Sennheiser RS 165

Sennheiser's RS 165 is a great wireless TV headphone system made for movie and music lovers that don’t require their headphones to be portable or a fashion statement. The RS 165s offer a comfortable fit, for the most part, and as long as you’re sitting directly in front of your media source, the sound won’t be streaky due to poor connection and the latency will be almost non-existent.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Close to no latency between audio and video
  • Good sound quality
  • Above-average build
  • Boost Bass feature
  • Ergonomic buttons
  • Radio frequency wireless connectivity
  • Comfortable
  • Good battery life
  • Cons
    • No microphone
    • No active noise canceling
    • Streaky connection when not in front of the TV, real range up to 10 meters max
    • Cheap padding on the ear cups
    • Key Features
      The Sennheiser RS 165 is a wireless over-the-ear headphone system meant to be used for movie watching and listening to music. Due to their bulkiness, these headphones aren’t meant to be used outdoors or for any kind of sports – they are too unstable to be used while walking, jogging, jumping, or moving your head too much at all. This isn’t to say that they’re unstable; they just aren’t built to provide stability during any sort of active movements. As far as stability goes, these headphones will grip to your head just tight enough so as to not move too much during casual listening activities. Their size also attributes to them being unfoldable, meaning that you’ll have a hard time transporting them from place to place, given that they can’t be made to be more compact. However, if you do decide to carry them somewhere, you’ll need a bag with a dedicated pocket just for the headphones. This lack of portability makes them a poor contender for best headphones in the commuting or traveling category. Additionally, these headphones aren’t meant to be used outside because they require their charging dock, which doubles as a transmitter, to be in a 30m radius in order for them to work.

      That being said, these headphones are one of the best on the market when it comes home movie theater use. After all, watching movies is what the RS 165s are made for, and they provide a balanced and nuanced sound, as well as comfort – all of which we’ll discuss later on.
      Basic Features
      The Sennheiser RS 165 have a limited number of features altogether, unlike some technology-packed wireless headphones around. However, keep in mind that these headphones aren’t meant to be multi-tasking; they are made for watching movies and listening to music, and their basic functions are placed accordingly. On the headphones themselves, you’ll find three buttons only: two for the volume up and down, and one button that enhances bass – that’s it. Unlike the Sennheiser RS 175, the 165 doesn’t feature a surround sound mode. Also, if you need good office headphones that can be used for conference calls, the Sennheiser RS 165 isn’t the way to go, seeing how they don’t have a mic. While being far from a deal-breaker, it is something to have in mind, especially because more and more headphones nowadays have a mic and some users have grown accustomed to having it by default.
      Advanced Features
      One of the few advanced features that the Sennheiser RS 165 wireless headphones have is the Bass Boost mode that is activated via the earcup button. This mode, the same as we’ve seen with the RS 175, makes the bass vibrant and more prominent, which can be especially enjoyable during some intense movie scenes.

      Speaking of advanced features, there is one that is obviously lacking: Active Noise Cancelation. On one hand, it’s logical to presume that you’ll already be watching a movie in a silent room, so maybe the brand thought that the ANC mode would be redundant. However, noise cancelation can take the whole movie-watching experience up a notch, creating a great viewing experience- Unfortunately, the Sennheiser headphone system isn't as good at sound isolation as one would hope just by looking at the size of the earcups. This is partly due to the fact that the earcups are too big for a lot of people, causing sound leakage. This not only makes you hear people near you, but other people will be able to hear your playback, which isn’t ideal if your intention is to keep quiet in the house while watching a movie.
      Sound Quality
      The overall sound quality levels of the Sennheiser RS 165 headphones is definitely above-average, providing a substantial amount of bass, great mid-tones as well as satisfactory treble. Let’s delve deeper into each of these categories.

      First off, The RS 165s are pretty good in the bass department, albeit their performance is somewhat dependent on the earcup fit and your ear shape, size, as well as the fact whether you’re wearing glasses or not. The low-bass range is extended to 10Hz, which is always good. However, the bass sometimes translates to a slightly muddy sound full of thumps, especially if you have the Bass Boost function on. Other than that, the bass is smooth and a lot of people are more than satisfied with its general response.

      Going on to the mids – it’s where these headphones excel. The response in the mids is consistent and slightly favors higher frequencies, which often results in bringing the voices in the playback slightly closer to your ear than the rest of the sounds. The only criticism that the performance in this category has received is the fact that this tilt towards the vocals makes the rest of the sounds fall flat sometimes – but it isn’t something that a regular listener would notice.

      As far as treble goes, the performance of the RS 165s in the highs is good, and these frequencies are well translated in the headphones. The high frequencies sometimes seem too accentuated, resulting in minor noises like footsteps and crackling sounding exaggerated sometimes.
      The main connectivity feature of the Sennheiser RS 165 TV headphone system is the transmitter, which features a 3.5mm stereo jack input that allows connection from a headphone jack on your TV or audio system. A detachable 7-foot cable is included when purchasing the 165. However, this system doesn’t offer HDMI or optical cable, so if your TV doesn’t have a 3.5mm audio output, you might need to purchase an RCA or ¼-inch adapter on the side in order to make this Sennheiser work.

      Additionally, the RS 165 are radio frequency headphones, meaning they don’t use Bluetooth technology in order to connect wirelessly to the transmitter. One of the greatest perks of this type of connection is that no pairing is necessary, but rather, the headphones will automatically and instantly connect to the transmitter. Also, they have the lowest latency, meaning that they will rarely, if ever, experience any sync issues when gaming and/or watching videos. This TV headphone system has a multi-receiver mode that allows two people to listen to the playback on two pairs of headphones simultaneously. The brand states that the wireless range of the Sennheiser RS 165 is up to 98 feet (around 30 meters). However, a lot of users ended up dissatisfied with how the range connectivity performance, due to the range being drastically lower than 30 meters in reality. However, if you’re using the headphones in the room where your media source is, you won’t experience any issues.

      There is no mobile or computer app compatible with the Sennheiser RS 165 that would allow you to manage or operate the system from your connected device.
      While the comfort levels of the Sennheiser RS 165 are satisfactory, the looks of the headphones will make you think these are the most comfortable headphones on the market – which they’re not. The soft, padded buffers underneath the headband provide a cozy listening experience while also allowing for a firm enough grip in order to provide essential stability. However, the padding on the large and bulky earcups creates unevenly distributed pressure on your earlobes, which can become a nuisance after a few hours of constant listening, but this also greatly depends on the size of your ears. The headset weight measures 10.6oz with batteries included. While this is lighter than what you’d imagine just from looking at the headphones, they are by no means lightweight.
      While the headphones on their own are black and have the bulky build that would most certainly blend into the already existing sea of black, bulky, over-the-ear headphones on the market, the transmitter that comes with the headphones elevates the stylishness and the look of the entire Sennheiser RS 165 system, making it look and feel premium, even without a flashy design. However, when you take a closer look at the headphones, you’ll probably notice that the padding and the finish look a bit on the cheaper side. That being said, these headphones aren’t meant to be worn as a fashion accessory, or even outside, for that matter, so it really boils down to whether you consider stylishness a priority or not. Most users are quite fond of the practical and no-nonsense design of these headphones.
      Aside from the cheap-looking ear cups of the Sennheiser RS 165, the rest of the headphones is well-built and you can expect above-average durability, especially given their indoor and prevalently sedentary use. The headband is sturdy, yet sufficiently flexible, and it’s reinforced with a metal frame in order to make the headphones less prone to cracking. The padding on the ear cups can be both softer and of high-quality, given that other headphones in the same price-range manage at producing more durable earcup padding regularly. However, unlike some other headphones, you’ll also get a 2-year warranty for the headphone system if you purchase it through an authorized dealer.
      Ease of Use
      With no app to pair the headphones with and with the radio frequency connectivity on-board, there aren’t a lot of aspects of the Sennheiser RS 165 that can make their use that much harder. Still, it’s worth noting that the three buttons on the right earcup are ergonomically built, bulky, and easy to locate, making the use of these headphones as easy as it can be. The buttons provide good feedback that is responsive and consistent.
      Power Source
      The Sennheiser RS 165 headphones come equipped with the multi-purpose transmitter, which not only serves the RF connectivity purposes but doubles as an ‘easy-charge’ cradle and docking station. There are 4 adapters available: EU, UK, US & AU so that the TV headphone system will work wherever you are. The power source needed for these headphones are the 2 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries that offer a battery life of 24 hours, according to the brand. This claim isn’t far off from the truth, given that most users have reported a battery life ranging from 18-24 hours. Unfortunately, there is no power saving feature on the RS 165s.

      The headphones can be recharged directly on the transmitter, but they take up to 8 hours to get a full charge, meaning that you’ll have to remember to charge them during the night, or while you’re at work. However, keep in mind that the charge time depends on the specific brand, quality, and specifications of the batteries you choose to use with the headphones. Of course, you can opt to use the regular 2x AAA batteries as a quick solution, but needless to say, these batteries are non-rechargeable.
      While the price of the Sennheiser RS 165 does require some saving up for a lot of people, these are still one of the best TV headphones available on the market, and possibly the best in their price range. Their sound quality is decent across all frequencies, they don’t lag behind the sound, and they are durable and sufficiently comfortable. If they had a noise canceling feature, we’d recommend you buy them in a heartbeat; however, even without the ANC, you’re looking at a nice pair of headphones that you’ll probably be more than satisfied with, especially if you aren't used to the cream of the crop.
      Key Features
      ● Wireless over-the-ear headphone system
      ● Charging dock doubles as a radio frequency transmitter
      ● Bass Boost mode
      ● No Active Noise Cancelation, sound leakage
      ● Above-average sound quality
      ● 3.5mm stereo jack input
      ● Moderately comfortable, uneven pressure on the lower part of earlobes
      ● Not very stylish
      ● Good durability
      ● 2 x AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, up to 24h battery life
      Bottom Line
      Wireless TV headphones are there to make your movies, TV shows, and video games more enjoyable, allowing you to increase the volume and pay attention to the details without disturbing others around you, and that what the Sennheiser RS 165 over-the-ear headphone system will do. While there are some evident downsides to not having ANC and a good wireless range, these headphones will perform well for most people, and they are one of the best TV headphones in their price range.
      Where to Buy
      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Jul. 26. 2021

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