Pros: Jack of All Trades Headphone, Decent Bass, Good Soundstage, Budget Friendly
Cons: Rough Highs
Panasonic RP-HTF600 Review
I’m going to give you a very unbiased opinion on these headphones. I have no affiliation to Panasonic nor do I hold any contempt towards the brand. I will scrutinize these headphones where they need be scrutinized and praise them where they deserve praise. I will give my honest opinion on the headphones and not sugar coat it, put a cherry on top, smear chocolate around the plate to make it look fancy and add some leafy substance for decoration. Fair warning: I’ve been known to be very critical. Things people overlook, I will scrutinize if I feel a need to make mention of something. If something so much as the color of a screw doesn’t look right to me, I will make note of it. I'll type as plainly as possible for any reader, audiophile or not to understand. That said, let’s get to the review. I’ll briefly outline what I’ll be talking about in this review and then go about delivering the appropriate information for each section.
II. Sound Quality
These are the Panasonic RP-HTF600s. This is also another good reference to the headphones. I chose those 2 out of all the other pictures on google to show you because I feel the white background images aren't completely true to the look of the headphones for better or worse. Looks wise, they're not the prettiest things in the world and they're DEFINITELY not the ugliest. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of looks, I'd give these headphones a solid 7. They're not bad looking. The cups are more Zero( 0 ) looking than other headphones I've tried, but for my ears, they fit just fine. I don't feel they're squeezing my ear in any uncomfortable manner trying to fit them in any better than an O shaped headphone cup. These headphones are over the ear headphones. They engulf your entire ear rather than sitting on the ear. The materials used are mostly plastics and some very light aluminumish material. I wouldn't say it's tastefully done, but at the same time I don't think it's a cheezy look either. It looks like someone tried to do the best they could with a 30 dollar budget. In fact, I've seen more expensive headphones that have been made cheaper than this headphone. For 30 dollars, the materials use and the build quality overall is on the positive side of decent. To compare materials, most of you have AD700s. The AD700s use similar plastic to the ones used here, but the metal cups on the AD700s feel higher quality than the aluminum metal used on the RP-HTF600s. This is merely my opinion on the matter. If I had to rate build quality, I would probably give the AD700s the nod in a better built headphone, but keep in mind it's 3x the price of the RP-HTF600s. I also feel that my opinion is open to argument in this particular area. I think some might feel these headphones have a higher build quality than the AD700s and if I change perspective to see how they see that, I can do so without thinking too hard.
The headphones also consists of pleather (fake leather) material that is used on the ear pads and also the headphone head rest cushion. I feel that these aren't the worst pads I've ever tried, but they're definitely not the best. I feel that in summer if you sweat a lot around your ears, the sweat would eventually build up and you'd get this annoying ear poo build up on the pads. Now, it's not summer and I can't confirm that it is the case this will happen with this headphone, but merely from trying similar pads on other headphones, I feel that these will ultimately lead to that sort of thing. The pads are pretty comfortable. I don't exactly feel they bring a lot of heat to my ears. If anything any heat brought to my ears is from them gripping my head tighter than AD700s (and as we all know AD700s are very very loose on your head). I would not at all say the RP-HTF600s are vice grippy. These are very comfortable headphones that you can wear for a long time and they extend to accommodate any sized head out there. So big heads need not worry, Panasonic looks out for you. Little heads and girls, don't worry, these should fit you just fine. As for your hair well, I can't promise you anything. I seem to be the only one with this issue, so take this part with a grain of salt: The upper headband, at the apex of the band sort of digs into my head. It was mostly annoying at first. I noticed that if I loosened up the headphones and extended them, the problem eased up. I also may not have that hard of a head compared to others(guys) out there. If you feel any strain or irritation, simply extend the headphones and that will solve most problems.
So now you've heard me talk about extending the headphones quite a bit now and some of you may never have had a pair of headphones that extended so I'm going to try and explain this phenomena to you. In the second picture linked above, you'll see the silver plastic area with the text "quick fit" labeled at the top. You'll also notice the black plastic connecting to it. That area extends so that bigger headed people can wear the headphones comfortably. There are also 2 silvery plastic ...things..that are supposed to lock and hold the extension in place. This imo is the worst part of the entire headphone. These silvery buttons are so gimmicky looking and completely nonfunctional. They do squat. Whoever decided to add this to the headphone should be fired. Serious design flaw here. Now, while it doesn't look great, it's also not so annoying that it destroys the entire headphone in terms of looks. In fact, it can be easily overlooked. The last tidbit I'll bring up appearance wise is the cable. The cable is...very..thin.. I've seen thinner cables, but I was expecting a sturdier cable. Still, it's 30 bucks, I should have expected less. The cable, some complain is very long. The cable is long, but compared to other headphones I own, the cable is rather short lol. It's maybe 6 feet in length? That's just eyeing it up and guessing. I have headphones with 10 foot cables, so it's not that long to me. I wouldn't say the cable is trash, but it's definitely not award winning or anything. Sadly, the cable cannot be replaced unless you were very handy, cut the cable and introduced your own.
I am not typically a fan of burn in for headphones because on most of the headphones I listen to they sound pretty much the same out of the box as they do a hundred hours later. This is one of the first pairs of headphones that I'd say get much better after some burn in. I don't know what to tell those of you who don't believe in burn in. I just shrug because I can't explain it either. The driver needed some exercise badly. The difference between out of box and multiple hours later is significant imo. Out of the box I was a little underwhelmed and felt a lot of people had bought into some crazy hype madness. These seemed like any other 30 dollar headphones you'd buy. The detail was lacking, it sounded sort of congested or like the foam was blocking the sound. The bass was extremely underwhelming especially after having read a review saying these cans were really good for bass and dubstep.
I was shouting bollocks after hearing the bass from the cans out of the box and I'm not even British. I continued to listen and after many hours, something happened. The drivers started functioning correctly. The bass had easily improved. I wouldn't say there's a lot of bass, especially compared to headphones like ultrasones or Beyerdynamic, but there's a good enough amount to enjoy most music. They personally would not be enough for dubstep only headphones, but they're good enough to warrant not taking them off if you run across a dubstep song or are in a temporary dubstep mood and don't feel like going to grab bassier headphones. The congestion that I was hearing out of the box started to clear up a bit. There was a bit more detail, but still not the clearest headphone in the near price range. I feel that they're forgiving headphones of poorly recorded music. Samson headphones for 10 dollars more are probably the better buy if you want detail. I wouldn't say these headphones had the clarity of some of the higher end headphones I have costing 3x+, but again, keep in mind, these are 30 dollar headphones and for that price these are pretty good. The RP-HTF600s sport a 50mm driver. They should be good for bass, but I've heard other drivers this size that put out a lot more bass.
The thing about the bass on the RP-HTF600s is it's not overpowering. You can listen to these headphones for HOURS and not get fatigued. Once they're burned in you never have to question whether the bass is there. It's definitely there and everyone can hear it. It's a good amount of bass. I think these headphones aren't designed to be bass monsters. I think these headphones are designed to deliver a good all around music enjoyment. I say that because I put on multiple genres of music and these handle many different and diverse genres of music very very well. Jazz sounds excellent, dubstep and electronic sounds really good, progressive rock sounds awesome, classical music is crisp. While it's not the best with Classical music, it does a fair job. The only thing I will say is that I feel the bass extends too far into the mid range which further congests the sound and kills detail imo.
The one thing I really like about these headphones is how they make individual sounds stick out from background noise well. Artists that use certain sounds to drive an emotion will get their emotion across with these headphones. Sounds like the plucking of strings, the tapping of a piano key, each individual sound that stands out from the background noise is really given a lot of clarity and crispness. Moreso than many higher end headphones. As far as soundstage goes, these are actually pretty good for closed headphones. These are not designed at all for gaming in mind, but I wouldn't be surprised if you could try gaming with them. I will say the one downside to these headphones is the close range sound stage. These have a pretty wide and distant sound stage, but sound that should be very close to your ears sound a bit farther back than they should be.
So we've talked about the low end, let's talk about the mids. The mids can be beaten for 10 dollars more imo. They're not the most detailed mids I've heard and the bass also extends into the mids killing additional detail. You have to remember though, these headphones are 30 dollars. For that price I'll forgive them a bit. The highs deserve mentioning though. The highs are really rather rough. I'd say if this headphone has a weakness it would be in the highs. There comes a certain frequency, which I haven't tested, where the headphones start to break up, crackle and sound bad overall. Certain types of noise..literally noise, background sound created artificially that just sounds bad with it. I had an example, but can't remember it anymore at the time of writing this review. If I come across it again, I'll be sure to revise the review and explain it better. So highs and "noise" don't do too well with this headphone.
On the downside, despite this headphone being closed, it leaks like CRAZY. Tons of sound leakage on these headphones. When music isn't playing, you can hear everything outside of it. When music is playing you can easily drown out what someone 2 feet away is saying to you.
So now you're all wondering, "So Simca, what do you think of these headphones? Should I buy them?" (and if you're not thinking that, then alt f4).
In my super honest opinion, I feel these headphones have been hyped up tremendously. That's not to say that they don't deserve some of the praise they've collected. When people say they compare these headphones to HD650s and other high end headphones, I simply can't agree. These headphones are good, but not quite comparable to headphones multiple times their price. On that same coin, why in the world should they be? They're 30...dollars....30....dollars. Shipped. That is a tremendously low and cheap price that puts decent quality audio at the hands of almost anyone including middle school kids that don't have a job and can't afford a lot of things. It's also so cheap that you can easily buy them as a present for someone and they'd be able to listen to them without thinking, "Jeez, this present blows, but I'll wear them just because they got it for me."
In many respects, this headphones has a lot of qualities that headphones higher up on the price bracket share. What's more is that this headphone isn't a polar headphone. It's not just good at one area. It's a jack of all trades really. It delivers bass, delivers a sound stage, delivers decent audio for many genres and does so at the price of 30 dollars.
Those looking for cheap headphones typically run towards the RX700s. In recent months the price on those have gone up tremendously. I think JVC stopped producing them, but don't quote me on that. Stock on Amazon is shot. It's hard to find them for under 42 dollars now.
That said, other than the bass department, I feel the Panasonic RP-HTF600s are superior to the RX700s in many ways. Bass wise I feel the RX700s easily take the spotlight. They're pretty bass heavy. Quality wise, I'd say the RX700s are better built and have had more time put into it's design. I haven't tried gaming with the RP-HTF600s, so I can't comment on how they'd compare there.
Here's the crazy thing. My review at the time it was first written was done with a stock pair of RP-HTF600s. These headphones already have mods you can do to make these even better. That said, I feel these headphones have a lot more potential that can be unlocked with minor tinkering. I bought these headphones for my brother, so I likely won't be tinkering with them, but if you buy them, I highly suggest you look into the modifications and see if they're for you. These headphones, despite having issues, definitely get a thumbs up from me for 30 dollars. What really makes them awesome and what I believe many others feel make them awesome is the price tag. 30 dollars shipped for decent quality headphones. In all honesty, I would probably pay up to 50 dollars for them. At 30 bucks, they're easily desirable and highly recommended. I feel they take the place of the RX700s as the new go-to cheap headphone.