DSSS, as described by Sennheiser, "is a frequency spreading process in which the output signal...

Sennheiser RS 220

  • DSSS, as described by Sennheiser, "is a frequency spreading process in which the output signal is spread to a width of 22 MHz by means of a specified bit sequence." This means that the audio data is transmitted simultaneously on several different frequencies, so if one frequency experiences interference, the data is still able to get through on one or more others.
    The RS 220 system also doesn't assign an optimum signal volume to its digital data packages. This is a good thing, as it keeps the dynamic range of the music intact - some wireless systems average out the signal, so the quiet sections of a piece end up being louder than intended, and the loud parts quieter.

Recent Reviews

  1. jon_bawn
    Wonderful expansive sound, but poor range...
    Written by jon_bawn
    Published Nov 27, 2017
    Pros - Huge, open sound, no trace of compression or digitisation, good comfort, great DA converters...
    Cons - Very poor wireless range (forget it if there are solid walls), effected by other 2.4Ghz devices, need a lot of power because of huge bandwidth (poor battery life), plastic build quality
    These truly are great wireless phones, particularly for those who live in open plan dwellings away from 2.4Ghz congestion. They play a game of big compromises, and you will see many negative reviews out there. That's all fine, but the sound quality does justify it in my view. Here's the Sennheiser official line on the matter:

    The RS 220 do not operate on Wifi. They use a technology which is similar to bluetooth. It operates in the same frequency range (2.4 GHz) as wifi and bluetooth devices.

    As there are many devices that operate in this range (like wifi, bluetooth, wireless keyboards, smart meters, etc. etc.) this spectrum can become quite crowded. All devices that operate in this spectrum have to be self power regulating to ensure they do not cause interference in other devices.

    The RS 220 offers completely uncompressed audio, which gives the highest audio quality. However, to do this it occupies quite a lot of the 2.4GHz spectrum. This means it's chance of interference is much greater, so it often ends up on fairly low power, which reduces the useable range.

    With all wireless devices there is always a trade off between operating range, spectrum use and audio quality... usually all three are not possible to the highest requirements, so there has to be some compromise. The RS 220 were discontinued some time ago, and the newer range (RS 175, RS 185, RS 195) all have an improved range, and although they do use compression on the audio, the quality is still very good.

    If you require a pair of headphones with a very good range, then the RS 220 is maybe not the best choice of headphones for you. However, if the best audio quality is the driving factor, then maybe some things can be done to improve the range:

    • Make sure that the transmitter is not located too close to other wireless devices.
    • Keep the transmitter up on a high shelf. This improves the 'line-of-sight' to the headphones, which improves range
    • Keep the transmitter clear of metal objects and other cables
    • Position the transmitter closer to your normal listening position
  2. tbgchi
    I've owned the RS220's for a few years now. I'd put these up against any other pair of cans in the sub 600 price range.
    Written by tbgchi
    Published Jan 15, 2017
    Pros - Wide open sound stage, full rich textured sound. Comfortable to wear due to large, cushioned earpad. Doesn't feel hot after hours of listening.
    Cons - Home use only (wireless with large base), charging time. Initial retail was too high (600-700 bucks), a bit goofy looking given their size.
    I've owned the Sennheiser RS220's for a few years now. They are among the best sounding cans I've heard despite being "wireless". Sennheiser really hit it out of the park with the sound quality on these.

    One of the real high points of the RS220's is the wide open sound stage. Music sounds full, rich, and textured. Live performances in particular have an "in person" feel more than any other phones that I've owned. I'm a little surprised they're not more common among "head-fi'ers". Especially after seeing Jude M's initial review on their you tube channel.

    One limiting factor that might give priority to other phones at the original retail price point is the lack of portability. They can only be used at home or office. Anyone looking for a more versatile headphone that can be used at home/office AND while on the move should look elsewhere. Perhaps, many that tried these at first ended up buying something like the Sennheiser HD650's for the added flexibility.

    If you're looking for a pair of phones exclusively for home or office, the RS220's won't be a disappointment. My recent setup MacBook Air Pro or IPad Air 2 streaming Tidal HIFI to Dragonfly Red connected to the RS220 base via RCA analog cable.
  3. HiAudio
    Very good sound and acceptible signal transmission
    Written by HiAudio
    Published Oct 8, 2014
    Pros - sound quality, comfortable to wear
    Cons - long charging time, signal not strong
    I can't believe there is no review on this headphone. I will write a brief one because I am really not equipped and skilled to write reviews on this forum as deep and broad as other reviews resulted from extensive tests and auditions.
    For sound, I could only compare this one with its wired cousin HD650. I connected them to the headphone jack on an old receiver. I listened to various or materials, classical music, pop songs, R&R, vocal and instruments. The sound is very clear and sound stage is decent. treble, mid range and bass are all nicely rendered. I haven't used it on a movie. It cannot take in Dolby or DTS audio input directly and have to connect it to a receiver. I can't tell much difference between HD650 and RS220. I am not saying it's as good as HD650 but just that's it's very good.
    They have optical, coaxial and analog input connections. Switching between them is just finger tap on the transmitter which is also the charging station.
    Charging seems to be long because I saw the red charging indicator on for long time, more than 12 hours after use.
    Now let's speak about the wireless parts. If it's charged well and I am in the same room, the signal transmission is solid and I do not suffer from signal drop or sound distortion. I can go to different floor in the room and listen. However, if I was blocked by two walls, I may experience signal drops and the sound may be distorted occasionally. Maybe their DSSS technologies haven't matured enough. I used my Bluetooth headphone Voxoa VHX330 in same spots and never lost signal. There are reviews of RS220 on other sites (mainly online stores) and majority of negatives are about the weak signals and Sennheiser's not satisfying response on this complain. I think there is room to improve on this part. But if you only use it in the same room or have no more than one wall blockage, you can be safe to use it.
    The controls on the phone is awkward to use. The balance and volume are using the same button on the right phone. It may drive you nuts to use it because you do not know which function you are using. On the left phone the on/off and switching between inputs also share the same button.
    I can listen for more than 2 hours without feeling any discomfort on the head or ears. It feels great and very comfortable.
    Overall, it's a decent headphone and specifically wireless headphone. Some people like to compare it with RS 180 and I had no experience with that one. Wireless headphones use a few different technologies to transmit signals and this is probably the only one to use DSSS. For price at $500 it's not a good value. This price can be justified if the DSSS signal is solid and the phone also have wired connection option. But it's often sold at discount up to $200 and $300-400 is fair price. I think 4 stars ratings are affair for its performance and value if you get a good deal.
    If you have Sennheiser HDR 220 you can use that one which is exactly the headphone for RS220. Yes, the transmitter supports multiple headphones (4 may be the limit).
    Hope someone write reviews in much details.


To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!