Sennheiser MM70i Review

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Sennheiser, established in 1945, is a company with a wide range of audio products and a long standing pedigree of providing high quality audio equipment ranging from earphones to in-ear monitors to studio grade headphones.

For review today we’ve been given a pair of MM70is,  which are targeted as being a premium pair of earphones. Sennheiser have included several usability additions including in-line volume, microphone and media controls. With this much control it should be a pleasure to use in when commuting or just generally out and about. Coupled with the almost legendary quality offered by Sennheiser and the usability additions this product should be very interesting.

Without further ado we’ll jump into the review and see how it performs.

General

Wearing style Ear-canal
Color black
Connector 3.5 mm, straight
Cable length 1.4 m

Headphones

Impedance 16 Ω
Frequency response (headphones) 18 – 22,000 Hz
Sound pressure level (SPL) 106 dB

Microphone

Frequency response (microphone) 80 – 15000 Hz
Pick-up pattern Omni directional

 

First thing we look at is the box which comes in typical Sennheiser fashion which is very minimalistic, following their traditional colour scheme. With its view port showing the earphones, in-line controls and 3 extra sizes of ear plug to suit each individuals different ear size. On the exterior of the box there are various specs and features listed in many different languages.

This box was secured very differently to what you’d normally expect. Instead of  tape holding the box together, it was in fact a strip of plastic going through two edges of the box – this way of securing the box made it a pleasure to open as rather than struggling with peeling, or cutting the tape off it was simply snip that plastic strip with a pair of scissors and the box will slide open.

After sliding the tray out which houses everything, its very apparent that all the accessories are split into two different categories being, what is visible on the front tray, and on the rear side what is included in the bag. Included within the entire box you’ll find:

  • MM 70i headset
  • 6 pairs of ear plugs (1 pair already installed)
  • Pouch
  • Cable winder
  • Cable clip
  • Quick start guide

Looking at the overall earphones you’ll see that the cable on one side is significantly longer than the other one, this is due to the way they are intended to be worn. The MM70i’s are designed to be worn on the left side, with the right side going around the back of your neck to connect. In my experience this way of wearing them makes the cable a little bit more manageable, but overall making very little difference.

Now we take a look at the actual headphones It’s in a very minimalistic style in terms of the aesthetics, typically found on most Sennheiser equipment. They definitely don’t look bad but the headphones certainly won’t be attracting much attention from others. Changing the ear plugs to the best size for you is very easy; you simply pull off the current one and then push the new one in making adjustment to your personal needs very quick.

One nice touch is the included cable winder, with this you put the two earphones into the holes and just wrap it around and then finally putting the cable through the hole on the right. The overall feel of this is great and I’m genuinely surprised to have never seen anything like it before. The material is a soft feel rubber making it strong but still flexible and by definition should stop those pesky cables from getting tangled when put in the bag.

Also included is the faux leather bag, which is very typical of Sennheiser but still a very much welcome addition to the package. One thing slightly different is that it doesn’t close with a string pull, but instead with what I’m going to assume is a plastic strip enclosed within the top of the case. To actually open the case you just flex the two sides apart, put in or take out what you want to do then it will automatically snap shut when you’re done with it.

To conclude, the actual strength and protection added by the box, I will say that this is a retail box and it will not be protected during shipping alone. The actual packaging inside the box is very good and I’d be surprised if anything succumbed to damage during transit other than the box.

Before I start talking about the raw audio quality of the earphones I’ll first talk about the comfort which is definitely one of the stronger parts of the earphones. The comfort really is spot on and the ergonomics of the cable makes a much bigger difference than you’d imagine. One of the problems I do have is that the controls are very high up on my chest but this may be due to the fact that I’m quite tall (6 feet 4 inches.)

Moving on to the audio quality – testing was done under several platforms, including my phone and my audio rig.

Test Bench

  • DAC/Soundcard: Audio-GD NFB3.1
  • Amplifier: Neco Soundlabs Mosfett Amp
  • Phone(s): Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Huawei Y300.

I must say that I’m rather unimpressed with the quality of these earphones I expected much more for the budget, when compared to me Sennheiser MX580’s there was very little improvement, and certainly not when you consider that the cost is four times more than what I paid for my MX580s around two years ago. Although the raw quality isn’t much improved, it definitely has a much better sound signature overall which makes them sound better across a wider range of music.

To keep this easy to read I’m going to separate the audio quality into five sections: Highs. Mids, Lows, Bass and then a summary of the remaining attributes.

NOTE: ALL TESTING WAS DONE THROUGH A DAC AND AMPLIFIER – YOUR EXPERIENCE MAY VARY MASSIVELY.

Highs

The highs are probably the strongest attribute of these earphones having crisp definition and not being piercing in the slightest to my ears, this is somewhat typical of my experience with Sennheiser ranging from the low end stuff to the high end professional kit.

Mids

The midrange of these earphones are about the only thing which is neither a pro nor a con, they are simply functional they balance very well with the rest of the bridging everything together very well.

Lows

The lows are probably the most disappointing of the bunch being very lacking and muddy in general, the bass helps bring out this side of the spectrum but it’s certainly noticeable to my ears.

Bass

The bass has a decent presence but lacks in definition and overall quality. If bass is your primary objective, I wouldn’t recommend buying these. However if you just want “good” bass to compliment the rest of your music then this is fine.

Summary

Being earphones these tend to lack out in the soundstage department, but really this is down to preference some people prefer the enclosed sounding of a narrow soundstage. With the strong highs and bass it really helps to bring out tracks in a decent light, the sort of music which I’d recommend these for the most is definitely Rock, as it benefits from highs and bass very well. Whereas anything very vocal dependant needs the midrange to help it shine. 

Microphone

I was unable to test the microphone across any of the devices I own.

Controls

The controls are something of a public service announcement, as you really shouldn’t buy these on the pretence that they will work on any smartphone as this is most certainly not the case. The experience I got with each device I tested varied massively, on the Y300 I was able to get sound and play/pause functionality. On the Galaxy S I was able to get sound, but with incredible reverb unless the play button was held, similar story on the Galaxy S2. From my desktop setup including DAC I was able to get sound but again only if the play button was held. Basically don’t assume these will work unless you have an iPhone.

Sound Leakage

The sound leakage is very minimal; you can only hear it on extreme volumes at normal listening levels there is little to no leakage and will not be heard unless someone is very close. This is pretty impressive as most earphones I’ve used other than full blown IEMs have had quite poor leakage being able to be heard at even modest volumes.

Looking at the earphones overall I think they sound great, just not when the cost is factored in. If these were around £45-£50 to buy then I would recommend them in a heartbeat.

With a very minimalist style I can’t see them being a fashion accessory like some other headphones or earphones but really in my opinion you shouldn’t be buying for looks but functionality and these earphones certainly win out in this respect being able to work very easily.

The audio quality let me down a little bit as when I got a hold of them I thought I’d be getting more for the money considering my previous experience with Sennheiser. However after sitting back and thinking about my experiences I’ve come to the conclusion that with the comprehensive line controls, superior build quality and comfort. You’re paying for things other than audio quality, when this is taken into consideration it really is better value than I previously thought.

On that note I genuinely think for the money there are much better alternatives which have better compatibility with other products as from my experience these headphones not only support Apple products, they do it exclusively which is where the problem lies.

The premium accessories offered are a big plus, the cable winder is genius in its simplicity the little bit of love given during the manufacturing of it really add a fair bit as the soft rubber really does make it feel that much better and for that I commend Sennheiser for their attention to detail.

A big pitfall is the lack of compatibility with Android as this isn’t a few years ago where the market share was solely in Apples ball park. There is some serious competition in the Android and Windows Phone market in today’s world and it seems like a massive oversight to make a product which doesn’t support both.

Overall I’m very mixed in my opinion of these as on the one hand of things the build quality is fantastic as is the accessories offered. On top of this the comfort offered is amazing as I don’t even feel the earphones when I’m wearing them.

Unfortunately the downsides of these headphones are based on the core functionality of them in the fact that they aren’t compatible with over half of the smartphones on the market potentially, and the fact that for the price the audio quality is a little bit underwhelming.

If the pricing of these earphones was closer to £45 I’d be very happy with my results but with the price of £60 it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. If these were merged with the more compatible MM70s for functionality then I’d definitely feel like my money would be well placed.

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

With decent quality and an overall impressive design the earphones would have been fantastic if everything just stopped there. Instead however there are many niggling issues such as the inconsistent compatibility, and the high price. Overall they’re good but be sure to look at what you’re buying them for as they may not work correctly.

3.5

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