Sony and Sennheiser have been setting the industry standard for flagship wireless headphones, and all major audio brands aim to beat them. The JBL Tour One M2 is one such competitor. Selling at around the same price as the Sennheiser Momentum 4, can it compete in terms of sound and design?
Look and Feel
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 sports a classy but no-frills, modern appearance, with a sturdy and durable build. The JBL Tour One M2 has a more futuristic and edgy design. But they appear about equal with respect to build quality and durability. In terms of weight, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 is slightly lighter, probably making them more comfortable to wear for extended periods. But to be honest, for the period I wore the headphones, I found both equally comfortable and snug.
Design and Functionality
The Momentum 4 wins hands down here, offering a whopping 60 hours of play with the ANC turned on. In contrast, the Tour One M2 has only 30 hours of playtime with the ANC on and 50 hours of charge with the ANC turned off.
The Tour One M2 offers Bluetooth 5.3 LE, which is the latest version, guaranteeing a reliable connection. The Momentum 4 employs Bluetooth version 5.2, which, while not the latest version, still provides a highly reliable connection. And during listening sessions, I never encountered any interruptions.
The Momentum 4, however, supports hi-res codecs, including aptX and aptX Adaptive, while the Tour One M2 only offers AAC and SBC.
ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)
Both headphones emit approximately the same about of ANC power. That is, enough power to kill the hum of a heater or train, but not enough to drown out a nearby conversation.
About the same level of call clarity here, although the Momentum 4 offers a grander soundstage.
Both headphones come with accompanying apps that, amongst other things, allow you to adjust the equalizer settings. But the Tour One M2 will give you more creative control, allowing you to adjust all parts of he frequency spectrum. In contrast, the Momentum 4 only offers general control over the lows, mids and highs. The Sennheiser app will give you a little more control, such as the ability to adjust the strength of the ANC. But the Tour One M2 gives you a couple of neat tricks too, like Person-Fi, which conducts a hearing test to optimize the sound specifically for your ears to customize the sound.
Perhaps because the separation is superior, the Momentum 4 offers a more spaced out soundscape than the Tour One M2. The Momentum 4 also delivers more height, with instrument placement along the vertical axis feeling more accurate. That being said, both headphones present expansive stages. But given how clean it sounds, the Momentum 4 offers a more nuanced and colorful soundstage overall.
While both headphones deliver an up-front bass profile, the bass on the JBL Tour One M2 comes off as a little shinier, while the Momentum 4 takes on a fatter, more muted tone. Still, both headphones offer plenty of warmth. And neither of the headphones’ low-end bleeds into higher frequencies or muddies this range.
Both headphones have a full-bodied feel, but the Tour One M2 has slightly more prominent upper-mids, making vocals and snares come forward in the mix and creating a lively, dynamic feel. But in this range, the Momentum 4 has the cleaner, more transparent and more natural sound of the two headphones. And it presents a slightly thinner and more intricate acoustic instrument.
The Momentum 4 offers a touch more sparkle and crispness in the treble than the comparatively the Tour One. But neither ever feel piercing or fatiguing on the ears. Both headphones show great transparency when listening to acoustic instruments in this range, but the Tour One has a little more color and gloss to it than the comparatively dry and natural Momentum 4.
In terms of sound, the Momentum 4 seems to have the upper hand, as it offers a slightly cleaner and more natural profile. And given the impressive 60 hours of battery life, the Momentum 4 becomes even more enticing. If complete control over your equalizer settings is a priority, then you’re better off with the Tour One M2. But if you’re looking for the best headphone under $300, the Momentum 4 is hard to beat.
You can buy the JBL Tour One M2 at Audio 46.
You can buy the Sennheiser Momentum 4 at Audio 46.
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