Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Earphones Review
Can this German headphone specialist do a successful repeat performance of its class-leading true wireless in-ears?
Momentum True Wireless 2 Earphones
AUD $499.95 RRP
In a sea of Bluetooth in-ear monitors (IEMs) released in 2018, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless was a standout product for me. It had a punchy sound, incredible aesthetics, and a great software package to boot. Since then, the true wireless IEM market has simultaneously matured and heated-up considerably. With Apple recently dropping the AirPods Pro upon a hungry fanbase and rumours swirling around of Sony releasing a new addition to the XM range, it was time for this iconic audio veteran to prepare another performance piece…
The new Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 is a smaller model than its predecessor and boasts better battery life, improved comfort and active noise cancelling. This release aims to demonstrate to the market that Sennheiser isn't here to play; it's here to win. In regards to the company now selling two different models, John Davies, Sennheiser's National Account Manager (Retail), explained that “we're currently still selling the previous model, but the new Momentum True Wireless 2 will replace the first generation in our portfolio in the mid-term.”
So, this is a highly anticipated release that aims to take the spotlight on centre stage, with its headlining performance being sound quality. Its predecessor from 2018 left audiences clamouring for an encore; has this next performance done enough to satisfy the hungry crowd?
This newer model is 2mm smaller than its 2018 counterpart; this is a curious design decision in my eyes, as I never found its predecessor to be bulky. Nevertheless, the newer one is sleeker and slightly more ergonomic. Same goes for the USB-C charging case, which is reduced in size, marginally curvier and more pocketable. Despite this, the drivers are retained. Davies again: “We are still using our 7mm dynamic drivers, so even though the earbuds in the second generation are 2mm smaller and deliver a better ergonomic fit, they keep the same acoustical system and deliver the same outstanding stereo sound as with the first generation.”
This size decrease has had an immediately noticeable improvement in comfort and fit. Selecting one of the four included olive-style tips makes for rapid and smooth insertion, with next-to-no fiddling required to get a perfect seal. Wearing these during exercise is no problem at all (even during intense boxing workouts), and the IPX6 rating helps to drink up the sweat.
There are some new goodies under the hood, too. For starters, the True Wireless 2 now contains active noise cancelling. I prodded Sennheiser about this, asking if the company only included it because Apple did in the AirPods Pro. However, John was happy to put me in my place, informing me that ANC is here for two reasons: Because customers asked for it, and because Sennheiser has been releasing noise cancelling products for literally decades.
The noise-cancelling might need a little tweaking, as I found the effect was far less pronounced than I was expecting. At first, I wasn't sure if I had activated it correctly or not. Unlike Bose noise-cancelling products, this particular breed of ANC only focuses on lower frequencies (to drown out engine noise) but even then, doesn't have the most obvious of effects. Perhaps a future firmware update could tweak the noise cancelling in a more obvious direction?
I am happy to report, however, that the battery draining issue from the 2018 True Wireless has been resolved. To keep you up to speed, when you placed the last model back into its case, it would flatten the battery after a few days. However, the new release doesn't suffer from these issues.
In terms of codecs, I was pleased to see the return of Qualcomm's aptX codec, as well as SBC and AAC. However, we seem to have lost the aptX LL (low latency) codec from the previous model. The reason for this is unclear, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would say this is to improve battery life. Speaking of which, True Wireless 2 is king. Once you remove them from the charging case, you'll get 7 hours of listening time, and the case will give you 28 more. This is beastly compared to its predecessor's 4 hours of listening time with 12 hours of charge time. It also wipes the floor with the mighty AirPods Pro, which clocks in at 4 hours of listening time and 24 hours of charging time.
Touch controls are back, and this time with an added twist – they are fully customisable in the Sennheiser Smart Control app. You can also choose whether or not to enable Sidetone, which is having a small back of your voice transmitted back to you when talking on the phone. It also helps to improve phone call quality, and callers told me that I sounded “decent” from their end. They were great on my end too, so no complaints there.
Latency is noticeable when watching Netflix or YouTube, but it's not a deal-breaker. While the aptX Low Latency codec is undoubtedly missed, in reality, it's not something that I find off-putting when watching TV shows or movies. Gaming may be another matter, depending on the game and how sensitive you are to latency.
I put these to the test using my iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. When placing these in your ears for the first time and hitting “play”, you'll immediately notice a deep-reaching, warm and epic low end. Don't be fooled into thinking these are just unrelenting, uncontrolled bass cannons; the thumping low end is detailed, layered and presented with precision. This fascinating bass response is the first telltale sign that Sennheiser has put in a lot of care into voicing these IEMs.
This tuning carries over to an ever-so-slightly lively upper midrange. This is never overpowering or painful but is presented with enough strength to bring a commanding presence to vocalists. It's nice to hear a True Wireless headphone have the gall to give some meaty sub-bass response. Listening to LesAlpx by Floating Points is testament to the rambunctious low-end response reminiscent of Sennheiser's more bassy over-ear headphones, such as the HD-25ii. It's this juicy, warm, detailed low-end response that I found lacking in the AirPods Pro, but is available in droves with the TW2.
We can talk about frequency response all day, but it's vital to note that this release comes with a built-in equaliser that none of its competitors offers – including the venerable AirPods Pro. This alters the sound at the earbud itself, not just on the output device. That means that EQ settings carry over from one source device to the next, and it's not just a device-specific EQ – that's great.
Those 7mm drivers are fast, proving well able to produce quick transients when required. Dynamic range is also desirable, and minor nuances in the background are audible without being lost when things get busy. An excellent example of this wide range is easy to find in Peer Pressure by John Brian. It's easy to hear the complexities in the seemingly older piano in the beginning passage, which is relatively quiet. By the time the crescendo hits, the TW2 rides the wave all the way through, without getting confused, muddy or messy at the climax of the short song.
There is a noticeable gentle hissing in the background; while this was reduced in a firmware update, it is still slightly present. It's only audible for my ears when there is no music playing, so it is not a huge drama. Perhaps in a future firmware update, this noise floor could be further reduced.
Rumours are swirling online about the soundstage of this release being smaller than the original Momentum True Wireless IEMs, but I am happy to report that when comparing them back-to-back, this isn't the case. The sound signature is very similar, along with the soundstage. Sennheiser has done a great job of carrying over the sound signature between the two releases.
Transparent mode does a terrific job of letting you take in your surroundings while enjoying your music. However, when activated, loud noises such as keys hitting a table are amplified through the earpiece. It would be great to see this addressed in a future firmware update, as it's a little off-putting.
Sennheiser's True Wireless 2 has a few usability quirks that may potentially be addressed with future firmware updates. Still, in terms of sheer audio quality, this is the star of the show. With its enormous battery life, equaliser settings and epic sound, this is an encore performance that will have audiences raving for years to come. If sheer audio quality is what you're after, then this is the wireless IEM to have right now.
For more information, visit Sennheiser.
Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.