I own a pair of STAX Lambda (circa 1987) and they still sound absolutely wonderful with very good extension at both ends, great detail, very low distortion, and good soundstage. However I needed a headphone that was smaller and a bit more portable, so I started reading a lot on these forums, and finally decided to try out a pair of Grado SR80i. Unfortunately I did not like the sound signature at all. I found that the music and especially voices sounded like it was playing inside a tube or can (no pun intended). Perhaps due to some upper-mid spike in the FR curve - I don’t know. Furthermore soundstage is a bit narrow and the bass rolls off fast and so does the treble IMO. I was surprised at how much I disliked them considering how well received they are for rock genres, which is what I listen mostly to.
My search continued and I got the chance to audition several Sennheisers (Amperior, PX100 II, HD600, HD650) but it was when I first put the Momentums on my head that I realized I could actually find a headphone that I really like. I bought them and wow I’m glad I did! Here is my take on the sound quality compared to some of the cans I auditioned.
Detail in the mids and treble on the Momentums is excellent. Voices sounds every bit as natural as on my Stax. At the very top end of the FR they are a little more laid back than my Stax, but still detail is really good. Grado SR80i on the other hand doesn’t seem to extend this far into the treble or at least is rolled off quite a bit. The Amperior does have some very good qualities, but to my ears they are quite sibilant and does not extend as far down in the sub bass. Sibilance is something the Momentum is blissfully free from. I also find the bass on the Momentums really great. Yes it is full bodied and very present but not too much IMHO. Not as punchy as the Amperiors, but extending further down into the sub bass. Never muddy or overwhelming – just kind of impressive if you will. In the bass department I’d say it’s a draw between my Stax and the Momentum, Stax being more neutral, but the Momentum extending further down.
Soundstage is something that is very important to me because I almost exclusively listen to live recordings, and must be able to feel the ambience of the place. I have read a lot of posts here on Head-Fi saying that the Momentum has narrow soundstage. I honestly don’t understand this statement. I find they have rather excellent soundstage, and even as good as my Stax. One reason why I find they have great soundstage could of course be that I just haven’t auditioned headphones with even better soundstage - I don't know. BTW one must be very careful not to reverse L and R cup. I suspect the Momentum has angled drivers because it has a huge impact on soundstage when left and right cups are reversed.
Anyway I thought it was time we had an appreciation thread for this great headphone. Owners and non-owners please chime in with your thoughts. Thanks!