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Sennheiser Momentum Wireless review:

Premium wireless sound for a premium price

In many ways this is a direct competitor to the Beats Studio Wireless , which sells for around $350 online, and has very similar features, including active noise cancellation and those aforementioned dual mics. The Beats is an excellent wireless headphone and just as comfortable, if not a touch more so.

Though the Beats plays a little louder at top volume, the Sennheiser sounds a bit better, with tighter bass and an overall more textured, refined sound. It's also a more balanced headphone.

For instance, with Arcade Fire's "Porno" track, on the Beats the bass was more pronounced and dominating, with less clarity in the vocals (midrange). On the Sennheiser the bass, midrange, and treble were better balanced, everything came of sounding smoother, even if it isn't smoothest sounding track to begin with.

The headphones in their included carrying case.

Sarah Tew/CNET


Whenever I get a top-notch Bluetooth headphone, I have CNET's Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg, listen to it. His reaction was pretty predictable. He's not a fan of Bluetooth or noise-canceling headphones and was only mildly impressed with the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless, which -- trust me -- is pretty high praise coming from him.

He thought it was very good for a Bluetooth headphone, but still left something to be desired compared to a good wired headphone. In fact, as I mentioned, the Momentum 2.0 Wireless sounds better as a wired headphone (the noise-canceling does stay on in wired mode). And by "better," we mean that it just sounds a little more dynamic with a little more sparkle. If you were a chef, it would be the difference between having a sharp knife and having a razor sharp knife.

The one thing I noticed when comparing the Beats Studio Wireless to this Sennheiser, is that sound quality did vary from track to track. The Sennheiser offers more detail so it sounds better with better recorded tracks. At the same time, it can also end up bringing out the grittier side of less well recorded tracks, which can lead to some listening fatigue.

As far as comparisons to the wired Momentum 2.0 ($350, £270, AU$400) go, this model sounds similar to it in wired mode, but in wireless mode, it's not its equal.

Last but not least, we put the Momentum 2.0 Wireless up against the Momentum 2.0 On-Ear Wireless ($400,£300), which costs $100 less and is obviously a smaller headphone. I would spend the extra $100 on the bigger headphone -- it's not only more comfortable but has better, more spacious sound with better balance overall.

Closeup of the controls in the right earcup.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Conclusion

The Momentum 2.0 Wireless is an an excellent and well-designed Bluetooth headphone that also offers strong wired performance. My only misgiving is the price. If the Beats Studio Wireless is about $100 overpriced, this model is, too. But, hey, it's great if you can afford it.

Editors' note: In 2015 Sennheiser temporarily halted sales of the Momentum Wireless due to an issue connecting the headphone to Apple computers over Bluetooth. Sennheiser says the problem was limited to a small number of early units and is now fixed. Our testing confirms this.

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