Review: Sennheiser's RS 220s Blast Crisp Sound Less The Messy Wiring
By Tony Ibrahim | Wednesday | 14/03/2012
If there's lust in electronics, Sennheisers RS 220 inspire it. The headphones and wireless transmitter are both dressed in glossy black, with silver lining subtly accentuating certain traits. Even alone the headphones capture a lingering gaze with its voluptuous cups elegantly tied together by its comfortable head brace.
You'd expect the wireless transmitter's styling to be dictated by science and engineering, but it's not. Its presence complements the headphones, stylishly propping them up when not in use as if they're on display at some museum.
The transmitter features a slew of high quality inputs that are ideal connections for a home cinema system, including analogue, coaxial digital and optical digital inputs. It also has the task of charging the headphones, taking 3 hours to do so when they're completely flat but they'll continuously ooze melodies for 7 hours.
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Setup is easy and cycling through the nominated input can be done from the transmitter or directly from the headphones which feature on board input, volume and power keys.
The headphones feature decent back-and-forward brace and stretch so they fit comfortably. The fact that they're clad in leatherette cushions helps, while the cups' suede-like fabric proves comfortable and effective in blocking the outside world.
Eliminating interference is an area these cans have an aptitude in as at one stage I was completely oblivious to a vacuum cleaner. It wasn't until I was told to put my feet up so they can vacuum the area around me that I realised how well they conceal outside sounds.
With the sound-stage free from external distractions, these headphones lend themselves to fantastic sound reproduction. Admittedly when you first press play you question the volume level, but give it ten minutes and you'll be hitting the on-board 'volume down' key. Before you know it there's a reserve of audio punch, giving you the flexibility to up the sound when a special track comes on.
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There's no distortion, little fusion and a respectable audio range in which different tones eloquently balance one another. Pop in a song dominated by vocals and they wail, reproducing different vocal tones with ease.
On the other side, there's plenty of body when you're listening to bass heavy tracks with the beat sounding deep. Whereas Dre's Beats shudder a little with each hit of bass, these deliver cleaner notes, rather than violently stealing the show with exaggerated lows.
Clarity is an ever-present trait with these headphones, swiftly rendering electro notes and a variety of musical instruments alike, making it easy to discern the layers of different instruments.
In fact these headphones sound just as good as their wired counterparts, much to Sennheiser's credit.
Long sessions will inspire some sweat in the cups, prompting you to take 5 while your ears dry up. It's an inconvenience, but the headphones perform that well you're eager to forgive this shortfall.
The input, power and volume buttons come in handy when using the headphones to watch a movie. The spoken word is crystal clear, with the headphones picking up subtle details. The same texture found in its music capabilities present themselves when it comes to complex action sequences as they're played with worthy theatrics.
The wireless flexibility makes them easy to wear whether you're sitting or lying down, even though they're a tad heavier than other headphones. The additional 50 or so grams is the only real shortfall; although it sounds insignificant some people might find it a little too much over a 2 hour movie session.
When walking around a single level home, these headphones maintain consistent quality audio. However, its limitations can be breached when you go beyond a brick wall or in some areas on the second floor, causing it to intermittently cut out.
Even though there is a dip in performance when you push the unwired technology to its limits, it's tough to fault because for the most part, it delivers an excellent audio experience. They're superbly transparent, eloquently reproducing sound rather than manipulating it, which works in their favour as they don't discriminate genres or mediums.
Sennheiser's RS220s are selling now for $649. It's a steep price, but when you consider the competition costs about the same without a wireless transmitter you begin to see the value.
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