Best Full-Size Headphones: Sennheiser Momentum
The Momentums are easy on the eats — both in fit and sound.
These days, higher-priced headphones cater to fashionistas as well as discerning listeners, and that’s a good thing. Who wants to lay down $350 to look like a dork? Headphones like B&W’s P5 have set the bar high for combining classy design with a big sound, but Sennheiser’s new Momentum headphones take it a notch higher.
Why we like them
The Momentum looks especially sharp, with padding made from brown leather and a body combining aluminum and matte-plastic accents. A sturdy, detachable cable with an inline remote hangs off the left earcup, while an extra cable that lacks controls stores easily in the included, zippered case. For flexibility, the 3.5-mm (standard-sized) plug is hinged so it can poke out of your audio player at anywhere from straight out to a 90-degree angle.
The Momentums are designed for use with fairly low-powered audio sources like smartphones and tablets; our iPhone 4S had no trouble cranking out powerful sound through these phones. The metal, inline remote is large and easy to operate by feel, but like most models these days, it works only with iOS devices, but not Android. The built-in mic works fine for calls with any phone.
The pads just about encircle the ears, and the moderate headband tension and soft padding make these phones great for long listening sessions. The leather padding is breathable, too, so they don’t get hot.
Sennheiser did a wonderful job tuning the sound for modern tastes, adding just enough bass to give movies and music plenty of impact, without overwhelming other sounds, as the Monster Beats line does. The tonal balance among lows, mids and highs is impressive, and the overall smoothness of the sound will delight most listeners.
[See Also: Best In-Ear Headphones: Bowers & Wilkins C5]
Acoustic jazz has lots of detail on these phones, with a very natural sound, whether it’s a classic Blue Note side or a contemporary (read: bass-heavy) track like Sean Jones’ “Transitions.” Classic rock, pop and reggae also sound excellent; the Momentums reproduce a satisfying thump in the bass drum and powerful bass guitar, with well-balanced vocals. On some tracks, like Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” sibilants (vocal “s’s”) can sound a bit more prominent than they do in other cans, but not overly harsh. Even orchestral music and solo, classical pieces like Yo-Yo Ma’s rendition of the Bach Cello Suites sound gorgeously detailed and lively.
Keep in mind
Although the earcups do move around a little on their durable, metal connectors, they don’t fold flat for better storage. If you love style, but need extreme bass, Beats By Dre probably offers what you’re looking for.
The elegant design, lush comfort and satisfying sound of the Momentum are a hard combination to beat.
- Weight: 6.7 ounces
- Leather earcups
- Inline controls work only on iPhones
- Two detachable cables: 52-in. with mic and inline controls; 55-in., without