TDK. A long-forgotten brand that reminds me of old cassette and betamax tapes. Well they’re back and interestingly, they chose to take on the audio solutions market using the brand TDK Life on Record. But not just any audio market mind you. They also have a range of premium audio solutions to match those of Bose, Sennheiser, Shure and other big names in the industry.
What we have here is an innocent-looking pair of wireless headphones, the TDK WR700. This is not really a new product (released early 2010) but TDK is still finding its way to the mainstream consumer here in the local market.
I haven’t tried much wireless audio products yet but the TDK WR700 proves to be real interesting for me. It’s the first time that I will be using a headphone that employs Kleer wireless technology as opposed to the usual Bluetooth.
I did my research and found out that Kleer is a fairly new wireless technology unlike Bluetooth which is practically embedded in most smart devices. However, it does operate on the same frequency as Bluetooth.
So what makes it different? And is it better than Bluetooth?
Well in some, or most ways, Kleer is better than Bluetooth. Without going into the nitty gritty, Kleer allows lossless compression to stream wirelessly to your headphones. 320k bitrate? no problem. 920k FLACs? Bring it on. Basically, it’s the wireless solution for audiophiles out there who likes their music in CD quality. Another benefit of Kleer technology is that it doesn’t compete with other wireless devices, like your wireless router perhaps, so the chances of dropping or losing quality or power is close to nil unlike with Bluetooth.
As for the drawback there are few minor ones that I’ll introduce as we go on with our review.
The TDK WR700 is a nicely built pair of headphones with a faux-leather cushioning and adjustable earcups that stays in place. The earcups are also foldable and can be swiveled when not in use. They are covered with soft leather that doesn’t seem to tear easily.
The size is not too big to cover your whole ears making it more comfortable to wear than bigger headphones. It’s not too flashy but instead looks like a serious, high-quality headphone.
The left earcup houses the 2 AAA batteries to power the headphone. The right earcup is where the power switch and volume controls are located.
The headphones are sound isolating, not noise cancelling. You can drown out office chatter while you’re playing tunes with this headphones but you will hear ambient noise outside if you’re using it when commuting or at a gym playing their own music. I like it that as long as you’re wearing this headphones, other people won’t know what you’re listening to. However, once the earcups are uncovered, your music will blare out.
When most devices already have Bluetooth built-in, Kleer requires a separate transmitter and the one on the TDK WR700 is a bit clunky for my taste. It looks awkward on an iPod nano and you might have trouble looking for space to plug it at the back of your PC. You connect it to any device or appliance accepting a 3.5mm jack although there’s also a 6.35mm stereo adapter included. It is also powered by 2 AAA batteries.
The 4 AAA batteries are already included in the box by the way which will last you for 30 to 40 hours. I suggest getting a set of rechargeable batteries for this headphones. There’s also a carrying pouch included for storage.
Easy to operate
Unlike Bluetooth devices which requires a bit of time to scan and pair, Kleer powered headphones are easy to operate. With the TDK WR700, you just plug the transmitter into your player, press the power on both the transmitter and headphones and you’re all set. You’ll get audio in less than a second.
To power if off, press and hold the power on either the headphones or transmitter. If one of the device can’t find the other one, it will automatically switch off. If there’s no audio for about 2 minutes, the transmitter will also power off automatically to save batteries.
Testing the range
According to the specs sheet, the maximum operating distance between the transmitter and receiver is 10 meters which is the same as that of Bluetooth.
I got some mixed results here. I tried leaving my player inside our bedroom as I walk around one-storey house. I went to a bathroom outside our room and well within 10 meters but I’m experiencing dropped audio. Although leaning my head closer to the door solves this problem. However, I brought it to our office with thin walls and I’m getting audio with no loss in quality even if I step out of the room. It will only drop if I went past the 10 meter limit.
I’m concluding that the maximum distance decreases if you’re in-between solid walls. It can operate across rooms and in-between walls but there are certain parameters to take into consideration.
For my playlist, I made sure to use a variety of music from the small playlist I have available. Train’s Hey, Soul Sister for something light, Lifehouse’s Falling In for something pop, System of a Down’s Toxicity for something harsh and loud, Jeremih’s Down On Me and Ester Dean’s Drop It Low for my bass tunes. I also played a Black Eyed Peas in FLAC for good measure.
Overall, sound quality is pretty good. Not the best I’ve heard but one of the better ones. It offers a nice compromise across all range of music, not specializing on one genre. Vocals are crisp and clear on light tunes, you can’t feel the bass much but you can clearly hear it thumping, rock music instruments sound distinct and doesn’t overlap even at high volume. Crispiness and clarity are what you will be getting from this headphones and as for FLAC, you will distinguish the rich quality of your music from compressed ones.
The TDK WR700 as a wireless headphones provides really good sound output as it is. Having the Kleer technology, you can surely enjoy listening to your CD tracks from your component system, or FLAC music downloaded from iTunes without any loss of quality as opposed to when you use Bluetooth-based headphones.
What can be improved upon is the size of the transmitter. Other Kleer-based headphones offer more compact transmitters that uses those coin-sized batteries. I would also appreciate if it has some partial form of noise cancelling so that I can use it even on a crowded room. However, this is perfect for private listening without wires. I also like how I can use this for watching television (need a 3.5mm to RCA adapter) late at night without disturbing people from their sleep.
The TDK WR700 is already available at Digital Walker / Digital Hub stores for Php5,000. It can be a bit pricey but real audiophiles tend to spend more for their equipment and for them, the price is just right especially for a quality wireless headphone.
|TDK WR700 Specs:|
|Plug Type:||3.5 mm|
|Driver Diameter:||34 mm|
|Frequency Response:||20-20,000 Hz|
|Sensitivity at 1 kHz:||106 ± 5dB|
|Input impedance:||32 ± 10% ohms|
|Transmitter Range:||10 m|