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Review of Sennheiser Momentum in-ear headphones with Android controls w/lots of pics!

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by twister6, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    This is a review of Sennheiser Momentum in-ear headphones with Android controls. Sennheiser MOMENTUM In-Ear - In Ear Headphones with integrated microphone - easy call control function

    I knew Senns was cooking something new to announce during or after IFA 2014, but I had no idea what to expect. The moment I read about Momentum In-Ear announcement and saw a promo video - I already started speculating in my mind how these going to be tuned. With such a bold design look they were obviously trying to appeal to a younger crowd who values bass and want smartphone controls, but calling it "Momentum" tied it up to a family of audiophile quality full size headphones that appeal to a more mature crowd with priorities of sound quality above the looks. I was in for a big surprise when I received my review sample and came to a conclusion that Senns cooked a perfect formula to make everybody happy and managed to deliver that under $100. Here is what I found.

    One thing you can always count on with Senns is to deliver a great unboxing experience. Even prior to opening a compact packaging box it arrived in, I had a pretty good idea what to expect by taking a "tour" around the box to find out about its design details, features, controls and accessories. In the past I have reviewed Momentum over-ear headphones, so was surprised how cleverly they scaled down the packaging details for in-ears. You have a similar form fitting foam cutout where they placed a premium quality black case with a zipper and a red stitching details. There was an additional cutout with a small bag containing two pairs of eartips, and also a manual booklet. Unzipping a case revealed what appears to be a wire spool with headphones and in-line remote sitting in the middle and the rest of the flat wire wrapped around. On a back of the spool there was a space for another pair of eartips and headphone plug.

    As much as I enjoyed this presentation, I have to admit this spool will not be used again because I found 45deg angles formed during the wire wrapping to cause a memory effect in the wire which I'm still trying to straighten out. Its great for presentation, but not practical for every day use. Luckily, spool comes out without a problem, and you have a high quality headphone case with a space enough to store even a small mp3 player like Clip+. Headphones itself had yet another pair of eartips already on, with all 4 pairs (XS, S, M, L) being silicone and having a signature line across the bore opening (works great as a stopper so you don't push a nozzle all the way through). I would have liked to see some Comply foam tips as well, though actually found included eartips to provide an excellent fitment and decent sound isolation.

    When it comes to a design of headphones itself, I found these to have a very unique look to stand out from the crowd. Though I can only see an angled nozzle made out of stainless steel material and metal loop on the back for a strain relief - from a design diagram on the back of the packaging box it looks like inner body is made out of metal as well with a red plastic shell on top of it. Earpieces were very light weight, and I also found a slit port opening at the top which I'm sure contributed to a wide airy soundstage. Right were the wire comes out from the shell, you have R marking on the right side, and 3 bumps on the left side to id L/R even in the dark.

    As I mentioned above, strain relief was provided in a form of a small metal loop extended from the back of the shell where you have a stamped and laser etched surface with a signature "S" which looks like a reversed "Z". Wire shielding is flat and narrow and has a slightly oval shape. From earpiece down to y-splitter the shielding is actually bi-colored with a black on outside and a red on inside (a very classy design touch), and all black from y-splitter down to 90deg L-shaped gold plated headphone plug with a very nice strain relief. Y-splitter itself is minimalistic, and right next to it you will find a chin-slider with a small "S" signature sticker. It's very rare to see a chin slider in a setup with in-line remote control since you can't slide it beyond that, but it's still effective to bring L/R cables closer with in-line remote/mic. I only sensed a slight hint of microphonics while sitting down and moving my head, but not when I was walking around.

    While some companies are trying to take an easy way out by providing either a universal remote with only a single multi-function button and mic or iPhone controls with addition of volume up/down buttons that work only with iOS, Sennheiser actually makes 2 different Momentun in-ear models, one for Android and another one for iPhone. My review sample had in-line remote for Android which Senns call "IEG" meaning In-Ear with "Galaxy" controls. But they are very clear on top of the packaging box specifying that it will work not only with Samsung Galaxy phones but also LG, HTC, Sony and other smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, some android devices might not support it since I know for sure that Moto implements a different wiring which is not compatible with other common headphone controls. So if you don't have one of those common Android brand phones, please double check with Sennheiser website for a list of compatible devices.

    In my case, it worked perfectly fine with Note 2 and S5 where single click was used for Play/Pause/Call, double click to skip next, triple click to skip prev, and long press to start Google NOW. Volume control was flawlessly integrated with my phone, and mic had a great sensitivity where I heard no complains from people on the other side of the call. The location of the remote/mic was at a perfect level to pickup voice without a problem and also to reach controls without pulling on the wire. Plus, buttons on the remote were nicely shaped with id marks and were easy to locate just by touch.

    But as you know, without a sound to back it up, all these design details will be worthless. Even so I'm a strong believer in a burn in, especially with dynamic drivers, I still like to get an idea of a sound out of the box. Don't be shocked but right out of the box it had a mid-bass bloat spilling into the rest of the spectrum. For a split second I thought to myself, oh no, hopefully these are not "basshead" beats. Without further hesitation, I put these down for an initial 12hrs burn in, and the next morning woke up to a brand new sound! After an additional 8hrs on top of that, I felt the sound settled down and I was ready to evaluate it.

    I found the overall sound signature to be slightly v-shaped with a bright detailed tuning and an enhanced bass emphasis. Starting with low frequencies, these have a deep extended sub-bass texture with a nice rumble and a fast mid-bass punch. Bass is well controlled with just a slight spillage into lower mids. It definitely has an enhanced bass quantity, but it's not over the top and without any perception of mid-bass bloat (which settled down nicely after burn in). Mids are slightly recessed, thus creating v-shaped signature, but it's very tastefully tuned to give bass more power. Upper mids sound very clear and detailed creating a happy medium between brightness and warmth. Especially when it comes to vocals, either male or female, they sound relatively natural with a nice body. Treble is well extended, crispy, but not sibilant. Sound is bright but not too hot or at the level causing ear fatigue. Soundstage has a great width and depth, almost approaching 3D level in some of the songs. Any music genre, from EDM to classical or pop and rock sounded very dynamic and with a great layering and separation of instruments (either if its electronic or acoustic timbers). I really enjoyed retrieval of the details in these IEMs. Also, it was very easy to drive these from any source, either smartphone or DAP, though having a warmer source might be more beneficial to keep brightness under control. For example, I prefer to use these headphones with my "darker" X1 versus a "brighter" X5. I also found it to be quite forgiving even with lower quality encoded mp3s.

    Overall, I was extremely pleased with new Momentum In-Ear headphones! Their sound tuning is full of energy and details to appeal to anybody who enjoys music, doesn't matter what style or tempo you are listening to. It provides extra bass, but does it tastefully without being a basshead monster. It provides clarity and details, without pushing analytical envelope with harsh tuning. It has a fun signature and still keeps upper mids in check to deliver great vocals without being too recessed. Even so I think they are a jack of all trades, I also find them to be a moderate master of all of them at the same time. With a great durable build, a modern design, full integration of smartphone controls (either for android or iphone), and a very impressive sound tuning, for under $100 these definitely deserve a serious consideration!

    Here are the pictures.

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  2. jontem

    jontem Lurker

    Hi

    Thanks for a very interesting review!

    How would you compare these to other in-ear headphones, like your recently reviewed Beyerdynamic iDX 160 ie?
     
  3. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    160ie mids are more recessed, it sounds warmer, and a bit less detailed in comparison to MIE (momentum in-ear). 160ie is great, but in relative comparison MIE is brighter, more detailed, and has a wider soundstage.

    It's getting very hard to compare headphones because there are so many great ones. Each one has its own strength and weakness relative to another pair. Also, a lot of them have their own unique characteristics which I might find as a gem while someone else will walk right by. As you have seen, I reviewed a lot of headphones (A LOT!!!!!), but if I have to choose my Top 5 in no particular order it would be Senns MIE, AT IM03, Havi B3 Pro I, VSonic VSD3, HiFiMAN RE400 (balanced wired version driven by HM700).
     
  4. nasnen

    nasnen Lurker

    Any idea when they get released? Very interested in purchasing a pair
     
  5. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    It's already released, different places starting to get it slowly in stock, probably in a few weeks it's going to be everywhere. Btw, it's on amazon as well.
     
  6. nasnen

    nasnen Lurker

    Amazon says ships in 1-2 months. That can't be right can it? Where can I go buy these today?
     
  7. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Wait another week or so, they are saying this because they are getting it in stock now.
     
  8. Geese1

    Geese1 Well-Known Member

    Do you know of any decent in-ear headphones with inline mic/media controls that will work with Motorola phones? I'm planning on getting either a Nexus 6 when it launches, or if that's too big, maybe a Moto X or Sony Xperia Z3. While it seems like I won't have any trouble finding compatible buds for use with the Sony, I didn't realize Motorola had different compatibility issues.

    By the way, I looked around on Senheiser's site but couldn't find anything relating to precisely which manufacturer's phones these supported.

    These would primarily be used for when working around the house or out in the yard - my main cans for listening will still be my ATH-M50s - but I'd like to replace my aging Future Sonic Atrio M5s with something that has a little bit more functionality. I mainly listen to rock and metal, with some classical and movie scores thrown in for good measure.
     
  9. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Senns says Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony. Surprised they still don't have a detailed listing of other phones. One thing for sure, don't count on Moto X. I tried various headphones with in-line controls with different Moto phones, and most of the time volume controls don't work and in one case (forgot which Moto it was) even multifunction button didn't work.

    Why don't you just go wireless with BT headsets to make it fully compatible with any phone and to cut down on wires?
     
    Geese1 likes this.
  10. Geese1

    Geese1 Well-Known Member

    I've never really looked at wireless headsets before as I've heard they compromise too much in sound quality, and I've never really had a problem dealing with the wires. I guess if I do end up going with a Motorola device I may have to look a little bit further into this however.

    What I've been doing is just using my M50s for listening in the house (whether lying in bed listening to music on my Nexus 7, or while doing chores around the place in which case I use my Galaxy S III). The only time I really use the Atrios any more is when working outside in the yard. I was just figuring it might be nice to have a headset designed for phones so that when I am pairing it with my new phone I can have an easier time answering calls, using media controls without taking the phone out of my pocket, etc.

    That said, do you have any recommendations for good in-ear headsets that are wireless? I know I'm not going to get the sound quality of a good wired pair, but I don't want to compromise too much if I can help it.
     
  11. diepanhnguyen

    diepanhnguyen Lurker

    Amazon says ships in 1-2 months ;)
     
  12. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I think they are still getting it in stock...
     
  13. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Wait about a week, I'm getting a new BT adapter to turn any headphone into wireless :) I have reviewed similar ones before, but been told this one supposed to be better :) Will see after I review it. Also, check out my other reviews in the signature link. I reviewed a lot of wireless headsets.
     
    Geese1 likes this.
  14. nasnen

    nasnen Lurker

    these headphones are not even listed on amazon. wth... where can i buy them? when are they actually being released? clearly they are not released yet
     
  15. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    The price on amazon was messed up, so I assume they took it temporary down to avoid any confusion. But it should be released soon.

    Already available for pre-orders from other reputable stores, like BH Photo (release date October 20th): Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Headphones 506244 B&H Photo Video
     
  16. alonwa

    alonwa Lurker

    Has anyone tried it with the LG G3 and can confirm that all 3 remote buttons fully function? Thanks
     
  17. Hi, greetings from Argentina! Hope you can help me to save my doubts.

    I am looking for some in ear headphones that last for a long time. I emphatize the duration because I have already had a pair of Monster Ncredible Nergy (in ear) and Beyerdynamic Dt 60 pro, and them both broke down. The problem, (I think) was the cable, it started to fail in both of the headphones, and finally stopped working.

    Due to my previous problems, I am looking for some headphones with detachable cables, so if they break, I can replace them. Also I want great sound, volume and track control, and comfort. All that under 100 dollars. I will use them in the street, to travel, at home, and to play the drums, all with my cellphone.

    I didn´t find much in my country internet market, but the ones that suit the most to my conditions were the Vsonic Vsd3 and Beyerdynamic Idx 160 IE.

    About the Vsonic Vsd3, the main advantage I see in them is the detachable/replaceable cable. However, the only thing that makes them not be perfect is that they don´t have a volume/track control in the cable. Is there any option of a cable to buy appart that has volume/track control? So I can buy it and use it with these headphones.

    On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic Idx 160 IE. I took them into account, although they don´t have detachable cable, because they have a short cable, connected to a longer one, so I thought "if it breaks, it must be on the long part, not the short one" (I hope so haha). And these ones, they have volume/track control, so they suit to another requirement that I want.

    Can you give me your opinion on these headphones so I can finally take a decision? I don´t know which one to choose, as they both have their pros and cons.

    Please help me, thank you so much.
     
  18. twister6

    twister6 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I think you double-posted the same reply in two threads ;) Momentum In-ear is also a very good choice, and it works great with Android phones, even volume control (if you choose android version).
     
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