Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless review
A top-notch set of wireless headphones with excellent sound.
- Superb sound
- Very comfortable for long term wear
- Noise cancellation could be better -- and can't be switched off
- Multi-tap skipping is tricky to get right
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless borrows its design from the existing Momentum wired range of headphones, which means that you're faced with two style choices, either a black or ivory finish supplemented with plenty of brown leather. The steel band that holds the Momentum Wireless headphones together is very solid, with a hinge at each end to fold the headphones in on themselves.
Sennheiser provides both a soft and hard case for travel purposes, although if you're packing them for a plane trip they will take up a large amount of your carry on space this way. They're good for up to 22 hours of playback with a three hour charge time, and that was matched in our testing.
The look is luxurious but quite conservative, which won't suit every taste, although it at least eschews the Beats style brightness-for-brightness' school of design thought. Instead you get dark brown leather, quite obviously evident stitching on the top band and relatively subtle inset Sennheiser branding on the adjustable earpiece clamps only.
The Momentum Wireless headphones look very solid, so it's quite a surprise when you first put them on to discover how lightly they sit on your head. We found them comfortable and light on first wear, and even several hours of listening later, they were still reasonably light in terms of head pressure. Predictably, as with most circumaural headphones, you may find that your ears get a little warm when wearing headphones of this type for a serious amount of time. Until somebody invents circumaural headphones with inbuilt extractor fans, there's no way to get around this.
All of the Momentum Wireless' controls reside in the right earcup. The power button also acts to initiate Bluetooth wireless pairing — NFC is also supported — with a long press, while the rocker dial below handles ordinary volume control, while also acting as a track skip/calling button if tapped. It's a surprising weak chink in the Momentum Wireless' otherwise excellent presentation, because it can be tricky to get the difference between playing a track or initiating a phone call right when paired with a smartphone.
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless incorporates noise cancellation microphones into the headphones, and you're not left with any choice as to whether to use it when using the headphones wirelessly. A cabled connection is supported, and if you leave the headphones off, or if they're flat, you won't get noise cancellation, but otherwise it's always on. We'd rate the active noise cancellation in the Momentum Wireless as fair but not exceptional, with a certain small amount of noticeable background hiss if you don't have any music playing while wearing them. That's a common issue for many noise cancelling headphones.
While the noise cancellation isn't exceptional on the Momentum Wireless, the actual audio presentation most definitely is. We threw multiple genres of music at a variety of captured bit rates at the Momentum Wireless, and with every single piece of music the presentation was absolutely natural and essentially flawless. As you'd expect, poorer bitrate files revealed some of their flaws this way, but even on mid-range files there was excellent high frequency response with a solid quantity of bass representation as well. With bass-heavier tracks the Momentum Wireless did an excellent job of presenting the right levels without unnecessarily muddying the overall audio presentation.
To give some practical examples, on Metallica's "Sad But True", the pounding drums of the intro came through crisply while still retaining the pounding guitar backing in proper head thumping style. Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" retained its deep style while giving proper prominence to both harmonica and vocal tracks. Prince's "Purple Rain" kept the slow, sad notes hitting with just the right level of prominence and sorrow. The detail in the horns and Shirley Bassey's vocals in "Goldfinger" soared. We could go on, but we think you get the point. These are seriously good headphones when it comes to audio reproduction, which you should really expect given the asking price.
What's The Verdict?
The asking price for the Momentum Wireless is likely to be the sticking point for many buyers. At $799, you're paying top whack for a pair of wireless noise cancelling headphones, and that means that they're competing with headphones from the likes of Bose, AudioQuest, Plantronics, Bang & Olufsen, Parrot and many others. The Momentum Wireless deserves its place amongst them as a top-notch set of wireless cans, but the buying decision will be tough.
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