Audio

True wireless in-ear headphones with excellent soundscape

The true wireless in-ear headphones market is getting increasingly crowded.

One of the latest models to enter the fray is from German audio brand Sennheiser, with the second-generation version of its Momentum True Wireless headphones.

Simply called Momentum True Wireless 2 (MTW2), its improvements over its predecessor include a better battery life and the inclusion of active noise cancellation (ANC) technology.

It comes in two colours - black and white (version tested). The white version comes with a light-grey, fabric-covered charging case, while the black version has a dark-grey case.

The charging case has a USB-C charging port, but does not support wireless charging. Not a deal breaker, though it is always good to have wireless charging.

The MTW2 is a bit smaller than its predecessor, but otherwise looks similar to it. Each earbud has a round silver metallic touch-sensitive cap and a very short stem.

While the bulbous part of the earbud is a tad big, it does not protrude from the ears as much as that of Sony's WF-1000XM3 when worn. And while the MTW2 is not as streamlined as Apple's AirPods Pro, it does not have the AirPods Pro's long stem.

The earbuds feel lightweight and comfortable. I wear them for hours without any discomfort.

Four pairs of ear tips in different sizes are included. The medium-sized ones fit me best and stay snugly in my ears even when I try to dislodge the earbuds by shaking my head vigorously.

The earbuds also do not fall out during my jogs. But note that the MTW2 is rated only IPX4, meaning it can endure only sweat and water splashes.

With music driven by a bespoke 7mm dynamic driver from Sennheiser in each earbud, the MTW2 produces the best soundscape I have heard from a pair of true wireless in-ear headphones.

Audio delivery is detailed, smooth and clean. I can hear the different instruments that are playing clearly. The bass is punchy but not over-bearing, while the mids and highs are rich and well controlled. And this is on the default neutral equaliser setting.

You can use the Sennheiser Smart Control app (available on Android and iOS) to change the equaliser setting.

  • FOR

    • Superb sound quality 

    • Comfortable fit

    • Great active noise cancellation 

    • Long battery life

  • AGAINST

    • Expensive 

    • Confusing default controls 

    • Charging case does not support wireless charging

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $449

    DRIVERS: 7mm dynamic

    WATER RESISTANCE: IPX4

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.1

    WEIGHT: 6g (single earbud), 58g (charging case)

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4.5/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5

    OVERALL: 4.5/5

Music played through my favourite "V-shaped" equaliser setting - with bass and highs raised and mids lowered - sounds a tad richer and works well with even vocal-driven tracks, which usually prefer a neutral equaliser setting.

Its ANC is pretty good, able to filter out the noise from the seemingly constant home improvement and renovation works of my neighbours. But its quality is still a notch below that of the excellent WF-1000XM3.

There is also a Transparent Hearing mode that lets in ambient noise, so you can be aware of your surroundings.

One downer is the confusing default touch controls. You tap the left earbud once to play or pause a track, twice to skip to the next track, and thrice to return to the previous track. You tap once on the right earbud to activate the smartphone's voice assistant, twice to turn Transparent Hearing on or off, and thrice to turn ANC on or off.

You hold the left earbud to decrease volume and do the same on the right earbud to increase volume.

Confused? Me too.

Thankfully, you can use the app to customise the controls. For instance, I find it less confusing to have only the track and volume control functions accessible on the earbuds - and with the controls on one earbud mirroring those of the other.

As for the other controls, I rarely use voice assistant and prefer to control the ANC and Transparent Hearing functions via the app anyway.

Battery life is superb, rated at up to seven hours on a full charge with the charging case adding another 21 hours.

In my tests with the volume set at 75 per cent and ANC turned on, it lasts 51/2 hours.

However, everything comes at a price. At $449, the MTW2 is more expensive than genre leaders AirPods Pro ($379) and WF-1000XM3 ($349). But if sound quality is what you are after, the MTW2 will not disappoint.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2020, with the headline 'True wireless in-ear headphones with excellent soundscape'. Print Edition | Subscribe