The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is a luxurious noise cancelling headset, which is made painfully obvious by the exorbitant original price. Sennheiser relies on its mature design and audio engineering expertise to make the new MOMENTUM Wireless stand out from the sea of capable active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones.
Time to find out if these expensive headphones are worth the money, or if you’re better off with something more pedestrian.
Editor’s note: this Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless review was updated on January 7, 2022, to add an Alternatives section and address a significant price reduction.
Who should get the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
- Commuters and frequent flyers should consider this headset for its ANC, sound quality, and comfortable, premium build.
- People who value style as much as performance should get these over-ear headphones.
- Anyone whose phone is without a headphone jack should think about Sennheiser’s flagship wireless headset, or any Bluetooth headphone alternatives.
What is the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless like?
Sennheiser sourced genuine leather for the headband and plush covering for the memory foam ear cups. Matte steel arms extend from the headband and feature a sliding mechanism for adjusting the fit. The ear cups minimally rotate, allowing them to rest comfortably against your collarbone. Despite the deluxe ear pads, a hotspot always forms at the crown of my head by the 90-minute mark.
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These cans hardly deviate from previous iterations: the design is nearly identical save for the button layout on the right ear cup’s edge. It forgoes plastic buttons and sliders, opting instead for a rubberized, matte material. In order to access your virtual assistant, press the Bluetooth pairing button once. This third-generation model also does away with the power button. Instead, folding the ear cups toward the headband initiates powering down, something we’ve seen from Jabra and Beats. Beware of the folding hinges that easily pinch fingers.
One of my favorite features of the headset is its auto-pause/play functionality. This occurs when the headphones are removed and worn, respectively. Another great feature is multipoint, which lets you connect up to two devices to the MOMENTUM 3 Wireless simultaneously. I use multipoint while working to connect my computer and phone. That way, I can stream music from the former but hear incoming notification dings from the latter.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless successful marries style and performance.
Rather than the last model’s drawstring bag and stitched case, Sennheiser provides a stout, cylindrical carrying case. The top and bottom panels are stiff but pliable. It’s not as nice as the previous carrying case but has an internal elastic pocket for storing the included 3.5mm cable and USB-C charging cable.
How do you use the Sennheiser Smart Control app and Tile tracking?
Sennheiser’s proprietary app is free on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. While it isn’t required in order to use the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless, it has nifty tools that may be of interest. Like most accompanying headphone apps, this includes a way to customize the EQ and enable voice assistant access. You can also adjust the degree to which you hear external noise when Transparent Hearing is enabled, and how aggressive you want the noise cancelling to be. There are three ANC modes: anti-pressure, anti-wind, and maximum, listed in ascending order.
One of the major features separating the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless from the MOMENTUM Wireless 2 is Tile tracking integration. It allows you to see where your headphones are located, which is useful for the forgetful among us.
How well does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless cancel noise?
Noise cancellation is good, and the technology filters out some midrange frequencies, while the dense ear pads and properly fitted ear cups nearly eradicate high-frequency sounds. However, the low-end attenuation isn’t great compared to top competitors. There are other benefits to effective noise cancellation, aside from quieting the world around you: good ANC can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss. See, when external noise is combated, we’re less likely to increase the volume to egregious, eardrum-smashing levels. If you’re looking for a way to justify an expensive purchase of noise cancellers, hearing loss prevention is a good reason.
How long does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless battery last?
With noise cancelling turned on, the battery lasts 13 hours, 17 minutes. This should get you a full week of commuting and nearly any international flight. If you listen to levels quieter than 75dB(SPL), which you likely will, then the battery should last closer to Sennheiser’s posited 17-hours. When the battery is drained, you can quick-charge the headset with the included USB-C cable. Just 10 minutes of charging yields 90 minutes of listening. Fast charging isn’t always supported by ANC headsets, so this is a big plus.
You can check the remaining battery life via the Smart Control app or by holding the multifunction button down for two seconds. If you need extended battery life from your ANC headset, look into either the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
How do you connect the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to your phone?
You can connect the new Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to your smartphone via NFC or the standard Bluetooth pairing process. For the NFC route, enable NFC from your phone’s settings and hold the device next to the MOMENTUM’s right ear cup. A pop-up will appear on your phone confirming a successful pairing process.
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Once connected, you benefit from three high-quality Bluetooth codecs: AAC, aptX, and aptX Low-Latency. As it stands, AAC’s performance remains dubious on Android devices. However, it streams consistently well on iPhones. Fortunately for us Android users, we can listen to our favorite tunes over either aptX codec. For anyone looking for the best possible audio quality, use the included 3.5mm cable as wired is still leagues ahead of Bluetooth audio quality. The cable unfortunately doesn’t have an integrated mic and remote module. However, third-party cables are available for around $12, providing an in-line mic and remote that’s compatible with iOS devices.
Bluetooth 5.0 is an improvement over its predecessor, which operates via Bluetooth 4.0.
What does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless sound like?
In typical Sennheiser fashion, the headphones sound great. As gathered by the appearance of the headphones, these are intended for general consumers, rather than professionals, and the sound signature reflects that. The bass bump (red) informs us that bass notes sound up to twice as loud as their midrange counterparts (green). This is great for pop and hip-hop as it lends a nice oomph to tunes. However, if you favor folk or classical music, you may find it useful to EQ the sound in the Smart Control app.
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The dip from 2.5-5kHz isn’t a mistake. The same under-emphasis is heard with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earbuds. This frequency range tends to produce unpleasant frequencies that are amplified when a proper seal is formed against the ear. By lessening the loudness of these frequencies, audio is perceived as clearer.
Lows, mids, and highs
In Mallrat’s song Charlie, Grace Shaw’s voice is relayed front and center during the first verse. The accompanying piano doesn’t overpower her vocals. While the frequency response depicts a strong low-end, instruments still come through clearly unless its during a particularly bass-heavy chorus.
It isn’t until the last third of the song (2:29) when the bass kicks in that Shaw’s voice and finger-snapping become slightly degraded by the low-end. To completely avoid this, you can lessen the bass response in the app.
How is the microphone on the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
The microphone amplifies voices which can cause clipping and the presence of fricatives and plosives. While the mic isn’t bad by any stretch, the person on the other line will know that you’re speaking from a headset microphone. If you have a low-pitched voice, others may comment that you sound distant or hollow. This is a consequence of the marked low-end attenuation.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless microphone demo:
As of October 19, 2021, 1,330 readers have rated the above mic sample as somewhere between “bad” and “okay.” This is a below-average result for wireless headphones, at the lower end of what you should expect to get out of any products of this type.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Both Bose and Sennheiser’s flagship consumer headphones have an attractive design, but Sennheiser takes a classic approach that contrasts Bose’s modern build. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless.0 lacks touch controls, but Bose has nearly perfected its touch-capacitive panels.
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Audio enthusiasts may prefer the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 sound signature: it’s more neutral-leaning and reproduces audio with greater accuracy than the bass-heavy MOMENTUM Wireless series. Both mobile apps, however, let you customize the sound to your liking, which is great for tinkerers.
Noise cancelling performance is better with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: low frequencies are rendered up to half as loud with ANC enabled. This is much more effective than what the MOMENTUM 3 Wireless.0 are capable of, though both headsets are better than non-noise cancelling headphones.
Battery life is much better with the Bose headset, too, which is something that matters for listeners who frequently take intercontinental flights. As far as price is concerned, both headsets are expensive but you’re more likely to see the Bose Headphones 700 on promotion than you are to see a discounted pair of Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless headphones.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless vs Bose QuietComfort 45
The Bose QuietComfort 45 has much better noise cancelling than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless, and is clearly the better travel companion because of it. While both headsets are comfortable, the QC 45 is a lighter option than Sennheiser’s headset, and is a better pick for hours-long listening sessions.
Sennheiser has its advantages over the Bose QuietComfort 45 though: the sound quality is better and you get an in-app EQ to customize how it sounds. As of October 2021, Bose doesn’t include a custom EQ for its QC 45 headset; instead, you’re left with Bose’s Active EQ technology that you can’t disable.
Currently, the Bose QC 45 retails for $329 USD, which is quite a bit more than the Sennheiser’s sub-$300 promotional price. If you don’t care much for active noise cancelling and want a sturdy headset that looks and sounds fantastic, save some money and spring for Sennheiser.
Should you buy the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
The MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is a beautiful pair of noise cancelling headphones that put build quality and design first, without ignoring the importance of sound quality.
Practically speaking, there are significantly better values out there. For those who need the best all-around headphones, look into the Sony WH-1000XM3 or Sony WH-1000xM4 instead. However, those headphones don’t have the same kind of durability offered by the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless and are definitely not as stylish.
For those loyal to the Sennheiser brand or those who want their headphones to appear timeless, the price is probably justifiable. It was difficult for me to part with this review unit because of the ease of use and instantaneous autoconnect. Anyone who picks up the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless will immediately fall in love with the extraordinary build quality. There’s a reason this headset is one of our favorite AirPods Max alternatives.
What should you get instead of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
Seeing how the MOMENTUM 3 Wireless can often be found for less than $250 USD, it sits at a much more competitive price bracket than upon its debut. With a budget of $250 USD, you could go for the Sennheiser PXC 550-II, which compares rather well against the Bose QC 45. For less than the MOMENTUM headset, you get the same Bluetooth specs, a more neutral sound, and good noise cancelling. The PXC is a bit more portable too as each headphone can lay flat.
If you don’t mind going the refurbished route, or waiting until a big holiday sale, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is a great option too. With this, you get some of the best noise cancelling in the business, a lighter build, and excellent software support. You can listen via wired connection or with over the SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs. Battery life is quite good, but again, the main drawback here is price.
Last but not least, if you want to listen in luxury, might we recommend the Shure AONIC 50 to you. Shure’s noise cancelling over-ear headset has an excellent frequency response that you can equalize in its mobile app, a comfortable build, and replaceable ear pads.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. PlayStation consoles don’t support Bluetooth audio.
No, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless supports Bluetooth multipoint, which means one pair of headphones can be simultaneously connected to two source devices. The feature you’re describing is what Samsung calls Dual Audio, and Sennheiser headsets do not support it.
Yes, you can connect the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to your laptop manually. In order to do so, you must hold the voice assistant button for five seconds; this initiate pairing mode. Then, enter the Bluetooth menu on your computer and select the appropriate headset. Once the devices establish a connection, you can listen to media.
For most shoppers, budget is the biggest deciding factor, and the Apple AirPods Max is a very cost-prohibitive headset that retails for $549 USD. If you’re already surrounded by Apple products, it may be a bit easier to justify the price, but most people will be perfectly happy with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless. Sennheiser’s headset still costs quite a bit, but it seems modest relative to the AirPods Max. Of course, when you buy the AirPods Max, you’re paying for convenience: each ear cup houses an H1 chip, which facilitate the streamlined user experience—again, exclusive to Apple devices. The AirPods Max use a hybrid noise cancelling system to reduce external noises, as well as harmonic resonances that occur within the human ear canal, much like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
Great question! The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are a great deal, and are much more affordable than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 noise cancelling headphones. The difference between the Sennheiser PXC 550-II and Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 comes down to a form versus function debate. The PXC 550-II has more effective low-frequency noise cancelling; in other words, frequent flyers may benefit more from the more affordable headset. However, if you care more about design quality and durability, the premium construction of the MOMENTUM series is hard to beat.
The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 and Shure AONIC 50 are both stylish noise cancelling headsets, but the latter mops the floor with the Momentum Wireless 3 when it comes to noise cancellation. Anyone who travels a lot for work or pleasure will be better off getting the Shure AONIC 50 for how well it attenuates low and midrange frequencies. This means low rumbles just melt away when ANC is set to high. For a more accurate representation of sound right out of the box, get the Shure AONIC 50, but for anyone who likes to experiment with custom EQ settings, get the Sennheiser cans or turn your attention toward Sony. The AONIC 50 also supports more codecs than the Momentum Wireless.
The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless has a completely different design than the Bose Headphones 700, even though both are noise cancelling headphones. Listeners who want a more accurate representation of their music should get the Bose 700 ANC headphones. Anyone who wants more low-end amplification will gravitate toward the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless for their default bass-heavy sound. Bose’s headphones have more effective passive and active noise cancelling than Sennheiser’s headphones.