Sennheiser RS 130 Wireless TV Headphones Review
For the price ($200 new,$150 refurbished), the Sennheiser RS 130 deserves some serious consideration from picky audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts that are looking for a superior wireless headphone.
Transmitting on 900 MHz, the RS 130s offer virtual 5.1 surround sound, up to 22 hours on a full charge, and feature auto-tuning technology. The headphones will automatically dial in to the best of three different frequencies for the best reception. Sennheiser claims a transmission range up to an astonishing 150 meters.
These Sennheiser wireless headphones for TV are certainly some of the most comfortable we’ve tested. Their unique design certainly needs to be highlighted: they are one of the only headphones that have circumaural open-air earcups with velour pads. These padded open-back earcups play nice with your ears, letting them breathe while feeling very smooth. The modest weight of just under 10 ounces helped, too. It’s easy to forget that one is even wearing headphones.
The sound quality was phenomenal, even on par with headphones twice their price. We’ve experienced fidelity issues with some RF headphones in the past. 900 MHz is a very common transmission frequency and is noted for its range.
We never tested the full extent of the range. 150 meters is far longer than a football field, and we can’t imagine a scenario where you’d need that range. In our test, there were no dropouts or signal degradation within the building, up to 100 feet from the transmitter.
This does beg the question of interference with other signals. With a powerful range like this, your neighbors should have no problem picking up on your TV shows. RF signals are also noted for their ability to pass through and around obstacles. In rooms on the other side of the house, we noticed no difference in quality, despite the presence of three or four walls between the headset and transmitter.
Despite this stellar performance, the usual nuisances of wireless headphone use were still present.
There is noticeable, low volume static and occasional hiss at any distance from the transmitter, possibly a function of the 900 MHz frequency band. This frequency band is very crowded with other signals with long-range power. Looking closer at the specs, the RS 130 have a signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of only 68 dB, compared to 85 dB for our top-rated Sennheiser wireless headphones for TV. The S/N ratio is a measurement of the amount of source signal compared to the amount of noise that accompanies it. The greater a ratio is, the less noise compared to the signal, and vice versa.
Regardless of which band was chosen with the tuning button, the signal was plagued by a low hiss. Other reviewers reported being able to reduce these noises by adjusting the transmission frequency. We were unable to make such an adjustment, but you might not find this issue.
Depending on what kind of music of movies you listen to, you might never notice these noises. Indeed, all sound sources drowned out the hiss and static at higher volumes. If you listen to classical or jazz, you’ll certainly notice the hiss. TV and movies, with frequent dialogue, are almost impossible to enjoy without this noticeable hiss.
If you can avoid the static and hiss issues with these wireless television headphones, these might just be the last pair of wireless headphones you ever buy. Few headphones in this price range can match the range, audio fidelity, and comfort of the Sennheiser RS 130s. The issue of static and hiss is a small, yet significant, detractor from the overall positive experience we had with these headphones.
Sennheiser RS 130
Summary: The RS 130 are Sennheiser wireless headphones for TV in a mid-level range. Their unique earcup design provides fantastic comfort and audio fidelity (the headphones also offer 5.1 Surround Sound). The overall experience is slightly plagued by small issues of hiss and static characterized by a 68 dB S/N ratio. Considering that our two top-rated wireless TV headphones are $10-15 cheaper, deciding to purchase the RS 130 would likely be a preference bias towards this headphone's specific features.