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Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless
September 6, 2019
Original: $399 USD
April 2022: $240 USD
231 x 193 x 104 mm
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is a luxurious noise canceling 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 canceling (ANC) headphones.
We spent two weeks with the MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to learn all that it has to offer. 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 May 17, 2023, to address the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless, add a Controls section, and expand the Alternatives section. We also updated the formatting to match our current style.
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.
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.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless successful marries style and performance.
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.
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 control the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
The MOMENTUM 3 Wireless uses button controls that rest on the back of the right ear cup. You’ll find volume buttons flanking a multifunction button for pausing music, skipping songs, and fielding phone calls. Above that, you’ll find a toggle. Sliding this down turns ANC on, and sliding it up turns ANC off. You can use the app to swap out the ANC function for transparency mode. Toward the very bottom is the Bluetooth pairing/smart assistant button.
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 headset features is its auto-pause/play functionality. This occurs when the headphones are removed and worn, respectively.
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 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 intensity of transparency mode, which amplifies background noise through the headset. 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 helpful for the forgetful among us.
How do you connect the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to your phone?
You can connect the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless to your smartphone via NFC or the standard Bluetooth pairing process (Bluetooth 5.0). For the NFC route, enable NFC from your phone’s settings. Then, hold the device next to the MOMENTUM’s right ear cup. A pop-up will appear on your phone confirming a successful pairing process.
aptX Low Latency,
3.5mm audio interface
Once connected, you benefit from three high-quality Bluetooth codecs: AAC, aptX, and aptX Low-Latency. As it stands, AAC’s performance has been historically poor on Android devices, but it’s always been reliable 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. The cable 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 compatible with iOS devices.
How long does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless battery last?
With noise canceling turned on, the battery lasts 13 hours, 17 minutes. This should get you a whole week of commuting and nearly any international flight. If you listen to levels quieter than 75dB(SPL), which you likely will, the battery should last closer to Sennheiser’s posited 17 hours. When the battery is drained, you can quick-charge the headset with the USB-C cable—just 10 minutes of charging yields 90 minutes of listening.
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 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 is poor 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. 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.
You have three options for noise canceling:
- Max: This uses the internal and external mics to reduce noise. It’s the most effective and best for loud environments like a plane or train car.
- Anti-wind: This uses the internal-facing mics to reduce noise and is best for when you’re moving.
- Anti-pressure: This uses the external mics to reduce outside noise only, and is best for a fairly quiet environment. It’s a comfortable ANC setting that doesn’t create that “clogged up” ear feeling.
Transparent Hearing amplifies external noise through the headset to keep you aware of your surroundings. You can enable it whether music is playing or not.
What does the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless sound like?
In typical Sennheiser fashion, the headphones sound great. This headset is for general consumers, rather than professionals, and the sound signature reflects that. It’s 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.
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. Despite the strong low-end, instruments still come through clearly unless it’s 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 hard to hear compared to the low-end; this doesn’t happen when I listen to the same song through my reference Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX. To completely avoid this, you can lessen the bass response in the app.
Hold up! Something’s different:
This article’s frequency response and isolation charts were measured with our old testing system. We have since purchased a Bruel & Kjaer 5128 test fixture (and the appropriate support equipment) to update our testing and data collection. It will take a while to update our backlog of old test results, but we will update this review (and many others!) once we’re able with improved sound quality measurements, isolation performance plots, and standardized microphone demos. These will be made obvious with our new chart aesthetic (black background instead of white). Each new mic sample begins with the phrase, “This is a SoundGuys standardized microphone demonstration …”
Thank you for bearing with us, and we hope to see you again once we’ve sorted everything out.
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 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 (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Should you buy the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
The MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is a beautiful pair of noise canceling headphones that put build quality and design first, without ignoring the importance of sound quality. That said, the MOMENTUM 3 Wireless is no longer available through Sennheiser’s website. If you want these headphones, you’ll have to buy them from the likes of Best Buy or Amazon.
Listeners who want the latest Sennheiser headphones should check out the MOMENTUM 4 Wireless ($289.23 at Amazon). These headphones have stellar battery life and sound quality. Sennheiser really stepped up its noise canceling game with the fourth-generation MOMENTUM Wireless, too.
What should you get instead of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless?
The Bose QuietComfort 45 ($279 at Amazon) has much better noise canceling than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless. 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.
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 that kind of budget, you could go for the Sennheiser PXC 550-II ($299.99 at Walmart), which compares rather well against the Bose QC 45. For less than the MOMENTUM headset, you get the same Bluetooth specs and good noise canceling. The PXC is a bit more portable as each headphone can lay flat.
The MOMENTUM 3 Wireless has some stiff competition, specifically from Bose and Sony.
If you don’t mind going the refurbished route, or waiting until a big holiday sale, the Sony WH-1000XM4 ($348 at Sony) is a great option too. The noise canceling is excellent as is the software support. You can listen via wired connection or 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 ($298 at Amazon) to you. Shure’s noise canceling over-ear headset has an excellent frequency response that you can equalize in its mobile app, a comfortable build, and replaceable ear pads. If you like the Shure AONIC 40 but don’t want to drop that much money, the AONIC 40 is a little cheaper, lighter, and more flexible. You can find the AONIC 40 for $247 at Amazon.
Frequently asked questions about the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless
It depends what you’re going for: the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is a handsome headset with significant bass emphasis. The PX7 noise canceling is very good, and outperforms the Momentum 3 Wireless by a long shot. Still, the PX7 is an expensive headset around $400 USD and you can get a similar sound and sophisticated design from Sennheiser’s headset for at least $100 USD less.
(Click the image to expand.)
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 initiates 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 facilitates the streamlined user experience—again, exclusive to Apple devices. The AirPods Max uses a hybrid noise canceling system to reduce external noises, much like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700.
Great question! The Sennheiser PXC 550-II is a great deal and is more affordable than the Sennheiser MOMENTUM Wireless 3 (at least when you compare the two headset’s original prices).
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 canceling; 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 canceling 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 canceling 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 canceling than Sennheiser’s headphones.