Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mini reviews: Sennheiser Momentum & Skullcandy Aviator

Left: Sennheiser Momentum (photo copyright: Sennheiser) / Right: Skullcandy Aviator (photo copyright: Skullcandy)

Failed first attempts of buying a new headphone:
Sennheiser Momentum & Skullcandy Aviator

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has been talking about the Sennheiser Momentum. Unleashed to the market in January 2013, it has been reviewed by every major magazine, even the ones usually not dealing with audio stuff. Judging from countless sights of people wearing it on the streets, one gains the impression, that it is the momentary beacon of hipster culture. Fascinating; Sennheiser isn´t exactly a company I´d equate with being 'cool'. Whatever, people describe it as well sounding, perfectly manufactured, etc. But only thing is certain: it´s expensive with a price tag of 300,- Euros. My Sennheiser HD-600 now costs the same... and you´d be getting A LOT more headphone. According to some reviews (for example by German magazine AUDIO) the Momentum not only costs the same, no, it´s also on the same sound level. WTF?!?

The Momentum sounds warm. Not as warm as my HD-448 but still bloated on occasion. In fact, wouldn´t there be the lovely, slightly coloured treble response, the Momentum wouldn´t sound so different from my HD-448. Main differences: the stage is too wide, ripping apart the stereo perspective. My dear Sennheiser engineers: wider isn´t always better; the stage not only goes from left to right but from front to back too. Bass is deeper but slightly soft. Some good can be found as well: treble sounds fine. It features characteristics my HD-448 sometimes lack: precision, gloss and attack, even though it feels slightly artificial.

Built quality is 'Meh'. Sure, real leather, aluminum, glass fiber and the whole shebang... yet it all feels so flimsy and fragile. The cable - typical for Sennheiser - feels extremely thin. Good for suppressing cable-noise, bad for reliability. Thank Heavens, it can be replaced. The bag the Momentum comes in, is well built but too big for small cans such as these.

In the end I didn´t keep it: I didn´t like the stage, I didn´t like its' expensive price, I didn´t like the built quality and - most important - I didn´t like that the earcups are so small. My head is larger than average, my ears are much smaller. The Momentum still didn´t fit comfortably... and I´ve tried every setting possible. Adding insult to injury: it´s manufactured in China (not a bad thing but Sennheiser is ashamed of it) and I´m sure, that Sennheiser would still make a buck if they sell it for half the price. To make a long story short; I sent it back. And ordered the Skullcandy Aviator.

Comparison frequency response Skullcandy Aviator / Sennheiser Momentum

The Skullcandy Aviator is beautiful - if bling is your thing. Made out of metal, leather (albeit artificial), comes with ample accessories... it´s a bargain considering the official price of 120,- Euros. I got it for only 60,- Euros, who´d be able to say no? Built quality is fantastic considering the price: the metal parts look shiny & solid, the leather feels real enough, the replaceable cable is beautifully braided. Everything apart from the plastic cups is attached with screws. You can take it apart easily should you want to! As accessories you get a very nice carrying bag, looking a lot like sponge bag. Everywhere possible Skullcandy placed their logo, the skull. You can find it on zippers, the mesh covering the headphone drivers, inside the bag, on the cable plug, everywhere. From its looks, the headphones literally screams 'DESIGN-OBJECT'; the amber-coloured, transparent cups are supposed to be evocative of those sunglasses worn by pilots, glasses us Germans refer to as 'Porn-glasses' (because male pornstars used to wear them in the '70s). Through these transparent cups you can easily see what's inside the headphone; a nice touch. It´s foldable too, so summarizing, there shouldn´t be anything left to desire.

Oh wait, it´s a headphone, it has sound! Know what? It sounds well. And I was just as surprised as you are now. Look above at the frequency response, it shows pretty much how it sounds compared to the Sennheiser Momentum: less deep, but more upper bass, recessed mids, a lot more treble. Sounds bad, yet it isn´t. Mids are recessed, yes, but not as much as I´d have expected. Bass doesn´t feel bloated, treble isn´t piercing but most of the time too glossy. Upper frequencies are in fact the biggest problem of the Aviator because they aren't differentiated enough, they lack precision. Stage? As wide as the Momentums', but equally shallow - and blurred. This blurriness can be removed completely by removing the amber-coloured, transparent cups. But that doesn´t look beautiful, nor is it safe to use: you could easily break the needle thin cables on the now accessible interior parts of the headphone.

The comfort... sigh... again, a too small headphone. It´s supposed to be an over-ear headphone, yet it feels a lot like an on-ear headphone. The headband is on the brink of being too small for my head (it´s not THAT big!), the cups are still too small for my tiny ears. The cushions are very soft and comfy... but they don´t help because all the time my earlobes touch the inner mesh covering the drivers. What to do about it? Sending it back of course. Might be a nice headphone for other people though.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Socials