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Sennheiser RS 120-W

Wireless TV headphones with the latest Bluetooth LE Audio technology and three listening modes

The Sennheiser RS 120-W are wireless TV headphones that, thanks to the new Bluetooth LE Audio and the associated LC3 codec, transmit with particularly low power consumption. In addition, any number of headphones can be integrated using the associated “Broadcast Audio” technology. A particularly practical feature of Sennheiser’s solution: the RS 120-W headphone stand is a transmitter, docking station and charger at the same time.

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Package

Sennheiser supplies everything you need to get started straight away: in addition to the HDR 120-W headphones, you will find the TR 120-W docking station, including a fixed stereo RCA audio cable (approx. 2m), an RCA mini-jack adapter, a power supply unit with country adapter (EU, UK, US, AUS), two rechargeable batteries (AAA), as well as the usual brief instructions and safety instructions in the box.

Design and wearing comfort

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These open headphones, called HDR 120-W, are of the on-ear variety that rests on the ears, and their removable ear pads are covered with fabric with foam underneath to provide the necessary pressure relief. The adjustable ear cups have a play of a few centimetres so that the headphones adapt well to different head shapes. The graduated size adjustment is embedded in the headband, which is equipped with three-part padding. With a weight of 215 grams (including batteries), these headphones are nice and light and can be worn for hours. An essential requirement for TV headphones.

The wide headband keeps the contact pressure low, so there is no pressure discomfort. However, due to the plastic rim of the thin ear pads, spectacle frames can be felt behind the ears; they lack a bit of padding here. Also, the headphones fit so loosely on the head that jerky movements can cause the HDR 120-W to fall off.

Due to their open design, these headphones provide hardly any acoustic shielding: telephones ringing, music from the neighbouring room, and voices can all be discerned— depending on how high the volume of the headphones is set.

This is how easy it is to connect the Sennheiser RS 120-W TV headphones

The TR 120-W transmitter is connected and ready for use in just a few seconds. Plug in the mains adapter, connect the cinch cable to the corresponding sockets on the TV and insert the batteries into the headphones— that’s it. Then, you only need to switch on the headphones and adjust the volume. Both are done via the corresponding switches and controls on the ear cups.

When the TV or another external player is activated, the docking station recognises the audio signals and also switches on. Likewise, the connection to the headphones is immediately ready for use.

When the headphones are no longer needed, you simply hang them back on the metal frame of the transmitter, which charges them at the same time. If the docking station does not receive a signal for five minutes, it switches off.

Important to know: Even though Bluetooth LE is installed, the Sennheiser RS 120-W TV headphones cannot be connected to smartphones or tablets via a wireless network. This technology is only available for transmission from the TR 120-W transmitter to the HDR 120-W headphones.

Sound

The manufacturer promises “crystal-clear Sennheiser sound”, and they are right. Although, you must not compare the sound signature of the HDR 120-W with that of a pair of pure hi-fi headphones. The listening modes already mentioned above give these headphones different sound characteristics: “Neutral” emphasises neither bass nor treble, “Music”, on the other hand, emphasises the lower frequency range to give a boost, and the “Speech” mode boosts the range that is crucial for speech intelligibility. It should be understood that these are not speech-enhancing algorithms that can compensate for hearing impairments. If you are specifically looking for integrated hearing aids and/or want to change the volume balance between left and right, then you should take a closer look at the Sennheiser RS 195.

Thanks to its open design, the HDR 120-W manages to present a successful wide soundstage. Details are reproduced in razor-sharp detail, and therefore, the localisation of individual sound events is also very good.

Criticism

Unfortunately, the Sennheiser RS 120-W also have downsides. Although the transmitter and headphones are sturdily built, the dark grey plastic and the way they are made make them look “cheaper” than the price of just under 130 euros would suggest. This also applies to the controls and the volume wheel, which can only be operated with delicate fingers. The small listening mode switch on the lower front edge of the docking station is especially difficult to reach and cannot be operated with one hand. If the transmitter is next to the TV or hanging on the wall, the station must be held with the other hand more often. Due to the permanently installed cinch cable, there is also little space to easily plug in the power supply. Unfortunately, the entire set lacks the option to connect TVs or stereo systems digitally via a TOS or S/PDIF link. If you only have digital outputs on your TV, you must purchase an analogue-to-digital converter separately.

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2 months ago by Pete Schloßnagel
  • Rating: 3.88
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

Thanks to modern Bluetooth technology, the Sennheiser RS 120-W offers functions that are not yet supported by any other TV headphones: Broadcast Audio easily integrates further HDR 120-W, the LC3 codec transmits with low power, so up to 20 hours of non-stop listening can be achieved. Thanks to three listening modes, the set can also be adapted to different sound scenarios. As stress-free as the handling may be, there are still deductions of points to a B grade, as the switch for the listening modes is small and difficult to reach. Fortunately, Sennheiser does not use special rechargeable batteries, which are expensive to buy, but sustainably relies on two rechargeable batteries.

  • Very good reproduction of details
  • Bluetooth LE Audio, including Broadcast Audio and LC3 codec
  • Fast set-up and cabling
  • Any number of headphones can be connected to just one transmitter
  • Battery operation
  • Switches difficult to reach
  • No digital audio connection

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingOn-ear
  • Typeopen
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)22 - 19.500 Hz
  • Impedance24 ohms
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)@1 kHz / 1 mW: 100 dB
  • Weight without cable215 g
  • Cable length200 cm

What's in the box

  • Headphones HDR 120-W
  • Transmitter TR 120-W
  • 2x rechargeable AAA batteries
  • Power supply unit
  • Cinch adapter

Special features

  • BT codec: LC3
  • BT version: 5.3
  • at the time of the test, no information was available about replacement headphones and their price.

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