A Wireless Headset
When checking out a new headset I usually take it for a walk and/or visit to a location where there would be plenty of noise before concluding with sessions in my favourite armchair listening to different types of music. These tests allow me to check out features such as audio quality, external noise elimination and how comfortable the headset is over a period of time while tethered to an appropriate source of audio content. However for this next headset I needed to make some adjustments and focus my testing on locations within my home environment as I checked out the Sennheiser RS 170 model. This is a DJ style of headset that offers wireless connectivity which explains the need for my tests to be conducted within my home.
Opening the box revealed the predominately black headset plus a collection of other items. Matching the headset in colour is the TE 170 desktop transmitter unit which doubles as the charging station for the headset’s batteries. A multi-country mains plug, audio cable, RCA cable, two AA rechargeable batteries and a couple of manuals (one with a CD containing a PDF version of the User Guide) are also included in the package.
Your first task in setting up this kit involves inserting one of the batteries in each of the earpads. A slight twist of the padding element will reveal the battery compartment. The next stage requires you to attach the desktop transmitter, which is held between two L-shaped supports, to a power source. The headset can then be balanced on the transmitter so that the three contact strips on the headband rest against the three pin chargers located at the top of the transmitter unit in order for the batteries to be charged. This process will take up to 16 hours and should give you 24 hours of listening time.
Once the charging has taken place you will need to introduce the headset to the transmitter. This social occasion calls for both elements to be switched on with the pairing taking place automatically enabling content to be passed wirelessly from the transmitter to the headset. With the supplied leads and the 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, you can direct audio from a range of sources such as MP3 players, Hi-Fi system, DAB radio, iPod, game console and even a television for your personal listening pleasure to the transmitter from where it will be beamed to the headset.
Along with the on/off button, the right earpad has controls for volume up and down plus turning on the Surround-Sound and Bass-Boost functions. When these last two options are implemented then LED lights on the transmitter will glow to indicate the current status. Generally I found it easier to remove the headset in order to make any adjustments rather than working blind.
The headset is well-designed with padded earpieces and generous padding on the headband. There is four-way adjustment for each earpad and the headband can be extended for a better fit. Within the same room audio quality and signal strength was excellent. There was also excellent reception within a radius of 12 metres that included at least two internal walls. Once passed this comfort zone, the signal would be lost momentarily before being re-established. Exceeding a distance of 16 metres would result the signal being lost completely. This does not compare favourably with the quoted range of 80 metres which was presumably measured within a large hall somewhere.
With the volume set at a level for comfortable listening, it was possible to pick up some outside noise so you were not totally isolated from the world. This could prove useful if the phone or door bell demands your attention while listening to music.
The Sennheiser RS 170 is priced at £179.99 although by shopping around you should be able to purchase this product nearer £140. For this price you get a good quality headset with wireless capability. You can attach up to four headsets with the transmitter with extra headsets being available for around £80 each.
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