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Replacement/upgrade for Sennheiser RS-185 ideas?

Arvids
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Hello everyone!

 

I am a very happy owner of a Sennheiser RS-185 headphones, but it's been at least 7 years (and probably even more - I don't even remember what year I bought them) of very heavy usage and I think it's about time to treat myself (and my tax write offs) to something new and maybe higher sound quality 🙂 Headphones and base station themselves still work with no issues - they are on their 3rd pair of batteries and 4th pair of ear cushions (Sennheiser sells replacement once at 20 EUR a pair, which is freaking awesome). Definitely keeping them around for other people in the family to use 🙂

 

Rough max budget: 500 EUR

Design: Over the ear, open-back.

 

I definitely prefer the type of sound stage the Sennheiser's have - pretty neutral and open back once. I use headphones heavily, at minimum 8-9 hours a day, most days 12-14 hours (I work from home and watch a lot of content outside working hours). Headphones have to last at least 12-14 hours, 20+ hours would be ideal.

Strongly prefer those where you can replace batteries easily (and buy replacements without issues).

Definitely not Bluetooth - pure radio please (Sennheiser's stuff is amazing where they use their own 2.4GHz tech like in RS line).

 

Don't need to be portable - I'm fine with them staying home close to the base station. Would be nice if I could connect more than one headphone unit to the base station so I can watch movies and stuff (RS-185 allow 2 headsets to be connected).

 

I have not listened to any other high quality headphones except current once, so I'm looking for suggestions what to try out (if I can find them somewhere locally to listen to).

 

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I honestly don't know if anyone else makes something like this.  I bought two pairs of RS-135 for my parent's and they absolutely LOVE them but not for any of the reasons that I enjoy a pair of headphones.  For my parent's they are more of a solution to a problem than an experience to be had or a hobby to enjoy.  I never put much time in on them for critical listening because it was our late Christmas (covid kept everyone away for a month) and my only concern was that they were functional.

 

Anyways for my mom it came down to the loose and soft fit of the headphones because she has a lot of neck and jaw issues and for my dad the fact that he could crank his volume and my mom could keep hers low, all the while they could still carry on a conversation because they weren't noise isolating.  Another comment my mom made was that she adored the fact that during annoying parts of a show that my dad watches he could just throw the headphones on and my mom was unbothered while she did other things around the house.

 

My entire point is that this technology is very niche and seams to serve a different audience, and there is nothing wrong with that.  I honestly have no idea if anyone else uses this technology because when I saw them on sale at a price I could justify for my parent's and from Sennheiser......... that's literally all of the looking around I needed to do, I didn't even watch reviews.

 

If you absolutely require RF and the ability to cast to more than one pair of headphones I think that is something you would have to dig for and I'm not entirely sure you would find anyone else doing it.

 

The only thing I would improve with them is the ability to run our sound system along with the headphones, but that's more of a limitation of HDMI and DCP.  The desire for this is on movie night my nephew is a little irritating for a movie setting and my parent's would like the ability to tune him out without having 4 pairs of the headphones.

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Sennheiser 6xx                          Topping DX7 (dac/amp) (class D balanced)     Micca RB42                                  Antlion ModMic Uni

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Phillips Fidelio X3                      Nobsound Little Bear P7 (pure tube)                 Accessories                                Neego boom mic

Harmonicdyne Zeus                   Little dot MKII (pure tube)                                  Dekoni, Brainwavz and ZMF pads

Fostex T50RP                            Darkvoice 336SE (pure tube)                            Hart and Periapt cables

HiFi-man HE400i (2017)            Crown XLi1500 (power amp class A)                Yoga Blocks (headphone stands)

Blue Microphones Lola               Xduoo MT-602 (class A hybrid tube)

Koss KPH30iCL                          Schiit Fulla (class D dac/amp)                          Headset

AKG K-361-BT                                                                                                      Turtle Beach Stealth 700 v2 + adapter

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@Psittac I do know that these things are more like Sony's home theater headphones rather than regular wireless headphones, but I'm not married to that specific type of headphones. So I do need to take a look at those Sony once, a lot of people do like them a lot.

 

What I do need is proper wireless - I'm so used to doing chores and walking around the apartment (and soon house) and listening to whatever, it's a deal breaker for me. Bluetooth does not have the range or penetration to work for how I use them. Sennheisers are rated to 100 meters in direct line of sight and I have no issues just going about my day without taking them off at all the whole day.

 

So something with a decently powerful base station is needed. Also, sound quality over bluetooth is not the same - while phones at least do have support for some codecs, PC's are basically boned on that front 🙂 Especially Linux.

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1 minute ago, Arvids said:

@Psittac I do know that these things are more like Sony's home theater headphones rather than regular wireless headphones, but I'm not married to that specific type of headphones. So I do need to take a look at those Sony once, a lot of people do like them a lot.

 

What I do need is proper wireless - I'm so used to doing chores and walking around the apartment (and soon house) and listening to whatever, it's a deal breaker for me. Bluetooth does not have the range or penetration to work for how I use them. Sennheisers are rated to 100 meters in direct line of sight and I have no issues just going about my day without taking them off at all the whole day.

Wireless alone limit's selection not to mention RF.  It's not something that I have a lot of experience with so maybe others will have more experience or knowledge of brands that offer this.

Cans                                          Amps                                                               Speakers                                      Mic

Sennheiser 6xx                          Topping DX7 (dac/amp) (class D balanced)     Micca RB42                                  Antlion ModMic Uni

Beyerdynamic DT880-600         Emotiva A-100 (class A)                                                                                         Vmoda Boom Pro

Phillips Fidelio X3                      Nobsound Little Bear P7 (pure tube)                 Accessories                                Neego boom mic

Harmonicdyne Zeus                   Little dot MKII (pure tube)                                  Dekoni, Brainwavz and ZMF pads

Fostex T50RP                            Darkvoice 336SE (pure tube)                            Hart and Periapt cables

HiFi-man HE400i (2017)            Crown XLi1500 (power amp class A)                Yoga Blocks (headphone stands)

Blue Microphones Lola               Xduoo MT-602 (class A hybrid tube)

Koss KPH30iCL                          Schiit Fulla (class D dac/amp)                          Headset

AKG K-361-BT                                                                                                      Turtle Beach Stealth 700 v2 + adapter

Phillips shp9500

AKG K240 studio

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Sennheiser is the only company I know of that makes quality headphones with RF signals.

 

There are undoubtedly hundreds monitoring or assisted listening headphones/earpieces but they're not really designed for media consumption like the RS line up.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/26/2022 at 11:29 PM, ShearMe said:

Sennheiser is the only company I know of that makes quality headphones with RF signals.

 

There are undoubtedly hundreds monitoring or assisted listening headphones/earpieces but they're not really designed for media consumption like the RS line up.

Yeah, I kind'a know that, but they stopped producing most of them - the only one that are still around are RS 175's and idk if they are as good as 185's.

I know sony has some good RF headphones targeted for home theater setups, but their model lineup is confusing 😄

 

And today one of the drivers in my headphones kicked the bucket, so now I actually do need to find what to buy.

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4 hours ago, Arvids said:

And today one of the drivers in my headphones kicked the bucket, so now I actually do need to find what to buy.

I'd contact customer support to check about a repair or replacement part. Worst case they can help you find a replacement set. In addition to the RS175, the RS195 is widely available in the US so maybe there's others.

 

4 hours ago, Arvids said:

I know sony has some good RF headphones targeted for home theater setups, but their model lineup is confusing 😄

The WH-RF400 looks like the only one widely available currently from Sony.

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14 minutes ago, ShearMe said:

I'd contact customer support to check about a repair or replacement part. Worst case they can help you find a replacement set. In addition to the RS175, the RS195 is widely available in the US so maybe there's others.

 

The WH-RF400 looks like the only one widely available currently from Sony.

I'm in Europe, Latvia specifically, don't have a local dealer sadly. But I will try contacting the main office in germany, see what they can do.

 

175's are freely available here, but those have non-foam ear cushions and I will sweat like a pig in those 😞

 

I was thinking, maybe I should switch what i am looking for in terms of categoty to Home Theater headphones - 185's are that category, so are the Sony once.

 

Basically, I welcome any suggestions. I prefer to stay inside 500 EUR +-100 EUR leaway.

 

P.S. just listened to Audio Technica headphones (open back, foam cushions, a bit weird head rest) and I do like the sound of them, but those were wired. 

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I'd say maybe either the Sennheiser 450 BT or the Sennheiser PXC-550 II's.  I have the 550's, and they are great.  I wish they had velour cushions, but that's a minor quibble.  I dislike the USB-micro charge port, but again...quibbling.

 

450BT's have USB-C.  I also see RS 175's on amazon at present--though they are more expensive.  You can always look for different cushions, if the ones on the 175 bother you.

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2 hours ago, Arvids said:

I'm in Europe, Latvia specifically, don't have a local dealer sadly. But I will try contacting the main office in germany, see what they can do.

I usually send Europeans to Thomann.de as they have good support for multiple countries and languages. Top right corner of the site lets you choose, though I don't see Latvia specifically. They are more pro-audio oriented than home/consumer so wont have a huge selection of headphones compared with some other retailers.

 

https://www.thomann.de/intl/tv_headphones.html

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My local Sony centre had Sony WH-L600 in store, so I grabbed them to try - I have 2 week return window if I do not like them.

Let's see if they can compare to the RS 185's, cost me 249 EUR 

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5 hours ago, IPD said:

I'd say maybe either the Sennheiser 450 BT or the Sennheiser PXC-550 II's.  I have the 550's, and they are great.  I wish they had velour cushions, but that's a minor quibble.  I dislike the USB-micro charge port, but again...quibbling.

 

450BT's have USB-C.  I also see RS 175's on amazon at present--though they are more expensive.  You can always look for different cushions, if the ones on the 175 bother you.

Both are Bluetooth only and that makes them a no-go. I need to connect to the PC tower, meaning headphones need a base station that can accept 3.5mm analog or HDMI ARC signal as input. For the phone I have Galaxy Buds that give me all the sound quality Bluetooth can give me anyway and are far more convenient on the go.

I work from home, so I need something for long work days to listen to music, watch movies, Youtube, Netflix and so on. It's fine if it's tethered to my home office 🙂

 

4 hours ago, ShearMe said:

I usually send Europeans to Thomann.de as they have good support for multiple countries and languages. Top right corner of the site lets you choose, though I don't see Latvia specifically. They are more pro-audio oriented than home/consumer so wont have a huge selection of headphones compared with some other retailers.

 

https://www.thomann.de/intl/tv_headphones.html

Thanks, but they seem to have basically all the same stuff as Sennheiser has on their website and I can order to LV directly no problem. It's just for service I'll have to ship stuff back to Germany probably.

3 hours ago, Arvids said:

My local Sony centre had Sony WH-L600 in store, so I grabbed them to try - I have 2 week return window if I do not like them.

Let's see if they can compare to the RS 185's, cost me 249 EUR 

Just plugged them in and first 10 minute impression:

  • They are closed back, meaning the sound stage is not the same.
  • Headphones are on the bassy side - it feels like you have a subwoofer working for the lows.
  • They do not go as loud as Sennheisers do. Actually Sennheisers go quite a bit louder. 
  • The batteries in Sony are built in and changing them has to be via their support (Sennheiser has regular NiMH AAA batteries that user has to put in themselves when receiving new unit as part of the assembly, so it's designed with that in mind from the get go and is a 10 second job).
  • Cushions are not changeable easily like on Sennheiser (Sennheiser sells the cushions 20 EUR a pair via their official site - I'm on my 3rd pair in 7+ years).

 

And while I wrote to this point, I tried plugged in the RS 185's to see if I can see the difference on a single driver and... the other driver came alive! 😄 Maybe one of the batteries didn't charge properly and it's time to change them... amazon.de to the rescue, ordered a whole pack of AA and AAA's with a charger (I have other things that take batteries too, so just stocking up for the future).

 

So after giving both a side to side listen to some FLAC and 4k youtube LTT videos I can say this:

  • Sony's high's are good. Like I can't really tell the difference between the two.
  • Bass on Sony is a bit too much for me personally, but it's not bad. I might also be biased due to using open-back headphones for 7+ years now.

 

I swear when I listened to JaysTwoCents video, this scene came to mind with Sony headphones:

 

 

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