We recently tested the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless Bluetooth headphones, the wireless and active version of the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear headphones and part of the Sennheiser Momentum range. Not long ago, wireless audio rhymed with on-ear or over-ear headphones. Since then, the offer has evolved to include Bluetooth earbuds such as the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless. It’s a face-off between two opposing philosophies, with independent headphones (strictly wireless) on one side, and headphones connected to a headband on the other. The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless belongs to the second camp. As such, it’s a pair of wireless headphones… with wires.
If Sennheiser chose this route, it’s because independent wireless headphones (Earin M1, Earin M2, Elyxr Air True Wireless) present a significant set of constraints: a tiny battery in each earbud (limited battery life), an amplifier on each side and–above all–a second wireless connection between the Bluetooth receivers of each earbud which is not easy to synchronize. With a headband, it is possible to install a high-capacity battery, control buttons, a control LED, and a micro-USB jack for charging and listening in USB DAC mode (very practical when used with the new iPhone for which a mini-jack input is absent).
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless Bluetooth headphones are composed of a leather headband with two stereo interconnect cables of about 20 cm in length attached to either end. The latter are terminated by metal earbuds fitted with dynamic drivers.
The frequency response of the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless headphones extends from 15Hz to 22kHz, with a maximum volume (linked to the integrated amplifier) of 112 dB. In other words, enough for very loud listening sessions! The Bluetooth receiver is 4.1 compatible (energy-saving), enables NFC pairing (with NFC smartphones) and supports three audio transmission modes: SBC (universal), AAC (iPhone, iPad) and aptX (Samsung, for example). The integrated battery takes an hour and a half to charge and lasts approximately 10 hours (audio playback and phone calls).
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless headphones feature buttons to allow the user to control playback with a smartphone or computer and a microphone for calls. The headband vibrates to signal an incoming call.
A key advantage, the micro-USB port may be used to charge the battery and listen to music via USB connection. Connected to a compatible computer, iPhone or Android device (active USB audio output), the headphones offer a lossless wired listening experience.
The headphones are packaged in a carrying case along with an assortment of silicone eartips (4 pairs) and a Micro-USB to USB-A cable for charging and listening in DAC mode (computer, iPhone, Android).
Android and iOS control app
The app, named CapTune, is proposed by the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Compatible with recent Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones, the app features equalizer presets. Comparative A/B listening allows the user to zero in on the ideal EQ setting. It is important to note that only music played with the CapTune app is equalized, not all audio sources are supported (to be precise, only audio files stored on a smartphone or streamed from Tidal are supported). Since the Android app is not compatible with all smartphones, FLAC files may not always be handled.
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless headphones are shipped partially charged and the manufacturer recommends charging them fully as soon as possible. A voice message and a few vibrations are emitted when the headphones are powered on for the first time, and the headphones pass directly into pairing mode. This mode can be activated manually by pressing and holding the power button until the LED indicator blinks blue and red.
We listened to the headphones with a Xiaomi Redmi Pro (SBC) smartphone, an iPod Touch (AAC) and a Sony NW-ZX100 audiophile DAP (Bluetooth SBC, AAC and aptX). We played MP3 and FLAC files. We also connected the headphones via their USB connector to a computer for a lossless listening experience.
First, a word on the wearing comfort, which is great. The headband never becomes bothersome when moving around and, once the most suitable eartips are chosen, the earbuds fit securely in our ears. At most, we could regret a bit of interference when the wind picks up, as this noise was amplified by the interconnect cables.
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless headphones’ sound signature is rather different from what the manufacturer usually proposes. Out with neutrality and analytic mids, and in with a clearly physiologic audio restitution featuring pleasantly opulent lows around 60 Hz and a good deal of brightness in the highs. The drivers are the same as those found in the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear, and it seems that the amplifier applies equalization to the sound. While the lows are never excessive, too much emphasis on the highs can prove tiresome in the long run. Moreover, the sound coloration impairs the proper layering of the soundstage to such a point that the Bluetooth aptX mode and the lossless USB audio mode become difficult to tell apart. To arrive at a more typical tonal balance, the volume must be turned up substantially. Despite this, the soundstage is rather wide and relaxing. The quality of voice calls is good (speakerphone and microphone).
What we liked:
- lossless listening in USB mode
- wearing comfort (even while running)
- the Bluetooth connection’s range of up to 15 m with obstacles
- the quality of the integrated microphone
- the voice messages and the vibrations in the headband used to signal incoming calls
- the long-lasting battery enabling a full day of listening without any problem
What we would have liked:
- less emphasis on the highs
- the ability to hear the sound picked up by the microphone during phone calls
The Sennheiser Momentum In Ear Wireless headphones will earn fans among those looking for a fun and dynamic listening experience rather than an accurate and neutral one. It’s clearly a gamble for Sennheiser, as the manufacturer has no difficulty delivering a neutral sound with other Bluetooth headphones (we’ll be reviewing the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT, Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC and Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless soon). Smartphone users will appreciate the Sennheiser CapTune app as it features a very practical graphic EQ which is ideal to correct the headphones’ frequency response.This post is also available in: French