To be honest, I was really eager to get my hands on the Momentum True Wireless 3 earphones from Sennheiser. I was interested to see how Sennheiser improved this third-generation model and how it compared to other top noise-canceling earbuds like Sony’s WF-1000XM4 because the True Wireless 2 model was excellent — we won it an Editors’ Choice Award in 2020 — but it did leave some space for improvement.
Improved design, with fins
The layout has been altered. The Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds are more rectangular than the first two versions in the series, which were more rounded. They also have some of the same design cues as Sennheiser’s previous year’s more cheap CX True Wireless ($130) and noise-canceling CX Plus True Wireless ($180) models. The charging case resembles the True Wireless 2 case in appearance but is slightly smaller. Yes, wireless charging is available.
They are simply a fancier and somewhat smaller version of the noise-canceling CX Plus earbuds, which have a comparable sound signature.
The inclusion of a rubberized fin to assist hold the buds in your ears more firmly is the other significant design modification. It’s not a large wing like the one on the Beats Fit Pro or the new Sport True Wireless Earbuds from Sennheiser. It’s more subdued, like a ridge or hump.
I began with the standard medium-sized fin before switching to the huge fin. In all sizes, the buds stayed in my ears without issue. Nevertheless, the larger fin provided a somewhat more snug fit, so I used that when I was jogging and had no trouble keeping the earbuds in place. They are splash-proof and IPX4 water-resistant, thus they held up well after being exposed to the rain for 15 minutes.
The earbuds are a bit smaller than previous generations, so they should suit a broader range of ears. You’ll have to experiment with the fins and tips to find the combination that gives you the most comfortable fit with the tightest seal. These are a little bit more compact and comfy to wear than the CX True Wireless or the Sony WF-1000X4, but I can’t guarantee that they will be a great fit for your ears, especially if you have very small ears. I do enjoy what Sennheiser has done with the design, though. In fact, they could be a decent option for those of you who discovered that those otherwise superb Sony earphones caused some discomfort.
As previously mentioned, the Momentum True Wireless 3 include active noise cancellation, however it is of the adaptive sort and you cannot change the volume. They also have a transparency option that sounds very natural but isn’t quite as good as the transparency mode on the AirPods Pro. To switch between transparency and noise cancellation, quickly tap the left bud. The touch controls on the earbuds are quite responsive.
The noise canceling settings include an anti-wind mode as well. But as far as I can tell, you have to use the app to access that as well as the equalization settings. The touch controls may be slightly customized, and it’s important to note that using the tap and hold motion, you can change the volume on the earbuds themselves. Also, you may use either earbud alone — left or right — and, if you’d like, keep one charging in the case.
They also contain ear-detection sensors, so when you take a bud out of your ear, the music stops; it restarts when you put the bud back in. In order to save the battery life, which is respectable at about 7 hours at moderate volume settings, you can also program the earbuds to turn off automatically after a predetermined amount of time if you leave them outside of their case. It corresponds to the battery life of the Momentum True Wireless 2.
Bluetooth 5.2 is used by these. However, they lack multipoint Bluetooth pairing, which would enable you to link the earbuds with two devices at once, such as a computer and your smartphone, at least at launch. Nevertheless, I was informed that a future firmware update will include the capability. This indicates that while multipoint is supported by the chipset, the software to make it available and ensure its dependability is still being developed. With truly wireless earphones, that can be challenging.
Both the AAC and AptX Adaptive audio codecs are supported by the earbuds. Using AptX for Bluetooth streaming may result in better audio quality because it is supported by many Android phones and is simple to set up. Yet, even though Qobuz supports greater quality streaming through AptX Adaptive, I didn’t detect a significant difference while switching between an iPhone 13 Pro and a few Android phones.
So how do these sound exactly? Actually, marginally superior to the True Wireless 2, which, upon its arrival in 2020, were among the best-sounding true wireless earbuds. Although having 7mm drivers that appear to be comparable to those of the previous generation, I found that they played a little louder and sounded a little cleaner and more precise. I did like the True Wireless 3’s sound, albeit it may have more to do with the new digital signal processor and software algorithms than the speakers.
Compared to the Sony WF-1000XM4, which has a touch more energy in the bass and is a little warmer, they feature a somewhat more balanced, audiophile sound profile right out of the box. Both have a rather large soundstage and a rich, open sound.
The Sennheiser headphones provide somewhat greater clarity, and I ultimately used the Sound Check function of the app to create a personalized preset equalization setting based on my listening preferences. My sound profile ended up like the well-known happy face profile, with the mids (where voices reside) somewhat muted and the bass and treble slightly increased. The earphones sounded a little more like the Sonys with that profile. The bass was very strong but also precise and well-defined.
When I test headphones, I listen to a diverse selection of songs. Everything from Spoon’s You Got Your. and Knock Knock Knock. songs by Cherry Bomb, the Foo Fighters, Billie Eilish, and modern hip-hop and pop artists. even a little country and classical music. The Momentum True Wireless 3 have incredibly lovely tones, with vibrant yet smooth sound and good detail, to put it simply. They are compatible with a wide range of musical genres, and even after prolonged listening sessions, I didn’t get tired of them.
I’ll discuss voice calling and noise cancellation performance before I wrap up. In my testing while in front of a noisy HVAC unit in my flat, the noise cancellation seemed to be on par with that of the Sony and Bose models and appeared to have enhanced over the True Wireless 2. I’m not sure if the Sennheiser True Wireless 3 cancels out all noise equally as well as the Sony model, but it does seem like Sennheiser has improved its noise-canceling capabilities. The tightness of the seal you achieve with the included ear tips will, of course, affect how successfully the earbuds block out sound. Fortunately, Sennheiser produces some of the greatest ear tips on the market; in fact, because they fit my ears so well, I use their big tips with other earbuds, such as the Beats Fit Pro.
Performance during voice calls has also improved. Callers reported that the three mics on each earphone did a decent job of cutting down on background noise when I was speaking to them from the busy streets of New York. While there was some white noise, they claimed to be able to clearly hear my voice when I talked. The voice calling experience has considerably improved since True Wireless 2. The voice-calling quality of the second-generation model was better than the first, but it still lagged behind the AirPods Pro in terms of call quality and noise cancellation. True Wireless 3 is more comparable to what AirPods Pro and AirPods 3 have to provide.
Overall, I don’t really have anything to complain about other than the fact that multipoint Bluetooth wasn’t available at launch. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3’s design is sleeker and more compact, and the earbuds should comfortably fit more ears. The CX Plus True Wireless buds, which are less expensive, don’t seem to offer a significant improvement in sound quality. Moreover, the Sennheiser earbuds function better for taking calls, and they appear to have stronger noise cancellation.
They do cost a good penny, as I mentioned. Still, they’re a great set of earbuds for iOS and Android users and could get a little better with software updates. They do have a lot of competition, though; the $200 Beats Fit Pro is just one of several high-end earbuds in this price bracket that sound great and work well. And later this year, we could receive brand-new AirPods Pro 2 with improved sound. Nonetheless, as of right now, they’re unquestionably among my favorite new earphones and are highly recommended, particularly if you notice a slight drop in price.