SENNHEISER Momentum 3 Review

By Alex Bracetti Review Source



Signature sound and improved ANC make the Sennheiser Momentum 3 a modest upgrade.


It’s taken several years, but the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones are finally here.


Sennheiser has made some noticeable improvements to its latest noise-cancelling headphones, from the ANC technology to the feature set, while also upholding the matured look and sound of its predecessor. Unfortunately, buggy performance and subpar battery life place the Momentum 3 a few notches below the best noise-cancelling headphones, including the class-leading Bose 700.

Read our full Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless review below to find out how Sennheiser's latest cans stack up to the competition.


SENNHEISER MOMENTUM 3 WIRELESS SPECS: Frequency range: 6Hz - 22kHz Inputs: Bluetooth, analog, USB-C Bluetooth: 5.0 Battery life: 17 hours Noise cancellation: Yes (3 modes)

Design

Sennheiser knows it has one of the most attractive designs out there, so there was no need for a complete makeover. The Momentum 3 shares the same clean, minimalist silhouette as its elder siblings. Matte black plastic covers the outside of the earcups, while the pliable headband and ear pads are topped with genuine leather that feels much smoother than what was used on the previous version. Stainless-steel joints and yokes link these components together and complement the headphones’ deluxe appearance.


Usually, the newest model in a headphone series takes on a slimmer and lighter form. It turns out the Momentum 3 is actually larger (7.8 x 6.7 x 1.78 inches) and heavier (10.6 ounces) than the Momentum 2. The plush padding does afford better comfort on the ears, but the extra weight bears down on the skull around the 1-hour mark. Those with a high pain tolerance should feel fine sporting them on short flights, but others won’t.


An unsung feature is the sliding mechanism for the extenders that allows for seamless adjustment on the go. It’s a more practical option than the click settings featured on most over-ear headphones. The extenders have an appropriate length to accommodate larger head sizes, making them an ideal choice for athletes.


Bundled with the headphones are an aux cable, USB-C charging cable, USB-C to USB-A adapter, and a cylindrical carrying case made from soft cloth. For headphones this pricey, I expected the case would be more durable and premium. The Momentum 3 is only available in Black at the moment, but a sandy white version(opens in new tab) is expected to ship at the end of March.


Controls

Large buttons on wireless headphones often look gaudy, especially on sleek-looking cans like the Momentum 3. Do they make locating the control module easier? Absolutely. And does the rubberized material that Sennheiser employs welcome certain benefits (e.g. sustainability, touch friendly)? Sure. However, since the buttons aren’t flush, this gives the controls a cluttered look and feel. Not to mention the controls are extremely buggy.


The digital assistant and multifunctional buttons get wonky at times. There was one incident where it required pressing the multifunctional button several times to pause Spotify. When I finally did, it wouldn’t allow me resume playback; I had to disable the Bluetooth setting and re-pair the headphones to fix this problem. There was also some noticeable lag (2-3 seconds) when enabling Siri on iOS and MacOS. Those are just two of the several bugs I encountered during testing.

The toggle located at the top to enable ANC/Ambient Listening and the volume buttons worked just fine, sparing me the aggravation of manually toying with either intended function on my smartphone. Another unique feature programmed into the headphones is on-ear detection, so you can automatically pause music whenever removing headphones from your head and resume playback when placing them back on. To my surprise, it operated flawlessly.

Active Noise Cancellation

To answer your burning question, the Momentum 3 does not have better noise cancelation than the Bose 700. That doesn’t mean it sucks either. Sennheiser’s ANC technology is quite advanced and effective, especially when compared to other big-ticket rivals. The headphones boast three different ANC modes – Anti-Pressure (low), Anti-Wind (medium), and Max (high) – each one programmed to minimize a certain level of ambient sound.

I spent most of my time using Anti-Pressure because it kept the soundstage neutral. It gives you the best balance of audio and noise reduction. The higher up you go in the modes, the more pressure the mics produce to filter out noise and the more emphasized bass becomes. Some people might be willing to handle the extra pressure on their ears and pounding bass if it means silencing crying babies, which the headphones can do. I’m just saying that other headphones like the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000xM3 offer stellar ANC performance without compromising sound.


The Momentum 3 also has a transparent mode to provide listeners better awareness of their surroundings when they don’t want to take off their headphones. It does the trick for brief encounters; I could hear baristas clearly when shouting my coffee orders for pickup. Being able to eavesdrop on conversations is another perk you’ll be able to enjoy, if that’s your thing. Just know that the feature struggles with low-frequency sounds; I couldn’t make out what my fiancée was saying due to the droning engine noises coming from the bus right in front of us.

Noise isolation on the Momentum 3 was better than I expected. The headphones created a tight seal around my ears that blocked out most external sounds. Rowdy train passengers didn’t faze me on the way home, but jackhammers and sirens caught my attention.