When we last visited with Sennheiser, I was really impressed by the Urbanite XL I reviewed. I was impressed by the sound quality and how far they had come in trying to compete with other higher end offerings. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get their Sennheiser Momentum iPhone/iPad/iPod In-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones (also available: Sennheiser Momentum for Galaxy devices) in hand to see if the quality transitioned over into their middle-end products as well.
I have an odd relationship with earbuds. I much prefer them to headphones. I’ve found very few sets of headphones over the years to be comfortable enough to my liking. The sound quality is rarely in question. My issue is with how ridiculously hot my ears get wearing most over-ear models. That’s why I tend to tend to gravitate more toward in-ear sets.
Of note, the earbuds being reviewed in this blog are these specific ones that are designed for iOS devices. The newer style Momentum Earbuds also have a model designed for Android devices.
Opening up a pair of Sennheiser audio products is always a treat. I didn’t talk about it much with the last set but now that I see it’s a trend, it’s worth mentioning that the presentation and packaging is second to none. Momentum, for example, comes in a very sturdy case packed in sponge nesting. Then you open it for the first time and you see how it’s presented to you. Take a look.
That’s pretty neat! I also dig the L-Shaped plug (pictured below.) Considering the only times I have earbuds on, I’m wearing them while I’m listening to music on my phone or laptop, the L-Shaped plug-in is crucial to preserving the lifespan of the wiring of my opinion. Straight plugs always make me a bit uneasy since the entire weight of the bend falls on the wiring itself. A lot of jostling around in a pocket or purse while in use is a definite wire killer. The wires won’t last as long as the buds themselves will. Above all, here’s the thing I love the most about these earbuds at first glance – They’re TRADITIONAL EARBUDS. I’m ok with all the bells and whistles that come with today’s sets (like the fitted ear-tips) but sometimes I just crave a simple set of traditional comfortably fitting earbuds. That’s what I’ve got here.
The cord is considered to be tangle free, but as with anything of this sort, it is to varying degrees. Yes, it definitely tangles less than the earbuds on my desk at work or the majority of the other entry level sets I keep around. However, you can still come back and find them somehow tied in a knot like I did. They’re just way easier to untie.
It is interesting to note, however, that much of the composition of the earbud itself feels as though it is polished plastic. It makes things very light weight, but if you’re a fairly picky buyer and want everything made of metal, you may stop reading the review here and continue your search.
I had no problems with the composition itself. The earbuds are very well put together and you shouldn’t have any trouble with quality or fit. There are more earpieces underneath the spool the earbuds wrap into when not in use so you can tailor fit for your ears. I actually needed a different size earpiece for either ear canal. I’ve seen this issue creep up more and more with these fitted earbuds. I’ve accepted my place as a freak of nature and am thankful that different sizes automatically come bundled in as opposed to having to mail order like you used to have to do.
One more thing of interest to you is that these are sound isolating and not noise cancelling. The thing about noise isolation is that it physically attempts to block out atmospheric distraction naturally. Sennheiser does succeed in doing this very well in this set once you get the right size fit going for your ears. I’ve long preferred the digital deterrent that noise cancellation provides, but these do a great job.
The Sound of Music
Naturally, presentation is nothing without performance. The cool looking, garbage-sounding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle earbuds I keep at the bedside tell me that.
There is some music where the Sennheiser Momentum works very successfully. Bass tones come through very well. My 90s rap playlist was very well served and sounded great. Most modern music sounded good too. If your music consists mostly of newer tunes and/or music from the past 15-20 years or so, you’ll have no issue whatsoever with these. I ran through all sorts of different genres and today’s hits thanks to Spotify and they all sounded great.
Oddly enough, my wife called at this point to tell me she was running late and so I got to test the integrated microphone for my call. I’m not very picky when it comes to my call quality (thanks to years of using Blogtalkradio for podcasts, my personal standards for voice calls are very low) so it was fine for me. Of note, I did find that there was a faint buzz of static on this call and the other calls I made to my parents and a couple of friends afterwards.
Where I have issue with these earbuds is that they don’t do a great job of filtering really poorly mastered or older music. While listening to some classic rock and Motown music, I noticed that it was pushing the music to me unaided, which meant that there was a fair bit of hiss, even if I were listening to remastered versions afterward. This music often ended up quieter than I was used to at the given volume and making it louder just made the hissing louder too.
It also didn’t do as well as other sets with other straight vocal presentations. I listened to some press conferences and a couple of podcasts (since I’d say this accounts for about half of what I’m personally ever using my personal audio devices for) and I wasn’t really that wow’ed by it. It’s not the worst I’ve heard but far from the best.
I think one thing you’re going to have to consider with the Momentum is its price point. For what it offers at its price point, this is a very desirable set of earbuds. From a housing perspective, they are sturdy despite the fact that most of the components are plastic and they come with one of the best cases I’ve ever seen, so you know that they’re going to be ready to be rough and tumble in your gym bag or backpack when they aren’t in use. From a sound quality perspective, you are getting great value for the money if all your music is newer stuff, bass rich or remastered. If you have a lot of older music and are looking to have something that takes a step up to help rid you of the gritty feel, you’re best to invest in something much higher end.
Sennheiser Momentum iPhone/iPad/iPod In-Ear Sound Isolating Headphones (also available: Sennheiser Momentum for Galaxy devices) are now in stock at Best Buy and online at BestBuy.ca