In a Nutshell
Wireless earbuds are currently a very popular product. They are useful for all sorts of things, including listening to music from smart phones without wires, but also for listening to phone calls, audio books, and gaming, all the while isolating the sound from surrounding noise.
They come in a wide variety of price ranges, with price reflecting the sound quality.
Sennheiser’s new MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 Rechargeable Earbuds are at the high-end of the price range, $299.95, and they sound like it.
With the popularity of earbuds exploding, I figured it was time for me to try some. I have not been a fan of putting things in my ears, so I did not know what to expect.
So, when Sennheiser offered me a pair of their new MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earbuds, I said, “yes”.
SENNHEISER MOMENTUM TRUE WIRELESS 2 EARBUDS SPECIFICATIONS
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 Earbuds are the second-generation of this particular model.
So, what is different between this second version and the first?
To start with, the drivers are 2 mm smaller in diameter in the model 2 (7 mm instead of 9 mm). This makes the earbuds fit in the ears easier, which makes them more comfortable. Technically speaking, I am not certain, but I believe this will also improve the high frequency performance because of lower mass.
Next, the model 2 has active noise-cancellation. This is accomplished by measuring the ambient noise in the room, inverting it, and adding it to the music. What this does is cancel (most of) the noise in the room, making the music or voice the only audible sound in your ears.
The battery life is also improved. Now, you can listen for 7 hours without recharging, and assuming you store them in the carrying (and charging) case, shown below, you can get three full charges from the case, without having the charging case connected to the charging cable.
Here is a photo of the charging case with one bud removed so you can see the charging contacts. The USB-C jack is on the rear of the case. It has an LED that glows yellow when it is charging from the cable, and green when it is fully charged.
The bud in your ear will look as shown below. It is more conspicuous than a hearing aid, but so what? What we are after here is sound quality, not being unnoticeable. In fact, maybe you want others to notice them because they are fashionable.
An “exploded” view of the earbud is shown below. There are a lot of parts in these little things.
I “connected” the MOMENTUM earbuds to my Samsung Note 10 Plus Android phone by Bluetooth. First, you have to download the app, which is called “Sennheiser Smart Control”.
Next, I turned on the Bluetooth connection in the Settings menu on the phone . . .
. . . and booted the Smart Control app (I took the screen shot above after I had turned on Bluetooth and booted the Smart Control app, so it shows “1 device connected”).
Once the app had connected to the buds, the following screen appeared, and it indicates 100% battery life left, since I had just recharged them:
I had previously booted the app and created an EQ mode that appealed to me. Clicking on the Equalizer button yields the following:
You use your finger to adjust the Bass and Treble. I called it ++ Tr – – Ba for extra treble and reduced bass and saved it. The next time I booted the app, the ++ Tr – – Ba EQ mode that I had saved and selected was the default. To create another EQ mode, you use your finger to move the spectrum in the Bass or Treble region while listening to some music or voice. Then you are offered the option of saving it and naming it. You can select the mode you want when listening and selecting it in the app.
If you want to hear ambient sounds, such as speaking with someone while you are listening to music, you go to the Transparent Hearing menu, shown below, and turn it on. You can turn on “Keep music playing” if you like, which lets you hear ambient sounds while the music is playing. Otherwise, the music stops while you have Transparent Hearing on. As such, the earbuds act as sort of hearing aids, with or without music playing. Obviously, this turns off the noise cancellation.
You might want to have separate EQ modes for music and for voice (phone calls, audio books, etc.). Separate modes for jazz vs. classical music too. Very handy.
For music, I used a Google Play Music app.
The Franz Schubert Radio station gave me compositions by Schubert, Brahms, and Schumann. I was surprised at the sound quality difference that the Sennheiser buds made and frustrated that I hadn’t obtained good quality buds until now. With the ++ Tr – – Ba EQ mode, the sound was exquisite.
OK, so how about some Beethoven? I am getting addicted to these things. Violin is a good test for high frequencies. They were amazing on the Sennheiser MOMENTUM buds. If you need less treble because you are younger than I am (which is easy to do since I am almost 75), it is a simple matter of dragging the treble end of the spectrum on the EQ page and saving it as another EQ mode. In fact, I created an EQ mode called + Tr – Ba which did just that.
Art Pepper is one of my favorite jazz musicians of all time, and this is one of his best albums. If you hit the arrow key (the white arrow inside the red circle), you cycle through other artists that are also on this channel, such as Paul Desmond, Bill Evans, and other greats from that era. You have to get used to a completely different kind of soundstage when listening to music with earbuds (or headphones). There is no blending of the left channel with the right ear or the right channel with the left ear that you get with speakers. So, with a stereo recording made in the days when an instrument, such as Art Pepper’s saxophone, is entirely and exclusively in the left ear, you hear the music in a somewhat unnatural way. But, that’s OK. It just takes a little getting used to.
I could detect a bit of harshness, which I think is probably due to the + + Tr on the EQ mode.
Madonna is getting along in years, but her music remains in place. This radio station has her music along with some of her contemporaries, such as Cyndi Lauper. The harshness that I heard resulted in my creating a new EQ mode, called 0 Tr – – Ba, where the treble was flat but the bass reduced. This eliminated the harshness that I heard in the Art Pepper album as well.
I also used the earbuds for phone calls and listening to my audio book collection, streaming direct from my Android phone. They make a huge difference. I could shut out ambient noise so that I could hear the sources much, much clearer. With the Transparent Hearing on, I could understand conversation better as well.
The Bluetooth distance surprised me. I was able to listen to music streaming from my phone to the earbuds at the other end of my house.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earbuds are a remarkable achievement in miniaturization and sound quality. For 300 bucks, they are a no-brainer.