Some background noise

Dec 28, 2001 (Updated Jan 2, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Better than previous wireless headphones.

Cons:Some background noise. Trouble through walls.

The Bottom Line: Try before you buy, and if you can accept the sound quality, go for it.

I am writing about the AKG K305-AFCII (864 MHz in Europe) wireless headphones. This is a wireless headphone, using radio signals, and AAA size NiCd batteries. I have paid about 110 USD for this device. I was long waiting for this model, as all previous wireless headphones were big disappointments!

In the box, you will find the headphones, the transmitting/charging base, and a cable to attach the base to the source.

To operate the headphones, you have to attach the base unit to a headphone socket of your music device, and also connect to the wall outlet. The batteries need about 7 hours of charging time (200 mA) to reach full capacity according to the manuals.

The base unit has a wheel button to change the transmission frequency if needed, while the headphone has only a button to press. In just a second, the headphone autotunes and gets the right frequency and you hear the music.

The headphone would be good in overall, but:

Even when the headphones are perfectly tuned, there is a small annoying background noise. What is interesting that when I set the volume to 0, I can still hear this noise.
To watch TV, this pair is excellent, but listening a CD is very disappointing. The only solution would be to increase the listening sound, but I can still hear this annoying "zzzzz". Even my super cheap wired Philips headphones delivers better sound quality in this respect.
I have been listening to Ravel: Boléro - well, this headphone is still not for classical music. However, listening to rock music from the FM radio is OK.

The transmission through wall is somewhat weak. Through one wall, it is OK, but in the bathroom the reception is so bad, that you won't understand a word from a radio conversation. Coming back to the room of the transmitter, there is no problem.

What I like in this receiver is the possibility to change the batteries. I would prefer inserting NiMH batteries in the headphone, however, I don't know which capacity to use. And probably the charger only supports NiCd batteries, but I am not sure about this. Using a seperate charger is not really good, as the built qualitiy is not so robust that you would take off the cover each time.

I think using NiMH batteries would be necessary. This headphone is a typical unit that you put back to its base unit to recharge several times a day. However, NiCd batteries require full discharge before charging for a long life cycle.

I think this is one of the best wireless headphones I have ever tried. The autotuning feature is a must. This headphone still has some problems, coming from the wireless technology, but the implementation is very good. I would recommend this headphone for all audio except classical music.

* * *

I have tried the AKG K405 (manual tuning) if it is any better, but it has the same noise problem.
I have changed the original NiCd AAA batteries to a NiMH AAA batteries so I can charge it whenever I want. I don't know if the charger can make a difference, but this is just a small investment.

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