There are some brand names that are synonymous with quality audio. Sennheiser is one of these. Their products are considered premium products with premium sound so when the opportunity came up to review their new Momentum Free I jumped at the chance.[toc]
What’s in the box?
The box is a relatively small one but it is still much more than is required. There is a premium leather case with red stitching housing the earphones and the microUSB charging cable. Also included, as so often is the case, included are a few spare pairs of ear cushions for different sized ears.
The leather case is the best case I have seen for a small set of earphones and reflect the market that Sennheiser are aiming at with these earphones.
Design, Fit and Comfort
It is so easy to get lost in amongst the sheer number of earphone variants out these. Every company usually has at least one version of each type of earphone. So what are these earphones?
The Sennheiser Momentum Free in-ear headphones are extremely compact Bluetooth headphones designed to bring “uncompromised sound quality” in a minimalistic style. MArketing spiel aside, these headphones look good and to be honest they look too small and minimalistic — there is no way decent sound could come out of headphones so small. More on the sound later.
There is a cable connecting the two earphones — Sennheiser didn’t get the memo regarding true wireless headphones at this stage it seems. On the right hand cable, about 4 centimetres below the earphone is the inline remote control and on the left there is an even bigger battery pack.
Usually an inline remote is not an issue but with such small, lightweight earphones it felt unstable, as if the sheer weight of it would easily pull the earphones out of the ear. The left sided battery pack is even heavier, creating an even worst feel on that side.
In the end, once I found the correct cushion size they stayed in most of the time but the earbud had to be jammed all the way down the ear canal for this to happen. The balance of the earphones is destroyed by the heavy weights on the cable.
The earphones are wedged into the ear canal and as such seal out any outside noise or interference. There is no noise cancelling with these headphones but it is not required. Although they are wedged into the ear canal, the lightweight of the earbuds (40 grams total weight of the entire headphones and the earbuds a a fraction of that) make them still feel relatively comfortable in the ears.
The cable sits behind the neck and can be shortened using the plastic loop. This results in a better fit and less motion of the headphones both of which are a good thing — especially when any movement may, and probably will, dislodge the earbuds from the ears.
The headphones are NOT waterproof of any kind and are definitely not designed for gym use. The heavy weights on the cables would make them impractical in the gym anyway.
Audio Quality and Range
The sound on these headphones has to be heard to be believed. I thought my Bose QC30 were good but these take it a step further. I compared them to the Bose as they are definitely in the same category — a premium bluetooth in-ear headphone designed for use NOT in the gym.
The Sennheiser Momentum Free had a crispness that I have not heard before in Bluetooth in-ear headphones. The sound was crisp and accurate, especially at the mid to upper end of the sound range. They lacked the loud, deep base of the Bose but the crispness of all the sounds was impressive. Each individual sound and note could be heard and distinguished from each other.
Someone asked in my last headphone review whether there was any “bleed” of the sound and in this case there was none at all. I had them up at full volume, which was quite loud, and yes someone sitting next to me in a relatively quiet environment could not heard the music. I also could not hear the person sitting next to me, even with the volume at just 50 percent due to the good seal the earbuds provided in each ear.
The Bluetooth range was quite good, as good as most other headphones I have tested. The usual 10 metres of Bluetooth coverage was easily accomplished without too many hassles — you would not want to move around too much while using these headphones anyway.
The Momentum Free can be connected to two devices simultaneously so I could listen to a YouTube presentation while at the same time hearing all notifications on my phone.
Battery and Charging
The Momentum Free headphones are tiny little earphones with a massive (relatively) battery pack which can supply up to six hours of playback. I found this to be accurate in my use of these headphones.
Charging is via a microUSB cable (included) and charging did not take very long at all — in under an hour I was able to fully charge the 85mAh battery.
As expected Sennheiser include all the support and specs required to produce a high quality sound — something they have been very successful in this instance.
There is Bluetooth 4.2 with support for A2DP 1,2, AVRCP 1.4, HSP 1.2, HFP 1.6-HD Voice, apt-X, apt-X LL, AAC and SBC. The frequency response is from 15Hz to 22000Hz with a maximum sound pressure level of 118 decibels.
The headphones produce less than 0.5% total harmonic distortion which is easy to believe when you use the headphones. The lack of distortion is presented as an extremely crisp, accurate sound.
For more on the specs head on over to the Sennheiser website and check them out.
Before I tried the Sennheiser Momentum Free I didn’t like them. They looked small and flimsy — how could something so small and flimsy-looking produce a decent sound? Quality building is how.
The crispness of the sound the headphones produced was amongst the best I have experienced in any headphone. Although they lacked a small in the low end the mid and upper end of the sound was amazing. The more I used them the more I was able to appreciate how good they sounded.
After finding a comfortable fitting ear cushion they sat comfortably in the ears without falling out, although they felt like they would when I moved my head too quickly. These headphones are not designed for active use. If you are sitting at a desk or infront of a TV/monitor these would be perfect — not so much if you are jumping around.
The only downside of the headphones was the weight of the inline remote and battery pack. If you do not have the fit of the ear cushion correct and have them wedged into your ear canal the weight of them will pull the earbud out of the ear. Any movement of the head and/or body while wearing the headphones can also make the cable weights tug on the earbuds and possibly lead to a dislodging of the headphones.
As mentioned above, the sound these produce is amazing, especially considering the size of the earbuds but the catch is that they are not cheap. At a RRP of $329.95 they are certainly in the upper end of Bluetooth headphones but you get what you pay for it seems. They may cost over $300 but they sound like they do.
If you want an exceptional-sounding pair of in-ear headphones that wedge into the ear canal to seal out outside noise and do not care for jumping about while wearing them then the Sennheiser Momentum Free should be one pair you consider.
The Sennheiser Momentum Free can be found wherever good headphones are sold or from Sennheiser online for $329.95.