Editor's note: We have changed the rating in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Click here to find out more.
Sennheiser's RS65 wireless headphones ($210) are the perfect late-night audio companion, allowing you to crank CDs and DVDs as loud as you want without tying yourself to a cable. But the mellow RS65s will disappoint finicky listeners who crave aggressive, detailed sound.
The RS65s weigh just 5.6 ounces, and their luxuriously padded velour ear cushions make them extremely comfortable. The base, which functions as a transmitter and a charger, houses a spare rechargeable battery, so you can swap out the depleted battery during your movie marathons. (Sennheiser promises four hours per charge.) The base uses a 1/8-inch minijack connector to plug into the headphone output on your receiver or other audio source; a standard 1/4-inch adapter is included as well. A built-in volume control lets you adjust the loudness without getting up from your recliner, and you can add a mild surround effect to CDs and DVDs. Having some guests over for a film festival? If your friends have their own RS65 'phones, they can all connect to your transmitter at the same time.
When we cranked up the volume on our Kill Bill: Volume 1 DVD, we found the RS65s' sound warm and easygoing. In fact, the headphones sounded too mellow. The hard-hitting fight scenes lacked impact, and the metallic clang of the swords was blunted. (That said, tonal balance is a matter of personal taste, and we're sure that some folks will love the RS65s' mellow sound.) We were able to liven up the sound by activating the RS65s' Sound Retrieval System, which emphasized the surround effects. When we compared Sony'swireless headphones to the RS65s, we felt that the Sony 'phones benefited from brighter sound but that their background-noise level was more intrusive than that of the RS65s.
CDs also sounded warm on the RS65s, but nowhere near as detailed or alive as on another set of Sennheiser wireless 'phones, the, or better yet, the corded Sennheiser .
If you're happy with warm, mellow sound and don't want to be tethered to your receiver, the RS65s are a solid, easy-on-the-ears choice. But audiophiles who need more clang with their swordfights would be better served by the RS120s--or, if they don't mind sacrificing mobility, a pair of corded headphones.