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Sennheiser Momentum TW2 Review  – The Complete Solution

4.80 firmware update Impressions published here!


Pros –

Excellent versatility, Responsive controls, Warm, smooth sound, Comfortable design, Strong noise attenuation

Cons –

Overly laid-back midrange, Case doesn’t support wireless charging and isn’t especially pocketable, Simplistic eQ

Verdict –

The MTW2 is equipped for almost every situation the user could throw at them while retaining an insightful yet engaging sound.


Introduction –

Sennheiser requires little introduction, the German juggernaut has been a staple for consumers and professionals for decades. However, with that comes a certain duality, with separate design teams handling different genre of products. The MTW was lauded as the best sounding TWS earphone and even years later, it remains in high regard. Yet, it wasn’t without its share of issues and you’d see many critical user impressions littering the net. The MTW2 is Sennheiser’s response, modernising the original with ANC, improved ergonomics and a huge improvement to battery life. And yet, it is perhaps the factors beyond specification that make the MTW2 a true evolution over its predecessor. You can read more about the MTW2 here and treat yourself to one here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Sophie and Lauren from Sennheiser very much for their quick communication and for making this review of the MTW2 happen! 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.

 

Tech Specs –

Dimensions: 76.8 x 43.8 x 34.7 mm (earbuds and charging case)

Speaker type: Sennheiser 7mm dynamic driver

Frequency response: 5 – 21,000 Hz

Noise cancellation: Single-Mic ANC per earbud side

Bluetooth Version: BT5.1 with SBC, AAC & aptX™

Charging time: 1.5 h for full charge / 10 min for 1.5 h playtime

Battery time: Up to 7 hrs music playtime with earbuds Up to 28 hrs music playtime with charging case

THD: <0,08% (1kHz / 94dB)

Warranty: 2 years

Weight: Both earbuds and charging case: 70 g

 

Unboxing –

The MTW2 is well-packaged much like its forebearer. The user receives the earphones and case within a protective foam inlet. Meanwhile, the silicone ear tips are contained within a plastic tray. There are 4 sizes to provide a more personalised fit, however, due to the short nozzle design, only select aftermarket tips like the Spinfit CP360 will fit the MTW2 similar to the original. In addition, Sennheiser provides a USB-C charging cable. It’s a functional setup, buyers may have benefited from the inclusion of more isolating foam ear tips especially given the introduction of ANC and focus on commuters and travellers.

 

Design –

The MTW2 follows the exact design language of its predecessor but subtly refined and scaled-down in size. The style of fit is also similar, with tapered rears that lock into the anti-helix of the outer ear to provide a stability. In turn, the MTW2 requires no stabiliser fins to achieve a solid fit which works to the benefit of comfort. The plastic housings feel solid yet light with a slightly grippier and more tactile texture. The same touch-sensitive metal faceplates make a return and the touch controls themselves are noticeably more responsive. They no longer requiring rhythmic taps but can be tapped at any speed which makes entering commands much faster and more reliable.

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The pads also seem more sensitive and can be tapped with a palm when exercising and an accompanying tone that ascends with each tap which provides good feedback. The defining difference beyond the dimensions is the new ANC mic array on the front in addition to the axillary mic on the faceplates for ambient noise suppression during calls. The MTW2 has the same IPX4 water ingress rating as its predecessor meaning that it will be fine for workouts but cannot be submerged. A new white colour scheme has also been introduced.

 

Fit –

It is with regards to ergonomics that the MTW2 provides a nice step up from its predecessor. The earphones are noticeably smaller in both height and length while retaining similar depth. As such, their fit isn’t especially low-profile and not ideal for sleeping with, though you won’t see too many inquisitive glances on the street either. By reducing the dimensions, the MTW2 will achieve a more comfortable fit with a wider range of ears. As they have a well-angled tapered nozzle, seal is very strong. The smaller design here, I also find to offer a slightly deeper fit and greater passive noise isolation than its predecessor while remaining just as stable in the ear.

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This works in tandem with the reinforced ear tips provided that retain their shape with a deep fit. Neither MTW earphones form hotspots for me, though those who had issues with the rears of the original wearing on their outer ear will likely no longer experience this issue with the shorter MTW2, they do feel appreciably smaller in the ear. And, unlike other smaller TWS earphones like the TEVI, fit stability remains excellent and I was able to run and workout without any readjustment. Passive noise isolation is very good, which can then be further bolstered by ANC.

 

ANC Performance –

The MTW2 introduces ANC where the original relied on passive isolation alone. I find the MTW2 to isolate a bit more than the originals and with ANC on top, it makes for a noticeably better earphone for commute and air travel. I’ve given the MTW2 a dedicated ANC segment as impressions on the feature appear divisive. In my experience, it works okay but isn’t nearly as potent as either the WF-1000XM3 or Airpods Pro. The upsides is that there is zero ANC “pressure” and sound quality is barely affected, both of which are very noticeable with its main competitors. I did notice that bass is a touch less defined and the soundstage isn’t as wide, but compared to the effect on the Sony’s, degradation is barely noticeable. They are also less prone to artefacts with sudden noises such as doors closing on a bus where I noticed the Sony’s to pop, and they don’t struggle with wind noise either.

The MTW2 also block substantially more noise than both earphones passively so I would say the overall performance is about on par, which is to say, very good. For example, the Sony’s block 50% of sound with ANC off, and when ANC is turned on, it blocks another 40% for a total 90% attenuation of ambient noise. The MTW2 would be closer to 70% passive isolation with another 20% provided by ANC for similar overall results. You may or may not prefer this, it means you will still feel quite isolated with ANC off for those wanting more awareness (though the aware-mode works well) and a solid fit is imperative; I found the ANC to work better with a deeper fit which is luckily aided by the smaller housings. The ANC works very effectively on low frequencies. On a recent run along the highway, it lowered the roaring traffic noise to a mild midrange white noise. That said, voices are only slightly muffled and high frequencies are essentially untouched, relying on passive isolation.

Overall, they go toe to toe with class leaders in terms of overall noise attenuation but go about it in different ways that optimise comfort and sound quality. Still, seeing as Sennheiser has an accompanying app, it would have been good to let the user decide the intensity of ANC comfortable for them. Which brings me to aware mode which is one of the better implementations I’ve heard. In fact, the microphones are noticeably more sensitive than the originals and the sensation is more convincing and natural when active. That said, they do clip slightly with high-frequency noises such as the jingling of keys, something the original was less prone to. The Airpods do it slightly better, but the MTW2 performs similarly to the Sony’s. They also don’t suffer from uneven channnel balance like the original that would occasionally be clearer through the right earbud than the left. The MTW2 simply works and it works well.

 

Improved Case –

Though very similar, the new case is slightly smaller in all dimensions but of similar weight. It retains a similar premium design with linen exterior and the black colourway now comes in a darker colour that better resists stains. The interfaces are the same with a Type-C charging port on the rear accompanied by a status LED that denotes charge status and remaining power. Some complained of the hinge on the original case, and luckily that has been addressed here, the new hinge is wider and no longer wobbles as before. Furthermore, the spring mechanism is firmer so the lid feels much more solid overall. What’s still missing is wireless charging, however, the case does provide 4 additional charges up from just 2 on the original. I was content with the convenience of a magnetic charging cable.

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With the extended battery life of the earpieces themselves, this amounts to 35hrs of total playtime as opposed to 12hrs, a substantial improvement. The original MTW was plagued with a critical issue; the case trickle charged the earbuds and would discharge itself passively over time. Furthermore, the earbuds would power back on if the case ran out of battery. This means if not in use for a few days, both the earbuds and case would be completely drained.  The MTW2 luckily doesn’t have this issue. Upon placement in the case, they go into deep sleep and will remain off until removed from the case, even if the case itself is discharged. The case also doesn’t trickle charge but intelligently stops when the earbuds are charged, perfect.

 

Improved Battery Life –

The improved battery life is also a headline feature of the MTW2, rated at up to 7hrs of playback time as opposed to 4hrs on the original. I am very familiar with the original model; runtimes were closer to 3.5hrs at low-medium volumes connected over Apt-X where the MTW2 reliably hits that 7hr figure. With ANC activated, it doesn’t take a huge hit as I was still able to reliably hit 6hrs of listening time with it active and again connected over Apt-X at low-medium volume. The case provides 4 additional charges and remaining charge of the earpieces is displayed by the source. This sits very near the top of ANC TWS earphones in the current generation bested only, to my knowledge, by the M&D MW07 Plus.

 

Upgraded Connectivity –

The pairing process has also been simplified but we do make some trade-offs in the process. The original MTW, for instance, supported Apt-X low latency, which its predecessor lacks. Conversely, many sources don’t support this codec, so most won’t miss it and latency over Apt-X to my Google Pixel 4 was low enough that lip sync wasn’t an issue when viewing video content. That said, the pairing process was awful on the original. It had to be paired through the Smart Connect app, otherwise, it would reject the device attempting connection. It would frequently require a reset when connected with new device and was simply overly convoluted.

DSC08232

The MTW2 pairs like any other TWS earphone. Hold the touch panels for 3s and the status LEDs flash red and blue, then simply pair through the settings menu. The earphones will then be recognized by the Sennheiser app where the user is able to modify the eQ, controls and update the firmware. Of note, updating the firmware takes a very long time, up to 50 minutes, however, the earbuds can be used during the process. Reconnection isn’t as lightning quick as the original MTW but only takes a few seconds, hardly an inconvenience. Once connected, they were stable and reliable with no dropouts or interference even during use in the crowded CBD. Range is improved over the originals, stretching almost 3 room with double brick walls before the sound became intermittent and this will be vastly higher with a line of sight connection.

The connection strength between the two earpieces has been improved for those who had issue with the original there – I did not. What will also be of interest to some users is the ability to pair each earpiece independently. This isn’t listed in the specs but can easily be done. Since both earpieces now feature a full sensor and mic array, this can be used to effectively double the run time available for calls per se or simply for convenience and awareness.

 

Call Quality –

With a more comprehensive mic array and slightly more sensitive microphones, the MTW2 is noticeably better than its predecessor for calls. The extra pair of mics also means that the MTW2 can pass-through external noise during calls, allowing the speaker to hear their own voice and maintain awareness of their surroundings. For me personally, this resulted in a more natural experience, and it’s notable that few earphones provide this feature at present. Recipients also noted that my voice sounded clear and immediate. Background noise suppression is better than the original and quiet sounds are better resolved. I was easily discernible whether calling from public transport or indoors. The Airpods Pro still provided slightly clearer call quality in loud environments as did the Huawei Freebuds 3, however, the MTW2 will work well for those wanting a bud for music and to use as a headset, especially with considerably longer battery life.

 

Smart Connect App –

Once paired, the Sennheiser Smart Connect app will automatically recognise the model of the earphone and provides a GUI to adjust settings. It is also available on both Android and IOS, so you get full feature support no matter what smart device you’re using. Within the app you’re able to customize the touch gestures, however, you cannot alter the call controls. The app also permits the user to activate and deactivate features of the earphone such as sidetone, ANC and aware mode in addition to auto-pause when they are removed from the ear. One setting that I am especially glad to see is the ability to modify feedback audio with choice of no audio cues, tones and tones and voice. The eQ is the weakest aspect of the experience, it is very basic and non-specific. The user has a sliding dot that very broadly affects bass, mids and highs but lacks fine control to achieve desirable results. I was content with the eQ set two notches down and one to the right as pictured above. Profiles can be saved and quickly swapped between for different use cases. eQ settings did not stick between devices in my testing.

 

Sound –

Tonality –

The MTW2 resembles the original but not in its entirety. It shares a V-shaped signature and remains smooth, warm and full in its voicing. The key differences are to be found in the mid-bass and upper midrange where the MTW2 takes equal steps forwards and backwards. The low-end is warm, full and organic but lacks the bloat and tubbiness of the original, creating a noticeably cleaner presentation. As a result, the midrange is more tonally transparent, however, it is just as laid-back due to a sharper dip in the upper-midrange. The result is denser, smoother and similarly laid-back vocals. As warmth has been reduced, the MTW2 isn’t congested but its vocal presentation is no clearer or more present than its predecessor either. The high-end meanwhile is slightly more aggressive but is fairly similar overall with a lower-treble peak and dark, clean background.

I personally find the midrange one of the most natural of the TWS earphones I’ve tested if not entirely accurate. Though I can still see those coming from Harman or diffuse-field neutral IEMs finding them veiled or congested. If you like a warm, organic sound, not necessarily high in clarity but prioritising coherence, the MTW2 will fit the bill very nicely.

 

Bass –

There appears to be a concern that Sennheiser over-tamed the MTW2 in lieu of critic complaint of mid-bass bloat on the original. To my ears, this is surely not the case as the MTW2 remains a powerful, warm and deep-reaching earphone. Extension is excellent delivering visceral slam and rumble. Deep-bass information is also easily discerned as the sub-bass and mid-bass are quite linear. As such, a warm tone and full, enlarged notes are mostly derived from a moderate hump in the upper-bass. Still, timbre isn’t overly off as the mid-bass is now more balanced and, in turn, the bloat and tubbiness of the original is mostly gone.

If there’s one thing Sennheiser is renowned for, it’s their dynamic driver quality and here the MTW2 is a noticeable step up from its predecessor too. Driver control is slightly higher which in culmination with its cleaner tuning results in improved separation and a more articulate presentation. The MTW2 has notably natural attack and decay resulting in a smooth texture and well articulated notes, if a slightly woollier presentation than quicker-decaying competitors. As such, notes don’t have outstanding definition, however, the low-end is natural and non-fatiguing.

 

Mids –

The original MTW stood out amongst the sea of thin, overly V-shaped TWS offerings with its warm, smooth albeit laid-back presentation. Little has changed here, the MTW2 shares the same qualities but exchanges some warmth for increased density. The key is its bass/midrange transition that is smooth and lightly bolstered. This provides good balance between male and female vocals in addition to ample vocal size and a commanding fullness. The tone is noticeably cleaner than the original producing organic, natural vocals with good coherence and note resolution. What some may have issue with is their increased density on behalf of a sharper upper-midrange dip.

As such, vocals are smooth and somewhat truncated at times yet also accurate in articulation, with their density mitigating the rasp and sharpness of their lower-treble peak. In this respect, the MTW2 is a step up from its predecessor. On the contrary, though bass is less present, vocals are just as laid-back as the original so overall balance remains the same. Vocal clarity and extension are also reduced so those wanting high vocal clarity and openness won’t find a perfect match here. The MTW2 caters to exactly the same audience as before; those wanting a rich, smooth and non-fatiguing listen with ample cleanliness and clarity but chief focus on a euphonic organic timbre.

 

Highs –

Crisp but clean, the top-end of the Momentum TWS is pleasantly detail-dense while avoiding fatigue. In general, the character is quite standard for a V-shaped earphone, with a moderate 6KHz peak followed by a generally smoother and darker background. The results are what you’d expect, the top-end isn’t over-forward or strident and provides a good sense of distance behind its detail presence. Meanwhile, it retains a clear image with strong focus on foreground details. The tone is lightly warm and the transient response on the smoother side so though instrument body is on the thinner side due, the presentation remains is devoid of sharpness or brittle character.

Details are brought to the fore with crisp percussion while shimmer and decay are natural, providing convincing texture. Middle-treble is dark and highs roll off through this region. As such, you don’t get the energy and sparkle of a similarly priced wired set nor the same resolution, but few would expect that. Rather, the MTW2 focuses on the fundamentals; it has stable imaging and defined layers with enough extension to craft convincing soundstage expansion and enough openness to avoid congestion. Background detail retrieval isn’t exceptional, but few would contend with the MTW2’s well-detailed foreground and tasteful combination of clarity and cleanliness.

 

Soundstage –

The MTW2 has a fairly involving soundstage too. Width extends beyond the head and tapers off naturally at its extremities. Depth is more intimate which aids its presentation by preventing vocals from sounding overly recessed but also detracts from the three-dimensionality of its presentation. Overall, though relaxed, vocals aren’t positioned too far from the listener thereby aiding balance to some degree. Imaging is quite good, coherent with sharp directional cues on behalf of its lower-treble presentation. Vocals occupy a strong centre image. Meanwhile, there’s good foreground/background contrast with defined layers. Separation is not the MTW2’s high point though it is improved over its predecessors which will provide the impression of greater detail retrieval.

 

Comparisons –

DSC08268

Adv M5 TWS ($200): The M5 TWS is a Harman-target IEM and very audiophile focussed. It lacks the feature set of the MTW2 in turn with no ANC, aware-mode or app support at present. The faux-custom style housings seal well with a slightly deeper fit but isolation doesn’t match the Momentum TWS even without ANC active. The touch controls are also less reliable and responsive. Battery life is rated at a similar 7hrs. Call quality isn’t as good, especially as the M5 struggles with background noise suppression.

Its sound is distinctly brighter and thinner suiting those valuing a clear, revealing midrange and superior technical performance. Bass extension is similar on both, the M5 TWS has more emphasis here followed by less mid-bass and substantially less upper-bass. Its tone is more neutral, and its driver is quicker decaying with slightly better control. The M5 TWS isn’t as powerful or rich but is just as hard-hitting and is more discerning of fine detail and texture. This trend continues through the higher frequencies. The M5 TWS has a thinner, clearer and considerably more forward vocal presentation.

Its tone is more neutral, and it is a lot more open sounding. I would hesitate to dub either more explicitly natural, they exist on opposite ends of the scale; the MTW2 suiting those wanting rich, smooth and coherent vocals, the M5 TWS for those valuing separation, cleanliness and definition. The top end is more organic on the MTW2 and slightly more focused with a darker background. Meanwhile, the M5 TWS has better extension with more background detail retrieval, resolution and sparkle but also a brighter background. Both have similar soundstage width but the M5 TWS has better depth projection and sharper imaging, it is a lot more separated due to its cleaner tuning.

Sennheiser MTW (~$199): The original MTW that started the craze, now commonly found at heavily reduced prices. It has less features but similar strengths and sound quality overall. What will be more of a deal-breaker is the aforementioned passive battery drain issue in addition to its odd pairing process

. If you can live with that, get a good fit and don’t require the extended battery life and ANC ability of the 2, you can receive a similar experience at a much cheaper price. That said, the successor is certainly much easier to live with.

The MTW2 is certainly tuned in the same ballpark as its predecessor while introducing some new elements. Bass extension is similar on both, however, the MTW2 has a more linear sub to mid-bass transition. In turn, its tone is cleaner and note size smaller, the timbre is more natural and bloat is reduced. The sub-bass is more apparent by comparison which aids dynamics and both separation and definition are noticeably higher. The midrange will polarise. The MTW2 has a more laid-back upper-midrange so though it isn’t as warm due to reduced bass emphasis, it is just as full and slightly smoother.

This will be to the liking of those who found the original fatiguing of sibilant due to the lower-treble tuning, articulation is more accurate here. On the contrary, the MTW has slightly better clarity and a more open vocal presentation, both being equally laid-back that said. The lower-treble appears a touch more aggressive on the MTW2 as its emphasis contrasts greater with its more laid-back upper-midrange. It has a slightly thinner instrument body but also slightly better definition and detail retrieval. Both extend similar and have similar soundstage expansion. The MTW2 has slightly more dimension and more defined layers due to its cleaner tuning.

M&D MW07 Plus ($299): Like the M5 TWS, it is more audio-focused with no ap integration but implements lifestyle features such as ANC and aware mode. The aware mode doesn’t work nearly as well while the ANC is similar to the MTW2 being less aggressive but also free of artefacts or pressure. As the MW07 housing blocks considerably less noise than the MTW2 passively, overall noise attenuation is noticeably better on the MTW2. The housings are just as comfortable to me and may be more stable in larger ears due to the silicone wing stabilisers. They have a higher IPX5 water resistance rating, offer good call quality and background noise suppression in addition to longer 10-hr battery life. They will be a good alternative for those fearing the MTW2 may be too dark sounding for their liking.

The MW07 Plus provides a more U-shaped sound and a generally more vivid presentation. It has slightly better sub-bass extension with similar emphasis through the sub and mid-bass but a cleaner upper-bass creating a slightly cleaner image. It has higher driver control with harder-hitting attack and slightly quicker decay creating a more defined image with similar power and drive. The MTW2 is smoother and richer in voicing for those wanting more warmth and fullness. Through the midrange, the same theme continues. The MTW2 is slightly more laid-back while the MW07 Plus has a push in the upper-midrange that gives it a slightly more intimate presentation.

The MTW2 is denser, fuller and warmer where the MW07 Plus is cleaner, more open and revealing but not too forward so it won’t polarise like the M5 TWS as its bass is more present and its vocals are slightly denser and smoother. The MTW2 actually has a crisper treble where the MW07 Plus is slightly smoother with a brighter background. As such, it doesn’t have the same focus and contrast, it is slightly less detailed in the foreground but has slightly better top-end extension and a cleaner transient response with more top-octave sparkle and a bit more fine detail retrieval. The MW07 Plus has similar soundstage width but more depth for a more rounded presentation. Its separation is higher but its imaging isn’t quite as coherent.

 

Verdict –

Much like its predecessor, the MTW2 is sweeping up awards and accolades in abundance. And, where some critical design flaws in its predecessor caused polarisation between users and critics, I can’t see the same happening here. For the MTW2 has no immediate faults and there’s nothing it does poorly, no situation where I was left wanting features. Of similar importance, there was no instance where I was left wanting those features to work better either. The high-cost will be difficult to justify as with all premium products. Yet what comes with that cost is refinement and versatility.

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The MTW2 is a great all-in-one solution for the user that intends to take them everywhere and use them for everything. The ANC isn’t especially effective and the sound remains V-shaped, perhaps overly relaxed in the upper-midrange for some. Still, this is a great update to the original and a strong addition to the ever more competitive TWS market. The MTW2 is equipped for almost every situation the user could throw at it; whether that be workout, commute or air travel. Furthermore, though no longer the undisputed champion, the MTW2 retains an engaging and natural sound that’s easy to enjoy if not possessing the greatest balanced and fine detail retrieval. Some products amount to more than the sum of their parts and the MTW2 exemplifies this notion entirely.

The Sennheiser MTW2 is available from on Amazon (International) for $299 USD at the time of writing. Please see my affiliate link for the most updated pricing, availability and configurations.

 

Track List –

88Rising – Head in The Clouds

Dire Straits – Communique

Eric Clapton – Unplugged

Fetty Wap – Fresh N Clean

keshi – bandaids

Post Malone – Beerbongs and Bentleys

PREP – Cold Fire

Radiohead – The Bends

Rich Brian – Amen

The Beach Boys – Surfer Girl

The Marshall Tucker Band – The Mashall Tucker Band

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