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  • About the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

  • What we like

  • What we don’t like

  • Should you buy the Sennheiser Momentum 4?

  • Related content

Pros

  • Class-leading sound

  • Excellent battery life

  • Good wind buffering

Cons

  • Some features need refinement

  • A bit heavy

  • Auto shutoff error

With other-worldly sound and massive battery life, the Momentum 4 Wireless are serious contenders.

About the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Here's a look at the Momentum 4's main specs:

  • Price: $350
  • Battery life: Up to 60 hours
  • Fast charging: 2 hours of playback on 5 minutes charge
  • Colors: Black/Gray White/Gray
  • Ambient sound modes: Adaptive Active Noise Canceling (ANC), Transparency mode
  • Speakers: 42mm drivers
  • Microphones: 4 MEM mics
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
  • Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Adaptive
  • Dust/water resistance: No IP rating
  • Passive operation: Yes (3.5mm)
  • Weight: 293 grams
  • Extras: Multipoint pairing, Sound Check EQ presets, Sound Zones environmental audio control, Smart Pause, On-head Detection
A pair of black headphones sits on a braided bar with its case open.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Momentum 4's new look is stylish if bland, attempting to better mimic top competitors.

The Momentum 4 arrive in a fabric case equipped with a quick-start guide, a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, a proprietary analog cable, and an airplane adapter. The case’s size is right in between the Sony WH-1000XM4 case and the larger WH-1000XM5 model (far from the last time I’ll mention those models) making it moderately travel-friendly. Like the XM5, the Momentum 4’s ear cups don’t fold inward, so they take up extra space. The fluffy pads along the band and swiveling ear cups are lined in silicone and PU artificial leather respectively.

The Momentum 4’s new design is stylish enough, but dropping the ‘40s radio-operator design makes them look a lot like most other headphones in their class. At one point, I actually swapped in the Sony XM5 by accident. The headband’s fabric veneer is the one aesthetic standout, matching the fabric charging case of Sennheiser’s Momentum 3 True Wireless earbuds.

What we like

Glorious sound

A man in a yellow pattern shirt listens to a black pair of headphones in a green yard.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The sound performance is where these upgraded cans really show their mettle.

The Momentum 4 Wireless are the best-sounding headphones I’ve heard in their class. Sound performance is subjective, of course, but after drowning myself in the tones of some of the most popular headphones on the market, including the Sony WH-1000XM4, WH-1000XM5, and Bose’s QC45, the Momentum 4 best them all.

That’s no small feat, especially when it comes to the premium XM5, which will run you an extra $50 over Sennheiser’s latest and offer fantastic sound worth boasting about themselves.

Sennheiser’s pair simply dazzles across a rainbow of genres and styles. Sound is smooth and accessible, yet effortlessly detailed, digging up the finest moments in your music. Their upper register presence, stereo spacing, instrumental depth and balance, and excellent dynamics elevate everything you play. As with previous Momentum models, the bass is heavier than I’d like, but after dropping the bass fader by -3dB in the app, I was locked in for most tracks.

Subtle nuances are the Momentum’s speciality, seeming to manifest them from the ether. I first noticed their affinity for carving out the textures of electric guitar, where they elucidate the richest dimensions of each timbre; distorted guitars in songs like “It’s Art” by the Bug Club burst like pyrotechnics, while the surf guitar in Film Noir’s “Demain Berlin” is luminous and sweet. The reverb bounce from left to right in that track gives the song an almost studio feel.

There's not an instrument the Momentum 4 get wrong.

Occasionally, such as in “Lose Yourself to Dance” by Daft Punk and Pharell, I found the sub-bass overwhelming. It’s there I hoped for a bit more control in the EQ (more on that later).

Otherwise, though, there’s not an instrument the Momentum 4 get wrong. Strings are rich and complex, vocals are buoyant and clear at center stage, and brass bursts forth in satiny waves. The cans give bass guitar a chocolatey touch, while percussion moves effortlessly from thick, boomy toms to glinted metallic cymbals. The noise canceling provides ample space for instruments to grow and develop in the soundstage, almost as if they’re being constructed before you.

As with other greats, like the XM5, you’ll also hear new details from old classics. “Here comes the Sun” was a particularly vivid example. All of the instruments seemed to just bloom in the stereo space, and I found myself virtually exploring to hear each instrument do its thing, discovering fun little bursts of new vitality. For instance, instead of just a flat arpeggio in the left side Mogue synth at the instrumental breakdown, I heard George’s slight key wobble in the last few notes.

It’s this rapturous attention to detail that puts these headphones above the crowd even in this elevated space—a difference that makes investing in headphones like these worthwhile.

Fantastic battery life (thankfully)

A pair of black headphones sits on a black desk with gear behind.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

Battery life of up to 60 hours doubles many rivals.

Apart from their more modern design, the Momentum 4’s massive battery is their most obvious next-gen feature. They claim as much as 60 hours of playback time under the right conditions, doubling Sony's top models. It was hard to gauge exactly how long they last in testing—partly because the battery indicator wasn’t always accurate and the headphones weren’t powering down as expected. But suffice to say that, on a full charge, you won’t have to worry about losing power for days.

That is, as long as you remember to turn them off. The headphones are set to shut down after 15 minutes rest by default, but moving them long after that period would cause them to unexpectedly wake—especially confusing when I was on a call. That said, the cans are still relatively new, so here's hoping that's sorted out in an update.

Good wind buffering for calls and Transparency mode

My first time outside with the headphones I was impressed by their ability to protect my hearing while in transparency mode. While I puttered about the backyard with Transparency mode engaged so I could hear what was around me, they occasionally paused the ambient sound to account for especially noisy gusts. That’s a big plus for me, I hate the whipping shriek of distorted microphones when wind overloads them.

The same buffering was also helpful while making calls. Call quality on my end was solid, and on the other side callers noted my voice was relatively clear even when the breeze picked up.

A solid slate of features

Three fabric headphones cases of various sizes sit on a braided bar, with the Sennheiser Momentum 4 in the center.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Sennheiser Momentum's case sits right between the Sony WH-1000XM4 (left) and XM5 (right) in terms of packability.

While the Momentum 4 don’t keep up with all the goodies in Sony's top-rated WH-1000XM4 and XM5 models, there’s a good helping of useful features to fiddle with in Sennheiser’s Smart Control app.

You’ll get the ability to adjust EQ (though I wish it was 5-band rather than just 3) as well as create “customized eq presets” via the Sound Check mode—though you’ve got to sign in or register with Sennheiser for that feature.

The Momentum 4’s Sound Zones feature follows Sony’s lead, designed to adjust the ambient sound mode (from noise canceling to transparency mode) depending on your physical location. Other handy features include adjustable side tone (to raise or lower your own voice during calls), as well as sensors for On-head detection and Smart Pause, which does things like muting calls when you remove your right ear cup.

There’s also multipoint pairing to connect with your phone and another device at once, along with a Connection Management window that lets you easily see disconnect either device. You can engage/disengage most other features in the app as well.

What we don’t like

Noise canceling is good-not-great

A pair of black headphones sits on a black desk with leatherette earpads showing.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Momentum 4's noise canceling is respectable, but it can't match the performance of its top rivals.

It’s a tough racket to break through in today’s everything-headphones game, especially at $350. Wireless headphones in this price class are expected to sound great, feel great, offer barrels of features and, on top of all that, obliviate the noisy world around us to a pulp.

While their noise canceling is respectable, Sennheiser’s Momentum 4 can’t quite accomplish that last feat. They do a fantastic job in the lower register, almost completely eliminating bass frequencies in our airplane drone test. They also don’t add any notable white noise when things are quiet, something the XM4 can’t claim.

But they have more trouble with higher frequencies, letting through a healthy slice of white noise in the upper midrange for drone sounds. Performance is a step below Sony’s XM4 and Bose’s QC45 there, let alone the noise-crushing XM5. Sennheiser’s model didn’t score any extra points when I introduced our go-to voice chatter video (a 10-hour loop of a noisy party), again letting through more sound than any of those rivals.

To be sure, they’re still quite useful in the majority of situations. Add a little music and they’re much better equipped for silencing the world—they just can’t match the best.

Some features and controls need refinement

A man in a yellow pattern shirt uses the touch controls on a black pair of headphones in a green yard.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

A few features weren't working as expected in testing, but hopefully that will be fixed in a firmware update.

The Momentum 4 do a pretty good job mimicking their top competition, including a more loaded app than previous Momentum pairs and almost identical touch controls as Sony’s models. But both options feel a little less premium than the price point would suggest.

As an example, the touch controls on the right cup let you easily control play/pause and song skip with a tap or forward swipe, but the swipe gesture for volume control is much less granular than what Sony’s XM5 offers. That means it often leaves music either too loud or too quiet, which forces me to reach for my phone. There’s also a pinch control that lets you use both fingers to adjust ANC level, but it’s a little awkward to use.

The app’s adjustable fader for ANC and Transparency modes is also a bit unintuitive. Both functions adjust on the same slider, which means ANC goes all the way to transparency mode and vice versa, which isn’t always ideal. At one point I thought ANC was broken because I’d accidentally moved the slider all the way right to transparency mode. I mostly ended up just using ANC and Transparency in Adaptive mode, which adjusts based on environment.

Finally, I noticed a few instances where the headphones forced me to default to my phone audio rather than my Macbook during multipoint connection. Along with the auto-shut off and battery indicator issues mentioned above, it adds up to some odd annoyances, especially for $350 headphones. I’m also fairly confident that Sennheiser will address the biggest offenders in firmware updates.

A tad heavy

A pair of black headphones sits on a braided bar between the Sony WH-1000XM5 and XM4 with cases all open.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Momentum 4 (center) are about 40 grams heavier than the Sony WH-1000XM4 (left) and WH-1000XM5 (right).

The Momentum 4 are a full 40+ grams heavier than Sony’s WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4, and you can feel that extra weight. While the ear cups and band both offer plush padding, the clamping force, and especially the band, wear on my head a bit over time.

That’s not to say these headphones are uncomfortable, and they feel good for much longer than their predecessors, especially where the band meets the head.

Should you buy the Sennheiser Momentum 4?

Yes, if sound quality is your top priority

A black pair of headphones sit in their case on a black desk next to a star wars mousepad.
Credit: Reviewed/Ryan Waniata

The Momentum 4's brilliant sound and modern upgrades make them an enticing entry.

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless offer best-in-class sound, excellent battery, and solid features. While their noise canceling isn’t the best out there, it’s good enough for most scenarios. They’re not the most comfortable headphones I’ve put on, and they also don’t offer the same features or polish as our top-rated models. But if sound is your guidepost, these are well worth considering.

Obvious alternatives include the premium Sony WH-1000XM5 which offer similarly great sound, much-improved noise canceling, and a light and fluffy design. While their $400 MSRP is a hazard sign, you may be able to find them on sale this holiday season.

Also likely to be on sale are the WH-1000XM4, which are cheaper than the XM5 and offer very similar performance in most aspects. They’re also more travel-ready than either pair, helping to make them our all-around favorites.

If you’re a Sennheiser fan, or if you just place audio performance at the top of your list, the Momentum 4 Wireless are a tempting option. While they’ve still got a few features that could use retooling, we’ve already seen two firmware updates in less than a week, so you can bet Sennheiser will likely continue to tune them in the coming months to make them even better.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Meet the tester

Ryan Waniata

Ryan Waniata

Managing Editor - Electronics

@ryanwaniata

Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2012. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.

See all of Ryan Waniata's reviews

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