The truth about Sennheiser wireless headphones (Review of Sennheiser RS 170)

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by aaksheytalwar, Jun 12, 2013.

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  1. aaksheytalwar

    aaksheytalwar Diamond Member

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    The truth about Sennheiser wireless headphones (Review of Sennheiser RS 170)
    Review of Sennheiser RS 170

    Wireless Audio Tech Perfected!

    Sennheiser RS 170 is a mid end wireless headphone set. It retails for Rs.16990 in India or $279 in USA. It comes with a transmitter Sennheiser TX 170 (the headphone is called Sennheiser HDR 170) which needs to be plugged in to play. It uses Kleer wireless transmission technology which indeed ensures that there is no hiss due to wireless. I can vouch for this.

    I will cut the fluff right here. And move straight to the point. I will compare these to my Audioengine A5 powered bookshelves and Monster Turbine (base) earphones.

    Setup:
    Audioengine A5 with DS2 stands through Asus Xonar DX sound card
    RS 170 through Asus Xonar DX sound card
    Monster Turbine earphones through FiiO E11 amp and ipad 3
    I know this isn't exactly Apples to Apples but this is how I regularly use them. So this is a more practical approach.
    The speakers and earphones are a couple of years old. So properly burned in. The headphones are brand new.
    Also, these are my first pair of headphones though I have owned several speakers and earphones in the past.

    Mids/Vocals
    RS 10
    MT 9.5
    AE 8.5
    The mids are the strength of these wireless headphones by Sennheiser. The mid range is awesome compared to my Audioengine A5 speakers. The vocals are crystal clear and ideal for low volume as well as high volume listening.

    Highs
    AE 10
    MT 9
    RS 8
    The highs are there. But they don't have the same impact as my audioengine speakers. Some people may find this laid back flavor to be more appetizing to their taste, especially those who listen to a lot of highs, but I don't because my music has few highs and I want them really sharp and to stand out. Perhaps these are even more neutral than my bookshelves, but I can't exactly talk about it. But the highs are definitely there, clear and crisp but laid back to some extent. Good but not ideal for my tastes. But for music with a lot of highs this will mean fatigue less listening for hours!

    Lows depth
    AE 10
    MT 9
    RS 8
    RS with bass boost 7
    Being bookshelves Audioengines have deep bass unlike these headphones. RS 170 is definitely not heavy on bass, but the bass is definitely there. It shouldn't make that much difference because the other plus points cover it up. Also, it may be tough for headphones to compare with other audio solutions. The bass is there, but definitely not prominent unless you turn on bass boost when it doesn't become prominent but still isn't tight nor deep. Bass is a let down for a basshead but not a deal breaker unless you are a bass head.

    Lows tightness
    MT 10
    AE 9.5
    RS 8
    RS with bass boost 7
    The bass isn't tight nor punchy but it does compliment the music without overpowering it. So if you want mid range focused music which has everything else laid back and balanced, then these are ideal for you. But don't expect thumping bass.

    Lows Quantity
    RS with bass boost 10
    AE 8.5
    MT 7.5
    RS 6
    With bass boost turned on the bass is there. The mid range is still clear. But the emphasis is on bass and mid range equally. However it isn't tight or thumping bass. But compared to other wireless headphones in the market I doubt there is much to complain. Even compared to other wired headphones under $200 few others will probably satisfy everybody. And bass from most bassy headphones will probably be bad as well, so these are much better in that respect.

    Clarity
    MT 10
    RS 9.5
    AE 8.5
    The clarity is very good. Something which sennheiser can boast of these being wireless. It is much better than my speakers in this regard.

    Clearness
    MT 10
    AE 9
    RS 8
    There is a certain clearness which the headphones just perform average at. Compared to my speakers and earphones the music just doesn't sound as clear but these are my first pair of headphones as I said earlier, and it terms of clarity they are awesome, especially for vocals and midrange.

    WOW factor
    AE 10
    MT 8.5
    RS 7.5
    Now this is something which speakers naturally do better at. However, I have read online that the RS 180 has a certain wow to music which the RS 170 lacks. Although I haven't heard the 180 I guess I still agree. There is a certain wow factor which is missing, it does become better with a few hours burn in, so who knows. They do a good job for headphones but lack a certain X factor in their texture and music. Maybe burn in might help. But I am not sure. Nevertheless, these are great headphones and AE have a wow factor only with high volume listening which isn't allowed at home. For low volume listening these compete or even beat my AE which is what I do most of the time. This is subjective though based on preferences and reference points. Some people like flat or natural music or even studio monitors while others like Bose


    RS170 ( HDR170 + TX170 )

    Without amp directly from iPad
    Pretty bad, don't like them one bit, but that was with zero burn in, now they might be a bit better.

    With E11 amp from iPad
    Pretty decent, worth it.

    With my sound card
    Great job, but not perfect due to above reasons, but definitely good.

    Virtual Surround Sound Feature
    There is an awesome surround sound feature which converts stereo to surround sound. I love it.

    Movies 11/10
    A perfect home theater experience IMO! Can't be better for the price I guess. Besides, this is virtual surround sound but certainly doesn't feel like it.

    Music 8.5/10
    Doesn't work that well with music but some songs do perform much better with it switched on. Certainly a nice addition to the package.

    Bass Boost Feature
    This is something I haven't experimented too much with but have been dissatisfied with whenever I tried. For one, the bass becomes overpowering which I don't like. Secondly, the bass is still not tight or thumping bass so that doesn't help in anyway. I usually keep this on. But reviews online rave about this feature and most bass heads are satisfied with it. Even the mid range stays clear though.

    Surround Sound
    I would like to emphasize that the surround sound literally feels like a home theater within your head. That is perhaps the best thing that has ever happened to headphones IMO!

    Overall features 9.75
    Overall performance 8.75
    Overall 9 because volume controls are awful, in fact unusable.

    Pros
    Good sound quality
    Comfortable
    Light
    Wireless
    Better priced that competition
    Has awesome surround sound
    Has bass boost
    Long battery life
    Pretty looking
    Upgradable with other Kleer headphones. The TX 170 transmitter can be used with other Sennheiser headphones which use Kleer wireless transmission which include HDR 160 and HDR 180. They still retain the Surround Sound and Bass Boost features, however the sound might be a bit different (slightly I guess) as compared to that with their native transmitters which are TX 160 and TX 180 respectively.
    Similarly, the HDR 170 headphones can be used with Sennheiser wireless transmitters TX160 or TX180 as well, but then they don't retain their surround or bass features.

    Cons
    Transmitter is too light, thus need two hands to use
    Both the transmitter and the headphones need to be switched on individually each time
    Awful controls
    Average bass and bass boost
     
  2. dumitrudan608

    dumitrudan608 Junior Member

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    Hi,

    Thank you for your review!

    Can you tell me if the RS Series Wireless Headsets from Sennheiser are compatible with Razer Surround? from their description they say that they send the actual uncompressed sound from your audio source, so in theory they should, but i'm looking for a confirmation before i buy.

    Kind regards,
    Daniel

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    Hi,

    Welcome to AnandTech Forums. I locked the thread because the previous reply was almost three years ago.

    Our members refer to such posts as "necro" posts, and some of them tend to post replies ranging from sarcastic to hostile, including possible accusations of spamming, whether warranted or not.

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    #2 dumitrudan608, Feb 24, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2016
  3. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Did you just copy & paste someone's Head-fi forum post from 2013?

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/667798/the...reless-headphones-review-of-sennheiser-rs-170

    ---

    The OP was posted on the same day as the same as post on head-fi.org at your link. Note that it was posted by techboy, who further identifies himself as "Aka: yourboss, Hatsoff, Akshay Talwar" who is the OP of this thread and a member in good standing. :)

    Harvey
    Senior AT Mod/Admin
     
    #3 Kaido, Feb 24, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2016
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