Pros: fantastic sounding, great isolation, small footprint
Cons: cable build quality is a underwhelming (tougher than it looks), cheap feel, only provided 3 silicone tips
Review of the Philips SHE 3590- a miracle under $20 (can actually be had on ebay under 15$ or 10$)
First I would like to say that I’m sad that Philips is discontinuing this gem. The pair I’m reviewing is my 2nd pair(in the pink, yes it was the last pair left in the store, but I learning to enjoy the colour) after nearly 3 years of faithful service from my first pair. I’m curious if they changed the sound since the last time I heard them. Please brace yourself the first few paragraphs may give off the feeling of disappointment, but please read on, specifically the comfort and ergonomicsand sound quality tell a completely different story. And despite these shortcomings, I still think that for the price, these earphones are simply a no-brainer.
here is the video review (condensed due to time constraints) if you want a summation of the following, otherwise read on!
Packaging and accessories:
After nearly 3 years I have forgotten how much cheaper earphones skimp on accessories and packaging that I seem to have taken for granted. There is no case, no pouch, just 3 silicone tips ( the large ones are very flimsy) so aftermarket tips may be needed. The overall packaging really does give off a cheap look, just clear plastic with some paper outlining the name of the earphones. If you saw these in store, you would easily pass by thinking its just like any cheap earphone.
Some of the following pictures are from screenshots of my video so it might not be the best quality.
Taking a look at the housing, looking at the pictures you can tell that its plasticky, tiny, inside you will find an 8mm driver in each earpiece.
The nozzle is short and slightly angled with a metal mesh. There is some lettering to separate the Right from the Left, but in the dark, I struggled to find which side is which. The strain relief I would say is below average.
The cable has thin, rubbery texture, similar to the traditional apple earphone, and holds some memory, so tangles can and will happen on occasion, consider yourself forewarned. Going to the y split, there is no cable cinch.
The cable ends with a straight jack with decent strain relief. The cable measures about 1.2 meters in length, perfect for portable use.
Holding them in the hand, again you will notice that their not the most rugged (super lightweight) earphone, nor do they feel like they will fall apart anytime soon. I would say average for the most part. (my first pair did last me 3 years of service where I used for the gym, threw them around, I have since lost that pair, I will have to dig around to find it)
There is a vent next to the nozzle, however on the 3590s, its isolation is rather impressive considering its vented and the short nozzle. Mind you I wore the 3590 using the cable up method (I wasn’t able to wear them comfortably in the traditional straight down, I guess my ear canals are a bit deeper than most people). Wearing them in subway, cafeteria, in quiet neighbourhood, I found that I was not disturbed from outside noise at all. (even at 4/16 volume on my ipod touch I could not hear those around me and even cars around, a bit dangerous) Again for the price, it would be hard to find a pair that isolates this well. But do be careful when using these outside.
The angled nozzle definitely helped with comfort as they slipped into you ears fairly easily. Take them out, became a bit difficult because of the small housing, and my fingers being a bit on the larger side, forcing me to tug on the cable sometimes to get them out. As stated before I wasn’t able to wear them comfortably cable down, as the cable would be rubbing on my outer ear.
If I could summarize the entire sound in one word, it would be fun! It has a v shaped response, with a non-fatiguing treble. I have broken the sound quality in the following sections:
Bass: the emphasis is placed on the subbass, and it reaches down very low. Which is very different from typical consumer earphones especially often at the sub $50 price range, which boosts the midbass so much to the point where its bloated and muddy. With the 3590s, what you get is a deep, rumbling, tight bass, has medium decay (that sounds full bodied and can work for a wide variety of different genres). While the bass doesn’t give off a more textured feel, it compensates with a rather smooth bass response, which is actually my favorite aspect of the 3590s, the bass can easily rival that of my monster turbines (msrp $179) and may even give my JVC fxd 80 ( I think the msrp is about 100$) some tight competition.
Midrange: is recessed, a bit more so than I prefer. Overall the clarity is just okay, while it staying rather natural sounding. Male vocals sound more distant than female vocals. Both do not have the enveloping response you would like from more vocal based tracks. The layering of adlibs and harmonizing does become slightly muffled. However, lyrics are heard clearly and don’t get pushed out by the bass.
Treble- straight out the box it does have a bit a peaky treble response, I did break them in about 20 hours or so, and since then I hadn’t really noticed that peakiness as much (it might be in my head but who knows). Though the treble is still a bit on the uneven side after the lower treble. The sound gains more emphasis going from the upper midrange in the lower treble region, allowing for a more fun listen. The treble does not have the same amount of emphasis as the bass but is definitely more forward than the midrange. It has decent extension but there is a roll off, so you’ll definitely be able to hear the guitar riffs but it doesn’t get fatiguing, So this sound definitely favors rock music very well.
Soundstage: this is where the 3590s suffer. The soundstage is rather closed. Possibly one of the more closed in sounding earphones I’ve heard. Some prefer the more in head feel, but I personally like a more expansive soundstage.
For the price: 9/10
In conclusion, I think the Philips she3590 is an amazing buy for the price sub 20$. I’ve actually seen it being sold for $7.99 at a local winners so definitely snap up a pair, they would make a great back up pair or just a pair you can use basically anywhere with any kind of music. They’re so cheap that if you lose them, you won’t have to worry about taking a bank loan to get another pair. Lastly, they come in a wide variety of different colours so kids would definitely love them!