Last modified: December 13th, 2022 at 02:21 pm
The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones are a premium set of headphones that deliver great audio performance and effective ANC.
Everything you would want is here. They have a comfortable, stylish design, and a 13-hour battery life. They’re compatible with several codecs, and Sennheiser’s Smart Control app is effective and easy to use.
This is the case for most premium headphones though, and these days is to be expected in a pair that costs $600. The problem here is that in many areas, the Momentum 3’s just aren’t as good as the competition. The Sony WH-1000XM4, for example, deliver the same great audio, have a much longer-lasting 30-hour battery, have better touch controls and crucially are $200+ cheaper.
The only area where the Momentum 3’s standout is in their design. They look great, but I’m not convinced looks are worth an extra $200+.
The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones cost $600. This is on the pricier side for over-ear headphones.
For comparison, the Sony WH-1000XM4 cost $379, and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 cost $580.
The Momentum 3’s have a great design. They’re stylish and are some of the best-looking headphones I’ve used.
They’re fitted with a genuine leather headband, firm memory foam earcups, and steel arms for adjusting the size. It’s a sleek and unique look that’s also very comfortable. I was expecting them to feel heavy, but they’re light, have a gentle clamping force that doesn’t squash the head, and I could wear them for hours without issue.
The Momentum 3’s forego touch controls instead relying on physical buttons and switches located on the right earcup. There’s a switch for turning ANC on/off and transparency mode on. There’s volume up and down, play/pause and answer phone calls buttons and also a button for initiating your chosen voice assistant.
These controls were accurate and responsive; however, the lack of touch controls means there’s a lack of customisability. Where other headphones allow you to change the controls to suit your needs, here you’re stuck with the base controls. And crucially, a skip track function is lacking.
I also would’ve like more detailed audio queues for some functions, especially the ANC on/off switch. There’s no audio feedback to tell you which setting you’re using. The headphones naturally provide a good deal of passive noise isolation, so in some circumstances, it was difficult to tell if ANC was on or off. Often I would have to open up the Smart Control app to figure out if it was on or not. Not ideal.
The voice assistant button will initiate the assistant you use on your device. If you use Google Assistant on your phone, that’s the assistant that will initiate, same with Siri and Alexa. It’s easy and means you aren’t forced to use a voice assistant you may not be familiar with.
There’s a USB-C port for charging and a 3.5mm jack for headphones. Cords for both these ports come in the case.
While the headphones themselves have a premium build, the case is a little lacklustre. It’s a relatively basic, cloth, zip-up case. There’s no significant amount of padding or protection here. I wasn’t as comfortable putting the Momentum 3’s in their case as I was with other premium headphones and their cases.
The Momentum 3’s produce a very good sound. They can deliver punchy bass tones without distorting the mix. Vocals come through clearly without getting drowned out by other frequencies, and overall the soundstage is large and well-balanced.
They do have a bass-heavy default sound setting, however, this was easily remedied with the equaliser found in the Smart Control App. I was able to get the audio almost exactly how I wanted it. I would’ve liked more customisation options with the EQ, however the three faders for bass, mid and treble served their purpose well enough.
There wasn’t a genre of music the Momentum 3 Wireless headphones couldn’t handle. Whether it was fast-paced tracks like Runnin’ Away by RDGLDGRN, bass-heavy hip hop like What’s Golden by Jurassic 5 or more mellow songs like These Words by The Lemon Twigs, it all sounded good.
The Momentum 3’s support Bluetooth 5.0, and they’re compatible with a large number of codecs, aptx low latency, aptxHD, aptx, AAC and SBC.
A feature I appreciated was being able to connect the headphones to two devices at the same time via Bluetooth. I could have music playing through my computer and my phone connected to hear notification sounds. It’s quite a specific use case, but it’s nice to have the option.
Smart Control App
The Sennheiser Smart Control app is relatively basic. You can change the ANC between three levels, Max, Anti-Wind and Anti-Pressure. I didn’t notice much difference between these settings and had it set on max for most of my time.
You can customise transparent hearing, Sennheiser’s feature that allows you to hear sounds outside the headphones, to pause music, or quieten music, and you can EQ the audio.
You can also turn on/off Smart Pause and Smart Play which pause music if you take the headphones off, and play it when you put them back on. This worked well. Taking the headphones off would instantly pause the music, and it wouldn’t start playing until they were comfortably back on my head. It’s so good I barely used transparent hearing mode.
A unique feature is the Momentum 3’s are compatible with Tile. Tile is software that helps find your headphones if you’ve misplaced them. You can ring them, so they make a sound, view their last location on a map and use the Tile Detector. It’s a nice feature, especially if you’re prone to misplacing your devices.
The Momentum 3’s Active Noise Cancellation capabilities don’t quite reach the high levels of the best in the business, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. Still, unless you directly compare the two, you probably won’t notice the difference.
The ANC here is very good. The headphones do a good job of cancelling high and mid frequencies, but sometimes there is some sound leaking from the lower bass tones. But it’s not a big deal. If you’re worried about the rumble of an aeroplane coming through, don’t be, these will cancel that out.
The transparency mode isn’t great. Similar to other headphones, the Momentum 3’s pick up sounds using the in-built microphones and play it into the earcups. Here it sounds more like ANC has simply been turned off as opposed to sounds being boosted and played into the earcups.
The Momentum 3’s boast a 17-hour battery life, 13 hours with ANC turned on. While this is plenty for a long-distance flight, when compared to the competition, it isn’t great.
The Sony WH-1000XM4’s boast a 30-hour battery life with ANC turned on. It’s significantly better.
The Momentum 3’s support fast charging, with a 10-minute charge providing 90-minutes of battery. This is a nice feature to have and there are a lot of headphones out there that don’t support fast charging.
In regards to sound quality and ANC there’s very little that separates the best-of-the-best headphones. Unless you directly compare them you will barely be able to tell the difference. All of them have good ANC and produce good sound.
When this is the case, other features and specifications become important considerations. Price, battery life and controls become major factors.
When comparing the Momentum 3 Wireless headphones to other premium headphones based on these criteria, they’re behind the competition, in some cases significantly. The Sony WH-1000XM4’s are over $200 cheaper, they boast double the battery life and they have touch controls that you can customise to suit your needs.
Yes the Momentum 3’s will provide premium sound quality and they’re the best looking headphones on the market, but they’re expensive and not quite as good as the competition in other areas.