Last Updated On: 3-29-19
Panasonic is one of the biggest consumer electronics companies in the world, and in recent years they’ve produced a wide variety of premium/studio grade to very inexpensive headphones. The ErgoFit earbuds are currently their cheapest offering, available at less than $10, as well as one of the best selling earbuds on Amazon.
Pretty basic plastic sleeve that was relatively easy to pop open. The earbuds are slotted into the inside contoured packing piece and pop out. Comes included with three different sized pads and a warranty card.
The elliptical shape of the bud front made it kind of hard to change out the generic circular pads, but that’s not too big a deal in the grand scheme of things. The included pads are small – I had to use the large ones to get a proper seal.
All in all the earbuds fit/positioned pretty comfortably and felt secure. One downside of the non symmetrical design is that you can’t really wear them upside down and do the wire over-ear trick to reduce the microphonics, which was quite significant with these.
The wire is unsurprisingly flimsy and a bit short at 3.5 feet or so, but should be decent/long enough for most applicable uses. No on-board controls or mic or anything like that, these just do the bare minimum of plugging into any 3.5mm jack. Panasonic does make a version of these with an in-line mic though (link) for just a few bucks more.
Spec/Performance Discussion, Listening Impressions, Other Related Observations
Obviously I’m not going to have exorbitant expectations for a product like this and am just looking for sound quality that’s passable for listening to music, podcasts, or whatever while at the gym or on the go.
But I have to say, I was actually impressed – the sound quality was solidly decent. The only general things I noticed were a slight boxy sensation and a little loss of clarity on some denser songs. These honestly sounded better than a lot of on/over-ear headphones I’ve listened to that cost multiples more do.
The response was for the most part pretty even – nothing was blatantly missing or jumping out. The mids were a bit recessed in some songs. The bass however was surprisingly strong – drops came through hard enough to legitimately startle me a bit on certain songs. The bass did get a bit muddy and fatiguing, particularly on EDM songs, and sometimes bled upward and distracted from the rest of the song. The quoted response rage is 10 – 25k Hz which is actually quite good for a headphone that’s so cheap, even if the response curve maybe isn’t totally flat.
The sensitivity rating is 97 which is again decent for something so cheap – I had to crank up my volume a little bit more than normal but these got plenty loud.
Even with a seal from the large pads the noise isolation felt non existent, so if that’s something you need or are particular about these might not cut it.
Panasonic offers a bare minimum 120 day warranty which pretty much covers you from defects, but if you’re getting these for less than $10 dollars, unless they’ll just ship you another one it might not even be worth the effort to RMA them.
Random specific listening notes:
- Daft Punk; Give Life Back to Music – rhythm guitar kind of lost its pitch
- Daft Punk; Get Lucky – vocals were a little forward and harsh, otherwise sounded solid
- Daft Punk; Lose Yourself to Dance – beginning bass was actually decent, little thumpy but not terrible resonance, low notes definitely lost a lot of volume
- An Endless Sporadic; Impulse II – little loss of clarity and some scatteredness but overall sounded good, nice and even/consistent
- The Choir of Trinity College; Ubi Caritas – sounded solid overall, baritone/bass chorals a bit recessed
- Clean Bandit; Rather Be – little harsh, intro violin in particular, beat sounds nice
- Steely Dan; Peg – bass kind of bled upward and was distracting, otherwise sounded solid, vocals and choral hooks sounded particularly good
- Lil Wayne; A Milli – drop came in very strong, practically startled me, was pretty muddy and toneless though
- The Chainsmokers; Wake Up Alone – sounded solid, drop came in strong and all the notes actually hit without losing volume which was very surpising, bass did lose some tone though
- Earth, Wind & Fire; September – sounded solid, brass/strings were a little recessed, but this sounded very even and consistent compared to most other cheap headphones
- Deadmau5; The Veldt – beat was kind of thumpy and had fatigue, otherwise sounded solid
- Metallica; One – beginning sounded solid, distorted guitar sounded solid, little lack of clarity
- Pantera; Cowboys From Hell – sounded a little sibilant and muddy, but passable
- Ludovico Einaudi; I giorni – piano and cello overpowered the upper strings, bit of bass bleed here
- Nas; The World Is Yours – sounded really good, beat is strong but tight, vocals a bit forward
- No Doubt; Hey You – guitar clarity a little lacking, still has that nice and punchy feeling, bass is muddy and bleeding a bit, harpsechord solo was a bit overshadowed by the mids and lows
- Petit Biscuit; Memories – beat was very thumpy and fatuiging, kind of imbalanced overall, distracted from rest of song
- Rage Against The Machine; People of the Sun – sounded solid overall, no perceptible complaints
- RÜFÜS DU SOL; Sundream – beat was definitely overpowering again, but not so much this time, ambient midrange a bit recessed. Mid-song drop sounded really good though, sound seemed to generally improve as this song continued to play
- Rush; YYZ – slight lack of clarity took a bit away from Pearts drumming, but the song otherwise sounded fine, don’t use 10 dollar earbuds to try to appreciate Rush’s technicality
- Vanilla Sky; Umbrella – sounded solid overall, no perceptible complaints
Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition
The inexpensive ErgoFit is a decently comfortable and secure pair of earbuds that doesn’t just sound passable, but actually quite good. The only real downside is that, due to their being non-symmetrical, you can’t invert them and do the wire over the ear trick to minimize microphonic noise through the wire, but that might not even be noticeable in most cases. If you’re looking for a simple and cheap-as-possible pair of earbuds for general commuter use these are likely the best choice, and after taking them for a ride myself I’m not surprised that they’re popular top sellers