It’s honest to say that it isn’t what I anticipated. Sennheiser’s new Momentum 4 wi-fi headphones mark a dramatic pivot away from the retro stylings of earlier fashions. The real leather-based headband and chrome steel ear cup sliders to characterize the Momentum line at the moment are historical past. Instead, the $349.95 fourth-generation headphones take an unmistakable design twist into Sony and Bose territory, with a light-weight construct that locations extra emphasis on prolonged consolation.
Additionally, nearly all bodily buttons have been eliminated in favor of faucet and swipe gesture controls. And whereas some followers of the corporate I can solely describe as a boring, nostalgic look, there are no less than some Getting enthusiastic about Sennheiser’s newest cans. Topping that checklist is best noise cancellation and the promised battery lifetime of a outstanding 60 hours.
You might not have heard me argue that earlier Momentum 3s are the proper headphones. The fold level of a metallic hinge can generally snag a hair or pinch a finger in case you’re not cautious. The headphones routinely activate each time they’re unfolded, a shortcut that sounds intelligent in idea however proves irritating after they unexpectedly flip your telephone or laptop computer on a desk or within the case of an excessively tender carry. add up. But the Momentum 3S sounds nice, has easy-to-use controls, and brings out character and panache.
The Momentum 4s nonetheless make good on the sound facet (as I’d anticipate of the Sennheiser), and so they’re objectively extra nice to put on. But other than some cloth materials on high of the scarf, these headphones have been stripped of any character. The Momentum 3S appears at dwelling proper subsequent to classic stereo tools, whereas the Momentum 4S feels spotless by comparability. They come out as generic, which is a stunning change in course for this product line. And it is all intentional. “We understand from our feedback that most people prefer a headphone design that blends in rather than separates,” Sennheiser product supervisor Christian Ern instructed me.
There’s plastic in every single place — Sennheiser says there’s nonetheless metallic reinforcing the scarf — and so they seem like a mash-up company cheap cans and one thing like this Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, With outer ear cups that immediately gather smudges and finger oil, these do not look like a part of premium, flagship noise-canceling headphones like their direct predecessors did.
But they really feel nice, no less than in your noggin. The Sennheiser matches Sony’s WH-1000XM5 on this division, which isn’t any small feat. The Momentum 4S makes use of artificial PU leather-based for the replaceable ear pads and headband padding, and each have ample cushioning. There’s not plenty of clamping drive to speak about, so they need to keep comfortable on lengthy flights or while you’re utilizing all of them day on the workplace.
And they nonetheless look wonderful. Sennheiser hasn’t tinkered a lot with the audio signature, so in case you just like the Momentum 3s, you may be simply as glad with these. They’re much less bassy out of the field—one thing you possibly can override with EQ—and the drivers at the moment are tilted towards your ears for higher sound stage. (Apple’s AirPods Max do the same trick.) The Momentum 4s keep heat, smooth, and spacious in any model you discover with them. Better nonetheless, the Momentum 4s leaks much less noise to close by coworkers or espresso store patrons than its predecessors.
The earlier mannequin persistently received my ears, even in pricier competitors like Apple’s AirPods Max, and the Momentum 4s are proper on the identical stage. I’ve these and . have a tough time selecting between Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 As the best-sounding noise-canceling headphones in the marketplace in 2022. The Momentum 4s helps a variety of Bluetooth codecs, together with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX adaptive. If you favor to go wired, the case has a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm cable, or you possibly can simply use a USB-C cable.
Talking about noise cancellation, Sennheiser has additionally made inroads there. It’s nonetheless not on par with Sony or Bose, however the energetic noise cancellation within the Momentum 4s is simpler than within the Momentum 3s, which was barely satisfactory. The Transparency mode is thorough sufficient and supplies sense of what is going on on round you – although it does not fairly match the “feels like you’re not wearing headphones” sensation of the AirPods Max.
Unfortunately, I have never been thrilled with the controls on the Momentum 4, and for me, these are the largest draw back apart from the boring design. Sennheiser has excised the amount and multifunction buttons that have been current on the 3s – and the identical goes for the slider that switches between ANC and ambient sound modes. The solely bodily button on these headphones is for each energy and Bluetooth pairing, relying on how lengthy you press it. Track controls, quantity adjustment, and ANC are all dealt with with a faucet and swipe on the ear cups. Some of those are simple to get down as they’re considerably logical: faucet the suitable ear cup as soon as to play/pause, swipe ahead or backward to vary songs, or slide your finger throughout the floor for quantity management. drag up or down. You can double-tap to rapidly change between noise cancellation and transparency.
Sennheiser was not glad to cease there and determined it wanted so as to add Pinch Gestures that can be utilized for extra fine-grained management over the stability between noise cancellation and ambient sound.
A pinch gesture? on headphones? I believe we are able to push this somewhat bit.
Now, I have never had any actual hassle with these controls on a scorching summer season day, apart from remembering them. But winter is all the time the true take a look at of potential points. “We’ve highly tested the touchpad functions in multiple climatic conditions,” Arn mentioned. “Of course, there may be some extreme cases where the sensitivity of the touchpad is affected.” The firm says that in case your cold-weather gloves are suitable with the telephone, they need to work simply fantastic with the Momentum 4s.
Despite the gestures not bothering but, I’m nonetheless lacking the normal buttons. They have been silly and required little pondering.
I’ve additionally observed that these headphones generally tend to activate whereas contained in the case. This time the case is vastly improved: it is a correct hardshell design—formed like a goomba tremendous mario bros, — which supplies higher safety than the very tender, collapsible case that comes with the Momentum 3S. So this is not an issue. Maybe the ability button is rubbing towards the ear cup divider of the case or perhaps they’re waking up from sleep each time I transfer the case. But in some way, my telephone is consistently connecting to them at instances when it was not my intention. And it will get annoying.
Sennheiser claims that the Momentum 4s can last as long as 60 hours on a single cost. That’s a ridiculous quantity and trails Sony, Bose, Apple and virtually all different rivals. Some of that stamina is achieved with power-saving options; The headphones will enter sleep mode after not utilizing them for quarter-hour, and so they additionally embody on-head detection to preserve juice.
With longer battery life, I did not see whole operating time or drain the battery greater than a few times in my take a look at run. Even if they do not end that 60-hour mark in all circumstances or at louder quantity ranges, I can affirm they’ve extra stamina than journey or basic use circumstances . I can not think about anybody would require That’s type of marathon battery life, nevertheless it means you possibly can go longer than ever with out worrying about plugging within the Momentum 4s.
Voice name efficiency is best than the Momentum 3S however nonetheless nothing to put in writing dwelling about. The new headphones do higher with voice pickup and separation, and every thing sounds fantastic in case you’re making home calls. But in a loud setting, it is nonetheless clear that you just’re speaking to individuals by means of headphones. Sennheiser continues to help multipoint Bluetooth, and the Momentum 4s simply pairs two simultaneous connections and performs audio reliably from the machine you are actively utilizing.
Rounding issues out, Sennheiser’s Smart Controls app for Android and iOS helps you to personalize EQ, modify settings like wind discount and sidetone (which helps you to hear your individual voice extra naturally on calls). offers), or units up a “sound zone” the place sound settings are routinely adjusted based mostly in your frequent places. Sony has lengthy provided the same characteristic with its headphones, and Sennheiser’s work equally effectively—although it requires organising an account, which I’ve by no means been a fan of within the Headphones app. I’m not
The Sennheiser Momentum 4s aren’t dangerous headphones by any means. They nonetheless ship top-rate sound and now achieve this in a design that is considerably extra comfy than earlier fashions. It’s unlucky that the corporate went in such a pathetic course with the style.
Between the brand new aesthetic and new buttonless controls, Sennheiser is clearly following the chief with Sony. There’s little doubt that the WH-1000XM5s is the very best within the audio division, and the 60-hour battery units a brand new bar for the sphere. But the Momentum 4s nonetheless follows the noise-canceling powers of Sony and Bose, and I can not consider Sennheiser made the suitable resolution in embracing contact gestures like everybody else.
Aside from higher consolation, there’s little incentive to improve when you have a pair of Momentum 3s: The sound is analogous, each headphones have multipoint-like comfort options, and have components of older headphones that I really like—for high quality. Sure to construct. But I think that even when the corporate’s longtime clients see this as a sudden, surprising change, Sennheiser’s shuffling preferences may make the fourth-generation Momentum its most profitable pairing ever.
Photography by Chris Welch/The Verge