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[REVIEW] Philips SHE9850

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
Generally I am not a big fan of Philips' product, but SHE9850 beautiful design got my attention when it was announced about a year ago. Due to numerous reasons, I was never able to get my hands on them until recently. So here is a somewhat postponed review.

SHE9850's spec:
* Sensitivity: 115 dB SPL per 1 mW
* Frequency Range: 20 Hz-20 kHz
* Impedance: 12 ohms
* Cable Length: 1.2m
* Weight: 14g







Packaging, Accessories, and Build Quality
The packaging is quite typical of Philips' consumer product. It is decent but not spectacular. Nevertheless, it is already better than most Philips headphones out there. Inside, you will find the IEM, a manual, three set of different sized single flange silicone eartips, a pair of Comply T100, a shirt clip, a black aluminum case with the cleaning tool inside - basically you got everything you will want a pair of decent IEM to include, and that is a good start. I like the metal case by a lot. It can be slide in / out and has the space to hold extra set of eartips (not to mention the cleaning tool). The earpeice itself is half metal (nozzle + transducer housing) and half transparent acrylic, making it one of the best looking IEM I even seen. The overall shape / size is about the same as Shure E3c, but it is obvious from the beginning that it is intended to be wore normally and not over-the-ear (though you can). The cable and the mini plug used isn't really as impressive as the earpeice. It is really plain and normal - I would have want something better consider Philips is marketing it as a high end model. Thanks to the big rubber strain relief, I didn't detect much microphonics on the cable, so I end up not using the included shirt clip. Regarding isolation, I find HSE9850 to be very well on either foam or silicone eartips.

Overall, I am happy with what I see.





Sound Quality
Out of the box, I find SHE9850 sounded a bit veil. It has a warm and full sound signature resembling Shure's house sound, but the treble response seems to be even worst than my old E3c. After switching the stock silicone eartips to a pair of Shure olive, it becomes apparent that it is the stock single flanges that are really muffing the treble up. It is safe to say SHE9850 is tuned with foam eartips in mind as treble extends much better after the switch. I mainly choose to use olive as they last longer, but I do find Comply T100 give a slightly smoother, more enjoyable sound. However, the different is subtle enough that I don't think it matters. The slight downside of using olive is the slight harshness on the vocal region - not a big deal as it is still with in acceptable level. I give my SHE9850 a total of over 60hrs of run-in time and didn't notice any significant change. Bass is impactful and deep with just the right speed, it is close to the best bass response of any single balanced armature IEM I ever tried. Mid is warm and full body, giving the overall sound signature a sense of musicality. Treble is by far the most problematic. As mentioned, you will need to use foam tips for the treble to reveal itself, or else all you'll get is mudded up mid + bass. Even with foam tips, SHE9850 can hardly be called 'detail'. There are still roll off on the upper treble, but acceptable and better than E3c in comparison. Soundstage wise, SHE9850 is pretty 'normal'. I find that amping help introducing a sense of airiness into the mix and open up the soundstage a bit, but the low impedance and the high sensitivity of the IEM makes it not really suitable for amping (getting too loud too fast). In all, I'll describe SHE9850 as a well made all-rounded entry class IEM - Warm sounding with good bass, sweet mid, adequate treble / detail and decent soundstage. In a sense, it is Shure-E3C-done-right.



Conclusion
The initial MSRP (US$100) seems a bit too high for SHE9850, but the current street price (≤ US$90) places it just in the right zone to compete with other entry level IEM. For those who doesn't like their music clinical sounding, this is the IEM I'll recommend to you for consideration. I'll pick it over low end Shure any day of the week.

For a quick sum up, you can read this.
post #2 of 71
A nice looking budget-fi IEM and a nice review ClieOS
post #3 of 71
It's a great choice of price, since the price is about $60 here in Taiwan
post #4 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by killkli View Post
It's a great choice of price, since the price is about $60 here in Taiwan
Waitaminute! I live in Taipei; where do you find your IEMs? I went to the multi-floor multimedia market close to Taipei Main Train Station, but while they have some decent stuff, they had none of the IEMs (or cans) I was curious about. Actually, most shops/booths in this darn market sell the same assortment of items. There is much less choice than the place's dimensions would lead one to believe.
post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt View Post
Waitaminute! I live in Taipei; where do you find your IEMs? I went to the multi-floor multimedia market close to Taipei Main Train Station, but while they have some decent stuff, they had none of the IEMs (or cans) I was curious about. Actually, most shops/booths in this darn market sell the same assortment of items. There is much less choice than the place's dimensions would lead one to believe.
Well, NOVA isn't the best place for choosing headphones in Taipei.
Pincha is a good starting place:
«~¹Å¹q¾¹¦³**¤½¥q PINCHA .com.tw
map:
Google Maps - 品嘉電器 / 品嘉音響 / PinCha

There is also another good store near Pincha, EarZone.
Map:
http://maps.google.com.tw/maps?f=q&s...8681701b87f702
EarZone is a bit harder to find, since it's on the second floor of the building.

In both places, you can try the phones before you buy!

btw, if you don't mind, I can take you both places, since I'm currently being around this district .
post #6 of 71
A price of 60$ is very, very cheap. As Philips is a dutch company, the lowest price here in the Netherlands is 70€, which is about 90$.

btw, I like these IEM's as well.
post #7 of 71
Nice review.
post #8 of 71
Thread Starter 
Yeah, $60 is a really great price for this IEM. It used to be about $80 half a year ago but the price seems to go up a bit now.
post #9 of 71
Sounds pretty good. I wonder how small the whole body would be if they didn't bother with that acrylic bit. Would be tempted to try them out, but they are a bit pricey over here (around £70).
post #10 of 71
very nice review
post #11 of 71
I also bought a SHE9850, and i mostly agree with your review.
I noticed how similar this iem sounds to the Shure sound signature (the bass reminds me my Shure se530, but doesn't go as low with frequency response as the triple drivers).

Unfortunately, this IEM seems to have a bad synergy with my Cowon D2; it sounds too dark and muffled with it.
Instead, the sound is as you described with a lot of other players i tried (Sony, Samsung, Creative) and i really can't understand why.

I think it has something to do with impedance of players/iems.
In fact, i tried a 33 ohms impedance adaptor and and it brought out all the hights, but cutted the lows, ruining the overall musical balance.
Really odd, with all other playes i tried the Philips sound very good for the price.
post #12 of 71
To be honest, killkli, when you told us that the SHE9850 could be had for $60 in Taiwan, I mentally snorted. Most every piece of electronics here seems to be more expensive than in the States -- even products from Taiwanese brands, such as Asus and Acer.

But no, you were right, it's on the website you linked me to: $62. I searched it for other earphones that interested me, but could only find one: the er6i, for... $127! Ouch. Not such a great deal. They also have the ATH-M50 I was interested in (well, I'm interested in the ATH-M50s, to be precise: the straight-cable version), for an okay $147.

When you say they let you try headphones, I guess it's only cans, right? I don't see how they could let you try earphones... But yeah, when we both have time, it'd be neat to pay the place a visit. I don't read Chinese, I do fear, but I did spot the NTU Hospital on your map, and that's 15 minutes by train from where I live, in Xindian.

Right now, though, with an end-of-the-month deadline for a story I haven't even started writing, I'd better chain myself to my computer and type type type... starting from tomorrow. Tonight, I'll just go to bed early.

Thank you for your post, killkli!
post #13 of 71
Yes, they do let you try IEMs as well as cans!
And I mean both EarZone and Pincha will let you try MOST of their phones (not to mention there is one more store, Yin ya, which located near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.)
You can even try different headphone amps and sources in these places.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt View Post
To be honest, killkli, when you told us that the SHE9850 could be had for $60 in Taiwan, I mentally snorted. Most every piece of electronics here seems to be more expensive than in the States -- even products from Taiwanese brands, such as Asus and Acer.

But no, you were right, it's on the website you linked me to: $62. I searched it for other earphones that interested me, but could only find one: the er6i, for... $127! Ouch. Not such a great deal. They also have the ATH-M50 I was interested in (well, I'm interested in the ATH-M50s, to be precise: the straight-cable version), for an okay $147.

When you say they let you try headphones, I guess it's only cans, right? I don't see how they could let you try earphones... But yeah, when we both have time, it'd be neat to pay the place a visit. I don't read Chinese, I do fear, but I did spot the NTU Hospital on your map, and that's 15 minutes by train from where I live, in Xindian.

Right now, though, with an end-of-the-month deadline for a story I haven't even started writing, I'd better chain myself to my computer and type type type... starting from tomorrow. Tonight, I'll just go to bed early.

Thank you for your post, killkli!
post #14 of 71
Might have to try this out. Thanks.
post #15 of 71
ClieOS, if you have time, could you post of a picture of the SHE9850 as it sits in your ear? Google failed me. With the deal that killkli found out, I'm now considering this IEM too, together with the er6i (for its famed isolation) and the CX380 (for its being sweat-proof and washable under running water).

killkli, that's great news! The website you linked me to shows that this store has two of the three IEMs I currently have in my line of sight. I do need to try them out.

In the meantime... back to writing.
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