Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless (M3)

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It's been a long while since I’ve taken up keyboard and mouse and posted a review, but when Sennheiser offered me a chance to look at their Momentum 3, I had to dust off the keyboard, wipe the screen clean and give it my best college try. I've tested both the original Momentum, Momentum on-ear and the Momentum 2 headphones, so I was very interested to see where they went and how they could improve upon the previous versions.

According to the product brief, these are better due to the Bluetooth 5 capabilities as well as some great active noise cancellation. In addition to hardware upgrades, they feature some nice party tricks including auto-pause (when removed from your head), auto shut-off (when folded) and more. While those are nice upgrades, if they come at the cost of product quality, clarity or comfort, they may not be upgrades at all.

Sennheiser Momentum 3

With the advertised MSRP of these headphones at $529.95 CDN or $399.95 USD, they certainly aren't cheap, and they run a bit more expensive than the likes of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II smart headphones and Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless noise cancelling headphones. Are they worth the money? We'll find out!

 

First Look:

The Sennheiser Momentum M3 come in a posh packages and include a charge cable, manual, other paperwork and a 1/8" cable for plugging in directly when the battery lets you down from listening too much.

Case of Momentum

 

Often folding headphones scare me in terms of durability, but I've used Sennheiser products enough to know that they over-engineer their high-end products to ensure they offer years of reliable service. The hinges on the headband feel very solid, and the cable running through the headband is very well insulated to prevent wear and the wire from failing.

In The Case

 

The ear cups are closed circumaural and feel like memory foam covered with soft leather. Whether or not you have something against leather or not, the feel of these is absolutely fantastic. They feel as luxurious as I hope they sound.

First Look

 

These are more than just headphones, they double as a killer hands-free headset for your favorite mobile device. As such, they include a microphone located at the front of the left side earcup. I didn't snap specific image of this microphone array, but it's more than just a simple little pin-hole. You can see the little grill located in the image below-left.

Left with Microphone Array Right Side

 

The controls are very intuitive, but they do seem a bit crowded when reaching blindly to adjust volume. As you can see below, the play/pause button has a bump on it to make it easier to identify, when pressing with my fat thumb, there are times when I turn up the volume instead of manually pausing the music. There is no specific on/off button for the headphones themselves. When folded, you can hear a lovely voice telling your they are powered off and inversely when you unfold them, the voice tells you they are powered on. I'm not sure how I feel about this as there are times when I take them off, but don't fold them - and they stay on - draining the battery.

The switch that does exist turns ANC off, turns it on, and the transparent hearing position mutes your music and used the microphone to pick up external audio and plays it through the drivers in the headphones making it much easier to hear conversations around you without having to first remove the headphones. That's a handy feature for sure.

Controls (Sticker can be removed - left on for clarification)
Controls (Sticker can be removed - left on for clarification)

 

You can answer, hang up and reject calls with the central "play" button as well. Pairing is done with the bottom pairing button and is relatively basic - which is basically good. Another party trick that you may have noticed identified on the sticker on the control side is for Tile location. That's right, the Momentum 3 have Tile built-in so you can locate them - if they are charged up. It works very well and once you have added them to your Tile account, you can ring them if you can't find where you left them.


Features and Specifications:

The information below has been pulled from the manufacturers website and posted here for your convenience. For all the updated details and downloads, please visit Sennheiser.

Discover superior sound
The new MOMENTUM Wireless is the latest addition to Sennheiser's ground-breaking, premium headphone range - offering superior sound, cutting-edge technology, and a modern design aesthetic to every moment. It redefines your premium headphone experience by reproducing the balanced depth and precision of studio-quality audio.
 
Never miss a beat
The MOMENTUM Wireless features intuitive controls designed for any situation. Whether you’re taking a business call, talking to a friend or just hiding in your own personal audio space, the Auto On/Off and Smart Pause features ensure that you’ll never miss a beat.
 

Your sound, on your terms
Active Noise Cancellation and Transparent Hearing functionality allow you to experience your audio world on your terms. The advanced Active Noise Cancellation offers three modes that are tailored to different environments. And with the Transparent Hearing feature, you can enjoy music while still being fully present in whatever you’re doing.

Get lost in the music
Featuring a genuine leather head strap and premium earcups, these headphones deliver superior comfort for those who like to enjoy endless listening. The sturdy matte steel arms and durable covers stand the test of time, making them the perfect companion for the stylish listener who’s always on the move.

Cables

 

Set the tempo of your mood
With a simple and intuitive 3-button interface, you can switch between your music and making calls in an instant. You can also activate volume control at the touch of a button and link to voice assistant technology immediately. Whatever situation you find yourself in, the MOMENTUM Wireless has all the functions you need to enjoy rich, detailed sound.
 

In tune with your lifestyle
The MOMENTUM Wireless offers seamless integration with your phone’s voice assistant. At the touch of a button you can easily tap into the virtual world or real world whenever life happens. With the superior sound of the MOMENTUM Wireless, you’ll never lose your rhythm again.

Personalization in the palm of your hands
The Sennheiser Smart Control app provides three different noise cancellation modes and a built-in equalizer. With smart TILE technology you can locate your headphones when life gets complicated, so the only time you ever feel lost, is in the music.

 

Technical Details:

Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth 5 compliant
Supported Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
Audio input: Bluetooth, Analog (mini jack), USB-C
Power supply: 5.0 V DC, 330mA
Battery Specification: Built-In Lithium rechargeable battery
Frequency range: 6Hz - 22kHz
NFC: yes
Audio codec: SBC, aptX™, aptX™ Low Latency, AAC
USB Standard: USB-C
Battery time: 17 hours
Noise cancellation: 3 Active Noise Cancelling Modes
Warranty: 2 years

 


Testing:

Let me get this out of the way; I'm not an audiophile. Granted, I really love good audio. I do have a pretty good ear and I really enjoy music. However, I don't believe that there are a lot of objective ways to test headphones. The experience is very personal, unique and everyone has a different idea of what sounds "good". I did listen to Momentum M2 and Massdrop HD6XX for comparison. I used these wireless as well as wired through my Bottlehead Crack 1.1 OTL amp. Most of my thoughts are going to be through the Bluetooth however as these are designed to provide audio on the move; not strapped to your desk with an amp.

I listened mostly through my Samsung S9+ as I was pretty busy and on the move for the duration of the review period when I had the Momentum 3 on my test bench (aka - head). They have plenty of volume both through the cable and when connected by Bluetooth.

Sennheiser

 

In terms of music specifics, I did listen to a lot of different genres as I'm not really strapped to one type of music. I listened to everything from 90's alternative, modern pop, country and everything in between. I have a few lossless FLAC albums that I purchased that really showcase stereo headphones and I made sure to spend some time listening to these as well. The sources for most of my testing was Google Play Music or SiriusXM with the quality set to maximum.

These headphones provide an incredibly balanced music experience no matter what type of music you listen to. The bass is full and powerful enough to really be appreciated without trying to shake your brain. I never felt I needed more bass, treble or mid-range as it was balanced pretty smoothly for all types of music.

Momentum Brand

 

There are a few bits of music that is treble-heavy where the high-hat seemed a bit harsh and I had to open up the Sennheiser app and tweak the equalizer a bit. Overall, the experience was pretty solid, but after being spoiled with the HD6xx from Massdrop (think Sennheiser HD650), the Momentum 3 clearly aren't quite audiophile quality. They are, however, a fantastic piece of kit for walk-around and travel cans.

In terms of pop music, if you've been brainwashed into "Beats" audio, you may find the Momentum (M2) to be a little lacking, but that has been fixed with the Momentum 3 wireless without being over the top. They've tweaked the bass to be a bit more powerful, but they aren't overly bass heavy like Beats or even the Sennheiser Urbanites. The tradeoff is that they are farther from a reference headphone, but they still are a solid product that offers a more appealing listening experience than the M2.

As far as comfort goes, the Momentum Wireless are over-the-ear headphones that are covered with leather and filled with the hopes and dreams of all that is good in this world. I've worn these on a day when I had a 15-hour shift and I wore them for 14 hours without major discomfort. As they are a closed design, they can get a bit warm if you're in a hot climate. Even with them packing battery and electronics, they don't feel tremendously heavy. They are heavier than the wired-only M2, but they are physically balanced and sit well. 

 

Conclusion:

As I type this conclusion, Sam Smith "How Do You Sleep" is playing in the headphones and this song could not showcase these headphones any better. The opening xylophone notes are perfectly clear, which transitions smoothly into his tenor vocals backed by the electronic bass line and it's blended wonderfully as it drops into the chorus. The bass is phenomenal without overpowering any of the other features of the song. Highs are perfect and there are elements that you won't hear when using inexpensive headphones. While they aren't reference by a long stretch, they do provide a wonderful auditory experience.
 
Billie Eilish "Bad Guy" is a touch bass heavy, but that's the track and it sounds bass heavy on any decent pair of headphones. Lesser headphones produce distortion, but these are clear, clean, crisp and comfortable.
 
Breaking Benjamin "Lights Out" sounded a tad bit muddy on the low end of the mid-range, but that is partly due to the mix of the track. It's hard to make that sound perfect. The HD6XX pull it off perfectly, but they aren't conducive to a portable audio experience. The vocals, highs and thrumming bass line fit and blend well.
 
Audioslave "Show Me How to Live" seems like it was mixed specifically for these. It's a perfect showcase for how headphones and music should sound. As close to portable perfection as possible. Amazing.
 
In terms of physical constructions, while folding headphones can often feel a bit flimsy and construction quality can be an issue, I've never had a bad feeling regarding the quality of these. They feel super durable and the hinge feels tight without any play. Of course, as time goes by the hinge may loosen up a bit, but after using these for about a couple of weeks and folding them dozens of times, they feel just as solid as they did when I first unboxed them.
 
In terms of audio quality - which is probably why you decided to consider these, they perform like champs. Whatever your music choice, these are a very solid choice and won’t leave you feeling disappointed. 
 
Pros:
  • High quality construction
  • Great, balanced audio
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Elegant looks and feel
  • Super comfortable
  • Works well with Android devices
  • Multi-modes of noise cancellation (Max, Anti Wind, Anti Pressure) 
  • Equalizer through app saves to headphones (not just through software)
  • Tile location feature
  • Long battery life
 
 
Cons:
  • Noise cancellation modes require use of app (can’t be switched directly through hardware)
 
Gold

 

Yes, that's right. They have a lot going for them and I had to be creative to find something that bugged me. The software is my only peeve. The applications are a nice addition, but I don't think it should be required to switch modes. Still, they are a solid piece of hardware that will give you years of listening pleasure and are a nice upgrade to the previous Momentum headphones.