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Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ears Review by mark2410

  1. mark2410 Contributor

    Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ears Review
    First Impressions:  Wahay! A Sennheiser box that’s straightforward to open, think that might be a first.  Not there is anything “wrong” with their normal boxes, just they have the most infuriating habit of wildly over engineering them, making it not obviously apparent how you’re supposed to get into the damn things.  Ooh pretty case thing.  Wait, there is a baggy too?  Ooh and two cables.  A normal and a phone one, its kinda nice to get both.  Personally it seems a little wasteful as surely you’re going to pick one and use that permanently?
    Slapping them on my ears and you will doubtless be shocked, shocked I tell you, that these are really heavy in the bass.  Waaa, a bass heavy Senn, noooo surely not, lol.  You probably also won’t be shocked that these are acoustically reminding me of the Momentum In-Ears.  I had figured the Momentum line would share a tuning style and it seems they do.  That warm, lush bottom, broadly spaced mids and a little flare up top.  It’s not quite as delicate a flare up top as the In-Ears, maybe a little burn in will settle that down?  Let’s find out.
    Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5.
    Lows:  Sumptuous. As you already knew these are really quite large in the bottom end.  Like its IEM kin its pushing toward the realm of more bass than I want, though I do think here it’s comparatively a little less.  I suspect that may be down to my having trained myself to listen to the bass and so I think I’m a bit less susceptible to the mental trickery where by the rest of your ear feeling bass tricks you into thinking there is much more than strictly is.  Still it’s quite a bit and given you feel it too it’s probably easily enough for all but the most crazy bassheads.  I did notice that on the lower powered sources the bass took on a slightly more punchy character as more is found in poppy music.  When you stepped up to more powerful ones it slipped to being more of a controlled, powerful but more articulated bass.  I don’t know if that’s deliberate but it’ll appeal to both mainstream poppy listeners plugging into their phones and to more discerning listeners with more potent DAP’s.  So power wise the rule is, the more you have the more controlled it is, the less the more aggressive it got.
    Depth is good, as you would expect but it does dissipate more than what I’m used to with sealed IEM’s.  I would that it were more linear as it descends but the headroom graphs say it is already, I can only presume my ears, therefore, are not getting a perfect seal.  Such is a price to be paid with on rather than over or in ears.
    Mids:  Nice.  They are in a clear bit of a valley but they are well articulated with good breadth to them.  They tinge on the warm but they have a fair degree of air which contrast against each other well.  If you pair it with a richly warm source you get mids that swing that way.  Richer, more liquid and creamy.  A crisp, snappy source and those mids dry right up, more breathy and cleanly open.  It’s nice it’s so versatile.  Detail retrieval on them is really quite good but it’s not the most readily apparent.  With these being quite V shaped the bass and treble like to fight it out for the front of the stage.  The mids can quite regularly feel like they need to get up off their backside and start belting it out.  Still we knew going in these weren’t going to be midhead cans.  It reminds me lots of their In-Ear brethren.  Good quality, greatly versatile but too reticent to stand up at the front like they ought to, even on very midcentric tracks.
    Strings are likewise great, highly versatile and a surprise hit pairing with Elgar’s cello concertos.  There isn’t much bass and almost no treble to dominate so strings have a lovely dash of liquidity and a soupçon of dry twangyness.  Hmm for all its mainstream pretentions the Momentum On-Ears makes for a really not bad classical listening headphone.
    Highs:  There is a really treble flare going on with the Momentums.  Senn’s normally are quite V shaped and this while not as linearly dominant as the more usual Senn signature, they follow the “Momentum” sound signature.  They have that big, rich and quite rotund bass, valley for the mids and then a lightning narrow flare for the treble that then gently decays away.  It’s a good style to produce a heightened sense of clarity and yet not be too aggressive.  The trail away adds to that delicately detailed impression.  It makes it seem of the highest quality by being highly explicit in that spike but quickly rounding and softening to be smoother on the ear.  While it is somewhat easier on the ear my ears still find it to be a little bit demanding.  It liked to leap out and show off just how clever it can be.  Yes dear that’s very nice but I would steer clear of bright and aggressive sources.
    Outright quantity isn’t super-duper vast but it’s pretty elevated, its general refinement means despite its quantity I’m not sure treble heads would be quite satisfied with it.  Quality wise though I don’t have much to fault.  It’s well detailed, it isn’t directly abrasive and it does a convincingly metallic impact with a very well controlled shimmery decay.  It’s more grown up than it is party beast treble.  Nevertheless its quantity was pushing my tolerance limits.
    Fit/Comfort:  Hmm, well fit I felt was good but I did get a bit of bass trail off which would suggest a leak.  I never felt that getting a good fit was a problem though.  Comfort, hmm well it has a reasonable clamping force, which I absolutely accept is needed to keep them on your head when walking about.  Still, it did somewhat squish my ears onto the arms of my glasses.  It did after an hour or so began to make the backs of my ears hurt a bit.  So while they do stay snuggly on your head when you walk about I’m not sure I’d be happy suggesting to glasses wearers that these are something you’d want to use at stretches of several hours at a time.
    Cable:  Both cables are rather thin feeling.  Obviously they are removable and so replaceable if you kill them.  One has no mic, the other does.  It also has volume buttons but they didn’t like my Nexus 5, oh well.
    Microphonics:  Not really any but once or twice I did hear the mic catching on my collar.
    Phone Use:  Despite being Apple orientated the mic did work fine with my Nexus 5.  The mic though was a little far from my face I was told I did sound a tad muffled.  The mic really did like catching on the other side of my collars so I’m putting it down to that.  I still could carry on a conversation fine so it worked sufficiently well.
    Amped/Unamped:  These got increasingly maturely natured the more power you threw at them.  I just happen to have a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear here and out of that, the Momentums sounded really quite grown up. The highs especially grew in their refinement.  The bass too was quite noticeably more even tempered and articulate.  On the other end, the 1G Ipod Shuffles liked to make things more aggressively vigorous.  More pithy, punchy bass, more sparkly and edgy treble.  I’m pretty sure this will suit everyone.  Those I’d expect to like more punch and dazzle are those I’d assume would have more basic sources and those who want more grown up refinement are the more likely to have superior amping.  So I’d say it’s a win win for everyone.
    Isolation:  Hmm, it’s okay.  I could I suppose be able to use these out and about.  I wouldn’t though, less for my being interrupted but for the amount these would leak.  It’s not like its terrible but I would never want to be THAT GUY sat on the bus irritating all around him.  Given their grippy clamping force it’s maybe something that could suit a gym though I thing they look a bit too nice for that.   They are suede for god sake.  Maybe more sit in Costa or Café Nero and get some work done listening to soothing music.
    Accessories:  You get a not bad haul.  There is the case, then a little baggy and the two cables.   Can’t really imagine what else you could want for them.
    Value:  Their pricing seems a bit all over, I got them for just £66 from Amazon Spain.  At the moment they are £106 on Amazon UK yet only US$100 on Amazon US.  At that US price its greatly awesome value.  The UK, well it’s not that they don’t sound good enough to cost that, they do with some ease but wildly differing prices irk me.  Still that aside these are premium sounding and premium feeling product.  This is possibly also due to the launch of the 2.0 versions.  Given Senn has done this before I’d imagine the 1.0 and 2.0 version to sound near, if not identical.  So could be a way to bag yourself a bargain as I feel I have done.
    Conclusion:  The pricing weirdness I don’t like, I did see that some colours cost slightly differing amounts too so it could be that the production run of colours hasn’t paired up too well to the sales of the respective colours.  Still I got the blue for a bargain and I’m just fine with blue, the pink though, err I’m not so sure about.  I’m also unsure about the new 2.0 versions.  I am currently working on the assumption Senn has done as they did with the IE8 to IE80 move.  It’s technically a new version but by all accounts I’ve seen they sound the same.  I would therefore presume that the 1.0 and 2.0 versions also sound the same.  It’s a guess but even if I’m wrong, I’m having absolutely zero with how good these ones sound. 
    Tonally they have a rich nature which works well for me though I do from time to time still find their inclination to get a little over expressive up top a teeny bit much for me.  Yes it’s good, yes it’s refined, yes its shimmers beautifully but it’s that pin sharp spike that when subjected to hard or aggressive music I find tiring.  I feel like it’s trying just too hard to keep pace with its low end and I wish it wouldn’t.  The low end feels much more effortlessly agreeable.  Rich, weighty, warm and there is a casual feeling about it.  It’s just strumming away, no stress or strain.  It’s just getting on with it as casually as you could please.  The treble feels like it knows it isn’t quite as good but is ever the more determined to keep up and its gets a little ratty doing so.  The mids, well they are like, well they remind me of Jane Horrocks character in Little Voice.  At the beginning, when she is so meek and retiring yet with such potential if you can only eek it out.  Elgar’s cello concertos do what they can in that regard but the mids just never want to take centre stage vocally.
    In terms of balance and audience, as with the In-Ears Sennheiser have shown they can tailor things enough to win praise from the audiophile community and yet be mainstream enough to also cater to the taste of a mainstream audience.  It’s a careful line to walk and they do it quite masterfully.  For me I’d still like more mids and a smidge less treble but hey, given all the coverage the Momentum range has been getting it’s pretty damn clear the Sennheiser have a goodly bunch of winners on their hands here.  The On-Ears 1.0, if you can bag a set at some of the low prices it’s been at then it makes for a most excellent bargain.  Sure it’s not perfect, it clamps a bit hard, some colours are clearly acquired tastes but on the whole it’s an excellently build product that looks good and sounds even better.
    stephski likes this.
  2. mark2410 Contributor

    Sennheiser Momentum 1.0 On-Ears Quick Review
    Brief:  Sennheiser’s style range On Ear.
    Price:  Today on the Rainforest sites its £106 or US$100
    Specification:  Impedance 18 Ω, Frequency response 16–22,000 Hz, Sound pressure level (SPL) 112 dB (1 kHz/1 Vrms), THD, total harmonic distortion < 0.5% (1 kHz, 100 dB SPL), Contact pressure approx. 3.2 N, Ear coupling Supra-aural, Jack plug Cable 1: 3.5 mm low profile angled plug, Jack plug Cable 2: 3.5 mm straight plug, Cable length Cable 1: 1.4 m iPod®/iPhone® cable with integrated smart remote and microphone, Cable length Cable 2: 1.4 m cable for computers, phones, music players and any device with a headphone output, Transducer principle Dynamic, closed, Weight 160 g (including remote), Load rating 200 mW
    Accessories:  A sizable case, a little baggy thing and two sets of cables, one with a mic and phone controls, the other without.
    Build Quality:  As you would expect from Sennheiser, excellent.
    Isolation:  Meh.  There really isn’t very much.
    Comfort/Fit:  Great at first, I did find after a couple hours where my ear was squished onto my glasses got a little sore.
    Aesthetics:  Just take a look at them, tre fancy.  They come is various colours too so I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find one to your tastes.
    Sound:  Excellent.  I get the impression that Senn has targeting the Momentum range to have a specific sound.  A slight deviation from their normal sound to more closely emulate Sony or B&W.  A rich full bodied warm low end.  Mids comparatively broad and open.  The highs, a little flared spike but on the whole delicate and smooth.  It sounds really very much like the In-Ear version and I’d be willing to bet the On-Ears do too.  I’m half temped to just copy paste what I wrote before, lol.  The bass is big and rich, rotund with a good level of depth but more what I’d think of as rounded.  It does climb up a little towards the mids before dropping into a bit of a valley.  The bass does move quite a bit of air over the ear.  The mids are very broad sounding, so open and naturally airy. Slightly warm but still so much air it just flows beautifully.  The highs are really well refined and mostly delicate. There is a little spike that cuts right through and makes quite an apparent treble flair.  It really bolsters the V shape and makes them rather more detail hurling.  It does well to act as a counter to that huge bass.  It makes them quite instantly and noticeably attention grabbing without being ear savaging.  It’s a really mainstream bit of V shaped drama and a healthy dose of smooth too.  Oh and they sound huge too, very broad and as though they have oodles of power.  Personally I’d like a little more mids though. 
    Notably though my Nexus 5 the bass and treble somewhat lessened so a beefy source has a quite an effect.  Proportionally more even handed and smooth the more power you threw their way which suited my tastes exceedingly well.
    Value:  Price seems a bit in flux but they are a considerably quality product.
    Pro’s:   Bass, its rotund and articulate.  Mids have excellent breadth.
    Con’s:  Bass wants to come out and play constantly.
  3. Sennheiser
    Thanks for your review, Mark! 
    Sennheiser Stay updated on Sennheiser at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
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  4. AnnaReviewer
    ​Now, first things first, with the design I can see the Sennheiser Momentums are a beautiful piece of gear.

    ​So very premium materials used throughout and a really beautiful design.

    ​Thanks for review, cool spec. [​IMG]
  5. Dog meat
    Would like to see your review of the original momentum over-ear too!
  6. mark2410 Contributor

    so would i, lol.
    id love to but atm wellet says no, it says no with some considerable force too.  though of course if senn or some senn retailer wished to send me a set id love to.
  7. ianeith
    Nice review, thanks.
    According to reviews of the Momentum 2.0 Over-Ear, the new sound is not all that different from the original Momentum Over-Ear; one could safely assume that the case will be similar, if not the same, with the Momentum On-Ear 2.0 in comparison to its predecessor.
    Considering the above, I concur that these headphones, with their great build quality, spiffy design and refined sound, are an absolute steal at the sub-$99 price-point. I have even seen them in brick-and-mortar stores go for as low as $80-85.
    This viewpoint can be further reinforced by looking at the sub-$100 on-ear competition available in the market.
  8. mark2410 Contributor

    yeah from what i gather the only real change from the 1 to 2 is the 2 have hinge so you can fold them.  i could be wrong but...... im pretty confident they should sound near if not completely identical. 
    not that im saying, everyone run out and bag a bargain while you still can but ......... not only would i, i already did [​IMG]
  9. YamaVega
    Good review Mark.  You are right on the money regarding source, it scales very well from regular smart phone to high-end dap.  I was about to sell mine for an IEM, but its bassy aggressive sound complements my HP50's laid back sound, so I may decide to keep it :)  
  10. mark2410 Contributor

    oh indeed, never underestimate the power of pairing.
  11. RaymondLeggs
    how does trance music sound through them? or even some nirvan
  12. mark2410 Contributor
    for Trance and other "electronic" music i would be inclined to harder sounding thingsthe C751 was always my mental goto for that sort.  so id think that the RHA T10 or MA750 would be more appropriate but........ thats me.  the Momentum is warm and rich and would smooth electronics musical juxtaposition of sounds.  some people like the edges rounded a little.
    nirvan?  nirvana you mean?  in that case yes id think the warmth of the momentums would work much better there, big warm bass, bread mids and a pin spike sparkle up top.  i would think them to be a pretty good pairing.
  13. YamaVega
    Well, the MOE is ideal for modern music, but its bass can be bloaty at times that during fast music, I find the MOE getting confused at times.  The good thing though, the MOEs make the music exciting and dynamic coz of its sound signature.  I would rather listen to EDM with my MOE than my HP50, even though its fast and punchy, its so laid back it makes the music sleepy.
  14. Francki Conniff
    I have the exact same set up hehe.. I use the HP50's for travel on my long flights from Saudi to USA and have the MOE's ( black pair which I got for 90 bucks at Best Buy) for use when in KSA. I use a FiiO X5 DAP with an E12DIY amp and these MOE's just make it so nice just sitting and zoning out on in my "Big Comfy Chair" after getting off work. My next set I'm targeting is a pair of Grado RS2e's or 325i's with a nicer amp. I loved the headband adjustment on those.
     Very nice review Mark!
  15. H T T
    Nice review, Mark. Thanks to your review, I bought a pair of MOE v1 headphones. I have had it almost a week now. I'm quite impressed with the headphone and the included accessories. I appreciate and use the Apple device controls. One quality of the headphone that has not been mentioned, is how well the MOE sounds at low volume levels. I listen to music at about 40-50 SPL as background while I am working. The MOE sounds fantastic at that sound level. I have other on-ear headphones that I dearly love, but the MOE is hands down the best at that sound level. Sennheiser did a great job with the MOE. Even if someone has excellent on-ear headphones like the M-80 or Mikros 90, I think nearly all would enjoy the unique tuning of the MOE as a complement to the other headphones.

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