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The Sennheiser Momentum can be described in one word – brilliant. Yes, it does cost quite a bit of money, and at Rs. 24,900, it significantly restricts the potential customer base. For those who can afford this, we would strongly urge that you go and consider it before buying anything else.
No two headphones ever sound the same, no matter if they are from the same family. This is a bit of a snowflakes scenario, and does create a bit of an issue for us reviewers – which set to recommend to which user. From what we have experienced with the Sennheiser Momentum, it works for pretty much everyone.
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Build & Design
The Sennheiser Momentum are over-ear headphones, and for that, they are following down the path of portability, something made popular recently by the likes of Beats Audio and SkullCandy. Usually, this category of devices was huge, and not very portable. In this case, you can easily sling it round your neck and walk around, ready to be deployed whenever you are travelling.
Despite the compact size, the whole ear is covered and the cups settle snugly to even block out ambient noise, to an extent. The fit is good and the inward pressure is just enough, with there is being no risk of the ear paining after prolonged use. My ears are usually very finicky about the fit and comfort a headphone can offer. Which is why I use the Sennheiser HD 415 personally, since the foam cup just sits lightly on the ear. With the Momentum, the comfort level was impressive.
Speaking of the earcup pads, the traditional black or grey colour has been replaced with brown. The Sennheiser Momentum headband is made from a single piece of brushed stainless steel with a thin layer of brown leather padding towards the top. The parallel lines design element looks good. The earcups simply slide up and down the metal chassis, and is possible again because of the parallel lines. This mechanism did help keep the form factor to a minimum bulk, compared to headphones with the headband extension method.
The materials used are of very high quality on the Sennheiser Momentum headphones. The steel frame does stand out as the unique proposition, and the use of thin but very good quality leather wraps up (literally!) a very well put together headphone. The sewing of the leather is usually taken as an indicator of the premium-ness of the package, and the grey thread used contrasts well.
The only issue you could face with Sennheiser Momentum headphones’ leather is the one of maintenance over a long term. If you happen to use these a lot outdoors, the elements – sunlight, water, and dust – might have a not very desirable impact on the looks. Also, you would need to be careful while packing and transporting it – scratching the leather can be a deal killer.
While the headband and the frame of the Sennheiser Momentum headphones are made from steel, the layer itself is quite thin. While it is not going to have an impact on the rigidness of the package, you would need to be careful about not packing it too tightly, because that might result in metal damage. The foldaway mechanism has been done away with to provide that small footprint, but this is one of the issues that do creep up because of that. Sennheiser has provided a carrying case with the Momentum, but while that is good for packing and keeping the headphone most of the time, it cannot always be carried around.
Despite certain things that you need to be careful about, the Sennheiser Momentum are some of the classiest headphones that money can buy. The use of unique design elements and the not-so-common-on-headphones materials does make this stand out in a classy way. No, it doesn’t shout look-at-me like a Beats Audio headphone, but does the same in a very sophisticated way.
One standout feature of the Momentum headphones are the removable cables. In case they gets damaged, you can swap them with a new ones. For headphones that don’t offer this, the process of repairing, if at all, is rather long drawn. Not only this, the head of the 3.5mm connector going into the playback device is the bendy type, which means you can position it in such a way that the stress on the end of the cable is greatly reduced.
Speaking of which, Sennheiser packs in two cables – one conventional one and one with in-line controls for Apple devices. The in-line controls are for pause/play and volume control. Long pressing the play/pause key jumps to the next track.
After spending Rs. 24,900 on headphones, you will only be satisfied once the sound quality matches the visual elegance. From what we experienced across the variety of music played back on this, we are sure that the Sennheiser Momentum is perfectly walking the path of flexibility. Allow us to explain.
Some headphones’ manufacturers believe that sounding neutral is the best way to appeal to a wider demographic. But the method used by the Momentum is even better – do both sides, equally well. Across the variety of music we played back, the bass was adequately punchy when it needed to be, while the higher- end of the spectrum gets the necessary focus for crystal clear vocals.
In Arash’s Broken Angel, the bass sounds tight on the Sennheiser Momentum headphones, just the way it was supposed to be. The rest of the spectrum of sounds are not hidden away either. Around the 1:55 minute mark, you can distinctly feel the bass taking the backseat to the rest of the mix, but still neither does it fade away, nor does it impede on the other’s limelight. Tiesto’s remix of Coldplay’s Paradise is another example of how the entire mix is handled brilliantly.
We had mentioned earlier that even the higher end of the spectrum is adequately powerful on the Sennheiser Momentum headphones. Vocals are always given equal attention as the rest of the mix, which is critical for most tracks. Bruce Springsteen’s Waiting On A Sunny Day is one prime example of that. The lyrics get the prime attention throughout, and the rest of the instrument mix, you can feel it distinctly, stays slightly behind the leading element. Not to say that it gets less attention or misses out on any element – it remains wholesome, and you can hear notes that would mostly remain non-existent on most other headphones. Broken Things, the Dave Matthews Band single, is another track walking the same path of well-divided two-tiered sound, yet sounding very much like a complete package.
In essence, the Sennheiser Momentum is very comfortable with all kinds of music – upbeat, unplugged, or even the slow tracks. Appeal to a wide demographic is pretty difficult for most audio equipment, but the Momentum does seem to have its grip on what is pretty much the perfect balance.
Yes, the Sennheiser Momentum does not have a wide sound effect like the much more expensive sibling – the HD 700. However, the sound is fairly warm. The reasons for that are two pronged – smaller drivers and they are closer to the ear as well. What you get is the quality of sound that is usually reserved for very high quality headphones meant for consumers. Wide sound is essentially for pro-grade headphones, but for most consumers plugging this into the iPod or their laptop, the Momentum offers a premium listening experience.
The reason for why the sound is warm and you get to hear a lot of otherwise hidden elements is the tight packaging of the drivers near your ear. No, it is not uncomfortable to wear, and while the sound level comfort depends from individual to individual, the universal element is the ability to isolate from ambient noise. While this is not a noise-cancelling headphone, the fit ensures that most outside noise is blocked. And equally, sound leak is pretty much non-existent. The Momentum is in reality the first headphone that has completely blocked me off from the rest of my team in office, thanks to the isolation. It may not be a very good thing while you are travelling, but is perfect for everyone else.
The Sennheiser Momentum can be described in one word – brilliant. Yes, it does cost quite a bit of money, and at Rs. 24,900, it significantly restricts the potential customer base. For those who can afford this, we would strongly urge that you go and consider it before buying anything else. For those sound enthusiasts who can’t afford, this serves two purposes – 1. You feel incredibly sad to not be able to own it, and 2. Motivation to earn more money! I personally feel rather sad, because this sound has spoilt my ears, and any other headphone just sounds inferior.