The Sennheiser RS 170 is a close cousin of the highly rated Sennheiser RS 180 (Est. $245). Both headphones use Sennheiser's Kleer wireless technology, which boosts clarity and reduces interference from other wireless devices. One difference between the two is the RS 170's closed-back design. This style isn't as popular with audiophiles but it helps cut down on sound leakage, making the RS 170 a good choice among wireless headphones for TV viewing.
Great sound quality. Although its closed-back design is not as well liked by some audiophiles, experts say the Sennheiser RS 170 delivers clear, balanced sound. Another plus that really impresses reviewers is these headphones' wireless range. Two professional reviewers say the RS 170 maintained its signal as they walked all around their homes and even out the front door. These headphones also offer virtual surround sound, though editors at TheWirecutter.com say they didn't find it very "useful." A few users complain that the controls on the RS 170 are awkward to use because the buttons are too small and too tightly spaced.
A good choice for the long haul. Stuart Andrews at TrustedReviews.com calls the RS 170 a "solidly constructed, well-designed and comfortable set of cans that you can use for hours at a time without irritation." He highlights the sturdy build and extra padding, saying this headphone fits well without putting your skull in a "migraine-inducing death grip." Steve Guttenberg of CNET also describes the user-replaceable, faux-leather-covered earpads as "luxurious." He particularly likes their oval shape, which he says conforms better to the ears than other manufacturers' round pads.
Save a little, still get a lot. The RS 170 costs only a few dollars less than the Sennheiser RS 180, and it lacks their well-regarded Automatic Level Control feature. However, reviewers who compare the two say their overall sound quality is nearly as good; editors of TheWirecutter.com, in fact, prefer the sound of the RS 170. These headphones also have the closed-back design that's most desirable for private TV watching. Also, like the RS 180, the RS 170 lets you add multiple sets of headphones to your system. For listening to music, the RS 180 is a better value, but for watching TV and movies, the RS 170 is the go-to choice.
Steve Guttenberg likes the RS 170's performance. He says these aren't just good wireless headphones: "They're very good-sounding, closed-back headphones, period," right up there with wired headphones for sound quality. His only quibble is that the placement of the control buttons is awkward.
Review: Sennheiser RS 170 Review, Steve Guttenberg, Sept. 21, 2012
The editors of TheWirecutter.com review over two dozen sets of wireless headphones and test seven, including the Sennheiser RS 170. They say that these headphones deliver the same great sound as their favorite set, the Sennheiser RS 160 (Est. $125), plus extra-long wireless range and a few special features.
Review: The Best Wireless Home Theater Headphones, Lauren Dragan, March 23, 2014
The Sennheiser RS 170 earns a Recommended rating at TrustedReviews.com, a British site that evaluates all kinds of consumer electronics. Stuart Andrews says these are "among the best wireless headphones around," adept at conveying the soundscapes of blockbuster films, games and even opera.
Review: Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones Review, Stuart Andrews, July 3, 2012
The Sennheiser RS 170 wireless headphone attracts more than 700 user reviews at Amazon.com and earns an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Some owners find the on-headphone controls hard to use, but most are pleased with the "amazing" sound quality, long range and comfortable fit.
Review: Sennheiser RS 170 Digital Wireless Headphone with Dynamic Bass and Surround Sound, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
There are about 50 reviews for the Sennheiser RS 170 at this retail site, with ratings averaging 4.5 stars out of 5 overall. The site breaks this down to 4 stars each for noise reduction and "coolness factor," and 4.5 stars each for sound quality, build quality and comfort.
Review: Sennheiser RS 170 Wireless Headphones with Docking Station, Contributors to Crutchfield.com, As of April 2014