With their Momentum line of on-ear headphones, it seems Sennhesier is looking to create an entire movement, not just a set of quality cans, as indicated by their Momentum Campaign. I think they’re succeeding on both counts. The Momentum on-ear headphones offer excellent audio with a style that’s more about your personal tastes than those of whoever’s logo is on the side.
When I first sampled the Momentum headphones at Macworld / iWorld 2014, I was immediately struck by how light they are. The stainless steel sliders are very thin, open and lightly padded over the top for comfort. It takes a little bit of effort to move the cans into position on the sliders for your personal fit, but that means they’ll also stay put once set.
My surprise with the construction of these materials is that the fit was tighter than I expected. The curve at the bottom of the sliders pressed the headphones into my ears with enough force that it would become uncomfortable after a while. This, despite the incredibly soft and comfortable Alcantera lining over the ear pads, which are filled with two layers of special foam, as Sennheiser explains it. They look and feel luxurious, but luxury can get uncomfortable when it’s being pressed into your head for over an hour.
Another drawback here is noise isolation. Although the Alcantera lining is soft and comfortable (and resists moisture, I should add), it doesn’t do much to isolate outside noise, as would leather, for example. So, if you’re combating noise from the bus, subway, airplane engines, etc., you’re likely to lose that battle. The bulk of my testing period took place at work, where I actually didn’t mind the external noise; I could easily here when I was being called by a coworker or—more importantly—the boss.
Adding to the overall appearance of the Momentum headphones is the variety of color choices. Available in black, brown, ivory, red, blue, green and pink—all with a sharp metallic sheen—there’s sure to be something here that matches your personal tastes.
Of course, style doesn’t mean a whole lot with your headphones if they don’t come with good sound (or maybe it does…a whole lot of athletes seem to be pushing a brand right now that has no concern for any such balance). Sennheiser’s proprietary 18 Ω transducers shine here, providing full audio reproduction that show no favorites between high, low and midrange sounds. Whether I was listening to Janelle Monáe’s The Electric Lady, Frans Lizst’s Les Presludes, or a marathon of Queen remasters, the Momentum headphones captured the music with clarity and detail that’s too-often lost in lower-quality headphones…or those that would rather just thump your head with too much bass.
The final benefit to the Momentum on-ear headphones comes in the form of accessories. You’ll get both a drawstring carrying pouch and zippered protective case that has a mesh pouch for your two headphone cables: one with a straight plug for standard use, and one with an angle plug and integrated smart remote / microphone for your iPhone. Both cords are a manageable 1.4m long and feature low profile plugs that should fit into most iPhone / iPad / iPod touch cases you may have in use.
Factoring style, sound and comfort, I have no problem recommending the Sennheiser Momentum on-ear headphones. They’re a great deal at $199, and will help you rediscover your old music in a new way. However, if you tend to use headphones for prolonged periods of time, especially where outside noise comes into play, you should considering bouncing up to the Momentum Over-Ear Headphones.
For more information on the Sennheiser Momentum Campaign, visit www.sennheiser-momentum.com.
Buy the Momentum On-Ear Headphones
Provides: Stereo audio reproduction with in-line music control / microphone for iPhones
Minimum Requirements: Audio device with 1/8 audio jack, iOS device for in-line controls (not compatible with Android devices)