I've been looking forward to these from the moment I saw than announced. I had the original Momentums for a couple months but although I liked the sound of them, because of my very long ears, I found them uncomfortable after only half a hour or so. The seam just inside the rim of the earpads irritated the tops of my ears because they were neither over ear nor on ear so the seem just pressed on skin. No amount of fiddling could get them right. So I traded them on.
Since then I've mostly been searching for the right portables to use. I've owned the following:
Beyerdynamic DT-1350 - Traded (couldn't get a good seal so they sounded awful to me)
Sennheiser Amperior - returned. (Coming from neutral IEM and HP they seemed boomy)
B&W P5s - still have them and most used. Sound is only okay but very comfortable and convenient.
Sennheiser HD25-1 II - Traded. (I like them but SQ was not a huge leap forward of the P5 which is much more comfortable)
B&W P3 - still owned but rarely used. I like their style and compactness but are not ever going to be used much.
Beyerdynamic DT-250-80. Got these in a trade. Not quite portable enough but will keep them for awhile.
Sennheiser Amperior - Yep, I got another pair. Over time, I've found warmer headphones actually suit me. So I tried them again mainly because I found them at a steal of a price in a clearance sale.
I do have some good full size headphones with the HD600s being my favourites but I often can't wear open headphones and full size are not very convenient much of the time. I like portables, especially when rest in bed or on the couch with a pillow behind my head. Only portables work well in such positions.
So until now, I switch between my P5s and the newly reacquired Amperiors, with the latter getting much more use. Since buying several HD albums and re-ripping my favourite music to Flac, and updating my sources, I'm getting a greater appreciation of just how good these sound. Even the comfort seems better. But they are still pretty ugly in my view. So that's where the Momentum wins hands down. But how do they sound and fit?
Clearly the original Momentums were well built and the On-Ear follows the same theme. A good bit smaller but the materials are of seemingly equal quality. The suede headband and alcantara earpads are new but seem fine. The iPhone cable is similar except the right angle 3.5mm plug is much more compact and no longer swivels. It's actually a nicer plug for attaching to a phone. The cable itself is fairly thin, not as thin as the P5s but it looks like it will resist tangling quite well yet robust enough to take some rough stuff.
An interesting feature is the inclusion of a soft pouch as well as the zipper case. Both are good quality. And the compactness of the headphones almost overcomes the problem of the ear pieces not folding to pack away like the P5s and Bose QC-15s. The zipper case includes a small pocket to put in an airline or 1/4 inch adapter. Nice touch and better than Velcro covered compartment of big brother. No adapters are included by the way. Just a straight cable.
I rate build at 9/10.
These should suit most people. They are much smaller than the originals and in fact even smaller than I expected. Compact is the right description though. The ear cups are well sized and I think most will have little trouble getting a seal. The cups swivel slightly so an angle to suit you should be found. There is adequate travel in the metal headband slide to accommodate a fair range of head sizes. I have a pretty large noggin' but they still have another 20mm travel if needed. The interesting way the metal band is shaped means the clamping pressure would vary so that while it should hold firmly on a smaller head I did not find the clamping excessive on mine. They do seem firmer than my Amperiors by a small margin but are hardly too tight. I rate it just right as they do need to stay in place for people who might exercise in them.
The Alcantara material is comfortable and so far I did not find hot. But it's winter here in Aus so I might change my mind in Summer. One thing I did find was that isolation is not very good. Less than the Amperiors. I'm listening to some smooth jazz as I write this with the TV on and while I can't make out the words, I can clearly hear the talking. I think this might worry some using them as a commuting headphone and I wouldn't like to try listening to classical music in a crowd. I just tried out my P5s too and they probably have a could dB more attenuation too. I can only assume its because Alcantara and foam doesn't work as well as pleather and the velour used in the Amperiors. Certainly none of these three matches the attenuation of my Denon AH-D600s which are superb. I guess if you really want isolation you'll probably look to active NC anyway.
Okay, they've been on my head for an hour now and a couple in total. I don't expect any comfort issues with them at all. And of course if clamping needs to be adjusted, the metal band should make that easy.
I rate comfort at say 8.5/10
Look, I think I will wait a few days to rate SQ. these are too new and I'm sure they will alter in time. But out of the box, they seem to have a similar warm sound as their big brother. In fact I am finding them remarkably similar to the Amperiors. Definitely a slightly elevated bass, but not too much. I recently started using Pink Floyd's Hey You as a test track. It has that nice guitar lead in followed by a little bass line. Then a clean vocal line, snares and that wonderful guitar solo. In the background you can gear Nick Mason's subtle cymbal tick. So how am I finding the On-Ears?
Pretty darn good! I was expecting a little recessed mids because I have seen a measurement on line which seem to show a bit more V-shaping than the originals. But it is not apparent to me. I'm sure it's not forward in the mids but I'd not say adversely recessed at all.
I wanted to try out the sub-bass and to do that, I like Vaugn-Williams "Landscape", the 3rd movement from his Symphony No7, Sinfonia Antartica. At around 7:30 there's a very low bass tone from the Bourdon pedal of an organ that I've used to compare sub-bass of my headphones. Pleased to say it comes through very well. Almost as well as my HD600. Of course there's a bit more bass bloat than the 600s though not overly so.
Trebles so far are fair but treble heads might feel its a little rolled off. This is a little hard for me to be totally consistent for you though as I have some hearing loss above 8k so forgive me if others differ in their assessment.
For a closed portable, sound stage is on par with other quality portable headphones.
Sound signature is to my liking but this is the most subjective of all SQ assessments IMO so as always, you be the judge.
One thing that has surprised me is that even though they are only 18ohms and have a SPL of 114dB, they do need a bit more volume to drive them than the Amperiors. I need to turn up the volume on my Sony Xperia to about 85-90% for most of my music on my phone. Thank goodness it's not more otherwise they might have been ruled out of the collection prematurely.
This is not a neutral headphone. It isn't designed to be I'm sure. But it isn't so overtly bass heavy nor v-shaped either. It's just a nice to listen to, fun headphone likely to please the less analytical head-fi'ers amongst us and a lot more of the general masses. It's target audience is very probably more interested in getting the thump and feel of a live performance than perfect reproduction as the sound engineer intended. That said, it is also likely to be a very successful portable indeed. And even for this old reviewer, it is probably what I'm looking for too.
I'd rate Sound at 8.5/10
These phones are too new to be sure about how good they really sound. So far I'd say promising. They have precisely the form factor I wanted and so happy Sennheiser introduced them. They seem to have set the sound signature based on a lot of consumer research and resisted the temptation to make them like Beats or some other overly bloated bass booming brand. But they are on the warm side, although so far I've not been tempted to EQ them at all. Going to be real interesting to see what happens to their sound as they burn in.
I'm going to need a few weeks to decide about these phones future in my collection. Ideally, I want no more than 2 full size and 2 portables. Right now I have 4 and 4 respectively. So far the only safe pair are my HD600s.
Overall rating say 8.75/10