If you need a pair of wireless headphones with noise-cancelling capabilities, Sennheiser has introduced a wireless version of its popular Momentum headphones. We got the chance to dive in and see how they perform.
Sennheiser Momentum headphones have been one of the company’s most popular products. Sennheiser finally took the advice from its customers and built a wireless version and included noise-cancelling for good measure. These headphones are new for 2015 and retail at a steep price of $500, which is a lot for a pair of casual listening headphones. Are they worth the price? Let’s take them for a spin.
First off, the one big problem with wireless headphones is weight. Since they need to store a battery for power, wireless headphones can weigh far more than wired headphones. Headphone makers aim to cut weight in other areas, like using lighter materials and cutting down on needless bulk. The Momentum Wireless headphones accomplish this wonderfully. The ear cups are slightly larger than the original wired Momentums, but that’s good news for a lot of curious users, as the original ear cups were a bit small.
Even then, the rest of the headphones are built minimally, with a thin headband and stylish metal pieces that hold the ear cups in place. They weigh slightly less than Plantronics’ Backbeat Pro, which also offer wireless audio with noise-canceling capabilities, and are my favorite Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones.
Design-wise, the Sennheiser Momentum line of headphones come with a timeless design, similar to Aviator sunglasses or Levi jeans. They simply look really good without the unnecessary flash.
One thing I don’t particular like about the design, though, are the metal pieces that hold the ear cups. If you have a smaller head like I do, you have to push the ear cups up quite a bit, leaving a lot of unused metal that’s just hanging there, and it looks kind of weird.
Furthermore, the headband isn’t made from a soft foam, but rather minimal hard padding, which can cause pain on the top of your head after long periods of listening. In the past, I never worried about headband padding on headphones because most of them were fairly comfortable, but these Momentums have changed my thoughts on that, and now I don’t take headbands for granted.
The Momentum Wireless headphones fold up for easy portability and come with a really nice carrying case. However, I’m not a huge fan of how the headphones fold up particularly. I strongly prefer the way Audio Technica’s M50 headphones fold up, with both ear cups folding together and fitting neatly inside of the headband. Then again, this is just personal preference, and most users probably won’t mind exactly how they fold up — as long as they are compact and fit into a bag easily.
Other than the Bluetooth and noise-canceling capabilities, the Momentum Wireless headphones are pretty basic. There’s a power button and a volume rocker on the right ear cup, as well as a microUSB port for charging and a headphone jack for wired use if the battery dies. Unfortunately, that’s it for connections and buttons — there’s no play/pause controls or call button for phone calls.
It’s also worth pointing out that there’s no noise-canceling switch to turn the feature on or off manually. Instead, noise canceling is active at all times whenever the headphones are on. This may be draining the battery quicker than if there was a manual on/off switch, but the difference is most likely negligible, and I still ended up getting a couple of weeks of battery life with an average of an hour of use every day. That’s right — weeks of battery life, but your mileage will obviously vary depending on how often you use them.
As for the audio quality, the Momentums sound really good. You’ll get the best quality when you plug the headphones directly into an audio source with the included cable, as Bluetooth and noise-cancelling will degrade the quality, but there’s still not much to complain about when using the headphones wirelessly.
The main difference between a wired connection and a wireless connection with these headphones is that there’s a bit more hiss to the audio when used over Bluetooth and noise-cancelling on. “S”s sound more harsher, but not by much. In fact, it’s hardly noticeable if you’re not actively listening for it, but for more-trained ears, the difference could be greater.
If you’re looking for deep bass, you won’t find it with these headphones, but that’s not a bad thing. The bass on the Momentums actually sounds like what bass is supposed to sound like. For too long Beats headphones have made casual listeners accustomed to way too much bass in music, but Sennheiser’s Momentum headphones have the bass sounding good, as well as keeping the treble in a good range.
As for how well the noise-cancelling works, Bose still has the upper hand with its QC 15 and QC 25 headphones, but the Momentums are on par with the Plantronics Backbeat Pros, if not a little better. I tested them out by sitting in front of my very loud humidifier and didn’t notice a huge difference in noise-cancelling quality, although I feel that the Momentums got rid of other outside noises a bit better than the Backbeat Pros, as the ear cups fit more snugly around my ears.
These new Momentum Wireless headphones look great and offer really good audio quality with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling capabilities, but I’d rather stick with the Plantronics Backbeat Pro that are half the cost of the Momentums. They’re a bit chunkier, but you’re saving $250 by going with something that’s just ever so slightly inferior.