Panasonic probably isn't one of the brands you associate with value electronics, but when it comes to headphones, the company has shown that it has several models that deliver excellent bang for the buck, including the Panasonic RP-HTX7 monitor headphones reviewed here.
These guys have been around for a few years (I'm sorry I didn't review them sooner) and can be had for anywhere from $30 to $50 online. They come in several different colors and are distinguished by what Panasonic calls "retro styling."
That styling may not appeal to some people, but I thought they looked pretty good and, more importantly, they fit comfortably, were relatively lightweight for over-the-ear headphones, and created a tight seal -- not only did they passively block out a lot of sound, but they didn't leak any sound, making them suitable for cubicle use at work.
True to their "monitor" roots, the RP-HTX7s have a single, fairly thick 3.9-foot cord and somewhat reinforced straight plug. The cord isn't as thick as the unwieldy one on the
In terms of features, there are no real extras, and this model doesn't have a built-in microphone for making cell phone calls. What you get is a sturdily built closed-back headphone set that looks more expensive than its price might indicate -- even if it isn't luxurious. For instance, the earcups are well-padded but aren't terribly plush or made of leather or anything fancy like that. Also, they don't come with a carrying case and they don't fold flat. And like most other closed-back over-the-ear headphones, they will get your ears pretty steamy if you wear them outside on a hot day.