Sennheiser was founded in 1945, and so 2020 is their 75th anniversary. Since June, Sennheiser has released limited edition variants of some of their iconic models, like the HD 25 (originally released in 1988) in retro package design and extra yellow earpads, limited to 25,000 units. My recent encounter of the iconic HD 800 S in limited Anniversary Edition Gold variant left me thoroughly impressed (it has a limited run of 750 units). Thankfully, the pleasure did not end there.
Here on hand for my review is the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 (commonly known as MTW2) Anniversary Edition. The only differences from the normal retail versions are the original logo on the earbuds and the all-black look, including the retail box. The price is the same at S$449, making it a rather attractive option for consumers looking at owning a piece of memorabilia.
After completing my unboxing video, I paired (press-hold both earbuds for 3 seconds) and connected to my smartphone for a quick first impressions. The moment I wore it and listened for the first time, I couldn’t stop. Frankly, that says a lot about these earbuds. When I let my daughter listen to them, she too kept going. I think she encountered the same experience as me too.
What is so mesmerising about the MTW2? The sound is detailed and clear, the bass is firm and heart-thumping, the fit is secure and comfortable. Setting the volume at low-to-moderate level and enabling Transparent Hearing, I could leave the MTW2 on my ears during work and remaining engaged with things happening around me.
Sennheiser’s sound character for consumer-centric earphones are often accomplished by boosting the bass and treble, which makes consumers happy. Sennheiser further refines the tuning such that the bass is pompous without excessively boomy, the treble sounds crystal and transparent without too pushy. This “balanced” tuning provides the best of both worlds: a satisfying low-end impact with hi-fi sparkles.
Like other similarly-tuned earbuds, there are compromises. Some instrumentation details are overshadowed, acting at best accompaniment that fill the musical spaces when both bass passages and vocal lines come up strong. But for simple instrumentation like Classical ensembles, there is no issues with absorbing the performance where everything sounds so focused.
While the Shure AONIC 4 focuses on warm musicality and faithfulness to instrumental presentation, Sennheiser offers listening pleasure through sizzles and tingles. The perceived clarity and details come from the crispy percussions, the intimate breaths gushing through the saxophone, or the scratches of the guitar strums. The bass extends into the lower midrange to infuse some warmth so the MTW2 do not sound too processed as the Jabra Elite 75t. The Sony WF-1000XM3 is more balanced as the bass is not too prominent and the lower treble has more body. The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC300TW brings out mid-treble vocal fullness more while taming the bass.
The MTW2 favours music with good bass line and strong solo presentation, while neutral-tuned earphones do best with instrumental tracks where every part is equally important. The difference is like watching analogue IMAX celluloid film vs. 4K digital sensor recording, each has their character which works for different genres. The MTW2 might not sound neutral or authentic, but it has a tuning that I find it difficult to dislike.
The other earbuds which come close to this tuning is the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW. The CK3TW actually has deeper sub-bass for EDM lovers, but the treble is a little overcooked. The Sennheiser MTW2 does it better with a more controlled upper treble and fuller mid-bass.
Customisable Sounds and Functions
The Sennheiser MTW2 is not just good in audio. Many of its features are customisable, putting them at an advantage over the others. You operate each earbud with one-tap, two-tap, three-tap, and hold. Each gesture can be customised from a list of 10 functions. Additionally, the earbuds can pause music automatically, but this can be disabled. During phone calls, you can also opt to hear your own voice (“Sidetone”) for more natural experience. When enabling Transparent Hearing, you can choose to keep playing music. Even the EQ can be adjusted and saved to the earbuds so it applies to any audio source.
I like that the LED indicator faces inside instead of outside, so that when I take the earbuds out from my ears, I could see the indicator which remains unseen when worn. The disadvantage is that I cannot see whether the earbuds are actively charging. Speaking of which, the app also does not provide indication of the battery of of the individual earbuds as well as the case. The earbuds also could not work independently, with the right earbud being the master.
ANC and Transparent Hearing
One impressive feature of the Sennheiser MTW2 is that whichever mode I switch, the sound signature remains consistent. The ANC has only one level, but achieves excellent noise cancellation without the ear pressure, second only to Sony WF-1000XM3 which still displays superiority at the upper frequency. The Transparent Hearing mode also comes with just one level, and it sounds natural with a tad under-amplified, so I don’t get the “hyper-sensed” hearing effect. When music is played, I couldn’t really tell if Transparency Hearing is enabled unless the ambience is noisy.
Great for Runs and Calls
With IPX4 water rating, they MTW2 can be worn for runs and keeps off sweat and drizzles. They stay in my ears without any risk of falling out throughout my run. Call quality is average, capturing the voice quite well when talking normally. Only the right earbud can be used for calls. During calls if Sidetone is enabled, it will turn on the Transparent Hearing so that you can hear yourself talking and not raise your voice. However, if you remove one of the earbuds, the Sidetone will be disengaged and you cannot turn it back on.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 makes me want to keep listening. Even at low volumes, it delivers satisfying bass and detailed highs. I also have overall positive experience using the earbuds thanks to customisable buttons, comfortable in-ear fit, natural-sounding Transparent Hearing mode and excellent Active Noise Cancelling qualities. Retailing at S$449, it may not be as affordable as the Apple AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3, but it comes with several functional advantages against the competitors.