The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 are a second attempt at full-size, style-driven headphones from Sennheiser. The basics haven’t changed too much – sound quality, the look and most of the basic features are pretty much the same. If you already own and love the first Sennheiser Momentum pair, there’s no reason to upgrade.
However, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 do address the most common criticism of the originals, as well as making them more portable.
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If the original Sennheiser Momentum were so popular and well-regarded, what was wrong with them? Some people found that the pads were just that bit too small for comfort, resulting in sore ears, especially the top bits of 'em. The pinna, if you want to get technical.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 fix this by using significantly larger cups and pads. Even if you have fairly large ears, the pads should surround them without resting on them like a giant doberman who just won’t get off your lap.
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It’s a great move for all-round comfort, but it also changes the aesthetics a bit. The basic style hasn’t changed at all, but by being that bit bigger, they have more of a brash vibe. It’s a shame when the original Sennheiser Momentum were some of the most classy-looking style-driven headphones around.
Let your own eyes judge, though.
Comfort-wise they’re simply excellent. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 pads are memory foam and topped with leather. The headband gets the same treatment. Memory foam and leather all over again.
For the detail freaks out there, each part (headband/ear pads) actually has two kinds of leather going on. The outer padding has a clear grain and is pretty shiny while the inner part of the pads and headband has a much subtler grain. A cost-saving measure? Probably, but the innermost part of the ear pads is also lower-friction, which should help avoid them glomming onto your ears if it all gets a bit, err, hot and sweaty in there.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 work pretty well for exercise too. Despite making feather-light contact with your head that’s almost Bose-like in its subtlety, they also stick on there reasonably well. Thanks to the sheer depth of the pads, the incredibly even pressure distribution and the light weight of the headphones themselves, they work just fine for the gym and running.
As isolation is reasonably good, they’re just as at home during the commute too. To top it off, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 headband folds in on itself, a feature we didn’t get with the first-generation model.
There are, no surprise, new colours for this year too. We tried the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 in cream with a gold accent around the cups. Gold’s never easy to pull off, but it’s just about low-key enough here. There’s also an all-black version, and we expect Sennheiser to come up with some other shades before too long. It did last time around.
So far, so familiar. As before, the cable is removable too, and uses a twist -to-lock mechanism that avoids it being yanked out of the cup too easily. And as usual, there’s a 3-button remote designed for iPhones, although we found the play/pause button should work on most Androids anyway.
The basic sound signature of the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 hasn’t changed all that much since the first generation. You get the excitement and powerful bass that headphones like Apple’s Beats claim to be about, without the muddying or dominating bass that often comes with that style.
One of the most impressive elements of the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 is quite how deep the bass goes without sounding forced. There’s a bit of bass boost going on in the normal bassy registers, which is the past Sennheiser has explained as being a necessary part of a pair of headphones that will have to contend with the noise of the city and public transport.
However, it’s the sub-bass that really impresses us. This is the really deep stuff, which with an actual speaker setup you’d normally need a dedicated subwoofer to really feel.
When it kicks in its often a surprise. Not because it’s incongruous but because the ‘normal’ bass isn’t emphasised that much. It’s like a surprise six-pack, and one you don’t need to be a fan of Brad Pitt-a-likes to appreciate. This earns them a good stash of fun points, without unbalancing the sound.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 treble is well defined with just a touch of bite. If you’re coming from a relatively warm and soft-sounding headphone, it may seem a tiny bit sharp at first listen, but with a few hours of listening your ears will bed in. These are not harsh headphones at all.
If we’re to split sound into treble-mids-bass, it’s the mid-range that gets the least attention: no surprise there. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 mids are smooth and don’t seem too recessed when going up against the treble and the meaty thank the Momentums can make of a solid kick drum.
However, having been spoilt recently by the fantastic Oppo PM-3 (slightly more expensive at £349), the mids are nevertheless revealed as a weak point. They just don’t have the texture and detail to really render vocals like the very best headphones. Ear-pleasing smoothness is valued over real mid-range texture.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 aren’t meant to be real audiophile cans, though. Sennheiser has other models for that, namely the high-ish-end models in the HD range. For the purpose of just listening to music to enjoy it while on-the-go, though, the Momentums are, as ever, perfect. And thanks to pretty wide stereo imaging, the excitement of bass and treble skills is partnered with quite an expansive sound.
Will you want to use them for mastering your home demos or to get the most accurate representation of orchestra works, listening in a quiet room? Probably not. But they are great fun, without the obvious quality trade-offs of other style headphones.
Should I buy the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0?
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 are not a huge upgrade over the original models, neither are they meant to be. They simply tweak a few bits that have put some people off the originals since they were released in 2012.
They’re a bit more comfortable for some, and gain a few portability points. I think they look slightly worse than the first model, but I use that personal pronoun deliberately. One of the charms of the original Sennheiser Momentum was that they were (and are) smaller than most full-size style headphones. These aren’t.
However, they are comfortable, still-good-looking and they sound great. If you want real high fidelity sound and don’t mind trading away excitement (and can pay £80 more), the Oppo PM-3 are altogether more serious headphones that still offer near-perfect portability and comfort.
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Sennheiser hits another home run with the new Momentum heapdhones, although if you own the first set, there’s no real reason to upgrade.