Sennheiser Momentum 4 Review
If you’ve been in the market for some moderately affordable yet high-quality wireless over-ears with ANC, you’ve likely come across the Sennheiser Momentum series (aka M series). With the M3 having come out in late 2019, the Momentum 4 has been released with a good amount of excitement and anticipation. I tried my friend’s M3s not long ago, and while I found them very comfortable, I took some issue with their sonic qualities, such as an overly bassy timbre. Does the Sennheiser Momentum 4 take the features of the 3 to another level? I hope so, but let’s take a listen.
What’s In The Box?
-Momentum 4 headphone
-USB-C charging cable
-Audio cable 3.5mm and 2.5mm
Look and Feel
I found the fit on the Sennheiser M4 easygoing and comfortable. The headband is padded with a very soft and smooth pleathery material along the underside, while the topside has somewhat of an office-chair-fabric texture. The earpads were similarly soft and leathery like th underside of the headband, with a soft density that makes them cushiony; though they had a bit of ventilation going for them, I could easily see these getting sweaty if worn outside on a warm day.
While the M4’s cans don’t have the ability fold up towards the headband, they have a full 180 degree swivel on their Y axis. This makes them great for resting around your neck, and provides some flexibility in the event they undergo some unforeseen physical trauma like an unexpected drop or accidental smushing. Though their fit around the neck is good for brief commutes, it seems odd to me that a pair of presumptively portable headphones can really only be transported securely if they’re kept inside their not-so-small carrying case.
The ANC feature on the Momentum 4 was…fine. It blocked out lower frequencies with ease: I couldn’t hear the persistent roar of the office’s air conditioning, for example, and I imagine these would do fine for blocking out a thunderous commute on the train. But it didn’t give me the vacuum-sealed silence that some headphones with ANC offer. Higher frequencies came through without much impedance. Even as I write this with ANC activated, I still hear the click-clack of my typing without having to strain my ears.
The smart controls on the Momentum 4 are not super precise, but are certainly easy enough to use. Switching between transparency mode and ANC was fairly fluid, and a simple swipe up or down on the back of the right phone moves volume up or down incrementally. I found the volume increments to be quite far apart from one another and were best used for coarse adjustments.
The feature that received the biggest upgrade was battery life, which now clocks in at an impressive 60 hours. The battery is full after only 2 hours of charging, with 5 minutes of charge providing 4 hours of listening. No overnight charge necessary: plug them in while you get ready in the morning and you’ll likely be set for the day.
-Sensitivity: 106 dB SPL (1 kHz / 0 dB FS)
-Impedance: Active 470 ohms, passive 60 ohms.
-Frequency range: 50 Hz – 22kHz
-CODECS: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX adaptive
Recalling my experience the M3’s, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 has a more carefully balanced and much brighter character. While the loud low end on the 3 sounded a bit imprecise and swollen for my ears, Sennheiser kept the bassy spirit alive on the 4 but with some serious refinement. The trick? Bringing back the highs. The sound of the Momentum 4 relative to the 3 is as refreshing as unclogging water from your ears. The shine in the high end creates a suspenseful perimeter in the sound stage that the enormous lows flood in to fill. Though I was generally pleased with just how wide the Momentum 4 could go in general, the low end left a significant impression on me by pulling me in and wrapping around my head at 270 degrees.
While I greatly enjoyed the balance and wideness in the M4, my minor criticism is that I didn’t find it to be the most responsive headphone, as I noticed fast pans weren’t quite as drastic as they could have been. When considering the sound character of the Momentum 4 in it’s totality, however, I encourage you to take that criticism with a grain of salt.
The way in which the Momentum 4 handles subs and bass sets it apart from many wired headphones, let alone wireless. Generally speaking, the impact of kick drums is frequently experienced in the smack or pop of their higher transient. When the Momentum 4 receives a kick though, the low end output feels like your whole auditory nerve is getting coated in bass. Specifically, I was reminded of the feeling of standing a half mile from a music festival and hearing/feeling only the bass parts of performances. These headphones took that sensation and placed in back into the greater mix in a very natural-sounding way. For everything good I have to say about the low end, the only issue I have is that I can see it leading to minor ear fatigue after extended listening.
While I’d still say the mids are solid and make sense in the schema of the Momentum 4’s sound character, I sensed a slight dip in the lower mids, and a welcome boost in the upper mids. This resulted in male vocals sounding just slightly weak in their fundamental at times, and made shifting low-pass filters sound a bit notchy and uneven. I don’t want to overstate this issue as it is more-so a finer detail than a serious detractor. Considering the strength and weight on the low end, I do understand the logic of cutting some lower mids as a sort-of mud flap on the proverbial tire of the sound stage.
I recall the M3 sounding semi-muffled, which seems like it wasn’t an uncommon criticism; the Momentum 4 took this criticism to heart and gave back the highs with gusto. There was a uniquely carved high profile in these that was pulled off quite well. The Momentum 4 stays fairly tame and natural from 2kHz to 5kHz, before going all in for a big boost from 5-10kHz. This balance gives sibilance a smooth character, while sharpening hi-hats and percussion transients into pointy tips without sounding harsh. Reverbs sounded particularly delicate and vaporized.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 is as comfortable as one familiar with the Momentum series might expect and has a great battery life conducive to everyday convenience. It’s not the most ergonomic wireless over-ear headphone, and it doesn’t have the most powerful ANC features. What it does bring with it, however, is a seriously upgraded sound quality that is a rare gem in wireless headphones at this price point. When I told my friend with the M3’s about this review, he asked if he should sell them for the M4’s. While I don’t have a definite answer on this, I would say the worth of the upgrade could be phrased as a question: how important is the sonic balance of the music you listen to on your everyday commutes or days at the office? $350 is certainly a fair price for the Sennheiser Momentum 4 considering its comfortable fit, ANC features, and wireless convenience balanced with its significantly upgraded and surprisingly powerful sound stage.