This review has been updated with the advantage of another six months’ usage.
The Sennheiser Set 840-TV listening system is a wireless headphones/stethoset that lets you listen to audio from any device with a 3.5 mm jack plug within a range of about 100 metres. It is a beautiful piece of technology that is easy to use, comfortable to wear and provides a superior listening experience.
It consists out of a transmitter base cradle and a stethoset (audio only, no mic). The transmitter is plugged into the mains with one cable and plugged into the device of your choice – TV, computer, laptop, mobile phone or tablet – with a second cable. I have used it with all of the above in various rooms, both home and away with excellent sound quality every time.
User friendly design
The stethoset consists out of two ear buds and two semi-flexible cable tubes that are integrated into a large volume dial at the base. The whole unit weighs less than 70 grams and feels comfortable to hold, use and wear. The receiver automatically turns on and off when put on or removed and the ergonomic volume dial has haptic feedback – the dial has fifteen ridges and clicks at each volume increment. The text on the dial is large and set against a high contrast background.
The transmitter is compact and information is displayed with colour coded lights. The light in the middle turns on when the stethoset is cradled – red for charging and green when fully charged. The power light is green when turned on and the three settings for the speech intelligibility are three orange lights. The battery indicator also displayed a light. Using it is as easy as picking it up and putting it on, no turning it on or turning if off, no worrying whether it is charged or not – all the information for every day use is clearly displayed.
Superb adjustable audio quality
The audio quality is superb. The volume is adjustable with a large radial dial. The headphones also comes with a speech intelligibility feature aimed to make it easier for anyone with some hearing loss that does not wear or does not yet need to wear a hearing aid. It has three settings adjusted with a button press on the transmitter when turned on – it is an optional feature that can be left turned off for those who do not want or need to use it.
Setting 1: Compression: The compression feature reduces volume range so that quiet sounds become louder and louder sounds quieter. Mild hearing loss, particularly associated with aging, can make it difficult to hear soft sounds, but turning the overall volume up then make loud sounds too loud. Reducing the range makes quiet sounds easier to hear without louder sounds becoming painfully loud.
Setting 2: Treble boost: Hearing loss often begins in the treble range and that makes it difficult to hear higher frequency sounds. The treble boost increases sounds that fall within this frequency, making it possible to hear the hard-to-hear sounds better. To understand language, it is necessary to be able to hear the whole frequency.
Setting 3: Compression and treble boost: Provides the option to turn on both compression and treble boost.
There is no mic and the stethoset is wireless up to 100 metres from the transmitter. No audio cues are used, information is conveyed with small colour-coded LED lights on the transmitter.
Sennheiser is well-known for making quality audio equipment. Founded in Germany in 1945, the company now employs more than 2,100 people in over 90 countries. Sennheiser UK, founded in 1990 and now based in Marlow in Buckinghamshire,”support charitable projects, and sponsor cultural institutions like the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and the British Music Experience (BME) in London. We also enjoy partnerships with institutes of higher education throughout the United Kingdom, and regularly offer Q&A sessions for students with professionals from the music industry. ”Read more…
Price: £199.99 (incl. tax and shipping)
Retailer: Sennheiser UK
Included in the box
1 RR 840 stethoset receiver
1 TR 840 transmitter
1 BA 300 battery
2 pairs of replacement earpads
1 main power supply with national adapters for EU, UK
1 TV RCA adapter
1 TV SCART adapter
1 TV connection cable with two 3.5 mm stereo jack plugs and one adapter to 1/4″ (6.3 mm) jack socket
Wearing style: Stethoset
Receiver size: 240 x 128 x 26 mm
Transmitter size: 112 x 146 x 58 mm
Audio & mic connector: 3.5 mm stereo jack plug
Receiver weight: 68 g
Transmitter weight: 260 g
Operating time of receiver: approx. 9 h
Charging time: 3 hours
Range: up to 100 m
Modulation: FM, stereo
Carrier frequencies: 863,3 / 864.0 / 864,7 MHz
Max. Sound pressure level (active): 125 dB
Colour: Black and dark blue
Both left and right handed use
The target audience for the Set 840-TV stethoset is clearly older adults that have developed some age-related hearing loss and minor dexterity issues, but it is an accessible piece of technology for anyone regardless of age. It is made to fit adults and does not provide a comfortable enough fit for younger children to use extensively.
Ease of use
It is easy to set up out of the box and very easy to use. Once plugged into a specific device, using it comes down to putting it on, taking it off, adjusting the volume with the dial and every 9 or so hours, putting it in the cradle to charge.
Using it with different devices is simple as well. Place it near the device (or the device near it), plug the transmitter into the mains and the 3.5mm jack into the device and put on the stethoscope. There are three frequencies, adjustable on the back of the stethoscope – if there is any interference, manually change the frequency to the channel that provide the clearest sound quality.
I would highly recommend this device for older users, particularly those unfamiliar and not confident around technology as well as anyone with a learning difficulty or cognitive impairment that require products to be simple to set up and easy to use.
It is an accessory device with two requirements – power and a device to use it with. One cable plugs into the mains with a wireless connection to the stethoset of up to 100m from transmitter. A second cable plugs into media device – tv, stereo system, phone, tablet – anything with a 3.5mm jack plug.
It is accessible to anyone with a visual impairment, including the blind and those who experience visual symptoms, like photophobia (light sensitivity), eye strain or colour blindness. The charging light is not ideal for anyone who is colour blind and cannot distinguish between red and green, but other than that, the Set 840-TV is very accessible.
The Set 840-TV would be a great asset for anyone who has mild to moderate hearing loss and in particular, hearing loss associated with the aging process. Although the headphones doesn’t aim to address other types of hearing issues, like neural impairments, auditory processing disorder, sound hypersensitivity (hyperacusis) or chronic tinnitus, I think it could be immensely helpful regardless. The superior sound quality reduces background noise very well, which is helpful for hyperacusis and the adjusting the sound to make speech more intelligible makes it easier to hear speech despite tinnitus.
The stethoset is lightweight and easy to hold and handle. It automatically turns on and off when put on and taken off and there are three ear bud styles to suit different users. It can be worn lying down, sitting, standing or whilst carrying out activities around the house or in the garden.
I found it reasonably comfortable to wear for short time periods, but despite its light weight, I started to notice the weight after an hour or so. I asked various other people to wear it and all of them felt it was a comfortable fit in all positions, even when walking around wearing it for longer periods.
The dial is ergonomic and easy to turn and the general ergonomic design makes it very accessible for those with a physical impairment, like a tremor, reduced muscle strength, hypermobility, carpal tunnel syndrome or any condition that affects fine motor control.
Movement and mobility
It is accessible to anyone with a mobility impairment, including wheelchair users and those who experience physical symptoms, like severe fatigue or chronic pain. There is no mobility requirement for use.
Motion sickness and balance disorders
It is accessible to anyone who experiences a motion sickness or dizzy spells.
It is accessible to anyone with a cognitive impairment, including those with a learning disability like dyslexia and those who experience cognitive symptoms, like problems with memory, concentration, planning and organization.
This product contains no common allergens that we know of. The ear pads are made out of foam or silicon with foam inserts.
Trigger warnings and age ratings
The Sennheiser Set 840-TV is a nifty device that almost everyone will find useful. It provides superior sound quality throughout the house that makes it easy to keep listening to music, an audio book, podcast or radio station whilst carrying out day to tasks or settling in different rooms. It would be a perfect fit for someone older who is noticing some hearing loss, but does not want to get involved in anything complicated. Every (great) grandparent should have one of these.
It also makes a surprisingly awesome gaming headphone set, despite having no mic. It plugs into the TV and as such works with consoles, it plugs into mobile devices and it plugs into a computer or laptop. It would require a mic to be added for conversation and calls, but for single player games, game audio sounds great. I have used it for outgoing phone calls with a mobile phone (it just requires plugging the transmitter into the phone jack), but it is less successful for incoming calls as it takes too long to plug it in and have the stethoset kick in – by that time the person calling has usually hung up.
It is a very accessible product and its ergonomic design and excellent usability makes it easy to recommend it to anyone with mild to moderate typical hearing loss. It is a highly recommended product with only one minor caveat – the stethoset design takes some getting used to. It is not a product perfectly suited to me or my lifestyle, I would love to see all its features in a slightly different package – more portable with in-ear headphones, mic and in-line volume control, but the features do outshine the package. It is a product that would be excellent for anyone with multiple impairments, it does not require sight, sound, complex cognitive functions or much muscle control to operate. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Sennheiser Set 840-TV stethoset kindly provided by Sennheiser. First published on 7 January 2015 and updated on 28 July 2015.