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Sennheiser RS220 Availability?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jclyle, Oct 6, 2011.
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  1. stuckonsound
    Hopefully those with the issue can get it sorted out. Quoted directly from Sennheiser's RS 220 webpage, "Able to work in crowded RF environments amongst Bluetooth, Kleer and Wi-Fi signals, the RS 220 delivers clear, clean, uncompressed audio without the need for tuning." (Bold emphasis placed by Sennheiser.)
  2. maped
    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.
  3. wessew10
    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?  
  4. otinkyad
    Very helpful impressions, maped, nice writeup!  I agree about the sound being great, as I've tried to keep mentioning despite focusing on the problems!  Also agree about the wearing comfort being excellent -- possibly the most comfortable headphone I've ever used.  Build quality seemed great, too, except that to me the battery compartments felt a bit flimsy, and I would be worried about frequently opening them (I think someone else mentioned this too).  Re: the whine/hum: I actually bought an RS180 just to compare, and for me there is a very slight hiss on the RS180, but to me its tolerable, and *much* less noticeable (and less fatiguing) than the whine on the RS220 I had.  I A/B'd them, had them both at the same time.  In fact the difference was part of what made me decide I couldn't keep the RS220, at least not that unit.  I will keep the RS180 if my replacement RS220 doesn't work out.  Agree that sound quality of RS180 isn't as good.
  5. Head Dragon
    Well it's been a few more days and I have to report still hear no whine/hum, no dropouts, but there is the long recharge time.  The range is limited as noted by others, I can only stay in one room and my on my deck to get 100% reception.  When I move to my office just down the hall I can only get reception at my desk, but not in other parts of that room.  Listening to music is a pleasure, not fatiguing, though my ears do get a little hot from the ear cushions. Listening to movies is also great, though once again, no surround sound.  If you want the full 5.1 experience then you need to listen in your main setup.  I use these exclusively in my bedroom for late night Netflix/Bluray viewing, or during the day listening to music in my office.
      These are expensive cans, so all the technical issues people are having are problems that needs to be addressed and ultimately resolved.  As for me so far so good.  I will keep posting my impressions as I go along and these get moer playing time and break in.
  6. maped

    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.
  7. GiacomoHoldini


    This is another distinct problem, from my perspective.  To me, the big advantage of a wireless set, in theory, is the ability to move freely from room to room, rather than be tethered to an amp setup.  (Right now, in order to do that, I have to listen to headphones that play well on an iPod or Discman, which is also fairly limiting.)  If I have to stay in the same room with the RS220 transmitter in order to maintain a clear signal, I don't see that it has any distinct advantage over a wired setup.
    Again, thanks to all who have bought and commented.  Those of us who are holding off on the purchase benefit from your early adopting.
  8. LiavTeichner
    Thanks for the detailed review, and the direct comparison to the RS 180.
    As an owner of the RS 180 I wondered if i should upgrade to the RS 220. After reading the reviews posted here, I must say that I think I will stick with the RS 180. Although there seems to be no arguing that the sound quality has improved (from the already very good sound quality of the RS 180), the problems with the new wireless tech (short range, vulnerability to computer wifi) seem to be a deal breaker. As someone living in a crowded wifi environment it's an important factor for me, and should be for anyone who might be in such an environment*.
    Also the short battery life is also a deal breaker. As a student, I use the headphones during most of my studying - which means I sometimes use them for almost 10 straight hours. Six hours of battery life in the new RS 220 means battery swaps on daily basis.
    I'm excited about the improved performance in the audio section, but I'm sure that very soon (a year or so) a new model will come out from Sennheiser addressing the current issues, while keeping the improved audio quality.
    My suggestion: If the RS 220 price tag is a serious sum for you, wait for the next model.
    If you have to get a wireless set now - the RS 180 cost half as much, and are very enjoyable. The only deviation from this recommendation is the following one: the RS 180 have only analog input - which means you need to have a reasonable DAC in your system to enjoy them. If you don't have one already, you'll have to invest in a DAC plus the RS 180 - practically the RS 220 price tag and some change (with a V-DAC  II). Buying a good DAC is great if you plan to expand your system in the future, but if you only want to hear music on your wireless set for ever and ever - the digital input on the RS 220 comes to the rescue. If this is the case - there's no price difference anymore and I think the RS 220 better sound quality seals the deal for most of us.  
    * The Kleer solution isn't perfect either, but it seems to have been more thoroughly tested, and for me is good enough.
  9. GiacomoHoldini

    Actually, now that I think about it, one advantage is HD600/650-ish sound with its own (supposedly) well-matched amp, along with a DAC, in one convenient package, all for $600, or less if you know where to look.  This definitely streamlines the process for those who don't necessarily want to bother with the cost or hassle of acquiring a whole coterie of components to get the most out of their headphones.  If having to stay in the same room as the transmitter is the only real hangup, then it could still be a worthy acquisition for some people.  Persistent dropouts, whine, and hum are obviously more problematic.  Any more reports on how those issues are shaping up for those who have them?
  10. otinkyad


    I'm waiting on my RS220 replacement, so I don't have any updates to provide yet.  I agree that excellent wireless sound could possibly outweigh limited wireless range.  Initially the limited range felt like a deal-breaker for me, but as I thought about it, I began to feel that being wireless even within a restricted area is valuable.  (No wires trailing annoyingly from head; can get up and move about within whatever the range is; don't have to remove phones, set them down, pause music, to do so).  Provided, of course, that the signal doesn't drop or have to compete with noise.
  11. GiacomoHoldini


    Yes, that's definitely another advantage.  I will be interested to hear how your replacement works out.
  12. GiacomoHoldini
    I keep meaning to ask, what's the headband material?  In the pictures I've seen, it looks like pleather.
  13. maped
    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.
  14. GiacomoHoldini
    My concern with pleather is it tends to disintegrate over time as it is exposed to the inevitable secretions that come out of us humans.
  15. curiousgeorgieo
    Hey guys, not sure if this helps but after a ton of research through google translate on the Japanese Sony site (LOL) I think I have confirmed that the Sony MDR-DS7500 accepts a modulation of up to 24bit/192kHz which is a first for a wireless headset (HDMI as well).  Hopefully Senn's replacement to the RS220s will do the same as I find the comfort of a Senn to be superior amongst other things.
    Take care,
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