I have been lusting over the relatively new release from Sennheiser, the Momentum, for several weeks. In all fairness, it would be difficult not to find the design dead sexy ( I know, my wife keeps telling to not to refer to hp’s and gear as sexy). But it is a truly beautiful design start to finish. Wonderfully sculpted brushed aluminum wrapped in deliciously scented leather. It just seems to hit all the check boxes from a design standpoint. The cables are smartly appointed with twist lock mechanisms. The voice cable works perfectly for those pocketing an apple device. Alternately the two cables can be piggy backed to extend your reach if needed. Adjustment of the cups is precise and great fit easily achieved. Everything about the expertly crafted Momentum reminds me of my reaction to the BMW releases. Fine European luxury crafted to be the best. But…does the sound match the looks? Read on.
Let me get my gripes out the way first. The ear pads can be a tight fit. They ended up being perfect for me. I would say that I have medium ears. My ears measure about 65mm top to bottom. Be prepared for pads that snuggle the perimeter of your ear. If the idea of your ears being snuggled puts you off, then these may not be for you. That’s it really. That's the worst of it. Now take a breath. This little gripe is the worst I’ll say about the MO.
Now how do they sound:
Most of my comments here will be directed as comparisons of the MO to the Maddogs 3.2 and HD650. Why? Because those are the other two headphones I currently own. With the Mo I was hoping for a portable that could match the Maddog with regard to isolation. In fact the Mo is touch better actually for isolation. Secondly I was hoping that the Mo would mimic the darker treble presentation of the hd650. Again, this is essentially what you get. You’ll find a darker presentation at the higher frequencies with good detail, so again the MO does not disappoint. Lastly, I had hoped for some true audiophile bass, linear and with texture representing instruments accurately. Does the MO deliver yet again? Well, almost. The bass is the most colored part of the sound signature here. It’s heavy and a little thick and a touch slow. But man does it hit hard and extend deep!! It’s not a bass head can but also not quite par with the Maddog which has true linear bass. The Mo does not sound as spacious as the Maddog, which has a nice sound stage for a closed can. And the MO does not quite compete with the hd650 on lifelike vocal reproduction. These are nitpicks though. The MO does has a decent sound stage and the mids are nice if not a touch recessed when compared to the others hp’s mentioned. There is a very musical listen to be had here.
So is the MO the new Maddog Mini? Not really. The maddog is more technically gifted across the whole spectrum and sounds “more expensive.” Is the MO a closed portable version of the hd6xx. Nope. The MO is outclassed by both the hd650 and hd600 for luscious mids and airy darker treble.
So I have to ask myself at the end of the day, “why do I like this hp so much?” First, it does all the right things with regard to design. It’s an impressive execution of design on all fronts. That certainly puts a smile on my face every time I pick it up for use. Secondly, although it is not as “gifted” as the other hp’s I own, the MO is just downright fun to hear. It does have some mild shortcoming with regard to its sound signature, but the fun factor just seems to win out for me. Lastly, the comfort and isolation make this hp the near perfect portable for me. I find that after a few minutes use, I just don’t feel this hp anymore and can wear it for hours.
The only other issue to consider with the MO is the price. Retail is right at $350 with a street price of about $300 from places like razordogdeals. I feel that it’s priced about $50 too high for the retail price honestly. All things considered for me personally, a retail price of $300 seems more in line with what you get for your money.
I’ll ding the MO for a few quibbles about true audiophile music production and one for price. But make no mistake, this is an impressive hp and is as “fun” to listen to as anything I own.
SCORE: 9.0 of 10