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Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless Headphones Review. Sennheiser momentum on ear blue

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless Headphones Review

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The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are the next generation of the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. Their design looks much more minimalistic than their predecessor, and there have been a few key updates to their performance. They don’t support High-End Sound Tuning, an EQ advertised to create a more dynamic and vibrant audio experience, but that exacerbated driver mismatch in our Momentum 3 unit. Instead of aptX-LL codec support, they utilize aptX Adaptive, which ensures low latency and high-res audio experience. They also have a significantly increased battery life compared to their predecessor and other competitor models like the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless.

Our Verdict

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are decent for neutral sound. Using their ‘Flat’ EQ preset, they have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a bit of extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes. Vocals and instruments are clear but a bit veiled. Luckily, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound to your liking. Keep in mind that the headphones are prone to some inconsistencies in audio delivery. If you have thick hair or wear glasses, you may experience a drop in bass.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are very good for commute and travel. These well-built headphones have over 60 hours of continuous playback time, and their fit is comfortable enough for long days on the go. They also come with a sturdy hard carrying case to help protect the headphones when not in use. While they have an ANC system that can help block some background noise, they struggle to cut down the low rumble of bus and plane engines, which is a bit frustrating. They do a better job when it comes to passenger chit-chat, though.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless aren’t designed for sports and fitness. They’re over-ear headphones, so they’re not certified for water resistance, and their fit can fall off with moderate movement. That said, their wireless design ensures that you don’t snag something and accidentally pull them off of your head. They’re also well-built.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are good for office use. These over-ears have a comfortable fit, support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them with your PC and smartphones at the same time, and deliver over 60 hours of continuous battery life, which is great for long days at the office. They also have an adaptive ANC system that can help reduce office chit-chat and the hum of computer fans. If you like to listen to your favorite audio at high volumes, others around you shouldn’t be bothered by it.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless aren’t recommended for wireless gaming. They’re Bluetooth-only headphones and have high latency, which can disrupt your gaming experience.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are decent for wired gaming if you don’t need mic support via analog. That said, you can still use them via wired USB with full audio and mic compatibility. They have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming marathons. Their ‘Flat’ EQ also has a touch of extra bass, which can help emphasize sound effects like footsteps. It doesn’t drown out dialogue and instruments, but these kinds of sounds are a little veiled due to a dip in the high-mid to low-treble. On the downside, their passive soundstage doesn’t feel very immersive or spacious.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are fair for phone calls. They have an integrated mic, which offers a fair recording quality via Bluetooth, ensuring your voice is understandable. However, the mic struggles to separate your voice from background noise, so if you’re taking a call in a busy office, speech can be drowned out. Unfortunately, the mic’s recording quality takes a dip if you use the headphones via USB. On the upside, the headphones have an adaptive ANC system that helps reduce a good amount of ambient noise around you.

  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 7.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.6 Office
  • 5.9 Wireless Gaming
  • 7.3 Wired Gaming
  • 6.9 Phone Calls
  • Updated May 18, 2023: We’ve retested these headphones using firmware 2.13.18. While it didn’t change our sound results, new features were added to the companion app, and we have raised App Support from ‘8.0’ to ‘8.5’.
  • Updated May 02, 2023: We’ve added a comparison between these headphones and the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless in Bluetooth.
  • Updated Apr 06, 2023: Users have reported experiencing a drop in mic audio quality via USB. We have retested Recording Quality, but the scoring of this test hasn’t changed.
  • Updated Dec 05, 2022: We’ve corrected Wired USB compatibility in PC Compatibility and Playstation Compatibility.
  • Updated Oct 07, 2022: Review published.
  • Updated Oct 03, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless come in two color variations: ‘Black’ and ‘White’. We tested the ‘Black’ variant. The label is found underneath the ear cup padding and is hard to reach without damaging the padding. Unfortunately, this is also our second unit. The first unit couldn’t hold a charge, and we replaced it with another unit, which works as intended.

If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we’ll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are the next generation of the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. In this rendition, they have a new look that’s closer in design to the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless than their predecessor. These over-ears have retained a similarly comfortable fit and high-end build quality, but there have been some key changes to their design. They support aptX Adaptive instead of aptX-LL, which is nice if you want to stream hi-res audio and reduce audio latency. Sennheiser has also tweaked their sound profile and added more thumpy bass. However, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are similarly performing over-ears with different strengths. The Sony have a virtual soundstage feature, which helps to create a more immersive audio experience, their ANC system does a better job of blocking out background noise, and they support LDAC codec for hi-res audio. However, the Sennheiser are more comfortable, better-built, have a significantly longer continuous playback time, and they support aptX Adaptive codec. Their sound is also a bit more neutral, which some users may prefer.

The Apple Airpods Max Wireless and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have different strengths. While both headphones are well-built, the Apple have a more immersive passive soundstage, support Spatial Audio, which can help make your audio seem more immersive, and are able to block out significantly more background noise. They also have an H1 chip for seamless pairing with your Apple devices. However, the Sennheiser are more comfortable and have a slightly more neutral sound profile. They have a significantly longer continuous battery life, have sound customization features, and support multi-device pairing.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are the next generation of the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. The fourth generation have a different look than their predecessor and lack High-End Fine Tuning, so their sound profile is more bass-heavy. Their battery life is significantly better, they support aptX Adaptive, and they come with a sturdier carrying case. However, the Momentum 3 have a better noise isolation performance and support aptX-LL.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless and the Bowers Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless are both good headphones, but the Sennheiser have a slight edge. While both headphones are comfortable, the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile, although it’s still pretty bassy, and have a significantly longer continuous battery life. They’re also more customizable. On the flip side, the Bowers Wilkins are better-built and have a more stable fit.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 and the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have different strengths and depending on your usage, you may prefer either one. While both pairs of headphones have a premium build, the True Wireless 3 are lighter, more portable, and stable, thanks to their in-ear design. They’re less prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery and have a better noise isolation performance. However, the MOMENTUM 4 are more comfortable. They have a significantly better battery performance, and support aptX Adaptive codec for hi-res audio.

Test Results

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The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless look more similar to the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless than the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. Sennheiser has removed the metal hinge design and opted for a plastic frame with cloth detailing, with the manufacturer’s logo on the lower part of the headband. These headphones come in two color variants: ‘Black’ and ‘White’.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are comfortable headphones. They’re lightweight and don’t clamp too tightly on your head. However, depending on the size of your ears, they may touch the driver housing inside the ear cups. If you have a large head, you may also have trouble getting a good fit. The headband can put a bit of pressure on the top of your head, but it’s not as fatiguing as the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have great controls. There’s only one button and a touch-sensitive surface on the right ear cup, which is easy to use. There’s also a unique pinching movement you can use on the touch surface to adjust the strength of the ANC and transparency modes. However, to use this command, adaptive ANC needs to be off in the app. The touch-sensitive surface is also a bit too responsive, and you can accidentally register a command if you move the headphones on your head. There are beeps to let you know when you’ve registered a command, as well as voice prompts for a Bluetooth connection. However, the volume and track-skipping beeps are the same tones. You also need to use the app for some features to be active.

  • Single press: Mutes and unmutes the mic.
  • Press and hold: Turns the headphones on and off.

The touch-sensitive surface on the right earcup:

  • Single tap: Plays and pauses audio. Also answers and ends a call.
  • Double tap: Cycles between ANC on and transparency mode. Also accepts an incoming call and puts an active call on hold.
  • Swipe forward: Fast forwards through your track. Also accepts calls.
  • Swipe backward: Skips to the previous track. Also ends calls.
  • Hold center for two seconds: Rejects a call.
  • Swipe up: Turns the volume up incrementally.
  • Swipe down: Turns the volume down incrementally.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have mediocre portability. Their ear cups can swivel to lay flat, but you can’t fold them up into a more compact shape.

The carrying case is great. It feels sturdy and secure, thanks to its hard shape and fabric covering over the zipper. There’s space inside the case to store the accessories.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ build quality is great. We had to order a second unit as the first unit we purchased was defective and couldn’t hold a charge. However, our second unit doesn’t have this issue. It may indicate issues in quality control, so if you’ve experienced this issue, please let us know in the discussion section below. The headphones are mostly made of plastic with a silicone and cloth headband, as well as faux leather ear cups. The plastic ear cups are fingerprint prone, which is a bit annoying. Overall, these headphones feel solid and sturdy.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have decent stability. They shouldn’t move around much if you’re casually listening to music at your desk. However, they can fall off of your head with more intense head movements.

  • Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones
  • 1/16″ to 1/8″ TRS audio cable
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Airplane adapter
  • Hard case
  • Manuals

After updating the buds to firmware 2.13.18, we measured a similar frequency response between our original testing and this firmware, and deviations are due to the fit, positioning, and seal of the headphones on our rig. When using the ‘Flat EQ’, these over-ears have a bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump and rumble to mixes. This sound is well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, but if you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets. You can see a comparison of the EQ presets here. You can also see a comparison of the ‘Bass Boost’ and ‘Podcast’ modes here, which you can also enable with any other preset in the app.

Unlike the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless don’t support this manufacturer’s High-End Fine Tuning feature. Instead, there’s Sound Personalization, which is a 5-Band EQ that’s based on your own listening preferences. This feature will ask you to listen to a song and choose between different settings.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ frequency response consistency is decent. There are some deviations in audio delivery. You may notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ bass accuracy is good. The low to mid-bass is overemphasized, resulting in extra thump and punch in your mixes, which is great for genres like EDM and hip-hop. The overemphasis can also be heard in songs like Help I’m Alive by Metric, as the ever-present kick-bass has intense presence throughout the song, which slightly overpowers the vocals. The high-bass is fairly flat and neutral, so mixes have warmth but little boominess or muddiness.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have excellent mid accuracy. The low to mid-mid are well-balanced and flat, which results in present and clear vocals and lead instruments. It can be heard in acoustic songs like The Sound of Silence by Simon Garfunkel, as both vocalists’ voices are well-present in the mix. Although there’s a dip in the high-mids, which weakens vocals and instruments, it’s fairly minor.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ treble accuracy is great. The recessed low-treble veils and reduces the detail in vocals and lead instruments, but the fairly neutral mid-treble means that sibilants like cymbals are bright without being too piercing.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ peaks and dips performance is good. A bump in the low-bass adds thump and rumble mixes, while a peak between the mid-mid pushes vocals and lead instruments to the front of mixes. The high-mid is uneven, so the upper harmonics of vocals and instruments are alternatingly weak and harsh. A peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants like hi-hats piercing.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ imaging performance is excellent. Our Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless unit has mismatched driver issues, and it seems like their High-End Fine Tuning feature makes it worse. However, these headphones don’t have this feature and are very well-matched. It results in the accurate placement of objects like voices in the stereo image. Keep in mind that imaging can vary between units, and it can indicate a manufacturer’s quality control and ergonomics.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless have a poor passive soundstage, which is normal from closed-back over-ears. Their soundstage seems small, unnatural, and as if the sound is coming from inside your head rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless‘ weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. The frequencies fall within good limits, resulting in clear and pure audio reproduction.

These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless. These headphones support aptX Adaptive, which is backward compatible with aptX HD. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ noise isolation performance is good. These headphones have adaptive ANC, and while they have some trouble reducing the low rumble of bus and plane engines, they do a better job of blocking out ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of AC units.

These headphones don’t have an ANC off mode and can only switch between ANC on and transparency mode. As a result, we tested the passive noise isolation with the headphones off.

The leakage performance is great. Leakage is mostly concentrated in the mid to treble range and sounds fairly thin. It’s unlikely that you’ll bother others around you if you like to listen to your audio at high volumes.

The integrated mic has a fair recording quality. We used an estimated value for LFE as the processing job is recording LFE at.3dB by default, which isn’t reflective of its performance. To account for this, we measured LFE at.6dB, as this is the point in the response that we feel is closest to the true LFE. Even though there isn’t much bass in the recording quality, it’s not as bad as the graph indicates. We are looking into this issue, though. Your voice sounds fairly clear and easy to understand.

Users have reported a drop in mic audio quality when using the headphones via USB. When we connected our unit to our PC using this connection, and played a track, recording halfway to mimic a conference call. You can hear the recording here (it’s quite loud, so you may want to lower your audio before playing it!). Although there’s slight hissing coming from our speaker in the testing box, there’s also a noticeable drop in audio quality, which can be frustrating if you want to use them for work calls. Keep in mind that the recording only shows the difference between USB and Bluetooth mic audio quality and doesn’t demonstrate the sound quality of the headphones.

The microphone’s noise handling performance is mediocre. The mic has trouble separating your voice from ambient noise. As a result, your voice can be drowned out if you’re taking a call from a moderately noisy environment.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless review

If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable set of ANC headphones in comparison to the Bose or Sony offerings: the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is not a bad way to go. While its ANC is technically behind the other top-tier headphones, its sound quality is ahead of the pack—as is its battery life. Not bad for 350 USD.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

If you’re looking for a slightly more affordable set of ANC headphones in comparison to the Bose or Sony offerings: the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is not a bad way to go. While its ANC is technically behind the other top-tier headphones, its sound quality is ahead of the pack—as is its battery life. Not bad for 350 USD.

In the world of active noise canceling (ANC) headphones, Sennheiser has been a mainstay for quite a few years now. So it should be no surprise that it’s looking to muscle in on the current crop of popular active noise canceling headphones. However, Sennheiser doesn’t release new products as often as its competitors, instead electing to make fewer, but more significant refreshes. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is several years old, and its replacement has big shoes to fill. We spent a week with Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless to find out everything you need to know.

Editor’s note: this review was updated on January 24, 2023, to include more information on air travel, and to clear up some language.

The MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is aimed at serving the needs of commuters or people who want one set of headphones for many different listening environments.

What’s it like to use Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

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Sennheiser’s MOMENTUM Wireless line of ANC headphones represents the company’s efforts to make a consumer-oriented set of headphones for frequent commuters with deeper s than your average headphone buyer. The latest iteration of this line, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, has a lot of stiff competition in its category from Bose, Sony, and Apple. However, Sennheiser has a good track record of offering things others won’t—and the same is true here.

Inside the packaging of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is a fabric case with rigid plastic, an airplane adapter, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a 2.5mm to 3.5mm TRS cable to use with sources that don’t have Bluetooth. While that’s quite a lot in the way of accessories, the carrying case has a mesh. flexible loops, and ample room to store these comfortably.

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Getting a good fit with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is pretty straightforward, and the somewhat thick padding with soft leatherette material has enough give to it to accommodate glasses—something I definitely appreciate. As these headphones use a plastic Band instead of metal like its predecessors, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless isn’t heavy enough to cause significant strain over a period of several hours. The top part of the Band is also padded with a soft material, though be careful not to over-tighten the headphones, as that Band can dig into your skull if you’re careless.

When you use the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless for the first time, you’ll want to install the Sennheiser Smart Control app to ensure you have the latest firmware installed. Once you’ve powered up and put the headphones on your noggin, you’ll be able to start listening pretty much straight away. Several creature comforts only work when you turn them on with the app, so be sure to mess around with Smart Control a bit before you uninstall it if that’s your intention.

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By default, the headphones have a feature called “Smart Pause” enabled, which will automatically pause your music and put the headphones into standby mode when you take them off your head. Additionally, you can also tell your headphones to automatically hold any calls you have going on with the same action. Finally, you can also alter the level of ANC to your liking, enable Adaptive ANC to automatically adjust it based on your environment, or even define up to 20 geotags to toggle different ANC modes. Of course, this all requires some data collection, so weigh how much these features mean to you if you’re squeamish about sharing that sort of thing.

These features all work as advertised, which is less common than you might think. It’s definitely a risk to cram so much into the app, but it’s definitely valuable for the right kind of consumer. If you don’t care about these features, you can simply disable them in the app, and then uninstall the app.

The Smart Control app is more worth using than most headphones apps. It has a lot more granular features and settings than the ones we mentioned above, and they’re pretty useful— stuff like being able to change the level of noise canceling applied, getting firmware updates, or equalizing the sound. Though you may be concerned by the level of data collection going on in the background, the truth is that some of the permissions requested are necessary for these features to function.

If you’re satisfied with how the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless works out of the box, you’ll still probably want to install the app on your phone anyway, just to the headphones’ firmware up to date. However, it won’t stop working without the app. Smart Control is mainly there to be a value-add rather than an added frustration—even if you view companion apps negatively.

How do you control Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless?

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Much like the Sony WH-1000X series of headphones, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless uses touch gestures to control playback and answer calls. Even if you don’t have the chart below handy, it should be easy to figure out and operate on your own.

Additionally, there is one button on the right side of the headphones that allows you to turn on or turn off the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, but it is also used for a few other functions. When the headphones are off, hold this button down until the lights flash and you’ll enter pairing mode. While in a call, tap it once to mute your microphone.

How does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless connect?

Much like any other wireless headphones, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless connects to your phone, computer, or other sources via Bluetooth. Additionally, you can use the 3.5mm jack or the USB cable to listen to music from a computer. If you elect to stick with Bluetooth, you have the option of using SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, or aptX Adaptive codecs.

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Most of the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ advanced features are controlled through the Sennheiser Smart Control app.

We typically suggest listeners with this array of options choose the AAC or aptX HD codecs, depending on their phone. AAC is better on iPhone, while aptX and aptX HD is much more consistent on Android devices (despite aptX Adaptive offering a lot on paper). Really though, this is an extremely minor point now that phones have come so far—however, please use AAC or aptX Adaptive if latency is an issue when you use the headphones, as that will cut latency from about a quarter of a second to close to nothing (in theory). Android phone users may not always see this benefit, as these phones tend to vary a bit with their latencies.

How long does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless battery last?

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Back at the lab, we set the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless to run our standardized battery test of continuous music playback peaking at 75dB(SPL). The headphones last 56 hours and 21 minutes (with ANC on)—an exceptionally good result! As always, your mileage may vary depending on your use, but this result puts the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless far ahead of the closest competing ANC headphones, as shown:

What’s not often discussed is that longer battery life can mean longer life-of-battery. The fewer charge cycles you subject the cell to over a longer period of time, the longer the battery will be able to hold its charge. It’s worth thinking about if you’re particularly ecologically or economically minded. Still, for that crowd no battery is the best battery.

As well as a physical power switch (something the Airpods Max is sorely lacking), there’s an Auto On/Off feature that automatically turns the headphones on or off based on their position. If you set them down after listening, the headphones will turn off. When you put them back on your head, they will turn on.

How well does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless cancel noise?

Like the other frontrunners in the ANC headphone category, the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless does a commendable job at preventing outside noise from reaching your eardrums. Although it doesn’t outperform its nearest competitors, keep in mind the decibel scale used for attenuation isn’t linear, so the relative difference between attenuating 30 to 40 decibels (equating to one-eighth to one-sixteenth of the perceived loudness) is much less than 0 to 10dB (no reduction to half as loud). In that light, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless hangs tight—though it is behind the pack by a little bit.

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The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless can block about 75-93% of outside noise above 1kHz, while canceling out about 75% of the intensity of noise lower in frequency.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless can reduce the loudness of high-pitched noise by about 75-95%, and cancel lower-pitched noise by about 75%. That’s not quite as good as the other leading ANC headphones, but again: we’re talking about the difference between lowering outside noise by only a few percentage points more. You may notice the difference coming from something like the Sony WH-1000XM5, but it won’t be a dealbreaker. If you’d like to compare the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless to other leading ANC headphones, be sure to check out our guide on the best ANC headphones.

Commuters, students, and office workers will see the most benefit from ANC performance like this, but ANC headphones work well just about anywhere. Just make sure you’re not putting yourself in a position to miss an important announcement or inviting danger by missing the sound of an oncoming vehicle.

How does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless sound?

The MOMENTUM Wireless headphones don’t veer off into wild overemphasis of the bass or highs, though there is a little added bass. That’s definitely an improvement on the choices made by many competing headphones, but it may not always be something you specifically want in your cans. The measured response of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless is extremely close to our preference curve, and that doesn’t seem accidental: most people will like the sound a lot.

Like most of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless’ competition, the headphones boost bass a little beyond what we’d like to see. You may want to tamp down the bass a little bit in the app, and that’s okay. Even before doing that, you shouldn’t have any trouble hearing low-level details in your music, or with speech intelligibility, as the highs are very well represented.

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The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless adheres to our target curve quite well, even in the highs, which is very rare to see.

This doesn’t mean the headphones aren’t suited to critical listening, but audiophiles who are a little more particular about their tunes may want to use Sennheiser’s app to control things a little bit. In a vacuum, this product has a very good sound out of the box. The ranges where discrepancies exist between our target and the sound of the headphones are generally places where fit will determine your experience much more dramatically than any other factor, so you shouldn’t notice anything amiss day to day.

However, that’s not the whole story regarding sound quality, though I wish it were.

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Most of the deviations in this chart should be inaudible, but the swing to the left channel at 2kHz will be annoying to some people.

What our frequency response chart doesn’t show you is the fact that the two sides of this headphone sample don’t exactly function identically. The chart above shows the variation in the measurement between the left and right sides. In our testing, this always gets a cursory check, and here the variation from side to side is noteworthy. Casual listeners or people just jamming to their tunes on transit might not care about this, but when you get home and listen to your favorite songs, a tracking error like this means you may notice a slightly skewed stereo image. Here, this is caused by a narrow area of midrange sounds (around 2kHz) coming in louder on the left side than on the right. Note that variations above 10kHz are primarily caused by placement on the head, and are very hard to match perfectly due to the tiny wavelengths involved—they’re also generally a lot less noticeable than imbalances in the bass and midrange, like the one we have here.

Can you use the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless for phone calls?

Like most headphones nowadays, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless has a microphone array allowing you to take calls. While not all microphones are created equal, Sennheiser is one of a handful of companies that generally hits a certain level of quality here, considering small microphones mounted in headphones are never going to sound perfect. If you absolutely must have microphone quality better than this, you may want to add a dedicated microphone to your computer setup instead.

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The microphone system of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless should be able to pick up voice sounds no sweat.

Take a listen to the following demo recordings from our standardized test setup for microphones. This will give you a basic idea of how well the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless handles phone calls in typical environments.

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Review

I’ve been a contributing editor for PCMag since 2011. Before that, I was PCMag’s lead audio analyst from 2006 to 2011. Even though I’m a freelancer now, PCMag has been my home for well over a decade, and audio gear reviews are still my primary FOCUS. Prior to my career in reviewing tech, I worked as an audio engineer—my love of recording audio eventually led me to writing about audio gear.

The Bottom Line

The comfortable Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones deliver a boosted-bass response that manages to not overwhelm the overall balance of the mix.

PCMag editors select and review products independently. If you buy through affiliate links, we may earn commissions, which help support our testing.

Pros

  • Distortion-free, quality audio performance with plenty of rich low-end.
  • Very secure, comfortable on-ear design.
  • Includes two detachable cables, one with remote control and microphone for iOS devices.

Cons

A typical pair of headphones from Sennheiser will FOCUS on rich, but measured, bass response and crisp highs—and the visual design may look more utilitarian than luxurious. So, it’s interesting to watch the company add a little bit of variety to its formidable line-up. The Momentum On-Ear (229.95 direct), like its over-the-ear cousin, is an eye-catching pair of headphones. The sound signature here is more about boosted bass than flat response, but there’s a steady balance that is maintained—things never seem overwhelmingly in favor of the lows. The performance is clean at high volumes and the headphones are comfortable over long listening periods. The Momentum On-Ear is worth the high price for those seeking added low-end presence without veering into Beats-level bass boosting.

DesignAvailable in six color schemes (black, blue, brown, green, ivory, and pink—with varying cable colors depending on the model), the Momentum On-Ear looks, unsurprisingly, quite similar to its around-the-ear Momentum cousin. Both of these headphone pairs are a departure, from a visual design standpoint, for Sennheiser, a company whose headphones have always been firmly rooted in the black-and-gray plastic, chunky world of pro-audio gear.

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The supra-aural (on-ear) Momentum adjusts its fit by sliding the earcups up and down, rather than having moving parts and adjusters built-in to the headband. This keeps the overall look simple and clean. With leather accents on the headband and plush earpads made from a material called Alcantara (it feels like felt or velvet, but doesn’t seem to get very warm over time), Sennheiser’s design implies luxury without ostentation. The on-ear design is pleasant in both look and feel, but it’s worth noting that if you were to take this pair to, say, a noisy coffee shop, it’s not going to block out much outside noise.

The Momentum On-Ear’s cable is detachable (it connects at the left earcup), which adds value to the pricey headphones, as it’s much less expensive to replace a cable than buy a new pair of headphones if the cable begins to malfunction down the road. Even better, two cables are included—one with an inline microphone and three-button remote intended for Apple iOS devices.

Also included is a handsome, protective zip-up case. While the case feels nice, the headphones don’t fold down flat into it. Bringing the Momentum On-Ears in your bag will eat up a lot of space, despite them being a fairly manageable size on your head.

Sennheiser HD 429s

Marshall Monitor

There’s also a less bulky drawstring nylon bag, though it will still require more space since the headphones don’t fold down. Strangely, there is no ¼-inch adapter for larger headphone jacks, nor an airplane jack adapter—an annoyance, but hardly something a quick trip to Radio Shack can’t solve for very little money.

PerformanceOn tracks with intense sub-bass content, like the Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the Momentum On-Ear does not distort, and it delivers a rich, robust low-end. These lows are matched with a healthy presence in the mids and highs, so balance is well maintained despite the considerable low-frequency push.

Baritone vocals in Bill Callahan’s “Drover” his get a significant boost in the lows and low-mids. This could end up making the mix muddy, as the constant drumming on this track also receives a powerful bass boost, but the Momentum On-Ear adds just enough crispness and bite in the high-mids to maintain definition. Regardless, purists might find this pair a bit too bass-boosted, and the overall sound signature could use a bit more high-mid presence.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the kick drum loop has a sharp attack that slices through the mix nicely, while the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are delivered with plenty of gusto. The balance here sounds a bit more even than it does on the Bill Callahan track, where the lows get a bit too much boosting and the high-mids not enough. To call this a bass-lover’s pair in the era of Beats by Dr. Dre would not be completely accurate.

If the styling of the Momentum On-Ears isn’t for you, but you’re still looking for some added low-end, the 299.99 KEF M500( at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) is a solid, but pricier, option. Also stylish, but decidedly non-traditional in appearance, is the Marshall Monitor(99.99 at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) (200), which offers a fantastic overall balance with a bit more brightness (when you take out the removable dampeners in the earpads). For more modest budgets, both the 100 LSTN Fillmores( at Amazon) (Opens in a new window) and Sennheiser HD 429s (89.95) offer solid audio experiences, the latter providing a more typical Sennheiser sound signature for a far lower price. For 230, however, the Momentum On-Ear delivers a frequency response that will appeal to those seeking added bass without overwhelming the mix—the comfortable design and detachable cable only sweeten the deal.

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Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears Review

In the audio world, Sennheiser is one venerable old dog, yet the company doesn’t turn its nose up to new tricks. Case in point? Sennheiser looked beyond the uppercrust audiophile market by introducing fashionable headphones for the more everyday consumer: Meet the Momentum On-Ear (MSRP 229.95), a stylish offering with trendy sound to match.

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  • The Outfit
  • The Audio
  • Final Look
  • The Insides That Count
  • Frequency Response
  • Distortion
  • Noise Isolation

In an interview with CEO Daniel Sennheiser, our SVP David Kender discusses major industry trends. Mr. Sennheiser admits that since businesses like Beats and Skullcandy have identified fashion-minded buyers, his company is also taking aim—with products like the Momentum.

We therefore nabbed a pair to find out whether the sound quality got the same royal treatment as the design.

The Outfit

A head-turner (and a hair-puller)

When it comes to fashion-forward design, the Momentum on-ears keep up with the best of them. The sophisticated intersection of industrial parts, varied colors, and fabric details has a distinctly grown-up appeal; the scheme is flashy without feeling tacky. Neatly stitched brown leather traces the brushed, stainless-steel Band. Nothing is too shiny. Best of all, the Momentum comes in a large array of soft colors: ivory, pink, blue, brown, green, black, or red.

The comfort factor isn’t as successful. If you have medium/long hair, it can get snagged in the sliding hinges where the ear cup meets the Band. I ruefully rubber-banded my hair after a chunk got ripped out while removing the Momentums. Warm weather doesn’t mesh well with these headphones, either, because the fabric ear cups feel a bit like ear muffs. As for strike three, the on-ear design applies constant pressure to the outer ear, which tends to cause aching. Thus, like most on-ears, these are not a great choice for extended listening, offering none of the plushness of over-ear alternatives.

On the bright side, the ear cups do pivot nicely up-and-down and side-to-side. The simple rubber cable resists tangles and includes a three-button, iPhone-compatible mic/remote. Except for volume, the controller works with Android devices, too. Happily, the cable is removable, and as a bonus, Sennheiser even includes a backup (albeit with no remote).

Last, the included hard case is a very safe place to store your Momentums, but it’s larger than a lady’s clutch—not convenient for travel. Luckily, Sennheiser also offers a soft case, for the sake of added portability.

The Audio

Not the audiophile’s cup of tea. But not everyone likes tea.

Let’s jump right in: If you’re searching for a “clean,” delicate sound profile, these Momemtums aren’t the right pick for you. For the most part, these on-ears balance sound very nicely, but the soundscape is more robust than it is refined.

That said, the main thing you’ll notice is that low notes are the biggest showcase—a surefire way to please casual, mainstream listeners. There is a nice sense of overall balance, but a drop in volume occurs in one key area—making high notes on guitars, pianos, and certain brass instruments less discernable. Happily, this drop only impacts a small portion of the upper midrange. Otherwise, sound is quite balanced, so that even with the rumbling bass, listeners can still hear lots of musical details throughout the more delicate portions of the scale.

As to the rest of the performance aspects, audible distortion won’t hamper you at all unless you’re listening at overly loud levels (don’t do that), and volume between left and right speakers is even for the most part, too. Don’t expect much in the way of isolation, though: The Momentums block a fair measure of high-pitched noise, but low sounds like moving traffic or booming bass from your neighbor’s tacky house party will disrupt you, no question.

Final Look

Test drive required

Sennheiser delivers a sound profile that a lot of folks are after with the Momentum on-ears: big bass, but supported by ample detail throughout the middle and high range. Even better, there’s no audible distortion and the design delivers the look that so many shoppers are searching for these days.

Still, 199 isn’t exactly chump change, and the Momentums just don’t win on every front. The fabric speaker pads can really heat up, and they clamp onto your outer ears with a fair amount of pressure—which can cause discomfort, especially after a half hour of listening. Perhaps most importantly, the Momentums’ audio performance is eclipsed by similarly priced products like the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, which you can find online for about 50 less.

Then again, if it’s the marriage of trendy sound and head-turning design you’re after, that’s a rare specimen. Be sure to take these Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears for a spin, if that’s the case. Maybe you’ll hate the fit, maybe you’ll like it—every noodle’s different—but comfortable design’s as important as audio quality, so test these out before throwing money down.

The Insides That Count

It’s time to back our Front Page words with some Science Page numbers. Every set of headphones that comes our way faces the same calculating robot, the same software, and the same set of tests. The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears fared pretty well, overall—there were only a few bumps in the road.

A drop in volume in the high midrange, poor isolation results, and a momentary tracking error were about the only things we found to complain about. Everything else was ship shape.

Frequency Response

Robust soundscape supported by ample middle high details

Headphones tend to either produce a flat response, where every frequency receives similar emphasis for the purpose of studio mixing, or else they have a more dynamic response like that of an equal loudness contour (ELC). What in tarnation is an ELC? It’s a method of balancing frequencies in such a way that each sounds equally loud to the human ear.

The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears do just that—though not flawlessly, as the test results show.

To discuss the frequency response in more detail, let’s start with an overall assessment: In plain terms, bass is quite prominent throughout this soundscape, but middle and high notes such as those produced by trumpets, flutes, and violins break through, too.

A significant drop does occur right at 4kHz, though. Notes in that range fall to 60dB, while bass notes can be as high as 85dB—that’s quite a difference in emphasis. In plain terms, that means that you’ll find yourself turning up the volume in order to hear high overtones on guitars and pianos more clearly—not ideal.

Distortion

Very positive results

Although distortion is present in the sub-bass range, it barely breaches 4%—and human ears aren’t very sensitive to those low frequencies, so it doesn’t matter a bit. Best of all, from 100dB and up, distortion measurements are incredibly low, never rising above 3% and mostly remaining below 1%. These are fantastic results, meaning music won’t be bothered by unwanted added noise or snipped harmonics.

Be sure not to push volume over the 103dB mark, though, or total harmonic distortion will rise to more than 3%. If you’re listening safely, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Noise Isolation

No peace and quiet here

If you’re looking for great noise isolators, the Momentums are the wrong choice. They do reduce high-pitched outside noises to more than 1/4, but middle and low-end sounds are all but unimpeded. That means that grumbling engines and other bassy noises will disturb you, with or without the Momentum On-Ears.

Other Tests.

Meet the tester

Virginia is a former Managing Editor at Reviewed.com. She has a background in English and journalism. Away from the office, Virginia passes time with dusty books house cats.

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