Lend an ear to these headphones

May 04, 1998|By Roy Bassave | Roy Bassave,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Sometimes, listening to your favorite movie or CD can bother others. Or, maybe you're cutting the grass and want to hear some cool music. One solution is headphones, particularly the new breeds that reduce noise or are wireless.

There are many brands and models on the market; they can be found in electronics stores, discount warehouses or anywhere else electronics are sold. Here are a few tested:

Wireless

Recoton Wireless Stereo Headphone System WP525 - Enjoy the freedom of listening to the stereo or television anywhere in your home, or even outdoors. The WP525 uses a small transmitter that connects to your stereo or television and transmits signals to a receiver that is built into the adjustable black headphones. The headphones are powered by three nickel-cadmium batteries that can be recharged through a port on the transmitter.

Recoton's headphones use a high-frequency band at 900 MHz to transmit audio signals that can travel through walls, floors and doors (unlike infrared waves, which are line-of-sight).

In ideal conditions, this system can transmit up to 150 feet, but we found it slightly more prone to interference than other transmitting devices. It also can take a little tinkering to set up properly.

Price: $189.95. Information: 800-732-6866 or www.recoton.com.

Koss JR 900 Wireless Stereo Headphones - Koss, a name known for quality audio, is now offering its JR 900 Wireless Stereo Headphones. The unit includes a black transmitter that connects to your stereo and a set of headphones with a built-in receiver.

Like the Recoton unit, the JR 900 has a built-in nickel-cadmium battery pack that lasts approximately 10 hours. It also uses the 900 MHz frequency, with the same benefits and limitations.

We found the Koss headphones to be very comfortable and capable of producing great sound.

Price: $399. Information: 800-872-5677 or www.koss.com.

Zenith Zen910 Infrared Headphones - As their name implies, these headphones use infrared transmission, an advantage and a disadvantage.

First, they are easier to use. Plug the infrared transmitter into the headphone jack on your stereo, VCR or TV. Plug one end of the AC/DC adapter into the transmitter and the other end into a wall socket. Then flip the switch on the headphones to the "on" position.

The headphones have a range of approximately 3O feet and must be in line-of-sight contact with the transmitter, so you won't be able to use them in the back yard unless you have a stereo or TV outside. Also, they run on regular AAA batteries instead of a nicad battery pack.

But, the headphones are lightweight and provide good sound quality.

Price: $59.95. Information: 847-391-9752 or (www.zenith.com).

Noise reduction models

Discwasher NRH 200 Noise Reduction Headphones - When you RTC just have to get away from the distracting noise at home or at work, try canceling them out with this product, which has anti-noise sound wave generator to counteract some of the surrounding sound.

The headphones work to a good degree, but don't expect them to completely block out the sound of the phone ringing, your lawn mower or of people speaking around you. But they did tone down much of the extraneous noise, especially when combined with your favorite music source. They require a nine-volt battery.

Price: $139.96. Information: 1800-732-6866 or visit the Recoton web page at(www.recoton.com).

NoiseBuster Extreme: Portable Stereo Headphones - Another good product that tries to get rid of noisy distractions when you listen to your favorite tunes, using technology similar to the Discwasher.

These headphones can plug into airliner headphone jacks to help frequent fliers reduce irritating engine and cabin noise. However, they aren't as efficient as the Discwasher.

The audio enhancer pack features a volume control for anti-noise and music playback and requires two AAA batteries.

Price: $69. Information: 800-278-3526, or www.nct-active.com.

Pub Date: 5/04/98

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