Perhaps my favorite product category of the past five years has been wireless over-ear headphones. There’s been so much growth and improvement in this highly relevant space. The Sennheiser Momentum 4 (buy at Amazon) are a next-generation offering in the category priced right in the “sweet spot” at about $349.00 per pair. Many players in this segment of the consumer electronics space (think: Beats and many others) are a little more focused on fashion than sound. Sennheiser is focused on audio performance first and foremost. How do these fourth-gen headphones work someone who loved the company’s old Sennheiser HD-1 over-ears?.
What Makes the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones Special?
- Bluetooth 5.2 for music and phone calls is about as close to the bleeding edge of connectivity as you’re going to get from an audiophile brand. Some 5.3 devices are just starting to sneak into the market as we go to print, but they’re still rare and don’t really offer any performance improvements.
- The large 42-millimeter speaker driver is a little larger than some of the other competitors that I’ve recently reviewed. More driver means more bass but perhaps more importantly, it means more clarity.
- In the easy-to-download app from Sennheiser, you can play with EQ to customize your sound. The stock sound is very good to be clear but if you want to work on the bass response or add a little zip to the high end – you can do that with these headphones where others in this class don’t always have that option.
- The Sennheiser Momentum 4s come in your choice of white or black. My pair was dressed in black but I was curious about white, as I have other white headphones in this category that are quickly getting soiled or marked up in my recent travels.
- Pairing to my Apple MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone 13 was a cake walk. Hold down one button on the right of your cans and wait for the headphones to show up on your device, connect, and boom—you’re good to go. Earlier headphones in this category were not as easy to pair but seemingly everybody has gotten the message here.
- Sennheiser provides a lightweight and well-made case to protect your investment.
- There are a variety of cables included, ranging from a 3.5mm cable and adaptor to a USB-A-to-C cable for charging.
- Battery life is reported at 60 hours. Wow, is that a long time. I haven’t had the nerve to run these suckers all the way down, but I appreciate the wiggle room. It’s nice not to have to charge them every other day.
- Sennheiser has a mobile application, called Sound Connect app from Sennheiser, that you can download to your device that will show you some functionality of your new headphones and a few more small tricks. You’ll need to answer a few generic setup questions and the app walks you through how to make your headphones jump through hoops. Very easy. I am not sure you need this app, however, as I made the headphones do what I needed long before I put the app on my iPhone.
- The Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones are pretty light but they are tight enough around your head to make a pretty snug fit, which is needed for the best bass performance.
- Like many headphones in this class or price range, there are a few non-descript buttons that are useful for raising/lowering volume, taking phone calls, pausing tracks, and whatnot.
Why Should You Care About The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Headphones?
Wireless headphones are (or should be) a part any audiophile’s equipment rig. Travel, workout, work, home, or just walking around town, you likely need some good headphones to bring your music with you everywhere that you go, and fewer phones these days even have a headphone jack.
Most ear buds that I’ve played with at this stage leave something to be desired in terms of comfort and/or performance, not to mention battery life.
Some Things You Might Not Like About the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones?
- The headband is makes for a tight fit on my large head. Perhaps the headband will break a bit over time, but on a coast-to-coast flight, this was the cause of some physical fatigue as compared with my old Sennheiser HD-1 wireless headphones. I know we want a nice, tight fit for the best bass, but out of the box, these are snug enough to be fatiguing for someone with a larger cranium.
- The industrial design of the Sennheiser Momentum 4s isn’t as sexy as you will get from the likes of, say Hi-Fi Man, Focal, Bowers & Wilkins and of course, Apple. Black and white are pretty limited color options. A tan/saddle color would have been a nice addition perhaps?
Listening To the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones…
I have been testing the Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones every morning while walking a few miles by the ocean not too far from my house. Playing “Hypnotize” by Notorious B.I.G (AIFF 1440 – CD Quality) was a good chance to test the noise canceling, which was effective but not as effective as the Bowers & Wilkins PX7s audiophile headphones ($399) (buy at Crutchfield) that I have been playing with. What is better is the bass. And it is a lot better. How so? The bass on this hip-hop/rap track was lower, tighter and clearer than on the Bowers & Wilkins. The benefits were audible well into the midrange octaves where the vocals are found. To be fair, most wireless over -ear headphones have issues in the bass department. The Sennheiser Momentum 4s have some of the best low-end performance I’ve heard in the category.
On Ozzy Osbourne’s “Mama I’m Coming Home” (1440 AIFF, CD quality) from the 1991 No More Tears album (buy at Amazon), the intro quickly shows you why an audiophile might want these wireless headphones. The acoustic guitar is open and lively but not gratingly bright. The few-and-far-between resonate bass notes slide in and out with authority. Zach Wylde’s scorching guitar work was never strident but it stood out from the mix with no muddiness.
With a little more volume, I caught myself jamming out to Thievery Corporation’s “Lagos Communique’” from the 2000 EP Shadows of Ourselves (buy at Amazon). The now well-known Washington D.C.-based DJs make a sonic special with this jazzy, horn-laden jam, resulting in an instant lounge classic. The driving bass grooves nicely on the Sennheiser Momentum 4s while the sitar rattles and twangs with vibrance, but nothing too shrill or annoying. This track will put a stride in your step as you walk your city streets or hammer out a few miles on the treadmill.
Who Is the Competition For The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones?
There are many and the list keeps growing. So does the list of headphones that I am going to review for you. Stay tuned for even more reviews from our staff in this category.
I mentioned the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 headphones ($399) (buy at Amazon) and they might be the closest thing to competition for the Sennheiser Momentum headphones. The Bowers & Wilkins are a little nicer in terms of physical design, with a better color selection, better packaging, and a slightly more comfortable feel. The Sennheisers sound better, however, thanks to tighter bass, more open midrange, and an equally appealing high frequency response.
There are the Bose Noise Canceling 700 headphones ($379 retail) (buy at Amazon), which are less money and look great. I got to play with my seat-neighbor’s pair on a recent flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. They had a really sexy industrial design and were lightweight. Although audiophiles poo-poo Bose as a brand (and in response Bose basically ignores the audiophile segment of consumer electronics),they have some of the best noise cancelation in the space. I put them up there with Sony and Bowers & Wilkins in terms of the best noise cancelation for over -ear wireless headphones.
Apple AirPods Max (buy at Amazon) $549 is another well crafted player with better build materials and two-button ease of use.
I just got a pair of 1-More Soniflow headphones (buy at Amazon) (Price at about $100) and they are a great value in the space.
If you want to go the other direction towards the uber-high-end, look to the Focal Bathys audiophile headphones at $799 (buy at Amazon) or the pending $1,600 release from German audiophile company T+A or look at HIFIMAN’s Deva Pros (buy at Amazon).
Do The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones Have Any Resale Value?
In my case, not a chance given that I beat the snot out of my wireless headphones. I can normally get them to last a few years before they die but that leaves me with not much to eBay at the end. If you are careful with your headphones and don’t use them too much (what fun is that?) you might eke out $100 or less at the end of ownership. The problem is that, in the category, there are cheap/new solutions that people can buy that might not sound as good as your headphones but also have more modern connectivity and better features.
Final Thoughts on The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Headphones…
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 wireless over-the-ear headphones (buy at Amazon) aren’t the sexiest in a pretty sexed-up category but they might just have the best bass and overall sound that I’ve heard in close to two dozen reviews of headphones in this space.
The Momentum 4s are easy to use and are performance-first in their focus. They deliver solid bass, an open mid-range, and pleasing high frequency sound that is never shrill or thin sounding. There is a lot to like about the sound of these headphones. A lot.