If you’re looking for a new pair of headphones, you’ve undoubtedly come across Sennheiser. The company is revered for its quality and is one of the top dogs that would normally be pitted against the likes of Sony and Bose. Sennheiser’s flagship consumer-grade headphones, the Momentum series, are ones that have been known for their excellent sound quality and unique design. Now the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are here, and they pack a fantastic punch versus the competition.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones have a few tricks that help them stand out from the competition, but they do one thing really well, and that’s audio. The Sennheiser Smart Control app is nowhere near as feature-filled as Sony’s Headphone Connect app, and the list of additional features even on the specification sheet is far shorter than what competitors are offering, too.
To be honest, the worst downgrade when it comes to these headphones is that they kill the classic Momentum headphone look. Previously, Momentum headphones had metal leading down to the cup, which helped them stand out. Now, these look kind of like the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones — a complete all-plastic build with a lot of padding at the headband and the cups. They’ve got a great build quality, but it’s a noticeable change that makes these stand out less.
In short, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are a pair of headphones you can rely on to have good quality audio, and if that’s your prerogative, then you can’t go wrong with picking these up. They sound great, have a really long battery life (up to 60 hours!), have powerful noise canceling, and are comfortable to wear for long stretches of time. Unless you want a ton of features or really care about an iconic look, you can’t go wrong with picking these up.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Specifications and in-the-box
|Specifications||Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless|
|Frequency response||6 Hz – 22 kHz|
|Microphone frequency response||50 Hz – 10 kHz|
|Microphone pickup pattern||2 mics per side, beamforming for noise reduction|
|THX Spatial Audio||Supported on Windows 10 64-bit and above|
|Battery life and charging||
What you get inside the box:
- Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
- Carry case
- Headphone jack splitter for airplanes
- 2.5mm to 3.5mm aux cable
- USB-A to USB-C cable
About this review: Sennheiser sent me the Sennheiser Momentum 4 for review on the 13th of August, 2022. The first pair that I received had hardware issues, and I had a replacement sent out to me that fixed those problems.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Design & Comfort
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones signify a pretty big departure from the Sennheiser Momentum look that we’ve come to know and love over the years. Compare these headphones to any previous Momentum headphones, and you’ll see the massive difference. For what it’s worth, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a change that has already had a ton of fans of the company dunking on these headphones. My biggest critique is that they don’t fold closed like previous Sennheiser headphones or previous Sony headphones.
If you’re not a design snob (and I can’t say really that I am) then you won’t find a lot to complain about when it comes to these headphones. There isn’t a huge amount of clamping force which makes them comfortable for long periods of time, though may make them come a little loose if you’re moving your head a lot. They’ve been fine when working or cycling, but that’s not to say that something more intensive won’t cause problems.
The soft cushioned ear pads are pretty big and thick, and I imagine that if you don’t like them you’ll be able to switch over to something more comfortable through third-party sellers — I found they made my ears pretty warm. The earcups can swivel fully each way for complete flexibility and comfort, and they’re also comfortable for wearing around your neck when not listening to music. The ear cups being as large as they are also means that there’s a lot of space for touch controls. The biggest criticism I have is that because they fully swivel, I can’t just easily tell which earcup is left and which is right when I pick them up. I usually need to check.
Overall, it’s not the most unique design, but it’s definitely practical. They feel good, they still look good (just not as iconic as previously), and they’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Sure, headphones can be a fashion piece, but also, most people probably aren’t buying headphones merely just because of how they look. If you’re in the category of buying headphones for their design, then there are plenty of better options out there.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Sound & noise canceling
The sound quality of a pair of headphones is probably the most important part of the entire ordeal, and I imagine it’s what most people care about, too. Thankfully, these headphones sound incredible, and I’ve been very impressed by the clarity of the audio. I reviewed these headphones while primarily listening to this playlist, and I’ll be referencing some of the tracks in it when talking about different aspects of the audio experience.
To start with, songs like Car Seat Headrest‘s Famous Prophets (Stars) is a fantastic song that can demonstrate the dynamic range of these headphones. Not only can they handle the cacophony of sound at the end of the track, they beautifully reproduce the bass guitar and piano build-up leading up to it. In some parts of the song, in particular, I noticed a weird crackling in the right earcup. This was also noticeable in other songs, though doesn’t exist on the new pair that Sennheiser sent me. For other tracks, like Literary Mind by Sprints, these headphones can keep up with the fast-paced noise inundation wonderfully without muddying the sound.
Hilariously, as well, Remo Drive‘s Yer Killin’ Me features the sound of someone knocking on a door at the end of the song. I’m ashamed to admit that with these headphones, it has felt real enough that I’ve fallen for it twice and taken off my headphones immediately to check my front door. These are the best-sounding headphones I have ever used, with audio coming across as clear and balanced as it should from any high-end pair of headphones. I’ve even been happy to use them for music production, which is a hobby very sensitive to the accuracy of the headphones being used.
That high audio quality is helped by the inclusion of a few different codecs to choose from. You get standards such as SBC and AAC, but on top of that, you also get Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX Adaptive. I feel like there’s a missed opportunity to also include LDAC, but aptX Adaptive is pretty good, and what most people will end up using if their phone supports it. For users who don’t have aptX support (iPhone users, most Windows users), you’ll have to rely on plain old AAC.
If you want to use these headphones with a computer for gaming, then I highly recommend using the included cable. It’s a 2.5mm cable into the headphones with a 3.5mm jack output, and it sounds great… when the headphones are switched on. If you’re using these headphones on a computer, while they will work when the headphones are off, the audio is terrible. I often used my Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones with them off and they sounded fine, but these sound terrible when switched off. Just turn them on. You can even charge them at the same time while using them (though I had some interference this way at times), or plug them in directly with a USB-C cable and use them as a pair of USB headphones.
When it comes to noise canceling, generally speaking, Sennheiser has never been the best in the business even though they are pretty good on their own. It’s no different here, and again, that’s not to say that it’s bad, it is just that others do it even better. These headphones have noise canceling on par with the Sony WH-1000XM3, which is still more than adequate. In cars, trains, and planes, it’s still quiet enough that you can listen to your music at a lower volume. In fact, on a plane, it was really comfortable to have them not and not even be listening to anything. They were great at filtering the audio around me and canceling it out, making it an enjoyable plane ride.
Finally, on the microphones, I’ve had no issues being heard or with people hearing me. They sound fine, though it struggled a little bit with wind outside.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Controls
The touch controls are pretty standard for headphones, though they’re a bit finicky to get used to. I found that I would often accidentally trigger them moving my hair or scratching my ear, which was pretty annoying. A single tap is pause or play, swipe forward or back is skip forward or skip back, and up and down is volume up and volume down. Pinching (like you would on a phone screen) increases active noise canceling, and pinching outwards will increase transparency.
On my previous pair of these headphones, these touch controls often didn’t work or would be incredibly delayed. That’s not the case on my new pair, thankfully, and there have also been a number of firmware updates since that have also ironed out some kinks.
One other control that you’ll have to remember is that to have these headphones automatically turn off when not in use, you’ll need to make sure that the cups are facing downward on whatever surface they’re on. They’ll automatically turn off in that position, but just in that position only. If you leave them facing up, the battery will drain, and I’ve discovered that the hard way a couple of times. 60-hour battery life is pretty good, but they’ll still drain overnight if you leave them on a table the wrong way.
These headphones have automatic pause and play detection too, which I’ve found can be a bit overzealous. If I attempt to scratch my ear under the headphones they’ll sometimes pause for a moment when I don’t need (nor want) them to.
Overall, these controls are pretty good and easy to use, though you may want to disable/tweak some of them to tune them to your liking.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Smart Control app and Software
The Smart Control app and, by extension, the firmware powering these headphones is what really lets them down the most. The app is sluggish, and the headphones themselves took a lot of getting used to. My original pair as well would frequently disconnect and reconnect quickly when using them to listen to music, though that hasn’t happened on the new pair, either.
For starters, the app itself is just… odd. When linking up with the headphones out of the box, it took 40 minutes to install the firmware update. Throughout that entire time, I couldn’t use them, and it felt abnormally long for a software update. That was after it took several attempts to get the app to recognize the headphones though, as it would come up “Connected”, but not show me any extra options. You can see what that looks like in the first screenshot above.
The app is just poorly made, and there’s no other way around saying that. If I’m connected over Bluetooth, why does the app say that it needs to connect again? It doesn’t make any sense. Thankfully, though, once you’re done with setting up these headphones, you generally won’t need to use the app again except for some rare occasions. The settings change when you modify them here and it works, the problem is getting to the settings in the first place.
I wish a proper EQ was implemented. I generally don’t really care if a manufacturer implements an EQ or not in their app, as I can use apps like Wavelet to EQ my audio output if I really want to. However, the tri-band EQ that Sennheiser packs (pictured above) is laughably bad. It’s bad enough that most people who care about the quality of their audio won’t use it, so what’s the point of its inclusion? It entirely lacks precision. The only thing I can think of is that bass-heads might like it, I guess, but it should at least be a five-band EQ — if not more.
Should you buy the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless?
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are, software issues aside, simply incredible. The audio quality is superb, their active noise canceling is great, and the touch controls make sense. What’s more, the myriad of options for connectivity impressed me — wired with a 3.5mm jack, wired with a USB-C cable, or wireless over Bluetooth all sound great. The inclusion of the aptX codec is great for Android users too, though again, I lament the lack of LDAC in these headphones.
You should buy these headphones if:
- You want good quality audio
- You use an Android smartphone as your primary smartphone
- You game a lot and want to be able to pinpoint precise locations with audio
- You need them to last long on a single charge
You shouldn’t buy these headphones if:
- You envision yourself needing to use the app a lot
- You need a compact pair of headphones
To top off this excellent package is the price. Coming in at $350, these headphones are in the same price category as some of the best on the market in consumer headphones today. They’re $50 cheaper than the Sony WH-1000XM5, though sound on par. These headphones sound fantastic, and once you look past the software issues (something you don’t need to think about after you’ve set them up for the first time), there’s not a lot really that I can criticize. My first pair had hardware issues, but the second pair I have nothing negative to say about aside from the app used to control the headphones.
In other words, if you need a new pair of headphones and want to pick up these, you can’t really go wrong.
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