Hello again re. the Sennheiser RS 220 wireless headphones.
First some relatively minor dissatisfactions, then continued goodness:
I'm actually kind of coming to despise my RS 220 headphones ever so slightly because of fit and comfort issues. The headband has two rectangular pads of foam covered by a leather-like plastic. I can't get the headband to rest anywhere other than almost entirely on the leading edge of the pads (there's a slight gap between my head and the rear of the pads.) I'm a pretty typical 6' 210 lb. male, for what it's worth.
The length of the headphones adjusts in approximate 3/16" or 4.75 mm increments on each side. It's hard for me to find a length that is not too short or too long.
The ear cups are basically oval on the inside opening, and just big enough to fit over my ears.
It can be finicky to get the headphones settled in just the right position to keep the earcups comfortable around my ears. I usually feel like they are trying to be too long or too short, or with the top of the headband angled too far forward or back to avoid having the earcups come to rest on the edges of my ears, which seems less comfortable to me.
I'm sticking with my initial mild dislike of the velour-ish material. It doesn't seem to get too hot or sweaty, but is a little rough feeling on my earlobes. I prefer the plush, cushy, buttery-soft leather feel of my Sony wireless headphones.
I guess it seems as though there's just one sweet position for the headphones which feels good. They still feel a little too snug, but I assume that's to get a good acoustic seal. If the earpieces swiveled slightly I think they would fit better - they are tight on the front edges, and loose on the rear lower corners and bottom of the back edge.
The battery compartment covers definitely feel easily-breakable, but I actually think they might be robust enough for daily use. The little recessed tabs used to open them have a trick: pulling back with the ball of the thumb will open them, and then pressing them simultaneously down and forward will close them.
Getting the headphones off and on the transceiver base is awkward. They don't just drop on and off easily from the top or front, they have to come off and go on the back side of the base, and I end up kind of rockering the base from side to side as I left or place the headphones to get the electrical contacts, which are on little spring-mounted ears, disengaged and engaged from the headphones.
In the end, these things look really bitchin', but are kind of a bitch to use in real life. I'd happily settle for a more pedestrian appearance with better usability and comfort factors.
I did end up with a long analog RCA cable set from Monoprice (the best they offer, and yeah, I know, there're not insanely expensive audiophile-grade cables, but I don't even know what the DAC is in these things and I'm already doing the whole AirPlay thing with multiple D-A conversions, so whatever) running from my Pioneer VSX-1121-K AirPlay receiver to my listening position. This is in order the have the transceiver base close by so I can reach over and turn it on when I want to listen to music without having to get up and go over to the other end of the room. I may be lazy, but this wouldn't be a problem if they linked the on button on the headphones with the on button on the base. This way they're always charged up, too. But, I do *not* like the long cord running along the wall!
I have tried to run an analog signal from my MacBook Air to the RS 220. The experience seems very similar to running via AirPlay to the Pioneer receiver to the RS 220. Also, the Pioneer run in Direct or Pure Direct mode (which should bypass any onboard sound processing) with analog cables running to the RS 220 sounds very similar to using an optical digital cable from the Pioneer to the RS 220, which I thinks explicitly bypasses any onboard sound processing. Again, I don't have a digital output from my laptop, and don't have a USB DAC to test with.
Oh, yeah, and no continuing problems with hums or hissing or anything per previous postings. Just two or three times I might have noticed something briefly anomalous, but it never lasted, and I can't even think what they were now. The headphones are normally entirely silent apart from the music, unless: I pause the playback, and turn the volume on the headphones themselves up all the way, at which time there is a slightly noticeable hiss. This does not happen if the transceiver base is turned off and only the headphones are turned on. It also does not happen if I pause playback and turn up the receiver volume all the way, for whatever that's worth.
I usually run the volume rocker on the headphones in the midpoint of the range, or slightly below, and mostly adjust the volume with my receiver's remote control, and then sometimes fine-tune per song with the headphone volume controls as it can be more convenient (but still a little awkward to reach, as is apparently a major issue with the RS 180, and why I waited to buy the RS 220.)
With respect to the controls on the headphones themselves, there volume up and down switches that are sort of U shaped, plus a short rocker bar for the balance on the right side. The down volume control is pretty easy to hit with my right thumb, and the up volume control is slightly harder to use, but beeps usefully when it hits the maximum level. There is a similar set of controls on the left earpiece The rearmost control switches among the inputs to the transceiver base, the middle bar controls on and off when held for a short period, and the other control appears not to do anything. I would prefer an easier-to-use design overall, but it's not really terrible or anything.
By the way, the headphones themselves are HDR 220, and the base unit is TR 220. Together they make up the "RS 220 digital RF headphone system."
Normally no trouble with dropouts or crackling or anything either, unless I go downstairs in my house where there are a couple of problematic spots where a really massive fireplace and chimney with inbuilt iron piping and a furnace on the back side (in-between me with the headphones downstairs and the RS 220 transceiver upstairs) cause some trouble.
Even with these niggling asides, I still *really* dig the whole wireless-freedom-with-good-quality-sound thing, even if it just means not having a cable banging around my shoulder and arm and dragging one side of my head down while I'm sitting down. Happy wireless listening with the digital world at my fingertips.
I'm still satisfied with either MP3ish resolution from MOG or uncompressed 24/96 PCM files. I assume that the fact that I don't hear a large difference means that my equipment won't allow me to hear it. I supposedly have uncommonly acute hearing - the Navy wanted me to be a submarine sonar technician. But, I'm pushing 50, so maybe I've lost some hearing in the last however many years since my last hearing test in graduate school in ~1997 when they told me I "have the hearing of a deer in the woods." It's probably a draw at this point. I can hear a huge difference in-between older original recordings (say late 70s-late 90s) and more recent remasters, but it's hard to say because the mix is usually so obviously different.
Overall, although still being unable to compare them to high-end wired headphones with good separates, the sound still sounds damn good to me! I have listened to a lot more music since I last posted here, and I really don't have any complaints. Good treble, midrange and base in a variety of musical genres. No obvious departures in volume at any frequency. Nothing overbearing or obviously lacking. As far as I can tell with my untrained ears, good detail, soundstage, separation, etc. No clicks, pops, hisses, skips, wow, flutter, warped records (45 and 33 1/3,) snarled tapes (reel-to-reel, 8-Track and cassette) or scratched and broken CDs and DVDs, and NO DAMN WIRES! technology good. me happy.
I continue to hear a lot of stuff in familiar recordings I have never noticed before, and find this aspect to be really enjoyable. I spent part of a day and a night just grooving on the really sophisticated subtle little things thrown in (actually, undoubtedly placed with excruciating care) on Steely Dan recordings that I'd never heard at all before. For sure, I have never felt like I am listening to some kind of canned music coming from some kind of cans. The sound field seems to extend from inside the middle of my head to well out beyond my physical space.
One final note; I find it strange that there is apparently such a dearth of information about this product. I haven't found any teardowns, seriously in-depth reviews or comparisons, or commentary on the broadcast benefits and limitations (sampling rate, bit depth, 16/44 vs. 24/96+, etc.) Perhaps the serious audiophile types are pre-convinced that there's no way to get good sound from a wireless device and so haven't bothered to evaluate this one?