Review: Sennheiser's Momentum, Style Has Never Sounded This Good

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$270 More info from brand

Written by Tony Ibrahim     13/02/2013 | 06:38 | Category name i.e.REAL HI FI

Sennheiser has married premium sound with jaw-dropping good looks in their new Momentum headphones.

In the same way glasses have become a fashion novelty, headphones too are being sought after for their looks. This presents pressure on long time connoisseur Sennheiser as style becomes just as valued as their learned ear for sound.

The result is Sennheiser's Momentum headphones, the company's attempt at producing high-fidelity headphones complete with stop-in-your-tracks good looks.

Style

The attention to detail is what you really fall in love with. When you first open the box, a waft of new leather smell leaves you spellbound. Instinctively you grab the cans and feel your way around them, trailing the 'Sennheiser' and 'Momentum' name plates, their exquisitely crafted screws and the etched Sennheiser logos on the earcups. Every component is functional, of premium quality and appeals to your fashion sense, even if it is buried beneath nerd-paraphernalia.


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The headband is a great piece of engineering and is the one component inspiring the Momentum's overall style. A slender slit down its leather-clad spine helps Sennheiser better distribute the Momentum's weight—which isn't much in the first place—and sets the tone for the arms.

By extending the slit into the brushed steel arms, Sennheiser has been able to join the cups with a clever sliding mechanism. You pop these cans on, effortlessly slide the cups up or down and presto, you're ready.


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They're designed for on the go use with your smartphone, tablet, iPod or any device modelling the generic 3.5mm port. The rubber cable stretches 1.2 metres and two come included in the kit: the run of the mill offering and another featuring Apple inline controls for hands-free use. The Apple cable deserves a special mention for its pivoting 90 degree plug. Thanks to the pivot it'll easily slide into awkwardly placed 3.5 mm ports.


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The design of the Momentum doesn't accommodate foldaway use, but with their portable case this attractive, we couldn't care. It's strong, the zipper never gets caught in the frills and it'll house these headphones without discounting their style.

Sound

The circumaural (over-the-ear) headphones are dressed in supple leather and naturally mould to suit your individual shape. Most outside noises and distractions are attenuated by the large cups and the porous interior helps heat escape during long listening sessions.

With the cups hugging your ears and the jack plugged in, it's time to see what kind of sound these 'cans produce. Can they possibly sound as good as they look?

In short, yes. Yes they can. Easily.

When you first press play, you're lured into thinking they lack volume, but after a minute or two the sheer intensity of crystal notes rocking perfect pitch overwhelms, and you drop it down a few notches to the right level. It's for the best because at maximum volume, these bleed enough audio to warrant dirties from neighbouring commuters.

Playback is as faithful as we can imagine. With a set of Beats by Dre headphones, it's obvious the sound is defined by the bass and detailed by everything else. The Momentum on the other hand maintains a perfect balance across the board for sound that is whole-hearted. Combined with the space provided by the large cups, the Momentum produces some of the healthiest sound we've heard for on-the-go headphones: electro notes mesmerize, the bass astutely punctuates, vocals wail and drums excite.

Conclusion

If you're after a pair of premium headphones to the tune of $399, buy Sennheiser's Momentum. No ifs, buts or what abouts because you just won't regret it.


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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Wonderfully styled; Thoroughly engineered; Exceptional sound;

Cons:

If we had to knit-pick, they leak sound at max volume;