This Sunday we’re sharing some initial impressions having spent a couple of weeks getting to know the newly-released $299 USD Momentum True Wireless 2 from none other than Sennheiser.
Each Sunday on Headfonia we give readers a peek at some freshly-arrived gear that we have in the review pipeline, along with some early thoughts and impressions. The Momentum True Wireless 2 was sent to us directly from Sennheiser in exchange for our honest thoughts and conclusions, and we’re looking forward to sharing our full review with readers soon very soon!
Wireless Fidelity – are we there yet?
Bluetooth audio technology had advanced in veritable leaps and bounds in recent years – its momentum has largely been driven by the consumer market, who tends to favour convenience and utility over prioritizing out-and-out sonic fidelity. And as the humble headphone jack becomes rarer and rarer as each year’s smartphone line-up is released, Bluetooth is fast becoming the benchmark for audio connectivity.
However, those who favour sound-quality over hands-free multi-tasking (a.k.a ‘Audiophiles’) are some of the last ‘hold-outs’ when it comes to embracing Bluetooth, which until recently, hasn’t been able to hold a candle in terms of sound quality when it comes to back-to-back comparisons with good-old-fashioned wired headphones. But with the advent of higher resolution codecs such as LDAC and Aptx, and increasingly sophisticated design and product reliability, we must be very close to the tipping-point where ‘Wireless’ is no longer a synonym for compromise in personal audio parlance.
To date, I haven’t been convinced enough by any True Wireless offerings to go ahead and ‘cut the cord’, so to speak. Cue the spanking-new Momentum True Wireless 2 IEMs from audio heavyweights Sennheiser. While much of the momentum (with a small ‘m’) of the True Wireless format can be attributed to brands better known for making smartphones than headphones, Sennheiser’s second-iteration of the Momentum True Wireless arrives with the bold promise of offering category-leading sound quality, along with all the accessibility and multi-purpose functionality of the competition – which really are table stakes when you’re weighing-in to the True Wireless IEM category. And with a price tag of $299 USD / £279 /$499.95 AUD, naturally, I’ll be holding the diminutive Sennheisers to a very high standard indeed.
A svelter, smarter package
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 arrives in a more shapely package than its predecessor, managing to shave off some size while still managing to pack-in a 7mm dynamic driver into each earbud along with the battery and other electronic components. Readers should note that Sennheiser has managed to do this whilst also managing to achieve an IXP4 splash-resistant rating. Out of their very fetching portable storage case (which also doubles as their charging unit), I was very pleased to find that they’re a ‘Cinderalla’-fit with the fitted ‘medium’ stock silicone tips (a further 3 x pairs of tips are supplied). They feel reassuringly secure, and I can report that they’re well-up to vigorous exercise. That snug fit also provides excellent passive isolation, but one of the big ‘upgrade’ features of the Momentum True Wireless 2 is active noise cancellation. Tap the right earpiece three times (which then responds in turn with a ‘boop’ ‘boop’ beep’) to toggle noise cancellation on and off. From early testing, I have to say…the difference is not very noticeable. I can hear that something is happening – there’s a slight change in pressure as well as an increased noise-floor (a barely noticeable hiss), but background noises and conversations aren’t really reduced at all.
The face plates of both earpieces are touch-sensitive, controlling volume, call and playback settings, as well as Apple/Android voice assistant. It’s a fairly intuitive system, and the commands can be customized within Sennheiser’s ‘Smart Control’ companion app, which also includes a fairly bewildering visual equalizer that borders on infuriating in terms of being able to make adjustments of each point in the frequency-band. Thankfully, there’s not much need to, however, because in their factory ‘flat’ setting they sound really quite good indeed.
Rich, relaxing sound
Right away, the Momentum True Wireless 2 reveals a noticeably warm tuning that emphasizes mid-bass and the lower mid-range. They’re capable of dishing-out pleasing levels of articulated ‘thump’ in the lower register that’s entirely par-for-the-course for IEMs intended for on-the-go employment; and instrument and male vocals, in particular, are treated with a lovely silky texture. It’s an altogether refined sound that’s very easy to like, but many listeners will find them lacking treble extension and an overall sense of ‘air’. They have a very gentle top-end that’s great if you’re looking for a relaxing kind of listen, but they’re not going to yield gobs of ‘zing’ nor detail. That’s not to say that they’re lacking detail, but the Momentum True Wireless 2 goes about it in a very laid-back way.
Given that I’m based firmly at home at the moment due to COVID-19 (as many of you might be at the moment), the Momentum True Wireless 2 is proving to be a handy companion around the house for both entertainment and connectivity. Their Bluetooth connectivity has performed flawlessly thus far, being able to reach every corner of my apartment, although I have noticed some latency while watching video on various devices. Call and microphone function has been perfectly adequate thus far, although I will be giving them a bit more of a rigorous test in coming weeks in this regard.
Sennheiser is claiming a 7-hour battery life for their new True Wireless IEMs, and when combined the battery storage of their charging case, that potential battery life stretches-out to 28 hours before needing to plug them back into the wall. So far I’ve been super-impressed with the sound quality, design and form-factor of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. The next couple of weeks will be spent testing to see whether their reliability and user-experience matches their audio performance and whether they truly are worthy of their not-inconsiderable $299 USD price tag.
Watch this space!