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289 of 292 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Headphones, but too simple.
Because I wasn't able to find them in stores to try out, I purchased the RS-170 and RS-180 together for a side-by-side comparison. The theory being that if both were okay, the 180s would be mine (the hifi freak) and the 170s would go to the wife (the hifi luddite).

Sound:

Both have good highs but that's where the similarities end. The 180s have a...
Published on 14 Jun 2010 by David Fidler

versus
73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars what a shame...
Have used the previous incarnation of these (Sennhesier RS 140) on an almost daily basis for a long while, so was looking forward to this update of the range.
Bought a pair of RS 180s, used them for a couple of days, returned them and went back to my RS 140s.
First major and inexcusable flaw was to make the control buttons almost flush with the body and then...
Published on 10 April 2010 by N. Macpherson


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289 of 292 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Headphones, but too simple., 14 Jun 2010
By 
David Fidler - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
Because I wasn't able to find them in stores to try out, I purchased the RS-170 and RS-180 together for a side-by-side comparison. The theory being that if both were okay, the 180s would be mine (the hifi freak) and the 170s would go to the wife (the hifi luddite).

Sound:

Both have good highs but that's where the similarities end. The 180s have a much more robust sound stage (the 170s sound tinny by comparison) and the bass response is head and shoulders above the 170s. Some reviews have classed the 180s as hifi-snob worthy and I'd say that they're almost right. For a set of wireless cans, the sound is really really good. Anecdotally, the 170s received about 90 seconds of 'testing' between the wife and I before deciding that the gain in sound quality of the 180s was well worth the extra 40 quid.

Reliability of Signal:

Some have complained of issues with signal. I have one dead spot in the house (metal door frame as I exit the house to BBQ my steaks) but that's it. If I take them upstairs and close the door and move around a lot, do I experience the occasional drop out. But everyone knows that "100 ft range" means "line of sight". When you start to put walls/doors in there, of course that degrades your range.

User Interface:

They're generally pretty simple to operate but I find the process of mating the cans to the base to be a really tedious process. Because we have two sets running from the same base station, the way in which Sennheiser has you mate multiple cans is really stupid. Esp when you have to re-mate them. (We have two transmitters so I periodically mate one set to the base station in the computer room and growl at Sennheiser when I have to re-mate them to the transmitter in the TV room; it's a real faff).

Other Complaints:

The base stations can control up to 4 headphones but the extra cans are not yet available for you to purchase in the UK (as of June 2010). I was going to buy them 6 months ago, but ended up waiting on Sennheiser to offer the headphones (HDR 180s) on their own (I did't need the other base). IMHO, Sennheiser really dropped the ball here because while the system can support extra 'phones, you simply can't buy them without the base station (yet).

Also, I share the complaints about the position and design of the volume control buttons; A dial or rocker would have been much better.

Summary:

All in all, I really like the 180s. They give me quality sound and allow me to listen to music on the move or watch movies at unreasonable volumes during the evenings, all without waking the neighborhood (or the baby).

======== Update: Nearly a year later.... ========

When I first wrote this review, I gave it 4 stars. Now that I've settled into them, I'm happily upping them to a 5 star and I wish I could give them 6 stars.

Headset Mating:

Shortly after the first review, I found that I was re-mating the cans unnecessarily when changing base stations. This isn't documented in the manual but it appears as though the cans remember the mating settings for multiple base stations. That's really cool because when I want to mate them to my upstairs station, I just put the cans in the upstairs cradle, lift them, turn on the station and then turn on the cans. Viola. Mate them to downstairs (TV)? Put them in the cradle upstairs (which turns off the cans) and turn off the station. Then walk downstairs, turn on the cans. Voila.

Volume Buttons:

I don't use them and I don't care. In all honesty, they are useless for anything more than setting your relative listening volume. The wife and I have our dedicated headsets and we've set our relative volume levels to each other. When something is too quiet, chances are it's too quiet for both of us (if we're on the same source) so we just turn it up (or down) on the source [ie - with the remote]. On the computer, I have a multimedia keyboard that I use the adjust the volume. Simple.

Wireless Problems? - Nope:

I've read other reviews that these headphones interfere with wireless internet; I don't have that problem. I'm running two base stations. One is close to my wireless router (4 feet), the other is close to a couple of computers that use wireless (802.11g) and I never have a hiccup, and that's running two base stations.

I suspect that the people who have wireless issues are surrounded by other people who also have wireless internet and so the frequency band that it all runs at is saturated. I used to get this at my old flat. Between 6-8pm, it was unusuable because everyone else was trying to use it too. The base stations are basically going to act as another wireless router so I can see it causing interference. The solution is to live close to some Luddites.

Battery Life:

Awesome. I've had them run out of juice once and that was because I just forgot to put them back on the charger several days in a row. When my daughter goes to bed (7pm), the headphones go on and they come off around 1am. If I forget to put them on the charger for a night, no biggie.

Seriously, now that I've gotten used to them, I wish that I could afford to buy one set for every member of my family. They are just that good.
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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wow wow wow!!!, 24 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
First things first. I absolutely love these headphones! Freedom to cook while listening to the TV or music, no wires when using my PC, grab a coffee without having to remove my headphones. Once you've gone wireless you won't want to go back.

Build Quality:
Lots of plastic and very plasticky. Not a hint of metal in sight. However, it feels like a quality product, the metallic smoke grey finish has a slick varnished coating to it like a new car, its nicely built and the pieces fit very well together. The headband can be twisted a bit too, but feels delicate. Overall they do not have that rugged, durable build to them like professional studio monitors might have, fragile even, and should be handled with care. Leave them on the floor or on the sofa at your peril.

Base Station and range:
Feels light and not as well built as the headphones. Offers a -8db switch for amped sources, 3.5mm analogue input. Two buttons on front, one to hold down and power on/off, and a ALC button to enhance speech in movies/TV/videos (surprisingly useful!!). Plop the headphones on top to recharge and an orange light stays on until fully charged. I like the design of the stand. It looks good wherever I put it. Power on the base, power on the headphones, thats all I had to do to make them connect and work. As for the range, the signal will not penetrate past around 2-4 walls and is liable to cut off in a city apartment like mine once I'm a few rooms away. Best used in the same or next room.

Battery life:
A single charge lasts for ages and is excellent. 12-24h of continuous battery life should be enough for anyone. Easily replaceable AAA batteries. Good quality Sanyo Eneloops were supplied with my pair.

Comfort:
Supremely comfortable. The earpads and headband is soft and plush and i can wear them for hours on end. With the open backed design, its cool and no hot ears.

Open vs Closed backs:
The RS180s are open backed. Please don't buy open backed phones if you want to complain about sound leakage and hearing the environment around you. That's what closed headphones are for, get the RS170 instead.
I'm a convert to open backed designs. Having listened to earbuds and closed backs all my life, its a revelation and I'm no longer confined to the shut off, sealed sound that is so closed I can even hear my own breathing. I don't need to take my phones off if someone wants to talk to me, I can hear my mobile ringing and frankly its useful to hear the environment around me. Open phones are as close as it gets to listening to a good hi-fi system. You get that wide, airy feel to the sound along with your environment. There is sound leakage and I would certainly not listen to these in a public library.

Sound:
Simply put, super! I was blown over by the sound quality when I first tried them out.
The RS180s will make a mockery of your mp3 collection, poorly encoded tracks will reveal flaws from your sources and suddenly become awful to listen to. Cheap headphones cover up these flaws, the RS180s bring them to the front. Instruments and sounds you didn't know existed will come out.

Put on some Vivaldi and Bach, particularly good for testing accuracy in handling complex polychordal passages. Harpsichords are crisp, cello bass is tight and the sound is clean and clear with a wide soundstage. No muddling at all.
Now for the bass. Hans Zimmer soundtracks will do fine. The RS180s will handle anything and compared to the wired Sennheiser HD598s, I would say are a touch more bassy. I prefer to watch movies on the RS180s. Thankfully its not exaggerated either, listening to the booming bass tones in Inception sounds much like what I heard in the movie theater. I dislike headphones that boost bass; cheaper ones will turn it into an incoherent nasty sounding mush. You won't get that problem here.
I picked out a couple more recordings that offer a good soundstage and a live presence. A live performance of The Eagles Hotel California sounds like I could actually be there, the twang of the guitar offers the same sharp accuracy as the Harpsichords from a Vivaldi, and the beat of the drums is tight and pleasant to listen to.

I like the sound quality. It's superb. As good as wired headphones in a comparable price range. It's a smooth sound, the highs are crisp and do not tire the ears. The bass will come out as required and will handle anything with ease.

Features:
A common criticism of the RS180 are the awful controls, and I concur. They are terrible. All located on the right side, and virtually flush with the headset. Sure it looks good but for usability it scores a 1/10. Snuggled in between the volume +/- buttons is the power button, cunningly placed there for accidental switch offs.
To use the controls, you simply have to memorize by location and feel which buttons are which. Until you've mastered these buttons, you'll have to get used to screwing up the balance by accident, switching it off and fumbling around for the volume control.

Why didn't they make the volume control a rotary knob or a more tactile rocker switch? Why did they have to make the l/r controls so close to the volume? Why do they have to virtually hide the power button inside the volume controls???? Why why why???

Value for money:
Expensive? Yes if you're used to buying cheap 20-50 phones, but this is a move into the audiophile end of headphones. I would argue these are excellent value for money. They offer comparable sound quality to wired headphones in this price range, for example the wired HD598s. And you get the Kleer, crystal clean wireless technology for that same price. You will get what you pay for. You will get excellent sound quality.

5/5
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sennheiser RS180 wireless headphones, 1 Jun 2011
By 
D. Jones - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
I bought these to replace a a pair of R(s?)130 headphones, attracted by the new "Kleer" system, and first impressions are very good. Very easy to set up straight out of the box. The sound quality is the best I've ever had from headphones, wired or otherwise, and it's noticeably more crisp and full compared with the 130s, and they're lighter too. Comfortable to wear and will go very loud if that's what you want.

I'd seen reports that they can interfere with wireless networks so I was concerned, but I have a PC within a few feet and a laptop in the same room that have been unaffected. The router (Netgear) is in the room next door though.

Now for the downside: they are open ear so you can hear outside noise, including the TV sound if it is on, and because the Kleer system introduces a tiny delay in the signal it sounds as if there is an echo which makes them unusable with the TV sound on. Not a problem for me as I am using them mostly to watch/listen without disturbing others late at night, but this may be a factor you need to consider. The delay is so short that there is no noticeable problem with lip synchronization on dialogue when watching TV.

Also, the switches for on/off and volume are very small and a bit fiddly but this is only a minor criticism.

They are expensive so I was expecting good quality and I think they deliver - one star deducted for the fiddly controls/echo.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars what a shame..., 10 April 2010
By 
N. Macpherson (U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
Have used the previous incarnation of these (Sennhesier RS 140) on an almost daily basis for a long while, so was looking forward to this update of the range.
Bought a pair of RS 180s, used them for a couple of days, returned them and went back to my RS 140s.
First major and inexcusable flaw was to make the control buttons almost flush with the body and then stick the power button between the 2 volume buttons. On what planet is this a good idea? I would really like to know what was going through the head of the designer when they came up with that gem.
The second flaw was that the RS 180s couldn't get a signal where my RS 140s could (base stations being in the identical place, of course). Tried twisting the base station around to achieve a better signal but had no effect.
The ear cups are also much smaller, making them quite uncomfortable (I have quite normal, man-sized ears and no way resemble an elephant).
The one positive thing going for them was that the sound was slightly better, with some improved clarity.
Its quite frustrating to see a great product go in this direction, with style triumphing over usability when there's no reason they can't go hand in hand.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inferior to the older Sennheiser RS 130's in almost every way, 19 Oct 2011
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
I got these headphones to replace my faithful, but aging, Sennheiser RS 130 cordless headphones. The RS 180's are part of the new digital range designed to take over from the old analogue RS 120/130/140 series.

First impressions, on opening the box, were that these headphones were quite a bit smaller than my old RS130's. The dock / transmitter is also a little bit more compact than I expected from its picture, which I was personally pleased about. Lifting the headphones out I immediately noticed how light they were too - again a positive attribute for comfort. I also prefer the look of the newer RS 180's, and particularly its transmitter looks a lot better than the bulky old ones, and it's better designed in terms of getting the headphones to sit on the charger correctly. The old RS130 / 140 design was sometimes tricky to line up so that it charged the headphones!

What I didn't think about, until I put them on, is the smaller headphone ear pieces also mean they make significantly more contact with your ears than the previous RS generation which are a larger oval shape design that cups over the ears more. The RS 180's are a much rounder "D" shape and sit more on the ears. Personally, as someone with relatively small ears, I could live with this. But if you have large, or even average sized, ears I would not recommend these headphones if you prefer something which cups the entire ear rather than something which rests on them. Tightness pressure of the head band was very acceptable. Not pressing your head, but not so loose they fall off, and comfort would improve even more with usage.

What's not so good is I'm pretty sure the headphones are made from an inferior grade of plastic (in comparison to the RS 130 / 140 series) which may be more prone to snapping over time. They just don't feel as solid and I'd rather have the extra weight than feel like something may snap easily. Layout wise the headphone controls also look nice, but are a triumph of design over functionality. As many others have commented, it's impossible not to trigger the power button sometimes when you adjust the volume up or down, because the power is placed smack bang in the middle of the two volume buttons. What makes it worse is the buttons are quite flush with the rest of the headphone surface meaning it's tricky to feel them. What was up with the old style volume knob Sennheiser?! Likewise adjusting the pan left or right will result in a beep when they can't pan any more, but there's no beep when you reach the middle - which means you're left guessing if you've properly centered the balance.

Since these are cordless headphones arguably the most important thing, after sound quality, is reception. So how is it? Unfortunately the reception is poor. I wouldn't go as far as to say terrible, but definitely poor. They'll work fine if you're in the same room. Move to the next room and they should also be ok. However, go about 20 feet away and through 2 walls (say the distance between a bedroom and kitchen in a typical house) and you're likely to have reception problems. This irked me a lot because the RS130's performed flawlessly at the same distances and well beyond. An operating microwave oven also completely wiped out the signal if I came within about 10 feet whilst using it. In these aspects they are unfortunately a big step backwards from the older generation of analogue cordless Sennheiser headphones.

Another unwelcome aspect of the change to digital is sometimes, if I turned the headphones off, they couldn't find a signal again when they were turned back on. I had to go to the transmitter and turn it off and on again so the headphones would get a signal. I know some of you will have experienced digital cable/TV boxes which "lock up" sometimes and need to be reset to work. This is exactly the sort of thing which happened to the RS180's transmitter.

There is also noticeable latency (delay) on the headphones. If you play any sort of musical instrument and intend to use these headphones for any sort of real time live monitoring they will not prove suitable. I sat right next to the cordless transmitter and hooked them up to play some piano and I would guess the latency is around 50ms or a bit more. Turning on the automatic gain control - which is thankfully selectable on these headphones - seems to make the latency go up even higher. So the latency means they're unsuitable for things like playing piano or monitoring a live guitar / microphone vocals etc. This, yet again, is a flaw that the cheaper RS 130's did not suffer from. However the RS180's latency is definitely adequate for things like TV or movie viewing (the audio will lag a frame or two behind the picture, but that's small enough that you generally won't notice) and this is a non-issue for music listening - unless the music is also playing from another speaker source, in which case the headphones will have a small delay that you will notice in comparison to the speakers. I feel that Sennheiser could've done much more here. They didn't and, as a result, the latency means they're unsuitable for certain audio tasks.

So how's the sound? I was hoping maybe it would redeem some of the above. Unfortunately I wasn't impressed here also. The digital aspect does help eliminate the hissing from the old cordless analogue headphones, as you might expect, and that does mean there's a small improvement in clarity when it comes to listening to quieter sections of music etc. However Sennheiser appear to have resorted to some of the usual tricks headphone manufacturers use to please most consumers. They've given the RS180's a bit of a "smile curve" frequency response. The bass response isn't overdone as many headphones do, and I ended up quite liking that for the most part. But they've also boosted the upper-mid frequency range, which means these headphones might be quite fatiguing to listen to with certain types of material for longer periods. This boost leaves a slightly scooped out mid-frequency range which, in part, makes me feel like I'm listening to the sound almost like it's coming through a "veil" if that makes sense? The older RS 130's don't leave me with the same sense that I'm listening to music through a veil as these RS 180's do. However many people will hear a bit of bass and some higher frequencies and that will equate that to better clarity to them. I don't agree, but audio preference is highly subjective.

I am genuinely gutted that I find myself giving these headphones a less than glowing review. I honestly wanted to like them, but I can't. Their lack of suitability for my own needs left me with the task of tracking down another pair of the (now discontinued) Sennheiser RS 130's to replace my current 130 headphones. Sometimes what seems to be a technological step forward can actually be several steps backwards. It's my opinion this is true of Sennheiser on this occasion, and I would recommend people purchase the older analogue models if they get the chance. The older analogue ones have a longer reception range, no issues with latency, and subjectively (the old RS 130's specifically) sound better to me too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just the job, 3 Dec 2011
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
I'm a Sennheiser fan and have had a pair of Sennheiser HD 565 headphones for so long that the padded headband has disintegrated from within. I'd long contemplated buying a pair of wireless headphones, but had been put off the RS 180's by the negative reviews on this site. I decided to take the plunge after Which Magazine rated them as one of their best buys. I needn't have worried. They arrived sooner than I'd expected and were simplicity itself to install and set up. They're fantastic. It's a joy to be able to move from room to room and listen without any loss of signal. I have a BT Home Hub and use the internet via a wireless connection and I can listen to a CD or the radio and use the internet at the same time without any problem at all. There's no interference from the microwave or from the metal doors in the conservatory. The ALC (Automatic Level Control) button to enhance speech is great and means you can reduce the overall volume. The length of battery life isn't an issue for me because using any full ear-covering headphones for longer than 2 hours becomes hot and uncomfortable.
My principal use is for music, and for watching films late at night without disturbing other members of the family so these are ideal. I've also been quite impressed by the reproduction of the surround sound effect on some of the films I've watched. Yes, the buttons are a fiddle - but I knew that to start with, and apart from altering the volume I've not needed to mess about with the balance. My only other gripe isn't with the headphones, but with the lack of a printed instruction manual. It's a real pain to have to upload the CD just to re-check the significance and the sequences of the flashing green lights on the transmitter and headphone set. The manufacturer has assumed that everyone buying these headphones has access to a computer. Surely the instructions could have been incorporated into the Safety booklet.
Aside from that, this is a great piece of kit.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality, 17 Jan 2011
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
Great product. Sound is superb, with deep low range and great mid to high range. I noticed some people have complained about interference with routers and wi-fi. I have wi-fi in my house and have had no probs. People also complained about the volume and on off switch being flush rather than raised. Not a prob after a few days use, you get used to where everything is quite quickly. The only thing I would say is there is quite a lot of sound leakage so not good for listening to in bed with your wife trying to sleep next to you, especially if you like the volume quite high like me. These are open back earphones so you should be aware of this
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Wireless Headphones - Available to Date, 22 Feb 2011
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
Remarks
These headphones are very impressive. The quality of sound is remarkable & I experience no drop off around the house.
Base
The base level is realistic, great for watching films. If you like over powered base in music, Dubstep, RNB etc, these may disappoint.
Volume
The volume level again is good and remains clear even at the top end. But they do have their limits, so again if you like to leave your ears ringing these are not for you.
Controls
The controls (vol, on/off, balance) are tricky to use as others have pointed out, but the on/off button is raised so you can take a bearing from that.
Fit
Each side is adjustable allowing for a very comfy fit. The padding is a soft velvet fabric, which does not 'crackle' when you move about with them on.

Overall these headphones deliver what you would expect at their price tag: top end, professional sound that look good in the home.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many bad sides, 21 Jun 2010
By 
M. Lillesand "moretn lillesand" (Stavanger, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
Well, the sound quality is excellent, no question about that. Extremely clear, nice base punch, crisp treble. Easy to wear. Great duration.

Minuses: Interferes strongly with wireless network (linksys wrt54gl and a wap54g). Moving the net-channels has no effect, so the only solution will be to move the sender farther away from the computer. And I'm a computer pro, so yes, I've tried to differ the channels as well. No change.

Like all others have said: the power-button is between the lower/higher-volume button. Simply not very well thought out. It is difficult to find, and if you are unlucky, when you want to pump up the volume you will accidentally turn the headset off instead. Then you will lose four-five seconds of the music until they resync with the sender.

Another minus: The Kleer-technology provides good quality sound, lossless, but unfortunately there is a decoding/encoding delay which makes the sound sound like an echo if you are listening to the source during loudspeakers at the same time. So all other speakers need to be off, including the speakers of your TV-set.

So in conclusion, I prefer my old Sennheiser HDR-120 to the brand new HDR-180. They have much much better sound-quality but losing the wireless signal, delay as well as other minuses are just too much of a disadvantage compared to the simpler technology of the HDR-120/140. I would return them if I could.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Support could be better, 19 Feb 2010
This review is from: Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone (Electronics)
The sound of these headphones is very clear (slightly clearer than my wired Sony MDR-CD780, though not necessarily preferable because the encoding quality must be very high). There is no hiss, no distortion, and I can have a concrete wall between the headphones and the transmitter without problems.

I had two problems with them, problems which were not explained in the supplied manual:
* When I first started them there was a beep in the headphones for some 20-30 minutes. I don't know the cause of it, but they have never re-occurred since.
* When I was watching movies, during the times when the movies' sound volume was very low, the sound in the headphones started having short, often interruptions. I was able to solve this by increasing the master sound volume of the computer from 18% to 40%. (Never had the problem again.)
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Sennheiser RS 180 Open Digital Wireless Headphone
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