A year ago we had a detailed look at the expensive Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 headphones. They sounded very good, but were far from perfect in other parameters. And now came the third generation – Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 (TW3 for short). The gadget has changed externally and slightly improved internally. The price is still still cosmic – almost $255. Let’s find out if it’s reasonable to pay so much for the headphones. And is it worth the upgrade if you use TW2.
In terms of positioning – we have the most expensive TWS headphones brand in front of us, the top model with the best sound and ANC.
In the package you will find the headphones themselves, a charging case, a short charging cable, interchangeable earpads and documentation.
Unlike the previous generation, the Momentum True Wireless 3 received two types of interchangeable earpads. The first is the standard silicone ear cushions in four sizes (size M is originally worn on the headphones).
And then there are special rubber extensions on the earbuds themselves. And that’s a cool idea – because you can make them a little wider or a little narrower, so they definitely won’t fall out of different ears! The pads have little protrusions that cling to the cartilage in your ears for a more grippy fit.
Here’s what it looks like:
Let’s start with the case. It’s more compact than the previous generation, but it still looks like a trunk. Or a suitcase without a handle, if you like. In a jeans pocket, it would obviously stick out and get in the way.
Here is the Momentum True Wireless 3 case and the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 case for comparison. The FreeBuds also have a relatively large case, but compared to the TW3 it doesn’t feel like that anymore.
But the coating of the case is very attractive, fabric, pleasant to the touch. There is only some concern that such a case can get dirty with something, it will be absorbed and it will be harder to remove than a plastic one. But there is no problem of scratches like many headphones in glossy cases, which have to buy a “case for a case”.
There are three color options – light gray case and white earbuds, gray case and black earbuds with silver trim, dark gray case and all-black earbuds.
Inside the case are headphone jacks with charging contacts. The headphones are easy to put in place, even the first time you won’t get confused. It’s not hard to take them out either. They are held in place by magnets.
On the front of the case there is a USB-C connector for charging, an LED charge indicator and a button to turn on this very indicator. If the case is closed or without headphones, the “light” will show the charge of the case in one of three colors, if the case is open and there are headphones in it, and it will show their charge.
The shape of the headphones has been well thought out and aligned. Of course, you can’t say that Momentum True Wireless 3 will fit absolutely everyone, but they are aiming for it. And the interchangeable headphone body bezels help them out. The earbuds fit my ears perfectly, no pressure, no interference, no falling out. At the same time they fit tightly, perfectly isolating unnecessary sounds even without the activation of ANC.
I think it looks good, too, even if the “plugs” are large.
The one thing that’s worthwhile is to read the manual and figure out how to put the TW3 on correctly. I’ve already had experience with the TW2, so it’s nothing new. You don’t just put the headphones in the ear, but then twist them back a little more, as if screwing them in. Then you have the right fit for perfect sound and great isolation.
To conclude this section, I would like to add that the headphones are IPX4 waterproof. We are talking about splash protection, nothing more. They won’t be afraid of sweat or light rain, but you shouldn’t swim in them.
For the first pairing, you need to put on the headphones and hold down the touch areas on both. You will hear the comment “Pairing” and see the name Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 in the settings of the device to which you are connecting.
The headphones can not work with two devices at the same time (but perhaps this will be corrected in software updates). That is, if you were listening to music from the phone, and then you want to watch a movie from the laptop, the headphones must be manually connected in the Bluetooth menu of the laptop, and vice versa. The headphones hook up automatically To the device to which they were last plugged when you take them out of the case. The Momentum True Wireless 3 can remember up to eight devices.
Here I would also like to point out that the Sennheiser Momentum TW2 used a long outdated technology, when the left earphone depended on the right one and could not work separately. The new generation got rid of this unpleasant feature, each headphone can work independently.
The default controls are as follows.
If you receive a call, you have to press any earpiece once to accept it, and twice to reject it.
The commands can be reconfigured in the proprietary application.
We should add that the TW3 supports a pause function when one of the headphones is removed from the ears. It works clearly, if you want the option can be turned off in the application.
Speaking of ease of touch control, I had no problems with single touch, everything is clear. But it was not easy with double and triple taps. I couldn’t get the hang of what interval these touches should be in order for the headphones to perceive them. After a couple of days I got used to it, it is worth paying attention to the single beeps when touching the touch areas of the headphones.
The Sennheiser smartphone app has become much more functional, which is nice (in the Momentum TW2 test I called it primitive). Now it is as good as the competitors’ apps.In the main window you see the name and picture of the headphones, the connection status, the charge of the headphones ( although both together, not each separately) and the case. Below on separate tabs are the Connection Manager, EQ, Sound Check for creating your own preset, Transparent Mode and Noise Management features, Sound Zones and touch control settings.
The Connection Manager section contains all the devices to which the headphones have been connected. Unnecessary ones can be temporarily deactivated or removed altogether.
For some reason you will be asked to register to use the Sound Check feature. And then you’ll be asked to listen to a tune with different effects and choose the options you like. In the end, your individual preset will be created.
As for the transparency mode it is now customizable. There are options “with music”, “music on pause”. The first option simply allows you to hear both the music and the sounds around (this is useful, since the “earplugs” themselves are excellent isolators), the second puts the music on pause.
You can also adjust the level of transparency – that is, how actively sounds will be amplified.
I think the variant with a pause is useful for those who use the Transparency mode only in cases when it is necessary to talk to someone quickly or hear an announcement at the station – so that the music does not interfere. The first option comes in handy when, for example, you’re out walking, jogging or cycling and want to hear not only the music, but also what’s going on around you – for your own safety.
The next step is to adjust the noise reduction – disabled, enabled or in “anti-wind” mode. As you can easily guess, the last option is needed when you want to minimize wind noise.
Now let’s talk about the sound zones. This is another new Sennheiser feature. The program will keep track of where you are and activate different sound profiles depending on this. You can create up to 20 sound zones with a radius from 100 m to 1 km. You can also configure what happens when you enter and exit the zone. Among the options are activation of ANC or transparency mode, a certain equalizer preset. However, I do not think that many people will bother with such fine-tuning.
The last item on the main screen of the Sennheiser Smart Control app is to reconfigure the touch control.
Let’s look at the settings section. Here you can update the software, activate the auto-pause when you take the headphones out of the ear, auto-reply to calls (if the headphones are not in the case), auto-off time when not in use, select the language of the voice assistant, see the active audio codec, perform a reset.
Also in the settings you can swap out or disable some panels on the main window.
I confess: I am not an audiophile. That’s why I can’t talk smartly about the breadth of the soundstage or the difference of each frequency, or draw graphs of the AFC. But I can say with confidence that Sennheiser Momentum TW3 sound better than any wireless headphones I have ever listened to. And I listened to different ones, including expensive ones.
No surprise: Sennheiser knows a thing or two about quality sound. The sound is rich, clear, crisp, well-balanced, pleasant and well-pronounced bass. So if sound quality is very important to you, it is definitely worth overpaying for these headphones.
All current advanced codecs are supported – SBC, AAC, aptX. And AptX Adaptive is a new codec that can adjust the bitrate in the range from 276 to 420 kbps (the previous version has a fixed bitrate of 384 kbps), as well as provides minimal delays. However, you need the sound source to support this codec.
If we talk about phone conversations and microphones – everything is up to the mark. The sound is clean, clear, crisp, transmitted perfectly, and the volume is sufficient. The new system of six microphones proves to be excellent. In comparison, the Momentum TW2 only had one microphone for talking, on the right earpiece.
We have already touched on these features in the description of the Sennheiser Smart Control application, here we will discuss in more detail.
For starters, I will say that the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are like a noise suppressor themselves. They have a great fit in your ears, they are practically earplugs – they shut them up nicely! Especially if you get the size of both pairs of earpieces right. But if you are in a car or bus (as a passenger, of course), if you fly in an airplane, if you are at a noisy train station, in an office, etc. – Active noise cancellation comes in handy. And Sennheiser Momentum TW3 does it just fine.
Of course, you need to understand (I will not go into physics, but you still need to understand) that by its very nature ANC technology is not able to provide complete isolation from extraneous sounds. The system is good at removing low monotonous noises (road noise, airplane engines, ventilation system). And sharp sounds, signals or voices will make them less noticeable and less intrusive, but you will still hear them.
So, the ANC in the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is awesome. Filtering of low-frequency monotonous noise is effective, while the sound is comfortable. You do not get tired of this noise filtering, there is no discomfort, no sense of pressure on the head. For comparison, the ANC in AirPods Pro made my ears and head tired very quickly.
The manufacturer notes that the True Wireless 3 has gained support for Hybrid Adaptive ANC compared to the True Wireless 2. The feature allows the headphones to automatically adjust the level of noise reduction depending on the conditions around them. The system uses two microphones in each earpiece to detect external sounds. In addition, there is one internal microphone in each earpiece to process the sound reaching the listener’s ear.
To say for sure if you can hear the improvements in noise cancellation, you have to compare the TW2 and TW3 directly, I do not have such an opportunity. I was very impressed with the ANC in the True Wireless 2 during the test, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is also up to the mark.
“Noise cancellation in reverse” is the Transparency mode (when the headphones “listen” to the sounds around you and transmit them to your ears as if you were hearing them without headphones), now let’s discuss it as well. Again, in some TWS the sound in transparent mode can be artificial, unpleasant, with noticeable background noise. But Sennheiser’s is super. You switch on transparency and you get rid of the “earplug” effect: how beautiful the world is, the birds are singing and the trees are whispering! Minimal background noise, however, may be present, but it is a feature of the technology.
Nothing has changed compared to the previous generation. According to the manufacturer, Momentum TW3 works up to 7 hours on a single charge and can be charged three more times in the case. That’s a total of 28 hours away from charging. In reality, this is about right.
Although, of course, it depends on what volume you use, how often you turn on the ANC and “transparent mode”. According to the tests, the use of noise reduction reduces battery life by about an hour and a half.
For 1 hour of listening to music, 10 minutes of charging the headphones in the case is enough. The case can charge the headphones three times and even still leave a reserve, but minimal. The case itself takes about 1.5 hours to charge.
And the novelty of the TW3 model is that it finally has support for wireless charging of the case. The top-of-the-line AirPods, Huawei FreeBuds, and Galaxy Buds have this feature by default, so the Sennheiser couldn’t stay away.
The Momentum True Wireless 3 are expensive TWS headphones for those who want high sound quality. They really do sound awesome for “plugs,” offer advanced active noise cancellation and “transparency” technology – no worse than the benchmark Sony WF-1000XM4. Add to this excellent battery life, excellent build, good microphones, comfortable fit in the ears (and the possibility of “tuning” it with 8 types of earplugs).
The new generation True Wireless has improved noise reduction, new codec, wireless charging, and more features in the proprietary app, and they’ve abandoned the nasty feature of one earphone being the master and the other slave. And, of course, they changed the design – the case is now more compact, the headphones themselves are nicer and more comfortable to sit in your ears. In general if you have the previous TW2 it’s worth updating. But only if you have enough money because you’ll have to pay a lot.
Actually, the price is the main disadvantage of Momentum True Wireless 3 (almost $255, mind you). You can say that it is justified, but in any case this is not a mass model, but a toy for a limited number of audiophiles. From the shortcomings I will note too large case, the inability to see the charge of each of the headphones separately in the application and the lack of multipoint function (work with two devices simultaneously).
Would you buy Momentum True Wireless 3?