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Sennheiser Momentum 4: The best headphones for detail-oriented listeners

Sennheiser's Momentum 4 deliver unrivaled sound quality, making them a pair of audiophile-approved consumer headphones.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
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Jada Jones/ZDNET

When you're listening to your favorite hits, are you focused on the lyrics and general feel of the song, or are you focusing on the song's instrumentals, harmonies, and musical intricacies? If you fit into the latter group, you'll enjoy the Sennheiser Momentum 4 wireless headphones for their clear, vibrant, and highly customizable sound quality.

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Sennheiser is known for its high-quality, professional-level audio products, such as microphones, headphones, and speakers. Although the Momentum 4 headphones are a consumer tech product, their performance and quality exude a professional aura.

I'll jump straight into the audio performance, as that may be your top priority if you're shopping in this $300 to $500 price range. The Momentum 4 headphones offer detailed highs, clear and balanced mids, and bass-boosted, skull-rocking lows -- and there's plenty of flexibility across the frequency range. In Sennheiser's companion app, Sennheiser Smart Control, you have complete control over the Momentum 4's audio output. You can control the sound by the hertz, from bass levels to mids to treble.

 Also: Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones: The perfect headphones for all-day listening

The Momentum 4 headphones' EQ settings are so intricate that you can tweak finer aspects of a song, including the presence of background vocals, the volume of cymbals and other instruments, and the intensity of bass and low-frequency sounds.

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When I listened to Face to Face by Daft Punk, the bassline was clear and present enough to keep me in the groove, while the midrange sounds, like guitar riffs and synth notes, were full of energy and brightness without tiring my eardrums. 

Like most cans in this price range, the Sennheiser has active noise-canceling capabilities (ANC), though the feature isn't as effective as competing headphones I've tested, such as the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the Bose QuietComfort 45. The Momentum 4 headphones can block out regular noises like mouse clicks and the lower pitches of droning noises, such as a leafblower or a running refrigerator.

Also: How to choose the best AirPods for you: ZDNET's buying guide

But only at higher listening volumes can the headphones cancel out more engulfing noises -- though I will say, you can listen to these headphones at max volume, and no one will hear what you're listening to, keeping you safe from dirty looks when you're jamming out on the train, plane, or in the library. Sound leakage can be a real stressor with competing options.

You can listen to these headphones at high volume with ANC enabled for about 60 hours, according to Sennheiser. I clocked in 58 hours, which to be clear is still super impressive considering the Momentum 4 headphones can hang for twice as long as the Sony WH-1000XM5 and three times longer than the Apple AirPods Max.

Also: The best over-ear headphones: Expert tested and reviewed

Long-term wear was no problem for me either, as the Momentum 4 are light, and the ear cups and headband are made of a soft leatherette material. They're slightly heavier than the Sony XM5 over-ear headphones but considerably lighter than AirPods Max.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 wireless headphones and case lying on a wooden table
Jada Jones/ZDNET

Aside from the great sound, the Momentum 4 come with a well-constructed carrying case along with a USB-A to USB-C charger, an airport-charging adapter, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. These headphones don't fold at the hinges but, instead, rotate at the ear cup for fit adjustment. 

Also: Bose QuietComfort Ultra review: A rightful heir to the ANC throne

Because they don't fold and the case is bulky, if you're traveling with these, it may be best to keep the case in your luggage and sport the Momentum 4 headphones around your neck or on your head instead.

Wear-detection and tap-and-swipe-based controls are two other luxury features embedded into the Momentum 4 software, making them a highly functional pair of headphones that are equipped with almost every feature possible.

ZDNET's buying advice

It's easy to put the Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones on and get lost in the instrumentals and adlibs of your favorite songs. These are easily some of the best-sounding consumer headphones I've listened to, even if the noise cancellation falls short.

If you have a trained ear and are looking for expensive-looking and great-sounding headphones that can keep up with your ritzy audio demands, these are the ones for you. If you're more interested in headphones that cancel out all the sounds around you, and you aren't too concerned with the small details in audio, you should look at ZDNET"s other tested recommendations.

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