on 31 March 2016
Purchased with the similarly excellent FiiO Mont Blanc
E12 Headphone Amp, for use with the iPod Classic.
Now run in, I have been sampling all types of music, through these newly acquired headphones.
From 80s Electro Pop, to Rock to Baroque Classical, they truly shine through ALL genres of music that I listen to. Manufactured, to a VERY high standard of construction?. haven't so far experienced the discomfort reported by a few reviewers, after extended listening, the high grade ear pads, loved by these ears.
Back to perceived sound quality, the sound is very balanced, with no. overall emphasis on any part of the sound spectrum, though with the Bass Boost of the auxiliary FiiO switched in, the "bottom end" is extraordinary. Can I say, that for me, the listening experience, is very un headphone like, very much like listening to an audiophile pair of loudspeakers,
Discontinued in production and at a bargain price, now is the time to buy a pair, while you still can!
An additional comment after a couple of weeks of use: I wear glasses and the only criticism of these wonderful headphones, is that after a couple of hours listening, my left ear suffers some discomfort on the back of the ear, where the frame rests, which is only alleviated by removal of the glasses.
on 19 August 2015
Treat yourself and get these. Tell the Mrs that if you buy cheap you'll buy twice and that quality like this has to be seen to be believed.
These are well styled and sound good for the money. They've been top 10 in "Stuff" and "T4" mags for a long time. They've also come down in price too.
Just get them, John.
(If you're name is John your mind has just been blown, for everyone else, you also need to get them)
on 29 May 2013
Well the internet is awash with folks wanting to be heard, to air their opinions on one audio product or another, so here is yet another. Having had the Sennheiser Momentums now for about a couple weeks here's my take on these new designer headphones from Sennheiser:
Build & Styling - excellent retro modern look, the red, black and silver colours contrast beautifully. From the red noise free rubber coated idevice cable all the way up to intricately stitched leather headband at the top the design is well thought through. The badge and logo are subtle which is great since I hate prancing about as walking billboard. The ear cup adjustment is a bit of a pain at first as it has a type of pressure sensitive sliding mechanism which when adjusted feels unnatural compared to all other overhead headphones I've used, it may or may not deteriorate over time if adjusted regularly (which must be done if using the supplied case), we'll see but I'm slowly starting to get the hang of them. It looks well built but certainly not something that will take well to being thrown about after use, ideally the supplied case should be used to keep it looking pristine.
Comfort and noise isolation - very comfortable mostly although on some days( not sure if my head expand with the weather perhaps?) my head becomes very pressure sensitive and I just can't wear them or any other cans for long. Its probably just me. The fit is snug for my average sized ears although some people with larger ears may find it difficult to fit so may need to tuck their ears inside the cups. Once on like most decent closed back designs the sound can leak a bit but you would have to be pumping it at ear damaging levels for anyone to take even the slightest interest in your style of music. On the other hand at lower listening levels in public or commuting using buses/tube you can hear your surroundings albeit muffled but at moderate to high listening levels most of it is drowned out and it isn't an issue at all. You can't expect an IEM standard of noise rejection although it is still very good. They drive fine using the iphones built-in amp for almost all but the most golden of ears and perhaps those suffering from hearing loss may need to add an external portable amp to up the volume to their desired level, particularly with better dynamic recordings.*
This is what it's about ultimately, it's why I am paying a premium for a set of headphones. Not for a fashion statement or a badge or a piece of audio jewellery, although if one is that way inclined these still have the look and design to attract the attention of inquiring minds without shouting to get noticed. So what was it I wanted from a set of portable headphones? Apart from comfort which i think is very important long term and some level of noise isolation I didn't want to be restricted to hifi sound sitting at home, i want to be able to take a piece of my hifi with me when out and about, commuting, on the plane or on holiday.
From plugging it into my iPhone it took about 30 seconds to realise these weren't just some run of the mill cans, no extended burn-in required or any of that nonsense to appreciate what i was hearing, the sound simply drew me in, I tried hard to look for flaws in that short time but couldn't find any. They just conveyed a sense of 'fun' unlike any other headphones I have heard, irrespective of design. Play something up tempo, crank it up a little and they put an instant grin to the face. They sound remarkably open and airy for a closed set unlike any of the other closed cans I've heard.
After further use: still more of the same. The sound isn't of studio level accuracy, it isn't analytical, it isn't dry, it certainly isnt ruler flat or anything like that but it does a fantastic job with just about any type of music and I just cant shake that sense of fun, rhythm and excitement. I don't have measurements but my ears tell me there's some emphasis on lower end response, the bass is very deep, tight, textured and brilliantly executed with near perfect timing. However it should be noted without reservation that it does this in a very balanced non-fatiguing manner, without bloat or much exaggeration and most importantly without adversely affecting the other frequencies. So you still get full flavour mid range and treble. If I'm being critical the upper mid to treble range isn't ultra smooth as some but it is only a minor niggle in the grand scheme of things and is only telling on certain types of music. There is some roll off at the very upper end of the spectrum so it isn't exactly sweet sounding as some others I've heard that take a more aggressive approach to roll off but at the same time it isn't shrill or overly pronounced that it dominates everything else. Although the sound isn't flat Sennheiser has somehow managed to make them sound wonderfully balanced.
As a consequence high bitrate MP3s and non-audiophile recordings (most popular stuff) are presented nicely absent that coarse edginess that some may be familiar with whilst of course gently letting you know not to push it and to back-off from playing really poor content as it will manifest itself for the crap that it is. It will however reward you with a refreshingly masterful and exciting presentation when presented with good quality recordings and lossless files, the music will often quite literally move you. This sensation is very difficult to resist, listening to them whilst doing some mundane chores around the house I found myself doing some Usher moves whilst listening to that club favourite 'yeah'. This sense of enjoyment applies outdoors which makes any mundane commute to work just a pleasurable experience with the occasional feet tapping or unintentional head bobbing. When I'm in the mood for something more atmospheric and mellow like Dire Straits Brothers in Arms it presents it skilfully with all the subtle nuances you might hear when listening through a high end home stereo system. Again, I just cant get over how open, airy and spacious these sound for what are supposed to be closed back headphones I find them compelling. So whilst that superb low end response favours dance and other up tempo music with plenty of bass they still manage to convey all the little intricacies of more sophisticated audiophile type music. You might say they sort of remind me of all the fun and excitement i got from my car audio days but at the same time they are mature and can mimic the sound you might hear from a finely tuned home stereo system - perhaps just short of some of their open reference headphone designs.
When buying audio equipment I often get the impression manufacturers tend to hold back, to save the best for their top end models and even then they can end being lacklustre in performance, but it seems with the Momentums Sennheiser have come all out. As if they walked in to the party and said to all the others step aside boys, let us show you how it should be done. Their years of experience in the area of headphones really shows and most of all they have delivered a final product that represents their collective knowledge and skill in designing an outstanding set of portable cans that has merged fun and refinement. The name Momentum is rather befitting here to describe what these cans do, they make you move. This is the ace of spades in the portable headphone market.
Ok I thought given the high praise I have lavished on these cans I should do a short follow up after succumbing to my instincts with the addition of a Fiio E12 portable amp. I should summarise what follows with this disclaimer: I appreciate that the definition of good sound quality can mean different things to different people, it is by in large a question of personal taste and therefore very subjective in nature. However I tend to agree with what Dr Floyd E Tool (a master in the field of audio reproduction and psychoacoustics) states in that it has been found after much pain staking research, the majority of people with some exposure and experience in audio tend to have very similar tastes in their perception of audio quality. In fact people have far more in common in terms of what constitutes great quality than we see written about in the hifi press or what a dealer or manufacturer might state to justify why one product does not perform particularly well against another, I'm sure we've all heard it before: 'it's all up to personal taste and your hearing ability'. If you're reading this review and looking at this product perhaps even considering a follow up purchase then it is reasonable to assume that you have fairly decent exposure to audio in general.
So here goes: I'll put my hand up and admit I have understated the importance of amplification perhaps in some vain attempt to concentrate my review on the speakers (headphones) themselves. I feel compelled however now to add that for me great sound quality is about system synergy where all the constituent parts like timbre, separation, timing, detail, transparency, warmth, soundstage, imaging etc etc come together, complimenting each other well enough to ultimately present a pleasurable (not necessarily accurate) long term listening experience. After living with and using these headphones on a regular basis I have some reservations about the sound quality when plugged in to the iPhone. It's difficult to explain but basically I felt the internal volume control of the iPhone did something funky to the sound, this became apparent after I added a Fiio E5 that I had lying around, using the line out rather than headphone out I noticed not only what the E5 added in terms of extra volume but what it didn't add, namely that sheen and slight edginess in the mid band to upper frequencies which I mentioned above in so many words and thought naively were the characteristics of the headphones. It is very similar in sonic improvement to what one might gain if using for example a Windows based programme like Foobar or J-River and bypassing the internal windows volume mixer by way of adding ASIO or WASAPI output. The acid test for me in what makes a great audio system is how loud and long I can play it before it introduces pain or fatigue given a high quality source (within reason of course because no matter how good a system at some point the ears will physically give in to the high SPL).
So what did the Fiio E12 add on top of my impressions of these headphones? Well in short it redefined the listening experience. If I said they were excellent before, the amp has propelled them to another level of excellence. The immediate impressions were that the sound has now stretched out wide and opened a window to a more intimate and refined listening experience. It has delivered a superior soundstage and with it the separation of instruments and individual notes are more apparent, the presentation and tonal characteristics are vastly improved, it's a darker sound with better dynamics and more transparency which effortlessly bring out finer detail and subtleties, the musical flow is brilliantly composed and just very easy to follow. Dare I say the headphones are clear and more accurate with no noticeable distortion or signs of stress. Of course because of the improved accuracy the low end response seem very slightly more forward than before which depending on your persuasion can be either a good or bad byproduct. The fun, rhythm and excitement are still the defining characteristics of these headphone but the amp has also added more warmth, refinement and transparency. Having said all that I would still quite happily use these with the straight headphone out of the iPhone in certain situations but having heard what these headphones are capable of with the addition of decent amplification I am inclined to put up with the added weight and inconvenience of lugging around an extra device all in the pursuit of better aural satisfaction from a 'portable' audio system. The lesson for me is that if you are even slightly critical of audio on the go, do yourself a favour and bypass the headphone out and internal volume of your portable device if at all feasible. Otherwise don't worry about it and just enjoy your music.
on 23 March 2013
Note: Remember that headphones and loudspeaker drivers are mechanical - they physically move to generate sound, therefore nearly all need to be 'run in' from new to sound at their best.
Sennheiser are normally associated with good quality but utilitarian products, with packaging blurb rarely venturing beyond technical data, but with the Momentum model their marketing department have been unleashed. Try this for example: "...an acoustic, tactile, and visual masterpiece that is a sensory delight." It's with good measure though, as the Momentum is designed to appeal to the more fashion conscious end of the market as well as those interested in good sound. This review is of the black model.
Opening the box, complete with ribbon tag and hinge, reveals the case provided for storing the 'phones, which at first glance unfortunately resembles the lid of a toilet. In black fabric with red stitching otherwise it certainly looks the part. Open the case and the headphones look just as smart in black leather with red stitching and chrome slider for adjusting the earpieces. The earpieces feature soft leather padding while the band has firmer padding. If, like me, you have close cropped hair this can be a little less cushioned than you might wish and my normal Bowers & Wilkins P5 are more comfortable in that respect. No problem with the ear cushions though, which are very comfortable to wear for long periods. As they are circumaural your entire ear is intended to be enclosed although in retaining portability those with larger ears may find the cups are not quite large enough. I found the bottom of my earlobes protruded slightly but I could tuck them in without any discomfort. For portable headphones they are quite large and don't fold down so in the case do take up a fair amount of room in hand baggage. Two (red) leads are supplied, one of which has a remote control/mic for recent Apple devices, plus a mini to full size jack converter.
My normal headphones for serious listening or on the move the are B&W P5 and P3 respectively so I was interested as to how these would compare. After several hours of running in, testing was done initially directly into an iPod Classic and then to my PC via an Audioquest Dragonfly DAC.
The iPod Classic has a less powerful amplifier than an iPhone or iPad so can struggle to drive larger headphones to a reasonable level but the Momentums are a fairly easy load of 18ohms so do get loud enough albeit at 90% maximum volume, which will impact battery life. There is good isolation due to the complete coverage of your ear; loud external sounds are still audible until the music starts, but unless you really crank it up anyone nearby will be unable to hear what you're listening to. I did have a slight concern that Sennheiser might veer too close to the fashion crowd by over-emphasising the bass but was pleasantly surprised by their neutrality. There is plenty of bass but it's reasonably taut and bass notes sound like an instrument is producing them, not just a general deep noise. The midrange is impressive - I played 'Heaven On Their Minds' by Queensryche, which is difficult to reproduce as the vocals and guitars are in the same frequency range but was able to follow Geoff Tate's vocals very clearly. In fact vocals in general are very well reproduced, with the small mouth clicks and breathing sounds that add realism to voices. So far, so good. Last test on the iPod was 'Dancer' from the re-mastered Queen album Hot Space. This track features some cymbal splashes towards the end that can be painful on some 'phones. The Momentum's handled them well, without losing detail but also without inducing a wince.
Moving on, I plugged into the Dragonfly and queued up some higher quality FLAC files. First up came Rodrigo y Gabriela and 'Tamacun'. The acoustic guitars had lots of attack, the 'phones conveying the effect of fingers plucking strings and drumming on guitar bodies and the separation of the guitars was also impressive. Next onto the Beatles 24-bit re-masters and lots of detail was presented but it did show that there is just a little over-emphasis on the bass compared to the P5s. Although there was slightly better separation with the Momentums I felt that the bass was attracting more of my attention that it should, particularly on a song like 'Penny Lane' where there are lots of more subtle instruments in the mix.
Overall I was impressed with the Momentums and they're well worth comparing to the Bowers and Wilkins P5s (but make sure both are well run in, especially the P5s, which sound pretty dull straight out of the box). Both are excellent headphones but slightly different in their approach - the Momentums resolve more detail, have deeper bass and good stereo separation but are slightly clinical. The P5s are on-ear so leak sound a little more, but put the overall sound together in a more enjoyable, coherent, foot-tapping way. Neither are perfect but there will be a market for each.
on 3 April 2015
These sound really good for the money. A guy at work has the equivalent Beats that cost more, feel really cheap and plastic-y and don't sound as good for my tastes. These Sennheisers feel like a premium product when you hold them and they even come with a bag/plush case.
I wasn't sure whether to drop to four stars for comfort issues but I think you have to accept that on-ear headphones put pressure on your ears.
For extended use I'd recommend over the ear types. Of course over-ears might not be appropriate. I use over-ears with my PC and these on-ears with my iPod, phone, 3DS and Vita. Those devices aren't powerful enough to drive my big over-ear head phones so even on max volume they are quiet.
These smaller on-ear types however can be easily powered to dangerous levels by small devices!
So I'm sticking with 5 stars for use with appropriate devices. I wholeheartedly recommend them without reservation.
on 11 August 2015
Pretty much typical Sennheiser quality and performance which is to say very good. Headband seems pretty comfy and suitably padded. My only gripe is the noise bleed. My previous pair, once upon upon my ears let absolutely no sound out (which is good as I listen to metal at quite a loud volume!), however these do 'bleed' sound at a certain point.
on 22 February 2015
These exude quality from the moment you set eyes upon them....but the killer question - How will they sound ?
I am a bit of an audio nut and spend / waste (take your pick) chasing the perfect sound. Maybe it does't exist - but I feel over the years, the equipment I have tried, discarded, kept, and put together, along with good quality sources like high resolution audio, have come pretty darn close. Then I discovered High Res music on the go with the superb Sony NWZ-A17 Walkman - but the question was - what cans to go with it? I could't take my high end open back home cans on the go - so I begun to explore the unfamiliar world of close back headphones.
My children have beats - yuk - too much bass and not a lot else. I first tried Musical Fidelity's MF-100s. I love their hifi, but found these were too bright (even after 50 hours burn in), too clamped onto my head and to much separation between highs and lows. Pity.
Next I tried the supremely comfortable Sony MDR 1A's - Almost perfect but suffering a little too much emphasis in the bloomy blurry bass department.
A name in all the reviews for many different kinds of cans kept coming up - Sennheiser Momentums.
Hmmm - I love the Sennheiser HD-700s- But surely these will be a BIG let down compared to those beauties?
Straight out of the box - everything sounded, well, right. It just all snaps into focus exactly how it should. Wow. And no burn in !
These really do live up to the internet chatter! They are comfortable, they look futuristically but discerningly cool (not that that matters to me), and they don't leak sound.
They are easy to drive, and sound so, so close to the Sennheiser HD-700s as I think a closed back headphone could. A truly awesome sound where nothing is over emphasised, but everything is there. You can pick out anything on the recording. The sound is smooth but detailed, pacy but not strained, detailed but not abrasive. Bass is getting better and even more tight and controlled as the hours roll by. These are seriously good, practical and audio on the go nirvana with the Sony Walkman.
on 21 February 2014
I bought these Momentum headphones to use out and about where my Grado SR80i's are not useable through background noise, etc. The quality of materials used in the Momentums puts the Grado's to shame, as does the finish, but what about the sound reproduction? Comparing closed headphones to open 'phones is a bit like comparing apples to oranges, but the music (mainly classical) through my ipod (all lossless ALAC) is truly impressive. Sure, my ears are going to get a bit warmer, but it's that close fit of the leather ear pieces that is so useful in cutting ambient sounds out, allowing a lower volume to be used (and preventing excessive sound leakage). The ipod/iphone volume/mic control works just fine on my nano (7th gen) and ipod 3GS. The Momentums still need some running in to lossen them up but all in all I'm very happy with the buy at £236.
on 13 April 2015
I have to admit I am headphone snob. Being full-time mixing engineer and music producer, I have always looked those "lifestyle" headphones with pity.
I let me start by saying that I own some of the top headphones in the market such as the Sennheiser HD650's, Beyerdynamics, AKGs, etc. However, I wanted to get somehing that could give me a good sound while I am travelling while allowing me to answer the calls on my phone.
So I thought I would give these a go (I've heard the Beats and I must say that the mid range was misersble).
I am impressed. The sound is very balanced for a "lifestyle" headphone. Substantial and tight bass, detailed mids (just slightly scooped), and smooth highs. Most headphones suffer in this department having very harsh upper mids and highs. Not the Momentums. They sound very smooth resembling the HD650's in the top end.
The isolation is very good, more than enough to listen to your music but also letting you know if a truck is coming at you!
The looks are impeccable. They scream quality when you unbox them and the leather is top quality.
I was always saying that I love how Beats look and feel but I would never buy them because of the sound. The Momentums offer both amazing looks and sound.
on 8 November 2013
It may be a bit of an unfair comparison, but I've been listening to HD650s for >2 years, but wanted something that's a little bit more portable. In fact, the Momentums (over-ear, don't get the on-ear variety) are in fact portable. Here's a summary of the ups and downs.
* Excellent isolation. Truly epic. I feel like I'm wearing Bose noise-reduction headphones, but 100 pounds cheaper and with superior sound quality. Compared to the open HD650s that let me hear everything on the outside, the Momentums are life savers.
* Good dynamics. Unlike the academic HD650s, Momentums have punchy bass and generally react to music better.
* Excellent portability. I use them with the AK100 player and have no problem walking around with them. By the way, HD650s are also very light, but they are huge!
* The carry case is actually very sturdy. Bulky, yes, but very well-made (unlike the case for the on-ears, which is junk).
Not so nice things:
* The midrange gets muddy sometimes.
* Low quality cable. Would expect something more serious for the price. Maybe with a large jack rather than 3.5", too, though that's debatable.
* Weird remote on the cable. Not sure what system it's compatible with. Certainly not AK100 nor most phones I've tried it with. No idea. You do get a second cable in the package but it doesn't have that bendy metal thing that's actually nice.
* Not that comfortable compared to the HD series. No big surprise here, but they do press against your head quite a bit.
* Not for people with large ears. Just thought I'd mention it. Fine for mine though.
* I have concerns about any headphone that joins the earcups with dangling cables. It just doesn't feel safe.
I'm happy with the purchase - it goes very well with devices such as iRiver AK100,Audioquest Dragonfly and even the Audiolab M-DAC. It's probably one of the best portable headphones out there, but keep in mind that you can wear HD series too, since high-end DAPs have no trouble handling the loads. It might just look a little bit weird, though.