Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: more for your money

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Sennheiser’s new Momentum True Wireless 3s are the company’s latest flagship earbuds. With a more refined style, improved active noise cancellation, new features and premium sound quality, Sennheiser has delivered a worthy competitor to the Apple AirPods Pro, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 and Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds.

Perhaps the most welcome thing about the latest Sennheiser earbuds is that they are less expensive than the previous model: The Momentum True Wireless 2s launched for $299, but the company is releasing them for $249.95. That’s still a premium price, but Sennheiser is now on par with Apple’s AirPod Pros and is cheaper than the flagships from both Sony and Bose. With tech products going up in price every year, it’s nice to see one going in the opposite direction for a change — and adding new features.

Wireless charging is the main upgrade. It was hard to accept the lack of this feature in the Momentum True Wireless 2s. For the price, wireless charging should be a table game. I’m not sure how it took Sennheiser three tries to realize that.

Another improvement is what’s in the box: Sennheiser gives you earbuds in four sizes — the fourth is an extra small — but with the new model, the company is also adding three optional wing fins that wrap around each earbud and tuck in your ears. for added stability. The medium size comes pre-installed, but it’s easy to remove or replace with a smaller or larger wing if you want to keep the earbuds extra secure and in place during a workout or run. Even without the stabilizer fins, the MTW3s sat comfortably in my ears and didn’t come off easily.

The earbuds have a new design.

Sennheiser includes optional stabilizer fins with its latest earbuds.

The earbuds are smaller than their predecessors, with a more square design on the outside that comes in black, gray or white. My black review unit looks much more subtle on the ear compared to the MTW2s, which have a shiny silver Sennheiser logo. But they still stick out further than something like Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro, so these aren’t the most discreet buttons out there. The charging case has also shrunk a bit due to Sennheiser making better use of the space and moving the USB-C charging port forward. This may seem strange at first, but it’s something other companies like Jabra have started doing as well, and you may find it more convenient depending on where you charge the MTW3s.

The USB-C port is now on the front of the charging case.

Sennheiser has improved the power of its noise cancellation, although you don’t actually have direct control over how much ANC is applied with the MTW3s. The company uses an adaptive ANC to automatically increase and decrease noise cancellation based on your current environment. Other earbud makers have tried this adaptive approach as well, though most make it optional rather than the full-time standard. I didn’t notice that I missed manual adjustment while testing these earbuds, but you might prefer more control. The ANC isn’t on the same level as Sony or Bose, but it helps to muffle nearby distractions. And you always have the option to activate transparency mode with a tap on the left earbud, although Sennheiser’s implementation still doesn’t have the same natural sound that Sony, Bose and Apple have all achieved.

The more compact Momentum True Wireless 3s may be better suited to those with smaller ears.

When it announced its latest earbuds, Sennheiser made no mention of any major changes to their sound. They still use 7-millimeter drivers similar to what was in the MTW2s, and I’d put the overall sound quality in the same ballpark as those and Sennheiser’s CX Plus – although these are slightly better and can crank up louder in volume. That’s a good place to be because these still sound great. Sennheiser supports AAC, SBC, AptX and AptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs, the latter helping to eliminate perceivable audio lag when watching videos or playing mobile games on Android. It would have been nice to see Sony’s LDAC added to the equation, but I can live with that kind of omission, given the lower price. And AptX Adaptive also has support for higher-resolution audio than what AAC and SBC allow.

Throwing on an old favorite like Buena Vista Social Club, the Sennheisers deliver a very spacious, clean and detailed sound, with the piano, classical guitars and vocals all nicely layered without a hint of mud. The same was true when I switched between The National, Molly Tuttle or Bon Iver’s “Second Nature” track from don’t look up† These earbuds bring out the small details of a song with very pleasing clarity. Sennheiser’s Smart Control app for iPhone and Android lets you adjust the EQ with bass boost and podcast modes separate from any changes you make to the bass, mid, and treble sliders. (The podcast option improves speech intelligibility.) The standard easy-to-use tuning curve is here, but I’d say the Sennheisers are more balanced than the Sony 1000XM4s. Not everyone will prefer that: in the end, more often than not, I ended up having bass boost turned on, while the Sonys deliver powerful, energetic sound right out of the box.

The case finally supports wireless charging.

The mobile app also recently added the option to set “sound zones” and automatically change the level of noise cancellation and EQ adjustments based on where you are – be it at home, the office, the gym or elsewhere. that you often visit. This worked as expected in my testing, but it does require you to grant the Sennheiser app location tracking permissions on your phone. Additionally, to use Sound Zones (or the Sound Check feature that personalizes your EQ), you must set up a Sennheiser account. I’m not a fan of having people create an account to use the earbuds’ features.

Some owners of Sennheiser’s previous Momentum True Wireless models reported an audible, persistent white noise effect when listening to the buttons. Even in a completely silent room, I didn’t notice such annoyance in the third-generation couple. Battery life remains unchanged with seven hours of continuous listening, and the earbuds (along with their case) are IPX4 water resistant, making them suitable for routine exercise.

Voice call performance seems to be ahead of the MTW2s, and I haven’t had any major complaints about call quality or being difficult to understand. However, these still fall short when compared to recent highlights like Sony’s LinkBuds. Both earbuds can be used on their own while the other is charged in the case, and these also have an automatic pause when you remove one or both earbuds.

The MTW3s are available in black, gray or white.

Their sound is detailed, spacious and balanced.

The MTW3s weren’t completely immune to minor bugs in my time reviewing them: I noticed the occasional (though rare) signal dropout, and the status/prompt voice sometimes quickly said both “disconnected” and “connected” shortly after I she had removed from the suitcase and put them in my ears. At launch, the new Sennheiser flagship earbuds don’t support multipoint Bluetooth, so you can only connect to one device at a time. The company has claimed that it plans to add multipoint in a future firmware update, but as the old saying goes, you should only buy a product based on what it can do now and not for what might come later. .

If the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3s did multipoint, I would consider them a home game and recommend an upgrade for fans of the company’s past peaks. But even as they are, Sennheiser has done a good job increasing their value and lowering the sticker price. The noise cancellation is better, you now get wireless charging and they still sound fantastic. Even if the battery life is the same and the call quality is fine, the overall package is more attractive than Sennheiser’s previous premium efforts. they do not rather remove the Sony 1000XM4s as my favorite earbuds; I’ll take the better noise cancellation, foam earbuds, and warmer sound profile of Sony’s earbuds. But maybe that’s just what I’m used to now. Sennheiser is up there with the very best audio quality – and for $50 less than last time.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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