Sennheiser returns to the true wireless market with its true wireless Momentum True Wireless 2 headphones. This pair is more or less the same recipe as the previous model but claims to provide longer battery life and active noise cancelation (ANC). The price of $300 thus seems slightly more justified than on the Momentum True Wireless. But at this price point, even the slightest defects will feel painful.
- Sober and serious design
- Sound crushes competition
- Complete controls
- Good, but not great, battery life
- No wireless recharging
- The ANC falls short of the competition
- Rigidity in EQ
- High price
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 release date and price
The true wireless Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earphones have been available since April 1 for $300. Sennheiser's latest generation of true wireless headphones is available in two colors: black and white.
At 300 bucks, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are thus positioned at the very top end of the market. They are more expensive than the Apple AirPods Pro ($250) and the Sony WF-1000XM3 ($180) when they were released, the two main references on the market for true wireless headphones with ANC.
A serious look in shades of grey
This second iteration of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless is very familiar from the first version. You'll find the characteristic Sennheiser style, German-style elegance with sober materials that inspire solidity and minimalism.
The earphones, which are IPX4 (rain and sweat) certified, are slightly more compact than their predecessors, but the look remains the same with dense matte black plastic and a silver aluminum touch surface. The charging case is still dressed in a smooth, onyx-grey fabric dress. Its flap closes with force and the earphones remain housed in it without moving thanks to the magnetic fasteners.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, therefore, presents only incremental changes in design. They are indeed more compact, without being the most discreet true wireless headphones on the market. The in-ear part is more comfortable for extended use though.
The passive insulation is thus excellent, the earphones fit very well in the cartilage of the ear. The tactile surfaces are identifiable by their rougher surface with circular grooves. They enable the classic controls of playing and pausing music, taking calls, activating the ANC, Transparent Hearing mode, and calling up a digital voice assistant.
The touch controls are very responsive and I didn't notice any particular latency. On the other hand, false positives are common when trying to adjust the headphones. So it's a very good standard, as always with Sennheiser, on design and ergonomics.
The Sennheiser Smart Control application is too rigid
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 can be used in tandem on your smartphone with the Android application and dedicated (but not mandatory) iOS Smart Control. This application is incredibly frustrating as it excels at setting up touch controls while being far too rigid on EQ and ANC management.
Let's start with the positives. You have the ability to change the touch controls associated with each headphone. It is not possible to assign them all to one earphone, for example for mono use. But the system is really intuitive and the customization possibilities are very extensive.
By default, each of the controls may activate differently, depending on whether you tap the touch surface once, twice, three times, or with a long press. So you can relegate the functions you use least to triple-taping or simply discard them. The application is really effective here.
Let's get to the bad things. The big problem with this application is its rigidity in the management of the equalizer. As in previous versions, the equalizer is just a basic slider that you drag across the screen to set your listening profile. It really lacks precision and for someone who doesn't know much about frequency curves, the interface is far too simplistic.
If by some miracle you manage to aim right and find the equalization profile of your dreams, you can save it so that you don't have to start the whole process all over again. That's a start. It's even worse for active noise cancelation management. It's impossible to set the intensity, nor to create presets for different sound scenarios (subway, on the street, in the office, etc.).
You only have a virtual button to turn the ANC on or off. This is far below the possibilities offered by the Sony WF-1000XM3 Headphones Connect application which is much more complete and versatile.
Bluetooth 5.1 very stable but under-utilized
Like the first version, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 still work on a master/slave system. The master earpiece is the right earpiece and it is through it that the signal passes to the left earpiece, the slave.
It's a crude explanation, but in concrete terms, if you want to use mono, you have to use the right earphone. Let's talk about connectivity. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 use Bluetooth 5.1 and I had almost no stability concerns in almost one month and a half of use. I can literally count them on one hand.
On the other hand, multipoint Bluetooth is still not available. This is really an under-exploitation of Bluetooth 5.1 in my opinion. For the rest, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 support SBC, AAC, and aptX audio codecs but not aptX HD.
The charging case is not Bluetooth compatible. The application, therefore, does not display its charge level and you have to be content with a basic colored LED to more or less guess the remaining battery life. You also always have to take the earphones out of their box to start pairing.
Overall, Bluetooth is therefore really stable but largely under-exploited on the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
Sound that crushes the competition
But enough techno-babble, let's finally talk about sound. I tested the headphones with my trial period at Deezer HiFi which offers a 16-Bit/44.1 kHz throughput in FLAC or "CD quality". The headphones have a very balanced profile, as always at Sennheiser.
This is called a W signature in the horrible jargon of audiophilia purists. In concrete terms, it flatters all frequencies, from bass to treble to midrange. So the sound isn't very faithful but, and this is really what I love about Sennheiser, the bass is so deep.
Sennheiser says that the frequency response (the range from the lowest to the highest frequencies that headphones are capable of reproducing) is 5 to 21,000 Hz. The market average is between 20 and 20,000 Hz. The Momentum True Wireless 2 can, therefore, go down low in the bass range.
It's particularly enjoyable listening to rap or hip-hop. I enjoyed Damso's album "Lithopédion". It's punchy and you can feel the bass plunge, everything is well defined and all the elements of the stereo scene are identifiable. The bass certainly takes precedence over the rest of the frequencies, but the sound remains very precise, so it does not drown out the musical message.
The headphones have a little more trouble with high volume highs. They saturate a bit and we can notice a certain sibilance. I get annoyed with these technical terms, too. Basically, the "S" whistling sounds are overly accented and sound like a strident "Ssssssssss".
But overall, I love the audio rendition of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. It's the big strong point of these headphones and what places them far ahead of Apple's AirPods Pro and even the Sony WF-1000XM3. A total success for the brand, in my opinion.
Battery life up to market standards, at last
Battery life was greatly lacking in the early Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless, especially for headphones at $300.
Sennheiser claims seven hours of listening time on a single charge now. Up to 28 hours can be achieved with the two extra charges that the box allows. It takes an hour and a half to fully charge the Momentum True Wireless 2 in the box.
The brand says that an hour and a half of listening can be obtained with only 10 minutes of charging. So much for the promise of the manufacturer. In use, the seven hours of autonomy were verified except when using the ANC. Once the noise reduction was activated, I had a hard time exceeding four hours of listening.
Given the rather average performance of the ANC, I advise you to deactivate it because it drains the battery enormously. Otherwise, the battery is about average for what's on the market today. So there's progress, but it's simply catching up to current standards, nothing more. Note also that the USB-C charging box does not support wireless Qi charging, while models half the price like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ do.
The active noise reduction is medium, so what?
This is the main addition compared to the first version, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless offer Active Noise Reduction (ANC). As a matter of fact, this one is very average and doesn't compete with the Sony WF-1000XM3.
Constant, low-pitched noises, such as the engine noise of a car or the hum of the subway, are easily attenuated. But as soon as a more complex sound comes to pollute your sound environment, such as a voice, then the headphones pick up.
In any case, it's impossible to customize the ANC's intensity. It can't be said to be anecdotal and I activate it in transportation to be quiet, but the passive reduction of the headphones is in most cases sufficient to isolate you properly.
So again, this is not a strong selling point for these headphones. But considering their audio quality, I prefer them 100 times over other in-ear monitors with a better ANC like the Airpods Pro.
The price of $300 still seems too high for a pair of true wireless headphones. Especially since Sennheiser may have tried to offer more value by reworking the battery life and adding active noise reduction, these two points are absolutely not the best assets of the Momentum True Wireless 2.
But the most important thing for an audio product is its audio quality. And on this point, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 sets itself apart from the competition apart. The Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 offer much better ANC, but I definitely prefer Sennheiser headphones for their sound quality.
Let's get down to earth for a moment. The ANC on in-ear headphones is pretty much an accessory anyway. And if you're going to pay the price of a good pair of headphones or a pair of earbuds, you might as well make the choice to have good sound. So if you want a consumer solution (not an audiophile one) I recommend the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
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