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Over-Ear item created by Music Alchemist, Feb 6, 2015
Pros - Soundstage, Mids, Comfort, Detachable cables, Affordable
Cons - Sweat magnets, Non removable pads
The model I received are the shp9500s(newer revision) from the older discontinued shp9500. Prices in India are obviously twice as that of the US retail but still it was quite competitive compared to the other headphones that were offered for similar price range.
The box contains the headphones themselves and a 1.5m 2pole removable 3.5mm cable for the headphones. Nothing more on the accessories and these do not include the carry pouch that you get with the older version of the shp9500.
Comfort and build:
You don't need to worry about the comfort or build in these headphones. Though they are constructed primarily with plastic with metal grills only to cover the drivers, they are engineered well and do not feel cheap on your hands. They are large and have huge earcups with super soft pads on them. They are light enough that you'll forget your wearing them after few minutes of listening. Few concerns with these headphones are the non removable ear pads and the ear cups being a bit shallow for some. The material on the pads can make your ears a bit sweaty.
Musical presentation is completely transparent and they reveal everything as it was intended to sound like. They simply do not fool you colouring the music. The sound of these headphones are basically focused well on the mids and the vocal performance in these cans are truly phenomenal.
I was amazed by the soundstage and imaging I got out of this pair. They don't have super wide soundstage as the higher priced flagships but being completely open backed in design, they do let you position your instruments with some decent accuracy. With the good enough soundstage and imaging, they prove to be an excellent choice for gaming apart from being used for other media consumption.
Bass performance can be a complain to some but i'd say it offers good enough low end for almost all the genres. The bass in these really improve a lot after giving it a burn in time for about 50 hours. The sound completely changes after burn in giving it a wider sound presentation. To further improve on the bass quantity when run from a mobile phone, these headphones can use some amplification which makes these headphones to pack some real punch on the lows. The bass can extent quiet deep and gives you a clear non bloated presentation around low 80s and below.
The highs are well present and the peak frequencies at 7k are tapered a bit for a smoother overall presentation. These headphones have a satisfying sound signature that many can really appreciate just by giving it a quick listen. With the completely open back design and given it's huge size , they can't be used for travelling and they leak all of your music out.
The Philips shp5900s with an impedance of 32ohms need not use any external amp or dac for better listening and in fact they hardly make any difference when paired with other DACs or amps which can disappoint the enthusiast who are eager to play with these cans trying to pair up different sources with the SHP9500S.
Pros - amazing bass when earpads are swapped from HM5 leather or Shure 1540 Alcantara earpads
imaging is so good it gives the illusion of a bigger soundstage than it is
Cons - I still prefer my T90s for female vocals, but considering that is a $600 can at launch and this one only costs $55 on Newegg literally 24/7/365... I mean yeah not really fair to compare
I own both the SHP-9500 and SHP-9500S, only difference that I was able to tell was the bass seems a little better on the S version, and the S version came with a crappier cable, but I use the V-Moda cloth $12 cable from Amazon anyway.
Stock ears are super super comfortable, but get way to hot on my ears, oddly enough the HM5 leathers never do hot.
The earpads pop right off on both models, it just takes a lot of force, you won't break anything, its just a weird design. The HM5 leather or Shure 1540 Alcantara earpad wrap all the way around the headphone, and it stretches perfect, and I found that rotating the hM5 leathers 20-30 degrees so they are like elf ear shaped when they come down on your head increased soundstage a smidge. Because the takes longer to travel or something, no idea.
With Schiit Fulla 2 the imaging was too small, even my $40 Fiio K1 amp/dac produced better imaging and bass with these cans than the Fulla 2 did, Fulla 2 sounds better on my other cans than the Fiio K1, but for some reason the K1 just pairs extremely well with both of these models.
My go to amp/dac for this can is the Schiit Fulla 1 (not the 2, the 1 because of increased soundstage, imaging accuracy, vocals improved a little, and even sub bass hits a little more, fulla 1 is magic when it has Type C powering it), but only if you have a Type C port and buy a cable type-c to mini-usb (not micro), because using it over standard usb 2.0 or 3.0 ports produces a static or hiss at loud volumes or when the Fulla knob is turned up past noon, but on Type C, 0 issues. Not sure why, but the soundstage is improved a lot as well as the bass is slamming much nicer than even Magni 2 Uber or my old Vali 2 could produce.
Comfort with stock pads 9/10 -1 because it does get hot after 30 minutes of wearing them.
Comfort with HM5 leather pads 10/10. (you do not need a 3d printed adapter, in fact I made a youtube video showing you how to install the pads)
This can has the most unique instrument placement I have ever heard, Rolling Stones, Paint It, Black- wow it blows the Monoloth M1060, HD650, HD700, HE-400i, out of the water when it comes to this song and many others likes it, that imaging and soundstage and the the HM5 leather pads...
Look... I am not good at writing reviews, so disclaimer: this review is not about stock SHP-9500, stock-SHP9500 is lacking imo, but if you pair this baby right, she shines like no other. I was lucky enough to get Sennheiser HD6xx massdrop, and side by side comparison, while the HD6xx had much more slam all around, the lack of imaging detail compared to the SHP-9500 ruined a lot of songs for me personally. The only headphone I have owned that I truly loved more than the SHP-9500 was the ZMF Vibro MKII Rusted Zebra planar headphone, boy I regret selling that baby, but it gave me tinninutus, and SHP-9500 does not, so I guess no I don't regret it in the long run.
For competitive gaming, as long as you have the HM5 Leathers and K1 or Fulla 1 over Type C, this baby is better than the famed soundstage of the K7xx or X2 Fidelio (imo).
Anyways cheers, for those of you with stock earpads and fancy expensive DAC/AMP's. Give my suggestions a try. FOr some reason these cans love cheaper amp/dac's.
Pros - Involving, balanced and fun
Cons - Big, hard to forget can
Here is my review of the Philips SHP 9500S, a now discontinued but still widely available over ear open headphone.
It is my first review ever, so please bear with it’s quirks and limitations.
I am approaching my 50’s. I have owned many ear phones / head phones over the years. I studied and worked a bit in the recording biz, but these days are long gone and I mostly now just enjoy a lot listening to music, mostly during daily activities, and in some too rare moments just listening and enjoying blissfully. I have owned many HP over the years, including some pretty decent AKG for studio work that I remember fondly. I presently own the Fostex TE-05 in ear, the RHA MA-750 (recently deceased by cat, but I still have access to them as my wife has the same), some non descript Sony in ear, some cheap Philips in ear and a pair of Monster Clarity Bluetooth in ear… My stable of gear is obviously a bit sub par. I am probably quite tolerant to many sound, but certainly not all sound. I find quality enough in the above gear to keep using them in certain circonstance, but a quality can be that I can wear a given set in bed or outside without the fear of breaking them because they’re so cheep and readily available. But in any scenario a hp has to have a minimally pleasing sound to me.
I also like evaluating and comparing sound. I’ve had long sessions of tip rolling and EQ tinkering with the Fostex and MA-750. I also listen to the Clarity fairly heavily EQ’d. I listen to music and podcasts. My music playlist probably gives out my age pretty much. Lot’s of 70’s rock and progressive rock. Also some newer stuff, in the vein of Beck and Radiohead, Artic Monkey, Queen of the stone age… lot’s of jazz too, from the very acoustic to the more produced, from classical to modern, some country and bluegrass, a bit of more or less alternative pop and lot’s of instrumental, some modern and some classical, for when I have a bit of free time ahead.
So, I didn't have much budget, but I wanted to try an open HP for when working at the computer or otherwise fairly idle, or even for quiet walks through the woods (I live in a very quiet 400 souls place). I believe I’ve never owned an open HP. I was looking into many models, including the AD series from Audio Technica, some Sennheiser, Beyer…. The price for the 9500, and the overall good impressions I could find on them decided me. The thread on these at Head-fi also played a good part in my decision.
Impressions here are given from listening from an iPhone 6 and a Mac. I did try an headphone amp with these (actually, the headphone out from my 2008 Pioneer living room amp). I find the sound to be much more interesting from my iPhone and my Mac. The amp gave a distracting warmth to the sound, and it sounded much more static, less dynamic to my ear.
I was a bit afraid I would find them too bright, reading many times they were. Well I guess my almost 50 yo ears don't mind too much. I do hear a small bit of over excited highs, but not to the point of coloring the sound too much or of being painful or annoying, except on known overly bright or compressed masters. (I'm looking at you, Genesis remastered series on albums after 1976). Basically, I find the sibilance (for instance) is indeed emphasized, as in : you hear it maybe a bit more than you should, but it is nowhere near painful levels. I own a Fostex in ear, the TE-05. These can give you quite a painful shrill sometimes. The Philips are nowhere near that level for me. The emphasis is maybe a bit higher up on the frequency range than on the TE-05. And mids and treble on the 9500 respond very well to EQ if need be. Intellectually, I can say that the highs are a bit elevated, but emotionnally I find them very pleasing and overall smooth, as in present and playfull but not painfull nor distracting, except in very far and apart tracks on my playlist. I read at times people find them grainy a bit. I’m not sure what that is. I try to find grain while listening at times. I might have heard a bit of it on Mike Oldfield’s Incantations, during long female chorus notes. Sometimes I am not sure I’m hearing grain or detail. Basically, it is something I have to look for. If I’m not, the highs are all pleasure for me. As far as extension goes, i’m really not qualified to speak of it. Let’s just say that 9500’s treble is the best I have access to and also the best I can remember hearing.
I was also worried a bit I would find the bass too week, as this is also a common comment I could read. Here it is a bit more complicated in my view. The bass seem a bit uneven to me. Firstly, let me state I am probably not a basshead. I own Monster clarity BT in ear, witch were suppose to be a tamed version compared to some over bassed sounding Monster I heard. They are indeed satisfyingly clear, but I listen to them with fairly heavy EQ, lowering the mid bass by at least 7db, and bumping up the mids a fair bit. So, how is the bass with the SHP? Well, I concur with some on this thread that mentioned that some kick drums sound dry. Some of those not overly produced or processed kick drum in my playlist (as in 70’s rock kick drum or some natural jazz kicks) sound cardboard-ish. It can be a bit distracting. It calls your attention when you are otherwise enjoying music while doing other things( like writing this impression). Some other kicks, for instance in electronic music, are otherwise rather satisfying. Now, I know a natural kick drum can sound rather dry in real life, and most of the satisfying thump we get in recordings is due to production. Still, there seem to be some sort of threshold on this headphone where some naturally sounding kick drums come out a bit too dry, while other kick sound are fine.
My hypothesis for the bass, is that there is a fairly narrow band in the midbass where the driver on the SHP tends to distort or generally under perform. Kicks or sound that tend to have their sonic content mostly in that area will be less than satisfying. As far as I can tell, you can raise the bass a bit with EQ if need be, but not by much. At one point, it does not become louder, just messier, and I could not fix that narrow band’s problems so far. Apart from those boxy kicks, the bass is very enjoyable, musical. Bass quitar, rumbling bass, accoustic bass, low toms, artificial bass, well recorded or otherwise overproduced bass, an orchestra’s row of double bass all seem on point to me. Bass is probably rather fast, but that does not keep it from giving me satisfying rumblings and nice constrast to the rest of the spectrum. As far as extension goes, I really don't know. There does not seem to be anything actually missing if compared to what i'm familiar with, witch is not saying that much. I also find it rather detailed. I discovered some kicks I’m used to were actually subtle double kicks. I hear and distinguish finer details of the bass content better than what I have access to and also better than what I can remember.
Songs that have heavy bass content will sound it. Classic rock is a bit more of a contrast to what I’ve become used with modern ear phones. On these, I got used to have even light bass track such as some Mike Oldfield or some The police albums sounding way heavier in the bottom than what they sounded like when I was discovering those tunes in my teen’s. Listening to those tunes on modern HP/EP gave them sort of a new life because of the way the bass was filled in. The SHP 9500 sounds a lot more like the original experience I’ve had with those tunes bass wise, but with an added presence, airiness, detail and fun.
Well, I am still figuring out in life if and how I like mids (generrally speaking). Most times, with other EP/HP, I get a real kick out of raising the EQ somewhere in the ~800-2000 hz band. But I often realize after a while i've overdone it. Basically, with all other EP/HP I've listened to long enough, I start at one point to complain that on this or that song the voice seem too far/off/thin/thick/not loud enough... So far, this has been one of the big contrast with the SHP compared to other EP/HP I've owned. Voices are way more often than usual to my satisfaction. They quite often provoque joy actually. I find thickness vs dryness of males voices almost always on point. One voice for witch the owner seem to have gotten a kick in his parts is Paolo Conte’s voice. Maybe some of his voice’s content plays in that infamous band in the midbass, or maybe something else, but one thing is for sure, his voice is less satisfying, a bit too dry, lost some of it’s sexyness now on the 9500 compared to what I’m used to. But, you see, I don’t get that problem with say, Beck’ voice. Female voices are mostly very good. Very nice presence and fullness to me. Some a bit less than other, but they are a minority. Over all, I get way more of the joy factor with voices and instruments on the SHP. It’s not perfect, but just gives me more, more often than others.
Other sound characteristics :
So I guess balance is overall really to my licking. Not perfect, but the best almost all the time. I really don't find them "bright". Try the Fostex TE-05 for that. I find the sound as full and satisfying as my little experience with quality audio let me imagine it should be (I did dabble for a while in recording and professional studios). I hear a itsy bitsy hollowness in the voice region, sometimes. I’m not sure if it is there, or it’s expectation bias. It is more or less the same hollowness I remember hearing a version of on almost all over ear HP I'v ever heard, since listening to my uncle's expensive cans when I was 11. I believe it's probably some of the least pronounced I've ever heard in this context. It might bring itself to my attention at one time or another, but I will have a hard time re-hearing it, or following it, seemingly dissolving in the whole. I did create a EQ setting on Audioforge's Equalizer app on my iPhone, loosly based on DIY Audio Heaven's measurement graph. But I am also perfectly happy to listen to SHP not EQ'ed.
I'm not so sure I know what it is. I read it has to do with a full and correct tonality reproduction, allowing one to distinguish otherwise close sounding instruments. Let's just say that the SHP never leaves me confused, not even for a moment, and is for sure on par or better than anything I've heard.
Well, the Fostex in ear sure gave me an understanding of what people were talking about. But even if I like detail, I find that hearing the faint and accidentally recorded fart of the signer in his booth gets old quick if detail is too in your face. The SHP seem to do an excellent job in the detail department, in a calm, natural, nuanced, music focused, not in your face way. I hear more than I ever have, farts and all, and through a larger band of the sound spectrum, but nothing is distracting. It is just part of an overall experience.
I can not for the life of me remember hearing anything close to what some describe as a "3d sphere around the head where all instruments are precisely situated in space..." , on any listening device. But for sure, these open can give the illusion of a much wider provenance of the sound. It is fun. Relaxing in a way. I find a well separated in ear can be very fun and involving to, but this open HP is a different, more relaxing in a way sort of involvment, even if I did get with the SHP a few good startle provoked by an unexpected sound in a song coming from somewhere behind me. Let me just say that it is wider and more "open" (suprise!) than anything I've heard, but I obviously had low expectation. There is a sense of space, but not necessarily of a well defined physical space. Sound can come from further away, mostly sideways, a bit from the back of my head, and also a little higher or lower than I’m used to. Not much in front of me. The feeling of the provenance of the sound never really let me forget that I'm listening to head phones, but I'm having a very good time and can still just get very easily lost in the experience. It is a very different and welcome experience from in ears. There is more contrast available in the open HP as far as a feeling of space .
Ha. This is something I feel I did suffer at times from the lack of it on other EP/HP. So far, I tended to think of EP/HP as having an inherent song ratio success rate. For example one EP/HP would play well to very well 75% of the songs I threw at it, 15% would sound bland and unexciting but listenable and 10% would sound like a jumbled hard to decode mess. I always attributed that mainly, after eliminating tonal balance as a possible problem, be it wright or wrong, to separation. So, the SHP, so far, has a song ratio success rate of 100% very good to excellent. Identified songs that played meh on other EP/HP sound good to very good to me on the SHP. I have yet to hear a song that sound distractingly bad on these (well, there is that old vinyl rip of a Moody Blues Album that really shows it's age, the fairly bad state of the original vinyl, of the needle, and the cheap equipment used to rip)
Ok. Opinions are all over the place for this. I find them very solid. Stiff, thick, not too rattling, actually rather tight. Not a tank, but very honest. They don't scare me. I guess time will tell, but I am confident.
Another point of contention.. For me It comes down to how long can I use it before it becomes necessary to take a break. With these, it has proven to to be more than 2-3 hours so far. The hot spot for me is my ear lobe that touches the inner filter because of the pad's shallowness. They also can become a bit hot, but really not that bad. Honestly, I tend to find in ear more tolerable to wear for a longer period. Then again, in ears touch very little of you relative to those big cans, so they have a better statistical chance of being forgotten about by the wearer…
I really do not intend to mod them now. But before I got them from the mail, I had stocked on felt and foam material. I did try to thicken the pads without destroying them, by putting a ring of foam on top of them. About 4mm thick of relatively stiff foam. The sound became dark. Very bad to my ear. I might eventually want to change the pads, if the SHP survive long enough for them to become yucky.
I feel I’ve written a lot but not sait much. Let me summarize : Listening to the SHP 9500 for me get’s much closer than anything I’ve heard to an experience where you can let your mind freely navigate (or just be available to) all aspects of the stimulus at hand. Mostly no part of the stimulus imposes itself to your mind’s attention (at least while you are able to ignore the physical feeling of the HP on you’re head), and the available nuances and complexities of the stimulus is quite great. Through the listening of a given piece of music through the SHP 9500, you get the feeling you have a better access to intentions, expressions, mistakes, trials, state, efforts, emotions and the synergies of all people involved in that tune.
Pros - Comfort, gamer friendly, surprising sound quality for its price
Cons - Moderate bass quantity, cheap pads cause sweat during long sessions and require modding for replacement
I’ve been a member, here, since early 2013 but am not much a reviewer as this is only the second review. My first one was written a couple of years ago about the AKG K7XX shortly after its first release on Massdrop. You can check that review, here (http://www.head-fi.org/products/akg-k7xx/reviews/12661), and my post history on my profile if interested in getting more familiar me. Now, I must mention that I have yet to bless my ears with any summit-fi headphones. I am mostly familiar with cans priced under $500. My current lineup consists of the Fostex TH-X00, Hifiman HE-400i, Philips Fidelio L2, Sony XBA-H3, and this lovely cost-effective Philips SHP9500.
As for my preference in sound, I favor warm and bassy headphones with slightly recessed mids and a small dose of emphasized treble. I do appreciate other sound signatures for what they offer (hence why I own the HE-400i and SHP9500), but I am not much of a neutral-head. I still mostly listen to old school 90s Rap/Hip Hop and R&B/Soul, with some Jazz, Reggae, Classic Rock, and Pop in between.
Philips SHP9500 Review
Physical build and accessories:
The SHP9500 is a well-built open headphone that is mostly made up of plastic for a lightweight experience. It uses 50mm drivers and has large cup sizes with huge pads, bigger than usual for full sized headphones. The headband includes a layer of padding that snaps on and off the main frame, allowing for hand washing when needed. The earpads are, by far, the weakest aspect of the way this headphone is constructed. Though very comfortable, the cheap material that is used causes one to sweat more than usual (compared to other velour pads) during long listening sessions. Still, I much prefer them over pleather/leather earpads. If the environment is cool enough, one should not worry but please be aware of this issue when listening to these in a warm setting. There are available modding methods, if needed, for easy pad rolling and can be researched within its respective thread here on Head-Fi.
The accessories are not much to write home about. I have the current “S” version which is essentially the same exact headphone with a shorter cable, no travel bag, and no ¼ inch adapter. The cable, itself, is 5ft long and does its job. It is detachable and can be replaced with other 3.5mm ended cables, including the V-Moda BoomPro mic, resulting in my preferred choice for cost effective gaming headphones.
As briefly mentioned, the SHP9500 is a very comfortable headphone when used in a cool environment. Due to its lovely headband padding, lightweight build, and wide earcups, I can wear these babies for hours without any discomfort. Adjusting the size is satisfying, simple, and sturdy. One should not have any issues with clamping force once the correct size is applied to fit your head, as the cups can swivel slightly forward and backward for proper sealing and placement over your ears.
There are exceptions I make when choosing a headphone that doesn’t necessarily match my sound preference, and the SHP9500 is one of them. Though not the ideal choice for mild bassheads, like myself, the sound quality this headphone provides for its buck is why I have such an admiration for it. I will do my best to explain why that is so.
Although I consider the bass to be the weakest characteristic in regards to this headphone’s sound signature, it still comprises of great quality. Those who are not bassheads might just prefer the bass presence these offer as it is quick, tight, and just south of neutral to my ears. It is not anemic by any means like, let’s say, the Audio Technica AD700. During bass-heavy tracks, the pleasant thump that these provide is quite surprising. There is a slight mid-bass curve compared to the rest of the low frequency, extending rather nicely without any sudden roll-off. The bass sound quality is clean and present; it just takes a back seat to vocals and treble.
The mids aren’t the most polished I’ve ever heard and don’t consist of that “in your face” type of vocals that some mid-centric headphones provide. Still, it is one of the strongpoints for this headphone’s sound frequency. Male vocals are quite neutral sounding while female vocals are slightly forward and less refined. There is some minor grain, throughout, but it is nothing drastic when compared to other open headphones in the sub $200 price range. That says a lot considering the SHP9500 only costs $55-$60 (on average) during the time of this review, and has gone for as low as $40 during clearance sales in the past. For its price, the mids on this headphone are golden.
The SHP9500’s highs are the Hollywood star in regards to its sound signature but can sometimes get in the way, resulting in a minor spike that is most obvious when listening to poorly recorded songs. I have grown to like bright treble over the years but I am still quite critical of sibilance and brittle highs. It is safe to say that it is not the case here. Though it can sound artificial, at times, the treble is still quite pleasing, articulate, and extends relatively well. The detail and clarity when listening to jazz and classical music is lovely considering its price (again).
Soundstage is quite average for an open headphone, so don’t expect AD700 or AKG levels of width and depth presentation. That is not one of the SHP9500’s strengths due to its small opening on the outer frame where the grill lies. Even so, the quality of imaging and instrument separation is there and very enjoyable for those who appreciate such features in a headphone's sound signature. For a gamer, like myself, I rely heavily on positioning and accuracy; which this headphone still manages to do very well. No complaints about soundstage, here, my friends.
Sound leakage and noise isolation is less than ideal, but that is to be expected. Like other full size open headphones, this is firmly for home use in noiseless surroundings. I would have had this review out sooner had it not been for bike week, where I live, so that should give you an idea how poorly these isolate from outside noise.
The Philips SHP9500 is one of my favorite headphones of all time despite its shortcomings. It is a headphone that does most genres very well if one’s ears aren’t spoiled by some of the finer options in this hobby. If you are looking for an entry level and cost-effective headphone to use at home, this is one you should look at very closely. It is easy to drive while maintaining the ability to scale nicely with better equipment. Combine its performance, BoomPro compatibility, and stellar price and we also have ourselves the ideal choice for a console gamer on a budget. You will not find anything better under $60 that outclasses most generic headsets on the market.
I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you all about this wonderful bargain of a headphone. Thank you for reading!
Pros - cheap, relatively flat, inoffensive, comfortable
Cons - inconsistent price, meh stock cable
Keep in mind I don't factor the price into my ratings for sound, design, and comfort. I'd like to say early on that I don't pay much attention to the frequency response. I tend to prefer flat headphones, but I have no idea how to listen for "peaks", or "roll offs" and such. What I pay attention to is separation, decay, and detail. For the 65 dollars you can buy these for nowadays, these do a great job. Great addition to any collection.
Pros - Crisp details, extreme comfort, balanced soundstage, removable cable, the price!
Cons - NOT for bassheads.
I'm just gonna start by saying these are the most comfortable pair of headphones I have ever worn out-of-the-box. They float on your head and the padding is soft like a pillow. I have worn listened to many headphones. From the extremely overpriced Audeze LCD-2s and Grado PS1000s to cheap JVCs. None match the comfort of these headphones. None.
As soon as you start playing music that is overly-produced, you begin to notice sounds you didn't hear before. Even on the Audezes I didn't hear the details these headphones can put into light. Classical, trance, pop, euro, oldies, etc. all sound great on these headphones. They don't necessarily lack in the lows, but they are accurate but not punchy. If you are a basshead and want something really punchy, look away. I'd recommend the ATH-M50x in this price range for overly bassy music.
These headphones are extremely well-rounded. They don't underwhelm or over-impress in any particular genre. They are consistent in sound and deliver a clarity that is arguably $500 more than what you're paying.
I would recommend these headphones to anyone who listens to a variety of music, wants to wear headphones for hours on end, or for someone who wants extremely great value out of headphones.
Thanks for reading!
Pros - All the things
Cons - Could use a bit more bass
Alright, these are the most confusing set of cans I've ever owned. Why are they so cheap? It doesn't make any sense.
Right out of the gate, these are the most comfortable set of headphones ever. I use them primarily for watching TV late at night, and have fallen asleep wearing them multiple times. The ear pads are huge, the foam is soft, and the covers are just nice. They're more comfortable than the pillows on my couch. The included cable is great, and they use a normal 3.5mm detachable cable, so you can replace it with anything you want. It's long enough to get from my receiver to the couch without an extension cord which is just another plus.
For sound quality. These have all the sound stage in the world. All of it. I mean IMPOSSIBLE levels of sound stage. Listening to these ruined some of my old favorite cans the moment these went on my head. Imaging is insane, which is yet another reason I use them for movie watching, and best of all they're SUPER easy to drive. The only dig I have is I kinda wish they had more bass, but it's really not a big deal. Vocal clarity is awesome, mids are super clear, and not even a hint of sibilance.
The first day that I got these out of the box they were on my head for 24+ hours. I kept trying to find new stuff to listen to so I could find out if they were bad at anything, and the answer was...No...No they're not. If you just want the best bang for the buck headphones on the market, here ya go.
I really have no words. Try them. They're $60 bucks, and if you were looking for a really good set of cheap cans, I can think of nowhere better to start. I own pairs that are 5 times as much money that don't even come close to these in sound quality, and it's just mind boggling.
Pros - *Immersive* Excellent Soundstage, Imaging, Speed, Detail, Comfort, Replaceable Cord, Good build for money, Value, Sensitivity
Cons - Pads not removable and slightly shallow, Slightly grainy sonic signature. Not the greatest dynamics. Would prefer mono ins versus the single stereo
Bought these after receiving the Massdrop HE-350s which were just too treble-forward for my taste.
I listen to a lot of music when at work. Desk space is limited, so I can't justify running an amplifier, so I liked the idea of something inexpensive with good imaging that was easy to drive.
They blow me away. They outperform all the other cans I have (Sennheiser PX-100s, Audio Technica M50x, AKG K7xx, Hifiman HE-350). No burn in was necessary--just plugged them into my computer and was blown away by how convincing they were.
In comparison other headphones sound veiled in some region or another or are fatiguing.
I listen to a lot of chamber music, and it's rare that headphones get the imaging and details right.
They are a little treble forward, however, they are excellent for rock, metal, jazz, and even rap. The bass is slightly recessed, but never feels underpowered in part due to how well controlled the bass is. Extension is great, as well. You get a real sense of instruments decaying and reverberating in the room/hall, which i suspect is largely subbass dependent. Even though I could use a couple more dB of bass, it has more than enough impact for me.
The imaging is excellent. As well as depth of soundstage. Almost to the point of seeming artificially wide on some recordings. However, on well mastered/recorded material, they are dead ringers for immersion. Convincing keeps coming to mind. The only other headphones i've tried that pull "convincing" off in the same way are some old Stax that you have to power with a loudspeaker amplifier, sound uneven and veiled, and are so uncomfortable I can only keep them on my head for 20 minutes or so.
Very sensitive. I don't understand how they are so sensitive being (very) open headphones with such large drivers. Full volume on soft-ish recordings on my macbook could cause hearing damage pretty quickly.
These remind me a lot of the old PX100s if those were more comfortable and neutral, and less forward/fatiguing.
More treble forward than the K7XX. I get the impression of more detail and precision, as well. Maybe that impresison will change when I get a proper amp. K7XX are a little smoother, and definitely have more bass presence. For solo instrument recordings, the K7XX have a slight edge, as well as stoner metal where you just need a strong midbass presence. However, the imaging on these, just make them more fun to listen to.
They have the immediacy I like about the M50x, but have actual imaging, and aren't forward or fatiguing
These have the strong treble and imaging of the Hifiman HE-350s, but have wearable stock pads, and the treble is more under control. I think is Bass is stronger too.
Headphones are light, and super comfortable. Clamp is light, which some may find disconcerting. However, they will stay on your head unless you try to shake them off. The pads appear hard to replace. Though the stock pads are good, they aren't AKG K7XX good. A little bit warmer running. If I have these on my head longer than 4 hours or so in a warm room, they start to bug me, which is pretty good for my head.
I'd prefer a split mono-in for a better connection, since these are large and ugly enough and open enough that I won't wear them outside, but can't complain about the versatility of the dual 3.5mm on such inexpensive cans. The cable appears just ok. I wish it were easier to change the stock pads. However, the tune is so great I fear messing them up. Also, I suspect the enclosure rattles when hit around ~3.5 kHz, but it could be the cable jack not having the best connection. Intermittent, and only noticeable if I'm really looking.
Buy these. I ordered a second set. Maybe one day I'll convince myself I need some X1s/X2s, or just jump in and import some Stax. But these provide me with everything I want from a headphone.
Pros - cheap, open back, clarity, excellent overall sound quality, 3.5mm detachable cable, moderate build, comfortable for long listening
Cons - non removable ear pads, sweat magnet, less clamp force so that it might fall if you shake your head rapidly.
It might be one of your favorite cans if you pay an intense listen to them for a few hours. Really its a steal while you might get it for 60ish or 80ish. I got mine for 75 ish. I still wonder why Phillips is selling this amazing can at such a lower price.
I have some quality headphone, AKG K7xx massdrop edition, heard sennheiser HD518, hd598 etc. but they aint available 60-100$. None of the headphone is perfect. they are good in different aspects and different point of views and in my favorite list i without any doubt include SHP for their performance and Price ratio. Even if I had to buy it for 150$ i wouldn't be frustrated.
lets dig into the Build quality:
Build wise they are moderate.
Firstly, you will notice the L/R marking on the grill of open back. 50mm big drivers will feel nice and provide a reasonable mass to the headphone. the build materiel is mostly plastic and metal but it is
not cheap (even if you consider it as a 150$ can)
N.B. I have painted the L/R marking with permanent marker
Secondly, the ear cups are huge (bigger than hd 600 i should say) it tilts just a bit so that you can have a better fit. But it doesn't fold.
Thirdly, Low clamp force might create you a lose fit if you move your head too much unnecessarily, otherwise it will just work fine and comfortably.
The headband, Its obviously performs well with no issue. the headband is plastic and foam underneath it foam for the comfort of longer listening. Who has bigger head will have no problem as it allows to extend to 1-6 notch.
Flaws: Noticeably the ear pad. Sweat magnet; that will swallow your sweat just like a thirsty dog. and non removable state can be demolished if a Mod can be done. I didn't do it. cause I am comfortable with the stock one.
Cable: It will come along with around 10 feet cable which is not bad at all (a 1/4inch adapter also). As its cable is 3.5mm to 3.5mm aux cable, there is a lot of quality cable which you can use by your budget. (changing cables no SQ change occurs). I use Anker aux cable and V-moda audio only cable. Gamers might be helped by the Great v-moda boom pro.
My DIY Stand + SHP + V-moda audio only cable
Sound where it shines:
Low end (Bass):
Warning!! this can is not for bass head. these don't offer head crushing bass. but if you are not a bass head It has enough to make you enjoy music. it listenable and it don't hide too much. but less of edge in bass department. Drums kick sounds chime. If it seems bass kick is absent, EQ will always help.
This is the sphere where these shines. It has much emphasized and clarity. Neat and Clean those words are just nothing but perfect. in the mid range the sound graphs is kinda neutral you can engage yourself with the vocal's voice beauty and find new color of your favorite singers.
Excellent treble, (some might feel sibilant but it can be corrected by EQing) Classical music and string instruments sounds such a pleasant way that you cant but like it. while at the highest pick it might seems a bit grainy but I am sure you will say, its clear though.
A 50mm Open back will offer such a wide sound stage you cant expect from 70ish/100ish cans. But if you come from a higher end open back cans it might feel a bit narrower. but you can't go wrong as it costed half, one third, one forth of the high end price. But from the neutral perspective it will shine in gaming along with v-moda boom pro mic with the big sound stage.
This is the word what makes it significantly distinguished than other pairs. It offers an amazing separation. you can feel the lead guitars, vocal, bass and drums are sounding separately.
obviously. Its open back with a huge grill. beware of your roomies
Its a 32+/- ohm can. technically you can drive it with any portable device like mobile, mp3 players etc. Laptop or computers will have no issues of driving it. But if you have a DAP or DAC/AMP it will sound well as expected. And also Flac and high quality audio files sounds with much separation and sound stage.
Compared with Presonus HD7:
HD7's bass is less in amount but tight and ready to smash with force. thats why it shines in bass department. OTOH SHP blows it away with its majestic clarity of mid and highs. and SHP is more comfortable too.
Compared with Sennheiser HD598:
Do SHP sound better? I should say in sound stage and imaging HD598 shines over SHP but SQ wise SHP shines with its clarity and reasonable bass response.
Compared with AKG K7xx:
AKG K7xx fills the spheres where SHPs lacks. It has a really good bass response along with mid and high clarity and smoothness. but I think As per clarity if AKG k7xx scores 90 SHP will get 91
Compared with Grado sr80e:
Grado has just a bit tightness in bass and highly emphasized treble with sometimes sounds fatiguing and sibilant as well. but shp shines its all roundness and smooth edged highs.
i should say shp is kinda all rounder can. it wont make you frustrated if you hear your favorite genre (except for bass heavy genres). But classical, metal, rock lovers will stand out with engaging quality of sound and separation that some people may find new experience to remember while they listen through shps
Last but not least:
70ish Can trust me wont go wrong except for a few flaws. Comfort, clarity and such awesomeness could have been costed more.
Oneplus one, Fiio X1, Ibasso dx50, Fiio kulnun, Razer blade stealth and macbook pro 15'' retina.
Pros - Non-fatiguing, Price (if you can find them), low clamp, cup size, clean sound, 3.5mm port
Cons - Earcup depth, stock cable, lack of sharpness
Being one of the elf-like people on the planet, the second thing i look at when buying headphones is earcup size. These are odd to me.
The measurements that matter are as follows:
Inner Width: 54mm
Inner Height: 75mm
Inner depth: 17-18mm
Clearly they are relative huge, with one glaring drawback: depth. I know very few people whose ears are not touching the driver side of the headphones. There is a redeeming quality though. The clamp force is so low that it isn't that unpleasant. I also suspect it would not be difficult to mod these to fit other earcups, based on my inspection. The earcups are help outward from the drivers by what feels similar to chloroplast board, or plastic cardboard. I figure it would not be hard to remove the pads, and trim this to fit other pads. The actual material for the default (non-removable without mod) earpads is incredibly soft, but i suspect would absorb sweat, and get a little hot after a while.
As for the headband, I am not very sensitive to this kind of thing, but I find this one to be fantastic with no obvious problems. I think it is fantastic honestly. The headband "pad" runs aalong the underside of the headband, but is only attached at either end, making it able to form fit to your head, but not make you look like an alien as audio-technica, AKG, Superlux, etc.
Disclaimer: my ears are very sensitive to treble. Take my views with the usual grain of salt.
The basic consensus: Clean, relatively neutral sound with slight lean toward treble but still has reasonable bass that doesn't hide too much. These also a severe lack an edge or fun. There is obvious bass roll off, and there is also a frequency at which some drums play which has the splat effect, and a bit muffled, and quiet.
I am quite the novice in the headphone world, so I shall compare and contrast with only open headphones I have owned; no speculation.
Compared to Sennheiser G4ME ONE the SHP9500 are: slightly grainy, way cleaner, more open, lacking edge, but overall simply better, very slightly better soundstage.
Compared to Koss ksc75 the SHP9500 are: slightly less open, cleaner, more treble/mid orientation, similar soundstage.
Compared to Samson sr850/Superlux 668b the SHP9500 are: Cleaner, less bass, less sharp, better soundstage.
For me the most interesting sound quality is how these are clean without having an edge. The best way I can describe this is lacking the fatiguing factor of treble heavy headphones on the louder side.
The term my brother used was "dull". His superlux 668b had more "sharpness and bass" to him (and I agree).
There are certain things most pairs of open headphones should possess imo.
Low clamp, large ear-shaped earcups (preferably deep)
Removable cable without proprietary plugs
easy left, right discernment
These possess all of these qualities (barring deep earcups)
The clamp force is incredibly low, the earcups are very large, the headphones have a standard 3.5mm port on the left earcup. There are hinges for every aspect of adjustability, and massive L and R on either earcup.
As most of you know these work great with the V-moda BoomPro microphone. making it a great gaming headset. The lack of fatigue makes it great for long sessions as well. Most gamers, however, prefer bass that pulls you into the game, rather than balance the SHP9500 possess.
For the $75 I paid, these are fantastic. The comfort alone is worth that much. The sound is very clean and neutral, but also seems dull at the same time.
If anyone has any suggestions, thoughts or questions I didn't answer, please ask, comment, etc. I wish to improve upon reviews as many headphones lack adequate research avenues and I want to be as helpful as possible.
UPDATE: I have taken off the stock pads, which is actually quite easy to do. Simply grab a corner and give it a decent pull, then rotate, and repeat. I have put the Angled pleather hm5 pads on, which took a bit of stretching. The cups are deep enough for my ears now, but not tall enough since the area left by the original pad is circular. The sound took a major turn toward bass, but didn't really gain any warm feeling sound to speak of. The bass now just bleeds into the mids and treble. The stock pads were not damaged in any way. final note: I used electrical tape to smooth, and cover the clips that hold the original pad, as to not damage them, or the hm5 pads.