Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Panasonic RP-HC200 Headphones Review

About fifteen years ago I bought what I consider to be the absolute best headphones I've ever owned. Sadly, as things go, they broke down over time, and the pursuit of another pair to replace them has ensued since the very day I finally laid them to rest. I've tried expensive pairs of headphones and I've tried cheap pairs of headphones and still nothing can replace my $20 pair of (now defunct) The Speaker Company NC-3 headphones.

The Speaker Company leatherette bag the NC-3s were kept in.
Now home to my most expensive set of headphones.

About a year ago I was looking for an inexpensive set of headphones that offered noise cancellation but could also do a podcast, so I turned to Amazon to see what I could find. What I settled on were the Panasonic RP-HC200 noise cancelling headphones that seemed to be a good purchase at $27. If you're a return reader to this blog you may find yourself confused right now, as I'm actually reviewing a brand new item instead of a used pair of headphones. Don't worry, that one is coming up later, but for now I'll continue with the brand new pair of headphones for this review.

Upon opening the box I was immediately let down as these headphones are not only hardwired, they're hardwired on both sizes. The last four sets of headphones I've had (even the cheapest of which) were all 3.5mm jacks on one side, so if the cable goes bad you've still got a pair of headphones! Bad mark #1. I figured I would still go ahead and give them a try and see how everything went. After putting them on my head I noticed the pressure around my ears was far higher than any of the other headphones I've owned, which later turned into a headache. Bad mark #1.5.

Ok, ok. I bought these headphones based mainly on the fact they were noise cancelling, so I popped in the provided Panasonic battery (go figure!) and checked the quality of that feature. Bad mark #2. It doesn't cancel anything. Now remember these are brand new, so first impressions are factory specs. I could hear the slow change of the speakers as I flipped the switch. The sound was louder, which was already a little bit louder than it needed to be, but I could still hear my fan running from five feet behind me, even through the sound the speakers were emitting. The only thing these headphones cancelled was the joyous hope in my head that I had purchased a quality product.

After my TSC NC-3 headphones died I picked up two pair from the outlet store. It's been so many years since the first pair I bought broke down and were tossed away, but I remember the noise cancellation being decent and the ear pieces were so comfortable that I actually kept them for a number of years before having to throw them away because I had no use for them. The second pair I bought were the iSymphony NC1 headphones and they were superb! The middle of the headband detached and they folded into a small compact size. Approximately a year after I started using them the right side earpiece broke off, but I continued to use the left piece as a single over-ear for a few more years.

One thing I can say in favor of these headphones is that the sound is decent and they are loud, and as I said earlier even louder in "noise cancellation" mode. The main reason I bought these was because I wanted another decent set of noise cancelling headphones and these things absolutely don't do any of that. Through all of the headphones I've owned none of them offered such weak and lackluster noise cancellation as the RP-HC200s. If you're looking for a decent set of headphones that will squeeze your head and induce a headache, not cancel any noise other than that of your thoughts and if anything happens to the cable you're completely fucked, then these headphones are the ones for you!

Bonus: Found the Box for
much better headphones.

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