Thursday, 17 April 2014

Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear review - A Basshead's Joy

     The Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear review is very nicely designed and has great sound, and come in red, green, ivory, black, brown, blue and pink shades, but in a very competitive price range, retaining at S$299, is it worth it? Let us get into it.

Pros: Greatly balanced mids and highs with rich detail, nice design, extremely enjoyable emphasised bass

Cons: Might not fit everyone's ears, slightly boomy bass

     These look so phenomenal, with all that alcantara leather and the premium stitching. The earcups are so nicely and subtly styled and to finish it all up, at the bottom of each side of the leather padded headband is a Momentum word laser engraved on a piece of metal to finish up that premium feel.

     The soumd is great, with detailed, smooth and balanced mids and highs. In the short listen I took, I did not hear any particular emphasis on any frequency range within the mids and highs. The bass is quite deliciously emphasised, with all the subtlety I need enough to betray the audiophile inside of me. Once in a while, I always like a fun sounding listen. In case you are thinking though, these are true, thouroughbred basshead cans with the refinement in overall sound and emphasised bass a true basshead will want. Alas, detracting from the overall experience is that the bass can get quite boomy, loose and flabby on occasion, especially when taxed with bass-heavy tracks. Also, the purist in me does cry out for a more neutral sound, as this is a pair of cans coming from Sennheiser.    
      Also, to ruin the package, the Earcups do not swivel back and forth, so people may find unecessary pressure on the back of their ears and too light a pressure on the front of the ears, causing an inconsistent seal and ruining the sound quality a little as outside noise leaks in. also, library use with these are not recommended due to the high sound leakage.

     This is a disappointing drawback, but overall, these are extremely nice sounding if you like balanced and detailed mids and highs and greatly emphasised bass. Even audiophiles out there, sometimes you should be a bit more adventurous with what headphones you listen to, like what I did. You may find a wholly different but maybe an even more enjoyable sound. Advice to potential buyers though; You should try these out if possible at a store before purchasing them, so as to ensure that they can fit on your ears well without putting too much pressure on the backs of your ears, especially if you are wearing glasses.

     Great job Sennheiser, especially on balancing the precarious value between sound and design, but maybe a slight tweak to include earcups being able to tilt on the slider with the Sennheiser logo will be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: This is a frequency response graph taken from Headroom of the Sennheiser Momentum On Ear.

Graph shows neatly emphasised bass from sub-bass all the way to mid-bass without any hint of bloatedness in the mid-bass and without any hint of poor sub-bass extension, as often seen in bass-emphasised cans. Mids are fairly smooth but slightly recessed, and the 10kHz peak may result in slightly fatigueing listens over time. Treble rolls off early and results in a relaxing listen but with lesser detail then I prefer. This graph delivers about the same sonic experience with the listening test I conducted.

Sennheiser PX 360 review - A traveller's go-to pair

     A great looking travel headphone, these headphones have a few cons some may not expect, coming from a pair of cans from Sennheiser.

Pros: good bass and mids, nice-looker, nice case, good portability

Cons: strange emphasis on particular frequency range, small cups may not fit everyone, fragile, non-detachable cable

PX 360

the PX 360 (above), and partially in its case (below).

     The Sennheiser PX 360 headphones look good, and are very comfortable, at least to me, but the earcups fit just nicely over my ears. Any smaller and I would not be able to fit these over my ears. What with these being advertised as circumaural headphones, the earcups should be bigger. the headband is nicely padded and the headphones are very light. The case and foldability makes these quite a good pair of travel headphones.

     I first auditioned these at the one and only Sennheiser shop in my country, Singapore. They looked as good as in the promotional pics and folded up very nicely upon testing of the folding mechanism. They have a metal reinforced headband I think, as the sliders are metal. Now, onto sound quality.

     These have very nice, smooth, controlled and tight bass. The mids are quite even and the overall frequency response is very nice and balanced in the mids. The bass is punchy enough for a clean, natural sound, but sometimes gets overwhelmed by the sharp and fatigueing highs. Still, these sound especially good with classical and instrumental music. Now, there is some bad news.

     The highs are smooth, but when I played Simple Plan's "Jet Lag", I noticed quite a strong emphasis on vocals, high-hats, cymbals, and any other sounds in this frequency range. The same is for other songs. Of course, vocals will be nice with slight emphasis, but the vocals are really too bright and fatigueing for me. I then tested the Sennheiser Momentum On Ear, and for $70 more, I get superbly even highs and mids, nicely naturally emphasised bass and great design, but at the expense of foldability, and it may not fit everyone, as the earcups do not swivel forward or backward slightly, so some people may experience uncomfortable pressure on the back of the ear.

     Overall, these are great headphones, but more work on the highs, and a detachable cable, would be greatly appreciated, especially in its price range.

EDIT: a frequency response graph of the PX 360 taken from Headroom.

Rather rough and frighteningly unrefined frequency response. Bass is not too well extended into the sub-bass region and rolls off early, mids are bumpy and high-mids to treble are very bumpy with lots of peaks and dips. Explains the emphasised cymbals, high-hats and vocals threatening to take over the sound. Treble also rolls off early. Very bad and rough sound for a headphone of this price, especially since the ATH-M50x are exactly S$1 cheaper than these. I will review the ATH-M50x soon. For those of you who know the ATH-M50, the ATH-M50x are its successor with 3 detachable cables and better sound quality over the previous ATH-M50.