Sennheiser’s revised Momentum over-ear ‘phones are instruments of sound, not sight, but the distinction is very fuzzy. This is a set of beautiful, beautiful tools.
In Ivory, the cups look positively ceramic; two petite, softly concave serving dishes for the ears. Turning the headphones around, plastic is hard to spot: the band and earpads are made from butter-soft, stitched leather, and the screws, studs, and accents are brushed stainless steel. Also of steel are the slender, flexible earcup arms, whose rounded ends and ruler-like cut-outs evoke a top architect’s drawing implements. The look is clean, purposeful, and rich, like the best of Volvo’s Scandinavian-luxury interiors.
Delightfully, beyond the superficial, these artful headphones produce immaculate sound. One of the few complaints against Sennheiser’s original Momentum was a lack of solid bass-end, especially compared to the window-rattling Beats series. That weakness has been remedied—bass notes can be felt viscerally, though are well rounded—without compromising the rest of the Momentum 2.0’s balanced soundscape. From Disclosure’s hit “Latch” to the Kronos Quartet’s Phillip Glass Album to Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits, the Momentum 2.0 over-ear headphones delivered clear, natural, incredibly rich-sounding audio.
In terms of usability, the Momentum 2.0 makes great strides over its predecessor. For the over-ear model, the earcups were enlarged and the padding made softer, which means hours of comfortable listening without pressure or perspiration. For greater portability, the headphones are foldable, collapsing on small hinges of, obviously, meticulously wrought stainless steel, and despite their power, the Momentum feels featherweight. There is a volume control/microphone on the cord for either Apple or Android devices, though not both.
Sennheiser offers multiple version of the Momentum. Customers can opt for an on-ear design, a wireless version, and a model that includes Sennheiser’s proprietary noise-canceling technology. All are good, but with this model, simplify. For our money, the best Sennheiser Momentum is the over-ear, wired model sans noise-canceling. The reason? For spooky silence amidst a crowd or deathly tranquility on a plane, Bose is untouchable, and Bluetooth headphones require batteries and offer ever-so slightly diminished sound quality. Forgo trickery and enjoy powerful, old-school performance.
For a steep-but-worth it $350, the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 will provide undiluted pleasure: to see, to hold, and to listen with. The delicate design and the sumptuous sound are the only features you’ll need.
[$350 at Amazon and others]
Photos by Sennheiser