Panasonic RB-M700B review | Laptop Mag

Listen, Panasonic is not playing games with creating headphones that provide an immersive club-like experience. You should’ve seen my face as my favorite songs played on the RB-M700B. The look was probably priceless. The headphones offer wireless Bluetooth with a nice range. The 20 hours of battery life allows for days of listening without reaching for a charger, however, those looking for ANC need not look this way.

The selectable bass levels provide different sound profiles that are sure to please regardless of what you throw at it, and the $149.99 price is less expensive than other headphones with similar audio quality. That said, these headphones can go head-to-head with any other bass-heavy headphones and hold their own.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones pricing and configurations

The RB-M700B headphones are currently available for $149.99. The headphones come in two colors: Black and Sand Beige. 

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones design

The RB-M700B won’t turn heads in a crowd. It’s not that they’re ugly. On the contrary, they’re a very handsome set of headphones. It’s just that the matte black plastic frame won’t set the world on fire. While headphones are made almost entirely of black plastic, the ear cups have small vents lined in silver, which is a nice touch. Panasonic is etched into the headphones right above each ear cap. 

The only other parts of the headphone not done in black plastic are the aluminum extenders. Both the headband and earcups have a soft cushion wrapped in black leatherette, and the earcups have about an inch of padding on them, making them noticeably “thicker than a Snicker.”

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The headphones extend out an extra 2 to 3 inches for those of us who have larger than normal heads. The earcups swivel to a flat position, allowing the headphones to sit comfortably around your neck or lay flat in a bag. 

Accompanying the headphones is a 1.6-foot USB-A-to-USB-C charging cord and a 3.9-foot audio cable that lets you plug the cans into a traditional headphone jack.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones comfort

The over-ear RB-M700B feel amazing thanks to the extra-thick earcups. The inch of memory foam cushioning is really soft, but also firm enough to keep the headphones in place on your head. I want my next pillow to feel as good as the cushioning on these headphones. Panasonic has what it calls Side Pressure Dispersion Technology, a proprietary system that adjusts the lateral pressure balance between the headband and ear pads to keep discomfort at bay. The proof is in the pudding as I wore the cans for about four hours before I felt any pressure.

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There are, however, a few problems. Despite being marketed as over-ear headphones, I could not fit my entire ear into the cups. Consequently, the cushioning pressing on my ear started to cause some discomfort after the four-hour mark. And thanks to the leatherette, my ears became warm after a while and would start sweating depending on the temperature in the environment. 

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphone setup

Pairing the headphones with my smartphone was a simple process. Hold the power button for 3 seconds and a prompt announces the headphones are in pairing mode. From there, I simply opened up the Bluetooth settings tab, selected RB-M700B, and was informed the headphones were paired. 

Pairing to a second device involves turning the headset off,  then holding the power button for 5 seconds. The headphones will start searching for another device to pair with. The cool part is that the headphones can be used with two devices at the same time. I can play music through my cell phone, hit pause, then play audio from my computer.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones controls

All of the RB-M700B’s controls are at the bottom of the right earcup. The volume, power, play and pause buttons are located toward the back of the ear. Toward the middle of the earcup is the active noise cancellation switch while the Bass Boost button is located near the front. 

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The volume up button has a small smooth notch that helps identify it by touch. In addition to volume, the buttons also serve as the skip forward/backward when either is held for two seconds. 

The power button also serves as the call answer/ignore button. Additionally, the power button is supposed to launch Siri or Google Assistant when pressed twice quickly. However, I was unable to launch Siri on my iPhone with the headphone controls.

The Bass Boost button has a more raised and defined notch, making it easier to find than the rest of the controls. However, I wish the tab was a bit more comfortable to operate. I like to adjust my bass as I listen to different songs or albums, which meant I was constantly toggling between bass settings. Eventually, this caused my thumb to hurt after a few hours of adjusting back and forth.

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In addition to letting you know your Bluetooth pairing status, the assistant tells you the battery level when you power down the headphones. I like that I don’t have to check the levels manually after every use. It’s a nice quality-of-life feature I wish was standard on all headphones as it gives you one less thing to worry about when you have multiple devices to keep track of charging. 

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones active noise cancellation

Bose these are not. The active noise cancellation (ANC) is one of the RB-M700B’s key weaknesses. It removed some of the ambient noises in the background that you wouldn’t normally notice. Small sounds like the hum of a couple of fans in my house were removed, but not much else. To their credit, the plush material and snug fit of the earcups do provide some passive noise cancelling. However, when my kid was watching Bumblebee, I could still hear the movie clearly without playing music. I had a full conversation with him with the ANC on –– and my son didn’t even have to raise his voice. 

The biggest issue I experienced with the ANC is that it negatively affected the quality of music. The music takes on a thinner sound and the bass becomes distorted when the technology is enabled. I had to lower the volume or bass setting to eliminate the distortion ANC was causing. I would not suggest using ANC at all on the headphones since it does very little to eliminate ambient sounds and introduces distortion.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones XBS DEEP

Panasonic has implemented its XBS DEEP (Extra Bass System Deep) technology in the RB-M700B. The technology allows for a deep bass response without overpowering the rest of the music. The system couples the headphones’ two 40mm Neodymium drivers with a built-in Bass Reactor that emphasizes frequencies between 20 to 100Hz. The result helps provide its clear, distortion-free bass similar to what you would experience in a nightclub or concert. Take it from me, Panasonic has achieved its goal. 

When the bass is turned up to maximum, it feels like I am in the club. Maybe not standing in front of the stage speakers, but definitely in close vicinity. The bass makes the headphones vibrate when the bass level or volume is turned up. You feel it in your chest when those lows hit in your favorite song, or should I say, feel it in your head? This experience was especially welcoming since nightclubs are not open during the pandemic. 

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The headphones have four bass modes to choose from: Off, Low, Medium, and High. This allows you to manually adjust what kind of bass you want to hear while listening to different genres. There is a beep letting you know that you can go no lower or higher when adjusting the bass to the max or min options. 

In the Off setting, the bass response is comparable to other headphones that aren’t tuned for heavy bass and electronic music. On the Low setting, the Bass Reactor starts to emphasize the low end and songs begin to open up. The harmonic tuning EQ on the headphones magnifies sounds below the 100Hz threshold and suppresses bass sounds over the threshold.

Of the four settings, I prefer Medium as my daily setting when listening to different albums and artists. The setting isn’t overpowering and has a nice balance of bass, mids and highs. 

Speaking of highs, the final setting provides a distortion-free sound when listening to Hip Hop and Trap music. This setting you use when you really want to feel each hit of the kick drums or 808. The higher bass settings cause the headphones to vibrate with each note or hit in the low end. It’s definitely not the setting you want when trying to get some work done. But if you’re dedicated to the lows, you can either adjust the volume or the bass and get back to typing those T.P.S. reports. 

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones audio quality

From the moment I put on Dave East’s opening track “Handsome” on his new album “Karma 3,” I became hooked on the RB-M700Bs. The balance between the highs, mids, and lows are remarkable. The bass has clarity and really hits you hard when you crank up the low end. I felt like I could hear the music the way the mixing engineer intended. The headphones have presence, the mids are full, and the vocals have clarity without masking other sound.

Listening to Handsome on the ZVOX AV50 headphones provided a clear difference in bass response from the RB-M700Bs. The bassline in the AV50 is rich and clear like the RB-M700Bs, but doesn’t have the same heaviness as the RB-M700Bs. The AV50 made the song brighter but brought out some harshness in the highs, particularly in the high hats playing a Trap pattern. The AV50s have a better balance between the vocals and the accompanying music compared to the RB-M700Bs.

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I went back and listened to songs that I’ve listened to hundreds of times before and heard vocals and background melodies more clearly on the RB-M700Bs. Listening to Jodeci’s “Feenin’” brought out a triangle pattern in the percussion section that I didn’t know existed, adding a softer feel to the groove. The bass was overpowering using the Medium bass setting I used for the rest of the songs mentioned in this review. The setting added a modern bass character to the song that took away from the overall balance. 

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Team Spirit” sounded like the song was being performed live in front of me. The familiar guitar riff at the beginning was foreplay to the drum fill that led to nirvana. The kick drum pulses through your body the way it would at a live concert. The guitars hit you right in the face like you are standing next to the cabinets. It then settles down to the smooth opening verse where Cobain’s voice flows in perfect balance with the band. The RB-M700Bs have given me a new perspective on the song.

Throwing on some Thelonious Monk “Straight, No Chaser,” I could hear the articulation in the opening piano very well. I appreciated the clarity of the alto sax and accompanying drums once they came in. The bass running in the background was smooth and not overpowering as I thought may happen with the RB-M700Bs’ emphasis on the low end. 

Listening to Monk on the ZVOX AV50 was definitely a more enjoyable experience. The music is noticeably brighter compared to the RB-M700Bs. The AV50s made the song go from slightly boring to lively. The drums had more bounce and the saxophone had more energy. The AV50 were too harsh in the high end with Hip Hop and Trap, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue with jazz.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones battery life and Bluetooth

Panasonic claims the RB-M700B has an estimated 20 hours of playback with the Bass Reactor off and the ANC on. I listened to the headphones for 4 to 6 hours a day with the Bass Reactor on and the ANC off and was able to get about 18 hours of listening before the assistant told me the battery was low. It’s two hours short of the projected time and puts it on a par with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. When your headphones die, a quick 15-minute charge can get you 90 minutes of listening time. Panasonic says that it takes 4 hours for the headphones to fully charge.   

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I was impressed that the Bluetooth 5.0 range allowed me to listen to music throughout my entire home. The Bluetooth operating distance is estimated as up to 33 feet. I placed my phone on one side of my average size split-level home and stood on the other side of the house. The music kept playing with relatively few hiccups.  There was a minor distortion every now and then, but it was insignificant. When I went to the lower level and walked to the far end of my home, the music kept playing with an occasional skip in the music, which soon passed. The music continued playing when I was on my deck and I didn’t lose connection until I was halfway across my backyard.

Panasonic RB-M700B Headphones call quality

The call quality on the headphones was decent with clear, crisp audio on both ends. However, since I couldn’t hear myself while talking using the headphones, I was talking too softly on one of my phone calls. It forced me to speak at a higher volume.

Bottom line

As a bass junkie, the $149 Panasonic RB-M700B are my new favorite headphones. The sound quality is amazing and allows you to be immersed in your music. The deep bass makes me feel like I’m in a nightclub, which always brings back good memories. I enjoyed how much balance the headphones had no matter what genre I listened to. The RB-M700B’s best feature is the ability to adjust the amount of bass on the fly. Each setting gives the headphones a different character that I’m sure will suit whatever genre you’re listening to. However, weak ANC technology that doesn’t block out much ambient noise and distorts the audio is a definite fly in the ointment on potentially great mid-tier headphones.



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