In today’s world of technology, smaller is almost always better and consumers are always looking for the smallest tech products that offer the most functionality. This is quite understandable but you can’t always get the same experience with a smaller, which is particularly true with a quality set of full-sized headphones. Earbuds or small in-earphones are great for when you are on the go or traveling but for the highest quality audio experience, nothing matches the performance and audio output of the right full-sized headphones. The Sennheiser RS 170 Headphones are in a class all of their own.
Sennheiser has been in the headphone market for many years and is well-known as a manufacturer that delivers excellent customer value and quality products. The Sennheiser RS 170 Headphones is one of their many models and it is among the best in its class of full-sized headphones. The 170s offer a long list of features and if you are in the market for a high-quality pair of headphones that can deliver more than the average set of earbuds, then they might be right for your home entertainment arrangement.
Let’s take a closer look at this Sennheiser RS 170 review and see what it can offer.
RS 170 Overview
Sennheiser’s RS series has included many different model lines and the RS 170 headphones have been redesigned since earlier models such as the RS 120s. Specifically, the charging unit has been redesigned and it now sports a much more modern and sleek appearance than it did before. The charging connection itself has been reconfigured and is now a simpler three contact point connection which provides a slightly more efficient charging function.
The headphones come with a power adaptor and the single available connection to the headphones themselves is a 3.5mm connection. You can use the 3.5mm connection for a wide range of audio such as direct audio from a DVD, gaming unit, or MP3 player. The included adaptor includes a range of functionality such as converting from a 3.5mm to 6.3mm connection or even if needed connecting to a phono connection.
The 170s come with a single triple-A battery in each ear cup. They take about sixteen hours to charge but will last for up to twenty-four hours on a full charge. The battery life will depend on what kind of range is used and what volume levels are used but it typically isn’t more than a few hours difference. The charging cradle (or docking station) offers a natural hanging storage unit for the headphones so it is fairly easy to not forget about recharging them. As long as the cradle is somewhere convenient, it is fairly natural to simply use it as the storage spot when not in use, which charges the headphones by default.
There are 5 buttons on the headphones that control the functions such as volume, surround settings, and the bass boost (an extra bass mode for those who like it heavy). They also offer LED lights that let you know if surround sound or bass boost is enabled. The buttons are big enough to be useful and responsive when pressed without many issues of random errors or functions that will not engage.
RS 170 Design & Features
Previous designs of the RS model line used an FM connection to transmit audio while the RS170s use a new type of 2.4GHz wireless signal for audio transmission. For those who may not know, FM transmission is still used in most full-sized earphone models and offers a much lower quality of audio compared to 2.4GHz. The signal picks up interference easily, inefficiently compresses audio, and is highly prone to background disturbance. All of that results in an inferior audio experience regardless of where the audio originates from, even if you have the best equipment on the planet.
In addition to the audio quality, 2.4GHz transmission means you don’t have to manually tune the headphones to find the right FM band which can be annoying at best. The change in design allows the RS 170s to deliver a much more pure audio quality that is closer to the source from which it is derived by its CD quality or otherwise. The signal is not compressed and you will experience virtually zero interference. Obviously, this was a big step up in the design for the RS series and the RS 170s in particular. The headphones come in the box, ready to go, with no manual adjustments needed.
The range of the headphones is stated at eighty meters which might be a bit generous especially once you take into account walls and various obstructions that will cut down range capabilities. However, the RS 170s work exceptionally well in a mid-sized office or house and provide almost a totally free range of movement from room to room. In fact, you would probably be fine even stepping outside a few meters and still be able to maintain a solid signal.
Another nice touch these headphones provide is the smooth transition if and when they do experience a break signal. Instead of the crackling or buzz, you get with many models, this unit simply smoothly fades the audio out and back in without any abrupt disruptions. While an audio break is never ideal, smooth transitions are always more pleasant to deal with.
The headphone construction is solid and provides a level of comfort that is hard to find with many full-sized headphone models. Typically, full-sized models are either very comfortable but won’t stay in place or stay in place but cause a significant amount of discomfort after several hours of use.
You won’t find this to be the case with the RS 170s, as they offer a delicate and efficient balance of both comfort and fit. The around earpieces have dual joints which give them plenty of flex and the headband construction is solid keeping the unit in place without gripping too tightly.
As far as sound quality, it’s important to allow the headphones to break in a bit as you do not get the full quality the RS 170s offer until they are used a bit. If you make a judgment on sound quality within the first thirty minutes of use, you may think the sound is a little top-heavy.
However, after several hours, you will find things even out nicely and the headphones deliver a powerful and smooth audio experience that is among the best models in its class and better than most. The sound quality is excellent for movies, music, and other entertainment choices as the unit handle the change in delivery quite well.
The RS 170s were designed with the home entertainment experience in mind. So if you enjoy several different types of entertainment and have an average or above arrangement set up in your home, then these headphones will make the experience significantly better, without question.
Final Thoughts on these Sennheiser Headphones
The Sennheiser RS 170 Headphones are certainly not a budget-style headphone or designed for mobile devices you might use while on the go. However, if you are looking for a headphone option that tops off the rest of your home entertainment system then they are an excellent choice.
They offer a quality of audio that you won’t find with other styles of earphones and when compared to other full-sized models they can hold their own and more. In fact, in most cases, they exceed what other full-sized models offer.
If you can handle the amount of investment required for a pair of RS 170s then there are many things to appreciate about these headphones and not many things dislike. If high-quality audio and a powerful home entertainment experience are a priority for you, then these are well worth looking at.