MDR DS6500 vs. Sennheiser RS170's
The Sennheiser's and the Sony's both sound great they have a lot of punch and crispness. Sennheiser specializes in headphones and microphones (I understand), so the RS 170's have the signature sound of the excellent Sennheiser products. They do not disappoint in terms of audio listening quality but then neither do the Sony's. The amp in the Senheiser's seems a bit more powerful (picks up signals faster) than the comparably priced Sony's. However the Sony's have a very respectfully powerful full audio presentation and are possibly fuller in their dynamic range and clarity of instrumentality than the Sennheiser's. The Sony's are a bit more comfortable to wear and I seem to experience less listener fatigue over a long listening session with the Sony's even in analogue mode. The Sony surround processing is more complex and sophisticated with DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Logic Pro II, as well as a dialogue speech clarity mode. The Sennheiser surround processing mode is simple and sufficient along with a nice little bass boost separately if you want it. The Sony's have a digital mode with an optical cable in that is desirable especially if you a device that has only a digital output such as the Apple TV. The Sony's in digital input mode have a very clean and crisp sound compared to analogue, although somewhat quieter volume wise with the digital sound experience. In my experience the digital mode has the least listener fatigue in a really long listening session. I'm keeping both the Sony's and the Sennheiser's as they are both very good and each has a lot to recommend them individually. The Sony's have a slightly better wireless distance range listed in their specs, 100 meters, compared to 80 meters for the RS 170's. Neither wireless headphone will reach to my pillow in my bedroom without cutting out (bummer there)! Even though the specs indicate a 20 meter difference between the two in actual experience it amounts to only about 10 feet within my bedroom at the opposite end of the house after going through walls, etc. I have a very long house. Both headphones would likely reach anywhere in a normal medium to large home. Controls on the two wireless headphones are different. Both headphones have on and off controls on their base stations. The Sennheiser's can control the surround and bass boost from the headphone itself as well as the base station. The Sony's however have controls for the various sound processing modes only on its base station. The Sony's have a dial on the headphone to control volume and an off and on button for the headphones not the base station. The RS 170's can control all its functions from the headphone except turning the base station off and on. Both headphones sit neatly on top of their base stations for charging. The Sony battery life is longer and employs lithium ion batteries instead of nickel cad for the Sennheiser's. A Bose rep told me lithium ion batteries are a big factor in the audio quality of wireless headphones and thus the lack thereof of sufficient availability of them is the primary reason Bose has yet to produce wireless headphones. These Sony's are the first wireless headphone to use lithium ion batteries to my knowledge. The Sony's have both a digital input as well as an analogue instead of just an analogue on the RS 170's. I planned to send one or the other of these headphones back, but they're a toss up, so I'm keeping them both! There is probably a technical edge to the Sony's, with their feature set, their wireless range, outstanding audio quality and dynamic range, but their lack of being able to purchase additional stand alone headphones to work with the base station, as the Sennheiser's allow, along with a certain subjective something to the Sennheiser's audio quality won't allow me to let the Sennheiser's go! Or I may just buy another set of the Sony's to give me a second headphone set cause I sure can't let the Sony's go either!
July 15, 2011
Very good, high-end wireless headphones
So, I've long been wanting a good wireless headset that could connect to both my computer and office Blu-ray setup (40-inch Google TV in this case) at the same time. So far, this is the best set I've seen on the market, and while it's close to perfect it has a couple of minor issues that prevent me from giving it five stars.
- First, the PROS:
- Nicely built, super sleek, yet very comfortable and light, I could wear these for hours.
- Stylish charging station, headphones fit on them very elegantly.
- Useful lights in the front explaining the signal type (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.)
- Good, clear sound with zero hiss whatsoever, which was essential for me.
- Clear, obvious right and left ear markers (in red), something more and more headphones are leaving out.
- The base station wakes up automatically when you pick up the headset but the headphones do not, a big miss if you ask me, particularly since the station turns them off automatically when docking. Minor but asking me to turn it on manually each of the thousands of times I'll pick it up when it could do it automatically is a somewhat surprising oversight.
- The bass just seems to lack punch. The sales literature says there are huge drivers in the earpieces but they just don't deliver here until you hit too high a volume. Bass is still fairly good mind you, just not utterly crisp like Sennheiser wireless headsets.
- Buttons on the headphones, particularly the volume control, are very hard to use once the headset is on. There's a tiny bump next to the volume dial so your fingers can find it, but it's still very hard to change without taking off because it's so recessed.
If the latter three points had been addressed, I'd say this headset won't be beat for years, however as it is it's merely very, very good since the manual turn on and volume control are small, constant nags. Can't say much about the surround sound BTW, I just can't hear it myself.
Bottom line: Worth the investment unless you're waiting for absolute perfection.
June 13, 2011
Simulated 7.1 output, not 7.1 input
I think by 7.1 it means using the virtual sound technology to upmix either 2.0 stereo sound input or 5.1 channel sound input to 7.1. I don't think SPDIF supports 7.1 sound. I have ordered it and we'll see soon. Let me put five star for now.
May 28, 2011
To previous reviewer (Patatas): The Optical input will pass the older compressed DD-EX and DTS-ES 7.1 audio formats. It will not pass the new uncompressed Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Codec, HDMI is required for this. When using the optical connection, a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD source will be down-converted to regular DD or DTS.
May 23, 2011