Sennheiser Momentum Ivory Edition Headphones
The right pair of headphones can make an appreciable difference in how much you enjoy your music. Bad headphones can make even the best songs sound like crud. But a nice pair will encourage you to close your eyes and lose yourself in the music. The Sennheiser Momentums do a great job of that with a subtle style and beauty.
- Gorgeous design
- Excellent sound quality
- Includes two audio cables
- Good sound isolation
- Wired remote works well
- Jointed jack on Apple cable
- Includes hard case
- Could be more comfortable
One of the first things you’ll notice about the Momentums is the high quality of the materials. The top of the headband is wrapped in leather, while the frame of the headband is stainless steel. The ear pads are also made out of leather. The only obvious use of plastic is on the face of the speakers. I found the ivory finish of my review unit to be attractive and the glossy coating did a great job of resisting fingerprints.
The padding on the underside of the headband is slight, but comfortable, even for folks who don’t have a lot of hair for extra cushioning, like myself. The leather ear pads are soft and I didn’t have any issues with sweat, though, the climate is on the cooler side right now in Northern California. I found the comfort level to be good overall, but felt pressure right at my ear lobes over time and needed a break every couple of hours. There are very few headphones I can wear for longer periods than that, unfortunately.
Though the Momentums are clearly made for mobile use, they don’t fold for portability. And the included hard case, while sturdy and convenient, is still pretty big. I found it a bit strange at first, but the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea that the Momentums don’t have any hinges. Plastic hinges are often a weak point and susceptible to breakage. No hinges means no broken hinges, and no squeaking hinges either!
Sennheiser includes two 4 1/2-foot long audio cables with the Momentums. One is a standard cable with a straight 3.5mm plug, while the other is an Apple cable with a wired remote and a jointed 3.5mm plug. The remote works with the iPhone/iPod/iPad and Macs. It also has a mic so you can answer calls with it. The jointed plug on the Apple cable is brilliant and was an unexpected surprise when I first saw it. It’s also small enough that it easily fit through a Speck CandyShell Grip case on an iPhone 5s.
I spent a few weeks listening to the Momentums for a couple of hours a day. A little more than half the time, I used them with DVD movies and streaming video, like HBO Go and Amazon Instant Video, which was a lot of fun. They sound great in films with lots of special effects, while still producing clear dialogue.
As good as the Momentums are with movies, they’re even better with music, which is probably what most people will end up using them for. The Momentum has excellent detail with crisp highs and very good low end response. Bass on the Momentums aren’t of the trouser-dropping variety, like on some modern headphones, but they’re good, tight, and very satisfying. As a baseline for sound quality, I plugged the Momentums into the best stereo I had available – my Windows PC. My custom-built PC has a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD internal sound card by Creative Labs, which produces excellent sound and does a great job of driving headphones. Using lossless FLAC audio files as the source, I listened to several tracks I knew very well and was very happy with the results.
I moved on to an iPhone 5s and listened to modern hits on Google Play Music and on iTunes Radio. Again, the Momentums sounded great. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel (or is it Adele Dazeem?) from the Frozen soundtrack sent chills down my back. Plugging into an iPad, Samsung Galaxy S4, and a MacBook Air was just more of the same – excellent detail with the right amount of punch in the lows. Listen to “Team” by Lorde with the Momentums and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, being an old man, I also listened to a lot of old rock. AD/DC, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Van Halen, Queen and Billy Idol were all a lot of fun to listen to with the Momentums.
As someone who owns several headphones and has reviewed even more, it’s not easy for me to recommend just one headphone. I have different headphones for different uses and I happen to like collecting them. But, if someone were to walk up to me right now and ask me to recommend just one headphone, it just might be the Momentums.
They sound sooo good with every device and for practically every purpose, it’d be hard not to recommend them. And no, I’m not forgetting that these cost $300; I’ve never been shy about spending money on great sound quality. Personally, I’d rather spend the $300 and be totally satisfied, than spend $100 or $200 and tell myself that they’re good enough. The Momentums are probably the best closed headphones I’ve ever heard.
Available from Amazon.com for $299.95.
* Review unit loaned by Sennheiser