The other registration-required tool is Sound Check. This item helps you personalize the audio on the Momentum 4 with guidance on the best presets for the music you like to listen to. Sennheiser says you can use the feature repeatedly to create multiple modes for every genre, allowing you to get quite detailed in your customization.
Of course, the app gives you more basic things like battery percentage (in 10-percent increments) and connection management. A separate settings menu offers the ability to enable/disable on-head detection, automatic pausing and automatic power off. You can also choose between 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes and never for when the Momentum 4 will automatically turn off if you’re no longer actively using them.
Sennheiser’s earbuds and headphones consistently offer some of the best sound quality among all of the products I test – and that’s especially true of the Momentum line. The company has a knack for balanced tuning that still offers punchy bass where it’s needed and superb clarity in the details. It’s no surprise, then, that the audio profile on Momentum 4 is stellar. There’s a decent amount of customization in terms of sound in Sennheiser’s app, but the default tuning is so good I rarely activated any of it.
The first thing that struck me is how deep the sound is. In terms of both low-end tone and overall depth, there’s a wide soundstage where different genres are free to roam. Whether it’s the staccato synths and pulsing bass line on Sylvan Esso’s “Echo Party” or the myriad elements dancing on top of the driving beat of Beyoncé’s “Alien Superstar,” everything sounds like it was placed in an actual space, rather than just being compressed sound waves streamed directly to your ears. Even when there’s a lot going on at once, like that Beyoncé track, you can still pick out each element. Nothing ever feels like it’s been smashed together.
Gallery: Sennhesier Momentum 4 review | 12 Photos
Gallery: Sennhesier Momentum 4 review | 12 Photos
The Momentum 4 are the kind of headphones that you put on and you discover new aspects of songs you didn’t realize were there. On Maggie Rogers’ “Want Want,” for example, there’s a lot of atmospheric airiness to some of the instruments that doesn’t come across on some other models or earbuds. Things like the textured distortion of the bass guitar or the reverb on the drums.
When it comes to ANC performance, Sennheiser has made a big improvement. The noise cancellation on previous models was fine, but it didn’t come anywhere close to what Bose and Sony offer on their flagship headphones. With the Momentum 4, Sennheiser has narrowed the gap, especially with constant noise sources like sound machines and dishwashers. Bose and Sony are still better at blocking unwanted clamor overall, but the change from the Momentum 3 is obvious once you try this new version.
For calls, Sennheiser has equipped the Momentum 4 with two beamforming microphones per side. Much like the ANC, the headphones do a better job blocking constant noise during calls than things like background music or television. The person on the other end can still hear you loud and clear, it’s just obvious you’re talking over top of the roar. Your voice also sounds better than most headphones and earbuds overall, many of which offer the audio quality of a speakerphone rather than anything with a hint of mids and bass.
The Momentum 4 can automatically switch to transparency mode when you make a video or voice call. And coupled with Sidetone that lets you hear yourself speaking, these are a solid option for completing either of those tasks. Plus, multipoint connectivity means you can take a call on your phone and easily jump back to a podcast or music on your computer.
Sennheiser promises a jaw-dropping 60 hours of battery life on the Momentum 4, and that’s with active noise cancellation enabled. That’s double what most of the competition offers, where a lot of premium models can typically only muster around 30 hours. Of course, sometimes those battery claims don’t always pan out. It’s not uncommon for a company to come up a few hours short. Incredibly, that’s not the case here.
Over the span of several days, which included powering the headphones off manually and letting them turn off on their own, I managed 57 hours of ANC use. Sennheiser says 60 hours is achievable at “mid volume level, but I kept the audio around 75 percent the entire time and still almost hit the company’s estimate. If, somehow, you find yourself in a pinch, there’s also a quick-charge feature that will give you four hours of playtime in five minutes.
Despite Sennheiser’s mix of stellar sound and insane battery life, the Momentum 4 doesn’t quite have enough to dethrone Sony’s WH-1000XM5. Sony simply offers more features, like automatic pausing when you start talking, though it’s clear companies like Sennheiser are catching up with tools like location-based sound settings. The M5’s noise cancellation is better and Sony includes compatibility with its LDAC and 360 Reality Audio, on top of DSEE Extreme upscaling. Of course, the Momentum 4 has double the battery life and at full price Sennheiser’s offering is $50 cheaper.
I’m also a big fan of the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2. They offer more of a refined look than the Momentum 4, with impressive sound quality and better than advertised battery life. These are some of the only headphones I consider to rival Sennheiser in terms of audio. ANC works well and the Px7 S2 are plenty comfy to wear for long periods of time, but the headphones could use a little more polish with features like the ambient sound mode and customizable EQ. They’re also the same price as the M5, so Sennheiser is the more affordable option once again.
The Momentum 4 is Sennheiser’s most complete set of headphones thus far. The company improved its ANC performance so it matches up better with the outstanding sound quality that was already a staple of the Momentum line. Conveniences like Sidetone, automatic pausing and Sound Zones make your life easier, but besides stellar audio, the main attraction here is the battery life. Sennheiser has doubled up much of the competition there and, perhaps even more impressively, has managed to do so while keeping noise cancellation active. The design is what it is, but everything else combines for a worthy contender.
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