Panasonic RB-M700 XBS Deep Headphones
“If solely the RB-M700’s different options had been pretty much as good as their monumental bass.”
Extremely highly effective bass
Good for motion pictures
Quick battery life
Not nice for calls
If wi-fi, lively noise canceling (ANC) headphones are what you search, there’s definitely no scarcity of alternative proper now. Fashions begin effectively beneath $100 and vary as excessive as $600 or extra, and there are dozens and dozens to select from. But when what you actually need is a set of wi-fi ANC headphones that ship huge quantities of deep, skull-shaking bass, Panasonic’s $180 RB-M700, which function a singular “bass reactor” gadget, deserve your full consideration.
Right here’s our full overview.
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The RB-M700 (accessible in a satin-finish black or beige) take their design inspiration from the most effective headphones on the planet: The Sony WH-1000XM3. The RB-M700 echo the Sony in a number of key methods, from the scarf with its built-in steel adjustment sliders, to the earcup pivots which mix seamlessly into each the scarf and the earcups for a really easy look.
Place them side-by-side and people similarities are much more apparent, aside from one factor: The large, spherical earcups and earcushions on the Panasonics.
Their measurement and form are the one visible cue that these usually are not like another wi-fi headphones.
I fortunately wore the RB-M700 for a number of hours and not using a hint of discomfort.
A circle of tiny vents rim the diameter of the outer earcups, making them appear to be they had been lifted from a classic Braun hairdryer.
The comparability isn’t purely beauty. These vents, as with those on the Braun, are there to assist with the motion of air, one thing that turns out to be useful while you’re coping with large bass sound.
These large, puffy ear cushions look cozy, and they’re. I fortunately wore the RB-M700 for a number of hours and not using a hint of discomfort, despite the fact that at 11.2 ounces, they’re heavier than lots of over-the-ear wi-fi headphones.
There are two minor trade-offs for all of this consolation. First, they really feel rather less safe in your head. The scarf supplies an honest quantity of clamping power, however it might’t preserve these enormous ear pillows from shifting barely while you transfer your head rapidly.
Personally, it didn’t hassle me in any respect, however when you’re hoping to convey the RB-M700 and their big bass to the gymnasium, be ready to should re-adjust them pretty usually.
Second, they give the impression of being enormous in your head, particularly when seen from the entrance or the again. Sci-fi followers will little doubt see the resemblance to Princess Leia’s double-pastry hairdo from Episode four, in addition to to the Cybermen from Physician Who.
These with smaller heads can be completely happy to know that despite the fact that these cans look large, the minimal adjustment on the scarf is definitely fairly small. For a white male who’s 5 ft, eight inches tall, I’ve a ridiculously small head. Most headphones solely match me at their smallest adjustment, and but I needed to increase the scarf a bit to get the earcups to sit down on the proper stage.
Controls and ease-of-use
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All the controls for the RB-M700 are on the best earcup. It’s a easy and easy format that makes use of a three-button cluster for the entire main features like energy, quantity, track-skipping, name reply/finish, and voice assistant entry.
Sadly, the sides of the center button aren’t effectively outlined, making it a bit arduous to seek out rapidly.
ANC is managed by way of a two-way on/off change — there are not any adjustment ranges for the quantity of noise cancellation and no transparency mode for letting exterior sounds in.
Close to the underside of the best earcup is a two-button rocker management for adjusting the bass reactor function. It presents three ranges of bass enhancement, plus an off stage. What’s unusual is that the plus and minus buttons are organized in the other way to the quantity buttons, which makes it counterintuitive to make use of. Each time I believed I used to be rising the reactor impact, I ended up decreasing it. You get used to it, however it’s a bizarre alternative.
The RB-M700 don’t have a put on sensor, so that you’ll should pause your music manually earlier than taking them off.
Battery and charging
With solely 20 hours of operation on a full cost (and that’s assuming the bass reactor function is disabled, with ANC turned on), the RB-M700 received’t win any endurance awards when in comparison with different wi-fi headphones, however it’s nonetheless greater than sufficient time for a full day of labor, plus a commute, and even a visit to the gymnasium or the shop.
Charging specs on these cans are additionally considerably lackluster so far as wi-fi headphones go. They use USB-C, and it takes 4 hours to totally cost. A 15-minute fast-charge possibility offers you an hour and a half of playtime while you’re operating low.
The less expensive Taotronics TT-BH060, for example, final 30 hours on a cost and a five-minute speedy cost provides you two hours of playtime.
Simon Cohen / Digital Traits
Noise cancellation on the RB-M700 is mediocre. Fixed, droning seems like followers, that are normally the best for ANC headphones to cope with, are diminished by about half their regular quantity — definitely a welcome enchancment — nonetheless, Panasonic’s ANC circuitry introduces a really noticeable quantity of hiss on the identical time.
In case you’re searching for ANC headphones to offer you peace and quiet in noisy environments with out taking part in music, I believe you’ll tire of the hissing sound rapidly.
Panasonic’s ANC circuitry introduces a really noticeable quantity of hiss.
Curiously, the RB-M700 do significantly better with ANC whereas taking part in music.
Activating ANC even at average quantity ranges seems to change the EQ, making bass and center frequencies extra pronounced, whereas de-emphasizing the upper frequencies.
Whereas this doesn’t do a lot for total sound high quality, it helps to offset that ANC hiss, which is generally a high-frequency sound.
I’ve a sense that it’s not a lot Panasonic’s ANC know-how that’s guilty for the so-so noise discount as a lot because it’s the design of the RB-M700 earcups.
These round vents which let air transfer out and in of the earcups presumably let exterior sounds in too. As a result of ANC effectiveness depends on good sound isolation, there’s in all probability a tough restrict to simply how good ANC can ever be on a set of headphones that permits a lot sound.
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Most headphones as of late are designed with some form of hinge or pivot system which lets them fold up, fold flat — or each — to make storage simpler for touring. The RB-M700 are the fold-flat selection, with earcups that twist inward 45 levels.
The flatter profile makes it simpler to slip these headphones into an accessible backpack slot, however they are going to nonetheless take up a substantial quantity of area.
Panasonic doesn’t present a tough or tender shell journey case, so that you’ll should take care when stowing them.
What’s odd in regards to the fold-flat design is that it solely works while you’re not sporting the RB-M700. In different phrases, when worn round your neck, the earcups solely pivot a small quantity, and may’t lie flat towards your collar bones.
Name high quality
Calls on the RB-M700 had been acceptable, however solely in quiet environments. The second my voice needed to compete with different sounds, like site visitors, wind, and even close by birdsongs, it grew to become a lot more durable for my caller to listen to me.
And not using a transparency mode, it was more durable to listen to my very own voice by means of the earcups.
In different phrases, make calls on these headphones when you should, however don’t count on a fantastic name high quality.
Sound high quality
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So the RB-M700 might not have nice ANC, or battery life, and even portability. However they do one factor very well: They will generate an unbelievable quantity of low-end bass, and due to their bass reactor mechanism, that bass might be calibrated all the way in which from heat to wowza.
Panasonic doesn’t talk about the technical features of the bass reactor (which can be accessible within the step-down $150) however from what I can discern by way of the corporate’s advertising materials, it’s a separate element that acts very like a subwoofer would in a house theater.
Followers of EDM, rap, and hip-hop will love the club-level vibrations that pound by means of your cranium.
As a result of it’s separate from the RB-M700’s 40mm drivers, you get a lot cleaner low-frequency sound, which doesn’t detract from total sound high quality in any respect.
At their lowest enhancement setting, the bass reactors ship a delicate further oomph, which compliments most music genres and takes the already spectacular bass response of the headphones and amps it up.
Ranges two and three, nonetheless, are one other story totally. These settings usually are not for jazz or classical lovers, however followers of EDM, rap, and hip-hop will love the club-level vibrations that pound by means of your cranium. Loads of headphones declare to allow you to “really feel” the music, however with the RB-700, it isn’t simply empty advertising language, they’re the actual deal.
Maybe greater than another headphones I’ve tried, the RB-700 are made for motion pictures. Crank up the bass reactors to stage three after which hearth up the combat scene between Thanos and The Hulk within the opening sequence of Avengers: Infinity Conflict and also you’ll know precisely what I imply.
Each punch, each physique slam, and each explosion creates a sonic concussion you concurrently hear and really feel. The bass reactors transfer a lot air, you’ll be able to really feel it making an attempt to flee the confines of the earcups.
As superior as this subwoofer-for-your-head impact is, I used to be equally shocked by simply how balanced the RB-700 are while you disengage the bass reactors and easily use them for having fun with music.
And not using a smartphone app, there’s no option to change their EQ, however so long as you get pleasure from a sound that leans towards bass, I don’t assume that’s an issue. They do an honest, if not fairly stellar job, of separating the mids from the highs and the soundstage is pleasingly large.
The bass-driven signature retains the whole lot sounding heat and full, however it might additionally detract considerably from genres the profit from extra precision like acoustic guitar, folk-rock, jazz, and classical.
They sound good, however at $180 they’re overpriced. It’s clear that Panasonic thinks the bass reactor function is price the additional cash.
Although ANC and travel-worthiness will not be their sturdy go well with, and battery life is barely ho-hum, the very cozy Panasonic RB-700 ship astonishing ranges of bass you’ll be able to really feel, making them the perfect companion for motion pictures and music genres that normally require a membership setting to be absolutely appreciated.
Is there a greater various?
If bigger-than-life bass is your jam, look no additional. We’ve by no means seen a set of headphones that crush low-end like this.
However given the RB-700’s drawbacks in another areas, you need to take a look at our full listing of one of the best noise-canceling headphones for fashions that supply higher ANC, higher total sound high quality, and in some instances, a greater worth.
How lengthy will they final?
The RB-700 include a one-year guarantee from Panasonic. They’re well-built and created from first rate supplies, however the lack of a tough shell carry case or a tender journey bag might imply a shorter lifespan when you don’t take care to maintain them from hurt whereas stowed in your bag.
Must you purchase them?
Solely severe bass-heads who need to really feel each low-end word (after which some) ought to contemplate the Panasonic RB-700. Their ANC received’t wow you, however the bass positive will. For everybody else, you’ll discover a higher steadiness of options from the competitors.