Sennheiser Momentum Free review (Neckband/in-ear)
• Balanced audio
• Good looks
• Wireless connection isn't great
Sennheiser had a big year with several major updates to their headphone line-up. One of the most exciting additions is the Momentum Free. As you would expect, the minimalist neckband design is all about ease of use. The Momentum Free will set you back $200, but there’s plenty here to justify the price-tag.
The Momentum Free follows on the heels of the Momentum In-ear Wireless and the Momentum In-ear. The Free is a wireless design that links the earpieces by a single cable. The In-ear Wireless is a neckband headphone while the Momentum In-ear is a more traditional wired design. You get six hours of battery life with the lightweight Free, while the In-Ear wireless packs ten hours of battery life in.
Lightweight neckband design
Sennheiser have kept the Momentum Free very lightweight. You can wear it without being aware of it around your neck, which is perfect. There’s also magnets on earpieces so you can link them to stop them falling off when you aren’t listening to music. Sennheiser are great at getting the eartip sizes just right and the Free eartips are no exception. The overall effect is that the Free is an easy and comfortable wear.
There’s a battery integrated beneath the left earpiece and the mic, charging port and three-button remote are all placed on a control beneath the right earpiece. As you would expect from a high-end product, the mic produces clear audio for calls. The integrated hardware doesn’t add much noticeable weight to the headphones.
Sennheiser offer balanced audio
The Free is a powerhouse performer in the audio department, offering a broad 15Hz – 22000Hz frequency response. In many cases lightweight headphones sacrifice audio quality to achieve a greater ease of use. However the Momentum Free stands up very well to more heavy duty in-ear headphones.
Due to the balanced profile, the Momentum Free is a very versatile headphone. Without the heavy bass many modern headphones have, it allows the mids to really shine so the Free is great for guitar-based music. There’s plenty of detail throughout the frequency range, particularly in the mids and treble. There’s still enough bass on tap to get a satisfying thump for EDM or hip hop. However if you really want a big bass in-ear sound from Sennheiser, the CX 7.00 BT neckband headphone will be more up your alley (see our recent review here).
CapTune app extends audio possibilities
Sennheiser’s free CapTune app can be used to alter the sound of the Momentum Free in a variety of ways. There’s eight presets, a seven bar equaliser, treble boost and bass boost. I think the Free sounds great right out of the box so I didn’t feel the need to continue to use the app though. It would be a quick and easy way to boost the bass for low-end fanatics though. Note that in order to activate the CapTune effects, you have to play your music through the app rather than your device’s media player.
Accessories on point
The Momentum Free accessories include: a 69cm charging cable, four eartip sizes and a tough leather case. All premium headphones should come with hard cases in my book, so it’s good to see one included here. The case also has an elastic band in the interior which can be used to secure the charging cable.
The wireless connection had the occasional hiccup. There was a brief interruption when I first started using them; later the same day it dropped out altogether and had to be manually reconnected. The range is pretty standard for wireless in-ear headphones. You can walk into the next room or two without any troubles but any further than that you can experience brief drop outs. The Free uses Bluetooth 4.2 and two devices can be connected to the headphones simultaneously.
The Momentum Free verdict
Is the Sennheiser Momentum Free worth a $200 outlay? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal than the Free, even in the current competitive wireless in-ear market. It sounds great, looks great and is a comfortable wear. The six-hour battery life isn’t particularly long, but that’s the trade-off for having such a lightweight design. All in all, Sennheiser are onto another winner here.
If you are looking for more quality neckband in-ear designs, we recently wrapped up a buyer’s guide covering the best options here.
- Microphone Type: MEMS
- Bluetooth Version 4.2
- Supported Profiles A2DP 1.2
- AVRCP 1.4
- HSP 1.2
- HFP 1.6 - HD Voice
- (Or higher)
- Frequency response 15Hz - 22000Hz
- Max. sound pressure level 118dB (Passive: 1kHz/ 1Vrms) > Active
- THD, total harmonic distortion <0.5%
- Ear coupling In Ear
- Transducer principle Dynamic (SYS10)
- Weight < 40g
- Audio input Bluetooth
- Range up to 10 meters
- Min. terminating impedance 28 Ohm (Passive)
- 480 Ohm (Active)
- Operating voltage (mains) 3.0-4.2V
- Sensitivity as per 121 TR 9-5 - 44 dB V/Pa
- Sending Loudness Rating (SLR)
- Wideband: 10dB +/- 5dB
- Narrowband: 8dB +/- 5dB
- Battery Specification Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer (~85mAh) with more than 500 charges
- Codecs apt-X ® / apt-X ® LL /AAC/SBC
- Personal fit XS, S, M, L (4 sets)
- Voltage 3.7V Nominal
- Connection 2 device simultaneously (HFP/A2DP)
- 8 device in pairing list