A Quick Review of the Sennheiser RS160, RS 170, and RS 180.

Sennheiser RS 170 provides untethered excellence.

Sennheiser RS 170 provides untethered excellence.

Sennheiser’s new wireless headphones using the KLEER digital RF link just came in last week, and I thought it would be worth making a quick post.

Why? :dunno

Because they are AWESOME! :wings

The Achilles Heel of wireless headphones has been … well, the lack of a wire. Various transmission methods have been used over the years, but none have really delivered top notch range and clarity. Infra-red systems can’t transmit beyond line of site, FM modulated 900mHz systems always exhibited some sort of noise interference, and RF digital systems would either suffer from terrible noise when dropping bits or would mute too often as it lost lock.
KLEER module basic internal architecture.

KLEER module basic internal architecture.

The new Sennheiser wireless headphones use KLEER radio modules to transmit and receive 16/44 (CD resolution) digital audio. These modules are extremely low-power consumption but extraordinarily high-performance parts that provide all the trickery needed to establish noiseless and very interference-tolerant wireless audio links. KLEER links are also very low latency (so dialog when used with TV and movies is synchronous with lip movement), have excellent range, allow multiple listeners, and are interoperable with other KLEER based products.

Frequency response curves of the RS 160, RS 170, and RS 180.

Frequency response curves of the RS 160, RS 170, and RS 180.

But a great transmission link is only as good as the headphones, and this is exactly where these new Sennheiser wireless cans shine: They sound absolutely terrific. :thumb

As you can see from the frequency response curves these headphones are all similar sounding and progressively snuggle up to flat as you move up the line. The RS 160 and RS 170 are sealed cans and are neutral and clear; the RS 180 is an open headphone and sounds more natural and airy as a result. All three of these headphones perform better in strictly audio terms than the Sony MDR-DS6000 — though the Sony does have a much richer set of Dolby surround decoding, which might make for a closer call when watching movies.

The features break down like this:

Sennheiser RS 160

    Simple and sweet, the Sennheiser RS 160 will give you wireless audio, clear and clean.

    Simple and sweet, the Sennheiser RS 160 will give you wireless audio, clear and clean.

  • Simplest controls; on/off and variable input level control on base station; on/off and volume on headphone.
  • Shorter range than the other two at about 60 feet.
  • Base station may be battery powered for mobile applications.
  • Headphone charges with a plug from power supply.
Sennheiser RS 170

    A really great headphone for the late-night, hard-core movie fan.

    A really great headphone for the late-night, hard-core movie fan.

  • Has on/off, bass boost, and surround simulation (not Dolby) controls on both base station and headphone.
  • Has fairly long range; Sennheiser claims over 200 feet with no walls; practically speaking it will cover most of an average home.
  • Has input two position attenuator switch on base station (to prevent clipping with hot input signals and provide better signal-to-noise ratio).
  • Headphone charges when hung on stand.
Sennheiser RS 180

    These open headphones will deliver high-end quality sound --- yes, really.

    These open headphones will deliver high-end quality sound --- yes, really.

  • Has on/off, and auto leveling controls on both base station and headphone. Auto leveling control tries to keep audio at the same volume throughout program to improve speech intelegibility and make commercials less annoying.
  • Has left-right balance control on headphones.
  • Has fairly long range; Sennheiser claims over 200 feet with no walls, practically speaking it will cover most of an average home.
  • Has input two position attenuator switch on base station (to prevent clipping with hot input signals and provide better signal-to-noise ratio).
  • Headphone charges when hung on stand.

Come visit our web site for a great price on the Sennheiser RS 160, RS 170, and RS 180.

4 Responses to A Quick Review of the Sennheiser RS160, RS 170, and RS 180.

  1. ifsixwasnine December 22, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    When do you expect the RS 180 to be available in your store?

    • Tyll December 28, 2009 at 10:22 am #

      Sorry, I’m not sure. Kinda not my department anymore, I’m just evaluating and reviewing samples and product as they come in. Feel free to call Jorge at 1-800-828-8184 or email sales@headphone.com and he can give you an answer. Sorry.

  2. guest August 19, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    and the RS170 is a closed headphone, so you won’t annoy people around you when you’re listening to music.

  3. Alidalagrange October 24, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    Are these headphones designed for use with iPhone and iPad too?

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