Sennheiser Unveils A Great New Pair Of Momentum Wireless Headphones
It’s been a while since Sennheiser refreshed its iconic and successful Momentum range of headphones. The company has licensed its consumer products to Sonova AG and the new Momentum 4 Wireless headphones result from this new cooperation. The new style is a significant departure from the retro look of the previous Momentum range.
The Momentum 4 Wireless headphones have been designed with two essential aims: Sennheiser wanted them to sound great and be supremely comfortable so they could be worn for long periods, such as a transatlantic flight where noise-canceling headphones are essential.
The new styling of the Momentum 4 Wireless is a world away from the round ear cups and vintage look of the old-style Momentum headphones. This has been a deliberate decision by Sennheiser following extensive customer research. Sennheiser’s customers wanted a more low-key design with a less retro look. This suited Sennheiser just fine, as the company’s audio engineers had struggled with the original Momentum headphones because the round shape didn’t lend itself best to the best placement of noise-canceling microphones.
So, let’s look at what’s new about the Momentum 4 Wireless and why these could well be serious challengers to market leaders Sony and Bose. Like most Sennheiser products, the Momentum 4 Wireless are beautifully constructed and feature wide earpads made from soft pleather. These headphones feel every bit as comfortable as Sony’s WH-1000xm4 noise-canceling headphones.
The headband is covered on top with a durable textile. At the same time, the headband’s underside is generously padded and covered in a cooling silicone with a notch taken out of the middle, where the headband rests on the apex of the wearer’s skull. This tiny adjustment makes the headphones a joy to wear, even for a period equivalent to a long-haul flight.
There’s only one physical button on the Momentum 4 Wireless and that’s the power button on the right ear cup for turning on the headphones. A five-section LED battery indicator is next to the switch to show how much battery power remains. A full charge of the built-in lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 60 hours of playtime even with noise-canceling. A quick burst charge of 10 minutes can furnish up to 6 hours of playtime.
The right-hand ear cup features a touchpad that can be swiped using fingers to control the headphone’s primary functions. For example, a slide of the finger up and down the touchpad adjusts the volume levels. Horizontal swiping back and forth will skip to the next track or repeat the previous one. If a phone call is incoming, a horizontal swipe answers the call and a backward one will end it. The whole process is very intuitive and you get used to it after just a few minutes of practice.
A single press of the touchpad will instantly pause the music, but there’s also an auto-pause function that can be turned with the Sennheiser’s Smart Control app. Auto-pause halts the music as soon as the headphones are taken off the listener’s head. The headphones then go into sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity but can be reawakened with a single press on the touchpad.
The Momentum 4 Wireless features hybrid noise cancelation with no fewer than six microphones to sample unwanted sounds. The microphones are specially positioned to pick up external sound and sample how much of those sounds reach the inside of the ear cups. These feed-forward and feed-backward ANC functions are remarkably efficient at canceling noise. In addition, a wind function on the ANC microphones makes it possible to use the ANC mode even when it’s blowy.
The ANC function can be turned on with a double tap of the touchpad and the amount of noise to be canceled can be adjusted using a two-finger pinch gesture. Alternatively, the adaptive ANC function can be switched on, which automatically adjusts the amount of ANC applied, depending on how much noise there is to cancel. It’s the best setting, and I’d be inclined to leave it on.
The ANC circuitry that Sennheiser has used on the Momentum 4 Wireless is superb. It’s up there with the best ANC headphones from Sony and Bose. It can cancel noise without impairing the sound quality and doesn’t make your ears feel as if they’ve just been punched. I haven’t tried the Momentum 4 Wireless on a flight, but I can imagine they will be superbly effective at cutting out the drone of jet engines.
Regarding sound quality, Sennheiser has developed 42mm dynamic transducers made in the company’s state-of-the-art factory in Ireland. The transducers have a beautifully articulated bass, a perfectly pitched midrange, and a silky smooth treble. Five minutes of listening and you’ll be in love with the sound that the Momentum 4 Wireless produce.
There’s nothing harsh or fatiguing about the sound and long listening sessions are an absolute pleasure. Even better, the Momentum 4 Wireless support Qualcomm’s latest aptX Adaptive audio codec and aptX, AAC and SBC. Unlike the Sony WH-1000xM4, there isn’t support for LDAC, but that could be something that gets added in a future firmware update.
The Sennheiser’s Smart Control app offers endless customization possibilities with the Momentum 4 Wireless, including a manual five-band graphic equalizer. Alternatively, a Sound Personalization feature provides a series of A/B comparisons that enable the listener to create a personalized EQ profile that suits their hearing perfectly.
Like all wireless headphones, the Momentum 4 Wireless has a phone call function and compatibility with voice assistants. In addition, the sound of phone calls is very natural thanks to two digital beamforming microphones placed in each ear cup. The microphones also have an automatic wind-suppression feature that ensures the user is heard properly even when making calls outside in less-than-ideal conditions.
The Smart Control app provides an adjustable amount of sidetone so you can hear your voice when making calls and some unique digital signal process makes the phone calls better using a Comfort Call function. This new feature makes the incoming phone call sound more like a stereo signal instead of sounding like the call originates from the middle of your head; this makes for less fatiguing and more natural-sounding calls.
Finally, for those who want to listen using a wired connection, Sennheiser offers a regular 3.5mm stereo cable and it’s also possible to use a USB-C cable with something like an Android phone or a computer. It’s so good to have the choice and extend these headphones’ frequency range even further.
Verdict: The new Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is a triumph. Some users will be sad to see that the old retro Momentum styling is gone, but the new shape of these headphones means they are far more effective at canceling noise. The sound quality is superb and most of the codecs you could want are on offer. The audio is perfectly pitched and infinitely customizable thanks to the EQ and sound personalization. If you want a new pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones, look closely at the Momentum 4 Wireless. These headphones offer serious competition to Sony’s well-regarded WH-1000xM4 and the Bose QuietComfort 45. The comfort levels are excellent and the sound is impeccable. Highly Recommended.
Pricing & Availability: The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless will be available for pre-order on August 9, 2022 with shipping beginning on August 23. The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones cost is $349.95 / £299.99 / €349.90.
- Wearing style: Headband stereo headphones
- Ear coupling: Around-the-ear, circum-aural
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 compliant, class 1, 10mW (max)
- Supported profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
- Supported codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive
- Speaker principle: Dynamic
- Speaker diameter: 42mm
- Frequency range: 6Hz to 22kHz
- Speaker sensitivity: 106dB SPL (1kHz / 0 dB FS)
- Speaker THD: <0.3% (1kHz / 100dB SPL)
- Speaker impedance: Active 470Ω / Passive 60Ω
- Active noise cancelation: Hybrid Adaptive ANC
- Mic principle: MEMS
- Mic frequency range: 50Hz to 10kHz.
- Mic pick-up pattern: 2 mics per side, beamforming for noise reduction.
- Battery lifespan: Up to 60 hrs music playtime via Bluetooth and with ANC.
- Charging time: Two hours for a full charge.
- Battery: Lithium-Ion 700mAh.
- Power: 5V⎓, 800mA.
- Weight: 293g.