TDK WR 700 Review
- Great sound quality
- Bulky transmitter
- Range could've been better
Is TDK WR 700 as good as some of the better Rs. 7000 wired headphones? Not quite, but for wireless headphones the performance is superlative. This is one of the better sounding headphones to enter our test labs, and probably the best wireless one till date. At Rs. 6,900 they're a little expensive, but for someone looking for a wireless solution without compromising on sound quality, it makes for a decent purchase.
Wireless headphones appeal to those who want to enjoy music/movies at home or on the go without the binding tangle of wires. However, the usual run-of-the-mill wireless audio solutions have a crippling limitation with respect to the wireless transmission technology they use - either Bluetooth or IR. Due to bandwidth limitations of these protocols they end up compressing audio to a great extent before transmission, and hence the discerning audiences usually steer clear of wireless solutions. Yet, a few manufactures do offer high-fidelity audio in the wireless format. One such implementation is the TDK WR 700 that uses Kleer technology which promises to push transmission to lossless CD quality. And it does. Read on for look and feel or skip straight to the performance section.
Look and feel
[RELATED_ARTICLE] Despite their simplicity the headphones look like a product to be taken seriously. The construction is mostly plastic but the dull grey matte finish gives them that slightly industrial look. The plastic used is of fairly decent quality and there were no noticeable chinks even with the folding mechanism. The headphones don’t feel bulky at all. In fact, despite housing two AAA batteries in one of the cups they aren’t much thicker than regular wired cans. The headband features soft pleather that is fairly comfortable, while the soft padding on the ear cups gives a good seal.
Being wireless, the pair comes with a transmitter that again uses two AAA batteries. Unlike the the headphones, the transmitter on the other hand is bulkier than we would’ve liked - especially for pocket use. The transmitter is very easy to use - simply plug it into any 3.5 mm stereo source, push the power button on both devices and they pair up instantly.
The WR 700s are foldable and easy to transport. The cups can be swivelled 90 degrees and hence flattened before folding from the hinges. They come with a soft pouch and being wireless are quite portable. One of the ear cups has volume buttons on the outside, which is a good feature to have. The biggest feature of all is the lossless transmission technology called Kleer. It uses the 2.4 GHz band for RF transmission which can transmit totally uncompressed audio. The technology also switches dynamically so there’s no scope for interference.
For testing performance we hooked up the transmitter to our Audinst HUD - MX1 amp/dac and also sources such as third generation iPod Touch and the HTC Desire S. The selection of sound samples included tones at various frequencies, sweeps and a variety of test tracks - all encoded lossless flac or 320 KBps MP3.
We started off with tones ranging from the deep 30 Hz to the ear splitting 15,000 KHz. It handled all frequency ranges surprisingly well. When we started with our music tracks it was evident immediately that these headphones are bass heavy. Most tones are rich and clear while there isn’t much colouration; hence no distinct sound signature to speak of. Except for the accentuated bass it was fairly neutral upto the extreme high end of the spectrum. The high end levelled off a little too quickly. Coming from the same family we were surprised it didn’t have a warm signature like the ST800 we reviewed some time back. Chir Rea's velvety smooth voice comes nicely layered retaining it’s husky timbre over the bass riff in Call On Me. Lower notes on the piano in Wait for sleep were dull. They should've been deeper. The bass kick and reverb on the heavy drum at the beginning of Brutal hearts was lovely.
While instrument separation is very good for a compact portable, soundstaging is perhaps one of the only areas in which this set of headphone falls short. Music appears to be playing from a source very close to you; somewhere above. If you’re looking for, or are accustomed to a spacious aural experience you might be a tad disappointed. We feel the passive isolation is outstanding for supraural headphones; way better than the Meelectronics HT-21, the last decent supra-aural wired headphone tested here.
Continue reading about the TDK WR 700's performance, and our verdict, on the next page...