Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones Review

 Sennheiser HD1 are the companies challengers to the bose QC35 and Sony WH-1000XM2 Noise cancelling headphones.

I remember when Sennheiser first came out with the Momentum headphones many years ago.  At that time it existed as a sole portable headphone and nobody knew it would take off and become the companies most prominent consumer headphone line. 

For a company so adept at making headphones for professionals and aficionados their mainstream offerings pretty much sucked.  Somebody on the team was smart enough to see the rise in demand for a better alternative to Beats by Dre's Studio line. 

Skip ahead a few years and there are plenty of Momentum headphones to choose from but the flagship of the bunch has to be the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (Catchy name right).

Well, we have a set in for review so let's find out what they are all about.

Design - Simply outstanding build quality!

From the minute you get these beastly headphones in the hand you know that Sennheiser is trying to create an, even more, premium takes on their own smaller Momentum 2.0 headphones. These are a seriously premium bit of kit.  Dripping in metal and leather they have a heft to them and the build quality is outrageously good. 

They come in two color options, an ivory, and black and if I am being 100% honest I don't really like either. Especially when you see that horrendous mustard yellow/brown on the inside.  I get they are going for a classy look and almost timeless HAM radio headphone styling but it just looks a bit bland.  They don't really look slick or for matter retro, they are stuck in a no man's land of almost looking awesome but just not quite.

However, it's hard not to keep coming back to that excellent build quality.  The stitched leather headband is amazing and the function of adjusting the size is smooth as butter.  All the buttons and witches are top drawer. 

The neatest trick in the design is how they fold up into such a compact package when you aren't using them.  This makes them perfect for travel, especially in cases where you are only taking carry on luggage.  With the build is so good I didn't even worry about throwing them in my bag without a case.

Features

There are few headphones on the market that are as feature rich as the Momentum.  This is the ballpark of the Sony WH-1000 and Bose QC35 ii and whilst Sennheiser has given it their best shot they just can't quite execute as well as those 2 headphones. 

Noise canceling, what Sennheiser call Noiseguard is good but still leaves that sucked out cabin pressure feeling that the previously mentioned models now avoid. Isolation levels are good but just a step down when testing them all side by side.

There is NFC which neither I nor anybody I know uses but its nice to see it there for people who are so inclined.  The APtx in inclusion is great and offers up higher resolution music over wireless than previous generations of headphone but just make sure your music device supports it as well. 

The microphone was top draw and the one of the clearest we have seen when used in our tests, definitely able to match and maybe even surpass Bose and Sony.

 

Comfort and Isolation

 Sennheiser HD1 Headphones.

Ridiculously comfortable, that is the only way to describe these Wireless Momentum headphones.  The opening for your ears is gigantic and the luxurious leather pads cradle your head with a perfect clamping force from the headband.  Even the padding on the leather earpad, which at first sight, looked like it might not be the best was very comfortable for multi hour long listening sessions and flights.

Sound Quality

Sound quality, for the most part, is excellent. Of course, there is that previously mentioned pressure to adapt to when the ANC is turned on but they don't suffer any of the common affects some other models have where the sound becomes flat and anemic.  Its a mid friendly tuning with a decent amount of low end poured on top. I like that they express a lot of details/nuances and that whilst the soundstage definitely is in the head it doesn't feel too claustrophobic. 

Treble is rolled off, smooth and inoffensive and the midrange is smooth with some warmth which is something I generally prefer when detuning and distressing.  This won't give any non-ANC models a run for their money at this price but that's something that people know they won't be getting in either wireless or noise-canceling version. 

Value for money? Not Really!

Value for money and a comparison with the competition is really what kills off my interest for the Sennheiser Momentum Noise Canceling model. 

For the past couple of years, Bose has ruled the noise canceling headphone market with little challenge for their throne. Recently Sony stepped up with the excellent WH-1000. 

The Momentum sadly feels like the last generation model compared to those two and this is only further exacerbated by release of newer Bower & Wilkins PX ad B&O H9 models. 

The Sennheiser's generally go for around $500 and the Bose and Sony models both can be had for under $350.  That price gap is huge and the HD1 are unfortunatley nowhere near good enough to justify it.

Conclusion: A very good headphone but the competition is better!

I think you saw this coming. I very much liked the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones. For a full size over the ear headphone with APTX and ANC built in the are great but let's face it the competition is just better to save the extra cash and put it to good use elsewhere. 

Its a great effort by Sennheiser but I think a that if they made a couple of slight revisions and shaved a substantial amount off the price they could be onto a winner. Probably not going to happen though.