All Articles
All Articles

Four Pairs of Wireless Headphones


Four Pairs of Wireless Headphones

by Tim Yu
on 19 September 2007

I lack the coordination needed to operate a keyboard and mouse while tethered to my computer by the wire on my headphones. To protect my laptop from being thrown across the room by a careless jerk of my head, I invested in a pair of wireless headphones, the Sony IF140s (pictured right), about 10 years ago. They had an infrared transmitter that plugged into a standard headphone jack, which sent a signal to the wireless headphones. They were powered by a rechargeable AA battery, the charger for which was conveniently located in the transmitter. All in all, it was a simple useful design that was comfortable and effective for office use. I wish I still owned a pair. In my search for a replacement pair of headphones I tried out the following alternatives.


Sennheiser RS140
Nothing tells your co-workers, "If you must bother me with your inane questions and pointless chit-chat, at least do it via IM" quite like a pair of enormous headphones. Though bulky, the here.


Koss Cobalt
The Koss Cobalt were the headphones I coveted the most, expecting to easily connect via Bluetooth to my laptop and my mobile phone and use the built-in microphone to make calls when needed. It turned out that these were only great in theory. In testing, I found them to be a middle-of-the-road headphone that seemed passable for computer or MP3 player use, but not outstanding for either. A little too large to wear when out and about (especially because they require the included bulky Bluetooth transmitter), some minor improvements in comfort and size would greatly benefit these. I look forward to the next edition; with improvements, they could be my headphone of choice. Buy them for $300 here.


Pioneer SE-DIR800C
Like the Sennheisers, these Pioneer SE-DIR800C would not look out of place on the tarmac at your local airport. True sound geeks would probably get more out of these than I did, since the benefit of paying their premium price seems to be their extensive range of audio options, including Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound. I found the array of options to be overkill for office use, however I'm sure it's great for home use. Decoding the settings on the transmitter seemed to require a degree in computer science and experience programming the Altair 8800. Note: the red light for "on" goes off when it's turned on. Available for a steep $400 here.


MotoRokr S9
Intended for the rare user who listens to music on a mobile phone (iPhones excluded), I thought I'd give the MotoRokr S9s a whirl here in the office. I love the one-button call/music switching, however—much like the Koss Cobalt—these lack the comfort of larger headphones and the portability of earbuds. I wish they could fold up for storage in my bag, solving the portability issue. I also found them difficult to put on and take off, which I need to do frequently over the course of the day. However, they did have the most radical design, which we always appreciate. Available for $130 here.

Ten years later I figured that recent improvements in digital and wireless technology would have resulted in even better wireless headphones on the market. Although there have been some great advances, like many things, it seems that newer isn't always better. Good thing the Sony IF140s are available for £23—unfortunately, they seem to only be sold out of the U.K.

by Karen McGrane

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye
Loading More...