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Sennheiser's momentous Momentum brand goes in-ear

Sennheiser's Momentum brand of high-quality headphones gathers speed with the first in-ear headphones to bear the name.

The first Momentum-branded in-ear headphones from Sennheiser. Sennheiser

Sennheiser is shrinking its excellent Momentum brand to fit in your ears when you're on the go, gathering speed in the race with Beats.

Family-run German company Sennheiser has won rave reviews for headphones like the Momentum On-Ears . Among music fans, however, they're not as well known as Beats, the rival company co-founded by rapper Dr Dre, adored by celebrities, and this year snapped up by Apple in a multimillion-dollar deal. By adding Momentum quality to in-ear headphones suitable for listening when you're out of the house, Sennheiser wants to change that.

The Momentum In-Ear headphones will cost £90 in the UK and $99 in the US, with Australian pricing yet to be announced (the US price converts to AU$106). There are two versions: one for Android or Windows smartphones and tablets, on sale in September, and one for Apple iOS devices hitting shops before the end of the year.

Of course, when any successful brand is translated to a new form, it remains to be seen -- or rather, heard -- whether they deserve the name or if it's just a shameful attempt to cash in on the cachet of the higher-end models. But for the new in-ear models, Sennheiser trumpets newly developed transducer technology, a stainless steel acoustic pipe and high-quality dynamic speaker system that it says gives a powerful bass response and detailed vocal projection.

Sennheiser is paying attention to the outside as well as the inside in its newest headphones, adding a note of colour to headphones like the Momentums and the new CX range, also announced recently. The Momentums look pretty slick with their two-tone black and red cable, which Sennheiser reckons has the added bonus of avoiding tangles.

By adopting a more distinctive design and the signature red of rival headphone-flinger Beats, the folks at Sennheiser have acknowledged the importance of looks in the Beats success story -- and by wedding a Beats-style aesthetic with that all-important Sennheiser sound quality, they could be on to a winner.

Sennheiser has also introduced a new range of on-ear headphones this week, called Urbanite . The headphones will arrive in September, costing £150 and £200 from John Lewis in the UK, and $199 or $249 in the US, with Australian prices yet to be announced (the US price converts to around AU$215 or AU$265).