If you start by looking at images, it might take you a few seconds to see any differences between the Sennheiser Momentum over ear and Momentum over ear v.2. Things that do pop-up is that the V2 is yellow inside. It has pleather cups. It comes in a darker metallic colour and the cups are shiny-ish plastic. But there are more things that differ. The V2 have hinges, making the cups fold inwards if you want to make them smaller while travelling or store away. They also have slightly larger and deeper cups – making them fit better. I was one of those that could fit my ears inside the original Momentum and didn’t get panic – I have more space for my ears in the V2, but I still get along with the original ones. The version 2 is however more comfortable. Other things that differs is that the V2 lack an extra no-controller cord. You either buy an Android or an Apple version – where the controller is the thing that differs. Luckily they both have Sennheiser 2.5 mm in cup bayonet switch connector making the cords interchangeable.
More changes – well the V2 comes in a smaller carry case of some not hard, but firm velour-ish bag for storing. It also have one of those flimsy little carry-bags. And that’s about it – until we get to the sound. You see, the sound has slightly changed as well. If it is a matter of only bigger cups and pleather or something more? I guess that you get a bit of all of the before mentioned. The sound is slightly more in all ends.The bass is not that much more or less. It is a bit thicker – and I mean very little kind of bit here. The upper bass going to the middle is more defined and bass and drums meet well. It gives a slightly rounder sound in the lower mids. The mids and upper mids are pretty much like the Momentum – but the boast in the other areas sends this a bit back giving it a slight happy v-curving sound. V-curve already, yeah well the upper register is slightly more defined as well and it seems it goes a bit higher. Not much to nitpick about, but there are small adjustments all over the range which makes the sound just more richer and vibrant. This can actually with some music turn out to be slightly more fatiguing with the new headphones than the old version. But I haven’t yet been able to listen to either and being overpowered. They both sound nice, but I guess that the new V2 will just be instantly more pleasing out of the box.
So what does this make then? Just switching between Sonic Highways to the latest Heather Nova album shows the difference more clearly. The Momentum is a balanced slightly laid back headphone in comparison while the V2 goes in more aggressively. This makes the recording matter more. Sonic Highway is a controlled recording. Heather Nova’s latest “The way it feels” is a slightly naked but deep resonating recording that shows the instruments and voice rather prominently. This makes the album comes to live with the V2. The Sonic Highways however takes a more listen in to approach to become good. And by that I mean you need a song or so and you’re lost. This I guess is a problem when switching songs to quick to make comparisons. Some albums just are more pleasing direct while others grow on you. Heather Nova’s voice comes out really lovely with the V2 and while open headphones gives even more space, for a closed headphone I think they do a really nice job. The bass is deep and this makes the Heather Nova recording almost surreal with that voice and deep bass and high tones playing on a guitar.
As I feard for the rock-ability (doh) I turn to Metallica “Through the never” and plays “The memory remains” and the fear is not there anymore. The bass and drums and guitar comes out well. The audience feels a bit distant though and the air isn’t there but for closed cups this sounds nice and tight. The kick drums comes in nice and thumps well. The bass and guitars can be discerned well. When the crowd goes into chorus mode you get the shivers and that is what you can ask for in the end. Here the cable shows to make a real difference as well. And I have a very nice but not so aggressive experience with the original headphones. The difference can possibly be described as standing closer and a few rows back.
As I feared for the rock, I feared for it being sensitive to recordings – I dive into “Helena 2” from Misfit’s “Cuts from the crypt”. I know, but engaging music is what you are supposed to listen to otherwise you are either paid to listen or you are doing something wrong ;).
So, the droning intro which is distant sounds like always, the attack of instruments at 1:08 is thick and full. Sure – the recording is lacking finesse but the energy isn’t lost. So, OK, what can this mean – and while I believe that you should hear the songs from Sonic Highways from the BluRay or live – these headphones will also show you shortcomings as well as finesses and highs. Energy isn’t any problem and the headphones are engaging enough for any music.
More testing, electronica and complex edited music. Sorry Muse but “Knights of Caledonia” kind of fits here. The song comes out nicely and the slamming drums and energetic guitar isn’t lost.
I turn to my “instant chills” song – “Higgs Boson Blues” from Nick Cave’s “Live at the KCRW”. The bass strumming along with a round-sounding guitar and Nicks voice comes out clear and detailed. I would say that the V2 is clearly a good headphone to listen to lyrics and singing to. It seems to turn into a very capable all-rounder.
So the next last song to go to is a Pearl Jam with their song “State of love and Trust” and this is from a YouTube video. Let’s throw crapppy recording with golden contents…
YouTube and MP3’s sometimes makes a mess of the upper and middle bass. This is not really that much of a differrence but still. Eddie’s voice is still saved and the guitars are still where they need to be. While I hate to say something bad about this track, but the lack of a better recording is still there. Fortunately the song is good enough to remedy that – but man. Live…. Anyway, the V2 makes a good performance here.
So I end the test with Neko Case “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu” from The Worse Things get, the harder I fight, the harder I fight the more I love you” (damn title…) This is a 24 bit FLAC song in 44100 MHz. This is voice only and the song is sending shivers down my spine. The Momentum V2 really is a good headphone for vocals! As with the Nick Cave song, the vocals isn’t hampered at all.
The V2 is a fuller bodied experience compared with the Momentum. And while I gave the V2 the benefit of a doubt I also noticed that the Momentum sounds better with the controller cable than the no-controller cable. (I made some listeningwith the original headphones no-controller cable but both headphones sounded worse with this cable, not reaching neither energy nor vibraance, I would suggest to not use the no controller cord from the original Momentum package at all.) The original Momentum can sound a bit more laidback and more gentle to the ears for longer listens – but with the right set-up the V2 really shines. For a rather portable headphone in this price range it is a great find. The headphone likes good recording since it is a more enrgetic headphone bad recordings and bad sounds get more notice as well. The V2 and Momentum both works well with your home stereo and on the go. However, for the best experience I would recomend a portable DAP for your travel sound if you spend this money on headphones. They do behave much better with a nice DAC so simply change from mobile to stereo once your home will work very well.
The big question then – is the V2 worth the price difference seeing that the Momentum have dropped considerably in price for the V2 reelase? And this is nigh impossible to answer. There are so many things you need to take into consideration. First of all – the comfort. No good comes from torturing your poor ears. The V2 are more comfortable by being larger and more spacious. The larger headphones with a smaller folded signature makes them slightly easier to bring along – I would say that the signature on both headphones aren’t excellant for portability, but they are smallest of the greade of sound they give. The thicker more full-bodied and energetic sound of the V2 makes it a really nice upgrade and listen but in the end – the original Momentum is already a good listen to so the difference might not come at the right price for everyone. If money isn’t the obstacle – go for the V2.
When I started this and listened to the Momentum V2 – I used the old Momentum original cord without controller. Well, just happens so that I thought that Sonic Highways had sounded better – so I put the original cable into the headphones and voila. The sound all of a sudden is more vibrant and that dull part and weird sound between the upper mids and lower highs is suddenly not there any more. While this made me happy to find out that the V2 sounded better than I first believed and that my memory of what they should sound like held true – I realised that I needed to check the original Momentum’s with both cables. As stated above – the controller cable is giving a nicer sound that is more levelled and vibrant all over the spectrum. The none controller cable gives some sort of distortion right between the upper mids and lower highs killing the energy and giving things a dull vibe.
Now how good are they compared to other headphones. Well, I switched mid songs to my HiFiMann He-400i and well, once the ears gets used to the new headphones the sound image is so much wider and detail comes out so much better on the 400i – but still I would say that the Momentum actually fares pretty well for a closed headphone. I can recommend both versions of Momentum – the original at lowered price is a steal – if they fit your head and ears.
The fit and size might not come out as huge judging on my photos – but they are apparent when you try the headphones on.