Thursday, June 27, 2013

Panasonic RP-HTX7 Consumer Headphones - Much Better Than Sennheiser HD202 or HD201

Panasonic RP-HTX7 Consumer Headphones Reviewed by Dmiko on .

I have read both very positive and mildly negative feedback from people who used Panasonic RP-HTX7. Some positive accounts even went as far as to suggest that these rival much more expensive headphones, especially if you don't demand the most accurate frequency response. 

Although I already have a lot of headphones at home (some used frequently and some infrequently or not at all), I ordered the Panasonic RP-HTX7 Monitor Stereo Headphones in red color. Examples of the headphones I already have include Sennheiser HD201, Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Koss SparkPlug, Philips HS500, Creative EP-640, and others. The headphones I use most frequently are the Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Microsoft Zune Premium, and Creative EP-640. Since most headphones I have are not full-size bulky models, I could use some more. And the retro-styling of these Panasonic headphones, especially in red color, would make them stand out among my dark Sennheisers.

Most of the time I use the Sennheiser HD 202, at least when I can. It has the best detail level of the above headphones, decent bass, is comfortable and provides good insulation. Well, turns out the HTX7 is better.

About Panasonic RP-HTX7

The Panasonic RP-HTX7 headphones are full-sized headphones that have retro appearance and are available in many colors, including black, red, white, etc. They are enclosed and provide quite noise-insulating design. Not only they insulate you from outside noises, the music you are listening to does not escape either. The drivers are 40 mm in diameter and the frequency response is claimed to be 7-22,000 Hz. The sensitivity is 99 dB/mW.

The 1.2 m (3.9 ft) cord is terminated with a 3.5-mm plug for use with portable gear. The plastic molding on the plug is thick and solid. I was unable to connect my iPod to the AC adapter at the same time as having the HTX7 connected because of the thickness of the molding.
The headphones' driver housings are made of plastic and the headband is made of metal. The headband and the ear pads are covered in fake leather that is harder than the kind Sennheiser uses on their headphones.


Even before the burn-in, immediately upon getting them, I plugged the headphones into my Sony NWZ-S639FR 16 GB Digital Media Player and started listening, being mindful of the fact that headphones always need some burn-in to sound their best. I was going to use my iPod to burn these in a bit later, but due to the large plastic molding around the plug had to use the aforementioned Sony for this task.

The reason I use the Sony is it provides much better sound than the iPod and also has user-adjustable parametric equalizer.

Once I put the HTX7 on, the fit proved very good, although very slightly less comfortable than that of the Sennheiser HD202. The "pleather" pads are made of thicker/dense material and can get a bit too warm in hot eather. So in terms of comfort the Sennheiser HD 202 prevails slightly and it is slightly more compact. But it has a very long cord that is inconvenient to deal with, unlike Panasonic's shorter cord, that is just right for use with portables.

The HTX7's outside noise insulation is rather good as is the insulation of the outside environment from the music I listen to. The HTX7 feature relatively high sensitivity and good insulation, which in turn allows you to use lower volume on your portable gear and still get loud enough sound. I have tried a variety of music, including classical (Aram Khachaturian's Violin Concerto in D Minor, some Sibelius and Wagner), Euro-dance, pop, rock, electronic music and even rap (albeit the latter is something I don't generally listen to, but it sounded awesome in these). 

I used my iPod for a short while, but since I discovered the Sony NWZ-S639FR 16 GB Digital Media Player, I cannot stand iPod's sound quality (e.g. lack of definition and dynamic range). So I used the Sony mostly as well as my Panasonic SA-XR57 receiver's headphone out (fed from CD as well as DVD-Audio). For comparison purposes, I alternated between these and the Sennheiser HD202  headphones. I could have compared these to the other headphones I have, e.g. the Koss KSC75, Zune Premiums, etc. But those would prove pretty inferior so let's not compare apples and oranges.

The Panasonic impressed me immediately and I couldn't wait to hear them after the burn-in. The HTX7 has excellent bass, which reaches pretty low and is rather well-defined. The treble was pretty strong from the beginning as well and there might have been even a little too much of it. The burn-in provided the relief from the slightly shrill treble and smoothed things overall. But from the very beginning, what impressed me the most is the amazing dynamic range, clarity and instrument separation. 

The detail level and instrument separation in complex classical music are excellent as is definition, especially in percussion and string instruments. The abundance of bass (and lower midrange) creates a pleasant, warm sound. The sound is transparent overall with only some slightly veiled frequency ranges.

In comparison with Sennheiser HD202, the sound is more warm and pleasant, is more detailed and dynamic. The HD202 does have slightly better definition in some areas, but is not as detailed overall and cannot match this Panasonic's instrument separation. The HD202 also sounds a little muflled (or veiled) by comparison. Overall, the HTX7 is much better. And I paid less for it than for the HD202 or the HD201.

The Sennheiser HD201 cannot match the Panasonic's sound either and is lacking bass to boot.
Pros: Excellent sound: detailed, well-defined, warm, dynamic, excellent bass; cool retro-style, comfort.
Cons: Not the most accurate sound (frequency response).

Bottom Line 

The Panasonic RP-HTX7 are excellent headphones, especially for the price. The excellent detail, dynamic range, bass and instrument separation make them sound better than comparatively priced (street-price-wise) competition. If you don't mind their retro-style (which I actually like), check them out. In your favorite color.

Update: I got better headphones: Sennheiser HD428 and Creative Aurvana Live! And for about only $5 more, you can get a better set of headphones from Panasonic: Panasonic RP-HTF600-S.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

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