Review: TDK's Wireless Kleer Cans Out-Do Bluetooth With Lossless Audio

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$270 More info from brand

Written by Matthew Lentini     21/09/2011 | 06:50 | Category name i.e.REAL HI FI

TDK has chosen Kleer over Bluetooth and won with this ultra-clear set of headsets, but the WR700s aren't without their faults. Question is: do they warrant a $179 price tag?


Bluetooth is a common avenue for linking wireless audio devices, but using the short-range frequency comes at a price. Bluetooth has to compress audio when streaming to devices, so the quality takes a toll.

Enter Kleer. Kleer wireless technology operates on a short-range 2.4GHz band that doesn't interfere with other common 2.4GHz waves found around the home network or cell phone signals. It delivers audio uncompressed and without any of the distortion shared by Bluetooth devices.

It shares the limited connection distance, but not as many of the downsides. The most distortion you get out of the WR700s is a faint hissing while no music is playing while the headset is switched on.

The WR700s are battery powered, and the bulky transmitter also needs batteries, so all up you'll be using up four AAA batteries at a time. Though you'll get as high as 30 hours of battery life out of these pairs at moderate volume. The transmitter may be fairly bulky, though the almost instantaneous pairing and ability to pair to multiple WR700 sets without sacrificing quality gives it a slight edge.

Bass has a slight punch but the drives on these cans don't deliver the meaty sound that comes with sustained bass on larger speakers. This is also partly due to the over-ear fit that doesn't snugly seal off against the ear.

Despite the not-so-optimum fit, they're still very comfortable and light thanks to soft faux-leather ear cushions that swivel and extend to fit properly on most heads. It's a double-edged sword though, with these same cushions working a sweat on your ears after a few minutes' use. Not too uncommon with this kind of closed-back headset, but the fit that sits right on the ear rather than cupping around it amplifies the heat.

With the sound-leakage you get, the best sound comes from the higher volume levels. But this set falls into the treble trap that'll have high-end stabbing at your ear drums if you push the volume and in-built amplifier too high.

Otherwise what you get is very clear sound that justifies the Kleer title. The headset isn't built the best to get the most out of this sound that otherwise refines vocals and mid-range with a clean but still not too impressive low-end. If you're looking for a mid-range wireless headset, Kleer gives a leg-up against Bluetooth headsets, but the over-ear design doesn't to the clarity justice.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

Kleer technology doesn't sacrifice quality for wireless; Clear, uncompressed sound

Cons:

Requires four AAA batteries all up; hissing while on standby