on January 25, 2012
I have a self appointed mission of finding inexpensive headphones that sound better than average. I have been on this quest for years as I am always never without my mp3 player or radio. I am rough on headphones and go through them fairly regularly. So I am always trying to find inexpensive headphones that sound better than my previous set (Skullcandy Ink'd). This time, after carefully reading reviews, I purchased 3 different headphones at once, all in the same price range (Under $15.00): The Panasonic RP-HJE120-A (Blue), The Skullcandy Jib, and The 2XL Spoke (Bounty Hunter Collection).
My conclusions were that the 2XL Spoke were adequate, but a distant third place. While the 2XL had definitively better bass than the Skullcandy Ink'd, the 2XL's mids and highs were only adequate. The Skullcandy Jib completely blew the Scullcandy Ink'd away, with much better bass, mids and highs, I thought I found what I had been looking for, that my quest had ended. But there was still the Panasonic RP-HJE120 to listen to. I must say I had little expectation for these after listening to the Skullcandy Jib's. But what was this? Immediately the Panasonic's sounded impressive. After listening to them for a while, I listened to the Jib's again. I honestly preferred the cleaner sound of the Panasonic RP-HJE120, and the Ergo design was a plus, the fit was just so comfortable.
So there you have my layman's evaluation of these three headsets and my hands down recommendation for the Panasonic RP-HJE120 (I got the Blue, however, I very much doubt that your color choice will affect the sound).
I hope this helped.
on April 23, 2012
If you've been wondering how such a highly-rated product like this can also have one-star reviews stating these earbuds have "absolutely no bass whatsoever" and sound "horribly tinny", I'd like to offer an explanation.
These Panasonics are not designed to be placed in the ears and worn like standard earbuds. If that's how you wear them, you'll get nothing but tinny sound at relatively low volume (think 1960's pocket transistor radio.) These earbuds are specifically designed to fit snugly into the ear, forming an airtight seal. If you choose too small of an earpad and/or don't push them in far enough, you won't hear any low-end frequencies. It's only when you get an airtight seal that the earbuds will instantly come alive with full-range sound and volume.
Here's a quick analogy: Tightly plug both ears with your fingers, close your mouth, and hum the lowest note you can. Now take your fingers away, and notice how almost all of the low end and volume drops out. That's the difference between a proper fit and an improper fit with these earbuds. Although the acoustic principles are different, these earbuds must literally plug your ears in order to give you the full frequency spectrum. Otherwise they'll sound horrendous.
Unfortunately, Panasonic wasn't very forthcoming on their product's packaging about how to wear the earbuds, and I'm certain some unwitting consumers are throwing away perfectly good pairs.
As an audio engineer, I can assure you these earbuds, when properly fitted, sound great. They're not audiophile-quality earbuds with the sonic transparency of a $200 pair of studio-reference headphones, but for the price, they are an exceptionally fantastic bargain -- arguably one of the best product bargains I've ever run across on Amazon. Do they have a lot of bass? They're not deficient in any of the low frequencies, but they're not bass-enhanced earbuds, either, which some of you may be used to. They have a relatively nice, flat bass response as is, but if you want extra bottom end on your music, you'll want to boost the low end of your MP3 player's EQ. Fortunately, boosted lows, even the deepest of lows, are handled very well by these Panasonics.
As a result of how these earbuds are designed to be worn, they could be uncomfortable for some people to wear for extended periods of time. The earpads are very soft and pliable, though, and I personally don't experience any discomfort wearing them. Since these earbuds are designed to be wedged into your ear, there are two unique, negative issues to point out:
1. Be very careful not to drop your MP3 player, because having earbuds ripped out of your ear canal is not a pleasant experience.
2. These earbuds may amplify the sound of your heartbeat when it's racing during an intense workout. The incessant "tick tick tick" is loud enough that it becomes extremely annoying during quiet passages in the music you're listening to.
In summary, the audio quality of these earbuds, when properly fitted, will satisfy 99.9% of the general population. I would not recommend them for bike riding or street running since they block out ambient noise, but if you need some quality earbuds to tune out the world for a while, these Panasonics are an excellent choice and a phenomenal value.
on January 30, 2013
Before you read this review I can save you a lot of time. Buy these. However if you want more info than that you can read on, but keep in mind this is not an in depth review on how these buds are technically. I could get into frequency range before and after break in with pink noise and all kinds of other crazy crap, but I'm not going to bore you with that. You might be able to find that type of review in one of the other 1900 five star reviews. I'm just going to give you, what I hear, aside from the voices. But seriously, you can save yourself a lot of time by just buying them. C'MON THEY'RE ONLY $6. Okay, waste your time if you want. Read on if you must. But you'll probably be disappointed.
I normally don't write reviews because English is not my first language... bad English is, but on these I just had too. Let me start out by saying before these I had an awesome pair of Bose In Ear Headphones, the old ones. They cost about $100. I did not pay for them. Someone else who is dumb did, and then further proved their lack of intelligence by giving them to me. Actually, they were a, very generous, Christmas gift I got a few years back from the company I work for. Those ear buds were awesome, but like everything else I love, they died. I did manage to get several years of good use out of them, and I treated them like a red headed step child. The fact they lasted as long as they did only goes to show that Bose makes quality stuff. Well, now that I think about it, for $100 maybe they should have been impervious to damage by human means, or possibly even mythical means. I'm going to say it, they should have been Centaur proof.
So after what I refer to as the "Great Loss of 2010." I then went on a search for a decent pair of replacement buds, in the $20 range; because as is proof by how I treated the Bose ear buds, I shouldn't be allowed to have nice things. I tried many different types of replacement buds from different manufacturers. I'm not going to list them all because I don't have that kind of time. I will say through all my testing that 50% were just okay, and the other 50%... well I would rather have listened to the final death rattle of a puppy. A really cute and sweet looking puppy. You know, the ones you see on the TV that make you feel guilty for not donating to the ASPCA.
Well, after losing yet another pair of the okay ones, how I had those Bose for so long I have no idea, I needed a replacement and decided to try a different brand. I went again to the internet and performed the search, "good cheap headphones for someone who should not have good things." I hit enter, the search results came up, and clicked on a link that appeared to be a tech review site and let me tell you... they are really good at disguising porn sites to look like normal sites in search results these days. So after seeing something that I will never be able to unsee, I came across the Panasonic RPHJE120S and figured for $6 on Amazon I'll give them a shot. I've wasted $6 on far worse.
They arrived the day before I ordered them, as Amazon has awesome shipping, especially if you are a Prime Member. I grabbed my Zune, no I don't have an IPOD because I believe Apple, and the late Bea Arthur, are trying to kill me. I put in the buds and selected a track to play, expecting either okay sound or sound so bad that I would black out and wake up naked in a quarry with a dead rodent in my mouth. The latter has only ever happened to me twice in my life... three times tops... four at the most... possibly every Friday. Once my selected track started playing I was just amazed, to find my neighbor on his roof trying to fix his satellite dish in a t-shirt, pair of boxers, rubber rain boots, and a tool belt, with no tools in it, unless you count him. The sound out of the ear buds was awesome too! Clear highs, nice bass, just great frigging sound. It sounded like the puppy was right in the room with me. Then I turned on some music and was further impressed. Initially the highs in certain songs seemed a bit, too high, but over time the buds broke in to be just pure awesome. A $6 dollar pair of headphones that competed with those $100 Bose buds I had. Don't get me wrong, Bose is Bose, but to even approach sound quality on par with those Bose buds in a $6 pair of Panasonic's is damned amazing. But be warned, these buds ARE NOT Centaur proof. I checked. They are fairy resistant though.
I have also found them pretty comfortable, and they stay in my ears pretty well. I have fallen asleep with these things in. I did an experiment in which I tried to give myself night terrors using audio. It worked, I have never felt the same since. I may have also released something that can only be described as pure evil into the world. But like I said they were real comfortable and stayed in my ears even when I woke up screaming and thrashing about.
Maybe if you are insane, or a complete audiophile, or both, because they usually go hand in hand, you can pick apart these headphones. I have friends who are audiophiles/insane/schizophrenic and they can find issues with even the best audio gear. If you are looking for a good set of buds to use in everyday use that have great sound you really can't beat these. My first pair of these I had for about year, and then I lost them. I actually think I know where I left them but promised I would never go back... DAMN YOU NEBRASKA! I just bought 2 more pairs and just got done making sure the they worked and thought to myself; "I have to review these, they deserve it. Also, I need to teach Amazon a lesson for giving me an outlet to share my opinions." I believe this is the first product I have ever reviewed on Amazon and if you have read this far you can probably see why. I'm an idiot.
If you need ear buds... get these. If you don't need ear buds get them. Hell, if you don't like them you are only out $6. With almost two-thousand 5 star reviews, including this one, it's a pretty good sign that these are in fact good buds. If you don't buy these it's a pretty good sign that you are in fact an idiot. I would know, we can spot our own.
Yes, I have read the bad reviews, that's what I do. I research a product to death and then look only at the bad reviews to see if the complaints really seem valid or sane. This may sometimes scare me away from perfectly good products like the Nokia N-Gage, HD-DVD, and reusable toilet paper. But sometimes, especially with bigger purchases, I really want to feel sure after ordering the product, that I have made a huge disastrous mistake. However, that being said, I have no idea what happened to some of the people that left bad reviews for these. Maybe they got defective buds, or they are really picky audiophiles, but having heard them myself I can't agree with those reviews. I also don't agree with the law of gravity or that 9/10 of the law involves possession.
I have also beat the hell out of my first pair of these buds. I used them for everything, airplane, car rides, while I was cleaning around the house, and in the gym. Occasionally I have used these as a leash for my dog, and in two instances these saved my life from demons, that live in my head. Apparently head demons hate death metal, but absolutely love smooth jazz. Strange, I know. Seriously though, in the gym these things got ripped out of my ears a whole lot of times and they still kept working. Like I said, in the end I lost the first pair, but they still worked great when I lost them.
I'll finish on a serious note and stop joking around for just a bit by saying this, at the end of the day everyone's hearing and preferences are different. You can hate something that I love and vice versa. That's just how it is. So in the end there is no guarantee, but if you do the math and you even count the 3 star reviews as bad, only 19% of everyone that bought these did not like them. The other 81% like me... nothing but love baby. These things sound great, fit in my ear comfortably, they stay in my ear pretty good, even when I am at the gym, and seem pretty durable.
See, I told you could have saved a whole lot time if you would have just bought them, but you needed to keep reading.