Sennheiser’s signature Momentum over-ears headphones have just made it to India in their 4th generation at a price of ₹34,990. Long associated with class, sophistication and superior sound, these headphones are again, comprehensively good. But they do have competition, right from the start.

It often seems as if India is not really a headphone country. Heat and humidity make it difficult to wear over-ears headphones in anything but the most chilled air-conditioned environment. Heating up the wearer’s ears and making them sweaty and itchy are downsides for wireless earphones. Unless one really values quality sound. The Momentum 4 headphones luckily turn out to be comfortable enough to be worn for long hours, shutting you in and leaving you to listen in, and switch off the outside world.

Although previous generations of Momentum headphones have looked more luxurious, the Momentum 4 are nice enough looking, especially in the white and grey model review unit. There is a black variant as well. The white cans have soft synthetic cushioning which is more than adequate, though not plush. The extent of cushioning will, in fact, probably be better suited to Indian conditions. One would have thought the headband needed thicker padding underneath, but no undue pressure points are created on the top of one’s head and the headphones are light and easy to wear. Smaller heads have an issue with the headphones slipping forward or back when tilting the head.

The clean white ear-cans do articulate back and forth but don’t fold inwards completely to decrease the footprint and make them easier to travel with by making the nice hard shell case a little smaller. The carry case has to be kept clean because it's fabric covered but does a good job of protecting the headphones when not in use. In this case, you get a USB-A to USB-C cable of convenient length, a travel adaptor, and a 2.4mm to 3.5mm cable for wired listening, which does not eat up the battery. You will need a connector if you’re using a phone or tablet as a playback source since most no longer have headphone jacks.

Responsive controls

Taking the Momentum 4 headphones off doesn’t lead to that extreme headphone shock that often accompanies heavyweight audio products. Music pauses as soon as they’ve moved off the ears thanks to a sensitive wear-detection. Also, really sensitive are the controls on the right ear cup. There’s a single button for power and pairing while other actions are handled with light taps and swipes by the touch-sensitive surface. That includes calling up your preferred assistant and toggling noise cancellation modes, volume, track navigation, etc. The controls are minimal, responsive and intuitive.

More granular adjustments to the features take place in the Sennheiser app that users should download. You get firmware updates, but other than that you can do a listening test and set noise cancellation level with a slider. There’s also an equaliser, which is much needed because bass can get rather prominent. There’s a bass boost mode, which is hardly needed and a podcast setting which is quite useful. The app is, however, not always an instant connection and lags a little.

Full-bodied sound

Different genres of music sound wonderful on Momentum 4. There’s good detail and separation and the sound is generally lively and punchy — but you do have to set the bass level to your liking. These headphones are supposed to be ‘audiophile inspired’ but that group will almost certainly want the bass turned down and not overwhelming other frequencies, which they sometimes do.

Speech and calls sound very clear and natural. A feature called ‘Sidetone’ allows you to adjust the way you hear your own voice during calls. The headphones use a 42mm transducer and support the AAC and SBC codecs plus AptX and Adaptive AptX. They actually sound better with Android playback devices. The adjustments you can make using the EQ make it possible to have personalised modes or ‘sound zones’ and have them automatically associated with different locations and activities. The Bluetooth standard used is 5.2 with the range holding up very well. The Momentum 4 supports multi-point connectivity so one can switch from one device to another.

All quiet

Noise cancellation, while not quite of the level of Bose or Sony, is still quite good. At maximum, one will not hear others talking and all hums and even beeps will completely dampen. It’s also meant to be good with wind noise handling. The noise cancelling is adaptive, if the user opts for it to be, and can adjust to where one happens to be. A strong amount of noise suppression takes place when you wear the headphones without even turning on music — a useful trick for those who want to use them as a concentration aid. The transparency mode is quite natural and perhaps not as dramatic as the way it’s implemented on other headphones in the category.

Battery life is stellar at 60 hours — with ANC on. Used for short sessions, the charge will last days. Used more continuously, it would see a user through an average travel trip quite easily. Quick charge is also supported.

The obvious competitor to the Momentum 4 headphones is Sony’s WH-1000XM5 just launched in India as well, Apple’s AirPods Max and Bose’s QuietComfort 45. Each is, however, available at different price points and offers both a different sound signature and slightly different features.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Instagram to never miss an update from Fortune India. To buy a copy, visit Amazon.