In late 2012, Sennheiser — one of the most well-regarded companies in the headphone industry — released a series of retro-inspired headphones that were a departure from almost everything it had done before. These headphones ditched the utilitarian look of their other over-headphones for a retro look, and ditched the alphanumeric designations (like “HD600”) for a name that told you everything you needed to know about its sound — the “Momentum.” In late 2014, the Momentum In-Ears were introduced, with a unique look and similar sound signature. The entire line was more recently refreshed under the name “M2,” with refinements all around. Today we’re taking a look at the latest evolution of Sennheiser’s Momentum line. Though it may have fallen back in line with traditional Sennheiser naming conventions, the HD1 M2 IEBT (or, “HD1 Wireless”) still has the DNA of its predecessors, and will always be a Momentum to us.
The HD1 Wireless is the first wireless incarnation of Sennheiser’s Momentum IEMs. Though its driver housings have changed from bright red to a sleek gloss black finish, their general look is the same, with a reflective Sennheiser logo on one end and stainless-steel sound channels on the other. The HD1 M2 has the same red and black flat cables as its predecessor, but this time they’re much shorter and connected to a neckband. This form factor is certainly not for everyone, but it has its benefits — more space for a battery, no chance of losing the headphones and, since all the electronics and battery can be moved to the neckband, greatly reduced weight on the ears. Whether or not you like neckband headphones, we think you must give Sennheiser credit for its execution in the HD1 M2 — the neckband is wrapped in leather with stylish red stitching. It’s light and comfortable, and feels well made. Three control buttons, a power/pairing button, the microphone, and charging port are located on the left side of the neckband — the control scheme is familiar, and works nicely with iOS. As expected, battery life is excellent at 10 hours on a single charge. The HD1 M2 is light and comfortable, and the individual earbuds are all but weightless, with cables just long enough for free head movement.
The HD1 Wireless comes with accessories befitting its price. Four sizes of ear tips are included, along with a charging cable and zippered semi-rigid carry case. We especially like the design of the carry case, as it’s narrow enough to fit in a backpack or briefcase without taking up any more room than it needs to. The HD1 Wireless supports modern Bluetooth audio codecs, including aptX and AAC for iOS. Using the HD1 Wireless is almost unremarkable, in that everything works exactly as it’s supposed to — no surprise from a big name like Sennheiser.
There are a few extra features here that we didn’t expect: the neckband has a vibration feature for incoming calls, and the HD1 Wireless can work with Sennheiser’s free CapTune iOS app for custom equalizer settings and sound effect tweaks. The most interesting special feature, though, we found completely by accident — when the HD1 Wireless is connected to a PC or Mac via USB, it is recognized as a digital audio device, and will play music directly without a wireless connection while charging. That feature isn’t listed on the box, but we think it’ll be especially interesting to those who want to use the HD1 Wireless all day without having to take them off.
We feel essentially the same about the sound of the HD1 Wireless as we did about the original Momentum In-Ears we owned back in 2015. They have the “Momentum” sound signature — far from neutral, but bassy and dark. They’re not what we’d call ideal for every genre, but the HD1 Wireless’ sound is dark done right. We have never thought of the Momentum sound as an audiophile sound, as the treble feels a little recessed and we prefer a little more definition and presence in the high-end. It’s a fun, non-fatiguing sound that is obviously pleasing to lots of people out there, as the Momentum line has been extremely popular over the past several years. If you like your sound a little dark and are willing to try the neckband form factor, we think you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than the HD1 Wireless.
Company and Price
Model: HD1 Wireless