Hardware Reviews

Momentum True Wireless 4: all this and great sound too

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones

Having enjoyed Sennheiser’s over-the-head wireless Momentum 4 headphones for a while, I do find them rather cumbersome when trying to travel light. They are perfect, for example, for long-haul flights but, for day trips they take up so much valuable space that I leave them at home, and then often regret it.

What I needed was a more compact version which I could just pop into a pocket, and maybe not even use unless the journey was made uncomfortable by screaming children or I wanted to make/take a call while on the move.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

With almost perfect timing, Sennheiser offered a preview sample of their new Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds. These are the Mk 4 version of this model but the number of enhancements and new features make it more like a new model rather than simply an upgrade to the last iteration.

Design

There are so many features to explain that Sennheiser gave reviewers an hour-long presentation on the True Wireless 4s merits. Here are the key points: among the dozen-plus upgrades seen in the TW4s is inclusion of Qualcomm’s aptX Lossless Snapdragon technology, offering audio quality up to 24-bit resolution with 96kHz sampling and futureproofing the design. Even more exciting is the promise of the new Bluetooth LE standard which promises to match, or even better, wired headphone quality.

What LE will also do is bring Auracast for shared wireless listening in public places be they railway stations, airports or concert venues. A future firmware download, promised for later in 2024, will bring this to the True Wireless 4s. While gamers and movie buffs will welcome the ultra-low latency mode of under 20ms so that sound is never out of sync with pictures.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

At their heart, the True Wireless 4s have Sennheiser’s True Response mini drive units as their transducers. The all-important chipset has been adjusted to bring the vital midrange/presence region forward slightly, to enhance vocals and speech as well as focussing the soundstage more precisely.

Battery life is a bugbear with wireless anything, so great effort has been made to boost this to 7.5 hours per charge and a total of 30 hours by using the charging case in between. The case itself has a standard USB-C input and wireless charging, using any convenient mat which apparently exist in fast-food restaurant tables. Further attention to detail on power sees a battery protection mode, limiting charging to 80 per cent to lengthen battery life.

They, wouldn’t say what the price would be if Sennheiser manufactured the units in Germany but did reveal that some components were made in Germany (where the product was conceived and designed) while others originated in Ireland, before being shipped to China to be assembled and then back to Europe for distribution. These little things certainly travel the globe.

Better Bluetooth antenna, one per side, improve signal-to-noise and allows either earbud to be the ‘master’ depending on signal strength from the source device. There are now no fewer than six microphones incorporated into the units, improving voice pick-up for mobile calls/online meetings, with one in the ear canal for better noise reduction by filtering out other people’s voices.

Setting up

Downloading the dedicated app is a must, if only to install the latest firmware – with an update available between shipping and supply and more promised to introduce the enhanced features. The app includes a fit test function (with test signals) and this is important because there must be a good seal between the True Wireless 4 and the ear. To aid this, Sennheiser provide four sizes of ear tips and three of ear seal rubbers. It’s a faff, I will admit, but once done it does improve the unit’s operation. Redesigned ear tips have an improved nozzle which is less likely to become blocked by dirt and wax.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

One of the key reasons I want some compact ear buds is to cope when extraneous noises become too much to handle. The active noise cancelling (ANC) is completely automatic and fully adaptive. By monitoring the environment, the True Wireless 4s apply the necessary level of noise cancelling to overcome unwanted sounds. There are controls within the app to vary the ANC, or switch it off completely.

Other gizmos include an adaptive equalizer which monitors audio streams and adjusts the frequencies in an effort to produce a more consistent sound as the listener switches between genres, telephone calls, online meetings, gaming, etc. This can be negated and there’s the option of a personalised sound feature, playing a three-option comparison at five frequencies, using a selectable track. This rather long-winded rigmarole creates a bespoke EQ setting.

Further setting adjusts the touch controls provided on the front of each True Wireless 4, or switches them off to avoid inadvertent changes merely when scratching one’s ear.

Sound quality

Around an hour after opening the box I was ready to start listening. Although the long-winded set-up process won’t have to be repeated, hopefully, I am sure that younger users will fly through the set-up in no time and maybe even enjoy the many options it presents.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

Sheppard’s track Geronimo (from Bombs Away) created a very clear sound with well-defined vocals and immense detail. My feet tapped as the TW4s kept pace with this fast tune. Any dislike of the presentation can be easily adjusted via the app’s EQ feature and is very welcome.

Out and about, I encountered a noisy railway carriage and the TW4’s noise cancelling ability came into its own as I could enjoy Joakim Karud’s song Vibe With Me as if I were alone and the interference didn’t exist, to the point that I didn’t notice the ticket inspector until he tapped me on the shoulder. To be able to exclude unwanted sounds to this degree is justification enough to purchase these amazing earbuds.

This is a very modestly priced pair of earbuds given the immense amount of technology included; I was therefore very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of the TW4s. Overall, with the dance track Blame Game from Mindchatter’s Imaginary Audience, the midrange was projected well and accompanied a well-defined bass which remained in proportion without becoming overwhelming. The treble manages to avoid grainy harshness and was always on-point with regards definition.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 in-ear phones review https://the-ear.net

Even while writing this review a telephone call came in and, rather than straining to hear via the iMac speaker and shouting into its little microphone, I popped the TW4s in to enjoy crystal-clear, two-way communications. The caller said my voice was loud and clear, so that array of six microphones and associated processing is doing its job.

Conclusion

Unlike many products I review, in the Sennheiser TW4 the sound quality is but part of the overall offering. The range of technology and features alone are worthy of the price tag. If anything, I found familiarisation of the new product a lot to handle. Packing so much into a small space takes a while to understand and even now, I am still making adjustments via the app to improve functionality.

The compactness of the True Wireless 4s and their superior adaptive noise cancelling make them worth their weight in gold for my needs. The fact that they are future-proofed, with downloadable firmware updates, plus the promise of Bluetooth LE and Auracast is very exciting. They also look stylish and, unlike the white offerings from the likes of Apple, look very good indeed which reflect their serious audio credentials. Rest assured; I shall not be making any further journeys without the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4s in my pocket. They’ve become a trusty ‘must have’.

Specifications:

Type: wireless BT earphones
Playtime: up to 28 hours
EQ: adaptive 5-band equalizer
Microphones: 2 x 3-mic voice pickup
IP rating: Splash resistant to IPX54
Drivers: True Response transducer.
Bluetooth version: 5.4.
Auracast: firmware update coming
Audio codecs: SBC, AAC, apt HD, aptX Adaptive, LC3.
Battery life: 7.5 hours (earbuds), 30 hours (earbuds and case).
Charging: USB-C, Qi wireless
Control: Sennheiser Smart Control for iOS and Android
Colours: black copper, metallic silver and graphite
Weight: 6.2g each

Price when tested:
£260
Manufacturer Details:
Type:

wireless in-ear phones

Author:

Trevor Butler

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments