Review: Sony MDR-RF6000 Wireless Surround Sound Headphones

Sony MDR-RF6000 review

The What

Wireless surround headphones? The last few people that came over my place and saw them sitting on the dock each said exactly that. It doesn’t sound possible or that it would be a gimmick plastered all over the box just to get you to buy it. I saw some online one day and after some Google research I decided on these Sony MDR-RF6000 wireless surround Sound headphones. They cost anywhere between $200-$350 and I think they are worth every penny. J&R Music World had them for $200.

The Why

The need for gaming headphones is real. If you live with a Wife, girlfriend, roommates, parents or whoever you know the feeling of having to wait until they get up to play or face the lesser experience of playing with the volume all the way down. I love to wake up early on the weekend to play games and until I got these headphones I had to have the volume very low. Certain games would wake or annoy others in the house at any volume. The repeated gunshot and explosion sounds from Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 even at low volumes can be annoying to others. If you live in a condo, loft, or apartment then you also may have neighbors that would not appreciate hearing your game play late at night or early in the morning. For me these headphones were an answer to all these issues.

The Nitty Gritty

I must say I saw some great reviews on the Sony MDR-RF6000 wireless surround sound headphones online. Even so I was skeptical. The reality is that these headphones KICK ASS.


Surround Sound:

First of all the headphones do provide a true surround sound effect. The base that the headphones sit and charge on also serves as a surround sound decoder. it decodes Dolby Digital, Pro Logic II, and DTS signals. These are the surround sound formats found in Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii games. They are also the surround formats found in DVD and Blu-Ray movies. I tested the headphones playing Halo 3 and the localization of the sounds exceeded my expectations. Playing Halo 3 when guns were shot behind me I could tell where. Sounds behind me in the game sounded like they were behind me though the headphones like a surround sound system with physical speakers would. These headphones really do produce a surround sound effect. I could hear many minor details in Halo 3 that I never or rarely heard before. I could hear footsteps and I could tell the direction of approach. The bottom line is that the surround sound claim is real and it exceeded my expectations.

Input / Outputs:
The unit decodes RCA Pro Logic II signals but also decodes Dolby Digital signals though an optical connection. I found the Optical/Dolby Digital connection to provide a slightly crisper sound but they both sound great and you can pass through an optical connection and switch between RCA/analog and optical/digital connections via a switch on the bass.

Wireless Performance:
There are many headphones out there and most are infrared. I picked these because they are wireless via an 2.4GHz RF signal. You do not have to be in the line of sight of the base for them to work. In terms of sound clarity experienced little to no interference at all while using the headphones. At close distances (10-20 feet) I did not notice any sound degradation. I mostly used these headphones in another room separated from the base/transmitter by a wall and closed door and the performance was fine.

Microwave ovens that are in use pretty much kill the signal but other than that I had no issues with the wireless aspect of the headphones. To test the interference I set up the transmitter/base unit was right next to my 2.4 GHz WiFi router and I was able to play Mario Kart DS WiFi matches using the router while at the same time listening to music via wireless headphones with no issues whatsoever on either device. Initially the headphones did kill the WiFi connectivity to the Nintendo DS but I simply switched channels on the headphones using the “tune” feature on the headset. After that it worked flawlessly even in another room.

Verdict:
If you are in the market for wireless and/or surround sound headphones these will not disappoint.


PROS:
- RF with channel selection. You do not need to be in the line of sight of the base like infrared wireless headphones.
- Crisp sound. The sound quality is sharp.
- Rechargeable. Rechargeable battery included. Set it on the base to recharge when not in use. Auto off when full charge is achieved. Can also run on AA batteries
- Optical pass though port
- You can select Cinema and Music effect modes.
- Compression on and off switch
- Headphones detect when on a persons head and only will play audio at that time.
- Volume on the headset

Cons:
- The headphones must be set in the base just right to begin charge.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review man. Was looking for a set of headphones for just the same reasons you stated: live in a condo and want to play COD4.

  2. ..Thats nice, I’ve been looking to buy a new pair of phones. These might be the ones I’m looking for:P.

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