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Earpollution ThrowBax Review

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Brief: Panasonic RP-HTX7 knockoffs from the Earpollution headphone line of iPhone accessory manufacturer iFrogz.

MSRP: $34.99 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $27 from amazon.com

Build Quality (6.5/10): The ThrowBax are pretty faithful to the Panasonic RP-HTX7. However, the housings are clearly not sourced from the same OEM as those of the Panasonics. While similar cosmetically, the RP-HTX7 feels solid and precisely put-together. The ThrowBax are a bit loose and wobbly right out of the box. Very little force is needed to adjust the headband and the headphones rattle if shaken. On the upside, the ThrowBax do have a thicker single-sided cable than the Panasonics and the ‘hand-stitched’ headband is more well-padded.

Comfort (7.5/10): The Earpollution ThrowBax are small circumaural headphones. Their pads are as firm as those of the RP-HTX7 but the Throwbax are a bit lighter and have more headband padding. However, Earpollution decided that the bare plastic grilles of the RP-HTX7 are unsightly and stuck a 1/4” thick sheet of padding into the cups between the driver grille and the wearer’s ear. The padding touches my ears when the headphones are worn, and those who are irritated by shallow cups may have issues with the ThrowBax (but not with the Panasonics they are based on). For everyone else they should be fairly comfortable for a couple of hours at a time.

Isolation (6.5/10): For a closed circumaural headphone, the isolation of the ThrowBax is surprisingly mediocre, almost to the point at which I’d be tempted to label them semi-open rather than closed. This is corroborated by severe amounts of wind noise that the headphones let through when donned while running/cycling.

Sound (4.5/10): In contrast to the surprisingly-balanced Subjekt HD-AK1000, the Earpollution ThrowBax are typical teenager-oriented budget headphones. Their sound signature is bass-heavy, with plenty of (somewhat muddy) impact. They do roll off quite severely under 35Hz but the mid-bass boost diminishes the roll-off enough for the low end to have adequate depth and rumble. That said, the peak of the frequency response still occurs between 100 and 150Hz – quite typical of the sound signature these seem to be striving for.

The midrange is a bit more forward than that of the HD-AK1000. The bass does bleed into the mids on occasion but the midrange and treble are hardly noteworthy otherwise. On the whole the ThrowBax are smooth and far from neutral. The Earpollutions also don’t image particularly well and the poor dynamics don’t help matters, either. On the whole the sound quality of the ThrowBax is decent for the asking price and miles ahead of the similarly-priced Earpollution Nerve Pipes. However, next to a proper bang/buck champion like the Maxell DHP-II, the Earpollution set sounds distant and muffled.

Value (6.5/10): The Earpollution ThrowBax attempt to emulate the venerable Panasonic RP-HTX7 but with the price point of the Panasonics coming down into the lower $30 range over the past year, buying the Earpollution version makes little sense. Aside from being vastly superior in sound quality, the Panasonics are (slightly) better-built and better-isolating. There’s really no downside to buying the RP-HTX7 over the ThrowBax aside from the (small) price difference.

Manufacturer Specs:
Frequency Response: 5 – 20,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 Ω
Sensitivity: 108 dB SPL/1mW
Cord: 3.94ft (1.2m), single-sided; Straight Plug
Space-Saving Mechanism: N/A

 


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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