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Philips Citiscape Downtown

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am looking for the best headphones to use unamped with my Zune HD under $100, and i came across these philips

Given that they are probably some of the sleekest headphones i have ever seen, i decided to read reviews from it. I could not find one review saying anything but positive things about it, but i can't find any reviews for it on head fi, I've been talking to some people around the site and most people who heard of them said that they would get them, but they are extremely mod unfriendly (which isn't a problem for me). So I am asking the people reading this thread if they have ever actually wore them, and heard them, to tell me about the comfort and sound quality. for this price I can also get the Koss dj100, with either a cmoybb or a fiio e6, but a lot of people have complaints about the comfort for big headed people, such as myself. So if you have tried the Philips Citiscape Downtown, please tell me about them and if you have ALSO worn the DJ100s, then please tell me how the comfort compares, because i will be wearing these 10+ hours a day. Thanks

another picture
post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 29
they are suuuper comfortable. Is like having pillows on your ears. And for the price they are the best looking/sounding phones availables. The only one that best them at the price point are the CALs but the difference is not that much plus they look great.

Sent from my SGH-I777 using Tapatalk 2
post #4 of 29

My full review is here...   Really positive review.  Definitely a great headphone.

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
thank you SOOOOOOO much! this review has probably gotten me sold on it, but i need to know how it sounds unamped, because i can't afford an amp with these
post #6 of 29
Originally Posted by dragisback View Post

thank you SOOOOOOO much! this review has probably gotten me sold on it, but i need to know how it sounds unamped, because i can't afford an amp with these


I wasn't using an amp...  LOL :p  An amp would probably help this out a bit though, but I haven't tested them with an amp.  Since my reviews are written to target the iPod/iPhone crowd, I don't amp anything and run them straight through my iPod Touch 4G.

post #7 of 29

How well do these block outside noise? They don't seem very isolating, and I would be using them mostly on bus/train.

post #8 of 29
Originally Posted by SonicScientist View Post

How well do these block outside noise? They don't seem very isolating, and I would be using them mostly on bus/train.

It's only passive isolation. It comes from the thick foam pads on the headphones. They isolate amplely.

Sent from an iPod touch with TapaTalk... Autocorrect may alter the meaning of this message tongue.gif
post #9 of 29

Just received these from Amazon, but mine had a defect where the right adjustment mechanism was tangling with the internal wires. So I sent it back.


My impressions for the few hours I had it are positive, especially for $80. The build quality and design are very nice. The SQ was decent but I didn't get a chance to burn it in. 


Comfort-wise, it could've been better. The memory foam wasn't as soft as I had hoped. As of now, I'm not sure if I want a replacement or get another pair of headphones. I thought these would be the perfect walking-around headphones I can tout during my long walks to classes or at the library, but now I feel there are better options.

Edited by viralcow - 7/24/12 at 2:06pm
post #10 of 29


Fair price? Too bad it's not the purple one.

post #11 of 29
Originally Posted by yuriv View Post


Fair price? Too bad it's not the purple one.


I don't care if it's the Purple one!  If you don't want it, I do ;)

post #12 of 29

I wonder if that was an accident?  I might have to pop into TJ Maxx and see if they are carrying those here also. 

post #13 of 29

I returned my Downtowns, as I found the JVC HA-S500 more comfortable and much better sounding. But if they're really available at $39, they would be a steal!

post #14 of 29

My local Target had them on clearance for $29.98 so I now have a brown and a purple pair.


Haven't even opened them yet; will post impressions after some listening.


Edit: First impression, these do not sound like $30 headphones and sound excellent straight out of a Clip+

Edited by Defiant00 - 9/3/12 at 12:45pm
post #15 of 29

Listened to these for a few hours yesterday straight out of the box, these are my current thoughts:


Straight out of a Clip+, my phone, and a Kindle Fire these sound quite good. Not as good as my other cans, but good enough that I wouldn't immediately start missing my other cans if I just brought them as a portable solution while on a vacation or something.


Now with the Bifrost + Asgard they actually have a bit of an odd low whine, not sure if it's my 1/8 to 1/4 adapter or what, but it's low enough that I don't think it had any real effect on my listening impressions. Honestly with these I don't think there's any need for anything beyond a Clip+ or smartphone, but to simplify testing conditions I used Bifrost + Asgard for all the cans.


I directly compared the Downtowns with Grado SR80i (quarter modded and back mesh removed), Shure SRH840 and LCD-2s (just because).


Before going into specifics, I'd say the biggest surprise was that listening to them on their own nothing really stood out as 'wrong' in their sound. Going back and forth between the Downtowns and other cans made it clear that they aren't necessarily as good, but taken on their own they sound quite good.




The Downtowns have remarkably good bass, a bit exaggerated but not to the point of being disruptive.  It has good impact and is fairly well-controlled. I actually think the Downtowns get this more correct than the Fidelio L1s that I owned for about a week, whose midbass was much too accentuated for me.


The Downtowns' bass does feel a little disjoint from the rest, but this isn't very noticeable unless you directly compare it to something with noticeably better bass like the LCD-2s (which I fully agree isn't a fair comparison).




The Downtowns have weird mids, unfortunately. It's rather hard to describe, but the mids just sound slightly wrong on the Downtowns compared to all my other cans, almost as if there's a slightly out-of-tune extra harmonic frequency being added. The mids can also seem nasal at some points and are more piercing at higher volumes.


Unfortunately, I think the mids are the Downtowns' greatest weakness, but as with everything else, this is all relative to my other cans. It's just that all my other cans seem to have at least a similar tonal consistency in the mids that the Downtowns lack. With that said, even with this 'biggest weakness' it's not something that jumped out at me on first listen, but only in direct comparison to my other cans.




First a brief note about me and treble; I strongly dislike sibilance and exaggerated spiky treble. However, I do like top-end extension if it's done smoothly and well-integrated into the rest of the spectrum.


With that said, highs are a noticeably shelved when compared to my other cans. The Downtowns don't sound all muffled like some bass-heavy cans, but some of the top-end detail is obviously missing. As stated before, when listening to them on their own you won't necessarily notice this but in comparison it's obvious. I'd say overall this is probably the most noticeable difference between the various cans, but to my preference isn't actually that big of a deal.


Other Thoughts:


Sound isolation is good, seems easily on par with the SRH840s and obviously better than the others.


Soundstage is small; this doesn't surprise me considering they're closed on-ear portables, but it is something to consider.


They seem to be a little slow compared to my other cans, just a bit muddy and congested at times (gah, now I'm even using vague audiophile buzzwords). But seriously, in complex passages details do tend to get a little blurred together and it can be hard to pick out individual instruments.


Comfort seems pretty poor right now, although I suspect after a bit of break-in it will likely get significantly better. I am slightly concerned that a reduction in clamping will mess up the isolation and bass though.


The flat cable seems pretty nice, rather short for home listening but seems about ideal for portable use.


Build quality appears to be quite good.


Compared To:


Grado SR80i - At full price if you don't need a closed headphone I would take the Grados, they have much better highs, are clearer and have a better soundstage (take this with a grain of salt, as this wasn't something I was paying that much attention to in this specific comparison). Both are about evenly easy to drive. With my added headband padding and washed earpads I also find the Grados more comfortable, although I would anticipate the Downtowns being as comfortable after a bit of break-in.


The Downtowns seem significantly better for portable use, with a much more flexible (and shorter) cable, angled plug, obviously better noise isolation and (imo) quite good looks.


Shure SRH840 - In my opinion the SRH840s are some of the best sound-quality-per-dollar you can get, and so it comes as no surprise to me that they handily beat the Downtowns in all aspects of sound. What really jumps out is the difference in treble energy and soundstage along with a more 'correct' midrange. However, the Downtowns hold their own quite well on bass and actually appear to be better built than the significantly more expensive Shures. Also do keep in mind that the Shures are more than 5x the price that I paid for the Downtowns.


Audez'e LCD-2 - Since I had my main rig home for the long weekend these ended up in the comparison as well, even though they're over 30x the price smily_headphones1.gif While it was sort of interesting to go back and forth between them, the differences are the obvious things that you'd expect. LCD-2s sound better, Downtowns are lighter, easier to drive and isolate better. The LCD-2s are easily the most natural sounding cans I've ever heard for any real length of time, so switching back and forth emphasized the disjointed-ness of the Downtowns much more than you would likely typically notice.





For $100 these are a good set of portable closed cans. While they have some noticeable sonic faults compared to higher-end cans, I found nothing so glaring that I would notice it on its own without AB-ing it against my other cans. With that said, there have been a number of deals on these (I got mine for $30) and at that price these are amazing. For $30 I've got a pair of headphones that I can use on trips without missing my main rig (for a couple days at least), works well with my mp3 player and phone, and if my four year old somehow breaks them I'm only out $30.

Edited by Defiant00 - 9/4/12 at 11:41am
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