Wireless TV headphone system with simulated surround sound
Our take on the Sony WH-L600 by Crutchfield's Jeff Miller
Wraparound sound that's apartment- and nighttime-friendly
There are two main reasons people ask our Advisors about TV headphone systems: (1) They are hard of hearing, or (2) they want powerful TV sound without disturbing neighbors or family members. I'm in the second camp, and can attest that the Sony WH-L600 wireless TV headphones are a convenient, effective choice. Read on for my firsthand take.
This system features a simulated — yet realistic — 7.1-channel surround sound experience, designed with help from the experts at Dolby Audio™. With my wife and kids sound asleep, I could enjoy the effects-driven, over-the-top action movies that only I really appreciate in this household.
The wireless transmitter can connect to your TV in a number of ways.
How does this system work?
The WH-L600 system consists of two main parts: a transmitter and a headset. On the back of the transmitter, you'll find a few options for connecting to your TV or audio system — including an HDMI input. I used the included optical cable to connect the transmitter to my OLED TV.
The transmitter sends an audio signal wirelessly to the included over-the-ear headset. You get about 98 feet of wireless range. Volume controls are right on the headset, along with a button that toggles through a selection of listening modes.
Listening modes with a sound pedigree
Plenty of TV audio devices out there have sound presets, but few boast the level of sophistication and detail you'll find here. Sony's headphone designers took advantage of their company's connections in the entertainment world to help sculpt the four distinct listening modes: "Voice," "Game," "Sports," and "Theater."
The Sony Pictures division lent their expertise to the "Theater" mode. It creates a virtual surround sound field that's based on a sound-mixing process Sony uses for their blockbuster movies. "Voice" lifts hard-to-hear dialogue, and "Sports" boosts ambient crowd noise. As for "Game" mode? Sony's deep bench of PlayStation® developers provided heavy influence — so it delivers the proper directional and spatial awareness cues that serious gamers need.
The included wireless headset is lightweight and well-padded.
I experienced no distracting audio delays
I find tennis is a great test for latency — even a slight disconnect between the audio and video can take you out of the match. So one morning while auditioning these 'phones, I caught Wimbledon using "Sports" mode. The sound of Serena bouncing the ball on the grass before serving synced right up with the on-screen action.
Through these headphones, I could really sense the power and sheer force-of-will she puts into every strike and swing — it's something special. The crescendo of the crowd at the All-England Club grew bigger and bigger each set, pulling me further into the moment.
A relaxed fit built for binge-watching
Comfort is key for all headphones, but even more important when wearing them for marathon viewing sessions. The oversized ear cups easily surrounded my ears, and the earpads felt as soft and inviting as my couch — adding no extra pressure to my glasses. These headphones were so lightweight and unobtrusive that I banged out three episodes of Glow on Netflix, barely noticing or adjusting them on my head.
- transmits sound wirelessly from a TV or audio system to the included over-ear headphones
- simulated 7.1-channel surround sound designed by Dolby Audio
- four listening modes: Voice, Theater, Games, and Sports
- sound mixers from Sony Pictures and PlayStation game designers helped tune presets
Wireless Audio Transmitter:
- RF wireless transmitter range: up to 98 feet
- Dolby® Digital and DTS® decoding
- includes AC adapter for power
- docking station for charging the wireless headset
- LED display for inputs and listening modes
Wireless Headphone Set:
- over-the-ear, closed-back design helps keep out external noise
- large 40mm drivers for immersive sound
- generous padding on headband and earcups
- rechargeable battery provides up to 17 hours of operation
- on-ear volume and listening mode controls
- turns off automatically when not in use
- weight: 10 ounces
Connections and General Info:
- HDMI input with Audio Return Channel (ARC)
- optical digital audio input (cable included)
- 3.5mm stereo minijack input
- frequency response: 10-20,000 Hz
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Over-ear wireless headphones (WH-L600)
- Processor/charging base (TMR-L600)
- AC adapter (for processor) with attached 5' DC output cord (12V 1.5A)
- 59" Optical digital cable (Toslink connectors on each end)
- Reference Guide
- Operating Instructions
- Limited Warranty (US + Canada)
What a difference these Sony earphones have made. Now I can hear speech clearly on my 9 year old TV. Easy to install and set up by me, an older senior.??
Great sound from my old TV!, Peabody, MA
Overview: The Sony WH-L600 Digital Surround Wireless Headphones are designed to surround you with sound while giving you the freedom to move around. These wireless, over-ear headphones have wireless range of nearly 100 feet. The system includes a processor that decodes several surround formats as well as other listening modes. The processor also doubles as a charging stand.
Headphones: The WH-L600 headphones are equipped with large 40mm drivers that deliver deep bass and a wide frequency range. The transmitter and wireless headphones use Dolby and DTS decoders and sound-routing algorithms to simulate 7.1-channel, theater-style surround sound to immerse you in your music or movies. The headphones operate on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band (2,400-2,483.5MHz), providing a transmission range of approximately 30 meters, or 98.43 feet. On-board controls include power on/off, volume up/down, and Sound Field selector. These lightweight headphones have soft, synthetic leather ear cushions, and a padded headband for hours of comfort. Two electrical contacts at the top inside of the headband allow you to charge the internal battery while stored on the included processor/transmitter tower.
Battery: The headphones are equipped with a built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The headphones charge when placed on the top of the processor tower. A full charge takes approximately 6 hours, and provides up to approximately 17 hours of playback time. A 20-minute "quick charge" gives you about 2 hours of playback.
Processor: The TMR-L600 Digital Surround Processor can decode many of today's surround formats, included Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, and DTS Digital Surround. Additional surround effects can be selected on the top of the base, including Cinema (created by Sony Pictures Entertainment), Game (created by PlayStation developers), Sports (fine tunes crowd noise), and Voice (enhances dialog). For Cinema, Game, and Sports, a matrix decoder is available to expand the audio input signal to a multi-channel format of up to 7.1 channels. The processor is equipped with multiple audio inputs, including 3.5mm analog and optical digital (Toslink) connections. It also includes an ARC-supported HDMI output for connecting to your TV. A rear-panel gain switch lets you adjust the input gain of the analog signals. When you're not using the headphones, you can place them on the top of the processor's tower to keep them charged. Dimensions: 5-11/16"W x 11"H x 7-3/8"D.
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