Sennheiser’s new headphones are more than just good-looking, they’re downright sexy. Maybe it’s all the brown leather, but the Momentums seem to be steeped in that same, oddly masculine brand of cool that hovers like a halo over the best gear from 30 or 40 years ago. Pair them with two fingers of Lagavulin 21-year for your next listening session in the den, and you’ll catch the vibe.
The Momentums represent Sennheiser’s attempt at a “fashion” headphone, a product with mass appeal priced for high-rolling consumers. It’s a little weird to see one of the biggest, most revered names in high-fidelity audio jumping into a such trend-driven market. But the sound lives up to the Sennheiser name, and we can be thankful for the company’s distinctly German take on “fashion,” which has more to do with mature, restrained style than shiny black plastic.
The materials are lavish. The leather on the earpads — supplied by Pittards and sourced from sheep raised among the verdant hills of Somerset, England — is extremely soft and supple. I’m also a big fan of the headband design: a thin strip of stainless steel with finely stitched leather padding at the crown.
Unlike the more common three-piece headband design, the Momentums use the retro approach of a one-piece band with tracks cut into it. So, rather than adjusting the size of the band itself to put the fixed earcups into the proper position, you simply slide the earcups up and down inside the tracks. This design feels more sturdy, and it allows for a thinner band. The cups themselves articulate slightly to give you a nice seal without too much clamp.
And of course, once they’re on, the real party starts.
The Momentum headphones sound phenomenally sweet. They have exactly the sound profile you’d expect from something in the fancier end of Sennheiser’s consumer lineup — natural richness, sparkling clarity, expertly rendered mids, and smooth highs. To my ears, there’s a bit of a bass boost, but they’re otherwise well-balanced. Overall, they sound excellent, exerting just enough character and personality to bring out a pleasant liveliness in the music. Sonically, they certainly deliver on the expectations set by the $350 launch price tag.
price: $269 usd