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Benchmark Setting for 'stylish' portable headphones

A Review On: Sennheiser MOMENTUM

Sennheiser MOMENTUM

Rated # 7 in Over-Ear
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Pros: Amazing package, truly world class, engineering and material are amazing, sound matches up to the build quality

Cons: Honestly, nothing.

Sennheiser is one of the old players when it comes to high-end headphones and their top tier products are rightly recognized as world class. Rightly so, the Sennheiser heritage produces quality, refined products that excite the listener.

I have been looking for a new set of cans for a while, and although I have been tempted by other brands I always come back to Sennheiser as I know the quality is there.

So, having done my research I finally homed in on the Momentums. Before I continue lets clear up a couple of points, firstly, these are are branded as circumaural, which means the cups don't touch your ears but, rather, entirely enclose them. This is not quite the case, unless you have small ears. These are more on-ear (supra-aural) rather than over-ear. Secondly, these have are ridiculously easy to drive, they come in at 18 ohms, which is similar to many earbud or IEM's so you will have no problems running these with your portable DAP without an amp.

Okay, firstly the packaging. One word, sumptuous, the box is very thick card and has a hinged lid, a red ribbon prevents it opening past 90 degrees. There is die-cut foam inside, cradling the headphone carry case. There is also a card envelope built in to the foam which contains product literature.

Once you get the cans out of the box the first ting that hits you is the carry case. This is semi-hard and custom made for the Momentums. I have read complaints regarding the case being too big but it is custom-made and I don't really see how it could be any smaller. Personally I have no issues with the size.

Inside the carry case, you of course find the cans, there is also a small recess with a velcro'ed lid that holds the cable attached to the phones, spare cable and a 6.5mm adaptor jack.

The cables included are both 3.5mm, one has a controller for making voice calls with a compatible iphone and the other is a bog standard cable. The iphone cable has an interesting jack that can be bent to 90 degrees or left straight (or any position in between). A nice feature.

The cables themselves are red and rubbery feeling, they complement the red stitching beautifully and microphonics are almost non-existent.

Okay, the cans themselves, these need to be seen and felt and smelt to be believed, very high end materials here, the headband is brushed steel with a satin finish, the leather pad is thin and has red stitching to contrast the leather. The cans are some kind of injection moulded plastic with glass in them and have a very tactile feel. The earpads are just lovely, fine black leather that cradles the ear without making it too hot. Basically, you won't be embarrassed walking around with these on, they look amazing.

what about the sound? Well this is where Sennheiser has scored a slam-dunk. The sound is stunning. I have given mine about 20 hours burn-in and have been really impressed with the quality of the sound.

I use FLAC files on a rockboxed Sansa clip-zip and have been really, really happy with the sound.

If I could describe the sound in a short phrase it would be analytical but warm and forgiving. A bit contradictory I know but there you are.

BASS - this is not a basshead set of cans, but the bass is present, polite and thumping without overwhelming. I would not consider the bass to be watery or tame, it has impact but does not drown out the other frequencies.

MIDS - Oh baby, this is where the momentums excel, mids are just lovely, sparkly, and fast. Rock and vocals are handled with aplomb and given centre-stage. Very luscious and defined, everything from dance to classic to metal is handled with speed and confidence. Gorgeous

Highs - the highs are rendered very well too, there is no sibilance and no fatigue, very well mannered and rendered with precision but they do not pierce at all.

SOUNDSTAGE - being enclosed cans these offer an intimate soundstage which is not congested and allows you to locate instruments.

OVERALL - I have been walking around with a smile on my face listening to my music with the Momentums, they are really stunning and worth the asking price. I have been particularly impressed with how they render drums, you can really feel the impact of the sticks and they are lively, warm and full of detail. I noticed this when listening to Linkin Park and Grizzly Bear, they have life and impact way beyond what my previous set-up offered.

If you are serious about headphones and are willing to shell out big bucks on inferior brands like Bose, Beats etc then go ahead, be a marketing victim. But, if you actually want world class sound, high end build quality and a listening experience I guarantee will put a huge grin on your face take a long look at these.

The Momentums are one of the most 'sorted' set of cans Sennheiser has ever made, they are highly regarded on forums populated by fussy audiophiles and they are an absolute treat.


****** I have been using these a lot since getting them a week ago and they are still impressing me with every piece of music I put through them. I have found they excel at layered electronic music like Orbital, Lemonjelly, FSOL etc. They handle the sweeps and analogue sounds with accuracy and warmth, the new Orbital album, Wonky, has come alive with these cans, the first song has layers of soundbites of different voices and the Momentums pick out each voice clearly. A genuinely impressive and high end set of cans with a warmth and sound signature that is becoming more attractive the more I listen to them *********


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