Home Theater Reviews

Sennheiser RS 170 Review

Sennheiser RS 170 ReviewAudio is a key part to any home theater system, but often times we spend far more effort concentrating on the television. You can have the best TV or projector on the planet, but if the audio doesn’t sound good you still won’t have an enjoyable experience. So maybe you’ve secured a great A/V receiver and a set of 7.1 speakers that sound amazing! What about when you want to watch a movie while everyone else in the house is asleep? At that point you need to look for a pair of high quality headphones, and that’s where Sennheiser comes in.

We asked Sennheiser to let us review a pair of their wireless headphones for use in a home theater environment. They decided that the RS 170 wireless headphones were the perfect for our situation. The RS 170 headphones are a wireless model that allows you to plug the base station into your audio source, like your computer or A/V receiver, and then be able to listen to the audio completely unencumbered by wires. The base station also acts as a charging station for the AAA rechargable batteries located within the headphones. The TX 170 transmitter can also be paired with up to four separate headphones. They also do not use infrared, so they can be worn all around the house, because they do not require line-of-sight back to the transmitter. I was able to listen to music in the basement, on the other side of my house, from the base station which was located on the first floor without any noticable interference or loss of audio quality! The freedom to wander around your house while listening to the audio of your choosing doesn’t mean you lose control over what you’re hearing either. On the right ear piece there are controls for power, volume, bass boost, and simulated surround sound mode.

Comfort and Use

Sennheiser RS 170 ReviewThe Sennheiser RS 170 headphones look like they might be uncomfortable due to their size, but they are actually quite comfortable. I had no issues watching a couple of television episodes, and then listening to music. They never felt too heavy, and they didn’t pinch, or put too much pressure on the side of my head. Having the volume, power, bass boost, and surround sound controls on the headphones is incredibly useful, but the button placement leaves a little to be desired. The buttons are broken out into two groups. The power button is sandwiched between the volume up and down buttons. I found myself accidentally turning the set on and off when trying to adjust the volume. Eventually you would probably get used to button placement.


The RS 170 is billed as being a wireless surround sound headphone, so I was very excited to try them out with some of my favorite movies. I was skeptical of how well they would stand up to a traditional 5.1 speaker setup, especially when I realized the only audio input to the transmitter is a stereo cable. To be fair, Sennheiser does very clearly state on the product page on their website that these headphones provide “surround sound simulation.” Unfortunately I didn’t find that turning the surround sound simulation mode on helped improve the experience of the movie in any way. Often times it actually made the sound worse. The bass boost, on the other hand, I did generally like. In most situations it did help to deepen the bass. Fortunately, if you ever find it disruptive you can easily turn it off from the button on the headphones.


Sennheiser RS 170 ReviewListening to music is really where the Sennheiser RS 170 headphones shine! I don’t normally listen to music very frequently, but the RS 170s sounded so good it made me want to listen to music all the time! The music comes through so clearly! Much more clearly than you would expect if you’ve used other wireless headphones in the past. While the bass won’t rattle your brain, I found it to be of a perfectly acceptable level. When you listen to music through these headphones you really feel like you’re hearing the music as it was intended to be heard. I stayed up far later than I should have the first night that I received these because I wanted to just keep listening to all of the different types of music that I have in my collection.


The Sennheiser RS 170 wireless headphones are, without a doubt, the best wireless headphones I’ve ever used! If you need to be able to listen to your media without disturbing the other family members in your house you will be hard-pressed to find a better solution than these headphones. Music sounds rich and clear, television and movies sound good, and you’ll have the ability to travel all around your house without missing a beat. They can be had for about $240 which when compared to the cost of the rest of the equipment in your typical A/V stack isn’t too bad. Thanks again to Sennheiser for providing the review unit.


About the author

Josh Pollard

Josh has been writing software since his parents brought home their first computer. His love for gadgets and technology eventually spurred a passion for home theater technology. After starting the DMZ, he received Microsoft’s MVP award for Windows Media Center. Even though the beloved home theater PC platform is all but dead he continues to tinker with consumer entertainment technology. He’s a life-long gamer and DIY smart home enthusiast. He co-hosts the Entertainment 2.0 podcast with Richard Gunther and the DMZ’s gaming podcast, Story Players, with Joe DeStazio.