Sony MDR-DS6500 Wireless TV Headphones Review
One of the top-sounding wireless headphone systems we’ve heard is the Sony MDR-DS6500, which uses digital wireless transmission and has a number of excellent modern TV features like digital optical audio inputs, Dolby Digital and Pro Logic decoding, plus audio compression for better speech & dialogue intelligibility.
The MDR-6500 provide amazing clarity as the signal is transmitted on a 2.4 gHz channel (no hiss and no interference), and a powerful soundscape, thanks to 7.1 virtual surround sound. Today, a lot of 3D movies include a 7.1 audio mix that these headphones can process. Imagine watching an action movie, and a bullet flies past the right side of the hero’s head; you will hear the bullet sound swoosh by your right hear and behind you in the distance. How awesome is that! It’s as if the characters are in the room with you and you hear their voices reverberating off the walls. Even if you don’t have a 3D TV, these cans will still offer you great 5.1 surround sound. They’re also compatible with the Dolby Digital and DTS audio formats.
The voice is crisp and the soundscape broad. The bass makes you quiver, almost like a movie theater. A Compression mode clarify speech and softens very loud sounds, making it a perfect feature if you have bad hearing.
Thanks to a circumaural and close-back design, these Sony TV headphones ensure you don’t distract anyone else in your home, making them perfect for bedside use. This design stance also means you may sweat around the ear after continuous use, though not enough to really call it discomforting.
The transmitter, which acts as a charging cradle, offers both an analogue and optical digital connection to your TV (as opposed to the RS180 from Sennheiser), so you can just plug it into the TV optical port. A drawback compared to Sennheiser wireless headphones however, is that you can’t use more than one headphone off a single base unit. You need one base unit per headphone. If someone wants to watch the TV with you through the speakers, you might hear an irritating echo. However, if you’re watching TV alone and none of the above-mentioned issues concern you, the step up from the TV speakers’ sound-quality will blow you away.
Design-wise, they’re very stylish, but a little more bulky and top heavy than their competitors; as a result, they may fall off if you lean back or forward too much. Moreover, unlike the Sony MDR-RF970 which turn on automatically, you need to power the 6500 headset on and off manually (although the base transmitter turns on automatically). Regardless, the MDR-DS6500 comes out on top of its Sony brethren, and are worth every penny. As opposed to Sennheiser’s RS170 and RS180, which have un-ergonomic volume buttons, the DS6500 features a volume wheel, which is very practical.
A final note, which may be of importance: the rechargeable batteries will last you up to 4-5 years. When they die out, you can’t change them yourself, but you can take the headphone to a Sony service center and they will do it for you. Some might view this “planned obsolescence” as a deal-breaker, but consider that after 5 years of loyal services, there will probably be a new, better-performing model that you might want to replace the MDR-6500 with.
The Best Sony Wireless Headphones for TV
- Driver Unit : 40 mm
- Volume Control : Yes (Rotary)
- Audio Modes : Dolby Digital Dolby Pro Logic IIx DTS DTS ES
- Distortion : 1% or less (1 kHz)
- Tuning : Auto Tuning on headphones
- Effective Range : Approximately 328 feet (100 m) maximum¹
- Transmitter : 2.4 gHz: 2.408 GHz – 2.473 GHz; MSK Modulation
- Sound Enhancer : Off, Voice (stereo), Game, Cinema, Compression (Off/On)
- Frequency Response : 12 – 22,000Hz (digital input)
- Audio Format(s) Supported : Compatible with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Surround EX, DTS, DTS-ES Matrix, and DTS-ES discrete
- Type of Use : Home
- Design : Circumaural (Over-the-ear),
- Power On/Off : Power button turns unit ON/OFF; Green LED illuminates
- Headband : Wide, Double, Adjustable
- Plug : Nickel, stereo mini plug
- Magnet : Neodymium
- Headphone Type : Closed, Dynamic
- Communication : Wireless Digital 2.4GHz Radio Frequency
- Power Requirements : Rechargeable, built-in Lithium-Ion battery (supplied)
- Battery Type : Built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
- Battery Life (Approx) : Approximately 20 hours
- Battery Indicator : Power-on LED indicator
- Battery Charging (Approx) : Approximately 3 hours
- Input Power : AC Power Adaptor (6V, 800mA)
- Cord Length (Approx.) : 59 1/8 in. (1.5 m) Optical digital connecting cable
- Dimensions (Approx.) : Transmitter: 4 3/4 x 4 3/4 x 10 3/8 in. (120 x 120 x 263 mm)
- Weight (Approx.) : Headphones: Approximately 11.3 oz. (320 grams) Including supplied battery Processor: Approximately 15.9 oz. (450 grams)
Summary: If you're looking for one of the best sounding wireless headphones for TV, the MDR-DS6500 is the pick of the litter. This closed-back circumaural headset offers 7.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Digital sound, with non-existent hiss or interference thanks to the 2.4 GHz signal transmission. It falls short of 5 stars for its few limitations (heavy, no added unit connectivity, built-in batteries).