The headphone market has changed a whole lot over the last few years. Style headphones have become so popular that old headphone hands like Sennheiser have had to take notice. Some makers' sets have fallen into urban headphone pitfalls, but others like the Sennheiser Momentum get the formula just right. They offer the sound quality Sennheiser is renowned for, but with the comfort and style of a more fashion-conscious pair. The result is love at first listen.
Several of Sennheiser’s headphone designs have become design classics, but it has often occurred in spite of their aesthetic approach, rather than because of it. The Sennheiser Momentum pay a bit more attention to finish, construction and comfort than most of Sennheiser’s sets, though.
The closer you look, the more the superb attention to detail becomes apparent. Sonically, the Sennheiser Momentum might be compared to the HD 25 range, but these cans are far more comfy.
They are over-ears headphones, using fabric and synthetic leather foam pads that circle around your earlobes. The pads are reasonably petite, so if you have giant ears we recommend seeing if you can try a pair before buying. Not so well endowed? The Sennheiser Momentum pads are extremely comfortable.
The outer leather-effect padding is soft and pliant, and the inner part is finished in porous fabric, to stop your ears from overheating. These headphones aren’t “just about the look.”
The Sennheiser Momentum look does warrant a mention, though. Finished in muted brown and silver, they remove themselves far enough from the matt black headphone staple to get noticed, without remotely becoming crassly attention-grabbing. Like the Philips Fidelio M1, they spice-up the traditional headphone design with just a pinch of urban flavour – but not to the extent that middle-aged office workers can’t pull them off.
They are relatively unobtrusive in size, largely thanks to the thin split-design headband. There’s just a small buffer of leather-topped foam padding on the headband, but as the Sennheiser Momentum are fairly lightweight, and the split design offers good weight distribution, they do not dig into your head.
Underneath this padding is the single band of flexible metal that curves around to meet the metal-backed earcups. These cups slide freely along the headband, making adjusting the headphones to your noggin easy to do. The one tiny issue is that using a single-piece headband makes the sides of these cans stick out a little more than some. They may look snazzier than most Sennheiser sets, but we’d still give the coolness crown to the Philips Fidelio headphones. That said, the stitching of the leather headband has an artisanal quality that’s extremely rare in portable headphones like these.
The Sennheiser Momentum are designed carefully for mobile use. The cable is removable, making it easy to replace should everyday wear and tear finally take its toll, and the included 1.2m cable features a three-button remote control for use with iPhones and iPods. It lets you control music playback, as well as taking calls while on the go, thanks to an inbuilt microphone.
The 3.5mm jack is unusual too, featuring a hinge that lets it switch between roles as a straight and right-angle jack. This should minimise the damage it takes while in your pocket, although we have a feeling the look of the thing may have factored into this particular design decision too.
Alongside the headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum package includes an excellent – if not beautiful - colour-matched semi-hard case, a 3.5mm-to-6.3mm jack and an additional headphone cable that doesn’t have a remote housing. There’s nothing too technically snazzy to find in these headphones – no active noise cancellation or wireless streaming – but everything we’d expect from a headphone of this grade is included.