We are taking a comprehensive look at Bluetooth active noise-canceling headphones, and today we’re going to talk about the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless.
To keep this article focused, I will restrict my side-by-side comparisons to the Sony WH1000-XM5 and the Bowers & Wilkins PX 7S2. However, if relevant, there will be some mention of more expensive headphones or luxurious models in this article.
Build Quality Sennheiser Momentum 4
We start with the build quality. The Sennheiser has a fantastic plastic feel about them. However, the fabric-covered headband elevates them above the Sony XM5 in terms of look and feel. The Sennheiser feels more substantial in hand than the Sony.
They’re a bit weightier. They’re not quite as heavy as the Bowers and Wilkins PX 7S2, and they don’t have the Bowers sort of more sort of a gentleman’s luxury product feel. They’re more of a consumer-focused design that the Sennheiser engineers have applied to the Momentum 4 Wireless.
It’s more in line with my personal aesthetic choices in that. Momentum 4 is a sleek headphone, and it has a minimal look. It lacks the more flashy look of the Momentum 3 Wireless, which I liked, and those design choices spill over into on-head comfort.
So the Sennheiser is closer to the Bowers and Wilkins PX 7S2 in weight. They’re roughly the same weight, close to 300 grams, although Sennheiser has done a fantastic job distributing the weight around the head or throughout the headphones. So we no longer get the top-of-head pressure point I experienced with the Momentum 3 Wireless that’s gone as far as I can tell.
And the side clamping force is somewhere between the lighter Sony XM5 and the much firmer grip of the Bowers and Wilkins. It’s somewhere in the middle. It’s great, too, and if I lean forward, I always feel like the Sennheiser will stay on, the same with the Sony XM5. But the Bowers and Wilkins do have a much firmer side clamping force. Even after several months of use, Bowers and Wilkins PX 7S2 has loosened a little bit, and I hope the Momentum 4 doesn’t loosen anymore. They’re just perfect.
Sound Quality and Sound Profile SENNHEISER Momentum 4
It combines some of the bass lift of the Bowers and Wilkins PX7S2 but also adds the spaciousness and the layer separation that we get, to a greater extent, in the Focal Bathys. However, we don’t get with the Sennheiser is the focal mid-bass enrichment.
It’s not a lot, but it’s enough to notice, and for me, as far as I can tell, it’s utterly absent from the Momentum 4 Wireless. I wish they’d called it Momentum Wireless 4. Having to put the number between momentum and wireless makes me second-guess myself every time I say it. I have a lot of active noise-canceling headphones in my studio, and I would put the Sennheiser on par with the Focal Bathys.
They are good for my ears because they have significant internal spaciousness, not as much as the Focal. Layer separation is on par with the Focal, but the Sennheiser does not go out as much with the head stage as the Focal Bathys. Although I did notice, I can’t remember what I was playing, but something had extreme left and right sounds, and they were fairly out there on the Momentum 4 Wireless.
A better way to put it is that the Sennheiser headphones are like, sonically speaking, the halfway house between the PX7S2 and the Focal Bathys. But with none of Sony’s comparative muddiness. The Sony XM5 does pop the mid-range and vocals significantly more than the Sennheiser, but it can’t match the Sennheiser on bass cleanliness.
The Sennheiser carves a much cleaner space around bass notes and the kick drum. And just around anything that gives you that low-end weight and that cleanliness or that sort of space carved around bass notes, kick drums, things like that are only bettered and just by the Focal Bathys.
But I also add that the Momentum 4 Wireless, along with the Focal Bathys, I think the closest of all the Bluetooth headphones that I’ve heard this year to the sound of a hi-Fi loudspeaker system, especially with Dynamics and Microdynamics, the Sennheiser is an exciting sounding headphone far more than the Sony.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 performs better than the Bowers and Wilkins PX7S2, whose excitement comes more from low-end bass wallop. In contrast, the Sennheiser allows us to hear all the more minor sounds come to life and then fade away with greater avidity and clarity. But as many of us know, the fun, enjoyment, or how much we like a pair of Bluetooth headphones hinges on far more than sound quality alone.
Noise Cancellation for Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
For example, there’s the app that we use with the Momentum 3 Wireless. Sometimes like with those in-ear monitors, the app can be slow in connecting to the Momentum 4 Wireless, but there’s little else to complain about in the app itself.
And being able to customize the intensity of the active noise cancellation and the intensity of wind reduction are nice touches. We’ll come back to the wind reduction thing in a moment. The active noise cancellation we get from the Sennheiser is excellent indeed, but it could be better than the Sony and the Apple AirPods Max.
The noise reduction for Momentum 4 is more on par with the Focal Bathys. But where the Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphone steps ahead of the competition in quite a substantial way are on phone calls because the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is a complete beast when it comes to wind noise rejection, which was surprising for me.
They’re up there with the Sony. They might even be better because I made a phone call last week, and it was in the middle of this huge windstorm, and I just thought, this is the perfect test, and it’s going to end in a disaster with the other person not being able to hear me at all and they could.
And I was like, can’t you hear the wind noise on the microphones? And the person at the other end was like, No, it sounds weird here and there, but I can hear you perfectly clearly, and that’s probably what I call a double win.
The Sony XM5 has a touch panel on the right ear to control playback, adjust the volume, and momentarily activate transparency mode by holding your hand to that ear cup. The Sennheiser headphones don’t have the latter functionality, but they have a touch panel, which is superb, and it’s much more accurate in recognizing hand gestures than Sony XM5.
So to volume up, swipe up, and it works flawlessly. Also, it’s only a single tap to play pause and double tap to engage and disengage the active noise cancellation. And for me, and this is a personal thing, this feature makes the Sennheiser headphones an absolute joy to use.
Battery Life of Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Now we come to the Momentum 4 Wireless’s trump card, one that blows all other Bluetooth headphones out of the water, one that destroys all other headphones, and that is battery life. We get 60 hours of runtime between charges with the Momentum 4 Wireless, with active noise canceling turned on.
This excellent battery life is fantastic. It’s double the runtime of the Sony XM5 and the Bowes and Wilkins, and I’ve used the Momentum 4 Wireless for roughly an hour a day for the last few weeks, and I’ve not had to recharge them. One feature that helps extend the battery life in daily use is their auto power off.
So you put the Sennheiser down on the table, and if you don’t touch them, they’ll activate auto-off in 15 minutes. Then to wake them up again, you have to pick them up and tap the side, which I think is a nice feature that enhances the enjoyment factor of these headphones.
My Verdict on Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones are what I pick up when I want to walk about Berlin, and it’s because I like their sound very much indeed. I like them more than the Sony XM5. I like them more than the Bowers and Wilkins PX 7S2, and although they sound different from the PX8, I like them as much as the PX8, which was also a surprise.
And that’s mainly because of their microdynamics and terrific layer separation and the kick in the low end, which doesn’t leak into the mid-bass, but it’s just the sub-bass that kicks a little bit harder on the Sennheiser.
Whereas with the PX8, it’s all of the basses that kick. But I also pick up the Sennheiser because I prefer controlling my Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones with my hand on the side touch. It’s more convenient for me than rooting around on the back of an ear cup to find the right button to press.
Keynote observers will notice that there’s only one button on the back of the right ear cup on the Momentum 4 Wireless, and that’s for powering on and off and activating Bluetooth pairing mode. And I also picked up the Sennheiser any day because I know that if I’m out and about and I have to make a phone, that phone call won’t get destroyed by wind noise.
The Sony XM5 headphones are as good, on par with the Sennheiser when it comes to wind noise rejection, but I like the sound, the sound quality of music through the Sennheiser quite a bit more than the excellent quality of music through the Sony.
The Sony XM5 headphones also have a touch-sensitive ear panel, which I also like, but the Sony cannot match the Sennheiser on sound quality. Not at all. And that’s because the Sennheiser headphones are much better with layer separation, have a much tidier bass kick, and are better with Macrodynamic in.
To get more specific, they sound more open and internally spacious when listening to Steffi’s the Red Hunter, a fantastic electro album, and they lend far greater dynamic flair to art brutes which needs that dynamic flare.
But most impressive is that the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless can do all of this and offer all of this for less money than the Sony, Bowers, and Wilkins. It’s almost 80 euros less retail price than those rivals, so in the end, we spend less but get more. This reason is why the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is the best-value Bluetooth headphone of 2022.
Bluetooth active noise-canceling headphones are considered essential in today’s audio devices. They are so much better than they used to be. They are super impressive. However, they’re not on par with wired headphones yet. Not in some respects, but I think the active noise cancellation component of Bluetooth headphones is pivotal to musical enjoyment because if we can dial down the background noise, as I’ve said before, we don’t need to crank the volume on the music quite as much.
That’s good for our hearing if nothing else, and as always, thank you ever so much for reading my review of Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless.