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January 30, 2014

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones Review

When it comes to audio gears, Sennheiser may just very well be the one of top brands in the industry, and their latest offering, the Momentum On-Ear is a very good example why they remain a dominant force in the business.

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear

Design and Construction

What immediately jumped out to us when we first chanced upon the Momentum On-Ear during its local launch back in September was how good-looking this headphone really is. We’re not saying that it looks horrible in picture, but it’s one of those gears that “you have to see to truly appreciate”.

It’s got that neo-classic look and feel to it that’s both stylish and nostalgic that for us, can only be achieved through a well-thought of design and skilled craftsmanship.

Momentum On-Ear

Although it seems like the MOE’s headband is made of a single flexible metal band, it actually comprises of three stainless steel fixtures. The two bare sections, which hold up the left and right cups in place, are riveted to the Gamuza-covered middle section.

The headband provides a nice and firm grip which keeps the MOE from falling off even when we’re in motion. We haven’t tried running with the MOE, but from the looks of it, we feel that the headband’s clasp may not be that firm enough for that kind of activity.

Momentum Philippines

Now let’s get down to the egg-shaped ear cups. It attaches to the headband with the help of a plastic stopper which allows the cup to move at a certain degree and follow the contour of the wearer’s head.

Unfortunately, that’s all there is to it. The MOE’s cups can’t be folded nor swiveled and the only other motion it can do is sliding it up or downwards to adjust the position of the cups.

Momentum On-Ear Philippines

But what it lacked in motion, it compensates for a fancy padding. Unlike other headphones that use cushy pleather for padding, Sennheiser used a material called Alcantara for the MOE’s earpads.

During our time with the MOE, we can definitely say that the Alcantara feels much better to the ear compared to synthetic leather. Moreover, it complements the overall design scheme of the MOE and it adds more personality to the headphone.

Sennheiser Momentum Philippines

The MOE comes with a detachable, Apple-friendly cable that has in-line microphone and volume rocker. It attaches to the headphone by connecting the 2.5mm end to the port below the earcup. Meanwhile, the other end terminates in to a tiny 3.5mm L-jack.

We’re happy to report that there are a bit of reinforcements on the each end of the cable. Sadly, it’s a bit flimsy for our liking and it failed to convince us that it can even withstand a fair amount of battering due to constant use. The same can be said for the dangling wires that run on top of each of the two ear cups.

Momentum

Noise Isolation/Cancellation

Being an on-ear headphone, we didn’t expect much from the MOE as far as acoustic seal and noise cancellation is concerned. And we were right with our hunch as the headphone didn’t fare too well in this category and for obvious reason; it doesn’t have these features to begin with.

Sound Performance

The performance we got from the MOE was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand you got a very good sounding headphone with decent clarity in the mid-treble and a respectable depth in terms of soundstage (for a closed, supra-aural headphone).

On the other hand, the Mids (esp. the vocals and snare) are noticeably weak, as well as the Highs, both of which are somewhat crippled by the MOE’s incredible bass output.

Test environment:

(24 hours of burn-in was done prior to the actual test)
Device: 5th Generation iPod Classic 60GB
Volume: 80%
Equalizer: Off
File format: Combination of .mp3 and ALAC (.m4a)
Track bitrate: 256Kbps and above

Tracks:
• Surfing with the Alien – Joe Satriani (Poor)
• Bakit Pt.2 – Mayonnaise (Good)
• Halik ni Hudas – Wolfgang (Poor)
• It’s You, It’s Me – Kaskade (Best)
• Viva La Vida – Coldplay (Best)
• Who You With – Katchafire (Good)
• Ordinary People – John Legend (Best)
• Encore/Numb – Linkin Park/Jay-Z (Good)
• I’ll Be Missing You – P.Diddy (Best)
• Talk Show on Mute – Incubus (Good)

During our test, we noticed that our ears gradually adjusted to the attenuated mids thanks to the sweet sounding lower and mid trebles and the rich pounding bass. This slight drawback is barely noticeable on tracks with only one or two instruments accompanying the vocals.

Sadly, there’s no escaping the lack of crispness in the Highs which was present on almost every track we listened to using the MOE. On the bright side though, we didn’t hear any sort of sibilance on this headphone even at high volumes.

Conclusion

When we did the review of the H-K SoHo, we stated that it’s probably one of the best sounding on-ear headphones in this category. However, some users might find it too small and classy for their taste and I, for one, can certainly attest to that.

Sennheiser Philippines

In the case of the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphone, on the other hand, it’s got a perfect balance between classic and contemporary look which resulted into an eye-catching set of cans. The headphone has its fair share of design quirks (non-swiveling cups, headband can’t be folded, etc.), but we still think that the MOE will be more appealing to crowd compared to the SoHo.

Sound-wise, the MOE and SoHo have its own sound signature and both are good in their own regard. That said, it’s best to try out both to identify which one suits your music genre and taste better. As for the price, the SoHo is slightly cheaper than the MOE which currently retails for Php12,990.

What we liked:
• Stylish design
• Lightweight & Sturdy construction
• Rich Bass
• Very nice carrying pouch (included)

What we didn’t like:
• Price
• Mediocre audio cable
• Weak Highs and Mids

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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