Pros and Cons
The video above is a frank and honest discussion & review about the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless Headphones after about a month of regular and, what I would class as, normal day to day use. I’m not making a comparison to other wireless headphones as I do not have experience of other such headphones to test against. I’m now 3 months in and I thought it would also be good to list the main pros and cons of this product.
Firstly a few specs and marketing spiel from Sennheiser
“The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 is the 2nd generation of the range bringing enhanced comfort, folding ear pads and Active Noise Cancellation. Combining the wireless freedom that you crave with Sennheisers signature Momentum sound, these headphones deliver a peak performance.
Featuring Bluetooth® technology with aptX, the Momentum 2.0 can stream music directly from compatible devices, releasing a CD-quality sound for up to 22 hours. You can even control the sounds and calls from your Smartphone with an integrated in-line mic/remote.
Leveraging the compact size and portability, the Momentum 2.0 can be taken with you anywhere, at any time. A new hinge system on the ear cups allows for the headset to be folded up and conveniently transported or stowed away.
Exclusive materials such as stainless steel and real leather luxuriously finish off the overall appearance of the Momentum 2.0. The closed-back design of the headphones help to create a truer sound-scape while cutting down on background noise and sound leak. Better still, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 also features Active Noise Cancellation so even the ultimate of inconveniences does not disturb your music listening.”
Sound Quality – That’s what counts above all else and these headphones are excellent. It’s very much a personal taste thing as some may prefer the overstated muddy bass that ‘Beats’ deliver (that’s what people tell me…I haven’t heard them myself). If you want a well rounded and consistent enjoyable sound then you will not be let down. As with any good quality headphones, they will reveal the quality of the production and source. If a song is well produced, it will shock you how good it sounds, however, if you’re watching a poorly made YouTube video, every glitch will also shine through. The over ear design helps here as it isolates you from the sounds around. I’m sure the Bluetooth side does decrease the sound quality a bit compared to on the wire but my hearing is not good enough to notice. Many non-iPhones will benefit from aptX Bluetooth which improves the quality further. As I mention in the video, the reality of listening on this kind of device is that you are out and about etc. so it’s not a false sterile perfect listening environment. The quality provided by Bluetooth is perfectly good enough. How do these sound when on the street, on the train etc. That’s what’s important!
Build Quality – These are expensive headphones but they are beautifully made. They’re kind of like the Apple of headphones. Whether you like Apple or not, their products are beautifully designed and very well made. The Sennheisers are the same with real leather and metal used on the headband and earpads. These feel like a fashion item as much as practical accessory and rightfully so.
Reliability – They connect reliably and easily every time, even without NFC (which is still locked to Apple Pay on an iPhone at time of writing).
Usability – The controls on the headphones are pretty standard making them really very simple to use. In quick summary, press once to stop / start music, twice to forward, three times to reverse. When nothing is playing, press three times to check battery. Nudge the button up or down to change volume. Press and hold the power to turn on or off. Press once to answer a call, once to hang up and to activate voice control press and hold releasing straight after the first tone. It takes a day or two to get used to it but if you’ve used any wired headset on a phone, this will be familiar territory to you. To make things even nicer, most commands are confirmed by a friendly UK female voice. So, for example, if you press 3 times, she will politely say, “Between 3 and 5 hours playtime.” It’s lovely to have this simple clear confirmation of what you’re doing and it’s not like stupid novelty satnav / GPS voices that get boring after 5 minutes. This is just as much as it needs to be and is well delivered.
In addition to the above, there are really nice aspects that link back to reliability. If the phone rings and your headphones are off, you can turn them on to auto-answer the call and pipe it straight through to the headphones. They really do connect in 1-2 seconds so there’s no risk of losing a call.
Freedom – I know this kind of goes with the territory of any wireless headphones but the lack of cables and reliability and range of connection is incredibly liberating. It’s a ‘never go back’ scenario.
Battery Life – This is loads better than I expected. I almost expected daily charging when using on a commute and for all phone calls. In reality, these last the quoted 18-22 hours which means that charging is infrequent enough for it just to be something you naturally find the time to do rather than it being a chore…I hope you know what I mean by that. :-)
Packaging – If this is something that floats your boat, they are provided with a really nice case and the out of box experience (OOBE as it’s known in the industry) is wonderful. I also did an unboxing of this product in the ‘Goods In’ section of my channel when they arrived. It’s not something I think I care about too much but I’m probably kidding myself. If these were provided in a cardboard box in a plastic bag with a photocopied note in Chinese, I may feel a little ripped off.
Noise Cancellation – The best I have heard. The last time I used noise cancellation, it was on a flight to the US 10 years ago. It worked but the hiss and side effects were very noticeable. Under most circumstances, the Sennheiser Noisegard does an admirable job. More on that below as it’s also a flaw that needs mentioning.
Fast Charging – The battery in these can’t be high capacity as they are small and lightweight. My guess would be max 1000mAh per cell…maybe one in each ear wired in parallel? Who knows. Anyway, as such, it charges in just an hour or two via any USB charger. Very handy.
Comfort – I can wear these for hours without any discomfort. For some reason, I hate getting hot ears. It makes the rest of me feel a bit odd. I know, that sounds strange but ignoring that, I just don’t get this problem with these headphones. I can put them on leaving the house at 6:15am, get a train into London and arrive at 9:00am without having removed them once. The headband is not too tight and the leather earpads are extremely soft.
Call Quality – Given the right environment, the mics for calls sound excellent on these headphones. I have tested this on both narrow and wideband voice calls on mobile networks and they sound clear and crisp. There is one limitation (see in the cons section).
Size Adjustment – I wish they were notched rather than just sliding up and down the metal headband. Obviously this is good as it allows ‘infinite’ size options but there is a tendency for the size to shift over time or when they are sat round your neck and I can’t help thinking this may slacken a little over time.
Price – £400 for a pair of headphones is much more than many will want to spend. Music is important to me and this is a great investment as far as I’m concerned but they are expensive. That said, you get what you pay for…up to a point and then probably pay some on top for the Sennheiser name.
Noisegard – In very noisy environments (deep bangs and crashes on a bumpy bus for example), the NoiseGard has trouble. Initially it can pepper the music with what I can only describe as something that sounds like compression artifacts. A kind of fluttery sound. If it gets too loud, it breaks and pops through a short loud crack. Admittedly, it has to be really loud outside for this to happen but it can be a little annoying. The good side is that after a few weeks, you don’t even really notice it anymore. Give these headphones a more consistent noise source to work with (hum of a train) and they do an incredible job. In short, I wish there was a way to disable Noisegard if required. Maybe four presses of the button?
No Mic on the Cable – As mentioned, the mic quality for calls is excellent. It can be a little quiet. You must be familiar with pulling your wired mic right next to your mouth to make sure you don’t have to shout and that you can be clearly heard above background noise when on a call? You can’t do this here. The mics are inherently 5-10cm from your mouth and that can make you a little quiet to others unless you speak very loud and clearly…..but how annoying is that for others. It would be nice to have a mic on the supplied cable to allow the option to improve this if needed. You can buy one from Sennheiser but at this price, I want one with the headphones!
No Power Indicator – It’s nice that the power LED goes off as every bit of power is saved to do the important stuff. It can leave it a bit unclear as to whether they are on or off though. You can look at your phone but that could be in a bag. You could put them on and hear the effect of the Noisegard but that’s not ideal. There is no way to get that LED to light short of turning them off.
I spend a reasonable amount of money on tech and gadgets…probably more than I should. These headphones are, without doubt my favourite and most used tech purchase of 2016 so far. You get what you pay for and these are well worth the investment. I now use them every single day wirelessly and also use them on a cable as my main monitor headphones when filming and on my field recorder for audio work. They have already become the first thing to get packed when I go away along with the Bose Soundlink Mini and are rarely more than a few metres away.
I realise that’s just my opinion so if you do have specific questions, please come back to me here or on the YouTube video. If you like this type of review, please subscribe to the channel. Thanks.