Today I will write something about great new headphones from a very well-known brand – Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Review.
- 1 Intro
- 2 Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Specifications
- 3 General Information
- 4 Controls
- 5 Connectivity
- 6 Excellent ANC
- 7 Battery Life
- 8 Supported Bluetooth Codecs
- 9 Sound Test
- 10 Sennheiser Smart Connect – A Handful Of Possibilities
- 11 Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless – Video Review
- 12 Final Verdict
Every previous edition of Sennheiser’s best wireless headphones, the Momentum Wireless model, has been adorned with an unusual, striking design. It was exactly what made them drastically different from numerous competitors, and because of this, they seemed to belong to a more luxurious category of their own. That’s why I was a little taken aback when I got my hands on the box of the latest, fourth iteration of these headphones. Namely, there is almost nothing left of the previous, recognizable design. The Momentum 4 Wireless, as the latest model is called, now looks a lot more like its direct competitors, such as the Sony WF-1000XM5 and the Bose QuietComfort 45. The visual identity, then, has been pretty much lost, but what about everything else? Let’s start in order.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Specifications
- Wearing style: Headband stereo headphones
- Ear Coupling: Around-the-ear, circum-aural
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 compliant, class 1, 10 mW (max)
- Transmission frequency: 2,402 MHz to 2,480 MHz; GFSK, π/4 DQPSK / 8 DPSK
- Supported Profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
- Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX™, aptX adaptive™
- Speaker Type: Dynamic
- Speaker Type: 42mm diameter
- Speaker frequency range: 6 Hz to 22 kHz
- Speaker sensitivity: 106 dB SPL (1 kHz / 0 dB FS)
- Total harmonic distortion (THD): <0,3% (1 kHz / 100 dB SPL)
- Impedance: Active 470 ohms / Passive 60 ohms
- Active Noise Cancellation: Hybrid Adaptive ANC
- Microphone principle: MEMS
- Frequency response (microphone): 50 Hz to 10 kHz
- Microphone pick-up pattern: 2 mics per side, beamforming for noise reduction
- Battery time: Up to 60 hrs music playtime via Bluetooth and with ANC (test condition: iPhone, mid-volume level)
- Charging time: Approx. 2 hrs for a full charge; 5 min charging for up to 4 hrs playtime; Remark: Ambient temperatures >30°C may lead to extended charging times
- Battery type: Built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries 700 mAh
- Power Supply: 5 V⎓, 800 mA max, USB charging via USB-C socket
You can download the manual here->Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Manual
If it wasn’t clear by now, the Momentum 4 Wireless are wireless, high-class headphones, intended for people who travel a lot, as well as anyone who wants to isolate themselves from noisy environments, such as offices and cafes, or when, like the author of these lines, life forces you to to work from the kitchen, which is part of a larger, open space that you share with the rest of the family. From all of this, I believe, it is clear that the Momentum 4 Wireless offers an active noise canceling function (Active Noise Canceling, ANC), as well as numerous other features characteristic of headphones of this type, such as the Transparency mode and the mobile application, where we can control the equalizer, function automatic music pause when removing the headphones, and some other settings, specific to Sennheiser.
The aforementioned new design of Momentum 4 Wireless is much more ordinary than all its predecessors. The headphones themselves are covered in plastic, which includes the supports, through which the ear cups are connected to the headband. The top of the headband is clad in tweed, a material that Sennheiser likes to use for its wireless headphones; we recently saw it on the box of the TWS model Momentum True Wireless 3. The inner side of the headband, the one in direct contact with the scalp, is well-padded and extremely soft. It uses some type of memory foam padding, with a faux leather cover. The same combination of materials is present on the ear pads. The adjustment to the contours of the head and the area around the ears is extremely good, and if we add to that a carefully measured pressure force, we get extremely comfortable headphones.
When it comes to the overall build quality, I can call it very good. The selected matte plastic does not tend to creak when wearing headphones and is satisfactorily resistant to fingerprints. However, it should be said that some competitors use more luxurious materials, so in this sense, they seem even more convincing. Given the great flexibility of the Momentum 4 Wireless frame, as well as the fact that the headphones themselves can be rotated 90° in both directions, I did not shy away from putting them in a backpack and carrying them without a protective case. However, if you need it, it will be at your fingertips – it is delivered in a package with headphones. The case is hard, also covered in tweed, and has an internal pocket, as well as elastic straps to hold the included cables (3.5 mm and USB-C) and the aviation adapter.
Sennheiser headphones have only one physical button, located on the right earcup. It is used to turn on and off, start Bluetooth pairing and activate the assumed voice assistant (Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby, Apple Siri, and others).
Interestingly, the headphones can be turned on and off automatically. For this, in the Sennheiser Smart Connect application, it is necessary to set the time when the headphones are turned off in case of rest, which can be between 15 and 60 minutes. When the built-in sensors determine that you have put them back on your head, they will immediately turn them on. Of course, you are not obliged to use the described function; the headset can be switched on and off manually.
All other controls have been moved to the outside of the right earcup, where there is a large and very responsive touchpad. With a combination of single and double pressing and sliding your finger in four directions, you switch songs, play and pause music, select operating modes (ANC or Transparency), adjust the sound volume, and receive and reject phone calls. Pinch gestures with two fingers are also supported; they are used to increase the level of ANC or the amount of ambient sound that is passed through.
Of other interesting things, on the right earpiece, we also find a cascade of five LEDs, the primary purpose of which is to inform us about the approximate state of the battery. They are activated when the headphones are removed from the head, so a quick check of the battery status can be done without taking the mobile phone out of the pocket.
There is also an analog input for sound, intended for the use of headphones in passive mode, regardless of the state of the battery. The input on the headphone side is 2.5 mm, so you will have to use the included audio cable because you only have a cable that is 2.5 mm on one side and 3.5 mm on the other if you have other Sennheiser portable headphones. Finally, there is a USB-C port. The one in question is used to charge the battery, but it also functions as another audio input. For example, if you connect the Momentum 4 Wireless to your laptop via a USB-C cable, it will appear in the operating system as an audio playback device and you will be able to listen to music while charging the battery at the same time.
The effectiveness of the active noise-blocking technology is difficult to quantify, but in direct comparison with competitors from the Sony and Bose camps, Sennheiser holds the plug successfully. For quieting the home and office environment, muting the hum of public transport, and suppressing the roar of aircraft turbines, the Momentum 4 Wireless ranks among the best ANC headphones on the market. In addition to “manual”, adaptive ANC is also available, which dynamically adjusts its intensity to the surrounding conditions. This works very well in practice; I was regularly happy with the chosen ANC level, so I kept the adaptive ANC on.
The Transparency mode, in which the external microphones transmit ambient sounds to the headphones, proved to be very useful, which is convenient when you don’t want to be isolated from the surrounding world. Since Transparency Mode is activated by double-pressing the outside of the right ear cup, it is handy in situations where I want to hear what someone is saying without taking the headphones off. Sennheiser has further simplified this way of using it with the option of automatically pausing the music when Transparency is activated.
Playback can also be automatically paused when the headphones are removed from the head. In practice, it works solidly, though not perfectly; occasionally it happened that the music would continue playing by itself while the headphones were hanging around our necks. Fortunately, this happened rarely enough that I didn’t want to turn off the aforementioned function.
Apart from the design, the aspect in which Sennheiser deviated the most from the previous editions of the Momentum Wireless line is the battery life. Momentum 4 Wireless sets new standards, not only for Sennheiser but also for all competitors, because with a total battery capacity of 700 mAh, it offers an impressive 60 hours of wireless operation, with ANC on. If the ANC is excluded, autonomy can be greater. It is, of course, possible to shorten it to some extent, first of all by listening very loudly. In any case, it’s about twice as long a battery as those of competing wireless headphones, such as Sony, Bose, and Bowers & Wilkins.
Of course, fast charging technology is supported. Just five minutes of charging is enough for four hours of wireless operation. Fully charging the battery takes less than two hours.
Supported Bluetooth Codecs
As it is a completely new product, it is not surprising that Sennheiser has installed a modern Bluetooth 5.2 chip in Momentum 4 Wireless, which supports codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, and, most importantly, aptX Adaptive. As its name suggests, it is an adaptive Bluetooth codec, which does not use a fixed bitrate for audio signal transmission but is dynamically scaled depending on the requirements of the audio file. Bitrate range is from 279 to 420 kbit/s (the aptX codec is “locked” to 352 kbit/s, and aptX HD to 576 kbit/s), and this method of wireless signal transmission supports quality records up to 24-bit/48 kHz. Wireless latencies range from 50 to 80 milliseconds, which is low enough that the headset could also be used for mobile gaming, without fear of dropping dead on the virtual battlefield before hearing enemy shots.
This is a great comparative advantage of the aptX Adaptive codec, even compared to LDAC, which supports higher quality playback (24-bit/96 kHz, with bitrate up to 990 kbit/s), but its latency exceeds 200 milliseconds. The adaptive nature of the aptX Adaptive codec also refers to its ability to adapt to the quality of the connection with the sound source. If there is a lot of interference in the environment, the codec will rather lower the bitrate than cause connection instability and occasional interruptions in sound reproduction.
Finally, aptX Adaptive automatically adapts to the type of content, so it will not insist on the same latencies when playing mobile games, watching videos, and listening to music, because in the first two examples, they are very important, and in the latter not at all. In practice, this extends the battery life of the headphones, because they are not constantly “squeezed to the board”.
Finally, Bluetooth Multipoint technology is supported, which enables the headphones to have a simultaneous Bluetooth connection with two sound sources. In practice, you will connect them with, for example, a laptop and a mobile phone, so that you can listen to music from the laptop, and at the same time answer phone calls carefree.
42 mm dynamic speaker units with a declared frequency range from 6 Hz to 22 kHz are responsible for sound reproduction. Of course, in reality, they don’t reach nearly as deep, but they still deliver a very specific amount of bass. Moreover, as can be seen from the measured frequency response, the lower part of the spectrum is emphasized in the range of 40 to 60 Hz, which gives the sound a satisfying fullness. You can get even more bass by playing in the rudimentary equalizer, or by activating the Bass Boost option, located below the equalizer itself. It’s good that Bass Boost does not result in membrane distortion, even when listening to songs with a huge amount of bass at maximum volume, so it can be used without any hesitation.
Middle frequencies are relatively neutral in the range of up to 500 Hz, and then they are amplified up to 1 kHz, and then they are restrained up to 2 kHz. I have the impression that the previous editions of Momentum Wireless sounded more lively, that is, that Sennheiser aimed for a more serious, less “shaped” sound this year.
In general, a good balance has been achieved in the reproduction of instruments and vocals, where they do not drown each other out, nor are they under the influence of the bass. The detail of the sound is also praiseworthy, which was achieved without the accompanying penetration of high frequencies – in case you were a little worried by the appearance of the frequency curve around 5 kHz.
The acoustic signature of the Momentum 4 Wireless is more in line with modern than garage production, and in general, it seems tamer compared to, for example, Sony’s WF-1000XM5 model, which is much more “free”. with the input signal, especially in the bass area, so it sounds richer. Bose’s QuietComfort 45 cannot be compared to Sennheiser’s sound quality in any respect.
Sennheiser Smart Connect – A Handful Of Possibilities
The headphones are controlled via the Smart Connect application. The one in question allows you to manage ANC, Transparency, automatic playback pause when removing the headphones from your head, automatic power off and on, and several other options. It also offers a choice of two devices with which the headphones can be connected wirelessly at the same time, and there is also a section for adjusting the acoustic presentation, consisting of an inconspicuous equalizer and the Sound Check function. The equalizer has only three sliders – Bass, Mid, and Treble – and a few factory profiles, and does not offer any kind of fine-tuning of the sound. The most useful options are Bass Boost and Podcast, where the former boosts the bass and makes the sound more energetic, and the latter lowers the bass and emphasizes the vocals, for a more pleasant listening experience.
Sound Check allows us to create our sound profiles by playing the desired music and then listening to three sets of three samples each, selecting the preferred sample at each step. Sound Check ultimately shows us what modifications of the equalizer this resulted in, after which we can save them. Conveniently, you can go through a large number of music genres and create a separate sound profile for each of them, adapted to our acoustic affinities.
The Sound Zones’ function is also interesting. If we allow the application to access the location services of our mobile phone, the headphones will automatically adjust the mode of operation (Adaptive Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode) and the equalizer settings to the place where we are at the moment. So, for example, at home, we can have active noise blocking turned off and a neutral sound profile, and in the office, we can activate ANC and a more energetic acoustic profile.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless – Video Review
I estimate that the Momentum 4 Wireless will appeal more to an older audience, as well as anyone who prefers a more measured sound, which is still not so tame as to become boring. Of course, it is a mistake to talk about Sennheiser headphones only in the context of their acoustic performance, because they are headphones intended for regular transmission, with several other assets, such as high-quality ANC, excellent controls, impeccable comfort, and a large number of other useful functions.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Pro & Cons
- The best battery life among high-end wireless headphones
- Extraordinary comfort
- Very good sound quality
- High-quality active noise blocking
- Intuitive touch controls
- Plenty of useful functions (automatic pause, automatic on and off, Sound Zones)
- Good microphones for phone calls and voice commands
- Possibility of a wired operation via 3.5 mm and USB-C input
- Bluetooth Multipoint
- AptX Adaptive codec supported
- Fast battery charging
- Gone is the striking design and luxurious craftsmanship of its predecessor
- Rudimentary equalizer