Apple has just upgraded its true wireless technology with the release of the new AirPods Pro. It boasts active noise-cancellation and a super comfortable fit. But how does it fare in terms of sound quality? Can it compete with Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless, which in terms of sound, has been heralded as the most desirable true wireless model on the market? Let’s find out which earbuds perform the best overall in this Apple AirPods Pro vs Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Review.
Apple AirPods Pro vs Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless Review
Apple seems to have heard the cries of the people. The major problem I had with previous AirPod models was the fit. Not only did they not offer any sound isolation, but the hard plastic began to hurt my ears after extended periods of wear. Of course, I’m a little snowflake. But still, I’m sure other sensitive folks had the same issue. Well, Apple has fixed this problem by employing interchangeable silicone tips. They are, by far, the most comfortable Apple buds I’ve ever worn. Still, because of the open earbud design, you won’t get much sound isolation until you activate the noise-cancellation feature.
In contrast, the Momentum TW does a fantastic job at naturally isolating from outside noise. This is not only because of silicone tips, but also because the shape of the shells fit perfectly within contours of your ears (unless you have particularly small ears). So, there’s little room for sound to travel in.
Finally, both models felt secure in my ears. And at no point was I worried about either model falling out. That being said, if you’re using your buds for sports, the snugger seal of the Momentum TW may be a safer bet.
Battery Life and Charging
With respect to total battery life, the AirPods Pro blow the Momentum True Wireless out of the water. The AirPods offer 24 hours of battery life compared to the Momentum’s 12 hours of total use. That being said, both earbuds offer a similar amount of juice at a time before having to put them back in the case for charging; the AirPods Pro give you 4.5 hours of playtime (with ANC switched on), while the Momentum provides 4.
One thing to note about the AirPods is that they only come with a lightning to USB-C cable, which isn’t much use to folks who don’t have the later Mac models. So, iPhone users will have to use the charging cable that comes with their phone.
Active Noise Cancellation and Transparent Hearing
Apple has implemented an active noise cancellation feature. And it does a good job. But perhaps I should caution you that the ANC frequencies emit a pressure against the eardrum that some people find uncomfortable, especially if they’re not used to it. Still, if you ride the NYC subway, a little ear pressure beats the blood curdling screams of the yahoo sitting next to you.
The Momentum True Wireless doesn’t offer ANC. However, the sound isolation is so good that it eliminates around the same amount of noise as do the AirPods Pro when their ANC turned on.
Both earbuds also offer transparent hearing modes. This mode opens up the sound to your surrounding environment, allowing you to order your chai-latte-decaf-extra-hot-no-chai without taking the earbuds out of your ears. It’s also handy for not getting killed by oncoming traffic.
Controls and Functionality
The Momentum True Wireless delivers slightly more functionality than the AirPods Pro. For example, the Momentum offers volume control from the earpieces, while the AirPods Pro do not. But both models give you other standard controls form the earpieces, including play/pause, track skipping and call activation. The Apple AirPods also allow you to turn switch between ANC and Transparent Hearing mode from the earpieces. In addition, your voice assistant can also be activated on both models. While the Momentum True Wireless employs the touchpad on the earpiece to invite your assistant, the AirPods take a more casual approach; all you have to do is whine, “hey Siri”, and she’ll come to your aid. Of course, one thing to note here is that Android users won’t be able to take advantage of Siri. (And I didn’t test the AirPods Pro with an Android phone, but my guess is that you won’t be able to use Google Assistant. If any readers discover otherwise, shoot us an email).
Calls and Call Clarity
The Momentum True Wireless wins in this department. Not only did the caller sound cleaner on my end, but the microphone also had superior clarity to that of the AirPods Pro.
Apple boasts Adaptive EQ, which means that the earbuds automatically tune music to the shape of your ears. The only problem is that you don’t have any creative control over your equalizer settings. In contrast, the Momentum TW has an accompanying app which allows you to adjust the equalizer profile. (You won’t get absolute control over the levels, but it lets you change the shape of the frequency curve).
You can expect a much deeper and juicier bass from the Momentum True Wireless. But since the Momentum comes with an equalizer, the bass response can be moderated. Though the AirPods Pro don’t produce a bass as fat, you’ll still get some satiating oomph when listening to pop and rock tracks. Still, if you love a lot of warmth in your low-end (especially in the winter), the Momentum TW give you that richer feel. In terms of clarity, both earbuds perform well. However, there’s no question that the Momentum TW offers a more detailed performance. Furthermore, these two models vary in their presentation. Listening to cellos in this range, the Momentum TW slightly softened the feel of the instrument, while the AirPods conveyed a more clean cut, edgier sound.
Again, you’ll get a meatier, more lush profile from the Momentum TW. It’s more generous in the lower midrange, giving tracks a more full-bodied and all-encompassing feel. In contrast, the AirPods Pro deliver a more dynamic profile. Vocals really shine through the mix, and the contrast between the low and high frequencies is slightly more pronounced. And many people will find this balance optimal for pop tracks, especially.
Both models sound nice and clean in this range, though again, the Momentum TW delivers quite a bit more nuance and detail. Listening to folk in this range, guitar strums had more color, and the more subtle contrast in timbre were more apparent on the Momentum TW. And in general, the Momentum TW offers a more absolute presentation on acoustic instruments. In short, it just conveys a more realistic performance.
Once again, listening to percussion in the high frequencies, it becomes abundantly clear that the Momentum TW presents a more transparent sounding instrument. In fact, it makes cymbals and other high frequency percussion on the Apple AirPods Pro sound rather compressed in comparison. Now, I’ll admit the the Airpods Pro are no slouch. And listening to the AirPods alone, I had few complaints about the sound (in terms of true wireless technology). But comparing these two models back to back, there’s little competition.
The Momentum TW may deliver the vastest soundstage I’ve heard on a true wireless earphone. Spacious and multidimensional, killer tracks, such as Lizzo’s Juice have a massive, powerful feel. And certainly for an in-ear true wireless headphone, it’s quite a feat. In fact, when I switched back to the AirPods Pro, the music almost sounded like it was coming out of tin cans. Listen, I’m not trying to poo-poo the AirPods. They’re decent. But the soundstage of the Sennheiser Momentum TW is just that good.
PROS and CONS
Pros: Comfortable, fantastic battery life, effective ANC.
Cons: Sound quality is less than extraordinary for the price.
Momentum True Wireless
Pros: Unparalleled sound quality in the world of true wireless, equalizer control, great sound isolation.
Cons: Short battery life.
In terms of noise-cancellation and comfort, Apple fans should be more than pleased with the upgrades that the company has implemented in the new AirPods Pro. Furthermore, it’s hard to beat the 24 hours of battery life that the AirPods Pro deliver. And to be honest, Sennheiser falls short in terms of battery life, especially when you compare it to other TW buds in this price range. The beauty of the AirPods’ sleek and minimalist design is also undeniable. But if your priority is sound performance, you may still be hard pressed to find anything as impressive the Momentum True Wireless. But things change fast in the world of true wireless. So, stay tuned.
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