top of the line wireless digital headphones
Aug 12, 2009 (Updated Oct 4, 2009)
Review by c-post
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Super sound quality, super comfortable.
Cons:Limited battery life, somewhat tricky to mount in cradle, high price
The Bottom Line: Beefy, and the BEST in digital wireless sound quality. You get what you pay for.
I work in my woodshop for hours on end and I wanted wireless headphones that would enable me to feed a hi-fi quality input into them. The Sonys fill the bill very nicely. I do not have a hearing deficiency.
Recommend this product?
As an audio engineer of many years experience, audio quality is a critical factor for me. I have owned a Jabra bluetooth headphone for several years and I appreciate their wireless versatility. However, the Jabra's do have their limitations as you can only feed them what is in your ipod (or in my case an LG500 phone), so before you can hear anything you have to convert to MP3's and transfer your sound files to your ipod or cellphone. Plus the Jabra's are extremely lightweight and they don't completely cover the ear. The bass response of the Jabras is deficient. I wanted a more substantial, comfortable headset that would cover my ears completely and provide some sound protection.
The Sony MDR-RF5000K's allow you to connect the base unit to ANY kind of audio device using standard RCA cables (there is also a digital format cable connector, which has an optical connector similar to ADAT digital, but it is not ADAT and I am not familiar with this particular format), whether it be a CD, DVD player, turntable, radio, amplifier, what have you. And the audio quality is immaculate -- far superior to that of any system that uses compressed mp3's. You can also achieve much higher volume levels with the 5000 than with a pair of Jabra's. You can really reach rock concert levels with this headset if you crank it up enough -- about 10 times as loud as the loudest level of the Jabra's. And the audio quality is unimpeachable. Everything's there, from the bass lows to the treble highs, I judge the frequency response of this headset as really flat and accurate, period. There is an analog style volume dial under the right ear cup.
The range of the Sony 5000 is about 30 to 60 feet in ideal conditions, which is about twice that of the Jabra. Although the SONY signal is much more solid and steady than the Jabra bluetooth, it works best without obstructions. If you have the base unit outside and you go inside your house, the 5000 may be able to penetrate one wall, but probably not two walls.
Battery life is about 4+ hours, which is plenty sufficient for me. If you need longer play times, get another set of rechargeable batteries as a backup. To recharge, you set the headphones in the base unit cradle. It's not the most positive fit -- you may have to move it around to get it to sit on the power recharge connector properly. Once you have made contact, a red charge light comes on.
The 5000's shut off shortly after you take them off your head to conserve power. When you put them on your head again, the headband is engaged and power comes on. If the phones are receiving NO signal but placed on your head, you will hear a low level beeping sound.
The headband goes directly over your head, and the ear cups are EXTREMELY comfortable. The Jabra's on the other hand, hang on your ears with the band at the back of your neck, and can be fatiguing after a short while. For long term wearability, the SONY is more comfortable.
The packaging is complex, so if you are thinking of buying these with the option of returning them later, you might want to think twice about that. Or document how it all goes together. Take pictures as you disassemble the package! This is one of the most complex, rubik's-cube type packaging arrangements I have ever seen.
I bought these in a big box store for about $225. I could have saved quite a few $$$ by buying online.
Again, for top quality audio, comfortable fit, and pretty good insulation from outside noise, the Sony 5000's fill the bill very nicely indeed. Already I think I can say this is one of the most important tools in my shop and I use them all the time in favor of the bluetooth. I honestly don't know how I lived without them. I used to crank my radio up high so I could hear the programming over the sound of tools. But now, I need not disturb the neighbors any more.
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