I was literally blown away when I reviewed the first Sennheiser Momentum, over seven years ago. The German audio major’s premium headphone offering has evolved over the years and even has an in-ear version. For 2019, Sennheiser has launched Momentum Wireless 3 that rises up to the challenges, and opportunities, of the times we are in.
Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 has a design that is very similar to what the range has had over the years. The over the ear design has Momentum written all over and those who have seen these headphones before will need no introduction. The functional design, however, has changed a bit as the earphone can now be folded into the arc thus saving space for when you are on the move. The carrying case is also taller and more compact to accommodate this.
The headband is soft and the ear cups comfortable, though I miss the Alcantara fabric finish that made me love the first version of the Momentum. Now you have a premium finish which is perfect for listening to music for long hours, or just enjoying the silence of the noise cancelling on a long flight.
Sennheiser’s innovation on these headphones came as a pleasant surprise. The music pauses as soon as the headphone detect there are now ears in the cups. Apple AirPods users are used to this convenience, but having this in a premium headphone makes it even more pleasurable. Also, the headphone switches on as you unfold it and there is no need for a power button. Another small feature that makes such a big difference to user experience.
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 comes with noise cancellation and there are three modes here. You can listen to your music without noise cancellation, with full noise cancellation, and in transparency mode. The latter needs you to pull down on the toggle button that enables the first two modes. The noise cancellation is good and very natural, not giving you the feeling of being in a negative space. The transparency mode keeps you in sync with what is happening around you. Once you are in this mode, you have to switch off noise cancellation to get it back on. If there is a way to come back to noise cancellation it was not very apparent.
However, the ear cups do a good job of keeping most of noise out anyway and you can listen to music without noise cancellation if you are in a relative quiet surroundings and thus save on battery. But this is not what you are paying for when you buy a Momentum. All of these features are in the end just accessories for you enjoy the pure audio quality of the headphones. Sennheiser prides itself on being able to playback audio the way it was meant to be heard by the artistes. The Momentum Wireless 3 sticks to this core philosophy.
The Momentum Wireless 3 has a neutral audio profile, which stays true to what you would experience in a natural surrounding. There is no overpowering bass, no notes that are too sharp. The music flows in a roomy ambience with enough space for all tracks to play out. And you don’t need an 8D audio track to experience this, even with regular soundtracks you can experience why the Momentum series is at the pinnacle of commercial headphones.
Listen to Memories from Boyce Avenue and you can clearly hear violin notes below the vocals. Go to a hi-fi track like Ein Fin Liten Blome from Bjorn Eidsvag and you hear even the layers of his voice and despite the focus on the vocal realise there is more to this moving track. And when you move it Chant by Fourplay, the Momentum just comes to life with the range it has to handle in one single track. But then you don’t have to limit yourself to music. I tried the headphones paired to the Apple TV while watching The Snowman on Netflix and was almost transported to the scene.
In my books, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 is clearly the best headphones you can invest in for a high-end lean back audio experience. Yes, you can take these on a flight or to office, but these are best enjoyed on the couch as a soak on a Sunday afternoon. The Momentum Wireless 3 will cost you Rs 34,990, but for those who appreciate great music, this is a small price to pay.