Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless TV Headphones Review
Whether you’re watching TV in bed while your spouse sleeps, watching a movie on the sofa, or listening to a football game while out in the yard, Sony’s MDR-RF985RK are fine headphones.
Featuring a fully sealed, closed-back design, you will be somewhat insulated from outside noise, though not as much as noise-cancelling headphones. The amount of padding around the headphones will keep noise from coming out and bothering your spouse, and they have an inner volume control so you can listen to your TV as loud as you want without bothering others. They get top marks for non-disturbance in that regard.
What I also like is that they have no static issues, even with a variety of other electronics in their vicinity. If you ever have static, just click the tuning button on the headphones and it will most likely go away. Additionally, there is a small pitch behind the base that allows you to change to 3 different channels: 915.5 MHz, 916.0 MHz, and 916.5 Mhz. But overall, you can listen to the TV while stepping out to the kitchen to refill your drink, even if there are two walls and 30 feet between the kitchen and the TV room. There will be no signal loss whatsoever.
The headphone base will accept either 3.5mm mini jack or RCA connector inputs. The cable provided with the unit is mini-phone to RCA so it will easily adapt to either type of source connection. If your TV set does not have a mini earphone jack, you can use the RCA audio outputs. If your TV only has an optical digital output, you can buy a D to A converter (like a GEFEN converter), or better, hook the transmitter to your cable/satellite box instead of the TV.
Though a tiny bit cumbersome, these headphones are also deceptively light and well-balanced for their size. They’re also very comfortable (which is not an easy feat), thanks to an adjustable headband that is completely padded.
These headphones block out other noise and make watching TV a pleasure. They’re great because you can control the volume at which you listen to TV while others watching can tune the TV to a volume that is comfortable for them. This is convenient if your hearing is not what it used to be (or your parents’, if you’re buying it for them), so you don’t miss any words, while not deafening people watching the TV with you. The MDR-RF985RK doesn’t go as loud as the Sennheisers, but you can still push the volume up to 102 dB.
The sound quality is what we have come to expect from Sony, and would make you believe you are listening to a pair of higher-priced headphones. This product really overachieves in that regard, with clean sound and crisp treble, and no hiss, crackles and pops. If you are seeking a wireless unit with deeper, tighter bass, then you might want to go ahead and buy a more expensive unit (Sony MDR-DS300 or Sennheiser R220), but if it doesn’t matter that much to you, then these headphones deliver a splendid job.
The transmitter can connect to an unlimited number of headphones and will transmit a signal up to 150 feet with line of sight. The battery in the headset recharges as it sits in the transmitter cradle, and a small light will turn green when fully charged.
No matter how top-notch the MDR-RF985RK may be, it’s not without a few drawbacks however. Like tablets and other electronic devices, these headphones have a built-in lithium-ion battery, which you cannot access or change yourself. Although it will take many years before the end of battery lifetime, this can be problematic as you have to consult a Sony dealer to change the batteries. The latter has a special tool which they use to open the compartment. Fortunately, these batteries can sustain over 300 hundreds of charges (with each charge running the headphone for 23-25 hours). But with the MDR-DS6500 having the same built-in battery, it seems Sony have a knack for tainting an otherwise outstanding product. Whether you’ve been a trusted Sony customer for years and decide to overlook that proprietary battery issue, or whether you decide to purchase one of the top-rated Sennheiser wireless TV headphones is entirely your choice.
2nd Best Sony Wireless TV Headset
- Driver Unit : 40 mm
- Volume Control : Yes (Rotary)
- Tuning : Manual tuning via switch on both base and headphones
- Effective Range : Approximately 150 feet (45 m)
- Transmitter : Ch1: 915.5 MHz, Ch2: 916.0 MHz, Ch3: 916.5 MHz (selective, FM Stereo)
- Frequency Response : 10-22000 Hz
- Channel Selection : Select by a slide switch
- Type of Use : Home – music/movie/games
- Diaphragm : PET
- Design : Circumaural (Over-the-head), Closed-back
- Driver Type : Dynamic
- Power On/Off : Power turns ON when headphones are worn; Red LED illuminates
- Headband : Wide, Easy-Adjust
- Magnet : Ferrite
- Power Requirements : DC 12 V (from supplied AC Adaptor)
- Battery Type : Built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
- Battery Life (Approx) : 25 h (with fully charged supplied Li-Ion battery pack)
- Battery Charging (Approx) : 3.5 h (to fully charge an empty battery); Battery is charged by placing headphone on transmitter cradle
- Output Power : 5 mW + 5 mW
- Internal Power Supply : Transmitter: Supplied AC adapter (12 V, 200 mA)
- Cord Length (Approx.) : 39.4” (1.0 m)
- Dimensions (Approx.) : Transmitter: 8.63” x 4.25” x 3.87”(216 x 105 x 96 mm)
- Weight (Approx.):
- Headphones: 10.59 oz. (300 grams) including supplied battery
- Transmitter: 7.7 oz. (220 grams)
Summary: The MDR-RF985RK is a comfortable analogue wireless TV headset from Sony, with cushiony headband and ear pads and a fully sealed ear cup design. The sound is a good as we've come to expect from the Japanese company. The built-in rechargeable batteries lessen the overall positive impression, but the Sony MDR-RF985RK is nothing short of a very good choice.