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The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ear (M2 OEi) are not the average headphones that you would spot around. It looks beautiful, is built very well, and delivers warm, wholesome audio that is very, very pleasant to hear. It does miss slight intricate details, but the entire auditory experience is entirely focussed around letting you enjoy your music, than be an audiophile studio companion. At Rs. 15,990, it is a worthy investment for anyone who loves good audio with added design elements.
Sennheiser’s Momentum lineup of headphones have held its place among premium headphones for a while, with great build quality, tight, well-balanced audio and all the finesse that you can ask for. What we have here with us is the second iteration, an ivory-finish, wired version of the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-Ear headphones. Sennheiser has given it a slight redesign to address complaints of discomfort in prolonged usage, and claims to have improved on audio quality. While I haven't tested its predecessor myself, here’s what I found the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-Ears to be all about, after two weeks with it.
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Build, Design, Comfort
Let’s set things off with the first aspect that you will notice - the impeccable build and finesse on the Momentum 2.0. Crafted out of metal gantries, smooth, durable plastic, Alcantara fabric and fine, premium grade stitching, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 is a sight to look at. The headband is pliant and durable, with smooth, matte fabric and a ridge at the centre of it to decrease the pressure while wearing it.
Four bolts on either end keep metallic plates in place on the outer shell, labelled Momentum to the left, and Sennheiser to the right. The brushed metal plates on the dark tan fabric impart class, and complement the neat stitches. The metal hinges on either end allow the headphones to fold and have an interlock in the middle, adding firmness to the entire build. The metal gantries are strong, and will not give in to copious amounts of careless usage. Nevertheless, chances are that you wouldn’t use the Momentum roughly, and the following paragraph explains why.
The earcups on the Momentum are a sheer delight. Clad in Alcantara fabric with decent cushioning, the Momentum 2.0 has improved upon wear comfort with these. You still feel the tightness around the earcups after about 45 minutes of wearing it, but it is still reasonably comfortable for supra-aural on-ears. The incident pressure on ears is 3.2 N, falling within the recommended range of 4 N. It is important to highlight exactly how premium the Momentum 2.0 are — you would usually see Alcantara fabric in the interiors of Ferrari's and Porsche’s customised cars, and that says a lot. A gleaming metal band lies between the ear cups and the ivory-toned plastic base of the cup, held to the metal gantries with round adjustable jockeys on either side. The height adjustment of the headband is smooth, as against the obstacle ridge adjustment mechanism deployed by many others.
"The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ears ooze class"
Sennheiser also provides a dual-3.5mm audio cable, something that we missed in the Urbanite. This helps in case you lose the cable, and need a quick replacement. The headphone-end jack of the cable has an interlocking mechanism to prevent sudden tugs from disconnecting it. It takes a short while to figure out the cable unlocking process (you need to turn it slightly clockwise and pull), but once you do, you will bless Sennheiser for this quick innovative addition. Overall, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ears ooze class, and creates a lasting impression of the pair of headphones that you would love to own.
All of that, however, is only half the job done. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 ends up with a lot to live up to with its impeccable build, and once you start listening to it, you’ll realise how it does so.
The Momentum 2.0 does not deliver an incredible array of details, nor does it over-impose you with bass unlike you’ve ever heard. What it does is deliver warm, compact and very well-balanced audio that most would love. You do notice a lack of highly intricate details in tracks, like the overlapping range of vocals in Bohemian Rhapsody, or the background siren metronome in Uprising by Muse. However, what you also notice are the soaring, warm highs of Eric Johnson’s Stratocaster, the timbre of Roger Daltrey’s four-octave vocal range, and every note of Flea’s bass at Slane Castle.
Let’s break all of this down into more details. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 delivers woody, warm audio, thereby removing any notion of unwarranted shrillness from tracks. The audio remains sharp and precise, and the harmonic distortion rating of <0.5% means that you will not encounter any notable distortion at any point, even at the highest volume level. The Momentum 2.0 uses closed, dynamic transducers, which have always been known for the warmth delivered in audio (the permanent ring magnet and the moving coil combining to drive clear, precise and warm audio).
Soundstaging here is good for a supra-aural headphone, but is not the best. The compactness of the audio has a mixed impact here — while it works towards delivering clear, tight audio, it limits the range of incident audio, giving you the sense of concentrated sources around each ear. However, the excellent audio balance here means that tracks sound clear and vibrant, somewhat balancing the impact that the slightly limited soundstaging has here.
Low frequencies are incredibly tight. The high amplitude of the lows keep them loud, but do not overpower tracks. Basslines are tight, and preserve well-knit audio tracks that have prominent yet sober amounts of bass. While bass-heavy tracks do sound slightly booming, almost every other genre of music sounds incredibly good in terms of low frequencies. The focus on the mids here is the most pleasant aspect. The Momentum does not mute the mids in any way, and gives an incredible amount of freedom for mids to sound pronounced. The warmth is amplified, and the compactness of audio means that vocal ranges sound incredibly powerful and controlled. However, it is here that the Momentum does not relay maximum detail in tracks, and you would often miss the most intricate details. Of course, you would miss them only if you are straining for them, or listening to a track that you have heard only too many times. For instance, play Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly, and the slight lack of details can be heard in the background voice of Nick Mason’s flight training. It does not call for the destruction of our romance with the Momentum 2.0, and here’s why — in most cases, the range of audio coupled with excellent balance and ample loudness makes almost every track sound really good. If you happen to be working on audio recording and mixing, you will certainly notice the bits that go amiss. Outside the studio, however, the warmth and balance creates an aura of well-tuned audio delivery that you would love, and not criticise.
"The compactness and warmth of audio is what the Momentum 2.0 is all about"
The highs have a similar story as the mids. The slight muting of the highs help in not adding too much sharpness that can often be jarring for lovers of neutral balanced or bass-biased music. On the other hand, details are not very sacrificed, meaning that you get your tracks as they are. Keep listening to Virgil Donati playing for Planet X, or Caravan from Whiplash’s soundtrack, and the highs sound really well-balanced, ever-so-slightly cut out of depth to save shrillness. The compactness and warmth of audio is what the Momentum 2.0 is all about.
The Momentum 2.0 packs in all the essentials, and leaves out some that we would have liked it to have. For instance, the slight lack in details is too audible when you listen to tracks that you know by the notes, and for those who like their audio to be slightly more open and wide in terms of delivery, the compactness can be a bit too claustrophobic at times. Certainly, over prolonged usage spans, you will feel the need to take the Momentum off and let the ears breathe for a while, and that is not only because of its make. It is because of the fact that the Momentum really channels in the audio around you, creating an ambience comparable to prolonged studio sessions. That, surprisingly often, can be quite tiresome.
There is no notable distortion across any given point, and the Momentum 2.0 is amply loud. You can click here for detailed specifications of the headphones, in case you would wish to check. The Momentum 2.0 is the most comfortable to listen to at about 75% volume, the sweet spot at which it sounds the best. The in-line mic and controls are well-made, and mic reception is quite strong. I did not need to place the mic near my mouth while talking, even when in crowded environments like metro stations. The in-line buttons are sturdy, and offer good feedback. Sennheiser has managed to make the buttons quite comfortable to operate, something that I have often complained about in headphones.
The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ears (M2 OEi) are an incredible delight. Very well crafted and delivering beautifully balanced, warm audio, the Momentum 2.0 make for an excellent purchase for anyone who loves and knows their audio. Chances are that you qualify for both if you’re considering this, and at Rs. 15,990, it is one of the better ones that you would come across. There are the Beats 900 lineup at about this price point, but they do not come close to the premium livery here. The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 might be pricey, but they sure don’t disappoint.
Check out the video review of the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 on-ears here: