I’ve never really been a fan of headphones, and if I ever do wear any, they’re typically the inner ear types for private listening. After all, who wants a set of big and clunky ear muffs attached to the side of your head?
I may just have been swayed though. I’ve been testing out the Sennheiser RS130, a set of wireless headphones that uses a standard 3.55 mm jack. With a standard jack, you can use these headphones for nearly all audio devices. The adapter for converting the jack to fit 1/4-inch plugs is also included.
The RS130 is a two-part system that comes with the wireless headphones, powered by a couple of NiMH batteries and a wireless base station that connects to your output device (eg laptop). The base station also allows you to dock your headphones for charging and storage for when it’s not in use.
With the rechargeable NiMH batteries, Sennheiser claims that you can get up to 22 hours of listening enjoyment. In my experience, I think it would be difficult to argue with that. The batteries lasted for three weeks where I would use them for at least an hour each day and I’ve not had to charge up so far.
Sennheiser has built the base station to power up only when the audio jack is connected to a device, a smart energy-saving technique. It’s very simple to get setup. The whole system is plug and play. With the base station powered by mains adapter and connected to my laptops headphone jack, I just flick the headphone power switch to on, and in a couple of seconds it has identified the signal to tune in to and I’m listening to my iTunes playlist. Since the audio is analogue over wireless, when I turn the volume up on my laptop, the volume also goes up on the headphones. You can of course control volume using the slider on the right side of the headphone. The RS130 will also give you a warning if it thinks that the audio source is too loud or too quiet.
Audio quality is where the Sennheiser comes in to its own. Using an open design, the earphones can ‘breathe’ from both sides of the ear muffs. This allows the set to produce better quality audio without the restriction of shielding and containing the sound, resulting in deep bass levels and a dynamic range of audio frequencies.
In terms of wearing comfort, the RS130 is no heavier than any of the other headphone systems I’ve been using, despite the fact that it has to include the wireless receiver and two AA batteries. The ear muffs help keep your ears nice and warm as well.
There’s just one issue I came across when using these Sennheiser’s. The volume slider is too close to the signal switch. I often end up pressing the signal button rather than sliding the volume dial, resulting in a momentary pause of audio whilst it tries to re-detect the signal from the base station.
To charge the RS130, you just hook them on to the base stations metal holder. The contact between the metal part on the headphone and the bass station allows it to transfer the charge across safely. A clever design part and one that makes it practical and easy to charge after you’ve finished using them.
The Sennheiser RS130 is a fantastic headphone set that gives you freedom and flexibility to move around the house without interrupting your listening. You can leave your music in one room whilst moving about, without losing the signal, up to a distance of 150 metres.