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Sennheiser Momentum TWS Review – Shake & Bake

Pros –

Excellent call quality and aware-mode, Strong noise isolation, Great fit and seal, Full sound works well in noisy environments

Cons –

Mid-bass bloat, Midrange will be overly warm for some, Case passively discharges leaving earphones flat when needed

Verdict  –

The Momentum TWS earns its place in the upper echelons for its firmly good sound, outstanding versatility and the excellent implementation of fundamental features.


Introduction –

Certainly, a company as lauded as Sennheiser, for its venerable Orpheus, the royal HD800S and immensely successful in-ears, garnered high expectations for their first TWS earphone, the Momentum TWS. And few would be surprised that the Momentum was lauded upon release, one of the only audiophile focused TWS models on the market and, at the time, the undisputed option for enthusiasts. However, in recent months, consumers now possess a wealth of options as the TWS technology becomes available to smaller, more boutique manufacturers who offer significantly cheaper products. Still, Sennheiser’s prestige is well earnt and the Momentum TWS remains a staple recommendation for users and critics alike. At a now discounted $250 USD asking price and commonly further discounted elsewhere, the Momentum TWS is at its most appealing despite the competition. You can read more about the Momentum TWS here and treat yourself to one here.

 

Disclaimer – 

I would like to thank Sennheiser very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Momentum TRue Wireless for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Design –

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It only takes a glance to see that the focus of the Momentum TWS is convenience. The housings are constructed from lightweight plastic with a textured finish. They do feel a little cheap compared to premium competitors as a result. However, once in the ear, their lightweight construction rewards with excellent fit stability that persists during active use. Furthermore, the touch-sensitive faceplates are a machined aluminium which aids tactility and perceived quality. This impression is aided by their ergonomic design with a tapered rear that locks into the anti-helix. So though they are amongst the larger TWS earphones, they do tuck nicely into the outer ear and didn’t form hotspots for my average-sized ears.

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Once fit, the earphones isolate well, not quite as much as fully-sealed BA IEMs but splendidly for a dynamic and are among the most attenuating TWS earphones I’ve tested. They offer ample isolation for commute even without the addition of ANC, especially in conjunction with their bassy tuning. The tips are interesting, a proprietary kind like the ie800 with plastic collar that locks onto a very short nozzle. Spinfit do make appropriate tips that fit the Momentum as do Comply and both options are quality alternatives for those that struggle with the stock configuration. I found the standard tips to offer appropriate depth and a great seal every time.

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The Momentum TWS offer IPX4 water resistance meaning they can’t be submerged but will withstand drops and splashes from rainy days in addition to sweat during workouts. They are automatically powered on when removed from the fabric clad carrying case and power off when reinserted. The case is of pleasing construction, the hinge has some wobble but has satisfying action with magnetic lock and spring-loaded open. It charges via USB-C but unfortunately, does not support wireless charging. The light fabric is somewhat prone to picking up stains but most are easy to remove with a damp cloth and I haven’t experienced notable fray either. It is of modest size and is easily pocketed.

 

Usage –

A benefit of going with the Sennheisers includes its app integration that enables tweaking of its settings and sound matched only by similar Western competitors. This does complicate the pairing process, and I found that pairing with both my Pixel 3 and Pixel 4 would fail unless done through the Sennheiser app. However, once paired, the earphones quickly auto-connect and maintained stable connection both to the source and between each earpiece, even in busy areas such as public transport and shopping centres. I didn’t notice any interference or fading in or out, the connection was rock solid during my months of testing. Of note, the earphones will not pair individually, the right bud is the master and the left, the slave. Music will pause if the right earpiece is removed from the ear.

The app itself offers a reasonable array of settings, the option between no audio cues, voice and tone, whether activating aware mode pauses music and also a visual eQ. The eQ is curious and takes time to get used to, however, it does produce reasonably natural results if lacking any fine control. Finally, the firmware can be updated through the app and the earphones can be powered off as well, important to note as the carrying case will not power off the earphones if it itself is out of power.

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This is unfortunate as the case did have a tendency to draw power when not in use, and I would often find that the Momentums were dead if not used for a few days. Not only would the case be out of juice, the earphones themselves would also have reactivated and depleted their power too, a small but highly aggravating issue that left me frequently frustrated. For non-reviewers who are more likely to use the Momentum on a daily basis and keep better track of its charge, this may not be so large an issue, however.

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And beyond this, the earphones do offer an ample 4 hours of listening time with the case offering 2 additional charges. This isn’t a huge amount of runtime compared to modern competitors, however, I was able to easily match that figure at medium volume listening. Of note, the left/slave earpiece has a slightly smaller battery that depletes faster, though the right earbud can function independently. They support BT 5.0 in addition to Apt-X low latency for higher quality wireless audio and lower delay from supported sources. I was especially enamored by the refinement of the experience, a holistic quality that justifies its premium price tag. For instance, the touch controls are, by far, the most responsive and reliable amongst TWS earphones, they didn’t miss a beat and even provided accurate commands during jogs and workouts.

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Furthermore, the mic quality is excellent, with great call quality and effective mitigation of background noise in public spaces, callers did not report difficulty discerning my voice nor did I sound distant. This experience follows through when activating the aware mode that sounds impressively transparent, lacking the hard edge of cheaper earphones. It is aggravating that this mode doesn’t work during calls, however, this is due to the limited number of microphones on the earphones and is not a commonly available feature elsewhere. Of note, the Airpods Pros do provide substantially more realistic audio through their integrated mics, though the Momentum TWS takes an easy second from the models I’ve personally tested.

 

Sound –

Tonality –

Where we now have some impressively balanced TWS offerings, the Momentum TWS was forged in a time where these products catered mostly towards consumers valuing hefty bass. Though it does possess a modest centre midrange vocal push, the Momentum TWS is a warm and V-shaped earphone through and through with a particular focus on bass. In turn, it has full-bodied and coherent notes in addition to a smooth, dense midrange. The Momentum TWS retains enough high-end energy to avoid veil though it easily sounds overly full coming from more neutral earphones. Thankfully, the treble push does amply open up its presentation, delivering plenty of headroom and a pleasing amount of top-end detail presence. I did not use the app eQ for the remainder of the review as I found the earphones most natural with no effect applied.

 

Bass –

This is dynamic driver bass, none of that micro-driver nonsense that other TWS in-ears succumb to. Sub-bass extends well which, alongside moderate emphasis, delivers solid slam, enjoyable rumble and awesome kick. Mid-bass sees greatest emphasis, though bass is emphasized in general so it doesn’t sound humped and overly bloated; bass notes are simply full and warm throughout. As a result, separation and cleanliness are not the Momentum’s strength, especially as fair emphasis continues through the upper-bass, which contributes to additional midrange warmth and a loss of overall transparency.

Meanwhile, driver control is on the higher side for a TWS earphone, and it suffers from little of the one-note bloom of cheaper bass-focused earphones such as the Earfun Free. Decay isn’t fast but bass is hardly sloppy, and notes possess respectable definition and texture in addition to pleasing separation and dynamics. Due to its mid-bass emphasized sound, some bloat and smearing of fine details is apparent and wired-IEM detail retrieval cannot be expected. The Momentum’s remain surprising discerning given the nature and extent of their emphasis and ultimately strike as a nicely executed warm, bass-focused earphone.

 

Mids –

The Momentum pursues a thick, full-bodied and organic sound that is a far cry from the thinner and brighter midrange’s offered by the majority of other V-shaped TWS earphones. It achieves this presentation on behalf of colouration from its warm bass in addition to a small upper-midrange dip that increases density and smoothens the vocals. As a result, the Momentum is free of rasp and over-articulation despite its modest lower-treble emphasis. In so doing, the earphone’s lack spectacular clarity or openness and vocal presence isn’t its strongest suite either. Nonetheless, though recessed, vocals don’t become overshadowed and I would hesitate to call the earphone veiled. A small centre midrange push is the prime redeemer, ensuring that vocals are adequately present and clarity remains ample on the vast majority of tracks.

As aforementioned, tone is clearly warm throughout, though this is mostly due to emphasis outside the midrange, with the midrange itself representing ample linearity. The earphones are, therefore, well-metered between male and female vocals and tend to prioritise instruments over vocals. They don’t possess outstanding transparency nor do they strike me as a perfectly natural performer despite presenting well-resolved midrange notes. However, compared to the majority of W-shaped TWS earphones and brighter models such as the B&O E8, the Momentum has a sound midrange timbre mired mostly by modest recession.

 

Highs –

Lower-treble stands out most within the high-end, creating strong contrast to the upper-midrange and imbuing its sound with additional energy and treble note clarity. Foreground details are well-present and crisp with enhanced attack, especially noticeable with guitars and percussion. There is some brittleness and thinness on behalf of the narrow 6KHz peak, where most earphones of late have tended to have lower emphasis. Still, this is a popular tuning for a reason, and few would be disappointed with the level of foreground detail and clarity on offer. Highs roll off through the middle-treble, though modest emphasis of what is there enables pleasing clarity and air. Still, limited extension impedes the headroom that would be expected from a similarly priced wired earphone with the same tuning.

Instead, the Momentum TWS is simply slightly brighter and more pristine, it doesn’t have huge resolving power but retrieves some background detail that gives dimension to its presentation, and air and shimmer satisfy under scrutiny. There is little information within the highest octaves and no exceptional sparkle or micro-detail to note. This is standard affair for the vast majority of TWS in-ears and, to an extent, a limitation of wireless technology. The Momentum TWS has firmly good treble separation and detail retrieval with a reasonably clean and, due to roll-off, darker background that enables the listener to focus on crisp foreground. It is crisp and does not offend with its level of emphasis nor its deficits. This is a fine sound for longer listening while also providing sufficient engagement for daily use and even some critical listening.

 

Soundstage –

As the Momentum rolls-off progressively through its middle-treble, it is able to create a fairly natural sense of distance if not one of large magnitude; crafting a stage that extends just to the periphery of the head. Within this stage, vocals are strongly centred while instruments are pushed to the sides. Though separation within each core frequency band isn’t exemplary, the Momentum TWS possesses excellent tri-frequency separation that works to similar effect, preventing details from becoming lost in more complex tracks. Bass separation is its poorest aspect, though separation is ear-pleasing above, especially within the treble where foreground details are clear and directional cues are sharp. The Momentum is able to distinguish layers though delineation isn’t exceptional due to a lack of background detail at times. At the very least, vocals and instruments are clearly defined and separated.

 

Comparison –

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Lypertek TEVI ($90): The TEVI is a significantly cheaper TWS earphone but has been making waves with its balanced tuning. And, in listening, that’s what you get, the TEVI is instantly more balanced than the Momentum. It has modest sub-bass emphasis but lacks the same extension as the Momentum. However, it is significantly more neutral through the mid and upper-bass, offering a much cleaner tone and substantially higher definition. It has excellent driver control and detail retrieval that the more expensive Momentum doesn’t match. Still, those wanting more kick and impact will enjoy the Momentum’s presentation. The TEVI has a more present midrange too, climbing gradually to a natural 3KHz peak before falling gently off. It has a lot more vocal clarity and its vocal presence is more in-line with its bass and treble.

Nonetheless, the TEVI perhaps suffers from the opposite problem, sounding a touch thin at times, though it is undoubtedly a clean and revealing earphone. As the TEVI has no clear lower-treble emphasis, it too doesn’t sound over-articulated or raspy and it isn’t overly thinned out either. In the treble, we see an interesting exchange. The TEVI has more middle-treble emphasis, sounding thinner and more brittle while the Momentum is more lower-treble focused, possessing more note attack and detail presence. The Momentum sounds more controlled here and composed, it has more note separation where the brighter TEVI can sound a touch splashy. The TEVI has a touch more extension, delivering more headroom and background detail retrieval. It has a more layered presentation and a slightly larger soundstage though it sounds diffuse coming from the meatier Sennheiser.

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus ($299): The MW07 Plus offers more driver control to the original and a more balanced sound. Still, it too is a V-shaped earphone but with wildly differing qualities to the Momentum. The MW07 Plus has even more sub-bass extension combined with moderate emphasis, both earphones deliver great kick and slam. The Momentum has the warmer mid-bass where the MW07 Plus has a progressive decline into its lower-midrange. As such, the MW07 Plus sounds cleaner in tone and, as it has higher driver control on top, is the more defined and detailed performer. Through the midrange, the MW07 Plus has a sharper rise into a 3KHz peak. As such, it has more vocal presence and clarity. It also has a 4KHz dip for density to mitigate the effects of its emphasized lower-treble.

The MW07 Plus does have a slightly cool midrange tone, slightly over-compensating for its bass emphasis with its sharp emphasis. Nonetheless, it has more extension than the Momentum and is more transparent if perhaps somewhat thin. In the treble, the MW07 Plus offers a 5KHz peak as opposed to the Momentum’s 6KHz emphasis. This results in more full-bodied treble notes, though it also doesn’t possess the same level of foreground focus and crispness. The MW07 Plus has more treble extension and a touch more sparkle, it has more background detail as a result. Its presentation is no more layered, however, its soundstage is slightly larger at the cost of a more diffuse centre image.

HELM Audio True Wireless 5.0 ($129): A new contender, the Helm offers a similarly V-shaped sound with even larger bass emphasis. Interestingly, it is much clearer and cleaner but also more sculpted. The Helm has better sub-bass extension and significantly greater sub-bass emphasis, its low-end is huge. Both earphones share fairly significant mid-bass emphasis too, though the Helm to a lesser extent, it is full and bassy but isn’t as warm as the upper-bass and lower-midrange are sharply attenuated. The Helm has a touch more driver control with more aggressive texture and a touch more definition where the Momentum is more linear with a more natural low-end presentation. Both have recessed vocals to a similar degree, the Helm has a gradual incline into a wide 3KHz peak that grants it more clarity than the Momentum. Still, the Momentum is more natural while the Helm is more engaging.

The Helm also implements a small 4KHz dip as it too features a 6KHz peak, in this instance, notably greater than the Momentum’s. The Helm has huge detail presence and crispness, it sounds a bit sharp and is clearly bright but also well-detailed and hugely engaging. The Momentum is more composed and has more separation. Neither have exceptional treble extension, the Helm has a darker background and less headroom, with sharper roll-off through the middle treble. The Momentum has a more nuanced soundstage with more accurate imaging while the Helm is more simplistic in its presentation with small but clear central vocals and huge instruments to the side with little layering.

ADV Sound M5 TWS ($200): The M5 offers a distinctly brighter but more balanced sound. It has substantially less bass emphasis and also less sub-bass extension, sub-bass isn’t especially present, sitting behind the lightly emphasized mid-bass. This is followed by a more neutral upper-bass that results in a distinctly cleaner tone and higher definition at the cost of fullness and impact. The lower-midrange is slightly recessed on the M5 TWS with a steady climb through the centre midrange into an upper-midrange peak at 3KHz. It is significantly clearer and more mid-forward than the Momentum TWS. The M5 also implements a rather sharp 4KHz dip to aid density to good effect, despite its brightness, it does not sound hollow or thin, but sufficiently smooth and with excellent extension on top. The Momentum is a warmer and more coherent sound but also more vocally recessed.

Still, the Momentum is easier to listen to for extended periods of time although it is not nearly as revealing. Both earphones implement lower treble emphasis and both are crisp and well detailed. The M5 TWS has a brighter background, however, this is mostly due to its substantially greater treble extension that enables a lot more air and some real retrieval of smaller background details. The result is a more nuanced presentation, the M5 has layers and more precise imaging. It has sparkle and shimmer the Momentum cannot match. Still, this does come with a caveat, and much like the midrange, the high-end can fatigue over longer listening. That said, for critical listening, the M5 is looking hard to beat while the Momentum thrives over longer listening sessions in noisier environments with its warmer, fuller and smoother sound.

 

Verdict –

It’s easy to become overly critical when looking at TWS products, especially given that they tend to be quite expensive. Furthermore, it’s even easier to rip premium TWS products to shreds when very affordable boutique models such as the TEVI offer a well-executed balanced sound at less than half the price. However, the Momentum excels not in one regard but performs well in all. It’s comfortable and isolates well, has excellent call quality, sound app integration and the best touch control implementation I’ve encountered from a non-Apple earphone. The sound is consumer-orientated for sure, with mild mid-bass bloat and a recessed midrange.

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Nonetheless, it is a V-shaped sound executed with Sennheiser tact; though sculpted, it isn’t overdone, bass isn’t sloppy and treble doesn’t wear on the ear despite emphasis. Though recessed, the midrange is warm and coherent where many TWS earphones tend to be thin and bright, making the Momentum somewhat of an outlier for those valuing well-resolved midrange notes and vocals. The touchy pairing process does irk and the case’s inability to power off the earphones when depleted itself is highly inconveniencing. Though this isn’t my favourite sounding TWS in-ear, I have found myself reaching for the Momentum TWS more than any other in my collection. The Momentum TWS earns its place in the upper echelons for its firmly good sound, outstanding versatility and the excellent implementation of fundamental features.

The Momentum TWS is available from on Amazon (International) for $209 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.

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