In total I have owned three pairs of Sennheiser headphones – two entry level models (the names of which I cannot remember) and, most recently, my trusty Sennheiser 228 headphones.
The Sennheiser 228 headphones are what you could call good value budget headphones. They are not dirt cheap but not expensive either and sell for around 60 bucks. I’ve had them plugged into a FIIO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier which is connected to my PC. This makes for a very listenable setup – especially if you listen to higher quality FLAC music files rather than bog standard MP3s.
But then I started to wonder. Could I do better? So many kids these days are wearing expensive Beats headphones plugged into their IPods. Are they getting a much better listening experience than I am? And if so, shouldn’t I do something about it?
So it was off to the local electronics store to listen to the Beats.
And boy oh boy was I disappointed!
Yes there was plenty of bass but it all sounded so muddy. It wasn’t what I wanted. But that bass! Would it be possible to get some of that AND a better overall sound quality as well?
What I DIDN’T want, though, was a pair of huge and heavy headphones, the likes of which you see in hi fi magazines. Instead, I wanted something comfortable to wear, aesthetically pleasing, portable AND with excellent sound quality beyond which I was getting on my Sennheiser 228’s.
And what that turned out to be was the Sennheiser momentum (on ear) headphones!
At £130 (~US$250), these headphones are not cheap. But they are worth it:
1) Excellent sound quality. There is a huge improvement in the sound quality compared to cheaper models like the Sennheiser 228 – it’s rather like the difference between the engine performance of a sports car and an average family sedan. For a start there is plenty of deep bass – not the muddy thump thump bass that you get on the Beats – but a controlled and enjoyable bass which is not going to annoy you even after listening to music for a long time. Also, the sound is far more musical. What I mean by this is that the individual instruments really come into their own on these headphones compared to cheaper models. Songs I thought I knew very well sounded so much better – much more involving – and with plenty of additional detail that you can’t hear on inferior headphones. The soundstage is so much wider and three dimensional. And at the upper range, you don’t get any tininess - even at high volumes.
2) Great build quality. For the price you pay, you expect the headphones to be well made. And they are! High quality materials are used throughout – including soft leather for the ear pads. A nice touch is the detachable cord which is often a source of weakness/breakage on less expensively priced headphones.
3) Portable. Being “on ear” headphones, these headphones are not large and have smaller sized ear pads which rest on your ear (as opposed to huge ear pads which completely cover you ear on the bulky “over ear” type of headphones).
4) Superb aesthetics! The Sennheiser momentum (on ear) headphones look great with a sort of retro-design and come in a variety of colors.
5) Can be driven by an IPod music player/IPhone etc. Better still, pair them with a computer using a Portable Headphone Amplifier/DAC to get the best sound quality.
All in all, these are a great pair of cans. Sure you won’t be as “trendy” as someone wearing a pair of Beats. But you certainly will be hearing better sounding music!