A lot has happened in the True Wireless headphone market in the last few years. Many big players including Apple, Samsung and Huawei have entered the market, and many technical developments have taken place. In the middle of it all has been the German manufacturer Sennheiser, and at the end of 2018 they achieved more than a little success with their Momentum True Wireless: These premium headphones are still among the best in their field, and they are right up near the top of our list of “The best True Wireless in-ears.”
Times change, and the big players mentioned above – first and foremost Apple who made their debut in noise-cancelling headphones with their AirPods Pro – have set out to conquer a valuable share in the market. So any well-established company in the field may find themselves under pressure to make a move, as buyers looking at products in a similar price range are likely to opt for the headphones with the most extra features.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Sennheiser added this extra feature to their popular Momentum True Wireless headphones. And as anticipated, it looks like the Momentum True Wireless 2 are set to conquer the market.
Scope of delivery
Delivered in a typical Sennheiser blue and white cardboard box, the package includes a fabric-covered charging case, two in-ears (IPX4 rating), four silicone earpieces in sizes XS, S, M and L, a short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and two short instruction manuals which come in different languages. It’s a little disappointing that Sennheiser didn’t include foam tips, but even without them the silicone tips make for a well-sealed fit.
As with their predecessors, when you first fit these in-ears, you put them into your ears and fix them with a gentle turn. Here you really need to get the fit exactly right, or you will lose the full bass range and end up with a rather thin burbling.
In general, the wearing comfort is good, but these are not the slimmest of True Wireless in-ears. Children or anyone with very small ear canals will have problems getting them to fit. Next to the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ they look a little more beefy, but compared to the massive Sony WF-1000XM3 Sennheiser’s in-ears will really fit deep inside your ear. Depending on how tightly they fit in your ears, these in-ears could create an unpleasant feeling of pressure.
The manufacturer specifies seven hours with only one battery charge (without Noise Cancelling switched on), but we can’t confirm this, as in our tests we only manage six hours and 40 minutes at a moderate volume of about 60%. But values always differ in practice, as many factors can affect battery life. When used together with the stylish charging case, we managed a little over 27 hours. A complete charging cycle needs about an hour and a half, but ten minutes in the case gave a runtime of almost an hour and a half. These in-ears are thus only in the middle of the charts for battery life and they don’t reach a runtime up to the standards of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ or Padmate’s Pamu Slide.
The latest Bluetooth standard 5.1 is at work under the hood, and these in-ears support SBC, AAC and aptX codecs. Pairing is done quite quickly by pressing the touch surface for three seconds. Then just call up the corresponding Bluetooth menu on your device and you’re ready to go. This worked reliably and without problems in our test, both with iOS and when using Android. After the wireless link was connected, an English-speaking female voice tells you the status, and it is noticeable that there is a slight left-right offset.
These smart in-ears do not support multipoint, so a simultaneous connection with several devices, which would allow you to switch quickly between a tablet and a smartphone, is not possible.
The Bluetooth connection proves to be extremely stable: In an open outdoor area the first dropouts could only be heard after more than 40 metres, while inside an apartment the level had to be changed before the first drop-outs were noticed in the next room.
These are great results, but there is still room for criticism: I had sporadic connection problems with our test device (iOS 13.3.1) after taking the headphones out of my ears and putting them back in after about ten minutes. Spotify continued playing after pressing the play button on my smartphone, indicating that the Momentum True Wireless 2 were still connected, but they didn’t make a sound. This was eventually fixed by pairing them again via the Bluetooth system settings.
Operation remains the same as for the previous model. The two silver touch surfaces allow precise control of all kinds of functions: On the left, tap once to pause or resume playback, tap twice to skip forward one track, tap three times to skip back one track, and hold down the button to reduce the volume. On the right side you can call up your speech assistant with one tap, and the Transparent Hearing function is activated or deactivated by means of a double-tab, active noise cancelling is triggered by a triple-tab, and finally, holding down the right side increases the volume.
When making calls, the earpieces on both sides react in the same way: Pressing once accepts and ends calls, pressing twice rejects calls. All this works reliably well, even if there is a delay of about 1.5 seconds. Of course, you can configure the controls to your own tastes, and completely change these actions if you want, but to do this you need the free iOS and Android app…
This app serves as a hub for all Sennheiser headphones that can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth. So if you have several pairs of Momentum or PXC headphones, Smart Control offers you a handy way to manage all of them. Firmware updates can be done here, and you can also reassign the controls to the touch interface. A simple EQ lets you tune the sound, the “Sidetone” setting mixes your voice during phone calls so you can avoid the “loudspeaker” effect which often occurs when wearing headphones. Other important features of the app are the Auto Answer feature, which lets you take calls automatically by taking the right earpiece out of the charging case, and also a Smart Pause function. All in all, you can’t complain about the range of functions, but as the icing on the cake we would have liked to have had a lock function, similar to that which is available with Samsung Galaxy Buds+, so that the touch surfaces can be made insensitive to accidental touching.
Transparent hearing mode
A transparency mode has become a standard feature of many wireless headphones, as it allows you to mix in outside sounds to get a better sense of your surroundings. Momentum True Wireless 2 even lets you decide whether to automatically pause the music when you double-tab this function. In practice, this works as expected, but it is noticeable that this is accompanied by a very quiet but still noticeable crisping and crackling, and slight background noise.
Sennheiser claims that the external microphones mainly reduce low-frequency ambient noise. And indeed, they do this; despite very good passive damping, complete isolation is never achieved. The fact that switching to ANC mode neither increases the background noise nor interferes negatively with the sound is especially praiseworthy. However, in direct comparison with Apple AirPods Pro, thanks to adaptive NC technology, they provide a much broader cancellation effect. But, as I said, this does not mean that Sennheiser’s implementation is bad, but I would have liked a more effective cancellation effect, which would have made the differences between “ANC on” and “ANC off” clearer. If “the best noise-cancelling” is at the top of your list of desired features, there’s no way around it, you need to look for over-ear solutions. It’s a shame that in this case a soft crackling can be heard when switching noise cancelling on and off.
If, however, it’s “sound” that is at the top of your list of requirement, the Momentum True Wireless 2 could be just the right headphones for you. Sennheiser’s slogan “The pursuit of perfect sound” doesn’t promise too much.
The dynamic 7-mm drivers deliver a frequency response of from 5 Hz to 21 kHz and a well-balanced, warm basic character that always harmonises very well across genres. Classical pieces, heavy metal or deep ambient tracks don’t suffer from sonic dropouts. These in-ears are powerful but always remain agile and dynamic, creating a balance that is really rare in this genre of headphones. The bass range starts deep down, without being spongy or boomy, and reproduces kick drums and bass with the necessary precision. However, the Momentums don’t provide the acoustic “magnifying glass” that we might be used to with studio headphones. But, thankfully, neither do these in-ears overemphasise the low frequencies in pursuit of a youthful fashionable sound like some of their competitors do.
In the mids – despite the warm basic character – you immediately notice a naturalness which especially benefits vocals and acoustic instruments. Also, there is an agility here that represents the striking characteristics of stringed instruments or percussion without any problems and combines them into a harmonious overall picture. This is continued in the highs: Nothing hisses, nothing sounds exaggerated. Towards the top, the headphones open up and give reverb the space to develop accordingly. Details can not only be guessed at but also “heard”, which creates awesome moments on some tracks. This is something you don’t hear often with in-ears, and at times they reminded me of using over-ears.
Compared to Apple AirPods Pro the virtual stage appears wider, more spacious and deeper, which is especially noticeable during live acoustic recordings.
Even with spoken content such as podcasts or radio plays, the Momentum True Wireless 2 contribute to intelligibility through their naturalness. And it really doesn’t matter whether noise cancelling is activated or not – we couldn’t detect any difference in sound quality.
Finally, we rated the quality of calls as good to very good.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are extremely high-quality True Wireless in-ears with useful features such as active noise cancelling, transparency mode and connection to a smartphone. The fact that this connection is not quite as elegant as Apple, for example, is not something that loses them any points in this review.
What should be clear to everyone, however, is the fact that Sennheiser has launched a leader in this sonic class with this model, which will be used again and again as a reference point for True Wireless in the coming years.
If the annoying little teething troubles are eradicated now, at the launch stage, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 has what it takes to occupy the best True Wireless in-ears throne for a long time to come.
- Bluetooth version 5.1
- Scope of functions
- Occasional Bluetooth dropouts
- Quiet crackling during deactivation/activation of noise cancelling
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 21.000 Hz
- Weight without cableje 6g, inkl. Case 64 g
- Cable length15 cm
What's in the box
- 4 pairs of ear pieces in XS, S, M, L
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- available in black and white
- BT- Codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX
- BT version: 5.1
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP
- Smart Control App for iOS and Android
- Audio transmission range (microphone): 100 Hz - 10 kHz