Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphone Long-Term Review @ ModSynergy.com
By: Michael Phrakaysone

Sennheiser

ModSynergy has reviewed many products over the past 12-years being online.  A wide variety of items have come and gone on this website.  I'm shocked and cannot believe I started this website back when I was only 15-years old, just reminiscing about this gives me goose bumps down my arm.  It's been a great ride, but it hasn't always been easy finding the motivation at times, but I've been fortunate and blessed to be doing something I very much enjoy for a very long time. 

I've said something to this effect in some of my previous audio reviews, an analogy, but thinking about the length of time ModSynergy has been online is kind of like fine wine aging throughout the years.  Individuals change, their perspectives change, their taste's change, their styles change, what they previously thought was good change, it's part of that ongoing evolution, but in the end it should get better. 

I think that is precisely what is happening with my audio reviews, the momentum has been building steadily for the past 12-years to get to this point.  Just looking back when I started and the type of audio gear I reviewed, at the time those products seemed good, but now in actuality they weren't really good at all when I factor in all that I've learned about finding that true audio quality experience.  It could be because the products back then just weren't good, or they weren't using quality components, or the technology wasn't there, maybe a mixture of different things, but the audio gear coming out in today's generation is exceedingly better compared to that of past generations, and it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg any longer to have great audio satisfaction.  

In the audio industry, the Sennheiser brand is world renown for their audio excellence.  They've been in business for decades upon decades and have extensive knowledge with what constitutes as true audio.  In my opinion, Sennheiser is a top tier audio company and rightfully so, they've put in the work and have that longevity to show for. We've looked at two Sennheiser In-Earphones five years earlier and came away impressed with how great they sounded, in fact those two In-Earphones are still working to this day.

Fast forward and today I've got the opportunity to re-connect with Sennheiser in 2014 and experience one of their latest headphones thats gaining quite the interest.  Today at ModSynergy, I've got the pleasure in introducing our review of the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones and share with you everything you need to know about these classy looking headphones, with the Ivory color model being tested today.  Sit back and read more of our review, where we cover what's given, how it sounds, and how it executes.  Will this be the product that helps Sennheiser gain Momentum heading forward?

About Sennheiser 

"For more than 65 years our name has stood for top-quality products, true sound and tailor-made solutions for every aspect of recording, transmission and reproduction of sound. We want people to not only hear all aspects of sound, but also to feel it, too. With German engineering, decades of experience in professional business, and innovative science, we stay true to the sound and set new standards for headphones, headsets, microphones, and integrated systems."

"The Sennheiser Group, with its headquarters in Wedemark near Hanover, Germany, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of microphones, headphones and wireless transmission systems. In 2012 the family company, which was founded in 1945, achieved a turnover of around 584 million Euros. Sennheiser employs more than 2,300 people worldwide, and has manufacturing plants in Germany, Ireland and the USA. The company is represented worldwide by subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, Germany, Denmark (Nordic), Russia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, China, Canada, Mexico, the USA and now Australia and New Zealand, as well as by long-term trading partners in many other countries. Also part of the Sennheiser Group are Georg Neumann GmbH, Berlin (studio microphones and monitor loudspeakers) and the joint venture Sennheiser Communications A/S (headsets for PCs, offices and call centres)."

Sennheiser Momentum Product Overview

Sound Meets Fashion: Delighting ears and turning heads: Sennheiser’s MOMENTUM On-Ear headphones see the audio specialist getting seriously fashionable. The newest addition to Sennheiser’s MOMENTUM family debuts in a palette of fresh, pastel colours that’s right in step with the latest fashion collections. To celebrate the launch of the headphones, renowned photographer Alexander Gnädinger worked with three established fashion bloggers from different countries to create personal portraits reflecting the colours and the style of the new MOMENTUM On-Ear.

Design for the senses -- quality for individualists: Quality, substance and value: audio specialist Sennheiser developed the MOMENTUM headphones for people who prize these properties – and who refuse to compromise on sound or design. Equipped with high-quality audio technology and finished with the finest materials, the MOMENTUM unites form and function like no other headphones. Now Sennheiser is introducing the MOMENTUM On-Ear. This smaller, on-ear version makes it possible to define your personal style with a range of contemporary colours.

Sennheiser Momentum Product Features

  • Injecting bright, beautiful colour into Sennheiser’s range of headphones, the new MOMENTUM On-Ear is crafted from the finest materials and available in four colours, inspired by an international team of design experts and trend scouts. With versions in blue, green, pink and ivory, the pastel shades define an emerging trend for subtler colour that is a key look in the current fashion collections.
  • The MOMENTUM On-Ear features a headband and ear pads finished in high-tech Alcantara®, a specialised luxury material loved by designers and automotive upholsterers for its unique combination of softness, durability, and breathable comfort. As well as providing supreme comfort, the Alcantara® ear pads isolate the listener for a great listening experience on the move, even in noisy urban environments. Lightweight sliders of premium brushed stainless steel complete the high end look.
  • As with all other models in the MOMENTUM family, the headband of the MOMENTUM On-Ear is made of stainless steel.
  • Seriously stylish does not mean compromising on sound. The MOMENTUM On-Ear headphones deliver a sound experience that one would expect from audio specialist Sennheiser. The high performance transducer system offers an uncompromising sound performance: Rich, detailed and with a slight bass emphasis.
  • The MOMENTUM On-Ear headphones stand out for their minimalist design, but also for the tangibly high quality of their materials and workmanship.
  • The ear pads and headband have been finished in Alcantara®, a high-tech material produced in Italy. As a result of its unique combination of suppleness, durability and breathable comfort, this luxury material is valued by fashion designers and interior designers alike.
  • The sound of these headphones is also clear and uncompromising, creating a sound experience in which even the tiniest details can be heard. Equipped with high-end 18-ohm transducers, MOMENTUM On-Ear guarantees full stereo sound with a slight bass emphasis in a frequency range from 16 to 22,000 Hz.
  • Thanks to their closed, on-ear design, these headphones isolate the listener from external noise to ensure a great listening experience on the move.
  • MOMENTUM On-Ear headphones feature a single-sided detachable cable with convenient in-line remote and microphone for Apple iDevices, for easy control of music playback and to make and receive calls on the go.
  • Finish Uncompromisingly beautiful : It is made for you to listen and to wear. The MOMENTUM On-Ear excels in both departments. With every stitch exactly in place and its high-class materials in perfect harmony with each other, these headphones enchant the senses.
  • Comfortable fit Endless listening pleasure : The headband and ear pads of the MOMENTUM On-Ear are covered with super soft, breathable, and durable Alcantara®. For extra comfort, the pads are filled with two layers of special foam. The ear cups are attached to highly mobile ball joints running in sliders. The result? A perfect fit.
  • The Material The right stuff : True to the MOMENTUM philosophy, only the best would do with the On-Ear: luxurious Alcantara® for the ear pads, stainless steel for the sliders, and shimmering metal for the remote.

 

Sennheiser Momentum Product Specifications


Impedance/Driver Size

18 Ω /  40mm

Frequency response

16–22,000 Hz

Sound pressure level (SPL)

112 dB (1 kHz/1 Vrms)

THD, total harmonic distortion

< 0.5% (1 kHz, 100 dB SPL)

Contact pressure approx.

3.2 N

Ear coupling

Supra-aural

Jack plug

Cable 1- 3.5 mm low profile angled plug

 

Cable 2- 3.5 mm straight plug

Cable length

Cable 1- 1.4 m iPod®/iPhone® cable with integrated smart remote and microphone

 

Cable 2- 1.4 m cable for computers, phones, music players and any device with a headphone output

Transducer principle

Dynamic, closed

Weight

160g (including remote)

Load rating

200 mW

Microphone Pick-up Pattern

Omni-Directional

Microphone Sensitivity

-44 dB V/Pa

Microphone Frequency Response

100 to 10,000 Hz

First Impressions

Immediately there is a feeling of anticipation given off by the elegant package that encloses the Momentum.  It exudes high quality, looks classy, and the emotions you start to feel just by looking at it starts building.  I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, however, it's just so nice that I can't help myself! 

Momentum On-Ear headphones

The rectangular box is of high quality with its slick smooth feeling material throughout, the box is sturdy along with its edges for added protection, and beautiful shiny silver embossed lettering mentions the product name Momentum On-Ear.  At the very top there is a plastic tab so that the Momentum can be easily shelved in stores.  Embossed are also the words Stunning Sound and Sensational Style.  Beside these shiny silver embossed lettering stands a black background but with a full product image of the actual Momentum headphones in the foreground.  That signature bright blue strip that Sennheiser is known for is located at the bottom of the box.  Two other symbols point out that the Momentum On-Ears are compatible with Apple iPod, iPhone, iPad devices, and that it comes with a 2-year warranty.

When looking at the sides of the box, more information is provided regarding the Momentum On-Ears.  The front mentioned that the Momentum On-Ears are made for Apple iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices and the reason why they are compatible is because the Momentum On-Ears comes with an in-line Smart Remote along with an integrated microphone that only Apple iDevices can communicate and work with. 

The in-line Smart Remote can control functions on your iPhone for example, to change the volume, press play or pause, skip to next or previous track, and the microphone can obviously activate voice control functions.  It also lists that just about any Apple device from at least 2nd generation to the current generation will work.

Sennheiser bundles two cables for the Momentum On-Ear headphones, one with the Smart Remote/Microphone and one without (just a straight through cable) made for use in any other devices that accepts the 3.5mm jack.  This means the headphones have exchangeable cables and down the road if the cable were somehow to break or need replacing, you can easily pick up a replacement.  I see having exchangeable cables as a positive.

On the other end of the box, Sennheiser hypes up their Momentum On-Ears by letting you know that it has a twist of fresh colors which include the Ivory color being tested today, along with red, pink, green, blue, black, and brown.  So there's many color choices you can choose from to suit your style, and these colors aren't the ones that stick out like a sore thumb, the tones Sennheiser has chosen are subtle and understated. 

The next feature on the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears makes it even more high-end because it's usually found in very expensive sports, super and luxury cars such as a Lamborghini.  Heck they even use it in Formula 1 racing competition.  Congratulations Sennheiser Momentum owners, you have something the rich have, Alcantara! 

What the heck is Alcantara?  When I first saw and felt the headband with my fingers, I thought it looked similar to leather, but it felt like suede at the same time, it had that grainy texture and soft touch feel.  Alcantara is also used exclusively for the ear pads.  It felt more suede than leather, let's just call it a hybrid of sorts for simplicity sake.  Alcantara is a man made synthetic material invented in 1970 from a genius mind that is Dr. Miyoshi Okamoto.  He then partnered with an Italian company to get it to market, the company name is now fittingly named Alcantara S.p.A. The main thing you want to know about Alcantara is that its most positive characteristic is its durability.  It has superior resistance to scratches or blemishes when compared to suede and it won't burn or fade away unlike leather in high heat.

Cut past the clear factory seal on both ends and figure out how to lift the 2-piece corrugated box apart from each other, I was literally shaking the box like a mad man to make it come apart but to no avail.  The best way was to gently work and raise one end up a little, then the other end, and vice versa until you are able to lift the whole top portion of the box.  It was quite a pain, I don't know why it was so difficult. 

Velvet Carrying Case

Once the cover is taken apart, you'll see this quality looking Sennheiser branded zippered carrying hard case smack in the middle with a bunch of polyurethane foam encompassing the whole interior of the box for ultimate protection. The hard carrying case isn't exactly small and portable but it gets the job done. I don't know what material it utilizes but it's got this soft feeling to it, I love the stitching around the edges of the carrying case as it adds more flair.  Even the zippers themselves have Sennheiser branding on them.  Open up the hard carrying case and you're presented with even more protection in the form of another, but now soft draw-string carrying bag with the headphones inside of them.  Unbelievable that there's two things to protect one item, but it shows that Sennheiser is going the extra mile.  Really great stuff.

Sennheiser electronic GmbH & CO KG

What's Included?

  • Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones
  • 1.4m 3.5mm low-profile Made For iPod/iPhone cable with integrated smart remote/microphone (angled plug)
  • 1.4m 3.5mm cable for any non-Apple devices (straight plug)
  • Hard carrying case
  • Soft draw-string carrying case
  • Manual

Visual Overview + Usage Observations

Sennheiser Momentum HeadphonesProfile

It's as if Sennheiser is teasing you with that elegant box, because once open, the Momentum On-Ears are still a mystery until you unpack it out of not only the hard carrying case but also inside another soft draw-string carrying case.  It's only until the multiple layers are stripped away that your jaw begins to drop at how dazzling the Momentum appears. 

Sennheiser chose a group of international fashion bloggers, design experts, trend scouts to produce what we are reviewing today with the Momentum and boy oh boy did they do a fantastic job.  I think they captured all these different emotional elements such as (but not limited to) nostalgia, modern yet retro, class, elegance, sexiness, luxury, premium, and implemented them into the Momentum so effectively and understatedly.  These headphones don't look eye-crushingly shiny or shimmering to stand out as other headphones on the market do, and I love that aspect of the Momentum's, they don't look like a toy and they don't look overdone, they look grown sexy and they just stand out on its own merit.  The attention to detail is top-notch.  In my opinion, styling wise these Momentum On-Ear's will be just as alluring today as they would be let's say 10-years down the road, I'm sure of it.

Sennheiser Headphones AudioBlackRed

The pictures speak for themselves more than I can ever put in plain words, but let me go over some of the visual aspects that make up the Momentum, first with the headband, which my eyes trailed to immediately.  I thought to myself "my oh my, what a sexy looking headband, that looks comfortable".  Sennheiser elects to use Alcantara material exclusively on the Momentum as I stated earlier in the review. 

Ivory

Headband

The Ivory version of the Momentum On-Ears have this beautiful choice of dark tan, almost brown-like Alcantara wrapped on the upper portion of the headband while black Alcantara is used underneath, you can see the fine grain texture from the Alcantara, honestly it reminds me of the look of an old distressed leather belt, it completely works for the visual finesse on the headphones. 

AlcantaraStainless Steel

On both ends of the Alcantara headband lies a brushed aluminum-like MOMENTUM nametag which complements the dark tan/black combo and enhances the entire look even further.  Additional elements that are used to finish off the entire look of the headband is the long stitching technique that is used around the headband with a lighter color of thread, and on the inside ends of the headband there are four brushed aluminum Torx T6 screws on each side that fastens the wire that connects both 40mm driver earpieces together.  As with all Momentum's, the headband is made from a single piece of high-quality stainless steel metal that everything is affixed to, which essentially is the frame of the headphone. 

Ear Cups

Following down the stainless steel metal headband we come to the Supra-aural ear cups that encompasses the proprietary 18-ohm Dynamic, closed transducer.  Speakers with low nominal impedance such as the Momentum On-Ears with their 18-ohm rating are a great match for mobile and low power devices such as Smartphone's and tablets because it means you won't have to jack up the volume on the device to hear louder audio, it means the Momentum On-Ears will be easier to drive than other higher impedance headphones.  Basically they need less power to operate. 

For example, the KRK Systems 8400 Over-Ear Studio Monitor Headphones I reviewed a while back were harder to drive because they had a nominal impedance rating of 36 ohms, therefore on my Smartphone I had to raise the volume  to almost maximum volume in order to have moderate levels of volume.  With these Momentum On-Ears I can have the volume significantly lower than that (about 1/4) and the audio level is at a very comfortably volume.

The ear cups are held on to the stainless steel metal frame by being sandwiched in a brake  caliper type of system. One end has the ear cup, the other end has a rubber locking mechanism that mimics a ball joint system.  This system allows the ear cups to slide up and down freely with reasonable force while at the same time the ear cups are able to tilt up/down at different angles so that it can conform to ear.  The system works very well and the ear cups do not move when you are bobbing your head back and forth or side to side. 

Alcantara Suede LeatherRubber Ball Joint

The stainless steel frame provides great clamping force between your ears, but it could be too much force for some people, personally for me the clamping force doesn't bother me because I like it secure and clamping force also affects noise isolation and overall sound quality for this headphone.  But for others I could see them having to take off the Momentum On-Ears every hour or so to ease the pressure off their ears.  The good is that if the pressure against your ears are too much, simply bend the frame outward and the pressure will become less.  The frame is very flexible, I know because I tried.

Noise isolation is decent but not nearly in the same league as In-Ears, apples to oranges in comparison.  Again clamping force plays a role in noise isolation on the Momentum, as well as how well they conform to cover your ears.  I would rate noise isolation as decent on the Momentum On-Ears, respectable, but obviously better isolation than open-back headphones.  If you're looking for headphones with great noise isolation, these are not what you are looking for. 

Cushion Alcantara

The ear cups on the Momentum On-Ear headphones are also wrapped in soft black Alcantara material. Inside the ear cups covering the drivers is the same dark tan color.  The ear cups are packed with more material (foam?) than what I experienced on the KRK 8400 headphones, making them feel squishy as marshmallows.  An advantage I've felt with these Alcantara ear cups, as opposed to some leather variants, is that they don't make squeaky sounds that can be heard in the ear cups when they shift on your ears.

They are also quite compact, an obvious disadvantage for some people who have large ears.  People with large ears will unfortunately not be able to use these as effectively as they were intended to be used, these are not one size fits all headphones.   They are compact ear cups wide enough to cover only a specific ear size.  The ear cups are about 2.5-inches wide and 2.8-inches tall and for me personally fit almost perfectly.

As for sound leakage, it depends on the seal around your ears, for myself the ear cups covered my ears almost perfectly so I had minimal sound leakage.

Exchangeable Cables

Sennheiser bundles two headphone cables that can be swapped out depending on your device for the Momentum On-Ear headphones, one with the Smart Remote/Microphone that is designed to work with Apple devices, and one straight through cable (without remote) made for everything else that uses the standard 3.5mm (1/8") jack. 

The Apple cable is low-profile and right angled, while the other is normal profile and straight, yet they were both very thin and could fit in any of my devices, even on my Smartphone with a fat bulky Smartphone case making the headphone opening narrower.  Some other headphones or earphones have problem with this particular Smartphone case, however, the cables bundled with the Momentum On-Ear presents no issues that I have experienced.

Regrettably no 3.5mm (1/8") to 6.35mm (1/4") adapter is included as part of the bundle, however, the good news is that an adapter should only set you back $1 if you require one.

An advantage of having exchangeable cables is that down the road, should by any chance the headphone cable break, which usually happens after years of use and abuse, you can order replacements easily from either Sennheiser or aftermarket vendors as parts for Sennheiser products are easy to come by.  There's lots of custom made cable solutions for the Momentum using higher gauge wire, copper or silver wire, better shielding, higher quality tips, braided wire, anything you can think of, and in some instances if done correctly can improve the sound quality even more.  The Momentum utilizes a fairly standard cable, the end that twists and locks into the headphone is a 2.5mm end (notch and lock), while the other end going to the device is 3.5mm. 

A positive trait with the wires that come Momentum On-Ear headphones are that when the cord is moving and rubbing against your shirt or against anything really, you don't hear that rubbing sound intruding inside the headphones.

Enough talk.  How do they sound?

Simply put, the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphone is without a doubt one of the best sounding headphones I've ever heard in my life, compared to headphones I've reviewed on this website and the many I've heard outside of it.  They are, in my opinion, easily worth their price of admission, and can definitely hold its own to ones costing more. I don't think there's a better sounding portable headphone on the market today.  Sure, better headphones are on the market, but they are significantly larger than the Momentum On-Ears, I doubt one would want to carry huge headphones around.

The Momentum On-Ear is simply sublime, have an abundance of clarity in either of the low, mid, and high frequency ranges with no glaring weakness.  These headphones sound very technical, everything is neat, tidy, tight, precise, yet very musically warm at the same time. For closed-back headphones, I felt more airy feeling than I anticipated it having. These resemble that of a technical boxing fighter as opposed to a fighter that is a dirty brawler.

If you love bass, the Momentum On-Ear is sure to impress, it goes down real low (some call it sub-bass), and it does not detract or take away from the other frequencies, it really enhances the emotional feeling in certain songs, and the overall experience.  These are akin to having mini subwoofers in your ears, and again I cannot fathom how something small as these are able to produce this much bass.  Just having that bass capability is reassuring when you need it, you could always tune them down through equalizer if it becomes too much. 

For really bass heavy songs, the Momentum On-Ears will pound your ears, but does so without overpowering you either, you don't end up feeling tired.  The quality of bass is of a high level, the pace/response is quick, the punches are tight, it feels controlled, it sounds delicious.  With inferior headphones, the bass causes the other frequencies to sound muddled, unclear, echoey, something the Momentum On-Ear's do not exhibit.  Low's don't bleed into the mid's and vice versa.  Everything from the background instruments, a faint cling, piano fading off, to the vocals are crystal clear, it's as if the Momentum's allow you to become aware of the details.  The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones are the types of headphones you want to put on when watching an action film, they have that impact, that bass, that dynamic range, that clarity that is suited for such.

Have they been reliable?

I have been using the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ears for exactly 40 days without any reliability issues, they have been stellar for extended periods of time.  Paint hasn't chipped or rubbed off, the cord has no issues, the sound is still fantastic as the first time I put them on.  The quality of these headphones are superb.  They are very comfortable and lightweight at approximately 160g.

Where To Buy?  At what cost?

The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones sell for a regular price of $229.99 USD or $249.99 Canadian.  However, they frequently go on sale.  Right now on Amazon.com the Momentum On-Ear (any color) are on sale for $199.95USD and with free shipping.

The product is sold by and shipped directly by Amazon, so you can buy with confidence. I love Amazon and their service.  I've even had money refunded to me because they charged me too much up front for shipping fees, incredible that they would do that. 

If you decide to purchase the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear, or anything at all, be sure to help us out by using our links to purchase whatever you want, Thanks for the support.

 

Some Amazon Deals That May Interest You!


Conclusion

Momentum On-Ear

Though the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones are one of the best I've ever heard, there's some minor downfalls you should be aware of.  If you need a 3.5mm (1/8") to 6.35mm (1/4") adapter, you need to purchase your own because none is included as part of the bundle.  The biggest downfall that some will have is that the headphones are not one size fits all, these are on-the-ear type headphones that have ear cups of a specific size, being about 2.5-inches wide and 2.8-inches tall.  And as such, they really do need to be over your ears completely to perform the way they were intended to sound.  If they fit you well, they sound amazing as I've explained, though inevitably some people have big ears and the Momentum On-Ear might not fit on them.  The result is that sound leakage may occur, noise isolation suffers, and sound quality will be compromised.  The only other aspect that I could nitpick with the Momentum On-Ear is that it Sennheiser could have made it even more portable by giving it possibility to fold together, but that isn't the case.

Nonetheless, the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones is without a doubt, one of the best sounding headphones out on the market today, especially for a portable.  From the elegant packaging, to the exquisite style, to the sublime performance, the Momentum On-Ear manages to execute just about everything to precision.  Far too often you have products that look great, but their performance doesn't match their looks.  With the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones, it's performance is just as dazzling as how wonderful it looks. These headphones are a must buy, and earns our highest Editor's Choice Award rating!

Editors Choice