The Very Adult Sennheiser Momentum Page 2

Sound Quality
Man, oh man, oh man, these headphones sound really good! Right about here a whole lot of people will expect me to say something like "these sound really good for a sealed headphone" or "these sound really good but aren't quite audiophile grade." Well, I'm not going to do it. These sound really, really, really good, period. Okay, they don't have open airy highs like a well amped HD 600 or HD 800, but the bass on the Momentum is substantially better, and the treble, though not airy and open, is neither veiled nor shrill. And, okay, the bass is not as tight and deep as the Audeze LCD-2, but the soundstage is wider. Any serious headphone audiophile will be happy to rattle off the things that are wrong with just about any "Audiophile" headphone out there, and at some point we have to admit that being an audiophile headphone is just as much about not doing anything wrong as it is about doing particular things very right. And that's the thing about the Momentums, while they do everything very, very well, they do nothing stupendously great. I do think these are audiophile headphones, though, because I'm an audiophile and I love the music the Momentums deliver.

Generally speaking, I'd characterize the Momentum as a slightly warm sounding headphone, which lacks that last bit of clarity and openness one can find in an open-backed headphone. The bass is full-bodied, punchy, and well extended, but does lack that last bit of tightness that can be heard on planar magnetic headphones. I would not call this a bass accentuated headphone and find the bass to mids balance excellent.

The midrange is wonderfully well behaved, clearly representing the characteristic timbre of acoustic instruments and the human voice. The upper mid-range to treble transition in the presence region can be problematic with headphones, and the Momentums handle this area quite well, deftly delivering harmonic overtones, the throatiness of vocals, and the breathiness of reeds in well proportioned measure. When compared to a headphone like the HD 600, the Momentum does give just a hint of sealed headphone congestion relative to an open design.

The treble response is slightly laid back but very responsive. Cymbal hits and brushwork on drums is clean and fairly natural sounding, though I do detect a hint of something slightly artificial in the treble---just a tad of glare or splashiness in the sound. I don't want to overstate this however, I hate harsh and piercing treble and I would not characterize the Momentum as having these problems in the least. I very much like the overall treble balance of these cans.

Left to right imaging is quite good but image depth is a bit shallow. The dynamics and punch of the Momentum is quite good, nicely balancing both big dynamic hits and resolving the subtle textures of the music.

Bottom line: while I've heard headphones that do some things better, I'm not sure I've ever heard a headphone that does so much so well.

Isolation and Portability
The Momentum isolates from outside noise quite well and will serve city commuters reasonably well in loud environments. With about 22 Ohms impedance and very good efficiency, these headphones will play very well from portable devices.

Let me get my one gripe out of the way, these cans are slightly small for circumaural headphones, and folks with larger than average ears may want to test fit a pair before committing to a purchase. Aside from that...

The Momentum is simply one of the best balanced headphone offerings I've ever experienced. They're very good looking, very good sounding, have excellent isolation, are easily driven from portable players, and are supremely comfortable. This is an ideal headphone for home, office, and listening on the move, but its sound is so good that I'll happily recommend it to audio professionals and audiophiles for all but the most demanding applications.

The Sennheiser Momentum is going up on the "Wall of Fame" as the best sealed headphone for general purpose uses.

Sennheiser home page and Momentum product page.
Two very big Head-Fi threads here and here.

Sennheiser USA
1 Enterprise Drive
Old Lyme, CT 06371
(860) 434-9190
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