Technophile

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3: Sound, silence, sophistication

Mala Bhargava | Updated on December 11, 2019 Published on December 11, 2019

The new generation of these popular headphones amp up the sound and improve noise cancellation plus a few new features

In 1991 Sennheiser created what is considered the world’s best and most expensive headphones — the $55,000 Orpheus. Few people can even get to sample their sound and there aren’t very many of them in the world.

But the brand that people can afford, mostly if they stretch themselves a bit, are the Momentums of which there are several categories. The latest Momentum Wireless, now in generation 3, offers some new features, but for Rs 40,000, they are a purchase that has to be considered carefully.

Here’s what’s great and not great about these noise cancelling over-the-ears headphones:

The Momentum 3’s look is all leather and metal, and actually not different from previous iterations. The slider arms, that let you adjust the fit, are prominent in what is probably matte stainless steel. The top of the headband is black and slightly cushioned genuine leather and the underneath has two separate strips of cushioned leather side by side. A round connecting disk component has the Sennheiser logo on either side. The ear-cups are big, oval, and of course, with soft real sheepskin leather covering.

These headphones look quite stylish and are solidly built. When you wear them, no one who sees them will be in any doubt that you’ve spent some good amount of money on your music.

That brings me to the fit. It doesn’t look like companies design headphones for women, and it’s the rare one that fits my head, so I’ll avoid detailing how they were for me, except to say that they’re by no means light and they fall right off if I look down even a millimetre. But men who wear them report satisfaction with the fit and comfort level and feel they can wear them for a few hours.

The cushioning is all quite plush and luxurious. Being as expensive as they are, it’s recommended that one see one of these somewhere if possible because the fit is something very individual, though if headphones fit you fine generally, you should have no trouble except for a little bulkiness and weight.

It’s been pointed out by some reviewers that if you’re in a warm place and working out, these headphones could get very sweaty but these are hardly the appropriate gear for exercise. Unfortunately, feeling hot inside of headphones is a trade-off for cushioned and closed-in ear comfort.

These headphones sit inside a fabric semi-soft case which some believe may not be enough protection, but which I’m inclined to think will do the job as people don’t subject these gadgets to too much abuse .

Unfold to wake

The Momentum 3 Wireless wakes up and connect interestingly.

You just have to unfold them to start seeing the blinking light indicating readiness to pair. Use your Bluetooth settings to give permission. After this, they will wake up and connect to your device whenever unfolded.

There is no power button, and this can be both convenient and disconcerting. If you want to just grab them and get started with listening, it’s nice and quick not to have to feel around for a button. If you end up leaving them unfolded, you may drain the battery, as well as missing things on your phone because they’ll still be connected. However, the headphones have wear detection.

 

You really have to get the Sennheiser Smart Control app because that’s where you have the equaliser, noise cancelling options and battery level indicator. The app will reconnect each time you open it which is a bit annoying, but it isn’t just dedicated to one product so that’s how it must be.

All the usual physical controls are on one ear-cup and include an Assistant button. You can choose three levels of noise cancelling either from the app or a button. There is a transparency mode as well.

Noise cancelling is really very good on these headphones, though it might be a shade behind Bose and Sony’s equivalent headphones. All the same, I was able to deaden the sound of the kitchen chimney which as everyone will know can get quite loud.

Non-regular sounds can be heard, but are also suppressed quite adequately. If you’re considering these headphones because you’re a frequent flier, they’ll banish airplane engine noise, but keep the volume reasonable or the sound may leak out a little.

Beat this bass

Coming to what is the best part: sound quality. These headphones sound super powerful. This is because the bass is very prominent and even overwhelming at times. The immediate thing to do is to go to the Smart Control app and slide around the equaliser and adjust the sound, reducing the bass and increasing treble.

These are not audiophile headphones, but tuned for general listeners who really like bass, specially for electronic music. Classical music listeners many have to adjust some more and be tolerant of the bass. At first, I found the bass too much to cope with, but after finding my own sweet spot with the equaliser, was quite delighted. Music tends to sound more weighty but details and high frequencies are by no means missing. The AAC codec is supported, for high quality listening for iPhone users and aptX for Android phones.

Pop, rock, and Blues sound great on these headphones. The equaliser is very responsive and a nudge makes quite a difference to the sound, so you have quite some options to adjust to your liking.

Phone calls sound great at the headphone end. But at the other, I invariably found people claiming they couldn’t hear me properly. This may be a function of poor signals somewhere, but I did find the other side having trouble on several separate calls to different places.

In case you lose your headphones, they do have Tile integration and can be tracked using the Tile app. That’s a nice added benefit feature.

The battery life is a less than you’ll find on the Bose Headphones 700 and Sony’s WH-1000M3. The promised life is 17 hours. You do have quick charging for one and a half hours of play with a 15 minute top up.

You can connect multiple devices to the Momentum 3 as it uses Bluetooth 5.0.

Price: Rs 34,990

Pros: Great sound with responsive equaliser, very good noise cancellation at different levels, Tile integration, fast auto-connect feature, Bluetooth 5.0

Cons: Can feel bulky, battery life lower than rivals, bass overpowering unless adjusted

Published on December 11, 2019

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