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Panasonic RP-HT21: The supra-aural bang-for-the-buck miracle

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hello, head-fiers. Since this is my first post I feel the need to give a brief introduction of myself. I am a Bulgarian enthusiast consumer with limited funds and scarce experience with audio equipment. However, that does not prevent me to try to use the terminology, that fordgtlover had posted. Recently, I stumbled upon head-fi.org and enjoyed reading about different types of headphones. The following is an attempt to give something back to the wonderful community here. I will be presenting the Panasonic RP-HT21 supra-aural headphones.

 

Disclaimer: Please take what you see here as an attempt at a review and not an oppinion of a professional. Bear in mind that I encourage constructive criticism. When I am doing something new, I like to educate myself by using the guidance of the works of people who have done the same and have done it good. Therefore, I will be borrowing the layout of Swimsonny's review and the famous ljokerl's review. All credits to that goes to them.

 

 

Panasonic RP-HT21 - Lightweight Headphones with XBS

 

 

Amazon stock photohorizon21's photo

 

Brief overview:
I consider the RP-HT21 an amazing bargain at just around 5 US dollars. Not only they are a known brand of electronics (many consumers seem prone to trust the seemingly well-known) but also they deliver a spectacular performance, which I dare say is difficult to match at their price range and even a little bit beyond that. I've had those headphones for at least 8 years. As you will see in the pictures provided, they have definitely seen better days (notice the silver duck tape on the headband and the custom-made ear cushions). They have well surpassed the 600-hour barrier (set by me) and then some more.
 
Set-up:
I have used these with a variety of output devices ranging from a multitude of desktop computers, to laptops, smartphones and mp3-players. For the purpose of this review I will be using 2 devices - a Rockboxed Sansa Fuze 4GB and a rooted Google Nexus S with PowerAMP and Voodoo Sound Control, which unlocks the built-in "powerful hi-fi headphone amplifier included in [the] phone and audiophile-quality DAC". Genres I listen to: rock, heavy metal, techno, dance, club, dubstep, classical music, oldies, ballads, instrumentals, some jazz. I've used these in my evaluation.
 
Build quality and design (8/10):
They are strongly-built from good quality plastic. My personal experience guarantees that they can take quite a few hits before breaking or being severely damaged. The design is sort of out-dated, however if you do not care about looking like an 80's teenager, it should not be a problem. The silvery duck tape that is visible on the picture binds the "tooth" that serves as an anchor to adjust the headband length. I broke it yesterday by fiddling with it unnecessarily. That's at least 8 years of faithful service to yours truly. I bandaged the other side for aesthetic reasons. The headphones can fit almost any head. Personally, my head falls on the big side and you can see that the band is quite long. However, it allows for at least as much adjustment in either direction. One flaw, if it is worthy of being called a flaw, is the lack of sturdiness of the foam pads. Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable, I do not know.  After about 3 years since the initial purchase the foam pads fell apart and I have been using the headphones with various pads that did not fit or crumpled shortly after. Being a handy person and coupled with the fact that I had coursework to avoid doing, last week I decided that I will make my own custom ear pads. I am quite pleased with the fit and comfortability. For those that are interested, I cut up some socks, folded a double-layer of them and I used a needle and thread to sew the pads. The cable is of notable quality, not prone to tangling and very sturdy. The y-split is durable. The jack is L-shaped and of reasonable quality with good strain-relief.
 
Comfort (8/10):
Being incredibly light-weight, the RP-HT21s are a pleasure to wear and could fulfil almost anyone's expectation of comfortability. Due to their age and prolonged usage, I have noted that the headband has stretched a bit and I would not be able to jog with them efficiently.
 
Isolation (2.5/10):
I have travelled from Bulgaria to America and back using these, but I was lucky the people in the aircraft were not noisy. I would not recommend using these in loud environment, as they are with open design and let lots of noise in.
 
Sound (7/10):
Now, the hard part for me. How do I describe their sound qualities? Let me begin by saying that they have good mid-bass, the sound is airy and somewhat aggressive; not too analytical but fairly articulate. The crispness and detail (e.g. with cymbals) is about average. I believe the RP-HT21's have good depth and bright character of the sound. The soundstage is average - it is quite easy to distinguish different instruments while listening to good quality (flac, 320kbit/s) records. They do not have the AKG K81DJ's bass strength but do deliver an above average performance for their price range. I'd say they performed rather awesome with all of the genres I stated above, even more so when tweaked with PowerAMP's equaliser (in some tracks for bass enhancement) and amped with the Google Nexus S. Mids are average, highs are a bit above average.
 
Value (9/10):
I will try to support my opinion without being overly biased, as those headphones have been my companion for a long time. At the ridiculous price of about 5$, these headphones are a steal, a "bang-for-the-buck" lover's dream and have the potential to be a favourite headgear for abuse in harsh environment. Good sound qualities paired with sturdiness and comfort with the sole exception of sufficient noise isolation make these my favourite.
 
Availability:
I suppose you can find these in some local electronics stores and certainly in amazon.com or amazon.co.uk.
 
Some eye-candy:
 
DSCF1245 (Custom).JPGDSCF1246 (Custom).JPGDSCF1248 (Custom).JPGIMG_20120429_151638 (Custom).jpgIMG_20120429_151712 (Custom).jpg

Edited by horizon21 - 5/6/12 at 10:08am
post #2 of 15

Just ordered three for $15 delivered on Amazon. I've got kids so they won't go to waste. Thanks for the heads up.

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Please let me know what you think once you try them.
post #4 of 15

It does look interesting. I may give this a try. My favorite cheap headphone is the JVC HA-S160.

post #5 of 15

Ok, so the RP-HT21 are great for $5. If the kids trash'em, no big deal, but soundwise:

 

Sennheiser PX100 (the original)   >>   JVC HA-S160   >>   RP-HT21 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Good to know. I have not heard the aforementioned pairs, though. I must do that some time in the future.

post #7 of 15

I've had a pair in my very crowded laptop bag for quite a while, so they are durable as well.

 

KP

post #8 of 15

Awesome first post! The headphones look nice too, I'll have to check them out.

post #9 of 15

Been looking to get a pair of these for a long time.  I only had mine about 5 minutes and had to mod them.

 

I found the ear pads were putting a little too much pressure on my ears. 

 

So I had extra "Temple" pads for the Koss PortaPros laying around.  Thought I would put them to go use.

 

Had six pads.  Two went on the temple and four on the headband.  I now own the most comfortable RP-HT21 headphones ever....

 

 

 

 

 

 

..

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodyPenguin View Post
 

Been looking to get a pair of these for a long time.  I only had mine about 5 minutes and had to mod them.

 

I found the ear pads were putting a little too much pressure on my ears. 

 

So I had extra "Temple" pads for the Koss PortaPros laying around.  Thought I would put them to go use.

 

Had six pads.  Two went on the temple and four on the headband.  I now own the most comfortable RP-HT21 headphones ever....

 

WoW!!!! This is what we call "Buy low Mod High" (Kramer5150) concept. Simple but Nice Mod and looks like $40(x8 the street price) can now. tempted to trigger on this HT21 soon....Nice cuts between those four pads both looks and for vents. try modding the cable. Thx for sharing.

post #11 of 15
Just changed out the pads on this thing

My mom sewed these little pads made out of this super soft cotton after the stock pads ripped after extended use for like a year now. Great value! =D
Edited by helllooooooo - 1/17/14 at 6:44pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by helllooooooo View Post

Just changed out the pads on this thing

My mom sewed these little pads made out of this super soft cotton after the stock pads ripped after extended use for like a year now. Great value! =D
would you pls post a picture of the other side.....ty
post #13 of 15

Here's a comparison of both pads.
As you can see the stock on the left is little foamy type material and the one on the right is cotton.

There is no difference in the sound quality. It just adds more comfort. The stock pads are absolutely comfortable. They lasted me a year of extended use before
going bad. If you decide to buy this, it'll do just fine.
Edited by helllooooooo - 1/17/14 at 7:18pm
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by helllooooooo View Post


Here's a comparison of both pads.
As you can see the stock on the left is little foamy type material and the one on the right is cotton.

There is no difference in the sound quality. It just adds more comfort. The stock pads are absolutely comfortable. They lasted me a year of extended use before
going bad. If you decide to buy this, it'll do just fine.
Thx mate.......actually i just wanted to see how the fold was made, the other side of it. Nicely done.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by helllooooooo View Post


Here's a comparison of both pads.
As you can see the stock on the left is little foamy type material and the one on the right is cotton.

There is no difference in the sound quality. It just adds more comfort. The stock pads are absolutely comfortable. They lasted me a year of extended use before
going bad. If you decide to buy this, it'll do just fine.
Thx mate.......actually i just wanted to see how the fold was made,thru the other side of it. Nicely done.
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