Sony MDR-RF950RK Wireless Heaphones

3.25/5 (4 Reviews)


Product Description

900 MHZ RF Wireless Headphones


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Vincent a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 12, 1999

Bottom Line:   
If you ask any pro musician they’ll tell you that corded microphones sound better than cordless ones, in fact anything that has to do with sound will always sound better hard wired than wireless. But you still see plenty of musicians roaming stages with wireless mikes and instruments. That’s because sometimes the convenience of wireless out weighs the necessity for optimum sound reproduction.

If you are looking for the best sounding headphones on the planet, then look elsewhere. But if you are looking for the convenience and freedom of cordless, then the Sony MDR-RF950RK is as good as it gets.

These phones use 900MHz technology that penetrates through walls so you can roam about the house (or yard) and not lose a signal from the transmitter/base station, which must be plugged into a 110v outlet and connected to your source such as a T.V., Receiver, etc. The base station also doubles as a place to hang the headphones when not in use and as a battery charger for the two AA NiCad batteries that are supplied.

Battery life is very good on these phones, but I did come across one strange problem. I wanted to purchase a second set of rechargeable batteries so I could always have a pair charging in the base in the event the pair in the phones go dead during a listening session. I bought rechargeable NiCad AA batteries from Radio Shack, Eveready and Ray-O-Vac. NONE of these batteries would accept a charge from the Sony base station! Only Sony rechargeable batteries will work in the base station (how convenient for Sony!) and Sony wants $19.87 a battery! Plus shipping! The good news is you can use standard AA batteries and just toss them when their dead.

Another strange quirk is that the base station has four recesses on the bottom for rubber feet, but it only came with two rubber feet and the other two recesses were empty! I called Sony on this one and the woman I spoke with told me that the parts schematic for the base only shows two rubber feet but I could order two more if I wanted. Strange? If this is Sony’s way of cutting corners, then that’s pretty lame! Especially at a MSRP of $149.99 for these phones. (I paid $119.95 through netmarket.com).

One nice feature about these Headphones is the Auto Power on/off. You put the phones on your head and they turn on. Take them off and they shut down. This is great for conserving battery life and for those late nights when you fall asleep with the phones on your head and your conscious enough to pull the phones off your head but not conscious enough to fiddle with a power switch.

These Headphones are very lightweight (even with the batteries) and comfortable. They sound pretty decent (for cordless) and battery life is excellent. I tried two other Cordless Headphones before settling on the Sony’s. The Recoton W500 ($149.99) and Sennheiser RS6 ($299). I actually felt that the Recoton’s sounded a little better than the Sony’s but they were heavy and very uncomfortable. As for the Sennheiser’s, I was surprised to find that they had considerably more “hiss” than the Sony or Recoton and I’ve heard from others that their battery life is terrible.

If your looking for a good Cordless Headphone for late night Music listening or Movie watching while the wife/girlfriend sleeps, then the relationship saving capabilities of these Headphones alone makes them worth their weight in gold and deserving of a five star rating!

-Vincent

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Woody Isbell a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 15, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I bought a pair of these after spending a few weeks with it's slightly lower priced sibling ... the Sony MDR-RF930.

Both have proven to be very satisfactory in the most important parameters, which for me are: good sound quality, low drain on batteries, and the ability to listen to them without being in the same room with the equipment that drives them.

I especially appreciate the automatic on-off feature. This renders it impossible to "forget" to turn them off ... thus running the batteries down for no good reason!

Overall, I rate them four stars for performance and a big five for price/value ratio.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:1
Submitted by Michael Zimbleman a a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: August 3, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Much less than I had hoped for. May be wireless, but in my home I must keep perfectly still to get continuous sound. Any moving around and I get either a popping noise or the sound drops out entirely for about a second. Frequency range claimed to be about 20-20k hz but is more like 10k on upper end. Was playing something that had cymbals and the sharp, high sound came out sounding like the static in a lightning storm on an AM radio. I haven't used headphones in a long, long time before getting these, so I'm not good at making comparisons. In fact the last I had were probably some jury-rigged from aircrew maintenance headsets when I was in the AF. But that jury rig was about equal to these Sony's in terms of audio quality.

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Duration Product Used:   a Casual Listener



Overall Rating:3
Submitted by Filburt a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 8, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I love my Sennheiser HD535. But its "corded-nature" can sometimes be a drag. Its cord is also fragile. I had to replace the headphones a couple times. So, I've decided to venture into the wonderful world of wireless headphones.
There are two popular types wireless headphones: infrared (IR) and radio frequency (RF). IR-based headphones suffer from a number of problems, such as limited range and inability to penetrate through walls. RF-based headphones use much higher frequency (normally 900 MHz), so they have much bigger range (several dozen feet radius and can penetrate through walls) and can penetrate through walls.

After listening to one of the IR headphones, I gave up. If the headphones is not pointing at the IR transmitter, it loses signal. Plus, I wanted ability to walk around the house while still listening to my favorite music.

I looked at a couple of RF headphones, Sennheiser RS-6 and Sony MDR-RF950RK. As expected, Sennheiser sounded noticeably better, but its short battery life (just a couple of hours) became a real drag. Plus, it costs nearly twice as much as the Sony (my dealer was selling RS-6 for $200 and Sony for $110).

So this review is for MDR-RF950RK. First the goodies. The battery life is VERY good. It comes with a pair of AA rechargeable batteries (you must use both) and they last 15-20 hours under normal use. The headphones is very comfortable to wear and seems solidly built. It features volume level and signal tuning dial on the headphones. The auto-power mechanism is well implemented. If you put the headphones on, it turns on. Take it off, and so will the headphones.

The RF transmitter features two inputs: stereo RCA input and mini-stereo headphones input jack. It lacks the switching capability, so you cannot use both connectors simultaneously. It also features a toggle switch called "Noise Filter," which is supposed to reduce noise when listening to TV (didn't try).

The RF transmitter sends 3 different signals (between 900 to ~915 MHz) and you must rotate the tuning dial on the headphones to zero in.

OK, now the bad stuff. It's noisy! Even with the volume level set to nil and no signal coming in, I can hear a continuous faint hiss. This noise disappears if the transmitter isn't sending out any signal (or if you are tuning into the wrong frequency). Pretty annoying but I eventually learned to accept it.

Otherwise, the MDR-RF950RK sounds decent, but not great. It’s spacious sounding, but not as smooth nor detailed as the Sennheiser HD535. Plus, the imaging seems bit off. If this was a corded headphones, I would return it in a second.

I’ve since delegated MDR-RF950RK for casual listening and HD535 for critical listening. While the hiss can be pretty annoying, it’s hard to ignore the convenience of being able to go anywhere in the house with the headphones on. And for 15-20 hours.

I give it 4 stars for the convenience/ features and 2 stars for the sound quality. So the overall score is 3 stars.


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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast




Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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