Sanctuary with the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless M2 AEBT Page 2

Sennheiser_MomentumWireless_Photo_InCase

Sound Quality
In my experience, I've never heard a noise canceling headphone that sounded really good...and the Momentum Wireless M2 isn't going to change that. But I've also never heard a noise canceling headphone that had even remotely consistant sound quality in all its modes of operation...and the Momentum Wireless does change that.

In wired passive mode the Momentum Wireless M2 sounds similar to the original Momentum, but falls short with a somewhat looser bass and more colored/recessed mid-range. On the other hand, the Momentum Wireless does have a bit more emphasis in the presence region, which the original Momentum would have benefitted from. Both seem to lack some sparkle and air in the top two octaves. Overall I'd say the Momentum Wireless in wired passive is a mildly warm headphone, with a somewhat loose bass, a little forward in the upper mid-range, and having a laid back but fairly articulate and clean mid-treble and above. I'd call it good mid-fi.

Turning the power on does change the sound. It becomes harder—meaning having more intensity in the upper-mids and probably adding some distortion—but bass quality actually seems to improve. Active on the wire and via Bluetooth sound about the same. One way to describe the change from passive mode to active is that it sounds a bit more telephone-like. Not a lot, mind you, but definitely some.

Here's the thing though, it's still the best sounding Bluetooth noise canceler I've heard. The Parrot Zik 2 is kind of cool because you can make adjustments to the sound from the app and possibly make it sound a little better in some ways than the M2, but it sounds simply horrible run passively on a wire. The Momentum M2 is also quite a bit more comfortable and the battery lasts a lot longer (6 hrs vs. 20 hrs). The Beats Studio wireless isn't nearly as good sounding and can't be run passive on a wire. The Phiaton MS530 may be a bit better sounding wired and BT, but turn the noise canceling on and things go pretty far south. The Bose QC25 is a bit better sounding with noise canceling on, but it's not a Bluetooth headset and sounds pretty bad passive on the wire. The $99 MEElectronics Air-Fi Matrix 2 AF62 sounds better in Bluetooth mode (really, if you need a BT headset this one is awesome), but it's not a noise canceler and would be useless on an airplane. There are no really great choices here, and my take is that on balance the Momentum Wireless M2 is the most consistently good sounding in all modes of operation.

I need to add that when I was traveling down to CanJam SoCal I used the Momentum Wireless for the trip and found it quite pleasant. I think the emphasis on the presence region helps the cans be more intelligible in the loud environment when watching movies and the like, and certainly may be preferable for phone calls. The noise canceling was excellent, almost as good as the Bose QC25.

Bottom line: $499 is a lot of dough for a pair of headphones and I'd sure love it if they sounded as good as the previous Momentum, but given the fact they out perform any other equivalent headphone that I've personally tried I really can't knock Sennheiser's offering. These are the best sounding noise canceling, Bluetooth headphones I've experienced to date.

Summary
While the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless M2 AEBT doesn't sound as good as the passive Momentum models, it does sound better than any other Bluetooth noise canceler I've heard. I'd characterize it as good upper mid-fi when run passive on the wire, and a notch lower with the power on.

Styling, build quality, comfort, and ergonomics are simply outstanding. This is a headphone that can be worn for hours and with confidence you won't look odd wearing them. Battery lasts 20 hours and you can keep listening when the juice runs out. The M2 folds to become more compact and the included carry case is as handy as it is stylish.

At $499 I would expect Sennheiser to have made the best sounding, most stylish and comfortable Bluetooth noise canceler available...and to my eyes and ears they have. This one's going up on the Wall of Fame based on it's solid over-all performance and superiority over other gear in the category.

Video
Click here if you can't see the video.

Resources
Sennheiser home page, Momentum Wireless M2 AEBT page, and user manual.
Head-fi.org review and discussion thread.

COMPANY INFO
Sennheiser USA
1 Enterprise Dr.
Old Lyme, CT 06371
(860) 434-9190
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
tony's picture

I doubt that anyone could find a more comprensive description of any product in any industry, anywhere.

Alex Dykes's Car reviews are you're equal but that's it among reviewers/presenters/sales staff.

I doubt that even the Sennheiser people could put things into context or perspective as well as you've just done.

If I'm the Sennheiser's Global Sales Director I'd be training all sales people using your videos and I'd be hiring you to do Videos on every single product in production.

Nice going,

Tony in Michigan

Lego7663's picture

Hi Tyll,
Would love to hear your opinion on the Momentums vs PM-3s. The general consensus on Head-Fi seems to be that the Oppo headphones are the best in their respective class.
Thanks'
-Al

BarbecueGamer's picture

I'm curious, do these in wired mode sound the same as the wired Momentum M2?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'm sorry, I haven't gotten the Momentum M2 in yet to compare.
BarbecueGamer's picture

Ah, I see. So does that mean you will eventually? I certainly hope so. Nonetheless, this was a great review Tyll as always. I was definitely very excited when I saw this on the home page.

Gooch's picture

Hi Tyll,

I got UE6000 and Bose QC20i after reading your reviews and am very satisfied with both of them. Though I don't use UE6000 much anymore since UE6000's noise cancelling, as you pointed out, isn't really great. (I mostly use headphones while flying or on noisy bus/metro.) and also wearing over-ear in summer days is a torture.

I wonder if the on-ear version of Momentum Wireless M2 is also a good option. Also how about B&O H8? The noise-cancelling and comfort might be a bit higher in my priority list. Any chance to do a full review on either of these?

Cheers,

Gooch

Dadracer's picture

I am generally a fan of Sennheiser headphones but I have never found myself able to enjoy the Momentums. This resulted in me looking at alternatives for portable phones. I have bought a pair of QC25 for general/noisy travel and they are excellent. The comfort and noise cancelling is perfect and the SQ is good enough for use while travelling and I prefer it to the original Momentums. In terms of best SQ and reasonable noise cancelling I think the PSB M4U2s are best. They are better than the QC25s in SQ but not as good as noise cancellers so I guess it depends on your main priority. I think they are closely related to the NAD Visios but look much better and have noise cancelling.

dp's picture

There is a solution to make QC15/QC25 and Momentum (wired) wireless with an adapter.

DarthGore's picture

Measurements clearly indicate the Bose QC25s to be better at sound cancellation. Sorry Sennheiser, but this effort is not good enough to make me part with my hard earned cash.

Canfan's picture

How do these compare to the Phiaton Chord? They both seem to do everything well but nothing great.

obsidyen's picture

Good, solid review. Nevertheless, I'm fed up with lifestyle headphones. I wish Sennheiser had introduced some new flagship.

bogdanb's picture

Why not put the electronics in the headband? (for better acoustics)

Mr.TAD91's picture

I ditto what Tony wrote. And for noise cancelling on planes I take with me my Pioneer SE-NC21M. They have an incredibly clear sounding mid-range and are mid-centric with a polite bass presence and recessed treble. I think their sound signature suites the average user for movies and music. Noise cancelling is excellent; I couldn't hear what my brother was saying at all and he was sitting right beside me. As well, they're useful at College to tune out (very)noisy students.

I don't think its practical to do any serious headphone listening on an airplane. Due to their frequency imperfections, I find myself analysing the lyrics of tracks and determine the their meaning, instead.

Awesome review as always, Tyll.

Mr.TAD91

Dadracer's picture

Dear Mr TAD91
Are these on ear phones? I had some AKG 490NC which were on ear and a replacement for my then Bose QC3s (also on ear) but the QC25s were a big improvement on both in terms of noise cancelling and SQ. They even image reasonably well and are fairly neutral so certainly you could do some almost serious listening on planes, trains and lectures!!!

Mr.TAD91's picture

They are on ear (supra-aural) headphones. They're fairly comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. BOSE headphones are excellent with respect to noise cancelling and their sound quality is respectable for their application - but the price puts me off. I'd rather buy another listening can for my spotless separates rig.

Mr.TAD91

Gu1b0's picture

Hi Tyll,
nice review

You can compare it with Solo 2 wireless?

Thanks

M.A.T.'s picture

Thanks for all your reviews. Have you taken a look at the Definitive Technology Symphony 1's? They were also premiered at CES this year. I was really impressed with their sound and ended up buying a pair when they came out recently. They are definitely the best sounding wireless/ANC headphones I've heard.

Matt

neoterix's picture

I would echo this; I would love to see the Symphony 1's go head to head with these Sennheisers. I've found the noise isolation and ANC to be the best I've heard thus far.

Mrip541's picture

Did you experience any Bluetooth signal dropout? When connected to the Galaxy s5 in my pocket I get frequent static and dropouts, but the signal is fine when connected to my pc. I think there's something about wind noise (even slight) that throws the noise cancelling for a loop. It sounds like a signal loss but might just be the anc losing control.

Tmegs's picture

I have the mom wl. I think they're overrated. Buy any decent phone and Auris BT instead. Sounds much much better. And you will avoid the flimsy buttpns too. Hype......

hannakimmi's picture

I was looking for this kind of information and I had enjoyed reading this one.Keep posting. Thanks for sharing.
--increase soundcloud reposts

thefitz's picture

As of about a month ago, Sennheiser has fixed the bluetooth issues for the Momentum Wireless. There's a new REV02 serial number on the boxes of the fixed units. I've received mine, and can confirm that the connection issues are gone.

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