Wireless headphone technologies have long struggled with the issue of re-producing audio without hisses, pops and complete signal loss. But now we are seeing better quality wireless headphones that seem ready to rival the audio quality that can be had from wired headsets. Here are some of the best wireless headphones on the market.
Best Wireless Surround Sound Headphone
The Pioneer SE-DIR800Cs is a light and comfortable wireless infrared headset. It is best used for home entertainment or gaming purposes where a direct line of sight can be maintain between the base station and the headphone.
Once the headphone remains with range it will provide clear noise-free audio. The audio only starts to crack-up when the headphone starts to move out of the room or around a corner, which is understandable considering the fact that this is an infrared-based device.
While this Dolby enabled device will not produce the same quality sound that a Dolby 5.1 speaker array can, it does provide convincing audio, though it could do with a bit more bass. Users can select whether to use Dolby Digital, DTS, or Dolby Pro Logic II, which they will have to go to the base station to select. Notwithstanding, the headset does have a volume controller to set the audio volume independently of what is coming from the audio source.
The base unit carries all the audio input ports, which can accept analog RCA, stereo, as well as digital optical and digital coaxial inputs. The Pioneer SE-DIR800Cs headphones are relatively light; weighing in at just 8 ounces, despite the fact it is a full size headphone that uses two AA batteries.
Best Bluetooth Noise Cancellation Headphone
The Nokia BH-905 is a stereo Bluetooth headset. The headphones have over the ear design, which coupled with the adjustable padded headband makes the headphone quite comfortable to wear. Perhaps one of the best features of this headphone is its active noise canceling capabilities, which make it a welcomed companion for busy airports or train stations.
The BH-905 has integrated controls for playing, pausing and navigating audio tracks. The headphone has a multi-function call button that is quite handy for managing calls when the phone is paired to a cell phone; there is also a volume rocker and the active noise cancellation switch integrated into the device. While the BH-905 may not be the best wireless headphone for gaming or the gym, it is a solid option for those looking for a portable headphone.
Best Wireless Headphone for Gaming
The Sennheiser RS130s wireless headset is so light and comfortable that they are perfect for long hours of watching movie or gaming; up to 22 hours on a full charge. When the two AAA batteries run low, simply place the headphone in its cradle on the transmitter base to recharge.
The RS130 achieves great audio quality by using a 900MHz wireless frequency and Sennheiser’s Intelligent Auto Tuning system to automatically select the best of three channels to send audio from the transmitter to the headphones, which, by-and-large eliminates distortion and noise.
This cordless headset option isn’t perfect though. During quite scenes a low hiss may be observed but thankfully it isn’t intrusive. Users, who frequently adjust the audio volume from the headset, will also have an issue with how close the tuning and volumes controls are placed. If the tuning control is shifted the audio will most often than not cut out until it is readjusted. All things considered, the Sennheiser RS130 headset is still a solid performer.
Wireless headsets offer a convenient way to watch TV, play games or listen to music without being bonded to the source equipment by cords and disturbing others. While wireless headphones have struggled to deliver noise free and high quality sound like wired options, noise canceling and infrared versions have up the ante by providing near hiss free stereo quality sound.
Wireless Headphone Buyers Guide
Wireless headphones are a great investment for a computer user to consider. Being able to crank up the volume on your favorite MP3’s or rattle your brain with the sounds of World of Warcraft without waking the rest of the family up can be a great marriage saver. Remember though, that all wireless headphones are not created equal. The style, frequency, and quality of the components can greatly affect your enjoyment when using a pair of wireless headphones with your computer or tv.
Infrared Wireless Headphones: Reliability Suffers
The first significant players in the wireless headphone game were headphones using a signal communicated via infrared signals sent from the base station to the headphones. If you were to block the signal in some way — such as walking behind a support column in your basement or stepping out of the room for a second — you would be greeted with an earful of static until you came back into the line of sight of the transmitter.
So what are the benefits of the infrared style of headphone?
Even today you can still find infrared wireless headphones for sale from many different companies. You will notice that the prices for these headphones average around $40 or less. While there may be some exceptions, just remember that you will get what you pay for.
Radio Frequency Wireless Headphones: The Bluetooth Option
Once wireless headphone manufacturers made the leap from infrared to radio frequency transmitters, the quality and reliability of the signal began to increase. As recently as 5 years ago, the quality of these headphones was still mediocre at best. Even with the listener sitting a foot or 2 from the transmitter, the headphones would emit a low hiss that distracted from low volume passages.
Today however, major manufacturers such as Logitech and Sony have gone the extra mile and created headphones that use Bluetooth wireless technology to transmit the signal. Wireless headphones for the iPod and similar products work just as nicely on your desktop, and the audio quality is often top-notch. Many styles are now available that include wireless microphones built into the headset as well as becoming an excellent choice for online gamers.
The increased quality and functionality, however, comes at a price. Expect to pay between $100 and $150 for the best audio quality.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of your budget, there are options available for you if you want to invest in a pair of wireless headphones for your computer or TV. Just remember that a higher price tag often means better quality and often more listening enjoyment . Consider saving up to purchase the headphone set with the best range, sound quality, and components and always go with radio frequency style transmitters. As always, save the receipt just in case!