The flagship of the headphone battle is stepping up a gear

OPINION: Sennheiser teases his upcoming Momentum Wireless 4 over-ears is yet another entry into the premium market that has been unveiled in recent months. For those of us looking to save some money, I’m sorry to say that just when you thought you were gone, you’re about to be coaxed back in.

Sennheiser keeps his cards close to his chest, revealing just a few details to whet the appetite of audio fans. And the German brand certainly piqued our interest with its claims of new design, high-quality sound and massive battery life that surpass anything we’ve seen from premium over-ear headphones.

Since the pandemic, the interest in headphones seems to have only increased. The desire to listen to high-quality music certainly played a role, but sitting at home or sharing a space with others has brought more attention to specific functions: headphones for phone calls and online meetings, headphones for gaming, headphones to watch movies/ TV with and ANC headphones for when we want some privacy.

Headphones have become an all-rounder to serve the widest possible audience by ensuring that there is everything a person could want, be it noise cancellation, smartness, good call quality, low latency for gaming and ensuring a seamless connection to your device . With that in mind, there have been several big launches in the premium headphone sector over the past year.

Yamaha kicked things off with its YH-L700A:Philips launched its Fidelio L3 and since then we have the Bose Quiet Comfort 45Technique EAH-A800Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Edifier Stax S3 headphones that launched in May. Qualcomm has leaked Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2, so we can assume they’re on the way too. There’s a lot of choice and a lot of high-quality options, and they don’t all serve the same purpose – at least not in the same way.

Plus, with awareness in 3D audio gain a foothold, whether it’s through headphones that upmix stereo to 3D, Dolby Atmos musicSony’s 360 Reality Audio or Apple’s Spatial audio† headphones are looking to broaden the experiences they offer. The arrival of Snapdragon sound and aptX Lossless will boost headphones in the pipeline that support the Qualcomm chipset, promising higher quality and bit-lossless sound over a Bluetooth connectiona problem that always seemed to keep wireless headphones from matching their wired counterparts.

This innovation sparks an exciting battle between headphone brands who seem to be trying to produce the only pair of headphones you’ll need for years to come. As you can imagine, though, a pair of these headphones come at a higher cost – the only real downside to this push for higher-quality performance – but for those who can afford them, there’s an embarrassment of wealth to enjoy.

So who will win this battle? Is there even a winner out there? The race to innovate and provide better experiences is resulting in some of the best headphones yet. To paraphrase the tagline for the (mediocre) Aliens vs Predator movies, whoever wins…we win.

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