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Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones - Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones

By Stuart Andrews



  • Recommended by TR
Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones


Our Score:


User Score:

The closed-back design does a great job of shutting out the outside world, though a small amount of sound leaks out, and also ensures a decent bass response, which you can always beef up with the bass boost. I’ve heard more articulate and well-defined low-ends before, but the RS 170s handled poppy electronic tracks from Royskopp and small group jazz from The Bill Evans trio equally well, and there was no shortage of raunch when I switched to rockier material from Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam. The mid-range sounds ever so slightly boxed-in, but there’s plenty of detail there and in the high-end.

If you want a pair of headphones that can reveal intakes of breath and other subtle nuances in a vocal performance, then the RS 170s won’t let you down. And if the sound isn’t as open or revealing as you’d get from Sennheiser’s HD595s, it’s certainly more so than you might normally expect from closed-back headphones. Even a spot of Wagner’s Gotterdammerung, with layer upon layer of strings, brass and woodwind piled on, didn’t faze the pair.

The RS 170s’ home cinema focus gives a definite advantage when it comes to playing big action games or watching blockbuster movies. Turn the sound on the TV or amplifier up then adjust the volume on the headphones to your comfort level and you’ll get dynamic, punchy soundtracks with great definition and effective placement of effects across the stereo range. The opening bank heist from The Dark Knight gave the RS 170s plenty of room to demonstrate their chops, with the ballistic effects rattling out with real impact. It’s a great set for games, too. A few hours spent on the excellent Battlefield: Bad Company 2 proved that the RS 170s don’t struggle with crammed, chaotic soundscapes, and as bullets ricocheted, walls collapsed and gas tanks blew up all around me, the Sennheisers put me square in the centre of the action, with plentiful supplies of crash, bang and wallop.

There’s an awful lot to love about the RS 170s, and very little to dislike. In fact, my one complaint would be that the volume controls are hard to locate by touch alone, and that you have to remove the headphones to change it. This, I think, is pretty small beer, and when set against the excellent sound quality and wireless performance, not worth worrying about. Sure, the RS 170s are three times as expensive as some budget wireless headphones, but to my mind the premium price is just about worth it. Think of them as a long-term investment, giving you your music and movies as you like them, and the rest of your household a spot of peace.


Sennheiser’s RS 170 headphones offer a potent combination of practicality and audio quality while avoiding the traditional pitfalls of their peers. Whether you’re after some late-night home cinema or some music while you’re doing the chores, these are amongst the best wireless headphones around.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 8

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?


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! :-)


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.


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.


March 8, 2010, 4:54 pm


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.


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.


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.



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?



April 20, 2012, 7:10 pm

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


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...


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.


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


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??


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?

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