Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 is arguably one of the best sounding true wireless earbuds in the market right now. It should not come as a surprise considering these earbuds have Sennheiser name and Momentum branding attached to it. However, the German audio company did not really get true wireless earbuds right the first time around. The original Momentum True Wireless (MTW going forward) had inconsistent battery life and a high price. The latter is still here but the battery life issue has been fixed. Also Read - 5 truly wireless earphones to get if you are serious about music
If you are wondering why is it called Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 and not something like 1S or 1T then the reason is that they now offer active noise cancellation. This is honest to god ANC and not some software-based trickery which underwhelms noise cancellation most of the time. With reliable battery life, Sennheiser’s classic soundstage and ANC, the MTW2 might seem like an obvious pick in the true wireless earbuds market. In many ways, it is but then price becomes an equally important factor. So, the question is do they really justify that high price? Also Read - EPOS Adapt 560 Review: Packs all the bells and whistles yet struggles to excite
With Momentum True Wireless 2, the obvious place to start is sound. They are so good that you would want to forget the sound experience with all the other true wireless earbuds that you might have tried before. The sound stage is classic Sennheiser with clarity and sound separation being second to none. It is remarkable that Sennheiser managed to pack such a good sound experience in these tiny earbuds design. Sennheiser MTW2 packs 7mm audiophile grade drivers, which the company told me, is similar to the one used with its IE 800s. It means you get a bass that is not distorted or punchy and the mid-range is clear and well defined. The treble is balanced and the overall focus is on delivering details.
The only way to experience this detail is by playing some music. I obviously connected to Spotify on my phone and played Wilderness by Explosions In The Sky. This is one of the best tracks to test the overall balance of any headphone. In the case of Sennheiser MTW2, you will understand that it does not produce rolling treble or lose detail in the lower-end. The percussion shows that the bass is warm and not tuned to be overzealous like on budget true wireless earbuds. The guitar harmonics reaching the high-end are pronounced and clear at the same time.
Since receiving the Momentum True Wireless 2 for review, I have been trying to sample a wide variety of music. The best experience comes from listening to FLAC music and if you are playing Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, it becomes immediately clear that the band is fighting or the members are playing with each other with the lyrics. This is possible because of the sound signature, which is warm and the vocal timbre remains rich and vibrant regardless of the music. If you listen to NYT’s The Daily podcast, Michael Barbaro’s voice comes across distinctly. From the strong emphasis on “O” in Barbaro to use of filler words like uh, huh, um, you won’t hear it like this on other true wireless earbuds.
Honestly, there was nothing wrong with the sound signature of original Momentum True Wireless. So, Sennheiser obviously did not fix what was not broken. The exceptional sound from 2018 only gets better this year. It is becoming extremely common this year for companies to highlight big drivers or promote the earbuds as tuned for bass. In a market like India, this really works since our industry is producing music for a generation that is all about bass. In the case of Sennheiser MTW2, the bass is agile but is not heavy or distorted, which might be the assumption, looking at the design of these earbuds.
Darkside’s Paper Trails is a good example to test the bass control on these earbuds. Unlike affordable TWS earbuds in the market, the low-end frequencies are audible and that vocal line is clear. After listening to these, I realized how many others skimp on this experience. To get more out of this, Sennheiser offers equalizer control via Smart Control app. There are not a lot of presets like those seen with other premium Sennheiser headphones. But you can tweak the sound to your own liking.
During my time testing these, I also found the calling experience to be on par with other true wireless earbuds in the market. None of those on the call had any issue hearing me nor did I face any issue hearing them. However, I do think that Apple and AirPods Pro are still the most comfortable and gold standard for calling experience. While you can connect MTW2 to eight devices, it can maintain connection with only one device at a time. This limits the function to a great extent unlike Jabra Elite 75t, which can be connected to two devices at once. At Rs 24,990, you would want Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 to do everything that is possible.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 comes in a large case that is wrapped in a fabric like its predecessor. This year, the fabric seems a bit darker and thus can keep stains away better. Every time you open and close the case, it makes a nice sound that is assuring. Yes, it is probably not as good as the sound made by Google Pixel Buds’ case but it is reassuring nonetheless. The top lid and the bottom housing for the earbuds are separated by a black plastic finish that makes it easier to open and shut the case. At the top, there is a Sennheiser logo and at the bottom, you will find regulatory details placed in a metallic strip. On the back, there is a LED light to indicate charging status, USB Type-C port for charging and a button to know the charge status.
There is no other way to say it but this case is chunky and you will have to carry it along. It is also rigid, well constructed and screams premium every time you use them. This premium feel extends to the inside of the case, which holds the earbuds. When you open the case, you will notice the earbuds first and then Sennheiser branding inside. The earbuds themselves have a nice heft to them and use metal for the outer touch surface. The controversial part of these earbuds is how they look when you wear them. They are big, bulky and protrude from your ears in a nonchalant way. In comparison, Jabra Elite 75t looks small but it does lack active noise cancellation. Mr. Kapil Gulati, Director, Consumer Segment, Sennheiser India, told BGR India that the company is looking to make next TWS earbuds smaller and compact.
While they are big, you don’t really feel that way. In my ears, they did fit snugly and stayed there whether I was cycling, running, talking or eating. These earbuds come with medium silicone ear adapters and in the box, Sennheiser includes extra small, small and large sizes for a comfortable fit. Some of my friends did not like the “in your face” type design but I got used to it immediately. They are also IPX4 rated, which makes them resistant to sweat and splashes of water. One omission is wireless charging, which Mr. Gulati told me is not needed for every consumer. However for the price, I don’t think asking for wireless charging is unwarranted. While I can ignore lack of wireless charging, I cannot ignore the finicky touch controls.
The outer metallic surface of the MTW2 acts as a touch panel. After using them for nearly two weeks, I must say that these are extremely sensitive to touch. For instance, I was cycling and probably my T-Shirt touched the surface and it jumped to the next track. The default controls set at the factory are horrendous and there is a steep learning curve to get used to these. There is a target area to play or pause music, jump to the previous or next track and enable or disable ANC. Once you get that right, you shouldn’t have much problem. It is better than last year and Sennheiser includes a handy guide as well but it is cumbersome. You will either get used to it or give up on it but it does not take away the fact that these are really premium.
ANC and Sennheiser Smart Control app
The showstopper this year is definitely the addition of active noise cancellation. The hefty earbuds design and sheer volume to it made last year’s earbuds offer very good noise isolation. This year, Sennheiser is allowing users to completely cancel the noise. Let me tell you that testing noise cancellation while locked at home is extremely difficult. I think the best way to test the effectiveness of ANC is to get on a cross country Air India flight, which has among the loudest engines on any Boeing 787. It is not possible to do such a test but the ANC definitely did not look artificial.
I was testing these earbuds in my room and when I enabled ANC, I could not hear the speaker on my TV placed in the living room. There were several occasions when I could not hear my family members calling me from another room. With transparent hearing turned on, I could hear them fine. I don’t think these will replace my over-ear headphones, which offer excellent noise cancellation or Sennheiser’s own Momentum 3 Wireless. However, it is remarkable that Sennheiser managed to pair good sound with active noise cancellation in a package that maintains the identity of true wireless earbuds.
There is an app that acts as a companion to these TWS earbuds. Smart Control from Sennheiser is a handy application but it seems untapped in terms of functionality. As soon as you start the app, it asks for a location to connect. Once connected, you see the earbuds, tapping on which will let you change the touch controls. Below that you will see battery percentage but only of the earbuds and not of the case. Sennheiser didn’t include a Bluetooth chip in the case to communicate with the app. It is followed by the option to enable or disable transparent hearing, change equalizer and maintain connections. There is a hamburger icon on the top left to check devices, app settings while on the top right, you have settings for the connected device. I think an option to change the sensitivity of the touch surface would have been better.
If something is broken, you fix it and Sennheiser did it really well. The original Momentum True Wireless did not have long endurance and most users even reported severe battery drain. With MTW2, Sennheiser claims seven hours of charge from the buds themselves. The charging case can add three additional full charges to the buds. During my time testing these earbuds, I found the battery life to be consistent with Sennheiser’s claim. It is better than AirPods Pro, which offers four and a half ears from a single charge and Sony WF-1000XM3, which offers six hours.
Jabra Elite 75t offers 7.5 hours on a single charge despite its smaller form factor. I found myself charging these earbuds once every week and that too out of caution and not the case or the earbuds completely ran out of juice. The MTW2 charges via USB Type-C port and takes around an hour and a half to fully charge the earbuds and the case. The lack of wireless charging is a bummer but not a deal breaker. With reverse wireless charging becoming common among premium smartphones, this should be the top addition with MTW2.
Sennheiser MTW 2: Should you buy?
If Rs 24,990 does not sound a lot for a truly wireless earbuds then you should not think twice before buying the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. However, I do think there is no straightforward answer to this question. When it comes to sound quality, the MTW2 is second to none in the TWS earbuds category. It offers rich sound with clear vocals and excellent instrument separation. The 7mm dynamic drivers also deliver clear bass that remains joyous. The ANC is another area where Sennheiser takes a leap against its rivals in this true wireless earbuds segment.
It does a lot of this without making any compromise on battery life. At nearly 28 hours, the MTW2 is among one of the best in the market. However, like its predecessor, there seems to be a disconnect between overall usability and sound quality. It scores 10 out of 10 on sound quality but when it comes to usability, it is only 8 out of 10. The minute Sennheiser connects these two dots, it will be the absolute best in the TWS earbuds market. For now, you will have to make a small compromise like lack of wireless charging, inability to use only the left earbuds and even that price tag. Despite those small issues and nitpicking, I like it so much that I would like to keep it.