Amongst audiophiles, the German firm Sennheiser has long been famous for its critically acclaimed top-tier HD-series headphones (specifically, the HD 600, HD 650, HD 700, and HD 800), all of which are high-performance, open-back, circumaural (that is, around-the-ear) designs. But this very fact begs a question. Open-back ‘phones are all well and good for purist audiophile applications, but what about music lovers who hope to listen on the go and would like to use their ‘phones in environments where there may be too much background noise for open-back ‘phones to work? It is with those very listeners in mind that Sennheiser created its new closed-back Momentum headphone, priced at £259.99.
In simple terms, the design brief for the Momentum calls for a sturdy, relatively lightweight, closed-back headphone that offers a high degree of comfort and noise isolation, is quite easy to drive, and provides authentic, Sennheiser-grade sonic accuracy. But, it would also be fair to say that the Momentum is geared to appeal to style-conscious customers—customers who might initially have been drawn to products such as Monster’s now iconic Beats by Dre Studio headphones, but who are seeking something fundamentally better at a comparable price. Happily, offering “something better” is what Sennheiser is all about, as the Momentum clearly demonstrates.
In keeping with recent trends for headphones that seek to bridge the “lifestyle” vs. “audiophile” divide the Momentums come with not one but rather two flexible, matte rubber-clad signal cables. One could be considered the “purist” cable and provides audio signal leads only. The other, which could be regarded as the “convenience” cable, comes fitted with a beautifully made three-button, smartphone compatible mic/remote module and the requisite four-conductor mini-jack plug. Not too surprisingly, the metalwork on both the remote module and on the swiveling housing for the four-conductor plug are simply exquisite, reflecting a full measure of typically Germanic manufacturing precision. A nicely made semi-hard-shell case and a ¼-inch phone jack adapter plug complete the Momentum’s accessory package.