Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Synopsis – The best sound in True Wireless isn’t saying much

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds

This Synopsis

Chances are if you’ve researched True Wireless earbuds, you’ve stumbled on Sennheiser’s offering. However, you’ve either turned away at the steep $300 asking price or been curious on how good exactly a truly wireless earbud can be.

Chances also are that you’ve already checked out plentiful reviews and already the gist of how this device functions. Rather than rehash all that, this synopsis is meant to aid after the general “review”, compiling important points, particularities, and criticisms that often go unaddressed. Let’s get right to it….

The Rundown

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds

> The sophisticated-looking fabric case of the Momentum True Wireless (which I’ll refer to now as just “MTW”) is a looker but actually dainty, largely due to a weak hinge design. It feels like it’s reinforced only by plastic, and its wobbly nature doesn’t provide any countering confidence. When stuffing it in a bag with other things, it should be able to be able to resist compression no problem, but there’s no grove to resist shear of the clam-shell. Additionally, I’ve too easily bent it open past its limit and heard a “pop” (though somehow its still kicking).

> The single status LED on the rear is too basic. Just give us a battery level indicator. This is the only visual feedback we get, which is basically charging, charged, or depleted. While on the subject, even after a few firmware updates, the battery drain problem while the earpieces sit in the case not being used is still a thing. If you don’t use the earbuds for a couple days, make sure you charge up or you’re have an unpleasant surprise when you pull them out.

> The ergonomics of this product needs an overhaul. This is the wrong texture for this shape of earpiece, or vice versa. The smooth matte finish is definitely fashion over function. It’s just too slippery. These earpieces just asking to be dropped (which I have numerous times), especially when digging them out of their case.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
We will always knock on manufacturers of True Wireless earphones that neglect to be mindful of pocket-ability. While nicely small, the MTW is too thick to comfortably put in the pocket.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
The tightly-wound fabric of the case is a unique and stylish look. Just keep in mind that it’s still fabric, not a hard material, and can adsorb liquid and can stained.

> Placing the earpieces back in the case is a joy. The magnets have the perfect strength and placement. You can almost throw the earpieces in the right direction and they’ll orient the right way and lock into place.

> The touch controls are well done for the most part (especially considering most implementations or hit or miss). The touchpad is not the entire outer silver plate (thankfully – this would make it a nightmare to not inadvertently touch all the time). However, it does take a bit of time to get used to touching right at the center. Fortunately, it’s plentiful responsive, albeit even after a couple software updates, a bit slow to execute.

> It would be easy for Sennheiser to let you swap the controls from left and right earpieces, but something that’s continually overlooked. I’d personally prefer to control music playback with the right earpiece, not left, as I naturally carry stuff with my left hand, such as my lunch bag on the way to work.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
Slippery buggers
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
Senn’s shiny cap will catch eyes.

> I almost want to call the fit garbage. Sennheiser generally is pretty neglecting when it comes to ear tip fit, but this is another level. Where you could get by with a stubby tip in Sennheiser’s smaller earphones, the company didn’t take a step back with the girthy MTW and say, Hey, this won’t work in this case. There’s an unforgiving limit that you push the MTW earpiece in, and and to counter this, you need a longer tip. Instead, all we get is three sizes of stubby silicone tips. This also means, since the nozzles have to sit further back, you need a step up larger tip than you’re used to using in order to get a seal. So where I usually use medium tips, the large are the only ones that work (keep this in mind if you opt for any third-party tips).

> Isolation is also average-to-poor (not helped by the fact that you can’t get the tip deep in the ear canal). Again, it would help if Sennheiser didn’t skimp on the ear tip selection. Including Comply foam tips and/or deeper-fitting tips is an obvious mitigation that was crucial, but either Sennheiser is oblivious over fit or too cheap.

> It’s important to know that although ear tip fit is poor, this doesn’t mean that in-ear fit is. The earpieces actually stay in place well, and we’ve never had a lack of confidence that they’d fall out. This goes for mild workouts. And an IPX4 water resistance level should cover splashes of sweat or rain (but water submersion is a no-go).

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
Fortunately, the commonly sized 4mm makes the MTW compatible with a lot of third-party ear tips out there, but we’d recommend longer options.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
The compromised grip and inadequate nozzle shape can equate to annoyance when donning the earpieces.

> The bass is just too much, and I shouldn’t be saying that for an “audiophile” company with such a history. Sennheiser suiting so much to the mainstream’s bass obsession chisels at its name. The bass generally has better quality than its Beats counterpart (and can even excel with depth and rumble), but being so forward also puts to light its imperfections – looseness/slight bloatiness.

> I bet that most audiophiles will want to EQ the bass down. I personally hate EQ’ing but just had to in this case. Well, that fancy, eye-candy EQ that Sennheiser developed for these earbuds is practically trash. Every move in it affects somewhere in the spectrum, and you have no control over the reaction. It’s infuriating. And there’s no “manual” or “advanced” option to it. This means that I cannot change just only the bass. Trash.

> The mids and lower-to-mid treble are both well done for a true wireless earphone. Plentiful detail, airiness, and naturality (yes, I can make up words if I want to). This isn’t a sterile sound, or reference like the IE800 series somewhat aims for. It’s open and engaging, pushed to another level by the excellent soundstage. This true wireless most likely has the best soundstage out of any. It can stretch astoundingly wide when the track calls for it, and the entire sound surrounds you in a pleasing multi-dimensional bubble, as it should be.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds
Impressive amount of tech packed on top of the 7mm audio driver.

> Despite this praise, the reality is that micro-details and clarity are a significant step behind respectable, similarly-priced wired earphones, especially one backed by a decent DAC/amp. I’d like to think that the tiny DAC/amp stuffed in the MTW’s earpiece(s) is what’s holding it back. Separation is an aspect that manages to shine through all that, probably thanks to Sennheiser’s excellent 7mm dynamic driver spin-off from what the company achieved with the IE800.

> Likewise, the upper treble can be a bit distracting, depending on what headphones you’re used to using. It almost feels like the driver can and wants to reproduce the upper end frequencies but is held back. In other words, there’s a detectable drop-off in the upper treble, stopping short of excellence.

The Summary

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Earbuds

Advantages

  • Sophisticated and unique looking design
  • Magnet earpiece placement is superb
  • USB-C port
  • IPX4 water resistance
  • Notable sound overall
  • Class-leading soundstage

Disadvantages

  • Dainty build
  • unergonomic design/finish
  • Poor ear tip fit, selection, and isolation
  • Too much bass
  • Very limited EQ
  • Upper treble drops off

Current price of MTW on Amazon

Sennheiser designed a very pretty true wireless earbud (that looks surprisingly refined for its first gen), as well as hits a few beats significantly past the competition. Unfortunately, several questionable design decisions holds it back. Sennheiser should know better than these obvious faults. One of the most notable of these being the overdone bass, which can ruin the whole listening experience. If you want the excellent things that this true wireless has to offer, you must be able to compromise or it won’t work out. And that’s for $300.

Also See: Sony WF-1000X True Wireless Earbuds Synopsis

Josh is so enthused about tech that he writes about it. After time at several tech publications, he launched The Synops - concise and quality gadget synopses with information that readers want to know and details they want to see. You can also follow him at on Twitter (@joshnor713) and Google+ (+JoshNoriega). Email any inquiries to josh@thesynops.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: