The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear are the second generation of a series of headphones that's proven extremely popular, and with good reason. While they may not have unseated the Beats range as king of headphone sales, they're now recognised as one of the few ranges that marries top style with top sound quality.
At £170 they’re easy to recommend over sets such as the Beats Solo 2 and almost all other style-driven headphones in this class. The one sour note is that while they're an improvement over the first generation in a few respects, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear still don’t offer particularly good noise isolation.
SEE ALSO: Best Headphones Round-up
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear are portable headphones with fairly small earcups. As the name suggests their pads sits on your ears, rather than encompassing them with giant pads.
They are all the more important in this second generation, because the ‘full size’ Momentum 2.0 are bigger than last time around, sure to displease a few who are after relatively small-looking headphones. This on-ear set doesn’t seem to have gotten radically larger in its second iteration: the pads have a different shape, but the cups are roughly the same.
The Momentum series has always prided itself on using materials that look and feel a bit fancy. A few years ago 90 per cent of Sennheiser headphones were black and boring-looking. The Sennhesier Momentum 2.0 On-ear are not.
Out set uses cream cups with a brown headband and gold accents around the pads. It’s shiny , eye-catching gold, so make sure you take any little flourishes like this into account before picking a shade. This bonus boldness seems to be something we gain with Momentum 2.0.
There’s nothing quite so contentious about the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear’s pads and headband. Sennheiser says it has increased the pad thickness for extra comfort, and both headband and the pads are topped with Alcantara. This is a hard-wearing manmade fibre that has some of the tactile quality of felt, while being tough and water resistant. We’re fans.
As before, the headband is made of steel, and is split at the top for extra stability. These are well-designed headphones whose sense of being an upper-tier set isn’t dimmed by the use of plastic for the outer of the cups.
The full-size Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 beat this on-ear pair for comfort, but the On-Ear manage the balance of headband tension and ear comfort well. They stick on your head tightly enough for joggers, but don’t cause ear ache. The only people that need worry are glasses-wearers with sensitive earlobes.
We get greater portability this time too. The first Momentum On-ear pair were designed for outdoors use primarily, but didn’t have a folding design. This pair does. They use an impressively discreet hinge built into the headband, letting the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear fold up to half their usual size.
One element we do wish Sennheiser had managed to fix a bit better is noise isolation. It’s just not that good, just like the first generation. Having used the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear on trains, both underground and overground, we’re actually fairly pleased with how the robust sound copes with noise. But if you’re looking to block out the outside world you’ll be disappointed.
This is the only major design negative, though. We like the removable cable, and its use of a three-button remote is welcome (if more-or-less standard these days). It’s designed for iPhones primarily, but the central button also works with Androids to play/pause your music.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear have a sound not terribly different from the first generation on-ear set. But that’s no bad thing. These are some of the most enjoyable style/comfort-driven headphones in this class.
They sound beefy and rich, with a bulkier, thicker signature than the full-size Momentum 2.0 pair. We like the sound, a lot.
It’s not the sort of sound you’d want to use in a home studio to mix tracks with as it’s that bit too warm and not all that critical. However, it’s exactly what we want when out and about just enjoying music.
Like the other Momentum sets, bass and sub-bass are great, with plenty of power but also very good control. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear ace the balance of having enough bass to sound fun, without it becoming unruly, swamping the mids.
Compared to the Beats Solo 2, these headphones’ clearest rival, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear sound a little more balanced, more natural and a lot more relaxed. They lack a little of the pure energy of the Solo 2s, but the Sennheisers still have plenty and offer a very involving listen.
Like the Beats set, soundstage width and scale is excellent for a fairly small, closed set too. There’s a little less treble detail than in the full-size Momentums, but then you’d expect that when they cost a full £100 more. Treble tone is pleasant. It’s easygoing rather than sharp and revealing. They're quite forgiving headphones that make most content sound good.
The robust tone is also very important in dealing with the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear’s one weak point: poor isolation. Beefy tone ensures that while they don’t block out noise, your music usually isn’t drowned out unless there’s a lot of ambient sound. In other words, wearing them on trains is fine, but we found the London Underground’s Northern Line really tested the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear to their limits.
Should I buy the Sennhesier Momentum 2.0 On-ear?
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-ear are excellent headphones with some meaningful practical improvements over the first-generation model. Namely, they’re a bit more portable.
They have power similar to the Beats Solo 2, but with a more discerning tone that cuts out those moments where style headphones go a little bit too bass-heavy.
The only issue is the same as we had first time around: they just don’t block out sound that well. For 90% of the time it didn’t spoil our enjoyment of these otherwise quite excellent headphones, but do bear it in mind if your commute involves a stint on the Tube or somewhere similarly noisy.
Other than that, though, dive right in.
SEE ALSO: Best USB Headphone Amps
Attractive, classy and involving headphones only let down by limited sound isolation.