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Wireless 863MHz RF Headphones from Maplin

By Anonymous - Posted on 06 April 2009

Maplin Electronics has recently put on sale 863MHz Rechargeable Wireless RF Headphones from Arkon that work at a 100m range. For £24.99 these are a bargain but what should you expect if you buy them.

Arkon Wireless Headphones These wireless headphones recently put on sale by Maplin look good. They feature a RF transmitter base unit and a rechargeable RF Headset receiver.

The picture is a true representation of the product. The headphone are fairly light and the base unit is not as heavy as it appears to the eye.

Whats in the box

  • RF Transmitter base unit
  • Headphones
  • 2xAAA NiMh rechargeable batteries
  • AC to DC Adaptor
  • 3.5mm Stereo TRS male-male cable
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm convertor
  • 3.5mm to Red & White RCA convertor

The Base Unit

The base unit has an impressive transmission range of 100m and features auto power off. It will power off if it does not detect an input audio signal and when the headphones are docked for charging. It can transmit on three channels selectable by a switch at the back. Usually once setup, you will not want to keep changing channels very often. The unit is powered from the mains by a DC adapter supplied in the package. It also serves as a charging dock for the headphones. The unit has a standard 3.5mm stereo jack at the back for connecting it to the audio input source. In front it has a red power led and a green charging led.

The Headphones

The headphones require two rechargeable AAA size batteries. Two 500mAh AAA NiMh rechargeable batteries are supplied with the product. The battery compartment is well hidden behind the ear pads. Once the batteries are in, you will hardly ever need to take them out. They also have a volume control and autoscan switch on the left ear and a power switch and charging points on the right ear. They are designed for a good fit though the ear pads are not as soft as some other high end headphones. The headphones feature autoscan, and find the base unit very quickly and automatically when switched on. The headphones sit on the base unit comfortably with a reassuring click, though at times it does take a bit of fiddling to get the charge points to touch the base unit correctly.


Connecting the base unit to any audio source should not be a problem. The supplied 3.5mm stereo cable will allow connection to most MP3 players, mobiles, computers and laptops. Additionally you can connect it to heavy audio equipment using the bigger 6.3mm jack if required. Connection to a TV is also possible thanks to the supplied RCA plugs.

Connection between the base unit and the headphones works like a charm. No problems there and you don't need an electronics degree to get it to work. The range is great and you can move around the house, wash the car or do the dishes wearing these without any problems.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is at best described as average. Expect a background hiss when audio is played. If you like listening to soft music, this will bother you. Though you should remember that all RF equipment is subject to interference, hence wireless headphones will not match the quality of professional wired ones. So if you are an audiophile you should stay away from these wireless headphones altogether. That being said the impedance is good and base feels solid. The sound is delivered close to your ear and feels much more real. If you are watching a movie or playing a computer game and put these on you should get a very good cinematic sound.

In Conclusion

For the price these are being offered they are a bargain. Everything you need is in the box. It is hard to find 100m range RF headphones for such a low price. They are great if you want so spend a quiet moment with yourself without getting entangled in wires or feeling chained to your music unit. So unless you expect crystal clear pure sound, you will enjoy the freedom. Buy now.

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Just bought these today, not able to use them as yet because they are still charging... thought I'd get away with using some rechargeable 850mAh Energizer AAA's (NiMH) - thought this would be good to improve the life of the supplied batteries (550mAh) but not joy. The headphones won't power on (did try briefly with the supplied batteries and the red power light did come on... checked with my multimeter...

Supplied batteries = 1.22V
Energizer = 1.44 (The battery is labelled as 1.2V but this fits my experience of NiMH batteries, they always seem to be 0.2V higher)

I suspect the extra 0.44V is too much for the headphones so if you were thinking of replacing the batteries with higher capacity ones I would exercise some caution.. oh well, only 23Hrs till I can safely try them out - gutted :0S

..but nothing to do with voltage or higher mAh.
You just need to peel new accu label at the negative end so that it can get connect to minus pole (not just the spring inside battery holder). Working fine now!

The the spring in the battery compartment is NOT negative battery connector. The supplied batteries have an unisolated part around the bottom part, and the negative contact is a flat spring making contact to the battery from the side.

My headphones stopped working yesterday after many years of excellent service. I wanted to test them with regular batteries, which of course did not worked until I put a piece of metal sheet between the side spring and the bottom spring. The power LED lighted up as expected, but unfortunately the headphones didn't work. The green LED under the Auto Scan button didn't light up :-(

Wonder if they sell the headphones separately, as the transmitter works OK. Tested with an other pair of headpones, and a receiver covering the frequency (Yeasu VX5 tranceiver).

Hi Knut, I bought some cordless telephone batteries which were 550mAh. These are not like normal rechargable batteries as they spend most of the the time docked. As you say the spring is not the contact, so I (VERY CAREFULLY) used a razor blade to scratch part of the casing cover away. I cannot remember what year I bought the headphones in, but I do know it was a very long time ago. Good luck. :)