Sennheiser addresses past issues with fit and comfort to go with excellent sound quality — and with extra features to boot, these earbuds stake a claim among the best in the business.
- Superb audio quality
- More comfortable fit
- Solid ANC and Transparency
- Reliable touch controls
- Excellent call quality
- Good app support
- No multipoint — for now
- More EQ features would be nice
- Just OK battery life
Sennheiser built its reputation on good sound quality above everything else, and that consistency serves the brand well across its product lines. Still, wireless earbuds have been a learning process for the company, only really finding its stride after a few attempts.
The Momentum True Wireless 3 are the pair that's setting the tone for all other earbuds Sennheiser makes, but their sonic abilities also stand out amongst the best in the business.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: Price and availability
Sennheiser launched the Momentum True Wireless 3 in May 2022 with pretty widespread availability. They start at $250, but if you are looking for a discount along the way, you may have to wait a while. Sennheiser earbuds don't drop much in the first six to 12 months but you can always keep checking to snag them when they do. As far as colors go, they come in black, white, and graphite.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: What's good
Sennheiser has never been a "flashy" brand. Often late to aesthetic changes or trends, the company's refined qualities have long focused on getting its products to sound really good. Earbuds present a few challenges beyond that, namely how they fit, how well they stay in place, and how long they last, among other things.
The previous Momentum True Wireless 2 addressed more of the latter points, and the Momentum True Wireless 3 follow suit by shaving down the size of both the earbuds and case to more compact sizes.
They may not be the smallest earbuds available, but their design and weight make them far more nimble. Sennheiser wisely tweaked the build to a more angular frame, cutting things down just enough for the fins that come in the box. The fins can help with stability to keep them in your ears and you get three pairs to choose from. As before, there are four sets of ear tips, including an extra small, so you should find whatever works best for your ears.
Sennheiser went with perhaps the same 7mm TrueResponse transducer drivers it originally used in the CX Plus True Wireless, which are great at producing a wider, balanced soundstage. What's likely changed is the way digital signal processing and software deliver the sound to your ears with more clarity. I wouldn't consider the Momentum True Wireless 3 a big leap forward over the previous pair, but they do sound better in the right areas.
I noticed an even cleaner and crisper sound, particularly in the mids and highs. They may also be a little louder out of the box, though I would say that's marginal. Sennheiser tends to go with a more subtle sound profile out of the box with its earbuds that don't truly show what they're able to do until you tweak them.
That's where the Smart Control app and its EQ can help. I would like the company to embrace a more traditional EQ layout, but I also get the need to keep things simple, and so, you get basic sliders for bass, mid, and treble. Toggle Bass Boost on and it applies a special EQ preset that adds a little more thickness to the bass response.
Tinkering is what makes these earbuds stand out. Not like a puzzle to unlock, but more that Sennheiser leaves it to you to decide how to bring out all the sonic goodness inherent within the buds. Even though bass stands out with its own mode, they won't give you the bass-heavy sound you would get from other pairs that focus on that.
What you do get is a very balanced and pleasing soundstage that treats all genres well. You can try the few EQ presets available to get an idea, but I suspect you would hear even better results after adjusting the sliders. Note that you can also adjust the presets themselves, in case you like the general sound, yet want to tweak it a little more.
Sennheiser also saw to it to support AAC and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs. Still, a shame that a hi-res codec like LDAC isn't in here, given the fidelity involved, but having the latest aptX is nice. This all happens automatically based on what phone you're using, and what you're doing on it, and the app will tell you which one is active under the settings.
Active noise cancelation (ANC) is also adaptive unto itself, adjusting the strength of the effect based on how much background noise is around you. It's good, though it remains the one thing that holds Sennheiser back against the likes of Sony, Bose, and Apple. The Anti-Wind mode stands on its own and won't kick in automatically — you have to go into the app to enable it. I didn't always find it especially effective at cutting down wind noise any more than the standard ANC mode did, but I did notice some reduction while riding my bike.
Transparency Mode is pretty much what I expected it would be, though I did like some of the granular elements involved. For instance, you can set it so that it pauses whatever you're listening to when you turn it on, which is great for hearing something or talking to someone. You also have the option to keep playback going. With either option, there's a slider to adjust how much of the background seeps through.
Sound Zones is an interesting feature that applies specific sound settings based on when you enter or leave a geofenced area. As an example, if you set your home, workplace, favorite hangout, and other locations as Sound Zones, you can decide the exact ANC, Transparency, and EQ settings you want for each one. The downside is you need to sign up for a Sennheiser account and allow for location tracking through the app for this to work. If you're a privacy hawk, probably not the feature for you.
If you plan to do some phone calls at home or away, you should be fine with the results. The onboard mics do a good job picking up your voice, and callers will come in clearly as well. Wear sensors will also automatically pause music when you take either bud off, and it will automatically accept an incoming call when you take the right earbud out of the case. You can use either bud on its own as well, but the auto-accept only works with the right earbud.
The touch controls are pretty extensive, and they include controlling volume. Touch and hold on either bud to raise or lower it, though you can always change things up to whatever works for you. This is where Sennheiser shines. Plenty of brands offer customization, but this is one of the deepest you'll find in both layout and options.
Battery life is going to be adequate at best because of everything going on here. All the features and adaptive functions do sap some of the power involved. With ANC on, you could hit six hours per charge, depending on how high the volume is. The case gives you an extra three charges and it supports wireless charging. Plug it in with a USB-C cable for 10 minutes, and that can give you an extra 60 minutes of playback.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: What's not good
As good as the Momentum True Wireless 3 sound compared to their predecessors, I'm not sure the gap is all that big compared to the excellent CX Plus True Wireless. Having tested both, I can see a lot of similarities in how they sound. These earbuds have an edge, just not as substantial as it may seem.
As good as the touch controls are, much like previous Sennheiser earbuds, they can be a little too sensitive sometimes. It's largely when you put them on, take them off, or adjust the fit. I accidentally hung up a call doing just that. Another time, I rejected a call when I grabbed the right earbud and put it in my ear to answer it. The only recourse is to turn off touch controls entirely in the app.
A strange omission is multipoint connections. You can't pair these earbuds with two devices simultaneously — at least not yet. Sennheiser says it will add the feature with an upcoming firmware update. Hopefully, that will be sooner rather than later.
This one is really subjective, but the IPX4 rating doesn't make these buds all that durable for workouts and runs. You could do it, but you might want to be careful when paying good money for earbuds like these.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: Competition
The previous Momentum True Wireless 2 were more expensive than the 3 are. Even so, Sennheiser has placed them amongst really tough competition. The Sony WF-1000XM4 are the gold standard in so many ways, and they are close in audio quality, offer better ANC, and more elaborate EQ. They just may not fit quite as comfortably for a wider range of ears.
If audio fidelity is your major concern, you could always consider a pair like the Technics EAH-AZ60 or Astell & Kern UW100 to give you what you need. For even less money, you might find the 1More Evo to be a good alternative. These options have aptX Adaptive, LDAC, or both. If you want to keep things basic and stay within the Sennheiser brand, the CX Plus True Wireless, as I've mentioned throughout this article, will sound similar to these buds.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You want great sound
- You care about fit and comfort
- You want aptX Adaptive support
- You need good call quality
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want a deeper EQ
- You want LDAC support
- You want more custom controls
- You prefer to spend less
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 will sit among the best wireless earbuds until something else replaces them. Superb sound quality matches well with a feature set that offers some interesting add-ons. With a better fit and comfort this time around, these are easily the most well-rounded earbuds Sennheiser's made to date.
There's always the potential that they get even better through firmware updates, and they cost less than their predecessors did. There is a lot to like about the whole package, though the competition is really tight in the price range these earbuds find themselves in, so some may be tempted to look elsewhere.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser not only delivers superb audio quality to your ears, it also makes them more comfortable when wearing the Momentum True Wireless 3. Add all the extras, and you get a pretty full package.
Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar. Often times, that will be with a pair of headphones or earbuds playing tunes. When he's not testing something, he's working on the next episode of his podcast, Tednologic.
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