Gadget Gary: AWD510 wireless 5.1-channel Headphones
I wasn't sure why the guys at S&V asked me to have a listen to Acoustic Research's AWD510 wireless 5.1-channel headphones ($350; audiovox.com). They looked big and clunky compared with many of today's much smaller 'phones and earbuds. They also reminded me of the headphones I used way back in the 1970s, when I'd listen to Pink Floyd at top volume while trying not to bother my parents.
But I'm here to say that size does matter, because these headphones are amazing. Nowadays, most 'phones don't even cover your ears. The ARs do just that - and they drown out room noise almost completely.
Setup is easy. Plug the transmitter into the device you're listening to, and power it up. AR gives you almost every connector you might need. There are no batteries to fool with; just charge the headphones off the transmitter.
I didn't know exactly how I'd use these 'phones when I first got them, but since then I've found all sorts of applications. I mostly wear them in bed at night when I want to catch up on a TV show and don't want to wake my wife. For example, take the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother - my wife hates it and I love it, so she reads or sleeps while I watch. With the ARs, I don't bother her anymore.
I've also used them for music listening. One time, I walked downstairs from my bedroom to the living room (AR claims a range of up to 60 feet), put Bruce Springsteen's Magic CD in the DVD player, and sat on the couch, completely relaxed, enjoying crystal-clear sound.
At first, I wasn't sure I even needed the ARs at all, but now I'm not sure I can live without 'em. Great sound, great range, easy setup. I'm sold.
Gary Dell'Abate is the executive producer of The Howard Stern Show.