Sennheiser Momentum full review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Youtube review: Sennheiser Momentum Stereo Headphone Review by Dale - YouTube

    Sources: iPhone4 alone, iPhone4 with PA2V2 amp using LOD, various computers using the Audioengine D1 DAC and the D1's headphone out.

    First impression: Smooth sound from top to bottom with nothing standing out. My most immediate memory was the Sennheiser Amperior sound, since it was right next to me and I had been listening to it. The Momentum had much less of the lower midrange to upper bass emphasis than the Amperior, and less treble as well. Compared to what I hear as near-perfect treble (the Shure 1840, which is slightly less bright than the Sennheiser HD800), the Momentum's treble is down about 3 db at 5 khz and 5 db at 10 khz, which is probably above average for most of the new high quality headphone models. The Momentum's midrange signature is closer to the 1840 than it is to the Amperior, the upper bass to lower mids is about halfway between those two, and the deep bass about halfway as well. Specifically, the deep bass is down about 3 db from the midrange at 50 hz, and perhaps 6 db at 30 hz. Response is clearly audible at 20 hz, but well down from 30 hz.

    My analysis of the Momentum's signature: Treble: Soft, but near ideal for most users. Midrange: Excellent, should be near ideal for most users. Mid to upper bass: Excellent, but not for bassheads, not even marginally. Deep bass: Slightly less than ideal, but very good. When I said that the deep bass is about halfway between the Amperior and Shure 1840, that's halfway in quantity, but very close to the Amperior in quality. My overall judgement of the Momentum is that it's a headphone which can transition well from rock to folk, metal to acoustic, jazz to classical, etc. If you like a cooler, leaner sound like the Shure 1840, the Momentum might not be a good match. If you like a really hard-hitting bass for gaming and other applications that benefit from a lot of physical sensation, also not a good match. For everything else I think the Momentum is ready to play hard, because the overall sound is smooth and free of peaks and recesses, and the quality of that sound is excellent.

    The new Momentum is very lightweight for a full-size headphone, as far as I know they come in brown colors only, and someone already mentioned that it looks similar to one of the newer Philips headphones. The earpads are supposed to be circumaural (around the ear), but part of the earpads sit on part of my outer ears, so it's mostly circumaural as many other people have reported. The Phiaton MS400 headphone has very similar earpads. The Momentum's earpads are very soft, the comfort is high, and the driver assemblies sit deeply enough in the earcups that I doubt anyone will have a problem with their ears touching anything there. The faux-split headband is covered in a thin strip of leather with stiff pads underneath that have almost no flex. Although there won't be much headband pressure because of the light weight, should anyone be bothered by the stiff pads, I'd suggest pulling the earcups down slightly more than the normal amount to distribute more of the weight onto the earcups.

    The headband has friction sliders without click stops, but they have no tendency in my experience to shift once set. Clamping pressure is fairly light for a full-size headphone, yet it's stable on the head with no tendency to move unless your head is tilted way down. I wouldn't recommend this for exercising unless your head stays erect and there are no rapid head movements. Although the earcups don't fold flat, they have a few degrees of lateral movement to accomodate different head shapes. The Momentum is supplied with 2 cables terminated by 3.5 mm miniplugs - the Apple cable and a standard cable, and the Apple cable only has a unique 90 degree rotatable plug on it. The thin cable (~2.2 mm thick) connects to the left earcup with a 2.5 mm plug that has a proprietary plastic locking connector ahead of the metal plug. I'd guess any 2.5 mm plug could be used if the plastic next to the metal plug is skinny enough, or shaved down so it fits into the hole at the bottom of the earcup.

    The Momentum is supplied with the 2 cables, a 6.35 mm adapter plug, and a nice brown carrycase that matches the headphone color. While the case is fairly thick at 3-3/4 inches, it's still far smaller than the huge carrycases that Shure supplies with their better headphones. If I were taking the Momentum on a flight with carry-on luggage, I'd skip the case and wear the headphone around my neck until arriving at my destination, since the case would take up a lot of room in a carry-on bag.

    In other reviews I've done I've included the following music examples with comments about how the headphones sound with each track. My suggestion is instead of reading each one as an absolute unto itself, you could compare my notes here to other reviews and see how the Momentum compares with each individual track.

    Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the Momentum.

    Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Very good overall sound. Of special note for this headphone are the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts won't overwhelm you since they're soft and well in the background, but you can really feel the weight they carry.

    Blues Project - Caress Me Baby (1966): Rarely mentioned, but one of the greatest white blues recordings ever. The loud piercing guitar sound at 0:41 into the track is a good test for distortion or other problems. Handled very well here.

    Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled very well by the Momentum.

    Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman (~1968): A Richie Furay song entirely, rarely mentioned, but one of the best sounding rock ballads ever. This will sound good on most headphones, but it's a special treat with the Momentum.

    Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (early 70's): A near-perfect test for overall sound - this track will separate the best sounding headphones from the lesser quality types. Nothing specific, except that almost any deviation from perfect reproduction will stand out with this track. Sounds very good on the Momentum.

    Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the Momentum renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

    Def Leppard - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981): MTV goth/pop/metal at its best - good ambience and high energy - the better headphones will separate the details and make for a good experience. Lesser quality and the details tend to mush together. The Momentum plays this perfectly.

    J.S. Bach - E. Power Biggs Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche (~1970): Recorded on a tracker organ in East Germany, the tracks on this recording have the authentic baroque sound that Bach composed for, albeit the bellows are operated by motor today. The Momentum plays the tones seamlessly through the upper limits of the organ, which cover nearly the full range of human hearing. Of special note are the pedal notes - tracker organs have low-pressure pipes and don't typically produce the kind of impact around 30-35 hz that modern organs do. A headphone that's lacking even a little in the low bass will sound especially bass-shy with this type of organ, but the Momentum delivers the full experience of this music.

    Jamming With Edward - It Hurts Me Too (1969): Intended originally as a test to fill studio down time and set recording levels etc., this was released a few years later for hardcore Rolling Stones fans. Although not as good technically in every aspect as the Chess studio recordings of 1964, and in spite of the non-serious vocals by Mick Jagger, this rates very high on my list of white blues recordings, and sounds absolutely delicious with the Momentum.

    Jennifer Warnes - Rock You Gently (1992?): The strong deep bass percussion at the beginning of this track has been cited as a test for weakness or distortion in certain headphones. The Momentum plays those notes with good impact and control. Having played this track a number of times now, I'm highly impressed with the Momentum's bass reproduction and detail throughout the track.

    Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has some loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical on some headphones. The Momentum provides very good reproduction. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in, for maximum detail effect. I'd like to emphasize that these crescendos are probably the worst-case test I have for instrumental separation and detail, and the Momentum aces them.

    Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (~2009): Featured in The September Issue, this song has heavy overdub and will sound a bit muddy on some headphones. Sounds great with the Momentum.

    Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery - Delilah (Take 3) (1962): The vibraphone is heavily dependent on harmonics to sound right, and the Momentum plays it superbly.

    Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon - Speak To Me (1973): Strong deep bass impacts will be heard and felt here.

    Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues (1968): Dirty, gritty blues that very few white artists could match. On some headphones the vocals and guitar lack the edge and fall more-or-less flat. If you're a really good person, playing this song will probably make you feel nervous and uneasy.

    Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1962): Frank Sinatra's favorite singer. Highest recommendation. With some of the best headphones, the sibilants on this recording are very strong, but they're not bad with the Momentum.
     
  2. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Great review Dale! Another interesting review! I thought these would be quite bassy actually.
     
  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The upper bass / lower mids are much weightier than the Shure 1840, but dramatically less than the Senn Amperior. I find it fairly neutral overall with just that mild emphasis around 100 hz. The only thing I find problematic is the advancing trend toward treble recess that's making its way up the chain toward the better more expensive headphones.
     
  4. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Really interesting. We have had a lot of questions about this model:)
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

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    Sennheiser Club Orpheus

    We are proud to announce that we are now a Sennheiser Club Orpheus dealer. Club Orpheus is Sennheisers range of highend headphones, earphones, amps and DACs - from the already familiar flagship full sized HD800 to the just released portable Momentum. As the cream of the Sennheiser range they will only be available through a selected network of dealers.

    Which means!


    MOMENTUM - Now in stock!

    The use of supple, breathable leather for the headband and earcups, displays a certain commitment to style in this portable headphone. Reflecting its technical excellence is the use of high-performance neodymium magnets for extraordinarily rich and detailed stereo sound. Also, the circumaural capsules ensures perfect listening enjoyment without ambient noise.

    :)
     
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