Name: Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear
Type: On-ear headphones
Specifications: Click here for full specs
Price as reviewed: £169.99
Shrinking down their impressive Momentum over-ear headphones and adding a splash of colour, have Sennheiser done enough to claw back customers from the beastly brawn of the Beats brand? Read our full review to find out!
Sennheiser’s headphones have never suffered in the style stakes before, offering elegant designs whether in-ear, on-ear or over. What they haven’t offered much of in the past though is colour, traditionally sticking with chromes and blacks. If the success of the Beats brand is anything to go by, the more colourful your cans, the more recognisable they’ll be too, and more likely to wrestle the pennies out of your pockets to boot. Sennheiser’s latest, the Momentum On-Ear headphones, take this on board and offer a very slick look to go with their silky sounds.
Slightly shrinking down the earlier Momentum models which give this latest line their name, the Momentum On-Ear headphones have slightly smaller cups that rest on your ear rather than over them. The line is available in a range of tasteful colours – we tested out a navy blue pair, but you can also pick up pistachio green, coffee brown and cream, and pink versions, with a handful more expected in time for Christmas.The colours and construction together add up to a very tasteful design. A stainless steel band (finished off with real leather at the top) pulls the two cups together, each finished with suede-like Alacantara padding – the same you’d expect to find in an oil baron’s luxury yacht upholstering. If there’s a weak link anywhere, it’s the three-button remote’s cabling, with a slightly rubbery texture causing the cable to tangle at times. Still, in a wise move, Sennheiser have made the cable replaceable, so if it does fall foul to a tangle you’ll be able to replace it inexpensively without having to chuck out the headphones as a whole. Considering their leaning towards the pricier side of the consumer headphone market at £169.99, you’d hope for this flexibility, which Sennheiser have thankfully offered. All in, it’s a good-looking package.
In terms of comfort, the adjustable headband (sliding smoothly rather than clicking into notched sizing positions) should fit all but the most bulbous of heads comfortably. The on-ear cups will never feel quite as comfortable as in or over-ear alternatives, but either way never pushed in with so much pressure as to prevent our many-hours-long listening sessions from being a joy.
That joy came mostly from the Momentum On-Ear headphones top-notch sound quality. Measured and clear, it’s a much more satisfying sound produced than bass-heavy rivals like Beats.That said, the Momentum On-Ears do sit comfortably towards the bass-y end of the spectrum, but with a warmth that’s never over bearing. There’s a kick to synth and electronic low-end sounds, while low-mid tones sound full and rich too. Trebles and mids were clear too, but can’t quite match the brightness of an open-backed design.
Listening to a wide range of music, we’d say rock and electronic tunes are best suited to the Momentum On-Ear headphones, which didn’t quite have the dynamism we’d like for classical recordings. Suede’s Coming Up, mixing thick synth sounds and crunchy guitars sounded a treat, with good definition between tones in even the busiest moments of tracks like Trash. Chic’s Good Times saw its classic bass-line rumble in beautifully, with the track’s strings and key runs sitting nicely in the mix too. Daughter’s If You Leave album was an enjoyable listen too, though the fragile moments were less well suited to the Momentum On-Ear’s punchy bottom end.Another point of note, the headphones offer little noise cancelling abilities. Sitting on rather than over the ear, it’s easy for outside noise to seep into your listening session, which, when combined with the fact that they can’t be folded up for storing in a bag, may not make these the most suitable headphones for commuters. Enjoyed in the comfort of your own home however, there’s much to like here.
A beautiful design and solid soundstage, the Momentum On Ears lose a point for the slightly-annoying cabling and lack of sound isolation. Those points aside, they’re a worthy purchase, with audio chops to match their good looks.
By Gerald Lynch | July 15th, 2013