Sennheiser RS 220 wireless hi-fi headphones
Sennheiser’s newest wireless headphones finally deliver proper, audiophile-grade quality
- Excellent sound quality for wireless
- Long battery life and easy recharge
- Extremely comfortable
- High price tag
- Minor background noise at high receiver volume
- Heavier than wired models
Sennheiser's RS 220 wireless headphones genuinely surprised us: their sound quality is easily on par with the better wired models we've heard, and they have the advantage of being completely wireless. We didn't experience any drop-outs or loss of sound quality in our testing, and the RS 220's battery life is long enough for a full work day. The headphones are comfortable and easy to use -- our only complaints are the weight and the high asking price.
Price$ 649.95 (AUD)
For us, the holy grail of headphones would have excellent sound quality, high comfort levels, and no burdensome wires. Sennheiser’s new RS 220 comes close to fulfilling these wishes, and despite (or perhaps because of) the wallet-busting $649 price tag we'd seriously consider buying them. We have few complaints about the RS 220.
Sennheiser RS 220: Design and specifications
The Sennheiser RS 220 wireless headphones come in a big box, but there’s a reason for this other than just showing off. Bundled with the HDR 220 headphones is the TR 220 — a glossy black obelisk that acts as an all-in-one headphone charging station, wireless transmitter and bank of inputs.
The TR 220 transmitter runs off a DC power pack (which comes with Australian, UK, US and EU plugs), and has inputs and outputs at the back for stereo analog RCA, coaxial digital and optical digital audio. This wide variety of inputs is excellent, as is the output stage, meaning the RS 220 can be set up alongside a home theatre system or in tandem with a TV’s speakers — excellent for late-night movie watching. There’s also a button to pair headphones and a dial to adjust the audio output level.
Around the front of the transmitter, it’s a pretty simple setup: two buttons and five status lights. Use one button to switch between analog, coaxial and optical digital inputs, and use the other to turn the transmitter on or off. One niggle we encountered was having to power on the headphones separately from the transmitter — you can’t just pick them up from the cradle and put them on. This is presumably to keep the batteries topped up until you need them, though.
The Sennheiser RS 220's front buttons and status lights.
The top of the transmitter has two electrical contacts that line up with corresponding points on the RS 220’s headphones, letting the headphones’ internal batteries charge while sitting on the dock. We recorded a charging time of about three hours from entirely empty to fully charged on fresh batteries, with a total listening time of just under eight hours with the headphones set to a volume level of about 50 per cent.
The headphones themselves have HDR 220 badging, but you can’t buy them separately from the RS 220 bundle. They’re very sturdily constructed, with a variety of plastics making up the ear-cups, a metal headband, and a good mix of well-padded leatherette and suede-effect fabric used on the headband and ear-pads. Apart from the aforementioned electrical contacts, there are a few features to note. Each ear-cup has a single battery compartment, already stocked with a NiMH rechargeable AAA but disposable alkaline cells can also be used.
A side view of the Sennheiser RS 220's headphones, the HDR 220.
The bottom of each ear-cup on the HDR 220 headphones has three buttons — or at least that’s what it looks. The left ear actually only has a central power button (headphones only, remember: the transmitter has to be independently triggered) and a button to switch inputs, but the third ‘button’ is merely cosmetic. The right ear is more honest, with a pair of volume control buttons that also function to balance the headphones once a third, central balance button is pressed.
The headphones are very comfortable thanks to a headband that has just the right level of clamping force. The fabric ear-pads are well cushioned and don't get sweaty during long listening sessions. We did notice the slight premium in weight over a wired competitor — the extra internal circuitry for wireless playback adds about 50 grams, giving the RS 220 a little more heft. If you don't mind your headphones heavy, this isn't a problem. It's good to exercise your neck muscles, at least.
Sennheiser RS 220: Sound quality and performance
N.B: We initially listened to the RS 220 straight out of the box, and then broke them in with three eight-hour sessions at moderate volume before listening again. We did notice better overall performance after this short break-in period.
We tested the Sennheiser RS 220 with a variety of sources, predominantly an Apple iPhone 4 and a Trends Audio UD-10.1 USB DAC. We also tested directly from the audio outputs of a Apple MacBook Pro. Tracks were a mix of electronic, rock and classic music in formats ranging from lossless FLAC and ALAC to 320KBps MP3s from Rdio.
Next page: more Sennheiser RS 220 sound quality and performance
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's AirPods could deliver audio with multiple wireless protocols
- First look: Nuheara IQbuds smart Bluetooth ear buds do more than just music
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- Beats Solo2 headphones go wireless for $399
- Astro A38 review: A staggering price to pay for convenience
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCUser Researcher/Business AnalysisACT
- CCChange LeadNSW
- FTAdministrator - Land and PowerNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTFull stack Developer | 3 mth ContractVIC
- FTSenior Change Analyst/ Change ManagerNSW
- CCIT Project Scheduler- Port MacquarieNSW
- FTTest LeadNSW
- FTNetwork Security AnalystNSW
- FTProcess Documentation AnalystNSW
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- CCService Desk AnalystNSW
- FTWeb Developer/ReportsNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant - SQL Server programming skillsACT
- FTSenior Oracle DeveloperVIC
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- FTSOE EngineerQLD
- CC3 x UX Designers - 3 month contract initially - IT Services company - SydneyNSW
- CCLightweight Directory Access Procol (LDAP) DeveloperNSW
- FTBillings Integration ArchitectVIC
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- FTHR Application Architect - WorkdayVIC
- FTSenior Applications Support AnalystSA