Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 4 review: redemption never sounded so good

The company has always delivered on audio quality, but after stumbling with some bugs and hardware issues on the Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds, Sennheiser is focusing on the little things — and it shows.

It only took a few days with Sennheiser’s new Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds for it to become plainly obvious that they’re a class above the company’s previous model in nearly every way. The design and overall sound signature haven’t undergone major changes. But through a number of under-the-hood tweaks and other more subtle improvements, Sennheiser has taken aim at the connection issues, software bugs, and quality control concerns that hindered the potential of its third-gen buds — to the point where some buyers had said, “Never again.”

At $299.95, they’re now $50 pricier, but these remain among the best-sounding wireless earbuds you’ll find. And they’re packed with forward-looking features that will keep them relevant for several years to come. Intriguingly, the Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds also buck a major trend in their category by shipping without any kind of spatial audio tricks.

This is Sennheiser, so let’s just get right to the sound. If you’re coming from the Momentum True Wireless 3, the listening experience of these earbuds will be familiar. The detail, warmth, and impressive soundstage that Sennheiser fans have come to expect are all accounted for. In “I Remember Everything” by Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves, the acoustic guitar has just the right amount of crunch and timbre, and the MTW4 bring out the strengths in each of their voices. Jumping over to the 2023 remix of the Beatles’ red album, you’ll find plenty of rumble in the bass during tracks like “I Saw Her Standing There” — without any treble harshness on the earliest recordings. 

In a word, the sound profile is precise, and you’ll rarely ever be left wanting for more (or less) of anything. I favor these over Sony’s WF-1000XM5, Apple’s AirPods Pro, and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. They’re neck and neck with Technics’ AZ80 earbuds, another favorite of mine. Sennheiser gives you full control over the EQ, and a “sound personalization” feature can create a custom audio profile that’s tuned to your unique hearing characteristics. I largely kept the earbuds in their default mode and wasn’t disappointed.

Sennheiser’s adaptive noise cancellation analyzes your environment to apply the right level of ANC on the fly, and while it can’t match up with class leader Bose, it was more than enough to help me tune out a crowded subway car and enjoy my music. Similarly, the company’s transparency mode isn’t at the level of Apple, but it sounds pleasingly natural and serves its purpose just fine. Through the company’s mobile app, you can also set location-specific “zone” preferences, so if you want regular ANC at your favorite coffee shop but need some transparency mixed in at the office, you can do that. 

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

Aside from a new copper color option, the Momentum True Wireless 4 look identical to the Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds. You now get a fourth (extra-small) set of silicone ear tips, and Sennheiser still includes three sets of stabilizer arcs in the box for an extra-secure fit. But there are much bigger changes within the buds themselves, including a redesigned antenna and a fully overhauled wireless / Bluetooth technology stack that, in my experience, has made them work reliably and consistently. They’re fast to connect to my phone, and the frustrations I had with the Sennheiser Smart Control app on iOS and Android occasionally failing to recognize the earbuds are completely gone. Sennheiser also intelligently prioritizes whichever bud is closest to your phone to maintain the connection between the two, meaning there’s a much lower chance of brief audio dropouts. 

A closeup photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in a person’s ear.

A closeup photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in a person’s ear.

The company has made a substantial effort to futureproof these $300 buds for the next several years: they’re Bluetooth 5.4-compliant, and a firmware update due in early spring will enable LE Audio and Auracast. More relevant for those hell-bent on the best audio quality is that the MTW4 feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Sound technology. That’ll prove beneficial if you own a recent flagship-level Android phone with a Qualcomm processor inside because you’ll be able to stream what Sennheiser claims is “flawless bit-by-bit” lossless audio from your phone to the earbuds — as long as your chosen music service offers it.

Auracast is a nascent Bluetooth capability that will let “transmitter” source devices like phones, laptops, televisions — and even public address systems — broadcast audio to a large number of “receiver” products like earbuds, headphones, speakers, or hearing tech that are within range. The feature could make it easier for people to listen to music together and privately hear TV audio in public spaces.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group estimates that “by 2027, there will be more than three billion LE Audio-enabled devices on the market, which will, in turn, incentivize nearly 2.5 million public venues to deploy Auracast broadcast transmitters globally by 2030.”

Even outside of that, Sennheiser supports a litany of Bluetooth codecs, including SBC, AAC, AptX, AptX Adaptive, and LC3. There’s a dedicated settings screen where you can select what level of quality you want, with the tradeoffs being connection stability and faster battery consumption the higher you go. And gamers can activate a low-latency setting that makes the MTW4 a good match for a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck in addition to the usual mobile gaming use cases.

A screenshot of audio quality settings in Sennheiser’s Smart Control app.

A screenshot of audio quality settings in Sennheiser’s Smart Control app.

Practically none of this higher-fidelity listening applies to iPhone users since Apple continues to stick with its long-preferred AAC codec. But these earbuds sound fantastic no matter which device you link them with. I’ve come to believe that an earbud’s tuning and the drivers inside can be more important than supporting a grab bag of codecs, and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 are a prime example of that. They also conveniently include multipoint support, so you can pair them with two devices at the same time if you need to multitask between your phone and laptop.

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

Just as interesting are the features that have purposefully been left out: these earbuds place zero emphasis on spatial audio. They don’t include any head-tracking gimmicks. It seems like Sennheiser knows its audience well enough to have decided that it can safely skip the spatial audio / Atmos trend for another generation without disappointing too many people, and I’d wager that the company is right.

Battery life has been extended and can now reach up to seven hours of continuous playback with noise cancellation on or 7.5 hours with it off. Add in the case — yes, it supports wireless charging — and you get around 30 hours of overall listening time. If you want to ensure the longevity of your earbuds, I’d recommend a new battery protection setting that only lets them charge up to 80 percent. We’ve seen similar measures applied to smartphones, but considering that it’s nigh impossible to replace the batteries in wireless earbuds, I’m glad Sennheiser is at least trying to stretch out their overall lifespan. They’re also built to be tougher, now with an IP54 rating that lends them some protection from dust on top of the continued water resistance.

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

A photo of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds in copper.

Sennheiser has also put work into making these earbuds better for voice calls. They include a six-microphone array that runs through the company’s latest AI voice processing algorithms to help separate your voice from any background clatter. My instinct is always to grab a wired set of buds (or just use the earpiece) for any calls that really matter, but these definitely outperform the company’s past efforts when it comes to voice isolation.

It’s too early to definitively say that Sennheiser got it right this time, but that’s what my gut’s been telling me while testing the Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds. Their sound remains exceptional, the glitches and defects from previous models are nowhere to be seen, and they’re stuffed full of the very latest Bluetooth capabilities you’ll find in 2024. I’ll be keeping an eye on Reddit and other social channels to make sure nothing goes awry hardware-wise. But if you were left with a bad taste in your mouth by the MTW3, this feels like a redemption arc.

You can use Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4 earbuds without needing to agree to anything. However, if you want to install the companion Smart Control app and customize how they work, you’ll need to agree to: 

  • Sennheiser’s License Agreement
  • Sennheiser’s Smart Control app privacy policy

Sennheiser also asks you to share your usage data, but this is optional. If you want to use features including Smart Zones, you must register for a Sennheiser account and share your location data.

In total, there are two mandatory agreements to use the app and several optional agreements.

Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge

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