It was a while ago I was poisoned by my editor friend with the top Sennheisor HD 800 headphone. Recently again in a late hot afternoon I was presented with a Sennheisor Momentum, which was proved to be quite poisonous!
While opening the high grade packaging, I was wondering the target buyer of this Sennheisor Momentum. The headphone design and the use of material is no doubt high end. The headphone available in black and dark brown. The design is smooth, matched with silvery metal parts. All the minor details are well taken care of.
I would not consider Momentum price is in the economy range. But at today’s living standard I do believe students (or parents of the student for that matter) should still find the headphone affordable. But elegant the Momentum it maybe, I think the colour selection may be a bit too conservative to students who might prefer brighter colour combinations. So I think Momentum may be targeting at a nitch market of youthful working adults who are looking for fine product with beyond average sound quality.
A nice headphone hard case came with the Momentum headphone, although personally I would prefer a soft case but nevertheless a hard case would provide more protection. The headphone came with two headphone cables. One was a cable that could directly used with Apple iDevices, and thus could control volumn and answer iPhone calls. The other cable was for the purist with just cable and nothing else. I like the iDevices cable headphone jack. It is a rotatable design that allows either a right angle connection or a direct connection. The headphone impedence of Mumentun is 18Ω, guess that is probably what the engineers of Sennheiser felt that is most compatible to the iDevices?
Nice on appearance is one thing. We cannot be buying good looking headphone but does not have good sound quality right? When the Momentum was brought home it was straight away connected to a made in 1988 Sony D-2 portable CD player and Headroom Total Airhead headphone amplifier to run in the headphone. But I was already impress by Momentum’s sound quality at a non-run-in condition. To me I was not able to hear significant difference after the headphone was run in by D-2 for about 100 hours. I also sampled the Momentum with Technics SL-XP 160 PCDP / Sound Devices HX-3, Marantz SA 14, Musical Fidelity A3 / Bryston / Corda HA-2. the former a portable system, the later my home hifi set up. I also tested the Momentum with iPhone4 and iPad2 pairing with Headroom Total Bithead headphone amplifier.
Momentum with Total AirHead Sony Vintage PCDP D-2
Momentum with HX-3 and Technics PCDP
Basically I am very please with the sonic performance of Momentum. When listening to Academy of St Martin-in -the-Fields performing String Sonata by Rossini, you got to test high, mid and low range in one shot. The representation of the violins, cellos and basses is wonderful with details. You can even hear musicians flipping their scores. You get the very impressive sound stage of a large orchestra recording from Hugo’s ‘Festival Overture’ (节日序曲) from the album Ode to the Red Flag (红旗颂). This is probably one of the rare finest recording of large orchestra by Hugo boss Mr Aik, that never fails to reproduce large sound stage on almost all equipment. From also a Hugo album Tasting Loneliness for the First Time (初次尝到寂寞) track 4 ‘Those Old Memories are Still Fresh’ (往事如昨), that amazing whistling from Mr Aik and the sweet voice from Huang Hong-yng (黄红英). From Decca The Beautiful Voice ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ Renee Fleming and English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Tate just perform the climax that shatters your heart.
iDevices headphone cable, rotatable jack (angle and straight).
Momentum is a closed head phone, and with its reasonable small size on-ear ear pad is ideal for people looking for a good sound quality headphone that is portable and has noise isolation capability. But as a result of sound isolation, closed headphone will lose some airiness and sound stage as compared to open headphone.
I am using two pairs of Sennheisor headphones. One is the one that I use while traveling from home to office and vice versa on train the portable HD 25-1. HD 25-1 is an interesting headphone Sennheisor specially designed for DJs, and the same design has been used for decades, until lately the upgraded HD 25-1-II, and the luxury version of the same price point as the Momentum the HD 25 Amperior. The other headphone of mine is the once long time Sennheisor No. 1 open reference headphone Hd 650. With comparison, the sonic performance of Momentum out performs the veteran Hd 25-1 (which is already very good sonically), and in my opinion quite close to HD 650. HD 650 will have better sound stage being an open headphone, and the music sounds more natural with the HD 650. But one thing I discovered for once that while at home listening to Marantz SA 14 with SACDs, the Momentum being able to isolate the ceiling fan noise and the computer gaming noise, I suddenly realised that in this case some recording details can even be better on Momentum than the HD 650!
With the out standing sonic performance of Momentum, I was start wondering how about that of Hd 25 Amperior. The impedence of Amperior is also 18Ω, different from HD 25-1 which is 70Ω. Compared to HD 25-1, Momentum has a bigger on-ear ear pad, which is more comfortable, but still not as comfortable as full size ear pad that covers the ear. In room condition with fan or air condition one should be able to enjoy the Momentum for a good long time without the ears being heated up.
Momentum with iPad2 and transparent Total BitHead
So is Momentum value for money? Well, I would say Momentum is a very well built closed headphone using good grade material. The minute details of the designs were considered by the Sennheisor engineers. If you do not mind paying a bit more, and you are looking for a headphone with good sound isolation, elegant design, and yet is portable, I would say Momentum definitely worth your audition.