I’ve been out of the review game for a while, but the side of me that loves testing out new gadgets and putting them through their paces still remains. Late last year, my friend Melvin - whom I met way back in 2012 when we studied in Dublin together during exchange - joined Sennheiser and graciously offered me a set of their latest MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 earphones to review. I’ve been playing with them for a few weeks now, and it’s finally time to put my reviewer cap on and break down what makes these earbuds tick.
I remember reviewing the first wave of true wireless earphones back in 2016, before they were widely adopted by the mainstream. At that time, technical restrictions meant that these earpieces were often large, slightly uncomfortable, and most damningly, had lousy battery life of about 4-5hrs. Four years later, true wireless earphones pack high-end features like active noise cancellation, onboard smart assistant support, and, crucially, battery life that gets you through the day.
The MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 (MTW2) is Sennheiser’s second take on true wireless earphones, following the debut of the True Wireless in 2018. I was at the IFA trade show in Berlin that year when they first announced the original, and remember impatiently hovering around the display units trying to get the chance to test at them. At that point, I liked the sound, but the lack of active noise-cancellation made them feel like Sennheiser was playing catchup at that point.
The MTW2, however, now comes with active noise-cancellation, powerful sound, and supreme comfort, and is finally a premium offering that is expected from Sennheiser. With that said, the MTW2 are also in the pricey range of wireless earbuds, retailing at $449 in a crowded earphone space where competitors like Sony are putting out great wireless earphones at a lower price.
I am very impressed with the MTW2’s stellar sound quality, which handles a wide range of music genres with ease. The MTW2’s default sound signature is smooth and polished, making them extremely versatile right from the get-go. Users who want fuss-free “good sound” right off the bat will be satisfied with the crisp, polished sound the MTW2 puts out. Take them out the box, connect them via Bluetooth, and the earbuds are good to go with little effort.
The default sound signature adopts a safe V-shaped curve, which means that bass and treble frequencies are boosted while midrange tones (such as vocals) are less emphasised. This combination is extremely popular and appropriate for modern popular music as human beings naturally find the enhanced variance of lows and highs more exciting and vibrant to listen to. My personal music tastes lean towards rock, indie, and electronic genres, and I primarily put the MTW2 through its paces with songs from those genres.
Sally Shapiro’s “Don’t Be Afraid”, my go-to for treble response, sounded smooth and balanced, without a spike in the high notes which would be tiring after a while, while her voice came through clearly and powerfully. Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” sounded perfectly exciting and frenatic, with the right mix of bass and pump coupled with her vocals. The sick bass riff in Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know the Better” shone through with powerful bass response without being too overpowering, hitting the sweet spot of bass thump and electronic goodness.
The MTW2 feels, to me, like a seasoned, refined earbud veteran which knows it has one job - to make music sound good and enjoyable - and does it well without any fancy gimmicks or tricks. It provides a versatile, all-encompassing sound that is easy to like and be more than content with.
But those pickier about their sound signatures and aren’t afraid to drop terms like “treble spike” or “bass rolloff” can still tease out excellent sound profiles from the MTW2 using Sennheiser’s companion app, which I will address later on. I prefer my sound signature towards the brighter, clearer end of the spectrum - yes, I do like Beyerdynamic headphones - and so found the MTW2’s default sound signature to be a bit too muffled for my liking, which I adjusted to my liking by tweaking the earbuds EQ.
The biggest addition to the MTW2 is finally the presence of active noise-cancellation, which works amazingly well. I would like to try them on an airplane, but the global situation would have me do so otherwise. Walking down the street with noise-cancellation turned on was a pleasant experience, shutting out the ambient sound of traffic, as was taking the bus with them.
It’s becoming more common to use earbuds to take calls, especially with the surging popularity of video calls. Here, the MTW2 falters. Users on the other end of the line said I sounded slightly muffled, especially at higher pitches, even though the general call quality was fine. I had to slow down and make a more pronounced effort to speak slightly louder and clearer to compensate for this.
Build and Looks
The MTW2’s button-shaped design is top-notch, and looks as premium as they feel. The fabric case that charges the earbuds through USB-C are a nice tactile reminder of the MTW2’s premium focus, separating them from the plastic cases other companies provide. The earbuds are small, light and comfortable: light enough that you can leave them on for longish periods of time without feeling much discomfort, and snug enough that they stay in your ears with little worry of them falling out.
I went jogging with them and while they stayed on for the duration of the run, I was constantly worrying that they might fall out because they were so light it felt like a very real possibility. I would use them in a gym but not for an outdoor run just to be safe, as I have an irrational fear of trampling on them should they pop out. I shouldn’t have worried, as they did their job perfectly and stayed in the whole run. I wouldn’t recommend using noise-cancelling earphones for outdoor activity just because situational awareness is so important, but toggling the ambient sound mode actually amplified outside noise to the extent it felt even more distracting.
Both earbuds are fully touch-controlled. The earbuds are quick to respond to touch; sometimes annoyingly so, as I ended up pausing music at times while adjusting my earbuds. Because the body of the earbuds sit relatively snug and entrenched within the ear, I found myself having to mindfully tap the earbuds delicately so that I don’t knock them further into my eardrums or potentially dislodge them from my ears.
The earbuds battery life is great as well, lasting well over 6hrs on a single charge, with the case providing up to 28hrs of battery life. This translates to charging them every 3-4 days if you are a heavy user; during an average week where I popped them in for about 2 hours a day, I ended the week without having to charge the case at all.
Functionality and Customization
The biggest advantage of the MTW2 is how customizable it is, if you are willing to spend some time fiddling with its companion app. The earphones are extremely feature-packed, making it a little hard to learn initially because there are just so many options, but also opening the ground up for lots of personal customization because there are so many features to work with. Smart Control, the companion app to the MTW2, is a bit of a pain to set up and sync to at first - sometimes you just want a device that just plugs and plays right from the get-go without the need for yet another app - but opens up a world of possibilities which I have grown to appreciate.
Importantly, the app allows fussier users like myself to EQ the earphones’ sound signature to their precise personal liking. The Smart Control EQ panel is actually ridiculously easy to use. There is a white dot on the centre of the screen, and shifting it around the window shifts the corresponding signature from bassy emphasis to treble clarity. Users who don’t want to be bogged down with the finetuning of bass and treble can simply move the dot around while listening to music until they find a sound they enjoy, and save it as their profile.
Who’s it for?
The MTW2 earphones provide a lot: great sound, stellar build quality, and powerful customisation. Similarly, it asks for a lot: it sits on the expensive end of the spectrum at $449, and a bit of time at the start to tweak the sound and settings just right for you. It’s clearly not a budget option, but is a premium product at a premium price. If you are in the market for a small, lightweight, and comfortable premium pair of wireless earbuds, the MTW2 is an easy choice. I would rate the MTW2 5/5 stars on sound quality, build design, and functionality, and knock down a point for their slightly higher price point.
About Lester Hio
Lester is a huge tech buff and music lover who enjoys listening to a gamut of genres, although indie rock remains his first love. He was a technology journalist with The Straits Times for four years and has left the paper to try new things like writing about art and artists.