There have been a lot of great true wireless earphones that have come out this year, with the Sennheiser Momentum 3 being one of the most notable. Since its release, they have garnered acclaim for its incredible quality, from its sound signature to its noise-canceling. Recently I have also had the chance to check out the Free Byrd from Beyerdynamic, which has similar features and characteristics, one of them being the price point. Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic are commonly compared to each other, and now their true wireless models can get the same treatment. Which one should you go for?
What You Get
|Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3||Beyerdynamic Free BYRD|
Look and Feel
This is an area that the Momentum 3 has locked down over the Free Byrd. In my review for the Free Byrd, I stated how I thought the earpieces looked a little too cheap looking. They had an overly plasticky build, and the housing was awkwardly big. The Momentum 3 has no such issue, and they have a nice sleek style to them as well, especially the graphite variation. It is better at looking like its price compared to the Free Byrd.
Design and Functionality
Comparing the drivers, I think the Free Byrd gives you slightly more amplification than Sennheiser’s 7mm TrueResponse unit. In terms of touch controls, both models are very responsive, with actions registering easily with the right amount of sensitivity. The Free Byrd has more of a delay in its response, but the controls consistently come through. For call clarity and ANC, the Momentum 3 is what you’re going to be looking for, as the Free Byrd isn’t very strong with either feature. However, something they both lack is a more customizable EQ.
While they both have EQs in their respective companion apps, they don’t give you many options in terms of what frequency bands you can manipulate. The Momentum 3 only gives you a single node for lows, mids, and highs, while the Free Byrd limits you to just a couple of presets. What’s special about the Free Byrd though is its sound personalization option that requires you to take a short hearing test in order to tune the sound profile to your ears. Results can obviously vary, but it is a cool feature nonetheless.
Both earphones support Bluetooth version 5.2 and use the same variety of CODECs. In my time testing both earphones, the pairing was almost instant, but the connection on the Momentum 3 was marginally more stable than on the Free Byrd, which had a few instances of minor sync issues.
The Free Byrd has one of the best batteries for true wireless, amounting to 11 hours off of just a single charge. You get 7 out of the Momentum 3, which is more standard up against other wireless earphones in the market, but against the Free Byrd, it is night and day.
Neither product offer any kind of spatial audio options, so they have to rely on their natural soundstage. This makes sense for both brands, as Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic are known for their quality presentation. In their true wireless models, this mostly rings true, but the Free Byrd and Momentum 3 have their strengths and weaknesses. Concerning width, I think the Momentum 3 does more to extend its stereo image in a traditional fashion than the Free Byrd.
I find Beyerdynamic’s model to be a bit more closed off in comparison, but where the Free Byrd really shines over the Momentum 3 is in its layering. While not feeling as open as the Momentum 3, the Free Byrd excels in its semi-holographic imaging that places the instruments in a more dimensional stereo field. Both earphones do a great job letting the sound elements breathe, but the Free Byrd appears to be a bit more solidified, and the Momentum 3 feels more spread out, benefiting different genres of music in their own unique way.
If there’s anything to get either option for, it’s their powerful bass response. Both the Free Byrd and Momentum 3 possess a meaty low-end response, forming a deeper timbre that brings out its tone in an energetic way. They both possess a ton of impact in their bass, and contain similar levels of clarity. I think individual instruments come through a bit more cleanly on the Free Byrd, but the Momentum 3 offers a bit better separation overall. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a gripping low-end, neither option will disappoint.
Both earphones keep up with their sound similarities in the midrange, where clarity and balance are maintained throughout. The Free Byrd seems to be a bit more defined in parts, whereas the Momentum feels a little recessed in the upper mids specifically. Good resolution is still given to vocals, but the Free Byrd has that extra pop that keeps the sound signature energized. You still get good detail in instrumentals with the Momentum 3, and neither option feels overwhelmed by the bass.
Here is where I start to pick favorites. I like a nice and crisp treble that doesn’t feel harsh or overpowered. The Free Byrd gives me that more than any true wireless has so far. It is airy and well-textured for a sweet tone. With the Momentum 3, you still get some bits of sparkle here and there, but the Free Byrd does a better job engaging with its highs and adding height to the sound signature. Even with my personal preferences, both earphones still offer a satisfying treble response that puts them leaps and bounds over a lot of true wireless selections on the market.
As you can see, both models have their advantages and disadvantages. The Free Byrd has its sound quality, sound personalization, and battery life, while the Momentum 3 also has its sound quality, but with better ANC, style, and comfortability. It really comes down to whether or not you just want the best sound quality over more supplemental features. No matter which one you end up with, there’s no chance you won’t be immensely satisfied with these options.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 and Beyerdynamic Free Byrd are available at Audio46.
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