Sennheiser RS 160 review

Can the Sennheiser RS 160 produce quality wireless audio?

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

If you don't mind the lack of bass then these headphones will serve you well


  • Good 'Kleer' tech
  • Decent range
  • Comfortable


  • Pricey
  • Not very bassy

Wireless headphones are a wonderful invention, but while they're no longer the heavy, battery-killing monstrosities they used to be, they still suffer from one pretty major problem: sound quality. Typical cordless cans broadcast using FM, which has a much lower resolution than CD, and background hiss and interference can also affect the sound.

Sennheiser thinks it has the solution: Kleer. Kleer's chipsets are designed to transmit audio wirelessly at CD quality (44.1kHz, 16-bit), and Sennheiser's stuck a whole bunch of them in its RS 160, 170 and 180 headphones.

We tested the cheapest of the three, the £140 RS 160s, and the difference between the Kleer-powered set and traditional cordless headphones was dramatic.

The RS 160s may only have a range of 20 metres, but within that area you get superb, crystal-clear sound without the slightest hint of the hissing and pulsing that affects FM models.

Our only concern is the lack of low-end thump: if you're a gamer, a hip-hop fan or just like a lot of bass, you might find the RS 160s a little light in this department.

Upgrade for less

Pricier models get a transmitter that doubles as a headphone stand, charger and docking station, but the RS 160s come with a simple disc-shaped job for charging the headphones' dual AAAs. It's not as pretty as the docking stations but it works just fine and you can expect around 24 hours of use between charges.

The headphones are superbly comfortable even during long listening sessions, but we're not fans of the integrated volume controls: they're a little bit fiddly, even if you're not that fat-fingered.

The RS 160s are very good, but if you're already looking for premium headphones, we'd recommend tracking down the 160s' big brother, the RS 170s. They deliver more bass, more volume, four times the range and include a smart-looking docking station, and despite their £180 RRP we're already seeing them available for below the £150 mark - which is less than some shops are charging for the RS 160s.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter:

Tech Specs

Product TypeHeadphone
Earpiece DesignOver-the-head
Earpiece TypeBinaural
Minimum Frequency Response18 Hz
Maximum Frequency Response21 kHz
Wireless Operating Distance20 m
Connectivity TechnologyWireless
Brand NameSennheiser
Form FactorEar-cup
Sound ModeStereo
FeaturesDetachable Cable
ManufacturerSennheiser Electronic Corporation
Product ModelRS 160
Product NameRS 160 Wireless Headphone
Impedance32 Ohm
Manufacturer Part Number502873
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The RS 160 is a two-part system that comes with wireless headphones, powered by a couple of NiMH batteries and a transmitter that connects to your output device. It's very simple to set up as the whole system is plug and play. This compact and portable transmitter utilises Kleer's uncompressed digital wireless audio transmission. Soundwise, the bass delivery is rousing and full-bodied while the closed, snug fit around your ears effectively isolates outside noise.

Package Contents
  • RS 160 Wireless Headphone
  • TX 160 Transmitter
  • Multi-country Charger
  • Charging Cable
  • Detachable Audio Cable
  • 2 x AAA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries
  • Instruction Manuals
Limited Warranty2 Year
Weight (Approximate)226 g