Sennheiser Momentum Black Closed Circumaural Headphones

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Product: Sennheiser Momentum Black Closed Circumaural Headphones
Provided By: Sennheiser
Price: $399 MSRP at time of publication

Introduction:

I'm a bit of a headphone junky. While I don't have a ton of super-expensive headphones, what I lack for in quality, I make up for in quantity. That's not entirely accurate. I have quite a few sets of high-quality ear-buds from companies like Sennheiser, Razer, SteelSeries, Creative and more. I also have a couple of pairs of active noise cancelling Able Planet headphones as well as some BlueAnt on-ear headphones that I bought a while back. Yes, I do have some JBL units around here somewhere too. You get the point. I enjoy music and I enjoy music that sounds good and isn't limited by the drivers that are pushing the sound into my head.

Box

 

Sennheiser has come a long way to be more of a "regular-consumer" company. A few years back their cheapest products were well out of reach for most consumers and you had to really enjoy music to justify buying a pair. These days, they have a lot more products aimed at different market segments - and they all sound good. Today, we are looking at something that sounds just a little better than good. We have the Sennheiser Momentum Black Closed Circumaural Headphones. These are the big brother to the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones we looked at a little while back. The big brother will also set you back an additional $150 - making these headphones sit right up at the $399 mark. At that price, they certainly aren't cheap, and we'll take a look and a listen to find out if they are worth the extra money. We won't do a straight comparison, as I never got a chance to review the previous set, but I will share my thoughts.

 

First Look:

One thing I've noticed about Sennheiser products; especially their high-end series - they are packaged and presented very well. The Momentum headphones come in a very nice box as pictured above, and inside the box is a custom-fit foam pad that houses a padded headphone case. also in this foam-padded case is a little bit of documentation that you may find useful. I know that packaging is just that - packaging, and you can put a bow on a dead rat and it still stinks. All that aside, they have done a remarkable job on the packaging and presentation - down to the red ribbon that won't let the box open too far and then wreck the hinge. It's little details like this that let you know Sennheiser cares.

In The Box
Case in the Box

Case
Case

 

Overall, the package looks as good as the headphones inside - and that is saying a lot. These headphones looks very awesome and the black leather, stainless steel band and red stitching looks awesome. I'm a fan of how they look. I just hope they sound as good as they look.

Bundle

Another thing that is pretty nice with the Sennheiser Momentum is the way the cables are stored. When you open the case, you get a nice look at the headphones, but their is no mesh pocket or visible pouch for any cables - and the cables come detached. The cables are located under a cover that sits in the middle of the case. There are two cables here. One cable has an in-line volume control, button and microphone and is designed for Apple products, and the other cable is simply a straight-through cable for other devices. We'll take a closer look at the cables in a bit.

In Case
In Case

Cable Storage
Cable Storage

 

On the next page we'll take a closer look at the Momentum Black headphones before we jump into the features and specifications of these very nice looking cans.


Closer Look:

Once we get the Momentum Black headphones out of the package, you can get a better look at what makes them look so awesome. The design is very similar to the original Momentum on-ear we looked at a little while ago, but these larger units use actual leather on the headband and around the ear cups. I like this a lot and would rather have natural material next to my head instead of man-made material. As is the case with the smaller version, attention to detail is great and the stainless steel headband is nice and light.

Standing Up
Standing Up

 

The inside of the ear cups are a nice bright red and very soft material that lets the sound pass through easily and helps protect the drivers. The pad of the ear cup is covered with soft leather than breathes well and these don't get hot on your ears. They are super comfortable and while they are not super large, they do surround my ears better than I thought. They don't look large enough to be a full over-the-ears set, but they seem to work just fine for me. If you have large ears they may not be as comfortable as some other larger cans, but they worked better than I thought they would.

Ear Cup Inside
Ear Cup Inside

Connector for Headphones
Connector for Headphones

 

The wired headphones plug in through a standard connector on the media player side and a smaller connector on the headphone side. While this isn't exactly proprietary, it's not a super common connector so you'll want to make sure you take care of the two cables that come with the Sennheiser Momentum Black headphones.

Profile

The standard connector is a simple straight-through cable that has rubber end covers to protect the cable from "wiring" off as it gets bent repeatedly. The fancy Apple compatible cable with the in-line microphone and volume controls has a fancy end on the media player side. It has a metal end that keeps things protected and has a hinge that allows it to flex without putting extra stress on the cable. It's pretty cool. You'll notice in the images below, that the part of the connector that meets up with your device is protected by rubber so that it won't scratch your device. This is another little detail that helps set these headphones apart.

Connector Straight
Connector Straight

Connector Bent
Connector Bent

In-Line Control
In-Line Control

In-Line Mic
In-Line Mic

 

On the next page we'll cover the features and specifications of the Sennheiser Momentum Black Headphones before we jump into testing.


Features:

Now let's look at the product features and specifications and see what makes these over-the-ear headphones worth your money. The following information has been taken from the Sennheiser product page and posted below for your convenience.

The MOMENTUM headphones makes the famous Sennheiser sound quality tangible. It is reflected in the material selection of these refined headphones – the use of supple, breathable leather for the headband and earcups, displays our commitment to style. 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.

For excellent connectivity, the headphones are fitted with a 3.5 mm stereo jack and with nominal impedance reduced for mobile players. An additional cable with an integrated smart remote and microphone is included for easy management of tracks and calls.

 

Sennheiser Logo

 

Technical Details:

Technical Data

 

The Sennheiser Momentum Closed Circumaural Headphones are a bit bigger than the previous set we reviewed, but the specifications are a little more obscure. It will be interesting to find out how well they perform on the next page.


Stitching

 

Testing:

As I mentioned earlier in this review, I have tried out and owned a lot of different headphones and earphones over the years. I'm not a full-on audiophile, but I do love good, clean sound. I'd much rather have accurate and well-balanced sound than brain shaking bass. Not that bass is a bad thing. I like bass, but I like it balanced and clean - not overpowering and mushy. As I mentioned previously, I do like the comfortable fit of the Sennheiser Momentum Black headphones. They are nice and lightweight and breath well on your head so your ears won't get too hot. While this might sound like a silly thing to mention, I've used other headphones that didn't breath and after 30 minutes or so they were uncomfortable enough that you'd stop wearing them. The Sennheiser Momentum headphones have a large range of adjustment and should fit pretty much anyone.

I used my laptop and the ASUS Xonar U3 soundcard as well as an iPod Classic to test out the Sennheiser Momentum Black Headphones. The interesting thing is that when you listen to low bitrate music (96kbps - 128kbps), it doesn't sound that good at all. The Momentum headphones reproduce all the white noise and hiss as well as the audio compression artifacts in the music and at first listen, I wasn't all that impressed. Once I got home and downloaded some 320kbps and other lossless music was I impressed. This goes to show that any product is only as good as the weakest link. Some of the audio that I'd been satisfied with previously was clearly the weakest link.

Once I found some great audio I really enjoyed these headphones. I loaded up my computer and media player with a little bit of everything including Buckcherry, Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon Linkin Park, P.O.D. Skillent and even got a little old-school with some Creedence Clearwater Revival. There wasn't a bad listening experience in the bunch.

Profile

I started off with "Rose" by Buckcherry and the guitar and vocals were intensely clear. The Goo Goo Dolls tracks, "Rebel Beat" and "Slow it Down" are great tracks with crisp effects and a wide range of sounds from a nice kick bass to great guitar treble. The Momentum reproduced these very well. The acoustic version of "Battleships" by Daughtry was super clean and almost chilling in clarity. The slight zink of the fingers sliding on the guitar strings puts you right there. Foo Fighters were up next and "Rope" was a great track that really felt and sounded great as this is classic alternative at it's best. The treble always appeared well-balanced and wasn't harsh or sharp while the bass line and vocals balanced almost perfectly.

Kings of Leon have a great cleans song with "Beautiful War" and this track has a very heavy bass guitar that shows that the Sennheiser Momentum can dig deep when needed. Although the Linkin Park song, "Pushing me Away" may be overplayed, it's a great busy song with a heavy bass track and yet the vocals stay balanced very well and again, this shows off the power of good headphones as many other products I've used don't reproduce this wide range clearly.

Another acoustic song that surprised and impressed me was "Beautiful" by P.O.D. This song has a nice clean guitar track and a nice clean gentle drum track. It's very clean and absolutely crisp and clear. Moving on to Skillet, their "Not Gonna Die" track is a destined to be a classic and it is very well balanced and super crisp and clean.

When it comes to enjoying your oldies, the Momentum Black can pull it off very well - as long as the source is good. Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of my favorites and with their songs like "Green River" and "Fortunate Son" sounding so awesome on these, I'm sure they'd be your favorite songs from yesteryear as well.

 

Conclusion:

The Sennheiser Momentum Closed Circumaural Headphones are great. It's hard to come up with anything much other than that. The sound absolutely fantastic. While the bass won't scare you, the truth is they are accurate. They aren't bass-heavy like a bunch of Hip Hop junk. They are clean, true, accurate, crisp, balanced, comfortable, durable and they look great. Sennheiser takes these seriously and everything from the box to the padding to the case and the cables are well presented and high quality. The headphones themselves look and feel amazing with the natural black leather, red stitching and stainless steal completing the package.

Once you put these on your head, you'll immediate notice that they aren't your grandma's headphones. They are supremely comfortable, light in weight but heavy on good sound. Everything I listened to with the Sennheiser Momentum over-the-ear headphones sounded great. Everything from soft rock to alternative, hard rock and even a little '70s classic rock was fantastic. Audiobooks and Podcasts sounded equally good and they didn't disappoint at all.

The only disappointing thing for me is the price. At $400, they are not cheap at all, but when compared some of Sennheiser's other larger products that cost more money, I guess they do fit in. They are price $150 more than the on-ear headphones we looked at a while back, and in my opinion are worth the extra money as they are much more comfortable and block out a bit more sound due to the closed nature of the design. I just wish I could keep these and had an extra $400 laying around right now. Hands down, these are the nicest, clearest and cleanest headphones I've used and I highly recommend trying out a pair for yourself.

Pros:

  • Package and case are stellar
  • Super comfortable
  • Two cables - one for Apple products, one for everything else
  • Fantastic clarity and overall well-balanced sound
  • Black leather & red stitching
  • Stainless steel
  • Appear and feel quite durable

 

Cons:

  • A bit expensive

 

Gold

 

I'd like to thank Sennheiser for sending the Momentum Black over-the-ear circumaural headphones over for us to review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop them in the forum at the link below.