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Sennheiser Momentum impressions thread - Page 3

post #31 of 624
I picked up a pair of these at the weekend and to be honest I'm not impressed. I've spent a couple of hours with them, listening to various tracks of mixed genres and quite frankly they sound incomplete, and if I'm to be honest on the muddy side. The muddy aspect of the sound I find quite fatiguing as well.

I find that these headphones present what can only be described as a wall of sound. The positioning is good, but they suffer quite a bit from congestion when the going gets complicated, although not as much as my AKG Q460s did.

I suppose they'll do for TV and streaming Internet radio of the "unce unce unce" kind late at night when I don't want to disturb my girlfriend, but I seriously doubt that they'll replace my HD25s as my portables in any way or form.

In the meantime they are back in their box, with my HD25s resuming portable duty. I'll take another listen to them next weekend as I did listen to these directly after a long session with my AKG Q701s, which may well have skewed my initial impressions.
post #32 of 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaphead View Post

I picked up a pair of these at the weekend and to be honest I'm not impressed. I've spent a couple of hours with them, listening to various tracks of mixed genres and quite frankly they sound incomplete, and if I'm to be honest on the muddy side. The muddy aspect of the sound I find quite fatiguing as well.

I find that these headphones present what can only be described as a wall of sound. The positioning is good, but they suffer quite a bit from congestion when the going gets complicated, although not as much as my AKG Q460s did.

I suppose they'll do for TV and streaming Internet radio of the "unce unce unce" kind late at night when I don't want to disturb my girlfriend, but I seriously doubt that they'll replace my HD25s as my portables in any way or form.

In the meantime they are back in their box, with my HD25s resuming portable duty. I'll take another listen to them next weekend as I did listen to these directly after a long session with my AKG Q701s, which may well have skewed my initial impressions.

That's likely the culprit. These cans are the total opposite of the Q701s.

post #33 of 624

Interesting impressions, Slaphead. I do think they can get a bit congested on particularly dense, busy music, but I still felt they did very well for the $230 I paid refurbished. Additionally, while they lack the ultimate clarity of the TOTL stuff, I think they do a pretty tremendous job at their price point. Personally, I find them to be a pretty solid improvement over the HD25 overall, but it's interesting to find others who feel differently. Do let us know if your opinions persist or change over time!

post #34 of 624
Don't get me wrong, guys. I'm not saying that they're bad headphones, in fact in comparison to my old portable weapon, the Q460s, they are miles ahead in every department. In fact I now don't know how I got along with the Q460s for as long as I did - they sound like toys to my ears now.

I guess what I was looking for was improved low to mid midrange as I can find that area a bit lacking with the HD25s. All the reviews and comments pointed towards these headphones as having a very good midrange, and in that respect they are an improvement over the HD25s. However I feel that I got the midrange at the expense of quite a lot of other parts of the frequency range.

Had I picked these up as an upgrade to the Q460s I'd have been blown away, but in comparison to the HD25s it feels as if it's a case of I've won something, but lost something else.

As said I'll be giving these another run at the weekend, and this time I'm not going to listen to the Q701s before hand as I'm absolutely convinced this was my error last time, and thus resulted in my negative first impressions.
post #35 of 624
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaphead View Post

Don't get me wrong, guys. I'm not saying that they're bad headphones, in fact in comparison to my old portable weapon, the Q460s, they are miles ahead in every department. In fact I now don't know how I got along with the Q460s for as long as I did - they sound like toys to my ears now.

I guess what I was looking for was improved low to mid midrange as I can find that area a bit lacking with the HD25s. All the reviews and comments pointed towards these headphones as having a very good midrange, and in that respect they are an improvement over the HD25s. However I feel that I got the midrange at the expense of quite a lot of other parts of the frequency range.

Had I picked these up as an upgrade to the Q460s I'd have been blown away, but in comparison to the HD25s it feels as if it's a case of I've won something, but lost something else.

As said I'll be giving these another run at the weekend, and this time I'm not going to listen to the Q701s before hand as I'm absolutely convinced this was my error last time, and thus resulted in my negative first impressions.

Don't forget to experiment with the different cables.  Some including myself report improved SQ using the standard straight cable.

post #36 of 624
I got rid of my ATH M50s for the same reason, they sounded congested, with a sound stuck in my head, like I was listening to seashells. I thought the momentum was much less congested. It also depends on your source. I did not feel that they needed a lengthy period of break-in, but try breaking them in for a few hours :-)
post #37 of 624

Which has more bass (Midbass and subass) Momentum or V-Moda M80?

post #38 of 624
Warning - Long

Well I've listened to these again, and I'm still disappointed, but read my conclusion at the end

Most tests done with iTunes via Fiio E17 - Majority of tracks at 256Kbps VBR. Compressed music chosen as these are going to be portables which will be fed compressed music.

Creed - "Overcome".

Bass is very present and impactful. Listenable, but treble is recessed and quite harsh (can that be), lacking the sweetness of the HD25. Vocals feel recessed.


Fink - "Sort of revolution".

Vocals appear muffled in comparison to HD25. Drums sound unnatural and without bite. Srong baseline, but for me it ends up overpowering the rest of the music a bit.


Fink - "Perfect Darkness".

All there, but the bass is really preventing engagement with the music, it's a bit slow and lumpy. The HD25 has more space, and makes for a more engaging listen. The acoustic Guitar lacks impact.


Nitin Sawhney - "Sunset".

Female vocals sound good, but there's something unnatural about them, as if there's something missing. The HD25 renders the vocals here as quite grainy, but even so they sound more complete. Yet again that single note bass thud in my ear.


Death Cab for Cutie - "Grapevine Fires".

I'm beginning to see a pattern with these headphones in that they just can't do convincing vocals. Ben Gibbard's vocals, which are fairly high for a male vocalist, have this almost muffled quality about them. There's something these headphones appear to be doing wrong. It's almost as if there's a sudden severe dip right in the middle of the upper midrange/lower highs which are robbing these headphones of detail and transparency. (I was right about the dip - see final comments)


Beethovens 1st David Zinman Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. "Adagio Molto, Allegro Con Brio".

This is actually my personal favourite interpretation of Beethovens 1st as I find it light, detailed, pacy and open with good instrument seperation. Unfortunately the Momentums appear to have negated all of these qualities. Through these headphones it's rendered very thick and very closed. The string section simply sounds generic with the only clues distinguishing a violin for a cello being the frequency of the note. Again the bass is dominating with the drums sounding bloated and lacking impact.


Leclair - Sonata in D major.

This is less challenging than a full orchestra and a piece that I know very well. Again I get this closed in feeling. I normally expect this piece to sound quite airy, but that's not what I'm getting here. There's also something missing from the violin, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it sounds almost as if it's some kind of computer generated interpretation of a violin rather than the real thing. On other high quality headphones and speakers I've also been able to quite easily hear the breathing of the violinist here, and I can hear it here, except is doesn't sound like breathing - it sounds like something being scraped along something else - an anonymous hiss type sound.



Thom Yorke - "The Eraser".


Either the headphones are burning in, or my ears are becoming accustomed to them, but this is the first track I've found where these headphones come into their own. Shame it's on such a heavily electronic orientated track. With these headphones it's almost like i'm at the front of a small intimate gig. Everthing here has a nice impactful sound to it and the soundscape is incredible. With the HD25s this track sounds more engaging, but is lacking the full soundscape.


Alison Krauss and Union Station "Let me Touch You for a While" & "Boy who wouldn't hoe Corn".

This sounds good, as you would expect given that these tracks are from "New Favorite", one of the most critically acclaimed albums in audiophile circles. However, on "Let me touch you for a while" There's a hard edge to Alison Krauss' vocals that simply isn't reproduced by the Momentums. I know that the hard edge is in the recording as this is a track that I've used extensively to assess and A/B lossless and compressed audio using audacity, and in the areas where Alison Krauss' vocals sound hard there is a slight amount of digital clipping going on. The momentums seem to gloss over this, which is not really to my liking. If it's on the recording I want to hear it.

On "boy who wouldn't hoe corn" I found Dan Timinski's vocals delved too deep into the lower ranges to be realistic, probably as a result of the bass happy nature of these headphones. Otherwise it sounded quite OK, but as with virtually every other track I've listened to, too much bass.


Now my overall opinions, and a bit of a discovery.

One of the things I've noticed with these headphones is almost a complete lack of sibilance. That's good right? Well, not for me. Sibilance is typically on the recording, it's not something that is usually generated by the headphones or speakers, but they can exacerbate, or reduce it depending on the design. Not really hearing it at all left me wondering why. I then remembered that Tyll from inner fidelity mentioned something about these headphones that confused him, but then brushed it off by saying that Sennheiser engineers don't do things without reason. So off I went to innerfidelity to find out exactly what this was. It turns out that these headphones have a sudden, deep, and narrow valley in the frequency response, about 20db down compared to the surrounding frequency response, at around 4.5KHz. A 20db valley in such an audible range of the frequency spectrum seemed very wrong to me, and I was curious to see what happened when I equalised that valley out.

It's a very narrow valley so I used the Apple parametric equaliser, which Fidelia gives access to, to give a narrow range 10db boost centred around 4.5Khz. The result was astounding. Suddenly the space clarity and detail that I loved from the HD25 was back, and combining that with richness of the momentums made for an incredible listening experience. Also back was sibilance, which I expected. As was the hard edge to Alison Krauss' vocals.

Going back over the tracks that I tested this morning I found that this very narrow equalisation had resolved pretty much everything that I'd found fault with. Vocals were no longer muffled or synthetic sounding. The string sections in Beethovens first were now sounding like they should, and the violin from Leclair - Sonata in D major was now sounding like a real violin again. Another effect of doing this was that the bass no longer seemed to intrude on the music as it did before. It's almost as if bringing up this missing portion of the frequency spectrum balanced the whole headphone.

So, Let me tell you my opinion of why Sennheiser introduced this notch in the frequency response range. It's simple, they wanted these headphones to be as inoffensive as possible. By artificially removing the hardness and sibilance often found in recordings they sought to make these headphones as consumer friendly as possible. Sorry Sennheiser, but IMO you cocked up here. Feel free to do this sanitisation exercise with a $50 headphone, but don't do it with a $350 headphone. There's no way I should feel the need to break out an equaliser to correct what appears to be a badly thought through design decision on headphones that are supposed to be the top of the line portables.

If any of you Momentum owners want to try this out for yourselves and you have and iPhone or iPod touch (might even work on the iPad) then Denons Audio app, which is free, contains a full parametric equaliser which you can use to put a +8db notch between 4 and 5 KHz. I've tried it and it works very well for portable use. I'm pretty sure the android crowd can also find a suitable app with parametric equalisation to try this as well.

Despite the flaws i've discovered I still maintain that they are damn good headphones, and if I'd not had the experience with the HD25 and the AKG Q701 I possibly wouldn't have noticed the shortcomings that these headphones have, and would have been very happy with them. I'd also recommend them to those who prefer a more bassy and laid back style of music presentation, and who hate anything to do with hard treble and sibilance. These headphones don't really offend at all, but I've always maintained that that which cannot offend is also equally unable to impress.

One more thing to add. As i was doing my listening tests my girlfriend, who knows nothing about audio and is constantly perplexed about my headphone listening, came in and asked to try them. She listened to them for about 30 seconds and then gave them back to me and said "They quite nice, but do seem a bit muffled". After I'd done my equalisation experiment I called her back to try them again. Her response was "That's a lot better. Didn't you have them plugged in properly the first time I listened to them?" - Quite telling I thought.
post #39 of 624
Interesting thoughts on the trapdoor in the frequency response, I'll have to check that out. My experiences with the Momentums don't correlate very well with yours, but I appreciate your time and effort in sharing them!
post #40 of 624
To be honest I'm not expecting very many Momentum users experiences to correlate with mine, especially if you upgraded to the Momentums from a lesser pair of headphones and/or have been using the Momentums for a period of time. As I've mentioned before the Momentums blow my old AKG Q460s away in every department, and if you've been listening to the Momentums for a while then your brain is "burnt in" with them. I kind of side graded from the HD25 so I'm going to be somewhat more critical.

If you've already "burnt" your brain in with the Momentums then doing my experiment is going to make the cans sound like aggressive monsters compared to the laid back sound you're used to, but if you're coming from more lean and detailed cans then just giving an 8-10db increase between 4 and 5KHz is going to correct these cans back to something more in line to what you are used to.

My problem is that the Momentums don't fit with my home listening rig - AKG Q701s, whereas the HD25s do, or at least they're similar enough that I don't have to go through "brain burn" when switching.

I'm going to use the Momentums as my portables for the next week and see how it pans out. I've already done some serious listening to them today and I feel that my brain is becoming accustomed to them. Come next weekend, when I pick up the Q701s again, if everything sounds clinical and hard then I'll go back to the HD25 as my portable rig, and the Momentums will be resigned to late night TV duty - shame for such good headphones, but we'll see.
post #41 of 624

I currently have the Grado 325i, Shure SRH840, Sennheiser 590, SE425, Sony XBA-3 and Heir 5.0's on the way.  Considering getting these for the office.  However, does anyone have any idea how the Momentums stack up against my current roster and if they are worth getting (in other words, better sound quality than the bulk of the stuff I already got?).

post #42 of 624
Slaphead, You are going to have a little bit of congestion with the Momentum because it is a closed headphone. I am amazed how little congestion there is compared to every other closed headphone I've ever heard. Most of the time, I do not even notice it with the Momentum.

Iron Buddha, I guess I can't answer that because it is all in the ear of the beholder. We all like different things. But in my opinion, the Momentum is preferable to any of the ones you listed. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever listened to with the exception of the voice of my wife
post #43 of 624
I've tried, and tried over the weekend to like the Momentums, using them wherever possible. In Switzerland we even had a holiday yesterday so they got a good full 3 days of use at home and on the move. Today it looked like a lot of rain so I bundled the HD25s into my bag as I trust them in every condition. When I left work I put the HD25s on and played an album that I was listening to the previous day, one from the Silversun Pickups, and it was like a veil had been lifted from my ears. Suddenly there was a lot more separation of instruments, and most importantly space and air for the music to breath. The downside was the lack of extended bass, but that's something I can easily live with.

Form the first moment I heard the Momentums my ears heard something that was wrong, something that seemed to make music hard going, uncohesive, and fatiguing. I am now 100% convinced that its due to the sudden minus 20db notch at 4.5KHz as my filling in of this notch using equalisation seemed to alleviate the problem for my ears. However this is not something that I can use as a lot of stuff I've listened to suffers from digital clipping if it try to introduce this correction. I could go the other way and reduce everything else by the same amount but if I do that then the volume on my DAP runs out of legs.

One thing I will say about the Momentums though is that they absolutely rock with electronic music. Atoms for Peace, Radiohead post OK Computer, and a whole load of trip hop, chill trance/house DJ podcasts that I have, sounded absolutely fantastic with these cans. I'm almost tempted to say that these are Beats for grown ups, but I don't think people on this thread would appreciate that wink.gif

I will say that everything I've said is dependant on my ears, and my ears alone, and as a result of my ears I will be going back to my HD25s. The HD25s are not without fault, the main one being a recessed lower midrange, something that the momentum fixes, but at the cost of other more important things to my listening.

So it is with a heavy heart, and a lighter wallet, that I must wish all of you momentum users thanks, goodbye, and happy listening. I will now head off the the HD25 appreciation thread.
post #44 of 624
Just had a set of Special Edition Momentum's delivered today, these are my wife's as we were at the V&A Museum's David Bowie Exhibition, she really wanted these. smily_headphones1.gif

Unboxing video below:




Edited by GSARider - 5/22/13 at 2:31pm
post #45 of 624

just got a pair of the black ones for 255 brand new on newegg, apparently they messed up on the price, the price is now back up to 350 :D, im so happy i found this deal

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