser MOMENTUM - Over ear headphones - Stereo, Closed, Dynamic headphones
After reviewing so many different over-/on-ear and in-ear headphones, I started to notice a pattern. Every pair is trying to be good at one or two particular things, either if its a focus on bass or other parts of frequency spectrum or having a fancy design to standout from the crowd or including ridiculous amount of accessories, etc. That is a reason why so many audiophiles, or just anybody who appreciates the sound quality, end up with multiple sets of headphones, either for your home listening with an amp, or another "fun" pair with a specific sound coloring, or something portable to work with your smartphone on the go. What I believe Sennheiser accomplished with these headphones is the ability to combine the best of everything, and with that I would like to start my review of MOMENTUM.
Actually, let me start my review by saying "thank you Beats". I have mentioned numerous times in my reviews that I'm not a fan of Beats headphones, but I have to give them credit for pushing other companies to think outside of their comfort "bulky" zone and making them realize that a cool design is as important as sound quality. MOMENTUM is definitely a result of that. The name Sennheiser is synonymous with high quality sound and durability of German engineering. The retro-modern design of MOMENTUM takes it to the next level where I want to wear them every day, and I want to be seen wearing them everywhere, even as earmuffs to keep my ears warm!!! That's how fantastic they look and feel. Released almost a year ago, these are over-ear headphones while recently Sennheiser introduced on-ear version with smaller earpads that go on your ear instead of over your ear like original MOMENTUM. On-ear version cost less and has a slightly cut down performance, but it still a very capable headphones based from all the reviews and comparison I've read. In my review, I would like to focus on the original MOMENTUM.
Starting with a box, there is no mistake you are dealing with a premium product. I always enjoy before opening the box to take a tour of every side to learn about the product. One thing to note here, MOMENTUM comes in two color scheme, brown and black/red. Each color gets their own box with a corresponding color picture on the cover - a very nice touch to personalize your premium experience. Opening the box reveals an attached envelope-pocket inside of the cover with guide and instructions, and the main side of the box housing a large hard case. The cases are also individually matched to color scheme of the headphones, and my case was all black with a red stitching around a zipper. Once you open it up, you notice how snugly these headphones fit inside of the shaped compartment while cable is managed without a need to be disconnected. The storage case is rather large, I do have to admit it, but the design of these headphones is a solid brushed steel band without any folding hinges. It's simple, minimalistic, very durable, and overall looks like a piece of art with retro-modern look. The headband is split at the top and wrapped around in authentically looking leather with red stitching and subtle padding on the inside. When you look at it first, you might think - where is all that heavy headband padding you expect from over-ear headphones? But once you pickup it's 190g lightweight frame and put it on your head, within minutes you will forget you even have it on. The earcups shell is made out of some lightweight carbon fiber material and earpads have high quality memory foam surrounded by finest real leather while the inner side has a red cloth covering the driver. The unique design of single piece steel headband doesn't have any moving parts, so the headphone earcups itself slide up and down, thanks to some kind of a spring loaded precise adjustment sliding mechanism with a very smooth movement. Earcups also have a small degree of rotation for a final adjustment. I found the fitment to be simply outstanding, considering I have an average size ears of about 60mm top to bottom. I think these will accommodate comfortably anybody with ear size up to 70mm, though individuals with larger ears might feel not as comfortable. Clamping force was just perfect, and with marshmallow soft surrounding of earcups you actually get a decent passive noise isolation.
With cables usually being the first thing that breaks in headphones after extensive bending use, there is no worries in this case since these are detachable. You get 2 sets of cables, one straight audio cable with interlocking 2.5mm side attached to a left earcup and 3.5mm connector going to your headphone jack. The second cable has in-line remote/mic with a premium brushed alloy metal design and controls for iDevices. I had no problem using multi-function button with my Note 2 to control the music play/pause, control playback with skipping tracks by double clicking, push and hold to start Google Now, and pickup and hangup phone calls that sounded great with a built in mic. I have read about some people with older Galaxy phones having a problem, so I would suggest to try JAYS headset control free app to fix that. This in-line remote/mic is very similar in shape and quality to CX 985 I reviewed not too long ago. Another similarity with CX 985 is the adjustable angled 3.5mm connector. This is a pure German engineering quality. Made out of brushed alloy metal as well, you can adjust the angle of the connector from straight to 90degrees and anything in between. There is also a hex adjustment screen if you need to tighten it up. As you can see, MOMENTUM is very smartphone friendly, including 18 ohm impedance which is easy to drive from any portable audio device. In addition to two cables, you also get 1/4" adapter. These accessories fit neatly inside of the hard case storage pocket with a clever velcro-attached cover. The 2.5mm connector going to the earcup has interlocking mechanism so you don't have to worry about pulling on the cable and disconnecting it. Also, the inner space of the case designed for the cable to stay attached so you don't have to add extra wear on the connector every time you want to store your MOMENTUM inside the case.
As you can see, I was finally happy to see a pair of over-ear headphones with a superior comfort, built quality, and a design I want to be seen in public. But without a matching sound quality, this might as well be just a pair of stylish earmuffs lol!!! Even before burn in, I was very impressed with a sound, but decided to jump in right away with about 10-12hr before starting to analyze the sound. What a treat it was!!! Although we are not talking about comparison to Senns open-back HD series that cost 3x-4x as much, for a closed back headphones these sound simply amazing!!! Its a perfectly balanced sound with a very warm characteristics. The bass is definitely present with a nice punch, though not overwhelming, and clarity. These are not basshead headphones; the bass definitely has quality and some "fun" quantity, but not too much. Just a perfect balance which I found to be appropriate for any style of music, either if its edm/dubstep or pop/rock or Avicii crossover electro-country-pop from his latest "True" album. Mids bring up every detail of instruments and vocals within its range, everything was clear and balanced. Highs sound fantastic, probably one of the most realistic treble I have heard in awhile. I feel with a lot of headphones they exaggerate it a bit and after awhile of listening the harshness of high frequencies starts to hurt your ears. Here it feels very relaxed while still clear and balanced with the rest of the sounds. The soundstage is not the widest in comparison to other headphones, but the instrument placement is very well done and the width is perfectly balanced for headphones use. This is a first time I didn't have to reach out to enable Crossfeed in my Neutron MP. To summarize, the sound is very detailed and warm and easy on your ears which you are going to appreciate during extended listening. Unlike some other balanced or neutral headphones, MOMENTUM doesn't have a crisply sound which creates sibilance or ear fatigue after extended listening. Instead, coupled with amazing comfort, you will look for any excuse to extend your listening!!! I also found these headphones to be forgiven in terms of listening to different quality of compressed audio and from different sources. It sounded great even with some of my 192kbps mp3s, and I enjoy listening to these either connected directly to laptop, or my Galaxy Note 2, or through FiiO E18 portable DAC/amp.
Overall, I think I just found the pair of my favorite headphones!!! Everything I was looking for from comfort of long time use to a beautiful design and the balanced rich sound where presence of bass is not sacrificed - all of this is captured within MOMENTUM. I no longer have to compromise or to settle for different over-/on-/in-ear headphones to cover all the requirements I'm looking for. I'm sure a lot of you will feel the same after trying one of these on. Of course YMMV, but I seriously think Sennheiser did an outstanding job with a design of their MOMENTUM headphones. And considering their price tag, its a great value too. I know I started my review with "Thank you Beats", but let me just finish it with "No, Thank you, Beats". For the same amount of money, you get quality, design, and sound which is miles ahead!
Here are the pictures.