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What We Bought: Why I Still Use a $15 Pair of Panasonic Wired Headphones Every Day


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My best headphones aren’t always the best headphones for every situation. When I settle into work for a few hours, yes, I’ll take my old one Oppo PM-3s or Reliable Koss KSC75 to make online music more enjoyable. When I have a long flight or train ahead, I take it with me AirPods max to block the world more comfortably. (Obviously I own too many headphones.) But not every case requires something pretty — or, in the case of the KSC75, fragile — and I don’t want to run the device I paid for. lots of money to buy. when I can avoid it.

That’s when I switched Panasonic ErgoFit Headphones (or, “RP-PCM125 ErgoFit,” to use their own names.) These are a basic, $15 pair of headphones that have been around for over a decade but continue to offer a snug fit. , solid and pleasant enough sound.

In other words, they are my favorite set of beater headphones. Even if you don’t know the term, you can still guess what it means. These are the headphones you use when wearing your “good” pair is more trouble than it’s worth. When you need a quick run to the store but only have a few minutes left on your podcast, you bring your whisk and get it done. When you watch a funny video online but you’re not sure if it’s appropriate to play through your speakers, you use a ringer just to be safe. If, like me, you need to listen to something in bed before you fall asleep, beaters are headphones that won’t get in the way but will last you through if you pass out with them. And if they don’t, who cares? They are just your beaters.

There are millions of different headphones that can make good beaters, but when most people talk about them, they think of cheap and durable in-ear headphones. You can throw them in a pocket or bag (larger) and know that they are likely to survive. You never have to be as tactful or deliberate with them as you would with a good set of earplugs. You do not would like accidentally stepping on them or leaving them on the train, but that won’t ruin your day if you do, because buying a new pair won’t cost you a fortune. They don’t sound as good as your good headphones, but when you can’t sit and listen for a long time or really enjoy the details of a recording, they’re there and they work.

Panasonic RP-TCM125 ErgoFit In-Ear Headphones.

Jeff Dunn/References

ErgoFit headphones more or less fit this description. Everyone uses in-ear headphones differently, but ErgoFit’s headphones are remarkably small and light, with soft silicone ear tips that, to me, don’t wear out over time. Panasonic includes three different sizes of tips in the box, and with the right fit, they seal a sizable if not amazing amount of noise. (Voices can still pass through, though, if they’re loud enough.) They come in a variety of colors, if that’s important to you. And while there’s a bit of a cable noise as they rustle against your chest — which can be annoying — I’ve never had to worry about them coming loose either.

Unlike many headphones in this price range, there’s also an in-line remote and microphone for pausing tracks and taking calls. The quality of that mic isn’t anything better than “usable”, but it even has a plus at this price point. (If you don’t need a microphone, Panasonic sells it variation without a for 10 dollars.)

These were simple wired headphones made at a time when the 3.5mm jack was still common, so you’d need a security lock to use them with most phones and tablets these days. now. That’s annoying, but for the sake of “beating,” I’d trade it off with not having to worry about battery life (and degradation) or having to beat to make sure everything is paired first. When my AirPods died on an eight-hour flight to Europe earlier this year, ErgoFit was used as a backup.

Most importantly, they lasted. I’ve been carrying these headphones around with me for over four years and oversleeping on them so many times that I can’t count them, but in that time, I’ve only had to replace them completely once due to the cords. frayed . The plastic-heavy design looks cheap, but it’s enough to last.

These are still old and $15, so I can’t say they sound great. You won’t hear the kind of detail or sparkling treble you can get from better-sounding headphones in the $30 to $50 range, and the sound profile could be enhanced a bit. mids and lows for some people. This is not a Koss Agreement KSC75 where ErgoFit outperforms headphones by five times their price.

However, what is here is not bad. The bass is emphasized but not too explosive and the higher frequency sounds are not jarring. Profiler misses out on finer details, but it’s generally smooth. With less complicated hip-hop and rock tracks it’s okay. For the $15 beater headphones, it’s very good.

Really, any set of cheap headphones you like can work as a good beater. The general sound quality of inexpensive headphones has increased over the years, with pairs under $40 like the moon drop and BLON BL-03 income praise are from assessor towards the end. But if you find yourself occasionally not wanting to put your good headphones at risk, the ErgoFit headphones have provided me with peace of mind as an effective, comfortable, and hard-to-kill backup. They are anything but modern, but their utility is timeless.

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