There are now some fantastic choices if you’re in the market for a pair of truly wireless earbuds. Apple has the Airpods Pro, Sony have their excellent WF-1000xm3 (review here), Bang & Olufsen is still having fun putting out new colourways of the E8 (review here), and there are some promising pieces coming from Bose and Microsoft.
The frontrunner to date, in my mind, is the Sony pair, but they have some serious competition now that Sennheiser have revisited their Momentum True Wireless buds and given them a swift update for a second generation.
Never one to be counted out when it comes to superior audio performance, the German audio company has put a lot into the newly released Momentum True Wireless 2 ear buds, justifying the high price by improving on the first-gen in every way. That means a reworked design, excellent audio experience, and reliable active noise cancelling.
The outer panels are a high-quality glossy metallic finish available in either black of white, sporting the company logo on a rather chunky circular face. The thickness is of little issue though, as they fit nicely in most ears and twist for a secure and comfortable groove, without protruding as much as you’d expect. Though they don’t look drastically different from their predecessors, these are notably smaller in size (2mm smaller to be exact)
Included with the earpieces are four pairs of distinctive silicone ear tips to ensure ideal fit no matter ear size. Finding the one that best seal for your individual ears is crucial for top performance, both in terms of sound and noise cancelling.
A slimmer profile also means there’s not as much wear after long listening sessions. Much like the Sony’s, these are comfortable even after you’ve had them in the ear for longer than you probably should have.
The surface of each bud features various touch controls, the gestures easy and logical while the pad is responsive and not overly sensitive. Sennheiser has arrived at a perfect balance here, so controlling your audio experience and summoning either Google Assistant or Siri is a breeze.
Double tap the left bud for next track, three times for previous, or hold to reduce volume. On the right, you’ll hold to increase volume, tap once to answer/reject a call and activate your voice assistant, and tap twice to toggle the active noise cancelling’s transparent mode. Touch controls are simple, intuitive and are even able to be mapped via the app.
You’ll still need to protect them rather well given these only have an IPX4 rating, fending off a modest amount of light splashes but not much more. It’s enough to not make an issue out of any sweat, but don’t go putting these under a tap or dropping them into a pool. Sports headphones they are not, and although the IPX certification is low, at least it’s there, unlike with the Sony’s.
Although the Sony’s have been my go-to for the past year, Sennheiser easily have them beat when it comes to the case. It’s much slimmer, more attractive with its grey fabric canvas, and is your trusty power bank that can take the battery from around 7 hours to up to 28 hours. Given gen-one received quite a bit of backlash because the case would often drain the battery, it’s understandable that the Sennheiser team wanted to get this one exactly right. They have; it works reliably well.
Active Noise Cancelling wasn’t included in its predecessor, so it’s good to know that Sennheiser has focused on getting this tech right. Suck yourself into your own insular listening work by turning ANC on either through the touch controls or via a switch in Sennheiser’s Smart Control app.
I don’t notice much of a difference in terms of ANC quality between this and the Sony set, but that’s a good thing. Both companies have perfected the art of blocking everything out, just as much as they have in the more nuanced process of letting environmental noise rush in under the music with transparent mode.
Sennheiser’s official smartphone app is used to squeeze the best functionality out of the buds, and its perhaps the best marriage of an app with true wireless earbuds I’ve experienced to date. EQ has always been a necessary feature, but Sennheiser have managed to make this much more nuanced and detailed, offering a huge range in the overall experience.
As mentioned above, you can actually map the touch controls to suit your style, adjust how much of your own voice you hear during calls, and toggle the Smart Pause feature which stops music once an earpiece is removed and resume it once its put back in.
The buds use Bluetooth 5.1, and support AptX, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs and just may be the best sounding on the market right now. The 7mm dynamic drivers have been maximised with natural sounding mids and treble and a deep, nuanced bass. Although I still think the Sony’s have the slight edge when it comes to bass, there’s very little to find issue with here.
My preferred sound for testing audio devices is always jazz-inflected 90s hip hop like A Tribe Called Quest and Gangstarr, and listening through their respective catalogues on this is a dreamy revisit to exquisite detail. DJ Premier’s beats, for example, come across with plenty of attack and deep, reverberating bass. The Roots’ “Mellow My Man” benefits from the fact I can hear each instrument clearly and distinctively, with excellent separation of the jazzy notes from Black Thought’s high-octane raps.
Switch to soul music like Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye and the buttery vocals soar with plenty of detail and presence. A rock anthem like Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of” is uncluttered and warm, Tom Morello’s immortal riff coming across with incredible force. Something softer and more melodic like the haunting “Laughing With” by Regina Spektor has so much clarity its almost like she’s right in front of me. The tender details floating in the background of Jefferson Airplane’s “Today” are easily discernible and highlight the depth these buds can pick up.
Value & Verdict
Sennheiser has chalked up a massive win with the Momentum True Wireless 2. It’s quite the investment at AU$499.95, but the buds do a lot to meet that tag with design that feels genuinely premium, a comfortable fit for longer listening sessions, excellent noise cancelling, and a truly immersive audio experience.
They are most comparable to Sony’s WF-1000xm3, with which my biggest issue was maintaining a stable connection at all times. I think that Sennheiser have edged out the competition in this regard, and while Sony may have them slightly beat when it comes to the overall sound profile, the Momentum True Wireless 2’s are just more reliable when it comes to everything else.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Very detailed audio experience; reliable connection; highly customisable through the app; strong battery life with a slim, attractive case; still quite expensive; exceptional noise cancelling.
Lowlights: Touch controls may take some getting used to at first; smaller ears may find it harder to get a proper fit.
Review based on unit supplied by Sennheiser.
All photos by Chris Singh.