As more and more companies release active noise cancelling true wireless earbuds, it can be challenging to find the best pair for you. Hopefully, we can help out by comparing two of these big releases: the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds.
Editor’s note: this post was updated on July 14, 2021, to include the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) and Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 as an alternative, and to add a disclaimer.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds has a modern design, while the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 is sophisticated
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 has a pretty traditional true wireless earbud look, but it’s a bit bulky. The earbuds stick out of most people’s ears, which is not only a bit funny looking, but also less stable. The case itself is pretty large and likely won’t fit into those ridiculously small pockets on women’s jeans. The earbuds do have an IPX4 rating, so if you’re able to get a good fit with them, they’ll be fine for your workouts.
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The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds fits more securely thanks to their StayHear Max wing tips. They’re also very comfortable, which is reassuring considering their name has the word “comfort” in it. However, these earbuds are also really bulky, as is their charging case. Just like the Sennheiser earbuds, the Bose QC Earbuds have an IPX4 rating, but based on their fit, they’re probably better suited to your workouts.
What Bluetooth codecs do each pair of earbuds work with?
Opening the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 case forces the earbuds to look for a device to pair with. If you download the Sennheiser Smart Control headphone app, you can pair the earbuds directly through it, but it’s not necessary. These buds use Bluetooth 5.1 and support the SBC, AAC, and aptX Bluetooth codecs, so regardless of if you’re an iPhone or Android user, you can enjoy high-quality tunes.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds doesn’t support Bluetooth multipoint, but you can quickly switch between devices through the Bose Music app. These buds also use Bluetooth 5.1 and support SBC and AAC, but unfortunately not aptX. The connection strength is good and lasts up to nine meters.
Do the Sennheiser or Bose buds have better software features?
Though the main feature of both the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds is active noise cancelling (ANC), they also have their fair share of other party tricks. The MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 has touch controls, auto-pause, voice assistant support, ambient noise passthrough, and the ability to create a custom EQ in the Sennheiser Smart Control app. In the app, you can also remap the touch controls and update the earbuds’ firmware whenever a new iteration is released.
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The Bose earbuds also have voice-assistant support, auto-pause functionality, and touch controls. If you download the Bose Music app you can remap the controls, adjust ANC and ambient noise passthrough levels, and switch between source devices.
Unfortunately, you cannot equalize the frequency response of the Bose buds. Instead, a feature called Bose Active EQ automatically boosts the highs and lows of your music so your playback is consistent regardless of the volume. This just means if you lower the volume of your music, the bass response will remain just as emphasized.
Both the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 have mono listening. However, they both lose some points for accessibility, because you can only use mono listening with the right earbud.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 vs Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Battery life
We conduct our battery tests by playing a constant output of 75dB through the earbuds with ANC on. Under these conditions, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 lasted about 4 hours on a single charge. This is a decent, albeit not great, battery life for true wireless earbuds. Of course, you can always expect better battery performance if you turn off the ANC. Sennheiser claims the case holds an additional 21 hours of charge, but you’ll likely only reach this with ANC disabled. Luckily, the earbuds have quick-charge capabilities, so 10 minutes in the case provides 90 minutes of playback time.
Under the same testing conditions, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds can last up to 5 hours, 29 minutes on a single charge, which is pretty impressive considering the ANC was enabled. The QuietComfort Earbuds also has quick-charging capabilities—15 minutes of charge affords 120 minutes of playback. In addition, Bose claims that the case holds 12 hours of additional charge time. Both the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 charge via USB-C, but only Bose’s case supports wireless charging.
Which earbuds have more effective active noise cancelling?
Both the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds feature noise cancelling technology. Whether you commute by train, plane, or as a passenger in a car, either headset will faithfully reduce background noise, though you’re unlikely to hear a huge difference when you toggle Sennheiser’s ANC on and off.
ANC technology really shines with predictable, low-frequency sounds, but can’t quite combat incidental noises with the same ease. While both sets of earphones are solid contenders, high-pitched sounds like the clangs and bangs of dishware may still make it through either headset. In order to get the most out of either headset’s noise cancelling, you need to take the time to find the best ear tips. This will create a good seal that passively blocks out higher-pitched background noise.
Hold up! Something’s missing:
This section is typically where we display a noise cancelling chart to show you exactly where the ANC shines and where its deficiencies lie. Unfortunately, we’ve hit a technical snag in our testing. To combat this, we’ve purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a bit to get it up and running in Canada, but we will update this article (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements and ANC performance plots. These will be made obvious by an announcement explaining the change, and a new chart aesthetic.
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
Which earbuds have better sound quality?
Sennheiser is famous for prioritizing sound quality, and the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 is no exception. The sound is clear and consumer-friendly, meaning the bass and mid-range frequencies are slightly emphasized. This makes it easy for you to hear loud bass notes without drowning out vocalists. The dip in the high frequencies is intended to intentional as it avoids amplification of naturally occuring resonances in your ear canal, but they can also create a very slight reduction in the presence of guitar riff details like pick-on-string sounds.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds’ frequency response is less likely to please audiophiles, but the sound will still please most people. The bass frequencies are emphasized a lot, which can sometimes slightly mask vocals, but not so much that it’s a major problem. The upper-midrange boost helps retain the detail of high frequencies. While you can’t manually equalize the QuietComfort Earbuds in the Bose Music app, Bose Active EQ works quite well to keep the frequency reproduction consistent regardless of your listening volume.
Is the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds better for phone calls?
The microphone on the Sennheiser earbuds is okay, but it amplifies sibilant sounds (sh, s, f) way too much. Sibilance can be really annoying and sometimes downright painful to listen to, so be mindful when you’re using the MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 for phone calls.
The Bose earbuds have a pretty good mic that rejects background noises well. The mic will occasionally cause audio to clip or distort, but it’s not so often or intense that it’s a serious problem. Check out these microphone demos to decide for yourself which one sounds better.
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 microphone demo:
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds microphone demo:
Should you buy the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds?
If you’re looking for earbuds with a customizable frequency response, and overall pristine sound, you should look further into the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2. However, if you’re looking for better battery life, and you’re just fine with the consumer-friendly bass boost, the Bose QC Earbuds may be for you.
Both earbuds have a fine microphone array, but neither will win awards anytime soon. Both earbuds also have an IPX4 rating so they should withstand daily wear-and-tear just fine. The Bose earbuds, however, have a more reliable fit, so they’re probably better for bringing to the gym.
What should you get instead?
The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is an affordable pair of smart true wireless earbuds. You get hands-free access to Amazon Alexa, a custom EQ module, and ear tip fit test all through the OS-agnostic Alexa app. Oh, and lest we forget: the active noise cancellation is very good (for the price), and even outperforms the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2.
Maybe you live and work in quiet environments, or you like to hear your surroundings when exercising, and you don’t really need ANC. Is ANC incredibly useful? Absolutely, but it’s not necessary for everyone, and it’s expensive. For around $79 the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 packs an IPX5 rating and aptX and AAC codecs into a comfortable package. If you’re fine with losing ANC, you get just over 7 hours.
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