Sennheiser RS 220 review
Many people like the convenience of using Bluetooth wireless headphones with their iPod or iPhone. However, Bluetooth does apply additional compression to your music, so it’s never been the first choice for audiophiles who want the best possible quality from their headphones.
Sennheiser’s RS range of headphones take an alternative approach, using RF – radio frequency – technology that allows them to transmit uncompressed, CD-quality audio. They’re not portable, as they require a separate RF transmitter to be plugged into your audio source, but they’re a great choice if you want to kick back and wallow in your favourite music at home.
The RS 220 is the flagship of the range, priced at around £350 when shopping online. That’s a lot of money, of course, but the headphones sound great, producing a sound that is clear and detailed yet also rich and warm. The padded earpieces are very comfortable, and the batteries will last for 6-8 hours. Sound does leak out of the perforated earpieces, though, so they’re best used when there’s no one else around.
To help justify the high price the transmitter unit doubles up as a charging dock for the headphones, and also includes a number of other useful features. There’s one analogue and two digital inputs built into the transmitter, allowing you to connect three audio sources and switch between them. There are also matching pass-through outputs for each source, which means that you can quickly divert the audio from the headphones to an external speaker system if some friends come round to listen to music or watch a film.
There are less expensive headphones that provide comparable quality – we also like the RS 160 model, which is half the price – but the additional input and output features built into the transmitter unit will appeal to audiophiles and home cinema buffs who want to integrate the RS 220 into their existing home entertainment system.