Sennheiser Momentum 4 Comments | CNN Highlights

The Momentum 4 is the latest iteration of the Sennheiser Momentum launched a decade ago, returning to the dawn of luxury wireless earphone design, ditching the retro earcups and stainless steel strap of its predecessors in favor of something more in line with its flagship Bluetooth noise-cancelling competition.

If you’re looking for an all-around in-ear wireless headphone, the Momentum 4 is a serious contender. They deliver the great sound for which Sennheiser is known, and while their updated look and feel make it harder to differentiate from the competition, they offer solid all-around performance at a more friendly price than high-end rivals for those who want something full-featured It’s something to consider for discerning listeners who don’t have to fuss to get a good performance.

The upgraded Bluetooth noise reduction flagship from a veteran headphone brand

The updated Sennheiser Momentum 4 ditches the retro styling of its predecessor for a more classic look, but improved ANC, solid apps, and great sound make it a great choice for headphone lovers.

A pair of Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones lay flat on the butcher countertop.

The most important thing about the new Sennheiser Momentum 4 is that they sound great right out of the box. With a long tradition of headphone design, Sennheiser has been responsible for some of the most popular professional and consumer headphones, and this is reflected in the meticulously dubbed Momentum 4. No matter what material we chose to listen to, we encountered balanced, pleasing performance with controllable low-end and rich mid-range detail.

The three-band EQ works well, and you get a bunch of useful presets for every genre of music. You can also sign up for Sennheiser’s “Sound Check” service, which automatically applies presets based on what you’re listening to. However, we think most people probably won’t want this level of optimization for everyday listening, and those who want to ride the EQ track by track may be inclined to DIY, but it’s a good option. You don’t get the level of granular control offered by the Sony or Technics apps, or the Sony or Apple-style spatialization and personalization, but all the necessary features are there.

The title track of Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” — balancing Chris Cornell’s high-pitched vocals, Kim Thayil’s mid-gain guitar and Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd’s lead rhythm section, plus a bunch of stereo placement tricks — on smaller headphones It will sound messy, but even flat, it’s a pleasure to listen to here, everything is in the right place and reproduced with the right tone and texture. Dropping 1.5 to 2 dB in the lowest band of the EQ can dampen the lows a bit, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

The acoustic music is also well reproduced.We Check Out Gil Evans’ Classic Big Band Rendition of Kurt Weill’s “Bilbao Song” From “Out of the Cool”,” Even without any EQ applied, the Momentum 4 reproduces Evans’ graceful orchestral sound well, from Ron Carter’s deep bass to Ray Crawford’s proto-skronk guitar.

Photo of the underside of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 earphones, showing the connections at the bottom of the earcups.

Call quality is solid, and a nifty “Sidetone” feature sends an adjustable amount of your own voice back to the headset while you’re on a call – this results in a more natural sound if you’re the kind of person who’s a little weird about your own voice .

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) — which wasn’t the strongest set of earlier Momentum models — has improved here and is on par with most competitors, though it’s not as effective as the leading Bose 700 or Apple AirPods at minimizing our noise Noise from air conditioner and kitchen hood exhaust fan. Cancellation actually reduces these steady-state noises to a lower subjective level than the Sony XM5, but the results sound less natural, so they may not be the best choice for background noise alone. Music or other audio playback. All of these headphones reduce background noise to an almost imperceptible level when playing music, and unless you’re doing very serious listening, you wouldn’t be using noise-cancelling headphones anyway.

That said, enabling ANC on the Momentum 4 has no pleasant interaction with the EQ, so it won’t have much of an effect on the tonal character of what you’re listening to. You can balance ANC and transparency via the crossfader, or turn on Adaptive mode, which chooses for you based on the microphone input.

If that’s not automatic enough for you, Sound Zones lets you use geofencing to change the behavior of your headphones based on your location; say, you can have the headphones automatically enable transparency mode at home and automatically enable when you’re at the office Noise Cancellation – As fun as these modes are, their actual purpose is a bit nebulous, and we prefer to adjust the app’s controls to our tastes on the fly. It’s designed to offer something similar to Sony’s Adaptive Sound Control, though you can get more say by tweaking it this way at the expense of some pre-planning.

For travel purposes (or if you prefer to hardwire it), a 2.5mm to 3.5mm power cable is included, as well as a two-hole aviation adapter. The Momentum 4 works wired without power, which is great if you’re running out of battery, or if you’re using an old device as a power source and you just want to keep it. Plugging in the cable can even put the headphones in airplane mode and turn off Bluetooth, which is great for avoiding confusion or a situation that ends up being a disadvantage for flight attendants.

Like the Technics EAH-A800, they are priced lower than the Sony XM5 (to a certain extent) and the Apple AirPods Max (significantly); in our opinion, it’s a positive to see audio pro brands lower the price of these feature-rich headphones Even though these newer models don’t quite match the offerings from the big tech companies in some technical aspects, we’d like to see more downward pressure on prices.

A pair of Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones on a wooden countertop, showing details on the inside and outside of the earcups.

Older Momentum models have a unique retro look with stainless steel straps, leather ear cups and a touch of Radar O’Reilly aesthetic. The new model ditches that in favor of a design very similar to the latest models from Sony, Bose and Jabra, with plenty of black plastic surfaces and minimalist design cues.

As with other minimalist headsets, you won’t find many physical controls on the Momentum 4: a multifunction button powers the headset, accesses the voice assistant, provides system information, and initiates and manages pairing. Everything else is done via touch controls on both earcups.

While this arrangement is popular these days, and we understand its appeal (less disruptive, functionally upgradeable, and the touch panel looks sleek), it’s not our favorite arrangement. First of all, we really prefer to have at least one physical volume control in an emergency – the Digital Crown on the AirPods Max or the buttons on the Bose QC 45 are more intuitive when you switch from listening to speakers without adjusting your headphones volume control, or you stumble upon a track that’s already mastered too hot.

While you will eventually get used to the placement of the different functions, it can be difficult to find exactly what you want without careful observation and without some practice, and it’s easy to accidentally trigger something you don’t want when adjusting the fit or putting on the headset . They also respond slower to input than physical buttons away from the touch surface, and many functions require multiple presses.

The Sennheiser Smart Control app is well laid out, but you don’t get as granular control over the sound and performance characteristics as the Technics EAH-A800 (that is, the Momentum 4 sounds better out of the box than the EAH) -A800, we don’t think many users will Mind the limited EQ on offer here). Also, some of the more interesting options are only accessible once you’re logged into your Sennheiser account, which isn’t what everyone wants.

With the Momentum 4, Sennheiser has re-entered the wireless flagship headphone competition — the company pioneered the original Momentum — and the brand has succeeded in most ways. While we missed the iconic design of the earlier Momentum and thought the convenience and more robust interface design of the better ANC or Apple AirPods Max offered by Sony or Bose would serve most listeners better, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 is the strongest overall competitor ever – the more crowded arena of Bluetooth flagship headphones, delivering great sound without any tinkering.

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