With so many options in the premium headphone market, it can be easy to get lost in the background noise. Sennheiser's new Momentum headphones dispel the aural flotsam with a luxurious, lightweight design and the company's high-quality sound. At $349, these cans are pricey, but they're worth it.
Click to EnlargeSennheiser knows how to make a beautiful pair of headphones. The Momentum's brown leather headband (also available in black) both looked and felt good. The back of the earcups are made of sleek brown plastic rounded out by memory foam wrapped in supple black leather. The closed-back circumaural (around-the-ear) design adds a solid level of ambient noise isolation.
The brushed stainless steel sliders leading to the earpads are functional yet stylish, making for a nice industrial chic look. A knob stamped with the Sennheiser logo on the exterior of the earbuds adds to the luxe vibe.
Instead of adjusting the headphones' fit using an adjustable band, the cups slid up and down along the metal band. The earcups took a little more elbow grease to position than expected. We wore the 6.7-ounce, 4.8 x 8.7 x 10.9 inch Momentums for more than two hours without a hint of discomfort.
In-Line Remote and Case
Click to EnlargeA port for the audio cable is located on the bottom left earcup. The Momentums ship with a plain 3.5mm audio cable, as well as a cable with a handsome silver aluminum in-line microphone and control panel. This panel houses sturdy buttons for volume, play/pause and answer/call. Unfortunately, the controls only work with iOS devices.
There's a stainless steel hinge at the end of the cable with the in-line mic that can bend 90 degrees. It's not only fun to bend the plug; its durability also helps to cut down on potential cable strain or damage.
Both cables feature a twisting mechanism that locks into place, preventing the cords from accidentally slipping out of the headphones.
The Momentums come with a sturdy yet stylish brown carrying case. However, we wish the headphones were foldable for easier storage, similar to the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 headphones.
Click to EnlargeThe Sennheiser Momentums sound as good as they look. Powered by 32mm drivers, the headphones deliver clear, lively audio that, unlike a lot of other headphones, doesn't overemphasize bass. The cans also have a low impedance of 18 ohms, making them ideal for use with mobile phones and MP3 players.
When we compared the Momentums against the V-Moda Crossfade M-100s, the two pairs of headphones ran neck and neck. On Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke," both cans provided rich-sounding banjo, trumpet and piano along with crisp percussion, though the V-Modas had more bass. Similarly, on Aerosmith's opus "Janie's Got a Gun," the V-Modas delivered fuller bass and a warmer performance. However the V-Modas' additional bass slightly muddied Kanye West's "Power," giving the Momentums a small advantage on that track.
The Momentums also impressed as we watched a few episodes of "Samurai Jack." We were able to hear every sword clash and wind gust, complementing the epic musical score with flutes, kalimbas and bongos. Explosions sounded appropriately large and devastating.
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Click to EnlargeThe Sennheiser Momentum headphones are a bright spot in a market becoming saturated with gaudy plastics and overboosted bass. The headphones are appealing both visually and aurally, combining supple leather and stainless steel with rich, vibrant audio. For the $349 price tag, we wish the in-line controls worked with Android devices as well as iDevices.
Thrifty shoppers can get comparable sound with a foldable frame and some customizability with the $299 V-Moda Crossfade M-100 headphones. However, the Sennheiser Momentums are a great choice for serious music lovers searching for a premium sound experience with a luxurious look.