- Dynamic, fun and engaging sound
- Comfortable design
- Excellent as an on-the-road headphone
- Significant outlay for a portable pair
- Review Price: £259.99
- Removable cable
- Real leather headband padding
- Single-piece headband structure
- Carry case
- Dual cables
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.
Sennheiser Momentum – Design
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.
Sennheiser Momentum – Cable and Accessories
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.
Sennheiser Momentum – Sound Quality
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.
Sennheiser Momentum – Value
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.
Score in detail
Design & Features 9
Sound Quality 9