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Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.3.1
Updated Jun 09, 2017 at 04:59 pm
Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Picture
Test Methodology v1.3.1
5.8
Mixed Usage
7.3
Neutral Sound
5.6
Commute/Travel
4.6
Sports/Fitness
6.2
Office
6.3
Wireless Gaming
4.7
Wired Gaming
2.3
Phone Call
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

The Sennheiser RS 165 are decent home theater headphones with a good sound quality. They have a transmitter stand that communicates with the headphones via radio frequency and provides an almost lag-less wireless connection for watching videos. Unfortunately, they're too bulky and do not block enough noise to be versatile for anything else. Also, RF has a few disadvantages especially in terms of range.

Our Verdict

5.8 Mixed Usage

The Sennheiser RS 165 are decent mixed usage headphones with an above average sound. They are best used for as critical listening or home theater headphones (coming soon) as they're not versatile enough for all environments and situations. That and the fact that they have a stand transmitter and no way to use the headphones wired means if you're not in direct line-of-sight or close to your source and the transmitter then the headphones are practically unsuable.

7.3 Neutral Sound

Above-average for neutral listening. They have a good audio reproduction with a good bass that can be amplified through their additional Bass button. The mid and treble range are also decently balanced that instruments and vocals are not drowned out by the regular bass response. Unfortunately, they don't have a spacious soundstage which won't be ideal for more neutral listeners, and their bass performance varies a lot depending on your head shape and if you were glasses which makes them a bit inconsistent.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
5.6 Commute/Travel

Not suitable for commuting and traveling. Although they have a decent overall performance that would suggest they're OK for commuting, the fact that you must have the transmitter in range means they won't be the ideal headphones to use anywhere but at home or at the office in front of your Tv or PC.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
4.6 Sports/Fitness

Not intended for sports. They have a fixed transmitter, they're bulky and a bit unstable which is not ideal for running or working out.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
6.2 Office

Average for office use since you will most likely have a fixed source. They have a decent line-of-sight range, they're comfortable and easy-to-use. However, they're a bit leaky and they don't isolate enough for particularly noisy office environments.

See our Office recommendations
4.7 Wired Gaming
2.3 Phone Call
  • 5.8 Mixed Usage
  • 7.3 Neutral Sound
  • 5.6 Commute/Travel
  • 4.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 6.2 Office
  • 6.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.7 Wired Gaming
  • 2.3 Phone Call
Pros
  • Low latency connection.
  • Well-balanced audio reproduction.
Cons
  • Poor isolation.
  • Limited range and usability.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  3. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  4. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The RS 165 come with a TR transmitter stand that also acts as a dock and a charging station for the headphones. This gives them a premium feel when docked but their design doesn't particularly stand out. They're a bit bulky and upon closer inspection, the padding looks a bit cheap. They're not meant for outdoor use so they're not the most fashionable headphones but their simple utilitarian design will work for most.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.65 lbs
Clamping Force
1.1 lbs

The RS 165 have large and spacious ear cups. They're also decently well padded and lightweight for their size. Unfortunately, the pressure they exert around your ears is not properly distributed. So after listening to the RS 165 for a while, you might start feeling a little soreness between your ear lobes and your jaw. It's not painfully uncomfortable but it's not ideal either.

6.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
N/A
Ease Of Use Decent
Feedback Good
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control N/A
Channel Mixing
N/A
Noise Cancelling Control N/A
Talk-Through
N/A
Additional Buttons Bass Effect

The controls scheme for the RS 165 is good but slightly limited. They don't provide any call/music functions but by design, they're not supposed to. What they provide are good, clicky buttons for volume control and their additional bass effect, which feels responsive and easy-to-use.

6.8
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 4.9 C
1.1
Design
Portability
L 7.6 "
W 7.6 "
H 3.9 "
Volume 225 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required Yes

These headphones are quite large and do not fold into a more compact design. This means they're not portable, especially, since you will need the stand too for them actually to work. Being home theater headphones, you most likely won't carry them around on your person, but if you plan to, then you will need a bag.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality for the RS 165 feels decently sturdy but a bit cheap. The headband is moderately flexible and reinforced with a thin metal frame. The ear cups too are decently dense but aren't as durable. The plastic used feels low grade and a bit cheap, so the ear cups might get damaged by a few accidental drops. The padding material also isn't as soft on the skin or as premium as some of the other headphones in the RS 165's price range, which is a little disappointing, especially since you're most likely going to be wearing these headphones for hours if you're watching a movie.

5.5
Design
Stability

The RS 165 are just tight enough that they won't move much during casual listening sessions. However, the ear cups are a bit too bulky and sway a lot under physical activity making them too unstable for sports. That and the need for their charging dock to be in range for them to work makes these headphones unideal to go running with. Even if their wireless design prevents them from being yanked from your head because the audio cable got hooked on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Sennheiser RS 165 Headphones
  • TR 165 transmitter
  • Audio cable
  • (EU) power adapter
  • (UK) power adapter
  • (AU) power adapter
  • (US) power adapter
  • 2 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
1.19 db
Treble Amount
-2.68 db
5.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.23 dB

Poor Consistency performance. The Bass Range of our Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones are measured on 5 different human subjects, 5 times each. In the graphs, each line represents an individual's average Bass response. The RS 165 shows about 18dB of variance at 20Hz, which is quite significant and noticeable. The inconsistent Bass performance of these headphones is the result of poor seal/fit, as well as different personal positioning preferences. The Treble Range shows better consistency with about 6dB of variance at 10KHz.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.7 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
2.71 dB
Mid-Bass
2.41 dB
High-Bass
3.24 dB

Good Bass Range performance. Low-bass is extended down to 10Hz which is excellent. However, it is hyped by about 3dB, which is going to add excess thump and rumble to the sound. Additionally, the 5dB bump surrounding 100Hz makes the sound of these headphones noticeably boomy and muddy. Also, their bass delivery varies significantly across users, and is sensitive to the quality of fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.54 dB
Low-Mid
-0.89 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.23 dB
High-Mid
1.47 dB

Very good Mid Range performance. The response is consistent and relatively flat, but shows about 3dB of tilt towards the higher frequencies. This makes the sound of these headphones slightly forward, by bringing the vocals/leads slightly to the front of the mix.

7.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.85 dB
Low-Treble
-3.86 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.89 dB
High-Treble
-4.46 dB

Good Treble Range performance. Low-treble has a dip around 4KHz, but because of the narrow width, its negative effects on presence and detail of vocals/leads would be small. The rest of the Range is within good limits and relatively flat and consistent.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.78 db
Dips
1.72 db
8.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.74
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.32
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.43
Weighted Phase Mismatch
5.06
6.5
Sound
Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.38 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.8 dB
PRTF Distance
12.83 dB
Openness
4.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
5.0
7.3
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.232
WHD @ 100
0.307
Isolation
5.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-13.17 dB
Bass
-2.07 dB
Mid
-12.33 dB
Treble
-26.08 dB

Poor Isolation. The RS 165 don't have active noise cancelling, and their passive isolation doesn't isolate significantly in the Bass Range. In the Mid Range, they achieve about 12dB of reduction, and in the Treble Range they achieve about 27dB of reduction, both values being decent.

6.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
44.9 dB

Mediocre Leakage performance. The significant portion of leakage is spread between 300Hz and 3KHz which is a relatively broad range, but limited mostly to the Mid Range. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
N/A
In-line
N/A
Boom
N/A
Detachable Boom
N/A
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A
Active Features
7.0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
AAA (X2)
Continuous Battery Life
24 hrs
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
24 hrs
Charge Time
N/A
Power Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port Proprietary

The RS 165 have a good 24-hour battery life. They use rechargeable AAA batteries that can be charged directly with the stand but it takes more than 8 hours for a full charge which is very limiting. However, the charge time is very dependent on the capacity, age and wear of the rechargeable batteries you use. So your charge time will vary. Also, you can always just swap out the AAA with new non-rechargeable batteries which may be less cost effective but has 0 charge time.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name N/A
iOS N/A
Android N/A
macOS N/A
Windows N/A
Equalizer
N/A
ANC Control
N/A
Mic Control N/A
Room effects
N/A
Playback Control
N/A
Button Mapping N/A
Surround Sound N/A

No compatible app

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
N/A
NFC Pairing
N/A
Line of Sight Range
N/A
Default Latency
N/A
aptX Latency
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
N/A
8.8
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
121 ft
Non-BT Latency
23 ms
5.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
N/A
USB Audio
N/A
Detachable Yes
Length 7 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
No
PC / PS4 Wired USB
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
Audio Only
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
Audio Only
4.8
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Wireless Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
Yes
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
AC Adapter

Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Price

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