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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review: great sound, now with noise cancellation

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It’s not typically that I’ve to discuss with a guide whereas I’m reviewing one thing, however that’s precisely what I discovered myself doing whereas reviewing the $300 Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 2 (MTW2).

The earbuds, that are Sennheiser’s second stab on the true wi-fi kind issue, shouldn’t be significantly difficult. They’re principally the identical as Sennheiser’s first true wi-fi earbuds, albeit with added noise cancellation and higher battery life. However at their default settings, their contact controls take fairly a little bit of getting used to. They’re annoyingly unintuitive.

Thank goodness, then, that these controls are customizable. With a bit tweaking, you’ll be able to find yourself with a pair of true wi-fi earbuds that sound nice, characteristic glorious noise-canceling efficiency, have improved battery life, and are additionally pretty straightforward to regulate. They’re costly in comparison with most of their true wi-fi competitors, however I feel they only about justify it, even when it received’t make them a high choose for everyone.

The Momentum True Wi-fi 2s don’t include many equipment, however they cowl the fundamentals. You get the earbuds, the charging case, a piddly 20cm USB-C cable to cost the case, and 4 totally different sizes of silicone ear ideas, ranging in dimension from additional small to massive. There are not any additional little wings to carry the earphones in your ear’s cartilage, however fortunately, I didn’t discover them vital. I popped the MTW2s in my ears, they usually match snugly the primary time.

In reality, whether or not I used to be exercising or out on a cycle journey (with noise-canceling turned off, naturally), the earbuds stayed snugly in my ears. The one time I needed to take them out mid-exercise was after I couldn’t keep in mind in the event that they had been IP rated excessive sufficient to take care of my sweat. I needn’t have fearful; they’re IPX4 rated, which means they need to survive gentle splashes. They protrude a bit extra out of your ears than the smallest of earbuds just like the Jabra Elite 75ts, which don’t provide noise-canceling. However the vital factor was that they nonetheless felt cosy, they usually didn’t really feel like they had been dangling in any respect. I attempted sporting them whereas consuming, they usually held agency.

By way of tech specs, the earbuds help Bluetooth 5.1, and supported codecs embody SBC, AAC, and aptX.

Each the earbuds and charging case really feel solidly made. The charging case is magnetic, so the earbuds slot in with a satisfying click on, and also you received’t lose them if you happen to flip the case upside-down. You should utilize simply the best earbud by itself to take heed to music (helpful if you happen to’re doing different issues on the similar time), however the left doesn’t help the identical performance. It’s minor, nevertheless it’s a little bit of flexibility that Apple and Sony provide with their earbuds that you just received’t discover right here.

Lastly, whereas Sennheiser tells me the earbuds can keep in mind a connection to eight totally different gadgets, you’ll be able to solely be actively related to one after the other. If you happen to’re the type of one that likes to maintain your headphones related to each your telephone and your laptop computer when you’re working, then that received’t be an possibility right here.

Sennheiser says you must get seven hours of cost from the buds themselves, with 21 additional hours from their charging case. That’s respectable in comparison with the AirPods Professional (4.5 hours with ANC on, plus 19 from the case) or Sony’s WF-1000XM3 (six hours with ANC, plus 18 from the case). Sennheiser additionally advised me it’s utilizing a more moderen Bluetooth chip design that ought to mitigate any issues with battery drain like people reported with its first-generation true wireless earbuds. In my expertise, these claims held up. I used to be in a position to make use of the earbuds intermittently over the course of a number of days with no battery points.

Whereas it’s nice that the earbuds’ case (like its predecessor) expenses over USB-C, the case doesn’t help wi-fi charging. That’s one thing I might excuse on a cheaper pair of true wi-fi earbuds, however whenever you’re paying $300, you deserve all the bells and whistles. It’s a disgrace to see it lacking, particularly now that an rising variety of telephones can wirelessly cost different gadgets.

You management the MTW2s by tapping or holding the flat floor both earbud. Nonetheless, fairly than utilizing buttons, the earbuds as a substitute every have a touch-sensitive floor. It actually provides them a sleeker look, however I at all times discover it tougher to keep away from unintended touches in terms of contact controls like these on true wi-fi earbuds. You may overcome it with observe, however there’s a bit little bit of a studying curve.

I feel that everybody ought to customise the controls of the MTW2s after they first get them as a result of, out of the field, the controls are wildly unintuitive. By default, you faucet the left earbud as soon as to play / pause, twice to skip to the subsequent observe, thrice for the earlier observe, and also you maintain it to show the amount down. The correct earbud summons your voice assistant, activates clear listening to, activates ANC, and raises the amount utilizing the identical instructions. It feels oddly one-sided.

That’s dumb, so right here’s what I recommend you alter it to: one faucet on both earbud to play or pause, two faucets on the left earbud to skip again, two faucets on the best to go ahead, three faucets on the best for ANC, and three faucets on the left for transparency. You’re extra restricted by what you’ll be able to swap the long-press command to so I stored it as a quantity management. This was broadly effective, nevertheless it signifies that altering the amount is a sluggish course of. I’d hate to seek out myself needing to show down the amount of the earbuds in a rush after by chance setting the amount too loud, for instance. I dropped the voice assistant command fully as a result of it’s not one thing I take advantage of (although I’d swap it for transparency mode in a pinch).

I ended up with a set of controls I used to be broadly proud of, however if you happen to’re somebody who prefers bodily buttons, then no quantity of tweaking goes to have the ability to replicate that. You’ll additionally should obtain and use Sennheiser’s app to customise the controls, which entails agreeing to a bunch of license agreements. (See the Conform to Proceed sidebar.)

One of many greatest strengths of the unique MTWs was their sound high quality, and that’s nonetheless the case right here. Sound separation and readability are glorious, and even when the complexity of a observe ramps up, the soundstage doesn’t get overwhelmed. I torture-tested the earbuds with a observe from punk band Ghost of a Thousand known as “As much as You,” and each screaming guitar traces and the bass guitar got here by way of clearly and distinctly, regardless of oodles of distortion. Turning up the amount didn’t introduce any extra harshness — if something, it revealed but extra element.

The observe “Parallel Universes” from the Sayonara Wild Hearts soundtrack reveals the sheer management the Momentum True Wi-fi 2s have over their bass. Sure, it has depth and kick however by no means on the expense of the remainder of the observe. There’s no trace of harshness to the sound of those earbuds, and bass ranges are properly rounded. It’s a fantastic, wealthy sound.

I additionally used the earbuds to take heed to some podcasts, and never solely did every of the hosts come by way of loud and clear, however I might additionally hear variations within the sound high quality of their microphones in addition to the totally different quantities of echo in every of their recording rooms.

The earbuds’ microphone high quality was typically good after I positioned calls. Individuals I spoke to reported that I sounded a bit quieter and muffled when talking by way of the MTW2s, however that I used to be nonetheless straightforward to listen to and perceive. I additionally didn’t expertise a lot in the best way of connection hiccups, and the earphones synced up properly whereas I used to be watching video.

The massive addition for the brand new pair of earbuds is noise cancellation, which has, understandably, been a bit tougher to judge at a time when catching a flight is inconceivable and getting on public transport just like the London Underground is downright reckless. So you understand what I did? I sat in entrance of an enormous pair of audio system, turned them as loud as they’d go, and performed the ambient sound of the Underground.

Sennheiser’s true wi-fi earbuds carried out admirably, reducing out virtually all the bass rumble from the sound. I additionally in contrast them with my over-ear Bowers & Wilkins PX wi-fi headphones. It appears like an unfair comparability, however I truly suppose Sennheiser’s headphones did a greater job total. They matched B&W’s pair on their potential to chop out the low rumble, whereas reducing out extra of the high-pitched whine. That bodes properly, contemplating I’ve lengthy used B&W’s headphones on my commute with out difficulty. I additionally in contrast them towards a pair of 1More True Wi-fi ANC earbuds I had readily available and located Sennheiser supplied much better noise cancellation. Briefly, noise-canceling efficiency isn’t a difficulty for Sennheiser’s newest true wi-fi earbuds.

The double whammy of fantastic sound high quality and ANC efficiency makes the Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 2 a formidable pair of earbuds. Then once more, at $300, you’d hope for as a lot, particularly since that makes them costlier than different noise-canceling earbuds just like the AirPods Professional ($249) or Sony WF-1000XM3 ($229.99). Sennheiser’s earbuds nearly earn this worth premium when it comes to uncooked high quality, nevertheless it’s a disgrace to see them lacking out on options like wi-fi charging.

Their premium worth (and, for some, the contact controls) imply they received’t be for everybody. However if you happen to’re after a pair of true wi-fi earbuds that come near matching the standard of a premium pair of noise-canceling over-ear headphones, then Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wi-fi 2 are straightforward to suggest.

Pictures by Jon Porter / The Verge

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