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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.

426 helpful votes
427 helpful votes
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on October 9, 2014
I consider myself an audiophile. Too bad the RP-HC500's are discontinued. Fantastic set of headphones. Definitely rivals Bose at a fraction of the price. Better than the RP-HC700. Just got a set of Audio Technica ATH-M50 because the reviews just glow for them. The RP-HC500's 1) feel better, 2) are more bassy and full and 3) create a better feel that you're in the music. Although the Audio Technica's are not noise cancelling, for a set of phones that sell new for around $180 and are considered professional studio monitors, I expected them to be superior to the RP-HC500. The RP-HC500 has better sound quality. Construction of the RP-HC500 is not the very best but for the sound quality, I'll deal with it.

If you can get your hands on a set of RP-HC500's, do it. They are well worth it.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
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on October 12, 2013
P'sonic noise-cancelling headphones were quite satisfactory, within the limitations of the genre. You expect noise-cancelling headphones to cancel noise, you'll be disappointed.... they muffle or neutralize certain kinds of noise, at certain frequencies. In some contexts, this is enough.Using this device, for example, I could write or read sort-of demanding texts in my corner of our living room while my wife watched television about 10 feet away, as long as she kept the sound at a reasonable level. I couldn't work, read, write, or think while construction was happening on the brickwork of a building next door, with or without the headphones.

To put my experience in context, I'd recently tried, and returned Bose noise-cancelling headphones, which are better than the Panasonics, but also cost about 4x as much. I had expected too much. I learned from that experience that about $100 worth of sound attenuation is reasonable to expect; $400 (or $300, I forget exactly), is not. I still have and use my P N-C Hs when I need relative, but not absolute noise-relief. They still work, 3 or so years later. That in itself is a recommendation. Nowadays. Unfortunately.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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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.

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.

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.
25 helpful votes
26 helpful votes
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on September 18, 2009
I did love these at first, enough to buy 4 of them for friends and family. If you fly a lot, noise cancellation is a must.

However, I have two major issues / concerns:

1) The headset is made of plastic - metal arms holding the ear pieces extend out of a plastic frame. Metal pushing on plastic - unless your head is on the small size, these headsets will crack. I have cracks on both sides, which quickly led to a shorted wire and now they're not usable.

2) Customer service at Panasonic's McAllen Exchange Center told me today these were not a popular item - the RP-HC500s have been discontinued and not replaced. Panasonic has a great replacement policy (reconditioned headsets for about $22.50), but they don't have a noise cancelling headset to offer me. They'll send me an RP-DH1200, which is apparently a fine headset but is not noise cancelling.

Bottom line: it's fragile (expect it to break), and the dealers still have them but Panasonic has dropped them (expect not to get a replacement). I couldn't recommend anyone buy these now.
10 helpful votes
11 helpful votes
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on September 17, 2011
- My head is small/medium sized
- I have large ears
- I am not an audiophile, but enjoy the 'in-your-head' sound experience

- Reasonably lightweight
- Ear cups fit over entire ear
- Single wire connects to headphones (double-ended 3.5 mm jack can be used for any male to male audio use) means less tangling possibility
- Each cup swivels to provide 'custom fit'
- Soft and secure; not too tight- or too loose-fitting
- Uses a single AAA battery that lasts a good while
- Operates without single battery
- Good if you're not into heavy bass and like your mid's and treble
- Blue LED indicator on the left earpiece
- Good value
- Reasonable noise rejection (You can notice noise rejection when you turn on the headphones)

- It's lightweight, so it may be considered fragile by some (I think it's durable enough, just keep it off the floor and don't sit on it)
- Plastic coating on the foam feels a little cheap, but has yet to show any signs of wear
- The wire is thin (might be an advantage to you) but can seem delicate compared to the previous model's heavier cable (however this doesn't cause any extra weight pulling on the left side of your head ;) )
- After a while (1.5 hours or more) my head/ears can get a little warm (the disadvantage of this type of headphones)

Bottom Line: The sound doesn't blow me away; but it's an ergonomic, functional, light-but-strong, well-engineered product.
1 helpful vote
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on July 31, 2008
I never knew what I was missing. Just returned from traveling from Miami to San Francisco and have come to the conclusion that this is the only way to travel by air. A colleague of mine has the Bose version of these devices and has always told me how great they work. So I went online and decided that the steep price tag of Bose was just too much to try something I wasn't sure of. After quite a bit of research I decided on the Panasonic RP-HC500, the price of $84.00 didn't seem to bad and I was tired of traveling with all the noise. Let me tell you these devices did everything I expected as far as noise canceling (low frequency noises virtually disappeared) and that spacey feeling I normally experience after long flights was almost completly eliminated. I was concerned about a couple of reviews that stated how uncomfortable the headset could be, but I found that they fit me very well, and after a few adjustments I was able to wear them for over 4 hours with no problems (fitting my ears into the set most of the way with only the lobes on the outside worked great). I also thought that the music I listened to through these devices sounded great. I listened to music from two sources, the planes audio output and my own Sansa MP3 player, and found no problems utilizing either format. Plus I only had to place the volume levels at a really low level in order to enjoy my music. Overall I would recommend these headsets to anyone, the price is right and the quality seems fantastic so far. I guess only time will tell how long they will last, but they sure did the trick for the first trip.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on December 25, 2008
EDIT: 22Mar2010: Frustrated with the headphones durability - when the battery makes good contact... There is a design flaw in that the contacts for the battery aren't springy enough, and there is no easy access to bend them at for better mechanical contact. Both units exhibit this problem now - the power fluctuates and in some cases develops feedback (a ringing sound). It's occasional, and most of the time works, but the times it's acting up are very frustrating... Changing my recommendation now - which is sad given the initial positive experience I had...and the money I forked out for these. The following is my original review:

Title speaks for itself. These are well worth it. I bought them for my last trip to India (from Seattle) and what a world of difference!! I spent a lot of the time not even listening to anything - just in my quiet sanctuary...sleeping. It doesn't totally block out the screaming kids (I swear the airlines seek screaming kids out to stock economy with to encourage us to buy business class and first class tickets), but it brings them down to a very manageable level. It does definitely block out the jet background noise, and actually makes it possible to hear and enjoy the movies (despite the terrible little screens and the interruptions of the window seat passenger going to the bathroom non-stop). Of course, these headsets come with an airline jack compatible adapter, so you don't have to wear those cheap pairs they give you with embedded earwax and hairs. Now just need the Panasonic Airline Seatback Kid-Kicking-Canceling Back Massager Unit and I'll volunteer for the flights. Ok, maybe not.

I am buying my second pair so I can enjoy music at home and work without toting a pair back and forth. My work computer bag goes with me on flights, so I'm thrilled to be auto-prepared - and never chance leaving these behind (and yes, I travel with spare AAA's - something I recommend if you travel as far as India - you'll need fresh ones for the trip home).

The second pair will also be enjoyed by the kids (and these are durable, so I'm not concerned about breakage from tweenage and teenage slight equipment carelessness - sorta). So, guitar hero can be played by them without me going nuts.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on October 16, 2008
I have had these headphones for about a month and I am really pleased. When you put them on, there is no outside world. They are really noise canceling. I happened to fall asleep on NYC subway train while listening to the music (never happened to me before). At work , while listening to the music. my colleagues have to literally shake me after a couple of unsuccessful attempts to communicate to me - so good these headphones are !
I purchased these headphones after a long comparison of Audio Technica, Bose and Sony.
I have read all the reviews about above mentioned brands here at Amazon, plus I did some google search. Based on my research I chose Panasonic.Why ? I excluded Sony for huge price range - $50 headphones lack good features and $300 is too much for headphones like these. I would buy Bose (I think it is the Mercedes of sound) , but the price is too high for headphones that could be eventually lost on the train. Audio Technica was my front runner, but I found some negative reviews that influenced my decision. I bought Panasonic because I have had great experience with the brand - my Walkman survived my military training, my VCR has been working for 5+ years as well as my TV.
Note; You can find some complaints in reviews about some unwanted high pitch sound. It happens, but only if the headphones are idling - the noise canceling switch is on and a cell phone is in close range.It never happened to me while listening to the music.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on June 10, 2008
I bought these for my Mom who is in a convalescent center. The constant noise makes it all but impossible for her to even have a few quiet & private moments. I liked the idea these could function as noise attenuators w/o any audio input. Best news is they work and works WELL. I once owned a pair of Navy issue flight-line attenuators and these easily rival the noise reduction of that set.

Next you do not even know you are wearing them. I know people often make such claims. But in this case it's true. In fact my Mom is how can i say this, a tad high strung, the sort who finds fault with anything and everything. These headphones fit and,more importantly feel like the softest kid-glove leather. They are also extremely well balanced.

Now the negatives. First there is no volume control. This is only a problem because the Samsung LCD TV I also bought her has NO standard headphone jack???!!! Who knew TV's today are missing this simply feature?? Simple fix to use a y-adapter to connect the headphones to the TV. Problem is the TV does not control volume to anything beyond the built-in speakers. This is not a huge issue but had the head phones been equipped with a volume control they would be PERFECT. As it is they are the most perfect set I ever tried. More important they work for my Mom.

My work around is going to be either an in-line volume control or an small stereo the TV can jack into and then run the headphones off the stereo.

I will say this...I like these so very much I am going to buy a set for if there was a Bluetooth, Wifi or RF version the world would be nirvana... ;)

I can completely recommend this set. And my only reason for the 4-stars is just for the lack of a built-in volume control. I never thought to look and in a way I am pleased I never did look. ;)
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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