Sennheiser just recently announced a very promising new update for the MTW that promises a higher-fidelity sound. No firmware update is required for the earphones themselves, the High-end Sound Tuning option accessible through the Smart Connect app. Sennheiser state that this setting uses DSP to remodel the sound similar to an audiophile headphone. Though unclear, it appears that Sennheiser have imitated the effects of the Helmholtz resonator from the ie800 series digitally, by reducing the amplitude of treble peaks. They also tout increased upper-mid and lower-treble presence in addition to promising a more balanced bass with increased separation from the midrange. Of note, the setting is saved to the earphones so it can be enjoyed from other sources that do not support the Smart Connect app.
In listening, the update is subtle but appreciable. Of course, the resulting sound is still nowhere near the ie800 series, but that can be expected given the vast difference in design. The bass is indeed slightly tamed, it is cleaner with a little less presence throughout, especially the mid-bass. The midrange changes are subtle but apparent, and confirmed on sine sweep as my measurement system was giving me inconsistent results with the MTW2. There’s a similar warmth and slightly reduced fullness by virtue of the cleaner bass tuning, but it remains a full-bodied and laid-back earphone. As, in addition, the upper-midrange 3-4kHz region has been brought up slightly so the earphone does sound a bit cleaner and more open in addition to offering greater balance with slightly less laid-back vocals.
The treble has actually been attenuated to my ear, specifically around 6kHz. That said, the remaining treble sounds similar, there’s a similar peak around 10kHz that provides air and headroom. Altogether, I notice slightly better separation and balance. The soundstage is indeed a little wider and transients are presented in a cleaner manner with a more focused detail presentation. Cymbals especially are presented with a more natural texture and decay. When toggling the setting off, you get a little more energy and fine detail presence, but at the cost of a slightly more metallic timbre and diminished instrument body.
The new setting is surely more natural and balanced, very noticeable but don’t expect miracles, the naming is misleading to say the least. I am optimistic of the changes Sennheiser have made, the tuning is going in the right direction, and it is reassuring that they have continued to work on this as the MTW2 is a great all-rounder. I still think empowering the user with a proper eQ interface would offer more utility than this setting, but it does simplify the experience whilst offering changes that few would disagree with. If you’re a current owner of the MTW2, I would definitely advise updating your Smart Connect app to the latest version to get this sound option. If you are a prospective buyer, the changes are not transformative so this update shouldn’t change your decision unless you were specifically put off by the sharp lower-treble tuning before.