Like Sennheiser’s over-ear HD-series headphones, the Sennheiser Momentum strike a wonderfully satisfying balance between fun and fidelity. For a headphone of its class, performance is great across the board.
Bass is tight and deep, without the mid-bass bloat you get with many urban-style headphones, and there’s a commendable amount of top-end detail to match it. There does seem to be slightly less top-end presence than the similarly-priced Sennheiser Amperior, though. This helps give the Sennheiser Momentum a slightly more relaxed sound, without sacrificing much in the way of detail.
What characterises the Sennheiser Momentum among its street-friendly peers is coherence. Deep bass is there when it’s needed, but very rarely intrudes upon the rest of the frequency range, there’s no intrusive mid-range thickness and the treble does not tend towards harshness or sharpness.
There’s little not to like here, although as ever with a pair like this, they work best within their intended environment. The Sennheiser Momentum are closed headphones – the earcup rears aren’t perforated. The benefit of this is that they offer noise isolation, stopping most of the sound of your music from bleeding out and blocking outside noise too.
Although not truly remarkable in their noise blasting potential, these headphones are happy to be used in relatively noisy places – although you will have to crank the volume a tad if you’re somewhere as roaringly loud as the London Tube. An airier, more detailed sound can be found from open-back headphones, so if you’re simply out for a set to use at home, the many open alternatives available at the price are worth considering.
Better separation can be heard in open headphones at the price, giving the impression of a higher-fidelity listen. A big part of that high-end sound is being able to hear the space between instruments, and this is where a slightly less warm and less fun-sounding open pair will be able to beat the Sennheiser Momentum.
However, that’s not to say these headphones do not sound big and expansive. Closed-back pairs tend to offer a fairly limited soundstage, but here it’s wide and unconstrained – seriously impressive for a compact, closed headphone.
No area of the Sennheiser Momentum sound stands out in particular. That may sound like a criticism, but it’s much closer to praise, in a portable-driven market where headphones can too often be characterised by an unfortunate bass-heavy of thick-sounding signature.
In maintaining balance while increasing style and comfort to the level of its fiercest peers, Sennheiser has truly come up with something special in the Momentum headphones. They outclass their various rapper-branded rivals sonically, earning a position among our very favourite portable headphones. It’s a pity they can’t quite match the pricing of the capable Philips Fidelio L1, but then these are the cans we’d opt for if given the choice, with clearer, more dynamic sound.
The Sennheiser Momentum are some of the best headphones money can buy if you need a set to take out on the streets. They’re comfortable, look a good deal swisher than Sennheiser’s other sets and offer sound comparable to that of its best portable cans. The outlay is significant and for pure at-home use we’d pick an open-back alternative, but these headphones don’t put a foot wrong.