Testing the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: An alternative to the WH-1000XM5 in terms of sound and price


Sennheiser has completely revised the design of the series with the Momentum 4 Wireless. In terms of sound, the new ANC headphones are superior to the Sony WH-1000XM5, but not in terms of ANC. The battery life of around 60 hours with ANC and the wearing comfort are just as convincing as the improved range of functions compared to the predecessor.

Table of contents

  1. 1 An alternative to the WH-1000XM5 in terms of sound and price
    1. The technology in the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
    2. Control via touch surface
    3. Adjustments in the Sennheiser Smart Control app
    4. Workmanship and wearing comfort
  2. 2 sound, ANC, Transparency, telephony, latency and conclusion
    1. Sound of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
    2. Analysis of the frequency response
    3. ANC cannot keep up with that of the WH-1000XM5
    4. Natural transparency is a bit too quiet
    5. Understandable telephony
    6. Latency comparison
    7. Conclusion

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless inherits the series and has to prove that the premium headphones can continue to impress even after the sale of Sennheiser's consumer division. As a “perfect balance between outstanding sound and extraordinary design”, the Momentum 4 Wireless breaks with the design of its predecessor, as Sony recently dared with the ANC headphones WH-1000XM5 (test). In addition, the active noise suppression is said to have been improved again with the new model.

In addition to a battery life of up to 60 hours, Sennheiser promises a transparency mode and a built-in equalizer as well as a new function for individual sound adjustment, with which wearers can adapt the sound to their personal preferences and needs.

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is available for pre-order worldwide starting today. It is available in black and white. Deliveries and sales will start on August 23rd. The price is 349.90 euros, which means that the headphones are well below the suggested retail price of the Sony WH-1000XM5 (419 euros). However, Sony's competitor is currently on sale for just over 370 euros.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Travel case with cables and airplane adapter

In addition to a 2.5 to 3.5 mm audio cable, buyers of the Momentum 4 Wireless will receive a travel case , in contrast to Sony still an airplane adapter and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.

The technology in the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

42 mm again large drivers

The Momentum 4 Wireless' dynamic audio drivers measure 42 mm in diameter. They are the same size as the Momentum 3 Wireless and significantly larger than the Sony WH-1000XM5 drivers, which are only 30 mm in size. However, size alone is no guarantee of quality. Sennheiser specifies the frequency response as its predecessor with 6 Hz to 22 kHz and the sensitivity with 106 dB SPL (1 kHz). The distortion factor is said to be less than 0.3 percent (1 kHz, 100 dB SPL). The impedance is 470 ohms active and 60 ohms passive.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Bluetooth 5.2 with Multipoint, AAC and aptX Adaptive

The current version 5.2 is used as the Bluetooth standard for the Momentum 4 Wireless. In addition, Sennheiser supports multipoint, so that two end devices can be connected to the headphones at the same time. In this way, the playback can be changed at any time without first having to manually disconnect and pair the device connections, and if desired, calls from the smartphone can be accepted even if the headphones are connected to the tablet, for example.

In addition to SBC, Qualcomm's aptX and aptX Adaptive as well as AAC audio codecs are supported. aptX Adaptive is not only backwards compatible with aptX and aptX HD, but also uses a variable bit rate of 276 to 420 kbit/s. The codec should deliver a quality comparable to that of wired headphones for audio playback in 24-bit/96 kHz. When it comes to the sampling depth, aptX Adaptive offers 24 bits instead of the usual 16, and the sampling rate also offers 96 kHz in addition to 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. In order to benefit from aptX Adaptive, the end device used must also support the codec. This is usually only the case with high-end smartphones with a Qualcomm SoC.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

New design dispenses with retro look

With the Momentum 3 Wireless, Sennheiser uses leather and stainless steel for the headband, which the ear cups slide into. The manufacturer has completely abandoned this retro look with the Momentum 4 Wireless, relies on a classic bracket suspension for the ear cups and does without real leather on the headband. Instead, the top of the headband is covered with fabric, such as that used by Sennheiser for the charging case of the Momentum True Wireless 3. Metal is also still used inside the headband of the Momentum 4 Wireless, but this is not visible to the user. As with the Sony WH-1000XM5, the ear cups are no longer moved on a headband guide, but rather the headband bars are retracted and extended. The new design is intended to ensure a wearing comfort that allows you to wear the headphones all day.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: fabric instead of leather on the headband

The new design also allows the ear cups to rotate 90 degrees forward and backward for wearing the headphones around the neck or lying flat and stowed in the included carrying case .

Now with a 2.5 mm jack

Interfaces are located on the right ear cup. In addition to USB-C for charging, Sennheiser uses a 2.5 mm audio connection instead of the usual 3.5 mm jack. A suitable cable from 2.5 to 3.5 mm is included, but you can't use every cable that is at hand – sometimes a disturbing detail in everyday life. The only button on the headphones is on the right ear cup. It allows manual switching on and off by pressing for 3 seconds and Bluetooth pairing by pressing and holding for 5 seconds. A five-level LED display shows the current status and the charge level of the headphones.

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Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: USB-C and 2.5 mm jack

USB audio is also no problem

If you prefer to transfer music to the Momentum 4 Wireless via USB instead of an analog jack, you can do this as with the predecessor and in contrast to the Sony WH-1000XM5, which does not support this. For example, connected to an Android smartphone via USB-C, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless plays music immediately or can be used for sound in games – as always, it has to be switched on for this. Playback control, ANC, transparency mode and volume control via the headphones are also possible when used via USB.

The weight of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is 293 g, which makes it slightly heavier than the Sony WH-1000XM5, which weighs around 250 g, but lighter than its predecessor, the Momentum 3 Wireless, which weighs in at 306 g.

Specifications of the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless in comparison Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Sony WH-1000XM5 Sony WH-1000XM4 Sony WH-1000XM3 Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Montblanc MB 01 Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless beyerdynamic Amiron wireless copper Converter principle dynamic, 42 mm dynamic, 30 mm dynamic, 40 mm dynamic, 35 mm dynamic, 40 mm dynamic, 42 mm Tesla, dynamic Design Closed Frequency response 6-22,000 Hz 4– 40,000 Hz (cable), 20-40,000 Hz (Bluetooth, LDAC) 10-30,000 Hz 10-20,000 Hz 6-22,000 Hz 5-40,000 Hz (cable operation) Nominal impedance 60 ohms passive, 470 ohms active 16 ohms passive, 48 ohms active N/A 16 Ohm passive, 47 Ohm active 20 Ohm 32 Ohm 100 Ohm passive, 470 Ohm active 32 Ohm Sensitivity 106 dB 100 dB (cable, passive), 102 dB (cable, active) 101 dB (cable, passive), 105 dB (cable , active) 101 dB k. A. 100dB 99dB 100dB THD < 0.3% (1kHz, 100dB SPL) N/A A < 1% < 0.3% (1kHz, 100dB SPL) < 0.05% @ 500Hz Cable 2.5mm Jack 3.5mm Jack 1.2m 3.5mm Jack 1.0m 3.5mm Jack to USB-C 3.5mm jack 3.5mm jack 4-pin 1.2m Bluetooth 5.2 5.0 4.2 5.0 4.2 Supported codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive SBC, AAC, LDAC SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC SBC, aptX Adaptive, AAC SBC, aptX, aptX LL, AAC SBC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL, AAC Battery life 60 hours (with ANC) 30 hours (with ANC), 40 hours (without ANC) 30 hours (with ANC) 25 hours (with ANC) 20 hours (without ANC) 17 hours (with ANC) 30 hours Charging time 2 hours 3.5 hours 3 hours 2 hours 3 hours 2 hours Battery capacity 700 mAh 1,200 mAh n. A. 730 mAh 330 mAh 1,050 mAh USB-C charging socket Weight (without cable) 293 g 250 g 251 g 255 g 241 g 280 g 306 g 400 g

Four microphones should also suppress wind noise

A total of four beamforming microphones (2×2) should also achieve a high level of intelligibility during telephony. An automatic suppression of wind noise should ensure voice quality even in difficult environments. Statements that will be checked later in the test. The frequency response of the microphones is 50 Hz to 10 kHz.

60 hours of battery life with Fast Charging

The 60 hours of battery life that Sennheiser promises in conjunction with AAC at medium volume and activated ANC is combined with a fast charge mode. After a charging process of only ten minutes, this should guarantee another six hours of battery life. The headphones also have an auto on/off function that turns them on when you pick them up and off after 15 minutes (factory setting) when you put them down to save energy. The predecessor also offered such an automatic function via the ear cup hinges.

In the test, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless achieved a battery life of around 56 hours, with a colorful music mix being played back at medium volume with changing ambient volume with maximum ANC and aptX Adaptive. Compared to its predecessor, which officially achieves a battery life of 17 hours, Sennheiser has clearly improved in this area.

It takes a little over two hours to fully charge the headphones, which is also faster than the predecessor, which took around three hours. Charging is via the USB-C port on the right ear cup. The battery in the headphones has a capacity of 700 mAh (2.7 Wh) and comes from Synergy (AHB413645PCT). Sennheiser already uses this model in the MB 660 and PXC 550. In the Momentum 3 Wireless, the battery capacity is only 330 mAh – one of the reasons for the significantly better battery life of the Momentum 4 Wireless. Music can continue to be heard while charging.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Control via touch surface

Control is no longer via several buttons, but via a touch field in the right ear cup. This is only possible thanks to the new design of the headphones, because with the Momentum 3 Wireless the suspension of the ear cups is placed on the bracket in the middle of the ear cups. The Momentum 4's touch sensor can be used to control playback, ANC and smartphone calls. Only the smartphone's voice assistant is activated via the on/off switch by briefly pressing the latter once.

Good operation even without buttons< /h3>

On the other hand, you can tap and wipe on the touch surface. One tap starts or pauses playback. If you swipe forward, you will jump one track further. A swipe back jumps back one track. This works surprisingly reliably, even if you don't concentrate particularly on wiping and don't pay attention to always sweeping the surface perfectly from one end to the other. A double tap toggles between ANC and transparency mode. The volume can also be adjusted using swiping gestures on the headphones. In this case you have to swipe up or down. This is also done reliably. If you reach the volume limits, the headphones point this out. Basically, short signal tones accompany the operation.

Only tapping once to start and pause caused unwanted actions in the test when the headphones were adjusted or their position adjusted. This cannot be prevented.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

The call control takes some getting used to at first, but it prevents incorrect entries that are made too quickly. Instead of accepting a call with just one tap, you have to swipe forward. A swipe backwards hangs up. A call is rejected by pressing and holding the touch surface for two seconds. Double-tap to switch between calls and mute the mic with a single press of the power button.

ANC- Intensity per pinch gesture

An unusual option is adjusting the ANC intensity directly via the touch sensor. Because in addition to the option of changing ANC and transparency mode with a double tap, you can also use the pinch-to-zoom gesture on the ear cup that is familiar from smartphones. If you “zoom” out several times, the intensity of the noise suppression is reduced further and further until you finally arrive at maximum transparency. If you “zoom” from the outside in with two fingers, the intensity of the transparency mode is reduced and the intensity of the active noise cancellation is increased bit by bit. However, the off position of both ANC and transparency mode can hardly be found in this way and cannot be specifically controlled via the buttons.

Wear_detection pauses playback

The Momentum 4 Wireless' wear detection ensures that playback pauses when the headphones are removed and resumes when you put them back on. With the predecessor, the function implemented via sensors repeatedly caused unwanted music interruptions when moving quickly. With the new model, Sennheiser uses an infrared sensor in the right ear cup, which ensures reliable detection and does not have the problems of the predecessor. However, the wearing detection only reacts when you lift the right ear cup from your head. If you just move them or lift the left ear cup, the automatic pause function does not react because the IR sensor does not detect any light. If you lift the right earcup, the wearing detection reacts very quickly and very reliably.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Infrared sensor for wear detection

However, with features such as speak-to-chat and enabling transparency mode with the rest of your palm, Sony offers more features on the WH-1000XM5. In addition, the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa under Android and Alexa under iOS can also be activated purely by voice using the respective wake word on Sony's headphones, without having to use the controls – this is not possible with the Momentum 4.

Adjustments in the Sennheiser Smart Control App

The Momentum 4 Wireless is also compatible with Sennheiser's Smart Control app, which can also be used on the company's predecessor and the company's true wireless in-ears for adjustments and configuration of the headphones. When pairing the Momentum 4 for the first time, the app will guide you through the connection process and indicate any firmware update that may be available.

The “My device” tab then contains functions such as connection management, in which you can set which two devices the headphones should be connected to, the equalizer, the “Sound Check”, the sound zones, the ANC or transparency mode and sidetone available.

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Sennheiser Smart Control App with Momentum 4 Wireless

Three-band Equalizer with “Sound Check”

The equalizer does not allow fine tuning of the sound as it is only a three-band equalizer that only allows adjustment of the bass, middle and treble. In addition to predefined presets for rock and pop, for example, the two sound modes “bass boost” and “podcast” can also be activated.

Behind the “Sound Check” is an option to create individual equalizer presets. It can only be used with a user account at Sennheiser. While listening to Muisk, the user selects different presets without knowing exactly which adjustment is made by which preset, and should always choose what subjectively sounds best to them. You then end up with a preset in the app's three-band equalizer view and can save the preset you have created.

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Sennheiser smart control app with Momentum 4 Wireless

Sound zones adapt settings to the location

Behind the sound zones, on the other hand, there is something that is already known from the WH-1000XM5 and other Sony headphones, namely the adjustment of the settings to the recognized location of the wearer. The user can define up to 20 zones, for example for home or work. For this it is necessary to grant the app access to the location. In addition, locations can be defined based on their address, so you don't have to be at the location in order to configure a sound zone for it. The radius in which it should apply around the address can be set between 100 m and 1 km for each sound zone. By entering and leaving the zone, the noise settings and the equalizer can be adjusted. For example, when entering work, the Momentum 4 Wireless can automatically switch to transparency mode, but switch to ANC when leaving to hide the environment on the go – or vice versa, depending on preference.

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Sennheiser Smart Control App with Momentum 4 Wireless

ANC with adjustable intensity and wind-noise reduction

As already mentioned, the user can change the intensity of the ANC and switch seamlessly between ANC and transparency mode. This is also possible in the app via a slider. You can also set whether the ANC should automatically adapt to the environment. Settings for wind noise reduction are also hidden in the submenu. While the predecessor offered the three ANC modes “Maximum”, “Anti-Wind” and “Anti-Pressure”, this is no longer the case with the Momentum 4, but with the wind noise reduction you can choose between “Off”, “Auto” and ” Max” can be selected. You can also set whether the music should pause when switching to full transparency.

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Sennheiser smart control app with Momentum 4 Wireless

About the controller Under Sidetone, on the other hand, the user can set whether and how loudly he would like to hear his own voice during telephone calls. Not completely blocking out your own voice helps to avoid accidentally yelling at the person you are talking to.

In the “Settings” tab, however, it is possible to control options such as the wearer detection for automatic pausing and the automatic switch-off. The latter can be deactivated and increased to 30 or 60 minutes in addition to the factory setting of 15 minutes. This tab also shows which audio codec is currently being used. The options displayed in the “My device” tab can also be adjusted under the “Tile” menu item. If you don't want the “Sound Check” or the connection management to be displayed, you can deactivate it here.

It is also possible to import firmware updates via the app and the battery charge level of the headphones can also be viewed in the app. During firmware updates, music should not be played at the same time in order to significantly speed up the transfer.

No adjustment of the control

It is not possible to adjust the controls or the touch gestures, for example to deactivate individual functions or to start and pause with a double tap.

In comparison to the options offered by the Smart Control app on the Momentum 3 Wireless, Sennheiser has thus sensibly expanded the range of functions of the app. A separation not only between ANC and transparency, but also for the “Off” mode would be desirable, so that the user could switch through all three modes via the headphones. In addition, the equalizer only offers a rudimentary adjustment.

Processing and wearing comfort

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is a clear break compared to its predecessor. The workmanship is also impeccable in the new model and has neither sharp edges, burrs nor large gaps, but the Momentum 3 Wireless radiates something different with pearl-blasted stainless steel and leather – which is not to be rated unreservedly positively. Because the Momentum 4 is visually much more modern and, despite the extensive use of plastic, will appeal to a broader target group than its predecessor – apart from the use of real leather, which has fallen out of time.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

When it came to wearing comfort, however, the predecessor had to struggle with the headband being too loose, which is no longer the case with the successor with a new design and continuous adjustment. In addition, as already mentioned, the ear cups can now be rotated so that the headphones can be worn around the neck better. However, the ear cups can no longer be folded in.

The imitation leather of the ear pads makes you sweat under the Momentum 4 Wireless. Large ears also quickly reach their limits. The ear pads can be replaced if they eventually become worn through use.

The wearing comfort is high, which is also achieved by not applying too much contact pressure. With wild head movements, however, the Momentum 4 slips a bit without losing its grip.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless: Interchangeable leatherette ear pads

The travel case of the Momentum 4 Wireless and the new non-folding one The design of the headphones means that the headband must always be pushed back to the smallest setting when the headphones are to be stowed in a pocket. A long-term disturbing circumstance, so that one is reluctant to change the optimal setting again and prefers to leave out the case instead. The often and rightly criticized case of the Apple AirPods Max (test) effectively prevents this – but has other disadvantages.

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Sound, ANC, transparency , telephony, latency and conclusion