STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ neutral, honest tonal balance
+ world-class resolution and transparency
+ deep, dry bass without show and boom
+ NC effective down to low bass
- App not as stable/comprehensive
- sounds a bit less spectacular at times
Sound: tonal balance / transparency9.3
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9
Ease-of-use / Conncetivity8.8
Consider us truly surprised. At first glance, the new Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is not what we call continuity from design perspective. A revolution? Maybe not. But some retro features we have come to love, such as the thick metal brackets – abandoned. Massive earcups giving a glimpse of 1970s atmosphre, plus individual colours – abolished. We have to choose either matte black or matte white. The leather we were so used to gave way to some plastic plus stylish fabric. Generation four of Sennheiser´s highly acclaimed Momentum Wireless 4 appears to be visually streamlined, not to say ignoring the tradition.
Modern, but giving up quite a portion of its heritage? There’s something to that. On the one hand, the Momentum Wireless 4 is the technological creme-de-la-creme of the portfolio: Hybrid ANC, 60 hours of battery life, automatically adaptive noise cancellation. On the other hand, we might sense some evolution in Sennheiser’s corporate structure becoming a headphone product here: the Swiss Sonova Group has taken over responsibility for this branch.
Back to the future
But that does not mean neglect of superior Sennheiser technologies. A 42 mm fullrang driver being engineered in best tradition is transducing signals into sound. Most listeners will probably rely on Bluetooth to deliver the material. No worries about sound quality when chosing this convenient option: high-quality codecs AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive are integrated. Both iPhone and Android users can therefore benefit from high quality.
But some might want to opt for the classic way, via cable. We can offer either a passive mode making the Momentum 4 a pretty efficient set of headphones with 60-ohm of impedance. If the battery ever dies and you did not forget the cable, that´s the way to go. In practice, this could probably only happen to those who simply forget to load at all. As the spec sheet boast with more than 60 hours of playtime on a full charge – including noise cancellation and at medium levels. That’s simply fabulous. Especially because we can easily imagine to wear the Momentum 4 as long as we would like to; lightly, without pressure, highly pleasant.
In the package you get a USB-C wire for charging, plus the aforementioned 3.5mm jack wire. For frequent travelers, the airplane standard stereo jack is included as well.
Lifestyle and sophisticated operation
Right out of the box, we checked the battery status being represented by a tiny row of LED dots on the right earpiece. And we found a lot of controls on the other side – from play/pause at the tap of a finger, increasing or decreasing volume, to answering phone calls. This is really a great solution. Likewise, Sennheiser has programmed its own app.
App or app-stinence?
Just check the appstore of your choice (Android or Apple). Or even better: the QR code is printed on the left ear cup will guide you to the app by scanning it. The app itself is elegant, obvious and surprisingly potent. You might find the three-band graphic EQ useful or define different listening zones – so the Sennheisers are able to recognize whether I’m hiking along the river or just taking up my desk at home. In case autumn storm is blowing around your head in autumn, you get a fully automatic and pretty effective wind supression. Personal highlight: ANC can be adjusted in fine steps between maximum of acoustic isolation all the way to voice-through mode.
Is its adaptive noise-canceling market-leading?
In this context, it is also noticeable how ambitious the active noise cancellation, also called ANC (Active Noise Cancelling), works. Other models such as the outdated Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 attenuate mainly midrange noise. The Momentum 4 Wireless is really doing the low register jobs well here. We checked it with train noise. Not just roaring, but rumbling. That´s exactly what the ANC algorithm is suppressing at highest efficiency.
Behind this is a new technology including four mics. So tiny differences between these four signals enable the digital circuitry to accurately calculate direction of sound and optimally calculate a cancellation signal. Or optimize the audibility when voice-through mode is activated, so you really have a chance to understand either the plane attendant or the announcement in the train.
With a simple zoom gesture, the user may adjust the intensity of noise cancellation at will without using the app. By the way, the ANC cannot be turned off completely when listening in active mode. However, that’s not a problem either, because you don’t hear any noisefloor or notice unnatural isolation sensation. Incidentally, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4 wear very comfortably and neither build up pressure on the ear cups nor give the user the feeling that it could get too hot.
We call it continuity: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4 sound
Sonically – where are we? With the old, wonderful Sennheiser values. There is no effect-heavy show here, but basic audiophile virtues. Competitors like to spice up the bass – Sennheiser relies on a decent fundament refraining from any exaggeration. Because a fat bass would also kill a lot of information in the midrange. We experienced highest transparency, some analytical resolution and an amazing pace. Everything about the Momentum 4 feels light. Like a sports car made of high-tech materials.
There is no true artist who does not want to renew himself regularly. So Björk has just unveiled a new album. She has never been better, never been braver. We hear woodwinds which, according to the official reading, she herself buried (!) and dug up again. This goes to the limits of philosophy. Above all, it sounds good. Bad headphones would simply focus on the dynamics and neglect the details. But these Sennheisers tell us a lot about the fine shades of sound in between. That´s what we call charming. A high degree of saturation is noticeable. Simply a chain of heroes: Björk, the sound engineers and finalmente these great Sennheisers.
Some headphones you like, these transducers you might love. I personally wont give it away again, it became my current reference standard.
Conclusion and alternatives
Top sound and top ANC – the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 is ahead of its class when it comes to the two most important factors. In the most important secondary virtue, battery life, it keeps all rivals at bay. The Sony WH-1000 XM4 keeps up with noise-canceling, but it lacks liveliness and audiophile resolution compared to the Sennheiser.
Only Apple´s Airpods Max might give an even broader and richer overall sound impression. But these ones are almost double the price.
Specifications Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
- Retail price: 350 dollars/pounds/euros
- Type: Over-Ear
- Transducer: Dynamic
- Weight: 295 g
- Features: Active Noise Cancelling, App, Hardcase
- More at: www.sennheiser.com
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