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on January 12, 2008
I just purchased the Audio-Technica Quiet Point ($124) and the Panasonic RPHC-500 earphones and compared them side-by side, using a CD run through Bose Speakers, with an earphone outlet on the speakers. I found that both earphones are equal in ear coverage; i.e., the earphones themselves are the same shape and size. Sound quality: virtually the same, with the exception that the Panasonics were a little "Bass-ier" than the Audio-Tehnicas, and might be better suited to use with an amplifier where the bass tones from the amplifier could be regulated. I found that the base tones on the Panasonic were somewhat greater as compared to the A-Ts, but if the listener likes a greater amount of bass tone, then the Panasonic would be the perfect choice.

I then compared both to the Bose $350 fit-over-the-ear model. The Bose displayed a clearer sound quality, but for $350, I would choose the Audio-Technica or Panasonics due to their far lower prices and better construction. The Bose earphone yokes are extremely fragile. I just fractured the yokes on my second pair of Boses and hopefully they can be repaired when I send them back to the company. It seems inconceivable that such an expensive pair of earphones can break so easily. The Panasonics seem to have the beefiest yokes. The Audio-Tehnicas have a similar physical appearance to the Boses. From the standpoint of yoke strength, it appears that the Panasonics win out over the other two. Also, the Audio-Technica yokes poke out about 1/2 inch more than either the Bose or Panasonics, possibly making wearing them less comfortable if the wearer's head is turned to the side while lying on a pillow, for instance.

Comfort-wise, the A-T and Panasonics seem to be virtually identical. The Panasonics have a bit more padding, so if the user has little hair on top, they might be slightly more comfortable. They appear to be equally easily adjustable for optimum fit. The Panasonics arrived with a dual-plug for use on airlines, while the A-Ts did not. I have no idea if dual plugs are a requirement for listening to airline music; the last time I flew, I used the single-plug Boses with no problem.

While wearing each pair, I clicked my fingers at arm's length to compare the noise-cancelling qualites. The Panasonics won hands-down. The Panasonics also seemed to be slightly more adept at cancelling out the broadcast from a nearby table radio tuned to a talk show. Interestingly, the Bose earphones displayed what appeared come in a poor third, allowing more radio sound to come through, even though the noise-cancelling button was on, and a new battery had just been placed in the unit. How each would compare on an airline with screaming children, I have no clue

I plan to purchase the Panasonics and send the Audio-Technicas back. The Panasonics have better noise cancellation, better construction around the yoke area (hopefully making them less apt to break), include a dual plug for airline use, have a flatter profile in case the wearer wants to listen in bed while his/her head is in a lateral position on a pillow (or while sitting in a reclining chair), has a slightly better cushion at the top cross-piece, and is $25 cheaper than the Audio-Technicas. Both have nice carrying cases that display about the same size and bulk as displayed by the Bose. The Panasonic boasts 92% noise-cancelling capability, while Audio-Technicas have 85% printed on their box.

As far as the Bose earphones are concerned, I would not buy another pair. After comparing the Boses to the above earphones, I feel the Boses are far overpriced and far more prone to breakage. I am on my second pair, the first pair having broken on both sides and may be unrepairable. After the first pair proved to be so flimsy, I babied the second pair, but the yoke broke in the same spot as that of the first pair. The Bose earphones appear to be riding on their previous good reputation; however, these earphones IIRC were the only pair of earphones on the market that really provided good fidelity---there was no other competition. Now, there is competition, both in quality and price. I feel Bose needs to rethink their pricing and design features, lest they become non-competitive.

I
1010 comments426 of 434 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 30, 2007
My company switched offices about a month ago, and myself and a few coworkers found ourselves in a room underneath a very large and very loud air conditioner. Combining that with the network equipment in the corner made for a headache-inducing work environment. Several of my coworkers already owned the Bose QC2 and QC3 - I decided to get these since they were a third the price. After several side by side comparisons, it became obvious to all of us that these were simply the best at noise cancellation. They also have a sound quality on par with the Bose. The only downside is that they can be a little bit uncomfortable to wear for a long time (although admittedly I do have a big head). I showed them to a few other friends and everyone's reaction was the same - the world simply seems to to disappear from your ears. The amount of damage these things save your ears is incredible - I'm practically addicted to them by now.
11 comment123 of 125 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 24, 2008
I originally purchased the Audio-Tehnica quiet point ATH-ANC7 headphones most because of it's overall positive rating vs. Bose Quiet comforts. However, once I received them I viewed some ratings for the Panasonic RP-HC500 and decided to purchase one of those as well in order to compare the two.

My observations:
Cost: Panasonic was ~$7 cheaper.

Appearance: Both are pretty much the same form factor. The slight nod goes to Audio-Technica for it's looks. Both carrying cases are similar in shape and appearance.

Comfort: Both headphones were equally comfortable on my large ears.

Noise cancellation: Panasonic wins by a substantial margin. My wife verified this in our noisy car.

Sound: Both sound the same to me. However, my main focus was on noise cancellation.

Battery: Panasonic indicated that some models come with rechargeable battery (mine came with standard battery). However, using rechargeable batteries is important to me. Audio Technica explicitly stated to NOT USE rechargeable batteries. Panasonic wins.

Accessories: Both brands came with identical accessories except that the cord that came with Audio Technica was about 2" longer. No advantage either way.

I ended up returning the Audio Technica headphones and am very happy with the Panasonics.
22 comments83 of 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 23, 2008
Ok here is the deal. Let me first thank you all for providing great
reviews on this product. And like some of you I too decided to compare
the Bose QC-2 and the RP-HC500 side by side. Here is what I found.

Upsides
1. RP-HC500's noise canceling is at least 20% better than the QC2.
2. RP-HC500's build quality is a lot better than the QC2. QC2s are fragile
3. You can use the RP-HC500 even when the battery runs out without
the noise canceling effect of course, whereas if the battery dies on a
QC2 it is useless unless you have a spare battery with you.
4. The RP-HC500 costs 3 times less than a QC2.

Downsides
1. Yes, you guys are right, RP-HC500 loses to the QC2 a bit in the base
department. The QC2 definitely has better base than anything else in
the market.
2. If you have a big head then the RP-HC500 may feel tight around your
ears and feel uncomfy after a while and this problem has been addressed
in the QC2.

With all this said, I would not consider paying $300 for the QC2. Yes
they are good headphones but worth probably $150. The RP-HC500 offers
a good balance of noise reduction and sound quality and for the price
it is a steal.
The other thing to consider is what do you want to use the headphones for.
If noise cancellation is your priority, then the RP-HC500 is THE choice.
But if sound quality is your priority then you may want to consider paying
$300 for the QC2s. But hey if you don't care about noise cancellation,
there are so many top notch headphones out in the market that don't offer
noise cancellation but offer high quality sound for a fraction of the
price of the QC2s.
0Comment24 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 6, 2008
I don't normally write reviews but in this case I just had to. I bought these for my second trip from New York to India. My first trip was an absolute disaster between all the engine noise, babies whining/crying, and background conversations. Results after using them on my second trip?

1) Engine noise....completely gone.
2) Babies crying...does not totally eliminate it, which I knew going into this. However it REALLY takes the edge off. While I was aware of the whining and crying it was FAR less severe with the headphones. Plain and simple. I did a with and without experiment at the first chance and needless to say they stayed on.
3) Background conversations....again not totally eliminated (if nearby you) but they become so muffled as to appear to fade into the background. After a while I simply stopped noticing them.

Bottom line? I will NEVER travel again without them. Paid for themselves immediately if you ask me. You cannot go wrong.
0Comment18 of 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 21, 2007
Just tried these out on a few flights this past week: they worked beautifully. If you try these at home you might feel that the noise reduction is not that great. But when you use them in flight, the reduction of the jetliner ambient noise is superb. Regarding some earlier reviews: (1) not that good for iPods [mp3]?: Nonsense. Excellent reproduction for any analog output, period. (2) Getting a better price elsewhere?: Nonsense. The amazon price is about as good as it gets... and I trust them not to peddle grey market goods.
0Comment16 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 26, 2007
Based on the NYT review I purchased these headphones but I am disappointed with the Panasonic HC500 headphones. The noise cancelling is great but there is a noticable 'pink noise' from the right earphone. I returned the first pair I got thinking that it was defective. The second pair was better but a noise still can be heard from the right earphone. Many noise cancelling headphones have circuit noise and this does not seem to get mention in reviews. But non-symetrical noise is unusual I think. When using these in a noisy enviorment this low level sound will not be noticed but one would never want use the HC500 as normal headphones to listen to music in a quiet room and with the cancellation circuit active.
11 comment23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 20, 2007
The good: Eliminates all the background noise without introducing any other annoying sound. They are much cheaper too.:-)
The Bad: The blue light on the side (power on). Flight attendances think is a wireless headset.
Details:
I have used these headphones for a while now and being a previous owner of a QuietComfort® 2 & 3 I can tell you they are much better.
The main deference is that with the Bose headphones is that while in use I still had the sensation of having an annoying sound but with the Panasonic RP-HC500 I do not hear any of the plane background noise.
11 comment14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 8, 2008
I brought these headphones after reading the reviews at this site which was very helpful. I found it to be an excellent choice and have used it on some of my international trips already. I have not compared it head on with Bose but it has 95% noise canceling ability. I didn't realize till now how noisy it can get in an airplane and how helpful such headphones can be.

I read a review on Amazon where there was a complaint that sound from only one side can be heard from an iPOD. I ran into this as well and the solution is to flip the connections on the wire connecting the headphone to the iPOD. Refer to the manual so the right end is connected to the iPOD. Once i did that, it worked perfect with my iPOD, laptop as well two other MP3 players I had.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and thanks to Amazon for on time delivery.
0Comment12 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 2, 2008
Based on the reviews, it seems these headphones either work very well or don't work at all. Accordingly, I ordered two sets. The first set demonstrated excellent noise reduction and better than average sound. Definitely superior to my Sennheiser noise-cancellers. Fairly comfortable, although my wife was obliged to remove her earrings for any prolonged listening. All in all, a much better deal than the Bose phones.

The second set was a mess. Much like another reviewer, I had big problems using them with my iPod. Initially, I could hear one channel in (right?) both ears. Then the left side quit completely. I tried a couple of other cords, but to no avail; the flaw seems to be in the headphones themselves. I sent them back.

Bottom line: These are very good noise-canceling headphones at a good price, BUT they have serious quality-control issues. Be prepared to deal with the returns department. Keep all the packing materials and paperwork until you're sure your headphones aren't defective.
0Comment11 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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