Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sony RF914R and RF920R wireless headphones- Avoid these products

I have one set each of Sony's RF914R and RF920R wireless radio frequency headphones, but I really wish I'd purchased something else.

The biggest annoyance with the RF914R is the ear pads, which fall apart pretty quickly, long before the headset quits working. That wouldn't be so bad if you could replace the pads at Radio Shack or at any of the other usual electronics outlets, but no. You have to get these directly from Sony (which I already did once but now they've worn out again). You can probably have someone else's parts department order them for you.

These chintzy ear pads cost $7.33. EACH! Shipping adds another $7 or $8.

Another annoyance is that the batteries are not consumer-replaceable. Not handily, anyway. You can't just slide open a hatch and replace standard batteries. Oh, no. I don't know how much the batteries cost, or how much trouble they are to replace, because when these quit I'm throwing the headset away.

The RF920R headset, on the other hand, is the type that surrounds the ear. The ear pads are much more substantial than on the RF914R above. However, the two annoyances with the RF920R are that:
  1. While you can replace the the batteries yourself, if you do so with standard batteries you won't be able to use rechargeables (unless you take them out and recharge them externally, of course). Sony's rechargeable batteries are standard AAA size, but they've got a square part glued on at both ends that, if missing (as on standard batteries), disables the recharge function. How annoying! Once again, I don't know how much these batteries cost because I won't be replacing them.
  2. The second annoyance with the RF920R headset is the volume limiting circuit, over which you have no control. I use these headphones for TV listening, and despite what the broadcasters say, the volume goes up and down a lot. When Sony's volume control kicks in it's really annoying! It seems to be built into the transmitter unit so, as a workaround I've just tuned this headset to the frequency being used by the other set, which lacks the volume control.
I probably won't be looking to Sony for my next set of wireless headphones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the RF920R is a bad buy. But for completely different reasons. My set can not be tuned properly to avoid static cracking when you turn your head at a 15 ft range, the tuning changes frequently, the overall range is horrible, and getting the headset on to the tranmitter for charging is difficult at best. A horrible design.
If you haven't had these issues with the 920, I must have a lemon.