A lot of people prefer enjoying their audio experiences coming from music, movies and games through a trusty pair of headphones. That’s understandable because investing in an expensive pair of headphones often means huge gains in audio quality and comfort. Of course, you are blocking the rest of the world out of the experience but you can really hear all the details. Then there are the wireless headphones which are also very expensive but don’t have the same audiophile-level qualities. Often powered by Bluetooth, it is the protocol that is behind the drop in audio quality. Sennheiser intends to change that with the Sennheiser RS185 and its lower and higher-priced siblings.
About the Sennheiser RS185
The Sennheiser RS185 is the second most expensive Sennheiser wireless headphones in the revived RS lineup but it is a bit different than the other headphones in the family. The other Sennheiser wireless headphones in the RS family focus on home theater audio experiences. You plug the included transmitter to your TV or home theater system and use the wireless headphones the transmitter is paired to and you can enjoy your movies without the wire getting in the way. The Sennheiser RS185 comes with that same kind of transmitter but the design of the headphones unit focuses more on listening to music.
The RS185 headphones unit has an open-back, around-the-ear design which significantly aids with the audio quality. This makes it more suitable for listening to music than movies compared to the other RS headphones models which have sealed, closed-back designs. The transmitter remains a multi-purpose marvel as you can use analog or digital connections to your system or portable device. 3.5mm, RCA and optical digital cables are all included in the package. When you need to charge the 2 AAA batteries hidden beneath one of the earcups of the Sennheiser RS185, all you need to do is rest the headband on the transmitter aligning the contacts and looking for the charging indicator on the front of the transmitter. Basically, the transmitter acts as the charging cradle too and it looks neat. You can also buy this neat “accessory” called the HDR 185 which is basically another pair of headphones that is compatible with the transmitter. This means opens up the audio experience to a second person who may want to listen to whatever you are currently listening to.
The RS185 feels a bit more premium than the cheaper RS headphones thanks to the velour ear cushions. However, the headband padding isn’t as adequate as Sennheiser’s premium wired headphones since the padding needed to be cut to leave an opening for the charging contacts. Still wearing headphones with good earpads like the Sennheiser RS185 is still pretty comfortable without that annoying wire.
Thanks to the Sennheiser’s proprietary 2.4 GHz wireless link and 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets, the RS185 really lives up to the audiophile promise. The frequency response is superb and unlike Bluetooth connections, you won’t ever get any distortions or notice a lack of details as long as you are within 100 meters range from the transmitter. If there are obstructions, the range is reduced a bit but even 50 meters is great coverage.
You also have dedicated controls for automatic and manual level control modes. Using automatic is good if you want to eliminate sudden volume fluctuations while manual is ideal for optimizing analog sources.
• Transmitter makes it easy to charge the headphones.
• Very light and comfortable.
• Superb audio quality for music and even movies.
• No distortion within wireless range.
• Not as comfortable as wired headphones.
• Not as movie-focused as other Sennheiser RS headphones.
The Sennheiser RS185 costs $400 and you can definitely buy a wired pair of headphones that sounds better for less. But getting rid of the wires introduces compromises and the RS185 minimizes these compromises while making the price still reasonable.