Excellent versatility, Responsive controls, Warm, smooth sound, Comfortable design, Strong noise attenuation
Overly laid-back midrange, Case doesn’t support wireless charging and isn’t especially pocketable, Simplistic eQ
The MTW2 is equipped for almost every situation the user could throw at them while retaining an insightful yet engaging sound.
Sennheiser requires little introduction, the German juggernaut has been a staple for consumers and professionals for decades. However, with that comes a certain duality, with separate design teams handling different genre of products. The MTW was lauded as the best sounding TWS earphone and even years later, it remains in high regard. Yet, it wasn’t without its share of issues and you’d see many critical user impressions littering the net. The MTW2 is Sennheiser’s response, modernising the original with ANC, improved ergonomics and a huge improvement to battery life. And yet, it is perhaps the factors beyond specification that make the MTW2 a true evolution over its predecessor. You can read more about the MTW2 here and treat yourself to one here.
I would like to thank Sophie and Lauren from Sennheiser very much for their quick communication and for making this review of the MTW2 happen! All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
Tech Specs –
Dimensions: 76.8 x 43.8 x 34.7 mm (earbuds and charging case)
Speaker type: Sennheiser 7mm dynamic driver
Frequency response: 5 – 21,000 Hz
Noise cancellation: Single-Mic ANC per earbud side
Bluetooth Version: BT5.1 with SBC, AAC & aptX™
Charging time: 1.5 h for full charge / 10 min for 1.5 h playtime
Battery time: Up to 7 hrs music playtime with earbuds Up to 28 hrs music playtime with charging case
THD: <0,08% (1kHz / 94dB)
Warranty: 2 years
Weight: Both earbuds and charging case: 70 g
The MTW2 is well-packaged much like its forebearer. The user receives the earphones and case within a protective foam inlet. Meanwhile, the silicone ear tips are contained within a plastic tray. There are 4 sizes to provide a more personalised fit, however, due to the short nozzle design, only select aftermarket tips like the Spinfit CP360 will fit the MTW2 similar to the original. In addition, Sennheiser provides a USB-C charging cable. It’s a functional setup, buyers may have benefited from the inclusion of more isolating foam ear tips especially given the introduction of ANC and focus on commuters and travellers.
The MTW2 follows the exact design language of its predecessor but subtly refined and scaled-down in size. The style of fit is also similar, with tapered rears that lock into the anti-helix of the outer ear to provide a stability. In turn, the MTW2 requires no stabiliser fins to achieve a solid fit which works to the benefit of comfort. The plastic housings feel solid yet light with a slightly grippier and more tactile texture. The same touch-sensitive metal faceplates make a return and the touch controls themselves are noticeably more responsive. They no longer requiring rhythmic taps but can be tapped at any speed which makes entering commands much faster and more reliable.
The pads also seem more sensitive and can be tapped with a palm when exercising and an accompanying tone that ascends with each tap which provides good feedback. The defining difference beyond the dimensions is the new ANC mic array on the front in addition to the axillary mic on the faceplates for ambient noise suppression during calls. The MTW2 has the same IPX4 water ingress rating as its predecessor meaning that it will be fine for workouts but cannot be submerged. A new white colour scheme has also been introduced.
It is with regards to ergonomics that the MTW2 provides a nice step up from its predecessor. The earphones are noticeably smaller in both height and length while retaining similar depth. As such, their fit isn’t especially low-profile and not ideal for sleeping with, though you won’t see too many inquisitive glances on the street either. By reducing the dimensions, the MTW2 will achieve a more comfortable fit with a wider range of ears. As they have a well-angled tapered nozzle, seal is very strong. The smaller design here, I also find to offer a slightly deeper fit and greater passive noise isolation than its predecessor while remaining just as stable in the ear.
This works in tandem with the reinforced ear tips provided that retain their shape with a deep fit. Neither MTW earphones form hotspots for me, though those who had issues with the rears of the original wearing on their outer ear will likely no longer experience this issue with the shorter MTW2, they do feel appreciably smaller in the ear. And, unlike other smaller TWS earphones like the TEVI, fit stability remains excellent and I was able to run and workout without any readjustment. Passive noise isolation is very good, which can then be further bolstered by ANC.
ANC Performance –
The MTW2 introduces ANC where the original relied on passive isolation alone. I find the MTW2 to isolate a bit more than the originals and with ANC on top, it makes for a noticeably better earphone for commute and air travel. I’ve given the MTW2 a dedicated ANC segment as impressions on the feature appear divisive. In my experience, it works okay but isn’t nearly as potent as either the WF-1000XM3 or Airpods Pro. The upsides is that there is zero ANC “pressure” and sound quality is barely affected, both of which are very noticeable with its main competitors. I did notice that bass is a touch less defined and the soundstage isn’t as wide, but compared to the effect on the Sony’s, degradation is barely noticeable. They are also less prone to artefacts with sudden noises such as doors closing on a bus where I noticed the Sony’s to pop, and they don’t struggle with wind noise either.
The MTW2 also block substantially more noise than both earphones passively so I would say the overall performance is about on par, which is to say, very good. For example, the Sony’s block 50% of sound with ANC off, and when ANC is turned on, it blocks another 40% for a total 90% attenuation of ambient noise. The MTW2 would be closer to 70% passive isolation with another 20% provided by ANC for similar overall results. You may or may not prefer this, it means you will still feel quite isolated with ANC off for those wanting more awareness (though the aware-mode works well) and a solid fit is imperative; I found the ANC to work better with a deeper fit which is luckily aided by the smaller housings. The ANC works very effectively on low frequencies. On a recent run along the highway, it lowered the roaring traffic noise to a mild midrange white noise. That said, voices are only slightly muffled and high frequencies are essentially untouched, relying on passive isolation.
Overall, they go toe to toe with class leaders in terms of overall noise attenuation but go about it in different ways that optimise comfort and sound quality. Still, seeing as Sennheiser has an accompanying app, it would have been good to let the user decide the intensity of ANC comfortable for them. Which brings me to aware mode which is one of the better implementations I’ve heard. In fact, the microphones are noticeably more sensitive than the originals and the sensation is more convincing and natural when active. That said, they do clip slightly with high-frequency noises such as the jingling of keys, something the original was less prone to. The Airpods do it slightly better, but the MTW2 performs similarly to the Sony’s. They also don’t suffer from uneven channnel balance like the original that would occasionally be clearer through the right earbud than the left. The MTW2 simply works and it works well.
Improved Case –
Though very similar, the new case is slightly smaller in all dimensions but of similar weight. It retains a similar premium design with linen exterior and the black colourway now comes in a darker colour that better resists stains. The interfaces are the same with a Type-C charging port on the rear accompanied by a status LED that denotes charge status and remaining power. Some complained of the hinge on the original case, and luckily that has been addressed here, the new hinge is wider and no longer wobbles as before. Furthermore, the spring mechanism is firmer so the lid feels much more solid overall. What’s still missing is wireless charging, however, the case does provide 4 additional charges up from just 2 on the original. I was content with the convenience of a magnetic charging cable.
With the extended battery life of the earpieces themselves, this amounts to 35hrs of total playtime as opposed to 12hrs, a substantial improvement. The original MTW was plagued with a critical issue; the case trickle charged the earbuds and would discharge itself passively over time. Furthermore, the earbuds would power back on if the case ran out of battery. This means if not in use for a few days, both the earbuds and case would be completely drained. The MTW2 luckily doesn’t have this issue. Upon placement in the case, they go into deep sleep and will remain off until removed from the case, even if the case itself is discharged. The case also doesn’t trickle charge but intelligently stops when the earbuds are charged, perfect.
Improved Battery Life –
The improved battery life is also a headline feature of the MTW2, rated at up to 7hrs of playback time as opposed to 4hrs on the original. I am very familiar with the original model; runtimes were closer to 3.5hrs at low-medium volumes connected over Apt-X where the MTW2 reliably hits that 7hr figure. With ANC activated, it doesn’t take a huge hit as I was still able to reliably hit 6hrs of listening time with it active and again connected over Apt-X at low-medium volume. The case provides 4 additional charges and remaining charge of the earpieces is displayed by the source. This sits very near the top of ANC TWS earphones in the current generation bested only, to my knowledge, by the M&D MW07 Plus.
Upgraded Connectivity –
The pairing process has also been simplified but we do make some trade-offs in the process. The original MTW, for instance, supported Apt-X low latency, which its predecessor lacks. Conversely, many sources don’t support this codec, so most won’t miss it and latency over Apt-X to my Google Pixel 4 was low enough that lip sync wasn’t an issue when viewing video content. That said, the pairing process was awful on the original. It had to be paired through the Smart Connect app, otherwise, it would reject the device attempting connection. It would frequently require a reset when connected with new device and was simply overly convoluted.
The MTW2 pairs like any other TWS earphone. Hold the touch panels for 3s and the status LEDs flash red and blue, then simply pair through the settings menu. The earphones will then be recognized by the Sennheiser app where the user is able to modify the eQ, controls and update the firmware. Of note, updating the firmware takes a very long time, up to 50 minutes, however, the earbuds can be used during the process. Reconnection isn’t as lightning quick as the original MTW but only takes a few seconds, hardly an inconvenience. Once connected, they were stable and reliable with no dropouts or interference even during use in the crowded CBD. Range is improved over the originals, stretching almost 3 room with double brick walls before the sound became intermittent and this will be vastly higher with a line of sight connection.
The connection strength between the two earpieces has been improved for those who had issue with the original there – I did not. What will also be of interest to some users is the ability to pair each earpiece independently. This isn’t listed in the specs but can easily be done. Since both earpieces now feature a full sensor and mic array, this can be used to effectively double the run time available for calls per se or simply for convenience and awareness.
Call Quality –
With a more comprehensive mic array and slightly more sensitive microphones, the MTW2 is noticeably better than its predecessor for calls. The extra pair of mics also means that the MTW2 can pass-through external noise during calls, allowing the speaker to hear their own voice and maintain awareness of their surroundings. For me personally, this resulted in a more natural experience, and it’s notable that few earphones provide this feature at present. Recipients also noted that my voice sounded clear and immediate. Background noise suppression is better than the original and quiet sounds are better resolved. I was easily discernible whether calling from public transport or indoors. The Airpods Pro still provided slightly clearer call quality in loud environments as did the Huawei Freebuds 3, however, the MTW2 will work well for those wanting a bud for music and to use as a headset, especially with considerably longer battery life.
Smart Connect App –
Once paired, the Sennheiser Smart Connect app will automatically recognise the model of the earphone and provides a GUI to adjust settings. It is also available on both Android and IOS, so you get full feature support no matter what smart device you’re using. Within the app you’re able to customize the touch gestures, however, you cannot alter the call controls. The app also permits the user to activate and deactivate features of the earphone such as sidetone, ANC and aware mode in addition to auto-pause when they are removed from the ear. One setting that I am especially glad to see is the ability to modify feedback audio with choice of no audio cues, tones and tones and voice. The eQ is the weakest aspect of the experience, it is very basic and non-specific. The user has a sliding dot that very broadly affects bass, mids and highs but lacks fine control to achieve desirable results. I was content with the eQ set two notches down and one to the right as pictured above. Profiles can be saved and quickly swapped between for different use cases. eQ settings did not stick between devices in my testing.
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