Sennheiser Momentum First Impression

sennheiser_momentum_07

Disclaimer: Special thanks to Sennheiser Asia for the Momentum headphone loaner. I didn’t have too much time to evaluate the Sennheiser Momentum, a short two days to be exact (long story). Lieven is going to get more playtime with the Momentum, so if you feel that some points are a little short, please wait for his review sometimes in November.

 

The latest Momentum from Sennheiser is certainly a headphone that knows very well what it was designed for. Starting from the classy brown-themed design, leather and stainless steel and one of the best leather pads I’ve ever tried, the Momentum is designed to be in style with the more mature mainstream crowd, and with a sound tuning that I imagine would match very well with that particular demographic as well: warm, soft, full sounding and very refined.

From the first moment I picked up the Momentum, I really couldn’t pick any fault with it. I’m not saying it’s the perfect ultimate headphone or that it’s my new love in headphones, but rather under the perspective of what it was designed to do, it’s perhaps the finest headphone ever done to cater to that segment. I had read Jude’s review on the Momentum and I agree with how he put the Momentum together on the same camp as the B&W P5 and the Philips Fidelio L1. And that the Momentum is definitely not in the same camp as the HD25-1, the Amperior, VModa M80, or the Beyerdynamic DT1350. Not only due to the styling, but also the sound characteristics.

 

 

The Sound

Warm, full sounding, and very refined. A lof of headphone reviews these days use those words. Not because headphone reviewers are running out of words to use, but rather because manufacturers are “getting” the fact that people like warm, full, and refined sounding headphones.

If you’ve listened to the B&W P5, then you know that it’s super warm and super full-bodied to the extent that some people say it’s too warm and too full, lacking air. The Momentum is a little bit to that direction, rather than the darker sounding Fidelio. Sennheiser took the tuning of the P5 (not saying they did that literally as in copying), and adds a number of improvements, most noticeable being more space in the sound. You get a nice, relatively spacious soundstage on top of that warm and refined sound. Not the biggest soundstage, but bigger than the HD25-1 and all its friends, and more comparable to the ATH-M50 and the Philips Fidelio L1 — the Momentum’s soundstage slightly narrower than the two, but has a better depth. The better depth makes the Momentum feels a lot more spacious than the M50 and the L1 as things now have a dimension to it, rather than just a wide left-right pan. Soundstage presentation is also the most natural with the Momentum. Considering that it was not designed to be a reference-class like the HD800 or the Stax SR-009, it’s pretty much safe to give the Momentum a 9 out of 10 for soundstage performance in the lifestyle headphone class.

Another improvement that you get with the Momentum is the treble presence. I think the P5 is nice, but a lot of people feel that it’s too thick and needs a little more treble presence. Here comes the Momentum with its smooth sounding treble and just the right amount of sparkle so nobody can say that it’s veiled. We’re talking about something done close to perfection here, you get less treble than the HD25-1, Amperior, and all their friends, but more than the P5 and the Fidelio. It’s amazing, since people want to hear treble are the quickest to shout “bright” if they get too much than they want. Sennheiser got that just right with the Momentum.

Now let’s talk about the bass. Momentum got a good amount of bass and lower mid body. Bass doesn’t go very low, and is a bit loose, the punch and impact a little short for me. The Fidelio for instance have a more complete bass that extends lower, with a stronger impact too. But there is no denying that the pads also clamp much harder than the Momentum (again, just perfect on this department). Considering the clamping force and comfort factor, I can understand why the bass is as it is. Nobody is going to call the Momentum bass light, but it ain’t going to be the bass reference either. It’s a bit loose, lacking the control and speed of say the HD25-1 or the Vmoda M-80, but again it always seems to be a bit of a trade off. When you add bass body, you lose speed. And there is something with the way a slightly loose bass helps to make the music a little more relaxed and flowing. The loose bass helps to give the Momentum a more laid back, relaxed atmosphere which you don’t get on fast punchy headphones like the HD25-1. This is why I added that “soft” adjective early on in the introduction. The Momentum is about winding down, wine and cigar and soft plush sofas. PRaT? Maybe a score of 2 where the HD25-1 is a 9 and the Vmoda M-80 a 10. I can listen to Coldplay to it and it would be rendered “perfect” in terms of tonality, but absolutely no toe tapping. Play it some slower Jazz, Latin, Diana Krall, Sting, Chris Botti stuff, and I think the Momentum is spot on. You can play classical on it, but I still demand HD650 level impact for symphonies. You can play some dance and club on it too, but I’d still take the TMA-1. Momentum would probably be great with Cafe del Mar stuff, but I don’t have a CD to test it with. Rock listeners, the HD25-1 can be a little aggressive but that’s the headphone you should get. I hope you are getting the picture here.

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/destroysall Chris Allen

    “If you’ve listened to the B&W P5, then you know that it’s super warm
    and super full-bodied to the extent that some people say it’s too warm
    and too full, lacking air.” Mike, you pinned the tail with this statement. I feel precisely that the B&W P5′s greatest flaw (in my opinion) is its lack of air. Thus why I prefer the Audio-Technica ESW9 much more. Though that brings me to my question, how does the Momentum perform when compared to the ESW9?

    • dalethorn

      I can’t comment on the Momentum’s performance -vs- the ESW9, but it sure sounds a lot more lively, and heavier in the upper bass/low mids. My wife dumped her P5 recently in favor of the ESW9. The P5 is competent enough, but the price is way too high for the performance.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I think the Momentum is overall the better headphone. It has warmth, mids, better air, better soundstage.

  • Jean Charles

    Awesome review..Great headphones though not “HD650 great”

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      thanks! I fully agree

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks, Jean.

      • Jean Charles

        Just by curiosity Mike..do you prefer the HD600s or HD650s? (I know the answer must be there..somewhere. I’m so lazy)

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          They work a little different, so depending on what I’m listening too, but ultimately the 650 if I have to choose only one.

          • Jean Charles

            Thanks mate..

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              You’re welcome, Jean.

  • Florian GERARD

    hello, i have a big deal on amazon for the FIDELO L1 and i’m quite interesting for the choice between the L1 and the MOMENTUM ?! I have a HD650 which i love and want someting closed. What do you think? L1=170€ and MOMENTUM 215€
    Thanks

    • George Lai

      Yes the Amazon price is amazing. If I didn’t already have the Fidelio X1, I’d go for the L1. The Momentum is notable for its small earcups which therefore totally rules it out for my big ears.

      • dalethorn

        I had the Momentum and the L1, and neither went around my average size ears. But I found the Momentum to be more comfortable.

        • George Lai

          Wow I didn’t realize the L1 also has small ear cups as I haven’t actually seen one up close yet. I have large ears so that rules that out. My headphones with comfortable (i.e. large) cups are HD600, D2000, K550, PSB M4U2, and the slightly smaller but still okay DT880, X1, SR325 (with G Cush). I guess that only leaves the HD700, HE500, LCD2 with large cups and large drain on my wallet!

          • dalethorn

            Don’t forget the DT770LE – it’s always one of the first I go to for evaluating new music.

            • George Lai

              Unfortunately this is not in Singapore but I can order from Amazon US. Tell me, Dale, are the earcups the same size as my DT880?

              • dalethorn

                Don’t know about the DT880, but the 770′s earcup interiors are round, and the internal clearance is 50 mm wide. So you could compare that to other models, but it’s one of the best that I’ve tried for size.

                • Florian GERARD

                  Thanks for the replies…I finally gone for the L1 as it’s 50€ less than the momentum. It could be different view to test a new brand for me (i have the HD650). I’ll let you know my impressions…

                • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

                  Yes it’s the same as the DT880

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      The Fidelio is semi open. Both are great headphones.

  • Oliver

    I have 4 Momentum to sell for 190 € each. Sealed. Please send me an e.mail. olivervalverde@gmail.com

    I´m in Spain.

  • oktaf

    i have shure 535 red edition and i love the sound and i consider to buy momentum.how about the momentum? it has same sound signature with shure 535 red ?
    thanks.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      You mean the headphone? No very different

  • Alexandre

    Hi Mike,

    First of all many thanks for your work as it helps a lot for a newbie like me! However, the more I read and the more questions I have…

    I am currently looking for a new headphone and do not really know which one to chose. I will use this headphone with an ipod (no amp) when traveling (bus, subway, walking, …). Most of my music is unfortunately in AAC because I simply have to much to have it all in loseless on my ipod… Loseless on the computer though which will be the other usage but much less. I listen to all kinds of music with a predominance for pop and rock (Smiths, At the drive in, Beatles, …) but also folk, soul, R&B, classic, …. so I am looking for something that will play well everything. I understand that I cannot get the perfect match for everything though :) Ideally, I would like something with a neutral sound but still a bit of character (not something that is only bass, or just good in trebel, …).
    I almost forget! It needs to be comfortable :)

    Among the names I selected there is:
    - Sennheiser momentum (I have been told that the on-ear is better with an adjustment in the trebel through the EQ but to be honest I felt not so comfy when trying them. I am not sure I could spend 4-5h wearing them. The regular one however is spot on for comfort.)
    - V-Moda M100 (I did not have the chance to try them. I read everything on these going from the better to the worst and I have no clue whether they would be a good fit or not!)
    - BeyerDynamics Custom One Pro (I liked it a lot when I tried it but may be a bit too neutral? I could not spend much time on it but it sounded a bit like the first in the class but lacking character. I have to say they were brand new without any usage before.)
    B&W P7 (I liked your review but as they are very demanding with the source I think it is a no go)
    - BO H6 (could not try them either but I liked your review. Is it like the P7 very demanding with the source? or an ipod will be enough to get a good sound?)
    - MF 100 (not sure about this one)

    I am of course open to any suggestion if you think there is another more appropriate.

    As for the price, I do not really have any fixed budget. I guess there is no point in buying the more expensive given the use I will have and the source. But I am willing to pay the extra buck if it really makes a difference and for comfort.

    Many thanks for your help.

    Alex

    • dalethorn

      I would swear I replied to this somewhere, but….. M100 is the best bet because it has the best body of sound for outdoor/travel use, also the strongest build for outdoor use, and can also make an excellent indoor hi-fi headphone if the big bass is acceptable or adjustable.

      • Alexandre

        Indeed you replied to me in the Q&A section. I realized too late that I posted here instead of the proper section. Sorry about that. But thanks for taking the time to reply here as well :)

  • Pedro Oliveira

    Hi mike…

    Is it me or do you prefer the hd25′s to the amperiors?
    I was thinking of getting a pair of amperiors to make some company to my momentums, since the amperiors would be for rock and edm and the momentums for pop and softer rock.

    Meanwhile i got a really great deal on a pair of hd25-1 ii’s… no box, but mint condition and for just 70 euros…. :)

    I am really liking them so far but i still have not forgotten the amperiors…

    I can easily sell my hd25′s for 80 or 90 euros and get a pair of amperiors for about 120/130 euros….

    Do you think the “upgrade” from hd25 to amperior is a smart move and a worthy one or is the hd25/momentum already a pretty good combination?

    Cheers m8…. :)

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      The amperior is more of a different sound rather than upgrade

      • Pedro Oliveira

        Thank you very much for your reply mike….

        It seems like it really depends on wich type of signature one likes… but unfortunately the amperiors are no available in Portugal so i cannot try them unless i buy them…..

        From what i’ve read it seems they are a little bassier and smoother than the hd25′s… some like this and some dont…

        Some friends at head fi wich had both ended keeping the hd25′s and sold the amperiors because….

        Quoting…

        “The Amperior is to boomy, not neutral and not at all fun listening to. I cant understand why people tell this is a ‘fun’ can…. Also it is alot heavier than the HD25 because of the Aluminium cups (which frankly do not make a difference…….). They do not feel like a better headphone to be honest… ”

        “There is a difference in the sound although the sound sig of the HDs and Amps are similar. The HDs have tighter bass but the Amps have bigger bass and better extension/rumble. Mids are more in your face on the Amps and so are the highs, although they are ever-so-slightly smoother. Overall, I found them more aggressive. ”

        “…I forgot to mention what annoyed me with the Amps were the weight of the cups vs. the same plastic headband. The cups were a bit heavier and so they didn’t seem stable on the headband. The HDs are nice and light and I never feel like I eve have to worry about their BQ.”

        Do you agree with this?

        Cheers… :)

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Sounds about right. The weight is true also but I find it to sit better on my head.

          Wait for the hd25 ALU review. This is the real deal

  • Ryan

    Hey Mike I just stumbled across your site after doing days of research for my next pair of high quality headphones that won’t break the bank. My budget is $300 and I’ve narrowed it down to (probably) the momentums, v-moda m80 or m100, and the HD25-1 II. I’m having a terrible time deciding between the ones I’ve listed, and maybe there is some others out there that i should look at; I don’t know. I listen to a wide variety of genres from dubstep, techno, rap, pop, indie, acoustic, rock, alternative, neo-soul, and probably a few others. I’ve read all your reviews for all the headphones I’ve listed and each review had me leaning towards another one, and then circling back around to where I started. Any input to help me out? The requirements are $300 or less, something comfortable I can use 8-ish hours a day at work in a office/cowork setting, preferably don’t want people hearing my music (to clearly at least), portable, and durable. Love your site BTW; it’s filled with great technical opinions that I would otherwise be lost (even more so) without.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Ryan,
      Go with the m100 Vmoda. Best genre bandwith in the market today

      • Ryan

        Cool. Sounds good to me.

        Thanks.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yeah sorry for the short reply to your long post man. I’ve got nothing else to say though. :)

          • Ryan

            Not a problem. I went ahead and purchased them on amazon. Got them on sale (they’re like 10 bucks off), and I used some of my rewards points to bring them down further. Ended up only paying $189 for the matte black version. Should be here around Wednesday. Pumped to try them out.

            Thanks.

  • Mark

    Hi mike and thank you for this review . Im searching for the best pair of headphones for mobile use ( htc oneX) , i want them circumaural and dont really care about noise cancelation sound is the most important . I prefere them to be either sennheiser or bose . I m thinking about the hd600 but the impedance is too high , you found that the momentums lack bass and that’s not a good point ( but im not a heavy bass lover too ) , the bose qc15 dont have something exceptional….i have now the bose ae2 , they lack bass and warmth and dont have the clearest highs. Thank you for your help .

    Summary : bose or sennheiser
    Circumaural
    Price not an issue
    Mobile use
    And by the way if the momentums have a deeper bass than the ae2 and clearer highs thats good and if the hd600 can be used for mobile without an amp thats good too , if there are other alternatives let me know . Thank you for your help …

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Mark,
      I’ve been recommending the Vmoda M100s for people with the same criteria as you and I would recommend the same one to you too.
      It doesn’t have the Momentum’s clarity but it has a relatively clear mid and high and most importantly a tight punchy bass.

      • Mark

        Thank you for your reply . Just another clarification : do the hd 600 deliver a better sound than the momentums with mobile phone use or not ?

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          no they wont

          • Mark

            Thank you mike

            • Dave Ulrich

              Uhh. that’s an L.

              • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                Funny huh, happens here all the time

                • Dave Ulrich

                  I noticed.

          • Mark

            L. by saying ” thank you mike ” i was answering mike on ” yes of course ” not on your reply ” no they wont ” ;-)

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes of course

          • Mark

            But the hd600 impedance is 17times higher than the momentums , are you sure they will deliver better sound ? Im talking about mobile use only .

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Ive tried it from a blackberry phone and though it’s not the optimum set up, its still the better sound.

              Of course it’s not something you’d use everyday.. Open back and all

              • Mark

                So i ll go for the hd600 for the htc one X . Thanks

                • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

                  You’re welcome Mark

                • dalethorn

                  Yikes

                  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                    Dale and me vs Mike :D

                    • Mark

                      Haha , what to buy :-D

                • dalethorn

                  Is that the One X U.S. version or international version?

                • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                  I wouldn’t though :)

                  • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

                    I wouldnt either. Not the proper set up

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            Mike? The HD600 on a mobile is better than the momentum on a mobile? come on man, you’re still sleeping.

            • George Lai

              Mike is just keeping Lieven on his toes ;-)

              • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

                The difference in driver quality is quite big, even from a sub par source you’ll still hear it.

  • Jeff

    I had a listen to these and I really was disappointed. These are obviously better than Beats but the sound was awful. This is probably because I listened to cans like the M4U2 or the HD-25 but the sound seemed to be everywhere. The bass wasn’t powerful nor was it accurate. Seemed very loose to me. I would get Noontec zoro over this. Not saying that the sound was awful but seemed bad compared to its price

  • Michael Riosa Nielsen

    Your comparison to B&W P5 is strange to me. I just compared them with my Lumia Phone and they are completely opposite. Momentum is bassy and boomy. Had to equalize in the treble with treble boost (both overear and onear momentums). P5 is bright ad crisp but lacks bass, I had to equalize in some bass. It was almost perfect. just the bass drums (real drums) lacked some punch. Momentum had overpowering bass drums, though.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      There seems to be a lot of variation in the P5, also caused by the fit. and we all know fit = bass

  • Gabriel

    Hi!
    I have been thinking about trying the Momentum. How does it compare to the sony mdr-x10 or xb 920?
    I
    have listened briefly to the AT M50 and unfortunately bass is not
    enough for me. I had to switch from the FiiO E18 to the E17 and push the
    bass to +10 and Bass full in my Sony Xperia Z Ultra to get good
    bass..which is way too much. With my X10 I dont have to go anywhere near
    that, just need to EQ it of course for better balance but I am always
    looking to try new things to see if I find something I like even more.
    It must be closed.
    Thanks!

    • dalethorn

      You won’t like the Momentum for bass, but the Momentum On-ear is better for what you describe. Still, not a lot of bass, but on-ear better than over-ear for bass.

      • Gabriel

        How about maybe the

        Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO or the

        audio technica pro 700 mk2 ?

        • dalethorn

          The AT I don’t know, but boosting the 770 bass you’ll just get mushy sound. A v-moda M100 would work, but only if you EQ down the upper bass to lower mids very judiciously. The Beyer DT1350 is a good candidate since the drivers have a very large dynamic range, but it’s harder to EQ because of the strong midrange emphasis. The ATH M50 is the only headphone I know of where the bass is stronger on the low end than elsewhere.

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