Sennheiser has revealed its latest flagship wireless earbuds at CES 2024: the Momentum True Wireless 4. Though the company claims there are over a dozen upgrades and future-facing technologies onboard — like lossless, CD-quality audio — it has conspicuously side-stepped the spatial audio trend embraced by its biggest competitors.
The Momentum True Wireless 4 (MTW4) have been priced at $300 ($50 more than the previous generation) and will be available for preorder on February 15 in three colors: black copper, metallic silver, and graphite.
From a design point of view, little has changed since the third-gen model, though Sennheiser says they have a revised ear tip and nozzle design, which offers better protection from earwax. All of the big changes are on the inside.
Sennheiser has continued its collaboration with Qualcomm for the MTW4, but this time, the earbuds’ Snapdragon Sound capabilities are powered by the Qualcomm S5 Gen 2 sound platform. The new chipset makes it possible to offer aptX Lossless, a Bluetooth codec that can do bit-perfect transmission of 16-bit lossless audio.
The only catch is that to experience aptX Lossless, you’ll also need a compatible Snapdragon Sound-equipped phone. There aren’t many out there at the moment, and it’s worth pointing out that Apple’s iPhones have never supported Qualcomm’s aptX family of codecs (and still don’t).
Sennheiser also notes that the MTW4’s overall wireless performance has been improved, again with a little help from Qualcomm. The earbuds incorporate Qualcomm’s RF Front End (RFFE) technology — an improved antenna design that the company claims can bring greater RF sensitivity, improved signal-to-noise ratio, faster connections, and better signal continuity.
For improved call quality, Sennheiser is using a six-mic array and a new AI voice processing algorithm, which should help keep your voice distinct from background sounds.
The biggest surprise is the absence of any spatial audio features. It’s surprising because Sony, Apple, Bose, and Jabra — four of Sennheiser’s biggest competitors — have all added versions of spatial audio support to their wireless earbuds in the past 2 to 3 years. But it’s also surprising on a technical level: Qualcomm’s S5 Gen 2 sound platform has built-in support for advanced head tracking, a key element needed to create even more immersive 3D audio. Sennheiser has clearly decided not to enable it (perhaps for the moment) on the MTW4.
Battery life sees a modest increase at 7.5 hours of playtime on a charge, with up to 30 hours with the charging case (versus 7/28 on the MTW3). Sennheiser says those batteries might enjoy a longer service life thanks to a new battery protection mode that optimizes charging cycles.
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