Panasonic RP-HC56-K Review - In Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Panasonic RP-HC56-K Review

Panasonic RP-HC56-K Earbuds

With some of the best noise cancellation available in its class, the Panasonic RP-HC56-K is an excellent choice for anyone wanting a quality pair of noise cancelling headphones at a low price.

The cancellation, while not on par with Bose models costing three times the price or higher, is pretty good for the money you spend. Add in a good overall sound quality and a lightweight, comfortable to wear design, and this pair is a great deal for the price.

Check out our full Panasonic RP-HC56-K review below.

Pros: Excellent active noise cancellation for the price; good overall sound; smooth high end; lightweight and comfortable.
Cons: Volume slider isn’t smooth; some may find the electronics tube gets in the way; doesn’t provide as much freedom as wireless sets, although such sets are much more expensive; open design means sound leaks from the headphones.

Specifications

  • Driver: 9mm
  • Impedance: OHMS/1kHz 103
  • Sensitivity: (db/mW) 105
  • Frequency Response: (Hz-kHz) 10-20
  • Cord Length: (ft/m) 1.6/0.5 + 2.3/0.7
  • Weight: (g/oz) w/o Cord 16/0.56
  • In-cord Volume: Yes
  • Built in Microphone: No
  • Miniplug: (3.5mm) Yes
  • Air Plug Adaptor: (6.3mm) Yes
  • Magnetic Type Nd: Neodymium FE: Ferrite Nd

Package Contents

  • Panasonic RP-HC56-K headphones
  • Ear tips in small, medium, and large
  • 3.5mm to dual airplane headphone jack adapter
  • Soft cloth carrying pouch

Comfort

The Panasonic RP-HC56-K features a small, slender design which is perfect for exercise, gym use, travel, and other on the go activities. The ear buds are small and comfortable, and small, medium, and large ear tips are included so you can choose the perfect fit.

Since they are noise cancelling earbuds, there has to be a place to house the electronics and battery.

Panasonic chose to place the battery and volume control in an inline tube with a clip on holder that you can easily attach to your clothing. It is lightweight, smaller and less clunky than other designs I have tried, and gets in the way less than you would think.

The wired, tube design gives you less freedom than, say, a fully wireless model. But wireless noise cancelling headphones are much more expensive. For the price, the wire and tube are fine and make a minimal impact on the headphone’s overall comfort level.

Durability

Considering the low price, the Panasonic RP-HC56-K is adequately durable. My only complaint in the review model was that the volume slider didn’t feel as smooth and well-built as I would have liked. I found myself preferring to keep the inline volume control up and instead control the volume on my device.

The wires are about as thick as most headphones in this price range. They are not more durable than their competitors, but not less durable either. The wires are the type which are prone to tangling, however, so be careful as tangling encourages shorts in the wires.

Features

The feature which differentiates the Panasonic RP-HC56-K from other headphones in this price range is the built in active noise cancelling technology, which according to Panasonic, cuts ambient noise by 92%.

Panasonic’s proprietary Smart Sensor Technology is designed to detect and counteract ambient noise resulting in superior noise reduction for the price.

They particularly excel in reducing constant low pitched noises such as those found on planes, trains, and commutes. This makes the earphones a great choice for traveling.

No noise cancelling headphone cuts out all external noise. Sounds will get through, especially higher pitched sounds. Still, the noise cancelling abilities are noticeable, effective, and considerably good for the price.
A single AAA battery, which is housed in the tube/volume slider area, gives you 40 hours of use. This is a great feature if you’re using your earphones often and don’t want to constantly change batteries.

The active noise cancelling circuitry can easily be turned on and off by pressing a button on the top of the inline battery and electronics tube. There is also a red LED light which tells you when the unit is on.

Controls include a volume slider that is located on the electronics tube. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t feel especially sturdy. There are no other controls or additional features such as a built in microphone or controls to play, pause, or skip tracks.

Sound

The Panasonic P-HC56-K has a sound that while not audiophile level, is good for the money and will please most listeners.

The review model featured bass that was upfront and present, somewhat hyped, but not in a bad way. They are not basshead level earphones, but they feature a bass sound that is more hyped than would be expected on a flat audiophile pair of headphones.

The mids are clear and vivid, with a sound that isn’t muddy. The highs are nice in that they sound smooth, without being sibilant. This is especially impressive considering the under $50 price tag.

Many less expensive headphones have a high end that tends to be shrill and sibilant. With these, cymbals, hi-hats, and sometimes guitars sound especially bright and thin. Vocal sounds, especially hard S sounds are sometimes hard to listen to. I didn’t hear that in these headphones and I consider the smooth treble response to be an excellent feature. This makes the RP-HC56-K a great choice for listeners who are sensitive to high end treble frequencies.

The mids and highs together seem to be well balanced with neither overpowering the other. The bass is the only frequency area that is somewhat hyped.

I did notice that treble gets thinner at higher volume levels. This is typical of most all lower priced headphones and this model is no exception.

There was a change in sound between having the noise cancellation on and having it off. It’s not a change for the better or worse, really; just a change. This too is typical of almost all noise cancelling headphones.

The Panasonic RP-HC56-K features an open design which is great for sound quality. It should be noted, however, that the open design allows sound to leak out of the earbuds. This is usually not an issue but may be something to consider if you are using your earphones around others who don’t want to be disturbed.

Overall, they have a good sound that will work well for anyone on a budget or anyone wanting an affordable pair of noise cancelling wired headphones.

Our Verdict on Panasonic RP-HC56-K

The Panasonic RP-HC56-K is a nice pair of headphones for anyone wanting effective noise cancellation on a budget. The noise cancelling really is superior to other models I have tried in this price range.

They have a good overall sound as well, with a high end that isn’t shrill or sibilant.

If you’re looking to buy a budget set of earphones with great noise reduction for the price, this model is certainly worth checking out.

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