Sony WH-1000xm5 vs Sennheiser Momentum 4

Battle of the Giants. Sony and Sennheiser have released their new flagship headphones of the over-ear model. Ny Teknik tests and compares. Which headphones are the best?

So it happened that both Sony and Sennheiser each launched a pair of long-awaited sequels to the over-ear market. Sennheiser with Momentum 4 and Sony with WH-1000xm5. There is a difference of just over SEK 1,000 in price between the handsets. How is that reflected in the products?

Ny Teknik’s Viktor Krylmark has tested.

Sound

To assess the sound of both headphones, I put together a dedicated playlist that challenges the headphones in bass, midrange and so on. Then listened to the songs one at a time and switched between the headphones.

Starting with. Sony and Sennheiser have done their homework. Both feel well balanced.

I feel that the WH-1000xm5 has better bass reproduction than the Momentum 4. Sony’s ditto offers a more pleasant depth. Sennheiser’s bass reproduction is a bit stodgy in comparison.

Both headphones capture detail without being harsh, which is evident when listening to The Weeknd’s song Take my breath. At the end of it, a quite, can you call it sound-heavy part rolls? It’s pounding bass, disco electro interspersed with vocals. Here, both handsets cope brilliantly.

Sennheiser Momentum 4. Photo: Viktor Krylmark
Sony WH-1000xm5. Foto: Viktor Krylmark

When I plowed through the songs a couple of times with both headphones, I found that Sony’s WH-1000xm5 is slightly sharper. Having said that, Momentum 4 also plays at a really high level.

Calls go fine with both handsets. My voice is heard by the receiver and I can be heard clearly. Sony’s four beam-shaped microphones are programmed to focus on voice, which minimizes the risk of ambient noise drifting into the conversation. They behave well. For example, stubborn drilling in the property is not allowed through. Cannon!

Even Sennheiser’s earphones with their four microphones are good at excluding ambient noise during calls. But my voice is perceived as slightly tinier, it must be said. But it is no worse than that longer meetings or phone calls can be carried out.

Noise reduction

Sennheiser’s noise reduction is by no means bad. I’ve tried many headphones where it hardly makes any difference. Here it makes a difference – albeit a small one. I think you can demand more. The automatic wind reduction, on the other hand, is fine. The buzz and gusts of wind that easily occur when you’re outside almost completely disappear – even when you get around by bike. In normal cases, you usually have to switch off the noise reduction when you are out with the bike.

When it comes to the usual noise reduction, the Sony is freewheeling. It’s been a long time since I tested a noise reduction that makes such a big difference. Noisy office environments are hardly bothersome to stay in. Hats off.

Design

Here you wonder who has been spying on whom? The headphones are almost identical. Check out for yourself.

Sony WH-1000xm5 (left) vs Sennheiser Momentum 4. Photo: Viktor Krylmark

Both manufacturers have chosen a minimalist path where the user learns to swipe and count pressure on the outside of the headphones, where the touch surface is located. To control them that is.

The headband of Sony’s headphones is covered in leather and memory foam. It is slightly more discreet than the Sennheisers, which have the top of the headband covered by a fabric.

Despite their similarities, the headphones differ in the details. The Sony’s minimalist look makes them look a little too much like a pair of sound protection hoods that can be found in an elementary school classroom. In addition, Sony’s covers are made of a type of plastic that means that fingerprints easily remain. Which after a few uses makes them look dirty. Sony themselves write that the headphones have a “beautiful finish”, and that is completely true as long as they are unused.

Sennheiser with its cutout on the outside makes them look a bit more luxurious. More handsome. Here they have gone with hard plastic and mixed it up with fabric and (what seems to be) padded rubber in the headband. The ear cushions are also padded.

No, I think Sennheiser wins the design competition.

Sennheiser Momentum 4. Photo: Sennheiser

Comfort

All this fluff that both headphones have, with memory foam and padding allows the user to wear them with long-lasting wearing comfort. I can’t pick a single winner here. I wear them both without problems for long periods of time – and without chafing. Both headphones have stepless controls that make it easy to adjust so that the height of the bridge is just right.

They also fit fairly tightly around the head. No risk of them falling off your head, and they don’t press too hard either.

Functions

Both headphones have their, should we call them gimmicks? Sony has its 360 Reality Audio, which should give the user a “personally tailored immersive music experience”. Sennheiser, on the other hand, has counters with “Signature sound” which should give the user a
audiophile-inspired sound. Nice that they exist – but hardly something ordinary users need.

When it comes to steering, the WH-1000xm5 and the Momentum 4 are equal.

Both are equipped with touch plates on the covers. In both cases, only the right side has touch controls (a mockery of left-handed people?). On the Sony headphones, there are two presses for play/pause, swipe forward and back to change songs, up and down to increase/decrease the volume. It works fine.

Otherwise, Sony has two nifty functions worth highlighting. One is that you can cup your hand over the cover to temporarily let sound through – like in case someone comes up to talk to you. The other is “Speak Chat”, that is, what you are listening to is automatically paused when you start talking. Both functions work unexpectedly well. If you are not a fan of the function that automatically pauses when you talk, you can turn it off via the app.

Sony WH-1000xm5. Foto: Sony

The controls on the Sennheiser headphones are similar. One tap, play/pause, swipe back and forth to change songs, up and down to increase/decrease the volume. The response on the touch surface is good here as well.

Sennheiser is a bit more limited when it comes to features. Talk-in-chat and cupped-hand mode do not exist. If you want to listen in, you have to press twice on the cover instead.

A minus with the Momentum 4 is that the plate is sensitive. So when I reach with my arms up (turns out I do that quite often okay?) and happen to touch the hood with my upper arm, I pause the music. Because that’s what a dut should do. It’s actually the same with Sony, but there you pause with two taps – so nothing happens when I accidentally tap my arm once with them.

Battery life in Momentum 4 is brutal. It is at the level that you forget that they need to be charged. Up to 60 hours of playing time. The WH-1000XM5 clocks in at 30 hours.

Sony WH-1000xm5 vs Sennheiser Momentum 4. Foto: Viktor Krylmark.

WH-1000xm5 vs Momentum 4 – which headphones are better?

Have you made it through the text, do you know for sure which way it leans?

I kind of have a hard time finding decisive flaws in Sony’s WH-1000 XM5. What’s a little flake on the plastic when you weigh it against fantastic comfort, incredible sound and a noise reduction that actually makes a difference? Not much. I have the headphones on my head for long periods of time without rubbing or pressure. There was hardly any match from this. If you have the scarce extra thousand they cost compared to Monemtum 4, then go for it.

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 are also a really nice pair of headphones. Cannon indeed. But they really fail to match Sony. With a little better pressure in the bass, more functions and better noise reduction, this match might have ended differently. The noise reduction for wind though. There, Sennheiser beats Sony.

Facts: Sennheiser Momentum 4

Tested: September 2022

Connection: Bluetooth 5.2

Active noise reduction: Yes

Microphone: Yes

Voice control: Yes, Google assistant and Siri

Dedicated app: Yes

Weight: 295 grams

Battery life: Up to 60 hours, including noise reduction

Price: SEK 3,790

Fakta: Sony WH-1000xm5

Tested: September 2022

Connection: Bluetooth 5.2

Active noise reduction: Yes

Microphone: Yes

Voice control: Yes, Google assistant and Alexa

Dedicated app: Yes

Weight: 250 grams

Battery life: Up to 30 hours

Price: SEK 4,490


Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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