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Looking for Sennheiser Momentum sound in IEM form

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've been a long-time Etymotic IEM user. Have had the ER-4P's and the hf3's and like both. Still do. They are high quality headphones to be sure. Partly out of boredom to try something new and partly to get a nice pair of over-ear headphones I picked up a set of Sennheiser Momentum's. I liked them a lot at first. After about a month I absolutely love them. Maybe the cans have broken-in more or maybe I've just gotten used to them or maybe both but all I can say is that they sound incredible to me now. Also super comfortable too.


This brings me to the predicament that when I put on the Ety's they just sound a little flat, a little lacking in life, a little lacking in soundstage (not wide or deep) and separation, too much high emphasis, too little bass (both volume and impact wise, most notable on drums) and not as comfortable as I remember now that I got used to the over-ears. Don't get me wrong the Ety's are still great it's just that I have now realized that I prefer the richer, warmer and fuller sound of the Momentum's.  I also understand the Momentum's are very highly thought of in the first place with rich deep bass and a balanced and warm (and darker) sound with slightly rolled off highs, are obviously over-ears with 40mm drivers and cost a good deal more so not a fair comparison of course.


As a result I am looking to replace the hf3's (no longer have the ER-4P's anyways) with another set of IEM's that will provide a sound signature that is closer to the Momentum's. I'm also trying to keep it under $250 as I will mostly use the Momentum's but will likely use the IEM's on vacation, etc. Looking around the headphone.com charts I see that the Shure SE315's have a somewhat similar frequency response curve. 


Any advice on how I can as closely emulate the Momentum sound in IEM's would be appreciated. Another option seems to be the GR07's (likely bass edition?) though I've never tried or seen those anywhere. Can't seem to find their frequency response either. Any thoughts?


Update: In the end I do understand that I just may not be able to get a sound that is similar and as good as the Momentum's for that price range in IEM's in which case I could keep the hf3's but if I can I will be tempted to swap out the hf3's if I can sell them at a good price.



Edited by starlan - 11/27/13 at 5:41pm
post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
No opinions?

So I've put my HF3’s up for sale. Let's see if they go for an acceptable price.

I'm curious about these GR07' Bass Editions vs the HF3's. Any comparisons? I'm looking for more bass and a fuller and warmer sound than I get from my highly detailed, analytical but no-impact HF3's. I've found the GR07 BE's for $140 Canadian (I'm in Toronto) with free shipping so considering these strongly now.

The easiest way I'll put it is like this. The Momentum's immerse me in the music and automatically I either start tapping my foot, bobbing my head or all out head banging smily_headphones1.gif the HF's not so much. I want that in IEM form without too much of a coloured sound and without sacrificing too much detail and clarity. I'm willing to lose some high end for a better overall sound.
Edited by starlan - 11/28/13 at 8:37pm
post #3 of 5
Originally Posted by starlan View Post

Any advice on how I can as closely emulate the Momentum sound in IEM's would be appreciated....

I think the first thing is to rule out the Shure SE315 as yet another single balanced armature IEM is only going to give you a variation on what you already have. In terms of tonal balance the cheaper dynamic driver SE215 have more in common with the Momentums than do probably any single BA model. Of course the SE215 can't offer the detail, clarity and realistic presentation of the Momentums and also roll off the higher frequencies more, and I'm not suggesting they fit the bill (though you might be surprised), but the point is that to get a feel somewhat similar to the Momentum's you probably need to be looking at quite expensive dynamic driver IEMs or multiple driver balanced armatures and avoiding single BA IEMs completely. A frequency response graph alone isn't going to tell you enough because it describes the strength of different frequencies in each channel but doesn't say anything about their quality or delivery. Looking at the FR curve of my Momentums and my Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi the bass and mids look similar but in reality the sound could hardly be more different. If you want to judge products by measurements and curves then you need to look at the square wave curves in conjunction with the FR.

I haven't heard the Shure SE425 but I think that will give you a listening experience much closer to the Momentum than the SE315, though it is over budget. Personally I don't mind at all switching between my Momentums and my SE215 because while the Momentums are obviously superior there isn't a jarring contrast in the type of sound. I use the Momentums with no EQ and no crossfeed and the SE215s with Meier type crossfeed and I roll of the bass -0.5 dB and boost the upper mids and highs by the same and it is a very acceptable sound with great isolation and like the Momentums the Shures sound much the same with all kinds of different sources of varying power and output impedance.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply Julian. and I appreciate your comments on the dynamic drivers.

Funnily enough I've got a friend at work who's got the Shure SE215's so I just gave them a spin. Honestly, I was quite impressed actually. The bass doesn't sound as tight as it does on my Momentum's (though it had plenty of boom) and vocals and the treble don't come through with quite the clarity and seperation but they sounded very good overall. I actually quite preferred them to my HF3's as far as musicality goes. Don't get me wrong I like the technical aspects of all this but in the end its about the music, not the headphones, and I want the music to sound engaging.

As you've put this eliminates the SE315's (most people seem to skip this and go SE425 as you pointed out). This brings me back to the GR07 BE's. I understand these are dynamic drivers as-well and that they have enhanced bass over the regular GR07's so I am interested. I would be curious to know how the SE215's stack up against the GR07 BE's. Price difference is neglible ($100 vs $140). One other thing I like about the Shure's however is the replacable cable.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I picked up a pair of the black SE215's yesterday. Main reasons for going for it were: known brand with good customer service, replaceable cables, and the fact that I was able to demo them to make sure they are to my liking. 


Overall impressions are positive and these appear great value for $99. Sound signature does resemble the Momentum's as Julian has pointed out but the Momentum's naturally deliver a much more airy and wide soundstage. Also, the treble is noticeably better on the Momentum's and the bass better controlled.


All of this is expected of course but again, for the price and for my purposes (travel, airplane, subway use, etc.) these fit the bill great. The SE215 could benefit from EQ'ing the bass a tad lower but since I mostly listen on my iPhone 5 and don't use an amp its not really an option. It is fun to listen to and it is pretty smooth and warm sounding to me. I still have the Ety's (put them up for sale) and have A/B'd them and I prefer the sound of the Shure's even though the Ety's are technically superior and have better clarity and much better sparkle.


I guess at the end of the day I've found that I like a slightly emphasized bass, with good detailed and smooth mids and slightly rolled off highs as my preferred sound signature when it comes to headphones. Basically the opposite of the Ety's lol. Only took me years (and the purchase of the Momentum's) to realize this!! The Momentum's do this better with a better tonal balance and retain the highs much better but the SE215's still fit this bill too.


So again, thanks Julian for the recommendation!

Edited by starlan - 12/1/13 at 9:55am
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