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Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Step Monitor

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #47 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Warm, Bassy, Musical, Lush, Smooth, Inexpensive, Ruggedly Built, Mech Design, Comfortable

Cons: Not high fidelity (very colored and not analytical)

Panasonic RP-HTF600 Step Monitors Big Sound with a Not So Big Price

 

On the never ending quest to find hidden gems out there, yet another challenger has come forth. The Panasonic RP-HTF600 Step Monitor. I try a lot of headphones. I love picking up a set of inexpensive cans and seeing if they sound good or not. Why? Because it's fun. I already have high end stuff but that doesn't mean I can't also look for something fun and great to listen to while not spending much. That also gives me the ability to listen to high end, mid-tier and entry and then there's headphones like the HFT600 which isn't even entry level in terms of cost, because it's so ridiculously inexpensive (anywhere from $25 USD to $30 USD on Amazon; and retails 40EU~60EU elsewhere it seems, so more for non-USA countries, sorry!). I never feel like I'm taking a chance on headphones that cost this. So naturally I go through quite a few. Some are worth talking about. Some not so much. This one, the HTF600 however, is very much worth talking about.

 

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Quick reference as to what's contained here for the impatient:

 

  • Closed back full size headphones
  • Inexpensive ($30 USD!)
  • Warm, bassy, musical, rich, full bodied, smooth sounding
  • Good sound stage (big angled drivers)
  • Easy to drive, and forgiving of source
  • Comfortable & solidly constructed

 

Why am I still clamming on about these things? Well, simply put, these headphones have a huge sound but not a scary price tag.  Anyone can try this headphone and I bet they will at least like it for what it is and likely keep it for fun, or actually use it often. I've worn mine for the past few days to really get into it and I ended up buying a second one so that I could share it with others because it's just so much fun to put in and crank up the music with. And without being humble about it, this headphone is as much fun to listen to with big warm musical sound that literally to me is more fun to listen to than some $150~$250 headphones out there in the mid-tier. Sounds like absolute hog-wash, I know. But I have those mid-tiers. And high-ends. And these inexpensive little gems. And they really do sit right next to them and I do actually listen to them. I was quite floored by them and my crush on them hasn't let up yet.

 

What Comes in the Box:

 

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  • The headphone itself
  • 1/4" gold adapter (original cable terminates with 3.5mm)
  • Wasteful paper stuff and packaging

 

There's nothing really to call home about when it comes to the packaging. This isn't focused on giving you a display piece, but it does come nicely packaged and you get a nice headphone, so we forgive them for not including a sweet wooden case or something.

 

Specifics of this Headphone:

 

  • Cord length 10 feet, terminating with 3.5mm, included 1/4" gold adapter
  • 50mm drivers, angled (like S-logic)
  • 56 ohms (easy to drive, no amp needed)
  • Sensitivity 100dB/mW (gets loud easily)
  • 10hz ~ 27khz Range
  • Weight 250 grams (not heavy at all, but not a feather)

 

Construction, Materials & Comfort:

 

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The HFT600 is actually a solid headphone, unlike most inexpensive models I try often. It's not flimsy and doesn't creak or squeak. It's a nice durable hard plastic unit. It doesn't have any fancy folding or bending or anything though. The cups can flip 180 degrees, but this is not a useful feature other than to make the headphone stand on its cups if you wanted. The cable is good, not too tiny, not overly large and heavy. The adapter is of average quality.

 

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The cups are padded with a pleather material that is better than other inexpensive headphones that I've tried (they're a nicer grade than SR850's I've tried amongst others for example). The cups themselves are soft, but have a firmness behind them, so they're not weak little pillows nor are they bricks. The cups themselves are pretty big, and house that big 50mm driver too which is angled. The inside of the cup has a felt across the face which is glued (but easily removable). The pads are easily removable and easy to put back on (so could be replaced, or modded, etc). The driver housing is actually nice, it's vented along the back (which helps with bass response, see mods of other headphones and they all include a bass port basically). The drivers angled and the vents combined give you a very nice sound stage considering these are closed headphones (however note, with the vents, they leak a little, and are not very isolating, but are still more isolating than even a semi-open headphone, and don't leak like a Grado). The back of the driver plates are a brushed aluminum with chrome, quite nice actually. It has a look to it that is very technical, mechanical, not organic. The cups do not swivel like a DJ headphone or some monitors. They have a degree of movement to adjust to the contour of a head, but that's all.

 

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The headband has a very generous cushion on top that is very squishy and comfortable. The headband itself has a weird little addition, it has "quick fit" options with two buttons on each side for settings. Essentially it's there so that you can hold the button, pull the headband down to enlarge it, and it will stop at a preset limit based on the button you push. This is a gimmick really and I didn't find it all that useful because I will put them on and adjust them to wherever I want them and leave them that way. But regardless, it's there, and you can quick-adjust them to two preset values for headband size just by holding the buttons and they will be equal on both sides. The headband and the cups do not fold up at all.

 

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The cord is 10 feet long and enters a single cup, so you only have one wire coming from the left cup. It is not detachable.

 

The headphone is held together with screws; you can literally take it apart. This is helpful for modders.

 

The construction over all is very sturdy. It's made of good solid plastic, not the flimsy stuff and none of the parts are thin or tweak around, so it should survive a good amount of abuse.

 

Sound Characteristics:

 

The HTF600 surprised me. I didn't expect what was going to flow out of them. They rendered this rich atmosphere, this ambient wonderland, and took my listening pleasure from skepticism to devout acolyte. What a rich musical headphone. So let's get more into it.

 

Quick summary for those not interested in the long winded detail stuff:

 

  • Massive amounts of reverbing bass. They're basshead cans through and through.
  • Bass bleeds into mids a little, but mids are not recessed in a big way.
  • Treble is very smooth, rolls off, not bright or fatiguing at all.
  • Great soundstage for a closed headphone.
  • Below average isolation, the vents are numerous.
  • Signature: Warm, Bassy, Lush, Rich, Smooth, Detailed

 

Some examples of music I tested that I tend to always use because I know the tracks very well: Ani Difranco (Acoustic, Female Vocals), Regina Spektor (Folk, Pop, Female Vocals), Euge Groove (Jazz, Bassy), Ludovico Einaudi (Classical, Piano), Keith Jarrett (Classical, Piano, Live Concert), Rostropovich Cello (Classical), YoYoMa Cello (Classical), The Cranberries (Pop, Female Vocals), Elton John (Classic Rock),  Avantasia (Metal, Fantasy), Buckethead (Alt. Metal), Rusko (Dubstep), Ephixa (Dubstep), JesusDied4DubStep (Dubstep), Robyn (EDM), BT (Trance, Techno), OceanLab (Trance, Techno).

 

Hardware used ranged from my Droid Incredible, Sansa Fuze, Asus Transformer, Vivid V1 Technologies DAC/AMP, Matrix Cube DAC and Schiit Lyr. Note, I did not find any significant difference when juicing anything up with them. They're easy to drive and are pretty forgiving of source so it wasn't a big difference from piece to piece, the idea here is just to express that they work on all these things pretty much equally so you can use them on basically anything without worry.

 

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Treble (highs):

 

The highs are very smooth. The headphone has detail, not a lot of congestion up here, but they're not transparent or airy like a detail monster or analytical headphone might have, instead, it's just a nice smooth listen that gives you enough treble to know it's happening, doesn't sound like it's distant or damp, and isn't spiking enough to fatigue you. No sibilance at all. I listened to different synth sounds, female vocals, drums, guitars, etc, and the treble was great all through it with no point where I felt I was missing out on treble or had too much. It literally is just a good smooth listen. The detail is surprising though, it's not a dark headphone to the point where you don't hear what's going on. I was hearing little things in recordings  of Cello works that I adore and it was just there, crisp as ever.

 

Mids:

 

The mids are not recessed to the point of notice, which is contrary to most bassy headphones. The bass bleeds into the mids a little, so you will hear some weight added to certain tones in vocals for example I found. But it's a warm sound, it really comes out and grabs you. It's a very organic, lush, full bodied sound that makes you feel like you're listening to music for pleasure, not analyzing it, not being critical. It's all musical here. Plenty of detail going on. I was surprised that female vocals were so musical here, even with some heavy bass pulsing behind it. I was able to run any kind of music through this headphone because the mids are strong enough to present it. Rock, Indie and Jazz were really pleasant and I felt like I had the right headphone on for the job. A good indication of being a decent all around headphone. Guitars were rich and ripping. Vocals were angelic and lush. Instruments were full bodied and just bloomed all over. There was good separation of sound too, it wasn't a congested mess of bleeding everywhere which surprised me.

 

Lows (bass):

 

The bass grabs you by your jimmies and rustles them. How about that for a description. This is basshead headphone. I directly compared it to the XB500 because it's an inexpensive bassy headphone too. The HFT600 sounded like the XB500's bass, very similar, a slight edge maybe going to the XB500, but in return for that, you get all the mids & treble that the XB500 has a big veil over (without equalization). I was quite surprised so much reverbing low bass was pulsing out of these things while still having great lush mids and smooth highs and no equalization going on to balance anything out. It completely replaced the XB500 in my book in all ways which some may not agree with, but as an entire package, it surely did, especially considering it's cost. The bass goes low. There's a mid-bass hump, but it can also hit those low sub bass frequencies with authority which really impressed me and made me think of a Denon. This kind of bass makes pleasure listening for someone who appreciates a good reverbing blooming pulsing bass rumble just grin from ear to ear. It adds immersion to gaming too which was really fun. And it makes movies sound a lot like how they present in theaters (rumble!). The bass is not, however, so out of control that you can't listen to soft acoustic--I tried that too and the bass just added body to the end of a sound, but didn't take over to the point where you felt like it was going too far. It was a very pleasing experience, and the bass presence is just commanding. Officially stamped as basshead approved headphones.

 

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Isolation:

 

There is not a lot of isolation, they're below average with that, they do leak a little more than your typical headphone, however they don't leak like a Grado. I would say they're just below semi-open in terms of leaking sound. So if isolation is critical, this could be an issue. And if leaking is critical, this could be an issue. There are a lot of vents, and they let the sound leak out a little. It's feint, and someone in the house in the next room isn't going to hear it. But someone next to you on the train or bus will hear you likely (let 'em riot). They do isolate on the inside sufficiently where you don't hear a lot of what's going on outside of the headphone (for example, with music playing, I don't hear my keyboard slamming and clicking at all, only when the music stops; I don't hear the AC, I don't hear a fan, if my phone rings, well, oh well I missed it hah).

 

Soundstage:

 

The sound stage is pretty good. It's not your typical headphone that is closed. Like Ultrasone's S-Logic, the big drivers are angled (the AD700 does this too for sound stage for example). Combine big angled drivers with a nice big open cup and some vents and you get a nice sound stage. Separation and distance is good, it "sounds right" so to speak. Not cramped, but also not wildly artificially expanded either. I found it pretty good for gaming even, the imaging is good.

 

Gaming & Movies:

 

We don't typically think of closed headphones for gaming, but if you're into immersive gaming and watching movies on headphones with some privacy, these things do it great. The soundstage gives you a good sound field to fill up. But the bass and immersion and musicality of the headphone really lends to having a really full bodied experience in games. So if you're into games like Skyrim or watching movies like Dark Knight, these headphones will give you goosebumps. Excellent for gaming (read: varieties other than competitive online-foot-step-listening) and wonderful for movies.

 

Comparing To Others & Closing Thoughts:

 

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Here's the section you love or hate. I really don't like hearing "Giant Killer" used, but it's so popular to say it, it's hard not to use it in some fashion. Are these going to topple the big analytical detail giants of the mid-tier and high-end spectrum? No. Not at all. But will it compete for pleasure listening? Absolutely. You may sneer and think I'm totally full of fecal material, but I absolutely adore listening to these headphones and don't always reach over for my HE-500's. Next to some D1100's, I was impressed how similar they were. The Pansonic had more bass, but had smoother treble, while the Denon had a tad lower bass volume and brighter sounding treble. I totally preferred the sound of the Panasonic here. I already compared the XB500 to it, and like I said, I really think it completely replaces the XB500 for an inexpensive basshead can in every way (equivalent bass levels, better mids, better treble, better sound stage, better build and comfort overall for me and better cord). It's very energetic, and reminded me of the kind of energy that a Grado gives me, so naturally ran it up against some SR60's and a SR325, the bass completely overshadowed the Grados, and while the Grados had more mid-centric sound, the Panasonic had more sound stage and was warmer and less fatiguing while still having a huge amount of energy. I couldn't even stand to listen to the AudioTechnica ESW9 & M50 after listening to the Panasonic. It completely was way more fun and musical, though the ESW9 was actually a lot more fun to listen to than the M50 (which is sterile and bleh). Previous budget headphones like the Kicker & Monoprice? Forget about them. This thing eats their lunch. These are not giant killers. They are not high fidelity in the slightest. Let's get that straight. But they are absolutely david when it comes to pleasure listening for someone who wants a warm, bassy, musical and smooth listen for having a great time with music. I'll get completely disregarded for it, but these are like a little HD650. Seriously.



Pad Modification (Optional):

By the way, the Beyer velour pads came in today. They're a perfect fit.

I have two sets of Panasonics RP-HTF600 Step Monitors. I just fitted these pads which work on several headphones in terms of size on a pair of the Panasonics. It's a perfect match. Fits like it was made for it. So no worries about it slipping or being loose or having to mod or do anything. They just slide right into place no problem at all without any extra modification. Simple swap.

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Comfort: Absolutely comfortable. Beyer Velour is just wonderful. I loved all Beyer headphones I've worn. I'm also a big "velour" fan, as I actually dislike pleather. I only stoop down to pleather when I am forced. And even then, it's only indoors for me because I do not like sweaty ears/head when wearing pleather headphones outside (my portables are always velour due to that, or at least, most of the time). These feel great. They fit just like the stock pads, but they're a nicer material, comfortable, soft and feel even better on my glasses frames.

Sound: Ok, they do have an impact on sound. All pad changes should because it changes how sound is absorbed and reflected, so it changes the end dynamic in your ear folds and reflects differently there too. So no matter what, it will sound different. The question is, do you lose good qualities, or do you get a neutral change, or do you get a positive change in qualities of sound.

Bass changes: Insignificant. Seriously. The bass is still impactful, low, and reverbing. That is awesome. So changing to velour does not effect the warm bass of this headphone in an appreciable way. I tested bass with some dubstep drops and some Cello over and over at the same perceived volume level to test it.

Mids changes: I swear that the bass bleed falls out of the mids, so the mids sound a little less warm and instead have an edge of detail on them. This can be a pro or con depending on what you're looking for. For me, this is an excellent change in the positive direction as this headphone now sounds more balanced actually and the clarity sound comes from the detail shift. I tested this with female vocals and piano (Tori Amos specifically).

Treble changes: Again, the bass is still tremendous and warm, but the highs feel like they lost some weight and became more tight and detailed, instead of being warm and smooth. Now, they're edged. It's not bright or fatiguing though. It's still a smooth listen. But it's not overly smooth to the point of sounding damp. I tested this with some guitar, cymbals, and some really high pitch female vocal with a lot of consonants (some French stuff that I listen to).

Verdict: I think the mid-bass hump gets tamed by the velour pads, therefor you keep the big sub bass hits that we love, but the mid-bass stops bleeding as much into the mids & highs, which results in a more balanced sound. I would call this an improvement. Even though I love the stock sound, it's so warm and musical, I also like a more detailed and clear sounding image. The velour I think takes the mid-bass hump down a notch. I just played with an equalizer to confirm this suspicion and felt like I found the same effective sound by dropping 220hz, 440hz and 622hz 2~3 dB. There's the hump by guestimation from previous thoughts on the matter of frequency response (as this headphone has an obvious mid-bass hump).

Velour pads are an excellent change. Reduced mid-bass bleed. Increase in clarity and detail by a notch. Retains sub bass slam and reverb. Still warm and musical. With the velour pads, the headphone's sound, as a combined package (costing new $50 total shipped) sounds much like $200 headphones I've sampled and have/had and feels like them too. This headphone is reminding me heavily of a mix between a DT770 and an HD650, but $50, and no amp needed, and inbetween fully open and fully closed so sound stage difference. I still feel this headphone has a great sound stage for it's closed nature and considering it's cost (when I compare to closed headphones that are fully sealed and do not have angled drivers, which have next to no sound stage I find, these things have quite a bit better sound stage).

Recommendation: Get the velour pads folks.

 

This headphone reminds you to enjoy the music. For the cost, you should definitely try one!

 

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325

 

Very best, basshead.gif

Posted

Pros: Price, Sound quality

Cons: Colored, veiled, needs a little extra power

Getting Started 

 

Forewarning I'm a neutral fan and don't like colored or veiled sound, please take that into account. Also My ratings are based around the price - for the money these headphones are undeniably out of the ballpark. 

 

The sources used for this review are my SLS audio receiver qv-avr500 (respectable onboard amp) and straight from mp3 player (this is a budget headphone afterall)
 

 

PACKAGING

 

Exceptional - presented like a 100$ headphone and protected well from damage (ordered these online) certainly a better looking package than what came with my ATHM50

 

Contains the headphones (Circum-aural) with quality pleather pads (very similar to M50) 10ft cable (straight and a little thin, but on par with headphones twice the price) 1/4inch adapter (gold) and standard 3.5 (gold) 
 

BUILD/COMFORT  

 

Light and feel neither delicate or sturdy (a great deal of plastic). Great padding, very comfortable (your ears might get warm after an hour or so) They certainly feel like more than 30$ and are infinitely more comfortable (and attractive) than anything in the Sennheiser HD2xx line
 

SOUND  

FROM RECEIVER 

 

Warm and full - very detailed (not just for a $30 can, but for a CLOSED can). Imaging is fantastic and adds great depth to the music. The highs were slightly sibilant when I first used them, but they mellow after a short burn (20 hours)

 

The Mids were slightly recessed, and vocals felt veiled - certainly the biggest shortcoming here, but still, nothing to really take off for - it doesn't effect the music in a negative fashion - but you WILL hear a difference between this and a high level can. 

 

The low end is excellent - tight and punchy or low and boomy, whatever the music calls for. While its not the bassiest can in the world - its enough to make me label this a BASSHEAD headphone. However (being a neutral fan) I should point out that this doesn't sound bad to me - its just not a personal preference 

 

Overall they sounded fun and inviting - WELL worth the money

 

SOUND

MP3 PLAYER

 

Vocals and Mids are more forward - bass is less warm and in less quantity - the detail remains largely unchanged. The highs feel more energetic and the headphone takes a more neutral sound

I find it enjoyable - but it sounds better out of the receiver (making me certain that these will want some form of amplification)

CONCLUSION  

For 30$ you can't beat it - the #1 competitor in this price range is the Senn HD202...and its vastly inferior headphone

 

If your new to HiFi sound, or are a budget can junkie - check these out, they are well worth the $$$

 

(I'll be editing this in the future by adding additional sources/amps)

 

All recordings used were in FLAC or 320k Mp3. 

Posted

Pros: Warm musical tone, large quantities of bass, fun sounding.

Cons: Lacks detail & clarity, leaks sound.

I decided to purchase these headphones after reading the large thread that was praising them greatly. I was in the market for a budget basshead pair of headphones, so it was a logical decision. As soon as I received them, I used them as my primary headphones for a week, while burning them in during the night.

 

My initial impression confirmed that the tone was very warm, musical, and colored. They were pleasant and non-fatiguing to listen to, with a very nice soundstage, and were a massive comfort improvement over my Grados. I did notice a large amount of sound leakage -- it was nothing like a Grado's sound leakage, but it was apparent. These are more semi-closed headphones than they are closed. They felt like an improvement over my more expensive, more analytic cans for genres like electronic. I quickly grew to like them. I compared them against a friend's M50s and decided that, although the M50s had a definite edge, the RP-HTF600s held their ground surprisingly well. I decided I liked the headphones enough to warrant purchasing Pearstone Velour Pads for them. They fit very nicely and improved the comfort to a 5 star rating. 

 

Over time, though, I found myself missing the clarity and punch of my more expensive headphones. By the end of the week, I had switched back to using the Grados as my primary headphones and left the HTF600s as my on-the-go/when-the-Grados-start-feeling-uncomfortable semi-open cans. The best way I can describe how they sounded by comparison is that the HTF600s sounded like they were playing through molasses -- the attack and decay was not very quick. When I played very high-paced bass lines, like those seen in Dark Psytrance music, the HTF600s could barely keep up and the notes were difficult to separate. the more technical features of the headphones were very indicative of their price. The RP-HTF600s are no giant-killers, but they brought a lot of value for the price.

 

Bottom line, for someone looking to try a pair of bassy headphones, these are an excellent starting place. They are easy to drive, forgiving of source, comfortable, and have a musical tone. They offer a high amount of value in the $30-40 price range, but I feel like they begin to start getting outclassed beyond that -- despite the rave reviews of the HTF600, I would not personally buy them again if they are priced outside of that range. I love the returns I got on this headphone for the price, but try to avoid many of the hyperboles offered by the HTF600 fans at Head-Fi. 

 

4/24/12 Retrospective: 

 

These headphones no longer get any head time from me anymore, really. The budget headphone market has expanded since these first became FotMs. I still enjoyed the purchase, but I dropped the value score on this headphone from 4 stars to 3.5 stars and the overall rating from 4 stars to 3.5 stars.

 

Just remember that these are semi-open headphones with some sound leakage and that they are not the absolute highest fidelity for the price. The Monoprice 8323 and the Incipio Forte F38 are, at this time, both technically superior headphones at a lower price.

Posted

Pros: Overall relaxed yet fun sound, prominent yet controlled bass, intimate mids, good comfort with velour pads, price

Cons: Fragile build, very very long cable, rolled-off highs may be turn-off for some

Introduction

Panasonic has ridiculously stupid naming schemes for their budget audio products, there’s seemingly no getting around that. When I was snooping around Head-Fi for some cheap over-ear cans that sounded good yet were comfy, the Panasonic RP-HTF600-S were highly intriguing, but I could never remember its model number for more than a week to save my life.

That said, I did eventually buy them and it’s now one of my most used audio products. One that I would whole-heartedly recommend despite the stupid model name, due to its very low price and very likable performance.

 

The Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Headphones

 

Quick Note

The Panasonic RP-HTF600-S, which I would be referring to as the HTF600 from now on, are budget headphones. On Amazon.com, you’ll find them for anywhere between USD $25 to $30. In fact, the Beyerdynamic EDT250V velour pads I bought to accompany the HTF600 were around USD $28 when I got them here (currently USD $24) while the headphones themselves I got for USD $25. It’s not exactly unusual, but it is comical to think that the headphones I’m wearing right now cost less than the pads they have on them.

 

Packaging & Accessories

For your money, you get a bare bones plastic box with the headphones inside and a 3.5 mm to ¼ inch adapter. That’s it, probably the shortest Packaging & Accessories section I’ll ever have to write.

 

 

The headphones and the 1/4 inch adapter it comes with

 

Build

The headphone is made of a cheap, fragile feeling plastic that doesn’t seem like it’ll hold up to a high drop or a careless sitting on. For that reason, I usually avoid placing my HTF600 at the edge of my table or at similarly precarious positions.

The single-sided cable only comes out of the left ear cup and  surprisingly, it’s pretty good. It’s soft, supple and is great for the price except for the fact that it is a gob smacking 9.8 feet long. I know other brands like Fostex and AKG have headphones that have 10 feet long non-detachable cables too, but why any company would want to do such a thing simply baffles me. To keep my cables manageable, I tie it up with a twist tie. Alternatively, you can braid the cable but I’m too lazy to get that done.

 

The insane cable on the HTF600, having to be tied up like a wild animal

 

Also, the cable is not detachable so some users have modded their HTF600 to include a 3.5 mm socket. Again, if you’re a lazy consumer like me, just live with it.

To end this section, just a quick note on the headband adjustment mechanism. The HTF600 come with two buttons on each side that are supposedly to help you adjust the headphones properly, but I find them utterly useless. Just adjust them as you would any other headphone. Note that the click adjustments are rather loose, so the headphones have a tendency to slide down when off your head and rattled a bit. In practice, this means you’ll have to readjust it if you take the HTF600 off and want to put it back on. They don’t slide down when they’re on your head though, so don’t worry about that.

Overall, build is acceptable, but not outstanding in any sense of the word. For your money, you essentially are getting what you paid for.

 

Comfort

Stock, the HTF600 are comfortable enough but do get rather warm and sweaty after around 1 to 2 hours. Keep in mind though that I live in the very hot tropical island of Singapore, which has humidity and heat that other non South East Asian countries may find isn’t quite the norm.

The HTF600 stock are fitted with over-ear pleather pads that aren’t exactly the softest in the world, but are surprisingly comfortable considering the price you pay. For reference, they are less soft and plush than the pads on the Audio Technica ATH-M50x but are definitely miles ahead in terms of comfort compared to Grado’s frankly horrid foam pads. I do not own the popular Brainwavz HM5 pads but I wouldn’t be surprised if the stock HTF600 pleather pads are comparable to the standard pleather HM5 ones.

With the Beyerdynamic velour pads I got, comfort is improved dramatically. It’s much less prone to getting stuffy and sweaty, which is very important to me given where I live.

 

The velour pads (Left) and the stock pleather (Right)

 

The headband is relatively thick and soft, much better than what you’ll find on many other headphones of similar prices. For reference, I have a Sony on-ear I got for free somewhere that used to retail for around SGD $30+ and all it has for a headband is a single piece of plastic. Despite the padding though, I do get a sore spot on the top of my head after around 3 hours.

I’ve been on Skype group calls wearing the HTF600 with the velour pads and would usually notice my head and ears getting slightly sore after around 3 hours or more. However, by then, I’m probably in dire need of a good stretching and walking around anyway, so it works for me.

In short, the HTF600 is quite comfortable, but isn’t anything like a Beyerdynamic DT880 or HD600 for long hour usage. They’re good enough but do still have their clear limitations, as expected at the price.

 

Isolation

Noise isolation is rather poor, due to the large ports on the sides of the ear cups. I have had entire conversations with people while the HTF600 were on and no, I’m not talking about Skype conversations. Noise isolation decreases further when you’re using velour pads like I do. In the end, despite these being stated as closed headphones, they’re basically semi-open, so you should treat them as such.

 

Amplification

The HTF600 are rated to have a 56 ohms impedance and a 100 dB/mW sensitivity. In simple terms, these do not require an amplifier to use and would get pretty loud plugged into a laptop or smartphone. I’m able to use the HTF600 plugged into my iPhone 5S, which has a relatively good internal sound card for a smartphone and my VAIO Pro 13, which has one of the crummiest on-board sounds I’ve heard. Both are able to push the HTF600 pretty well. That said, I now mostly use the HTF600 with my Fiio Q1 Dac-amp.

 

Sound

If comfort and/or the price are the reasons one would be interested in the HTF600, the sound signature at the price would be why one would bother spending the extra pocket change on these headphones. There is even an entire Head-Fi thread here that discusses how the HTF600 is “more fun” than the legendary Sennheiser HD650. Yes, really, this thread exists.

While very amusing and definitely all in good fun, such hyperbolic comments can be very confusing for potential buyers. A $30 plastic fantastic headphone, no matter how fabulous, can’t be “better” than the venerable decades old $450 legend right? So to clear things up, that’s what I’m here to do, ruin the party. Sorry, I mean provide useful information.

Note that the Beyerdynamic velour pads do in fact change the HTF600’s sound so I’ll be describing the HTF600’s sound for both the pleather and velour pads in each section.

Bass

The bass, as most owners of the HTF600 would tell you, is virtually the star of the HTF600’s sound. With what I perceive to be a slight mid-bass hump, the bass is thick and meaty while not being overly Bloated or uncontrolled, creating a rich, dark and fun sound.

Comparing to some other bass heavy gear, I don’t think the bass extends as deep as something like the Audio Technica ATH-M50x or the Future Sonics Atrio (MG7) earphones, both of which I also own. The HTF600 also has the least pronounced bass of the 3, which is probably why the lowest end of the spectrum is much less noticeable. In my opinion, the HTF600 has bass that would be the least aggressive and is the most relaxed sounding overall. The M50x can be a little headache-inducing with its aggressive bass and treble, while the Atrio can be a bit of a one-trick pony IEM with the strong bass not exactly working for some genres. In this regard, the HTF600 is more versatile, not to mention it is also the cheapest of the 3 mentioned products.

With the velour pads, bass is slightly more tame and diffused, having decreased body and impact. In other words, I’d say the bass is flatter with the velours. That said, bass is still very much noticeable with the velour pads and not much of the fun factor in the low-end is lost in my opinion.

Mids

If the bass is the star of the HTF600 show, the mids would be the planet that revolves around it. The mids are intimate, rich and very smooth, having very few harsh peaks I can discern.

Male and female vocals, unlike many other headphones and earphones I’ve both owned and demoed, have an equal opportunity to shine. Male vocals are sometimes bled into by the upper bass, and female vocals can be very slightly peaky especially with hotly mastered tracks, but both genders have vocals represented in a forward and generally smooth manner.

I did notice that brass instruments in particular sometimes sounded a little undetailed and blunted, due to what I guess is the smoothed over frequency response in the mids and upper treble. I don’t personally find this to be a problem, since my rather sensitive hearing means I get physically uncomfortable when headphones are overly brassy or peaky in sound. With that in mind, I personally would rather have a duller sound most of the time over a sound signature that is too energetic or lively with brass instruments hurting my ears, but that’s just my opinion. As with all things audio, your mileage may vary depending on your preferences.

Comparing the pads again, with the pleather pads, the mids, to my ears, are more lush and rich. With the velour pads, the mids, like the bass, becomes more tame, diffused and has decreased body and weight.

Treble

The HTF600 have treble that I feel is veiled and rolled-off. There is an overall slight haze to the sound, but is not muddy or unclear by any means.

Due to the general lack of high frequency emphasis, the HTF600 loses out on having micro-detailing and an analytical sound, but that, as I will discuss later, isn’t always a bad thing.

With the velour pads, the sound is a little less crisp as it is with the pleathers. Detail is slightly lost with the velours and there is slightly less shimmer to the sound. Treble overall is slightly tamer and is less pronounced.

Verdict on Pads

Above, I’ve mentioned how the stock pleather and Beyerdynamic velour pads affect each chunck of the sound signature, but looking at the sound as a whole is when you’ll get the big picture of the differences between the two.

With the stock pleather pads, the sound is darker and richer while also retaining more detail and shimmer to the sound. Vocals are lush, bass is impactful with a fair amount of heft yet being controlled and the high frequencies are present but are far from being aggressive. Basically, the sound signature is slightly U-shaped, with more emphasis on bass, and the mids not being anywhere as recessed as other more aggressively U or V-shaped signature headphones.

On the other hand, the velour pads flatten the general sound signature and make the whole sound more diffused and decreased in weight. The sound is not as lively or energetic, but what you get in return is a much more spacious sound that takes full advantage of the angled driver placement in the headphones. While not as wide and jaw-droppingly precise like the Beyerdynamic T90 for example (for obvious reasons), the HTF600 with velour pads sounds airy and light, for a lack of a better description. You don’t get pin-point accuracy in imaging, but what you get is a very relaxed, mellow and enveloping sound stage that is easy to kick back and chill to.

To settle the differences between the pads, I personally like the pleathers more for most of my music due to their more engaging and fun representation of the sound. However, for long-term comfort, the velours win. On top of that, the velour pads work better for audio that requires a more spacious and airy sound, like orchestral tracks or movies and TV shows.

With all the users online that tell you to just get velour pads without providing much explanation, I hope this comparison would be helpful in your decision regarding whether to spend the extra on pads or not. There is a significant difference in sound, so my description would hopefully help you make a slightly better informed purchase.

With that out of the way, let’s finally wrap things up!

Overall Sound

In summary, the HTF600 can be described to be on the darker side of headphones, with an intimate presentation that is mellow yet fun. The HTF600 is also quite the all-rounder, being able to provide a very pleasant and unoffensive rendition of many different musical genres.

However, for detail freaks, this is not going to be the headphone of choice due to the lack of treble emphasis. The HTF600 is not for everyone or for every situation. But if you want to have a relaxing, non-fatiguing pair of headphones to return home to and don’t have the dosh for something like the Sennheiser HD650 or the Sony MDR-MA900, I believe the HTF600 would make the budget conscious consumer rather happy with the sound it produces at its significantly more affordable price.

Are they as good or God forbid, better, than the HD650? Hell no. Compared to the HTF600, the HD650 is much more detailed in the mids and highs (it’s not even close really), has bass that’s much better in technical performance and the HD650 is a significant number of steps, hops and leaps ahead in comfort.

However, for their respective prices, which is easier to justify? While the HD650 is a fantastic headphone, it is considerably more expensive and it’s no contest, the HTF600, cheaper by literal hundreds of dollars, is the much easier recommendation for the money.

 

 

The Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Headphones

 

Conclusion

In one sentence, the HTF600 is engaging, relaxed, has the potential to be quite comfortable and is a good overall package at its wallet-friendly price.

With the stock pleather pads, it’s great for many different genres of music. Stick on the velours and you get a very comfortable headphone for long listening sessions and a spacious sound that is great for movies and TV shows. All in a package that only costs around USD $60 in total, $30 or less if you don’t want the velour pads.

I don’t think every person in the world needs a HTF600, because really there is no such product that everyone needs other than refrigerators or similarly mundane necessities like that. However, the HTF600 is a very easy product to recommend for many people and at its USD $28 price, it’s a no brainer for many who at the very least just want to give something new a try.

Being very affordable, easy to drive and pleasant to listen to for most genres, it’s also a very easy recommendation for beginners to headphones who aren’t concerned about looks and want a solid sounding yet cheap headphone to start with.

A great budget option that ticks a lot of boxes, the Panasonic RP-HTF600-S is not the “best headphone ever” or a “giant killer”, but is good enough to satisfy most people, if only its model name were easier to remember.

 

About Me, Josh Tseng:

A self-proclaimed “boring person”, I’m interested in audio gear, music, current events and having thought-provoking conversations with people I meet. Right now, SoundTown is a personal passion project of mine to improve my writing skills while being able to explore all things audio. I also happen to be visually impaired, which is why music has, for me, eventually become one of the most important forms of media I can consume.

If you want to talk to me, feel free to email me at soundtownmail@gmail.com or you can also find me on Twitter at @JoshSoundTown. PMs on Head-Fi, for now, would be rather challenging for me to access so that’ll have to be something I’ll have to work on. Oh and by the way, all feedback on my writing would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading and happy listening!:beyersmile: 

Posted

Pros: price /heavy Bass /comfort

Cons: because of the $25 price tag it makes me feel embarrassed that i like them so much

I original bought most of my Headphones from Pioneer and Sansui back in the 70s and other than buying a few lightweight headphones and earbuds i was still satisfied but then i kept reading about the Audio Technica ATH-M50s and decided to buy them then i got some very soft earpads and although it made live performances sound great they leaked so much it now defeated the reason i have headphones which is so my wife would not be bothered.

 

then i saw the review of these on here and thought what the heck i will give them a shot.

 

they sound many times better than their price and bring real impact from my Adcom Stack without scaring the neighbors with my complete home system .

 

everyone should own a pair of these

Posted

Pros: Euphonic, looks cool, has soul, forgiving, bass extension, engaging, euphoric highs, smooth, feel the music, open soundstage, 30$ great as gifts

Cons: Lacks speed/ fine detail, Needs amping, won't hit all the notes, below average isolation, noisy plastic construction, non removable cable

If I had to visualize the sound signature of the HTF-600, I would describe them to be the bridge from a melancholic place connecting to a cheerful heaven. 

These cans extract the soul and love out of every soundtrack out there.

 

Let me start of by saying that these are not perfect headphones because they don't excel at everything.

These are 30$ dynamic drivers, 50MM drivers at that. They don't have the control that higher end mid-fi

and high-fi cans have. They won't hit all the notes that are available, a lot are drown out.

But what they do have, is an excellent presentation that can engage the listener just as good if not better

than those higher end headphones from 400$ and up.

There is something about the signature of the HTF-600 that makes me come back to it. No matter

how big my headphone inventory gets I still listen to the HTF-600 if I just want a break from all my analytical gear. 

 

The instrument separation is average, the sound is presented as a whole and not in individual parts like other

headphones with good sound separation tend to do. But I can still pick out the individual layers well enough, even though

the bass sometimes trump the mids. This can is excellent at tracking a drummer; "Something to believe in - Citizen Cope" is a good track

to test that with.

I never felt like the HTF600 sounded bloated or messy. It has a very clean and open presentation.

 

The bass area is where these cans shine. I paired them up with a Fiio E11(excellent match) and with bass boost set to +2 and giving it a V-shaped

EQ-curve, these will impress any bass-head whom desires earth shaking bass on their head. Don't get the wrong idea, these ALWAYS sound great, but improve upon amping.

These cans are very open to EQ-ing(Rock EQ)

I impressed over 30 friends with the Fiio E11+ipod touch Gen 4+HTF-600@V-shape EQ combo. A good example track is "After thoughts- Oddisee". The sub-bass is just wonderful. It does

lack the speed and control of let's say a HE-400. There is a long decay. But you can always track the bassline 

and the boosted frequency around the 100hz-200hz makes these thump hard, but never distract the mids/highs. 

 

HOWEVER, proceed with caution using the E11 or any bass boost amp with the HTF-600 outdoors.

The vent holes prevent good isolation and thus you will turn these headphones up to dangerous sound levels. Not only being bad for

your ears, but for the drivers as well. You can easily blow the drivers as they are not designed to driven to such high levels with bass boost 

on. I learned my lesson the hard way, I am on my third pair. The driver diaphragm isn't reinforced with any material unlike the DT-770, HP-150

or FA-003TI, so be careful and you should be fine.

 

The mids on these are very smooth and colored but not very detailed. Ambient noises are hard to pick apart, and little nuances are not present until you amp

this baby up and pair it with a good dac.

Also there is the non fatiguing sound, which makes me assume the  frequency around 2khz-4khz is slightly down lifted.

I can not provide a direct frequency response curve for these cans, I have searched around the web but without success. Yet somehow I perceive

the HTF-600's mids to be quite forward. The mids remind me a lot of the HE-400, where the lower mids are upfront and upper mids are recessed.

 

The highs are just pure euphoric bliss. As another reviewer stated, these are a gift from the heavens. These are tuned to near perfection if you just want to enjoy your music.

They are never fatiguing, and to my ears they bring all my nostalgic feelings I associated with old songs right back to my soul. The highs have a nice bite to them when the trumpets

are blazing. The detail is certainly there, but the highs are certainly rolled off after the 10khz mark. But I never feel like these sound dull because of that. If had to handpick a song and link

the feeling of that song to this can, it would be "Akira - Illusion". Trip hop and RNB/Hip hop goes perfect with this can. Washed out and bonobo sound very dreamy and just blissful.

But these cans can really play anything with pride. 

 

The build quality is pretty good. These cans look really awesome. They are very lightweight and supremely comfortable, and made of durable plastic. The cable is very long but you can braid it by following a YouTube tutorial on the subject. There are velour pads(DT250), MalVeauX has a good explanation on what it does to the sound signature. I have the pads but eventually preferred the pleather pads because they sound more organic. You can easily toss them around and throw them in your bag but I don't recommend sitting on them. Comfort is below average with the pleather pads; after an hour you need to take a quick break from them. This can be remedied by applying the velour pads mentioned earlier. In cold weather these tend to make cracking noise when walking, which can be quite disturbing to the music listening experience (though it's not all that pronounced, just slightly annoying) The driver-cups seem to be plated with a metal piece, as they get cold just like metal does.

I hope Panasonic uses these EXACT same drivers and make it an all metal construction. I'd drop 200$ on those if they did. 

 

Lastly, the sound-stage is pretty good thanks to it's semi open nature. The sound is always happening next to my ears, and you don't get an inside your head feeling.

The imaging is far from realistic, and a lot of sounds are free floating most of the time. The sound-stage is extremely engaging and open sounding. Nice height and width, but average depth.

They remind me of a baby HE-400 in this category. 

 

For 30$, I recommend buying at least 5 of these. Give these as gifts to all your family-members and friends when it is their birthday. Keep a spare or two and lock it away for 50 years and pass it  

on to your grandchildren. They will then pass it on to their grandchildren and this will then become a family tradition. Because 500 years or so from now, these cans will inspire someone very

important and thus will safe this planet from eternal doom. 

Posted

Pros: Soundstage, bass, signature, comfort

Cons: Price(depending on where you find it), too forgiving

great bass. especially the mid bass is superb and delicately punchy... no bleed to my ears 

 

very clear for a bass heavy headphone

 

they sound warm and overall very easy on the ears...supremely forgiving....great clarity ..

beats my xb 500 in almost everyway.  bass is very well layered and faster than sennheiser hd 428 and xb 500. also shows equal layer and extension in bass to xb500, at the same do not sound bloated like the latter

 

treble is enough not to complain about..  I dint have my usual treble checking tracks but i can still vouch for this....(eq might help here)

 

mids sound warm but i dont find any particular bleed...

satisfying soundstage with good height and nice width... again better than the xb 500s..

 

the mrp of this is 4k inr( around 75 dollars) and thats not really a steal...but price depends where you find it 

 

if you can get it at 40 dollars a pair, these hold the best value i can think of but 75 dollars is still high ...

 

to me it sounds much more realistic and convincing in portraying depth and layer in comparison to similarly priced sets like the hd 438 by sennheiser. Provided, they are super comfortable I would pick these up against similarly priced cans like the ones mentioned.

 

isolation is subpar to average - as good as the xb 500 if you ask me.. but not as good as the ultra-budget friendly hd 202 by sennheiser. 

 

overall the signature is warm and the bass compliments the mids but bounce about high and big when called for.. treble is good but resolution and detail can as well be considered a contribution of the size of the soundstage and overall clarity which gives the sense of perceived detail(imho)

 

cheers

Posted

Pros: Deep, Palpable Bass, balanced mids, and sharp, crystalline treble (especially with Byerdynamic ear pads)

Cons: Pleather ear pads somewhat uncomfortable.

Bought these last week off Amazon.com for $34.  Right out of the box they sounded great to me.

 

Was never a believer in "burn-in", but now it makes sense;  headphones have drivers, which are essentially air-moving diaphragms mounted on pistons (voice coils) - and it is completely reasonable to suppose that these diaphragms get conditioned after so many excursions & hours of flexing and use. Anyway, after about 40 hours of listening, these phones sweetened up quite a bit.

 

Then I got the Byerdynamic ear pads today ($25 USD off Amazon) and installed them - signature-wise, mids are a bit more clear, and the treble really came to life and really does sparkle.  The bottom end of these phones is still just as massive, deep and impressive.

 

Using my funny audiophile synergistic math, $34 + $25 = $250 - grade headphones...proving once again the old adage that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

 

5 stars *****

Posted

Pros: good sound

Cons: I think they where not build to last

Very short review.

I am not expert in sound and headphones, I don't own many.

The sound on this from my perspective it is good. They have deep bass but not that punchy, more on the soft side, the medium frequencies are somewhat overtaked by the smooth bass, not so clear more audible on the hi spectrum, the high frequencies are ok.

On busy music I notice the tendency to mix the sounds with the low frequencies trying hard to keep the sound clear and undistorted. On clear music with sound well separated they sound great.

They will not work on the phone...volume will be to low but they do ok on an Ipod shuffle gen 1 plenty of volume, also they sound poor on the most cheap type of integrated pc mainboard codec but ok on more evolved version that include an headphone amplifier.

 

Received them 2 days ago...after 4 hours of burn in at low volume with an deep bass melody the left speaker ceased to work.

I pay 70$ for them in Europe.

 

Maybe on normal music they last long, but I review them based to my direct experience.

Overall the sound I think it is ok for the most type of music.

For 30$ I am sure it is a bargain for 70$ I d'ont know...

Posted

Pros: light on the head very comfortable for long use 50mm drivers for 45 dollars

Cons: need a good dac

for the money there are very good closed headphones 

Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Step Monitor
Description:

Panasonic RP-HTF600-S Step Monitor

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandPanasonic
EAN0885170045644
FeatureLarge diameter driver units 50mm (1-15/16")
Height9.8 inches
Length4.3 inches
Weight1.17 pounds
Width7.1 inches
LabelPanasonic
List Price$59.99
ManufacturerPanasonic
ModelRP-HTF600-S
MPNRP-HTF600-S
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameHEADPHONES
PublisherPanasonic
StudioPanasonic
TitlePanasonic RP-HTF600-S Step Monitor
UPC885170045644
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
SKUVS394147
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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