Sennheiser Headphone Bargain / ReviewJuly 1st, 2015 | Posted by in Reviews
I have always liked Sennheiser stuff, but lately really want Wireless, so a while back I tried the RS 180 wireless system, which is a 2.4 GHz system, not Bluetooth.
It was £200 from John Lewis, and had a broken ear cup so I decided to return it, and the search started to find something else as good or better. And then the whole buy stuff from Amazon’s euro stores kicked in, and I now have what I think it a bargain setup, and I have more kit at a cheaper price to boot.
So I decided to get the RS 170 set from Amazon which gives you a base unit and a set of closed back headphones. These did not sound as good as I recalled that the 180 unit did, but the great news is that the headsets and base stations are fully interchangeable, so all I needed to do was a buy a set of 180 headphones only, and I would be all set.
The RS 170 in the UK store is £156, and the HDR 180 headset is £130, so to get two headsets, one HDR 170 and one HDR 180 would have been £286. Using the Euro store trick mentioned above, I paid £179 and to be fair £17 of that was due to wanting it delivered quickly. If I could wait a few days, the total would be £162 for a superb setup, I have great wireless sound for Music (the 180s) and TV (the 170s).
These can either be set to play one set at a time, or both headsets can be driven at the same time (up to 4 sets actually)
All the headsets have an AAA battery in each ear cup, and Senn supply decent Eneloops in the box. First time out the best bet is to put ordinary batteries in the headsets so you don’t have to wait for 18 hours for first charge! I just love kit that uses these batteries because you can always find them anywhere, and you can charge then in a wall charger much quicker. The base station doubles up as a charger as well, although you need to remember not to use that if you have used normal batteries!!
It is worth mentioning that this type of wireless is completely different to both Bluetooth and indeed to the old FM wireless headphones that are still sold sadly. This uses 2.4 GHz so you will want to keep the base station a decent distance from your wireless router and maybe your Microwave oven! It is a digital not an FM signal, but of course you can not use it to answer your phone!
You have a couple of choices to get music (or TV, podcast, audio book etc) into the base station. It has a single 3.5mm jack and a power supply. It needs mains or at least it needs DC 5v to make it work at all, but its also only 0.5 amps so I bet a battery pack with correct lead will run this thing for use in the motorhome. Once powered up, you can feed it an amplified signal, or a direct from phone, tablet, laptop etc feed. There is an 8db attenuator on the back to use when it is being fed an amplified signal.
The sound really is very nice, and not just “nice for wireless”, to me using decent streaming and some FLAC files, it sounds about 90% as good as my Senn HD598s. Lovely with Jazz as all Senns tend to be, but happy with most types of music except heavy metal and hard rock.
The advantage Bluetooth has over this sort of wireless is the ability to answer calls of course, there is none of that with this, and you do need the aforementioned 5v power for this to work at all. All in all, I am so pleased with this setup that I have today returned the rather expensive Sony MDR1 ABT (£260) to Amazon, as they are not as comfortable as these Senns, and as I am only ever going to use them at home or in the motorhome, the advantages of Bluetooth are not that great to me here.
This type of wireless also has advantages, mainly distance, these work very well up to 80 mtrs, compared to most BT sets which are only about 10 mtrs, and can even then cut out more often than these. Buy these through Amazon, but remember to use the PriceSnoop add in for Chrome to get the very best price.
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