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Sennheiser RS220 Availability? - Page 15

post #211 of 457

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?

 

So long,

 

Hal

 

 

post #212 of 457
Thanks very much, Hal, for your in-depth review. It's certainly encouraging to hear how well the RS220 is working for you, some fit and convenience issues aside.
post #213 of 457

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by wessew10 View Post
 

Maped or others: I am considering these phones for purchase.  Any thoughts about their use for movies vs. music?  In particular, I am interested in the fact that they do not "attempt" to present a surround sound image.  How do they translate a 5.1 soundfield down to two channels?  Do you feel you lose anything in the process?

 

 

 

I love these cans, watch movies constantly, recently watched Dark Knight and the sound was nothing short of phenomenal. I love the look, fit, feel, SOUND, but... Mine continue to experience drops, micro drops but drops indeed. i can see the base light blinking as it looks for the headset. This is driving me crazy, this should not be happening at a 600 dollar price point! I am seriously considering sending them back


Edited by Ricanbandit - 2/15/12 at 4:54am
post #214 of 457

sorry double post

 


Edited by Ricanbandit - 2/15/12 at 6:01am
post #215 of 457
Quote:
Originally Posted by maped View Post

I also got my RS220's last week ( thanks again for the lookat.co.uk tip mcnoiserdc, you saved me more than 100€) and have probably about 100 hours listening time

First of all, the sound is awesome. Granted, my previous experience is mostly from the previous Sennheiser wireless flagship RS180 (several thousands of hours), Superlux 662f (couple of hundred hours) and several under 50€ iems, but I still think this is something quite special. Also the fit is, at least for me, pretty much perfect. Same goes for the physical build quality.

However there are some chinks in its armor, or at least things RS180 did and better. First of all, battery life is considerably worse with the RS220, I probably get around 8 solid hours of listening from them, whereas the RS180's would go on for 18-20 straight hours with similar 1000mAh batteries. This isn't such a big deal, it takes 15 seconds to swap new batteries, and at least the battery compartments are more easily accessable and durable than the RS180.

Another thing where RS180 takes the cake, is range. With RS180 there are only two places in my apartment where the connection would break; a metal-lined walk-in freezer and tiled shower corner, both with three insulated walls and 5 meter distance between transmitter and phones. RS220, however, starts dropping sound when there's just two walls between the transmitter and phones. I don't know what the difference in range is in free air outside, and since it's -30C outside, I'm not willing to go and test. I also prefer the way RS180 just drops the signal and resumes when it's back in range, the choppy cutting 220 does can be a bit annoying when you're hovering on the edge of the range. Again, not such a big deal, but just something I noticed. 

Third thing is the humming/whining noise otinkyad noticed, I can also hear it, and at first it was so noticeable that I even considered returning the phones, but either I've grown accustomed to it or it has subsided quite significantly. I'm pretty sure this is something that comes with the technology, since a similar noise is present in the two pairs of RS180's I own, and I've tested them in environments with no wireless signals or other disturbances, and I even tested the RS220 with battery power to see if it is the noise from the switching psu it comes with, but the noise is still there to be heard the moment the dock connects to the phones. At first this seemed like a dealbreaker to me, but as I said it seems to have subsided and is now at the same level as it is on the RS180, meaning it must be completely silent (basically at night), nothing playing on the phones, and I have to cup the headphones with my hands and really concentrate to be able to hear it. Now I should also state that my hearing has been measured to be fully intact and I'm 25 years old and I'm really sensitive to noise (can't have analog clocks in my bedroom because of the ticking etc.) and I have to really strain myself to hear it, so I don't think this is really a big problem, but I am still interested in hearing if otinkyad gets some info on this or another pair of earphones to test.

Okay, after these ramblings I can only say that despite their weaknesses I absolutely love the RS220's and have hardly used other headphones since getting them, especially listening to music is just so much more enjoyable than with the 180's, that I've stayed awake through couple of nights just wading through Spotify listening to my favorite tunes and even some totally new genres of music just to see how they sound with these. So I'm a very happy camper right now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maped View Post



Okay, in that case it might well be that there was something wrong with your first pair, or maybe there are big differences between different sets of headphones. After all I only have experience from two sets of RS180 and one RS220. I actually didn't notice the whine in the first year of owning the 180's, even though I'm pretty sure it was there all along, and the second pair I got definately had it from the beginning. I really was thinking about returning the 220's because of the whine, but decided against it after comparing them with the 180's, and since there really is no guarantee the next pair won't have the same problem. But depending on your experience I might have to talk to Sennheisers nordic rep about this, however at the moment they didn't even know the 220 was out, so it might take a while. But please keep us posted, I'm very interested to hear what happens.


=> wessew10
First of all, keep in mind that unlike probably most here I can't give comparisons to any high-end phones, just the RS180, so take my opinions with a healthy pinch of salt.

The most important difference to 180 is the soundstage, and that really helps immensely with both movies and music. Listening to 180's, it feels like the sound comes from straight ahead where as 220's spread the sound all around you and make it easier to immerse in to it. In my experience this really helps with both music and movies and creates surround sound -like feel without the artificial feeling Dolby headphone and actual surround headphones give to me.

Great thing about 180's is how easy it is hear and understand lines in movies and tv, I watch pretty much everything in english without subtitles so this was a very important aspect with 220's too and they don't disappoint. There is, however, a difference in how this is achieved: 180's do it by bringing the talking to the foreground and stifling lower and higher sounds, but 220's layer the sound so that it is easy to focus on the lines or lyrics when you want to, but it's also easy to focus on other aspects of the sound. 220's also have better extension in both lows and highs and overall more balanced sound that is easier to listen. Some of my favorite music is from bands like Gossip or White Stripes where the sound is already quite midcentric with just drums, quitar/bass and vocals. With this music the 180's get tiring pretty quickly but thanks to their wider soundstage and better balance 220's are joyous to listen even for longer times.

Again, sorry about the wall of text. I tend to ramble on a bit at the best of times and it's especially challenging trying to find the right words to describe what I'm hearing. Hopefully it's of some help to someone. I would also really like to hear some other impressions on how the 220's sound compared to high end wired headphones, even though I think it'll be pretty hard to convince me to get something to replace these.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maped View Post

The headband is indeed covered with pleather has a really nice feel to it with Sennheiser embossed on the top, but it can sometimes be a bit slidey compared to the velour on 180. Other than that, the comfort is excellent and build quality is considerably better than on the 180's.

I actually moved the transmitter to a new place in the same room and it seems to have made the range a bit better, but it still can't quite match the range  of the 180's. I also tested if disabling my wifi and 3g-connection has any effect on the range, but didn't notice any difference. I can see two other wifi's in my apartment, but I don't think they have any effect either, considering I don't get the microdrops others have reported. So at least in that aspect the RS220's wireless system seems to be as good as the Kleer.

Yikes this thread has exploded since I last tuned in...
Maped thanks so much for all the detailed info, about differences between 180 & 220, this is exactly what I needed!
I've been loving my RS180's, but was really keen to know all the exact differences.

So, if you had to chose between the two, which would it be?
Or would you rather not do that, as each has good qualities that make them great for different uses?
You've kinda already answered all that I know.... redface.gif

On balance, it's seems like it's not quite an amazing enough improvement, to warrant an upgrade at current prices.
I think it might be best to hold-off till Xmas or New year, buying then but also keeping my RS180's.
Maybe by then the whining issue won't be as common or bad either.
Edited by jalyst - 2/15/12 at 8:57am
post #216 of 457
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricanbandit View Post

Mine continue to experience drops, micro drops but drops indeed. i can see the base light blinking as it looks for the headset. This is driving me crazy, this should not be happening at a 600 dollar price point! I am seriously considering sending them back

That's really frustrating - doubly so because it seems the only way to know whether or not a given set is going to experience the problem is to cough up the cash and take a chance. It's hard to get excited about a purchase under circumstances like these. I can say I won't be buying from lookat.com, since I want to make sure returning them is going to be hassle free. (Although, lookat.com's price has gone up substantially anyway. Once overseas shipping is factored in, there's barely any savings to be had there anyway at this point.)
post #217 of 457
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiacomoHoldini View Post


That's really frustrating - doubly so because it seems the only way to know whether or not a given set is going to experience the problem is to cough up the cash and take a chance. It's hard to get excited about a purchase under circumstances like these. I can say I won't be buying from lookat.com, since I want to make sure returning them is going to be hassle free. (Although, lookat.com's price has gone up substantially anyway. Once overseas shipping is factored in, there's barely any savings to be had there anyway at this point.)


Very, I called the vendor I purchased it from Not shure if I am allowed, but they are here in the States (Sound Earphone dot com) they told me that they are out of stock, but that once they came in early March  they would replace the unit based on my experience with it. Excellent customer service from these guys.

 

I really hope this is an anomaly of the current cans, as I LOVE the way the sound. Just wish the micro drops weren't there. At this price point these are unacceptable for me. Right now I am just using my trusty Shure SE535's. Have a cable attached of course, but when these are connected to my Headroom Total Bit Head  the sound amazing, but the damn cable issue. Arggggh. I had such high expectations for these cans. Hope the new ones work out better. Rant off... :)

post #218 of 457

A delete post command is needed. :)

 

But since it is absent, I will ask a question of RS220 owners:

 

Does it have the wedge on the driver that the 515/555/595/518/558/598 have ?

 

14330d1204739597-review-sennheiser-hd555-headphones-eardetail640.jpg


Edited by kstuart - 2/15/12 at 8:43pm
post #219 of 457


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalyst View Post


Yikes this thread has exploded since I last tuned in...
Maped thanks so much for all the detailed info, about differences between 180 & 220, this is exactly what I needed!
I've been loving my RS180's, but was really keen to know all the exact differences.
So, if you had to chose between the two, which would it be?
Or would you rather not do that, as each has good qualities that make them great for different uses?
You've kinda already answered all that I know.... redface.gif
On balance, it's seems like it's not quite an amazing enough improvement, to warrant an upgrade at current prices.
I think it might be best to hold-off till Xmas or New year, buying then but also keeping my RS180's.
Maybe by then the whining issue won't be as common or bad either.

 

If I had to choose just one, it would definately be the RS220, just due to the sound quality. I actually haven't listened to my 180's for more than maybe 5 minutes since getting the 220's two weeks ago, and I have been listening to much more music than usually. For me the whine (that the 180's also have) and slightly worse range and battery life are just minor niggles compared to the ramp up in the quality of the audio. I might still have to do a direct side-by-side comparison and write something about it, but considering I've used the 180's daily for two years I think I have a fairly solid grasp on their sound.

 

However, when you factor in the price it does change the things a bit. For me, this was a no brainer when I saw them at lookat for 300€, since I have two pairs of 180's that both were around 250€ two years ago when I got them. But now that the price seems to have normalized to about double that of 180 both in Europe and US, it is a bit trickier. I think LiavTeichner pretty much sums it up in his message on the previous page [ http://www.head-fi.org/t/574847/sennheiser-rs220-availability/195#post_8135466 ]. If you're just going to have one pair of headphones, go for the RS220 since they do pretty much everything well, but if you already have high-end wired headphones for more serious listening and only need wireless for late night movies and tv and for casual listening around the house, go for the 180's. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kstuart View Post

A delete post command is needed. :)

 

But since it is absent, I will ask a question of RS220 owners:

 

Does it have the wedge on the driver that the 515/555/595/518/558/598 have ?


 There is no wedge, the inside of the cup is pretty much completely smooth.

 


Edited by maped - 2/15/12 at 11:31pm
post #220 of 457

Hey guys, first-time poster but long-time lurker.  Anyway, I just got my RS 220s today from Crutchfield, hooked them up to my iMac using a Fiio USB-to-coaxial connection (long story), and they work great.  The sound quality is fantastic but decidedly different than my HD 598s.  I was thinking of keeping either one pair of headphones or the other, but the different in sound is substantial enough that I'll probably hang onto both sets for the time being.

 

One thing I IMMEDIATELY noticed (during the first song I listed to, in fact) was the micro-dropout issue.  The drops are very, very brief but quite annoying for a $600 pair of 'phones.  What have folks been doing to mitigate the issue?  Most of my wireless devices run on a 5GHz wireless-n network, but I do have a few legacy 2.4GHz devices that I can't disconnect.  Randomly changing channels on my wireless router is a possibility but it also seems like a shot in the dark.  Is there a way to reset the connection on the headphones or "reboot" them?

post #221 of 457

I tried changing wireless router channel it kinda worked for couple of days and dropping started again. In the process of returning these when they  work without any drops they sound great.

post #222 of 457

This whole thread is sure depressing.  I keep wanting to buy these hoping that I'll get lucky and the dropouts just won't happen.  But I think I'd just better wait.  You would think that Sennheiser would put out a notice to recall and get this issue fixed.  Guess I will be waiting...just seeing this all too much. 

post #223 of 457
Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsupremous View Post

This whole thread is sure depressing.  I keep wanting to buy these hoping that I'll get lucky and the dropouts just won't happen.  But I think I'd just better wait.  You would think that Sennheiser would put out a notice to recall and get this issue fixed.  Guess I will be waiting...just seeing this all too much. 

You summed up my thoughts to the letter.
post #224 of 457
I've decided that I'm gonna return the RS 220s to Crutchfield. For $600 I shouldn't have to put up with any dropouts. Besides, after further listening, I much prefer the way my HD 598s sound.
post #225 of 457
Quote:
Originally Posted by kfscoll View Post

I've decided that I'm gonna return the RS 220s to Crutchfield. For $600 I shouldn't have to put up with any dropouts. Besides, after further listening, I much prefer the way my HD 598s sound.

What is it you prefer about the 598s, and in what ways didn't you like the sound of the 220s?
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