Pros: Excellent sound, deep bass, great dynamics and instrument separation, soundstage, build quality, price
Cons: Insulation could be better
After getting the Sennheiser HD428 and using them for about a month, I bought a new set of Panasonic RP-HTF600-S headphones. Why, you might ask. After all, the HD428 are excellent headphones with great instrument separation, dynamics and comfort. The problem is they sound “dry” and “analytical”. And I wanted to try something more entertaining.
Some of my previous headphones include Panasoinc RP-HTX7 in red color, Sennheiser HD201, Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Koss SparkPlug, Philips HS500, Creative EP-640, and others. The headphones I used most frequently were the Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Microsoft Zune Premium, and Creative EP-640. I was happy with the retro-styled Panasoinc RP-HTX7, both in style and sound, but the HD428 sounded noticeably better and now the new Panasonic HTF600 is my headphone of choice. You will see why.
About the Panasonic RP-HTF600-S
The Panasonic RP-HTF600-S are enclosed circumaural headphones with large 50-mm drivers (1-15/16”), dynamic high-output neodymium magnets and a single-sided 10-foot (3m) OFC cable with a 3.5-mm straight plug. A 6.3mm adapter is included. The headphones have nominal impedance of 56 Ohm and advertised to produce 10-27,000 Hz frequency response.
The HTF600 are made of black and gray plastic and are very comfortable, albeit slightly less so than the Sennheiser HD428 (due to less supple, but probably more durable padding around the ears). The HTF600 also seem to be more rugged and durable. The oxygen-free copper cable terminates with a compact 3.5-mm headphone plug that works well with portable devices. The headphones came with an adaptor for conversion of the headphones' 3.5 mm plug to 6.3 mm for use with home gear (my Panasonic SA-XR57 receiver has a 6.3-mm headphone plug).
The appearance is stylish and modern. The ear cups rotate out so that you can use one of them for monitoring without putting the headphones on. Not only the earcups are padded but so is the headband. The areas where cups are attached to the headband both expand lengthwise in two presets each and rotate.
The headphones are relatively light and do not create much pressure on my ears or the areas around my ears. Subjectively they feel somewhat heavier than the Sennheiser HD 202 and about the same as the HD428. But the padded areas around the drivers are less soft and cushy than Sennheiser’s.
The cable is long enough to reach pretty far. I use the headphones with my receiver as well as with my Sony NWZ-S639F (NWZS639F) 16 GB Digital Media Player at home and in both cases the length of the cable is more than sufficient. Unlike Sennheier HD428, which has a flimsy/thin cable, the HTF600 has a sturdy cable and a sturdy plug.
The HTF600 do not fold and take up the same amount of space as other non-folding cans.
The most important quality of the headphones is the sound quality (provided they are comfortable as well). Immediately the HTF600-S produces noticeably more detailed sound with better instrument separation than the Panasoinc RP-HTX7 (which in turn was better-sounding than the Sennheiser HD202 and HD201). I burned the HTF600 in for close to 25 hours by playing music through them at moderate volumes.
Not everyone believes in speaker/headphone break-in. What it is: you have to play music through the headphones at moderate volume for certain amount of hours before they start performing their best.
I compared the HTF600 with the aforementioned (more expensive) Sennheiser HD428 as well as with compact canalphones, including Monoprice 8320 IEM. On their own, the HTF600 sound great. They have excellent instrument separation, bass, treble quality, clarity, dynamics and soundstage.
In comparison with the HD428, the HTF600 sounds “more entertaining”, a little less accurate, but more involving. It has better soundstage, sounds less dry, has more powerful bass and sounds clearer overall. For most music, the HTF600 is better suited to my taste than the Sennheiser, with the exception being some complex classical music, where the Sennheiser HD428’s “stict/dry”, “analytical” sound are more appropriate.
In comparison with in-ear (canalphone-style) IEM headphones, the HTF600 wins, of course. Even against the excellent Monoprice 8320.
If you are thinking about buing the replacement headphones for your portable player, the HTF600 is a great choice.
These headphones have impedance of 56 Ohms, which should suit most portable as well as home gear.
The HTF600 provide little sound insulation; you can hear what is happening around you pretty well. Some sound will leak as well, which will make you annoying in public transport. They are not noise-canceling and have numerous vents as well, which probably contributes to their excellent dynamics and bass but hinders sound insulation.
I have dropped these a couple of times (on the carpeted floor) and there is no sign of any damage. I also tugged on the cord accidentally a few times. These headphones are very well made.
At under $30, these are insanely cheap for the build quality and for the sound quality they produce. In many respects, the HTF600 sound like headphones that cost several times more and completely dominate the most popular choices in this price range.
The Panasonic RP-HTF600 are excellent comfortable headphones with detailed, involving sound and are a good way to get better sound from your portable MP3 or CD player or get good sound from your home gear without disturbing your family members or neighbors. More “musical” and less “dry” than Sennheiser HD428, these are the headphones I use most of the time, even though they are much cheaper. I highly recommend the HTF600.