Monday, February 29, 2016

Tweaking Panasonic RP-HC56 Noise Cancelling Earbuds

It was on sale in B&H for $25 so I got a pair (two actually).

Sound is smooth and sweet with strong lows, but too much bass and too dark to be audiophile level like the Philips SHE3010 and Koss KSC/35. However, this type of sound signature should be very suitable for noisy environment where bass usually disappears entirely. Much better sounding than I expected, sound well good enough.

When my Nexus 6 is plugged in to the charger (even charging is stopped), there is a hum noise.

It has a volume slide, but sluggish and the adjustment range is very limited. With it all way down, there is still music come out. Better than without.

The battery holder is very light, but much longer than I thought, double the length of an AAA (see above photo).

It is quite comfortable, because the silicon tips do not apply much pressure and do not go deep. I think I can use even smaller tips that are included, as the bass is already too much. With Philips SHE 3590, the tips must be large enough to provide enough seal to stay and sound good, and thus not comfortable.

The buds are bulky and seem very durable (good). They stay very securely in my ears (good), the most secure buds so far.

The wire between the battery and buds is not long enough to belt it to your hip, must be around your chest and upper stomach. Not a big issue to me, I simply use a clip as showing in this photo.

Went for a bus ride, noise cancelling was ideal, got the engine totally down to the bottom. Those who say the NC was not effective don't know what they were talking about, they were talking about anti baby crying. Or the tips are not big enough for their ears.

I changed the tips to the smallest, sound became perfect and crispy, no more too much bass. However, engine noise became apparent. Totally comfortable though, I easily forget their existence.

I then changed to the large tips, not comfortable and too much bass.

So, it seems the small tips are best for not too noisy situations. Maybe something a little larger would be perfect.

Later I found that the small tips fit my right ear perfectly - good sound, good seal and good NC, but the left side is loose. So I have to use the medium tip for left and small for right to achieve the best result.

Then, I inserted a foam ring into the left tip for a tighter fit:

I then made two small foam tips from ear plugs, but they don't sound good and not even comfortable. I cut the foam tips even shorter and now everything is as perfect as life can be:

More comfortable and much better NC than the stock tips especially on isolating middle and high freq. noise such as baby crying. I might cut off another 1mm, that's about the extreme. At this moment I don't feel excessive bass, but I still wish the sound more bright to give a feel of audiophile level.

The best thing about these buds so far is how steady they hold on. With all other earbuds, I keep pushing them in to retain good sound, like people always raising their eye glasses.

It is extraordinarily windy here today, but these buds are doing a fantastic job on that. So, they must be ideal for my motorcycle riding too; engine, road and strong wind, all of these nasty noises will become a thing of past. See how strong is the wind:

Battery life is excellent. I'm using a 1000mAh NiMH, it works continuously for 18 hours. At the end, the battery shows its end with some popcorn popping and the red light becomes dim. [Note: this is a Duracell battery, a good battery should last much longer] [update: yes, a RayoVac ready-to-use rechargeable played a whopping 55 hours continuously, never buy anything Duracell!]

There is a tiny pimple on the left handle for you to easily distinguish the left bud from the right without looking at them.

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