The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds were announced on January 8 with an impressive spec list – the most significant being that the buds are packed with all the next-generation audio tech you can think of, with support for Bluetooth 5.4 including Auracast and LE Audio, as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound powered by the company’s latest and greatest audio chip.
The over-ear equivalent to these buds, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones, have remained our favorite premium recommendation when ranking the best headphones since their release in 2022, beating entries from the likes of Sony and Bose. Even as a casual listener, it’s obvious that these over-ears offer the best in class when it comes to zealous sound, as well as strong noise cancellation and battery life, so do the earbuds sound just as good?
Based on my time testing them at CES 2024, the Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds are certainly the perfect in-ear options to match their over-ear alternatives. While listening to Dreams by Fleetwood over TIDAL, I could instantly hear the raw vocals of Stevie Nicks were well balanced offering a strong dynamic range when the bass kicks in, which sounds full and controlled.
There are of course some downsides to them, one of them being the lack of spatial audio tech (present in many big earbuds competitors) and the price being slightly more expensive than their predecessors, the Momentum True Wireless 3 (though all new earbuds models tend to cost more these days). But if these aren’t that big of a deal to you, then the Momentum True Wireless 4 offer the best of Sennheiser’s famed audio prowess.
Letting lossless audio free
Sennheiser is known for making major audio breakthroughs such as launching the world’s first open-back headphones in the 1960s – the HD 414 with yellow foam earpards – but what fewer people may remember is that it was also one of the first companies to launch a pair of wireless earbuds. Lachlan Brennan, global product training manager at Sennheiser, reminds me that the MXW1 was released in 2009, though it didn’t use Bluetooth. Instead, there was another wireless tech called Kleer that required a separate device to be in close range to the buds.
A lot has changed since then, including the ability to deliver 16-bit / 44.1kHz audio (which is basically CD quality) over improved Bluetooth tech. Unsurprisingly, Sennheiser has jumped on the tech, adding Qualcomm’s S5 Sound Gen 2 Platform chip and Snapdragon Sound wireless standard to the newly launched Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds. This means that as long as you have a compatible Snapdragon Sound-equipped phone, which admittedly there aren’t a lot of at this time, you’ll be able to unlock lossless transmission via Qualcomm’s AptX Lossless codec.
There’s also access to Bluetooth 5.4, Bluetooth LE Audio, LC3 and the highly anticipated Auracast. We got to try Auracast at CES and it really showed how integral this tech standard will be to making earbuds even more useful in the future. Sennheiser has even overhauled the antenna design in the buds to give it “exceptional signal continuity while on the go”.
Premium features that rival competitors
With a launch price of $299.95 / £259.99 / AU$499.95, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds are slightly more expensive than the Momentum True Wireless 4, which launched at a price of $249.95 / £219 / AU$399.95 in 2022. However, given that the buds have a whole host of improvements, the increase is justifiable, and is right in line with competition such as the Sony WF-1000XM5 or Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds.
The Momentum True Wireless 4 have six mics to give them enhanced active noise cancellation (ANC) and call quality. The ANC mode was impressive in the previous model, but the world of earbuds has moved on a lot since then, so we’re curious to test this out in full when we get our hands on a sample to review. Sennheiser has also said that it has made some changes to the Adaptive ANC mode to improve it.
It has also upgraded the battery system in the Momentum True Wireless 4, boosting the battery life to seven and a half hours from the buds themselves (and 30 hours from the charging case). This is longer than the majority of the best wireless earbuds, which tend to last more like six to seven hours. The charging case has both Qi wireless tech and fast charging over USB-C.
A snug and secure fit
Earbuds tend to be a little tricky for me when it comes to getting a secure fit that doesn’t see them falling out of my ears every few seconds – something that could be disastrous with such an expensive piece of tech.
That’s not the case here. When I tried on the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds, they felt instantly secure, with the ear tip sealing off once I’d fitted the bud firmly in my ear. I wasn’t able to compare them to the Momentum True Wireless 3, but Frank Foppe, global product manager for premium headphones at Sennheiser, said that the company had made “a dozen major updates” to the buds, so this is likely one of them.
The only slight downside? The fact that spatial audio is still missing from the feature list. Is this a sign that immersive audio isn’t a priority when you have exceptional sound quality? Maybe. We’ll weigh up the disadvantages and advantages when we properly test them out – it certainly works better in some buds than others.
You’ll be able to pre-order the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 on February 15 to be one of the first to receive a pair when they’re launched on March 1, 2024.
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