Home / TVs & Audio / Headphones / Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones

Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones review

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 5

Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones
  • Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones
  • Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones
  • Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones
  • Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones
  • RS 170 Wireless Headphones (Around-the-Ear)

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Lossless wireless tech
  • Good build quality
  • Strong bass response

Cons

  • Boxy mid-range
  • Wireless comes with price premium

Key Features

  • 2.4GHz digital wireless signal transfer
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Circumaural cup design
  • 80m claimed range
  • Manufacturer: Sennheiser
  • Review Price: £137.99

There may be years of your life where there’s no need for a set of full-sized wireless headphones, but there are other times when a good pair is the wisest investment in audio that you could make. Sure, a full 5.1 or 7.1 surround speaker system is the ideal for home cinema, but if you live in a flat or a mid-terrace house, running it at full-bore isn’t always practical. Similarly, it’s hard to beat a proper, full-scale Hi-Fi setup, but what do you do when you want to listen late at night and the rest of the family is trying to get some sleep? A set of corded headphones is fine, but do you really want to deal with 3m of cable trailing between the TV set or amplifier and the living room sofa?

It’s no coincidence that several people I know who have become dads in the last few years now swear by their wireless cans. It’s the only way they get to watch the movies they want to watch at the volumes they like to watch them without waking up the kids (or getting an earful from their worn-out other halves).

Sennheiser is a big name in this market with its RS series, to which the RS 170 we’re looking at today is a recent addition. In fact, it’s one of three models Sennheiser launched at the tail end of last year, the others being the mid-range, closed-back RS160 and the high-end, open-backed RS180. There’s some good reason to get excited about these new models. While the previous headphones in the RS range – the RS120, RS120 and RS140 - transmitted sound over an FM radio connection, the new headphones use a version of Kleer’s 2.4GHz digital wireless technology, as also found in Sleek Audio’s excellent W1 Wireless IEM adaptor.

Why is this good news? Well, FM stereo – as still used in most full-sized wireless headphones – needs tuning before it works, is prone to background hiss and interference, and compresses the sound in the same way that commercial FM radio signals do. Even if you’re listening to a CD, the effects of the transmission technology mean that you’re not really listening to CD quality audio.

Martin Daler

March 6, 2010, 2:36 pm

is there any impact on all the other stuff operating on 2.4GHz? Does your wifi streaming take a hit, does the DECT phone suffer, will you be swamping the neighbours' available wifi spectrum?

Mo

March 6, 2010, 4:24 pm

I first moved over to wireless headphones 5 years ago, when the first FM ones came out, well, they were available for sale. And every years since, I've been upgrading to one better, range improved, comfort improved, signal quality etc. I've been through Sony, Sennheiser and Philips. The senns have always been the best! Upgrading from the RS140 (FM) to the RS170 is the biggest change of them all, new wireless tech that's just incredibly clear! At first I thought the buttons would be a hassle to get used to compare to the older models, theres no switches and all 5 buttons are on one side closely packed together, but once you're used to it you'll be fine, the middle button with the symbol extruded is the 'on/off' button and the bigger one next to it means volume up, smaller one means volume down. Otherwise, its the best one so far! Waiting to see what comes out next year! :-)

smc8788

March 6, 2010, 6:07 pm

Hi Stu, a quick question for you: I know you briefly compared these to the HD595's, but I was wondering if these would be a suitable replacement. I have a pair of those for listening to music (mostly rock), but also a closed back pair which I use for gaming (though they aren't very comfortable). It's a bit of a hassle switching between them, and I find neither particularly suited to movies, so I've been looking for a pair of wireless headphones (preferably closed-back) which could replace the both of them. Would you say the RS 170's are a good choice, or are there other options out there worth looking at? I particularly like the sound of the wireless technology these use.

DevGuy

March 6, 2010, 10:01 pm

Haha, this review is literally a day too late for me. After relentlessly searching for a decent review, I eventually just decided to order these (yesterday!) and hope for the best. Judging by your review, it was probably a decent choice.

StuAndrews

March 8, 2010, 4:54 pm

@Martin


I haven't noticed any effects on my DECT line or with my 2.4GHz wireless mouse, so it doesn't seem to be a problem so far.





@smc8788


Tricky. I would say that audio quality (especially for music) isn't quite up there with teh HD595s, though the RS170s have a more powerful low-end. If you want something primarily for gaming and movies with the odd bit of music, though, then the RS170s are brilliant. I've been playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and watching Watchmen with them over the weekend, and I've found them perfect for the job.

max789

June 24, 2010, 9:04 am

Hi Stu





I wonder if the RS 170's transmitter will turn itself off automatically if no sound signal is being transmitted. I'm looking for a closed back, wireless headphone set with a transmitter which stays on all the time.





Thanks!

pandacake2

June 17, 2011, 3:08 pm

I already have one set of these headphones (RS 170) and the great!

I want to buy a second set (base and headphones) for use near by to my current set, does anybody know if there would be any interference between the two?

Thanks!

kela

April 20, 2012, 7:10 pm

alguien ha comprado Sennheiser RS 170 Auriculares inalámbricos
quetal estan
cual son las desventajas de este articulo

Ole

February 4, 2013, 9:53 am

A big minus is, there is no spdif digital input... on a digital headphone !
I mean in these days where all is digital... i really don't understand...

justin

December 12, 2013, 4:18 pm

does the RS 170 have an input jack on the headphones itself so you can listen on your phone while in public.

Evan

December 13, 2013, 1:32 pm

We don't think so unfortunately this review is a bit old and we don't have the review sample any more

GQ

January 18, 2014, 7:24 pm

BRILLIANT! wear them all the time, to hear what I want, and shut out the world. Give them quite a while to bed in, and your mind to get used to great sound that appears to be happening around your skull, when in surround mode. It's like having a hi fi strapped to my head, without the inconvenience of weight. It's strange when I go to the bathroom upstairs, and I'm still hearing Family Guy!!!My ideal system is RS170 connected to MarantzM-cr music streamer!!!

Heidi J. Nelson

January 20, 2014, 1:42 pm

I just bought a pair of 170's, but they don't work. I don't have a headphone jack on my Panasonic Viera plasma tv, so I used the RCA jacks. Nothing!! I am supposed to hook up to the audio out, but all jacks seem to be "in". I have hooked the cables to every red/white combo on the tv, but nothing. What am I doing wrong??

Jack

October 6, 2014, 5:11 am

It is your tv, not the headphones. A tv should have either a digital audio jack or a 3.5mm at least if not have an audio out RCA jacks. Nothing you can do or anything else can to. I recommend buying a new tv.

Marlin G Costello

December 15, 2014, 2:25 pm

How is this for deaf people?

comments powered by Disqus