Sanctuary with the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless M2 AEBT Measurements

Wired Passive
Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Wired Active

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Bluetooth Active

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As we go through this you may want to have a look at measurements of the original Sennheiser Momentum; Parrot Zik 2 active and passive; Beats Studio 2 Wireless; and Bose Quiet Comfort 25 active and passive.

Let's first talk about the M2 in wired passive mode, and compare it to the original Momentum. One thing you will notice with a quick peruse of the plots is there are a lot of similarities here. The general shape of the frequency response plots are similar, and both have a deep notch at about 4.3kHz. The M2 does rise in the bass more, and also rises from 300Hz to 3kHz more steeply. The M2 looks a little closer to the target curve to me, but in listening I found that because the bass was somewhat loose and the accentuation in the presence area strong, that the mid-range in between felt a bit left out. Also, on both headphones, the treble above 3kHz is a little too rolled-off. With the old Momentum having a rather flat curve this the top end roll-off doesn't feel so severe, but with the M2 the accentuation at 3kHz made the roll-off seem more extreem. As a result I found myself more aware of the presence region and looser bass, where the old Momentum sounded significantly more even.

The notch at 4.3kHz wasn't audible to me, and it does create a narrow distortion spike, which is also likely not a problem.

Square wave shapes are similar with the old Momentum showing less swayback on the 30Hz square wave indicative of it's tighter bass. Leading edge of the 300Hz square waves on both cans are a little slow indicative of the relaxed treble response; the overshoot is a little bigger on the M2 probably due to the more emphasized presence region. Impulse response shows that the M2 is out of absolute polarity.

Impedance of the M2 is 6 Ohms higher than the old Momentum at around 28 Ohms. Isolation is pretty good for a passive sealed can at -18dB broadband.

Now, moving on to active modes, the first thing to notice is the M2 shows virtually identical performance in wired and Bluetooth modes with the exception of the 30Hz square wave shape. Because I see no difference in the frequency response or bass distortion, I think we're just seeing an artifact of the noise canceling, which can do some odd things at low frequencies. If you look closely you'll see that the BT raw frequency response plots has one measurement that is a little above the rest at 30Hz. That difference could certainly be responsible for the difference in wave shape between the two sets of measurements. So, I'd suggest we assume the unit measures the same wired and BT, and we can put away the BT graph.

Comparing the M2 passive to active now, the first thing we notice is an imbalance between the left and right channel. I did try to listen for this imbalance and did not hear it. This too might be an artifact from the noise canceling and the proximity of the headphone to the sidewalls in the chamber. I have seen some weird things when measuring noise cancelers.

Raw frequency response plots clearly show the rise to 2kHz is much steeper when the M2 is active, which brings out that upper mid-range/lower-treble presence region. To me the headphones sounded quite a bit harder as a result. The bass response also significantly changes shape, and I heard it as less emphatic and tighter. You can also see that while the distortion is higher overall, the distortion doesn't rise in the bass as it does when run active. Response above the notch at 4kHz is about the same in both modes. Generally speaking, although lower in level than ideal, I never had any problem with stridency or harshness in the treble with the M2 in any of its operating modes.

300Hz square wave is pretty angry looking with that big overshooting spike, but I think that's do to the emphasis at 3kHz and below so it isn't piercing as narrower spikes can sound. Still, the presence region is strong with the M2.

The distortion plot is pretty ugly as well, I did notice the headphones getting harder sounding as the volume goes up. The Zik2 and Bose fair better here, but the Beats Studio 2 is clearly worse.

Now let's compare the FRs of the Zik 2, Beats Studio, Bose QC25, and the M2 in active modes. The QC25 is a bit closer to target than the M2, but not much. The Zik 2 is a bit weird in the treble, but at least you can EQ it with its app. The Beats is a train wreck. Also have a look at all the 300Hz square wave plots, all but the M2 are ringing pretty severely.

Moving on to the all-important, in this case, isolation plot; this is where your money is going with these cans, isolation should be weighed heavily. The Bose, Zik 2, and Sennheiser are quite good, with the QC25 and Zik 2 just edging out the M2 with a bit better very low frequency isolation and a broadband attenuation of -27dB vs. -24dB for the M2. The beats don't do well in the middle frequencies.

Now lets look at the passive plots of the Zik 2 and QC25 compared to the M2, and you'll see the M2 is superior again in just about every way.

My take is that when you look at the measurements of the Zik2 and Beats—the only two that are Bluetooth and noise canceling—the Momentum Wireless M2 is clearly superior.

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tony's picture

I doubt that anyone could find a more comprensive description of any product in any industry, anywhere.

Alex Dykes's Car reviews are you're equal but that's it among reviewers/presenters/sales staff.

I doubt that even the Sennheiser people could put things into context or perspective as well as you've just done.

If I'm the Sennheiser's Global Sales Director I'd be training all sales people using your videos and I'd be hiring you to do Videos on every single product in production.

Nice going,

Tony in Michigan

Lego7663's picture

Hi Tyll,
Would love to hear your opinion on the Momentums vs PM-3s. The general consensus on Head-Fi seems to be that the Oppo headphones are the best in their respective class.

BarbecueGamer's picture

I'm curious, do these in wired mode sound the same as the wired Momentum M2?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'm sorry, I haven't gotten the Momentum M2 in yet to compare.
BarbecueGamer's picture

Ah, I see. So does that mean you will eventually? I certainly hope so. Nonetheless, this was a great review Tyll as always. I was definitely very excited when I saw this on the home page.

Gooch's picture

Hi Tyll,

I got UE6000 and Bose QC20i after reading your reviews and am very satisfied with both of them. Though I don't use UE6000 much anymore since UE6000's noise cancelling, as you pointed out, isn't really great. (I mostly use headphones while flying or on noisy bus/metro.) and also wearing over-ear in summer days is a torture.

I wonder if the on-ear version of Momentum Wireless M2 is also a good option. Also how about B&O H8? The noise-cancelling and comfort might be a bit higher in my priority list. Any chance to do a full review on either of these?



Dadracer's picture

I am generally a fan of Sennheiser headphones but I have never found myself able to enjoy the Momentums. This resulted in me looking at alternatives for portable phones. I have bought a pair of QC25 for general/noisy travel and they are excellent. The comfort and noise cancelling is perfect and the SQ is good enough for use while travelling and I prefer it to the original Momentums. In terms of best SQ and reasonable noise cancelling I think the PSB M4U2s are best. They are better than the QC25s in SQ but not as good as noise cancellers so I guess it depends on your main priority. I think they are closely related to the NAD Visios but look much better and have noise cancelling.

dp's picture

There is a solution to make QC15/QC25 and Momentum (wired) wireless with an adapter.

DarthGore's picture

Measurements clearly indicate the Bose QC25s to be better at sound cancellation. Sorry Sennheiser, but this effort is not good enough to make me part with my hard earned cash.

Canfan's picture

How do these compare to the Phiaton Chord? They both seem to do everything well but nothing great.

obsidyen's picture

Good, solid review. Nevertheless, I'm fed up with lifestyle headphones. I wish Sennheiser had introduced some new flagship.

bogdanb's picture

Why not put the electronics in the headband? (for better acoustics)

Mr.TAD91's picture

I ditto what Tony wrote. And for noise cancelling on planes I take with me my Pioneer SE-NC21M. They have an incredibly clear sounding mid-range and are mid-centric with a polite bass presence and recessed treble. I think their sound signature suites the average user for movies and music. Noise cancelling is excellent; I couldn't hear what my brother was saying at all and he was sitting right beside me. As well, they're useful at College to tune out (very)noisy students.

I don't think its practical to do any serious headphone listening on an airplane. Due to their frequency imperfections, I find myself analysing the lyrics of tracks and determine the their meaning, instead.

Awesome review as always, Tyll.


Dadracer's picture

Dear Mr TAD91
Are these on ear phones? I had some AKG 490NC which were on ear and a replacement for my then Bose QC3s (also on ear) but the QC25s were a big improvement on both in terms of noise cancelling and SQ. They even image reasonably well and are fairly neutral so certainly you could do some almost serious listening on planes, trains and lectures!!!

Mr.TAD91's picture

They are on ear (supra-aural) headphones. They're fairly comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. BOSE headphones are excellent with respect to noise cancelling and their sound quality is respectable for their application - but the price puts me off. I'd rather buy another listening can for my spotless separates rig.


Gu1b0's picture

Hi Tyll,
nice review

You can compare it with Solo 2 wireless?


M.A.T.'s picture

Thanks for all your reviews. Have you taken a look at the Definitive Technology Symphony 1's? They were also premiered at CES this year. I was really impressed with their sound and ended up buying a pair when they came out recently. They are definitely the best sounding wireless/ANC headphones I've heard.


neoterix's picture

I would echo this; I would love to see the Symphony 1's go head to head with these Sennheisers. I've found the noise isolation and ANC to be the best I've heard thus far.

Mrip541's picture

Did you experience any Bluetooth signal dropout? When connected to the Galaxy s5 in my pocket I get frequent static and dropouts, but the signal is fine when connected to my pc. I think there's something about wind noise (even slight) that throws the noise cancelling for a loop. It sounds like a signal loss but might just be the anc losing control.

Tmegs's picture

I have the mom wl. I think they're overrated. Buy any decent phone and Auris BT instead. Sounds much much better. And you will avoid the flimsy buttpns too. Hype......

hannakimmi's picture

I was looking for this kind of information and I had enjoyed reading this one.Keep posting. Thanks for sharing.
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thefitz's picture

As of about a month ago, Sennheiser has fixed the bluetooth issues for the Momentum Wireless. There's a new REV02 serial number on the boxes of the fixed units. I've received mine, and can confirm that the connection issues are gone.