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Philips SHE3905BK/27 In-Ear Headphones with Mic, Black

Rating:
4/5,
  • Enjoy music and calls in high-quality sound. Oval tube inserts come with 3 ear cap sizes for optimal fit and deep bass. Vacuum metallized housings boast sleek classy finish. Inline and control make hands-free phone calls convenient.

Recent Reviews

  1. DJ The Rocket
    GIANT KILLERS
    Written by DJ The Rocket
    Published Dec 13, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing sound for the $, comfort, price, availability
    Cons - Not enough people seem to know about them
    Walk into any Target,store, anywhere, and head to Electronics. Hidden among the low-end Sonys and Skullcandys, overshadowed by the $198 Jaybirds and sprawling areas dedicated to Bose or Beats by Dre (who even knows what they charge for those things), is a little IEM from Philips marketed with the words "Rich Bass." They might easily be confused with the similar looking "Beats n' Bass" packaging. The latter are the lower-end SHE3595, which are widely acclaimed for their price/performance, but to me have several glaring flaws in the sound (most notably the dry, sibalant treble), preventing them from wearing the Giant Killer mantle. Rich Bass, a.k.a. Philips SHE3905, while not a different animal altogether, is different enough. More on that later.

    Pricing and Availability
    $20 at any Target store, $10 shipped on amazon (not Prime though)

    Build, Ergonomics, Comfort, Style

    They aren't the toughest, most substantial in-ears, but they're tough enough as long as you don't step on them with your boots on. YMMV of course, but their small size and light weight equals a supremely comfortable earphone, without being so small they're difficult to get a good seal. In fact they are a breeze to put in and take out of your ears (well my ears anyway). Compare to the Ostry KC06a, another very comfortable earphone deserving of the Giant Killer moniker.

    They do look undeniably premium, thanks to the mirrlred metallic finish. They could pass for a poor man's GR8e, i think, in looks as well as sound.

    Rolling: tips and sources and synergy

    Like most canalphones, I feel the best tips for them are JVC Spiral Dots. If you're not a millionaire and don't have dozens of those, expensive things laying about, try something similar: thin, plyable silicon, with the widest mouth you can find. The stock tips, while feeling a bit cheap, are actually very good, sound-wise. One thing to note is the sound tube isn't cylindrical like most. Instead Philips built them with an elliptical sound hole, with an aspect ratio greater than Klipsch (and without the patented oval tips). In effect, this means they may permanently stretch any tips left on them for enough time. Either store your tips seperately, or accept that they aren't going to be used with anything else anymore.

    The 3905s fall in that sweet spot of being easy to drive, without being too easy and inviting hiss or tonal inaccuracies with high output impedance sources. An average smartphone is plenty powerful, but as usual a better sounding source will deliver a much better experience. I've taken them as far up as GOV2+ and Mojo, and these Philips certainly prove they belong in such company. I expect they would continue to improve as you take them higher up the source ladder (like most quality headphones will). I've never heard them sound bad, or at least any worst than a bad source might be expected to sound.

    Sound Sig.

    Slight v-shape, a lowercase v. They're nothing like as extreme as the M50x Capital-V; the mids are only the slightest bit recessed. Warm, dark, except for when it's bright.

    Bass-about in line with the M50x in quantity as well as quality. They have about as much as possible while avoiding bass bleed wrecking the midrange. They accentuate bass, extending as low as 25 or 30hz, but never invent it when it's not in the music. I don't know who or what a "basshead" is, but I can't imagine wanting more on already bass heavy genres like trance or other EDM. It becomes a nonissue for more acoustic, more organic styles like jazz or classical and some rock.

    Mids- slightly recessed, but very well rendered, full and rich sounding. Vocals are lush and realistic, off the charts for the price, but it will surprise no-one they won't stand up to the better Shures of the world.

    Treble-to be honest, unless I'm listening to a track with a treble emphasis, I don't really notice them as being distinct from the midrange. Obviously this suggests a smooth transition from upper mids on up. Squeezing in more and more hertz by the thousands, there's certain point where the upper mids have been left far behind, in the unmistakably treble zone, notes begin taking on that desirable sparkle. Sibalance is as good as nonexistent.

    Misc.--

    If these are so great, how come you're the only one lauding them?

    That is a very good question. Ultimately, you'll have to ask each individual reviewer. Its not unreasonable to ask if maybe they hadn't heard any true top-end talent to contrast, at the time, or were too influenced by the price tag to believe their ears, so they didn't. Maybe a million reasons. I do not believe I'm overstating their worth, however. I've owned upwards of a half dozen pairs over the last couple of years, because I keep giving my pair to friends and then replacing them, or loaning them to someone who doesn't want to give them back. And each pair sounded identical to me. I've listened to them enough to grok the sound. And while that's getting mighty close to acclimating to the sound (and surely there is some truth to that too). But also within that time, I'm sure i would notice if they weren't living up to the esteem i have for them. At some point some flaw would grow unignorable

    Besides, there are unexpected downsides to getting a Giant Killer as basically your first IEM. Upgrading is nearly impossible, since I already had the best sounding pair stocked by the major department stores, then the first few pairs I ordered sounded at best equal to the Philips. Then I wasn't a part the larger, more aware community like we are today. I didn't know what "normal" was, or that subjective taste matters more than objective performance, if objective/subjective were even in my vocabulary then.

    My point is I've given them ample opportunity to disappoint. They haven't.


    Who are you to declare what a Giant killer is?

    I'm nobody, of course. I just want to put the idea out there, because I believe in these little guys. You all will have to decide for yourselves, and with,enough exposure, a consensus will form, leaning one way or the other. I can't control that process, but you can.


    Summary

    The Philips SHE3905 is the mainstay of the budget IEM field. They won't take down the biggest of the big, but then nothing will do that without being a giant itself. Sleek, comfortable, and performing on Broadway for Branson prices, they come as close as anything. Inexpensive and ubiquitous, available any day in any small to moderately sized town in North America if not the world, the 3905 should be the go-to reccomendation for anybody on a budget, admitted audiophile or not.

    --Rocket
  2. FYLegend
    More of a sidegrade to the 3590
    Written by FYLegend
    Published Nov 4, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - More lean and transparent than the 3590, well-controlled bass, nice aesthetics
    Cons - Sibilant and fatiguing, smaller soundstage than SHE3590
    NOTE: This review is on the SHE3900
     
    The Philips SHE3900 is a budget level IEM that represents a spiritual successor to the SHE3590, which was regarded as one of the best. The SHE3905 is a variant with an in-line remote and microphone for mobile devices. Aesthetically, it takes the 3590 to a new level, but is it an improvement in sound quality?
     

    Build quality

    Let’s start out with the bad news. The main disappointment I have with the 3900 is that its cable quality is nearly identical to the 3590, and therefore just as microphonic. This time they did include a cable cinch that can be detached on the left side. Philips has been doing this in their recent IEMs, claiming this can be used for preventing tangles by putting the other end of the cable in the notch. While I can’t really see the advantage of this, sometimes I prefer snapping it off because the cinch is a bit hard to move up and down.
     
    The housings are the most significant change from the 3590. They are simplistic but eye-catching and highly reflective in direct sunlight. One downside with the new housings is that they are slightly triangular shaped – this makes over-ear fit a bit less comfortable than cable down (although it is no big deal).
     
    Finally, Philips has decided to put a gold-plated, right-angle plug on this IEM. It feels more durable but the plug’s coating is a rubbery material that's suspect to fingernail marks.
     
    7.5/10
     

    Isolation and comfort

    With cable down, isolation is considerably better than the 3590 thanks to a more reliable seal. I'd say the isolation is slightly above average but they still let some sound in. However, I did notice they do exert a little bit of pressure on my ears, and shoving them in further causes driver flex and a more congested sound. These are quite comfortable worn halfway inserted in your ear.
    Isolation: 7.7/10
    Comfort: 8/10 (cable down)
     
    Sound quality
    These impressions are primarily based on using the Fiio E10K. Like the 3590 they require a bit more volume to drive, despite the low impedance and high sensitivity.
     
    These have a similar v-shaped sound signature to the 3590, but somewhat colder and leaner. The treble is more emphasized, and can be sibilant or grainy on poorly mastered tracks. Therefore I would not recommend the 3900 for EDM or house tracks where the highs can be fatiguing. For example Avicii’s new album Stories sounds very sibilant at high volumes (especially “Waiting for Love” and “True Believer”). On the other hand, the 3900 brings out the life in Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, which may sound rolled-off or laid-back with other IEMs. The bass is tight and fairly deep, with little mid-bass bloat. The midrange on both is recessed, except the 3900 has a bit more forwardness at the top but sounds papery at times.
     
    The soundstage is average for an IEM. It is somewhat intimate without sounding congested, but is lacking a bit in reverb or decay. I'd say the soundstage is similar to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x but lacks depth.
     
    Eartip selection: Audio-Technica CKM eartips were preferred for better isolation and comfort as well as a slightly warmer sound with the highs tamed down slightly, though they can still be sibilant.
     
    7.5/10
     
    Filter mod: Unlike the 3590, there is no additional foam behind the mesh filter, and this may be why the treble is so bright. For this mod, take a needle to take off the filter (note the backside has an adhesive encircling filter paper) and then put some foam behind. If you do this mod and still use the stock tips you won’t notice much of a difference but it is a decent improvement from stock if you’re using Audio-Technica eartips.
     

    Vs. Philips SHE3590

    the 3900 sounds like a more intimate, leaner yet aggressive version of the 3590, which is warmer and slightly more laid-back in comparison. The 3590’s highs are slightly smoother and less fatiguing, while the 3900 is more detailed but at the cost of sibilance. Overall, the 3590’s soundstage is wider and deeper, having considerably more decay. If you are sensitive to sibilance I wouldn’t recommend either IEM.
     
    Vs. Philips SHE8100
    This is one of Philips' newer IEMs with a more compact aluminum housing and differently tuned drivers. Although its treble detail is more transparent than either the 3590 or 3900, and its soundstage is a bit deeper, its midrange is more recessed and overall this is a more extreme v-shape sound than either of those IEMs. It’s a real shame about the mids because these could have been a reasonable option otherwise.

     

    Vs Xiaomi Piston 3

    These are essentially a polar opposite to the Philips. They are warmer with more midbass. Overall it is more punchy but not as deep in the bass as any of these Philips. Treble and midrange is somewhat muffled, lacking much sharpness. Although the soundstage is wider and deeper, this hazy top end makes it sound rather congested at times. That said, after listening to the fatiguing highs of the 3900, these are quite pleasant and more immersive. If you are looking for a more “balanced” top end and don’t mind a slightly boomy midbass, these would be a more ideal choice.
     

    Conclusion

    I have somewhat mixed reactions about the 3900 and can only recommend them with reservations. They perform well for the price but aesthetics aside the 3900 is more of a sidegrade to the 3590. I would recommend you stay away from these if you are sensitive to sibilance or are looking for a warmer sound and larger soundstage.
  3. Whitigir
    Excellent for someone as a Budget IEMS+Mic on the go
    Written by Whitigir
    Published Oct 5, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Clarity, trebles extensions, vivid vocal, good seperations, budget iems
    Cons - Sibilances on some songs, metallic tonality, 3rd dimensional is virtually not existed
    I found these back in last year when I was on the funs of looking for good quality budget IEMS.  I was very impressed by these back then, and I put it away for a while.  Today, I got back to it, and I thought I better review it, and let more people know about it sound quality
     
    Conclusion:  At sub 30$ with this much quality is un-beatable.  Especially in the sub-bass, vocal, trebles extensions, and in the mean while remain musical
     
    Now onto the detailed review.  I use it with ZX2 and Ipad Air 2 today, and the following findings are what I have found.
     
    Bass:  Tight bass, controlled, boomy/rumbles sub-bass when needed, tight/subtle bass when called for.
     
    Vocal: Forward, clear and clean with good resolutions and clarity, somewhat sibilant but not at the level of harsh sibilant.  Some of the "sss,xxx,zzz" presents, but is at the acceptable level.  This clear vocal, forward, and good resolution leaves out enough room for trebles extensions.
     
    Mid:  Forward, together with that great vocal, all the instruments in the mid spectrum are very well observable, alright layering, and of good placements.  Though some peaks within the Mid+vocal can produce the "some what acceptable sibilant" as said above.  The beautiful thing here is the layering and seperations.
     
    Trebles:  Good extensions, and of good details, some cymbals and hit-hat hits show up and is observable
     
    Soundstage:  about 6/10, it is not too crazy but for the price, it is acceptable and enjoyable
     
    Sound field:  Mainly in the front, and not thing of "3rd" dimension.  More like Flat 2 dimensional plane (L-R) and make it feel like alternated volume adjustment on the mix rather than immersive.  But hey, it is sub 30$.  For this level of details, air, vocal, clarity.......it is worth it
     
    Preferred Tips: Sony Hybrid, or anything silicones with thick bores.  It preserves the bass and the trebles very well.  Comply S400 will be most comfortable, some deep rumbles don't feel as strong, the some-what sibilant is also more acceptable
     
    Fit:  It is so small, and so comfortable for a long wear.  Best to wear straight down.  Small cables and microphonic is not too annoying
     
    Cons:  Hint of Metallic tint in it, which I think is preferable and favorable toward electronic, dance, modern pops.  Not so organic or realistic enough for classical, instruments, ballad in my opinion.  Some modern Ballad is also good with it due to the details retrieved, and the clear vocal.  Probably harsh toward Rock and Metal.
     
    I rate it at 7/10 in over-all sound quality.  That means it is acceptable by me with years of listening, and taste toward more balanced, neutral kind of signature with good quality bass beats over-all.  It is not a bass-head level.  It is not sound-stage monster, realistic timbres or tonality balances, or immersive listening level, if these are your priority, well it is not it.  It is more flat, details, good controlled bass, good vocal, good trebles clarity.
     
    Price/Quality ratio: A "must have" for whatever purpose of collecting a budget, on the go, disposable, gift.  It quality punches above it price for sure.  For example to compare it against my JVC-FX750.  It has more transparency, better vocal, better+tighter bass but lacks away from the trebles extensions, soundstage, sub-bass and 3rd dimensional.  750 is more V-shaped in comparision.  If someone love transparency, vocal, details, on a budget, this is recommended. 
     
    Any questions please few free to ask, and I hope that I helped.  Thank you !
      FYLegend likes this.
    1. FYLegend
      Thanks for the review. I bought the 3900 a few days ago having owned the SHE3590 before. The 3900 is essentially a successor with much better aesthetics, isolation and comfort but hard to say in terms of sound. I previously removed the filters of my 3590 as they were getting dirty and later put a new set of foams into the nozzle to try and bring back the sound quality (so not a 100% accurate comparison). Both are somewhat v-shaped and overall sound quite similar. However, I think the 3590 is slightly warmer and has a wider soundstage; the 3900 has a bit more in the upper mids, but it's a papery texture and still recessed in the lower mids. The soundstage is intimate but not congested (I thought the Xiaomi Piston 3's soundstage was wide but congested). Both are top-heavy but the the 3900 is sharper and can be borderline piercing; the 3590 smooths out just a little bit. I think the 3590 has a wider and more immersive soundstage while the 3900 is more intimate. However, I don't think the 3900 is by any means congested; just not as spacious. I also have the SHE8100 which has a even more transparent highs and deeper bass, but its midrange is far more recessed than either the 3900 or the 3590.
       
      It might be possible to tame the highs of the 3900 if you take off the filters and replace foam into the nozzle, though I am not sure whether the 3900 has foam in the nozzle already (the 3590 does, but the more recent 8100 does not).
      FYLegend, Oct 6, 2015
    2. theuprising
      I agree on sibilance spikes but the soundstage on these are FANTASTIC, especially for the price. In fact they are ~80% of the Havi B3, especially when paired with an amp.
      theuprising, Oct 10, 2015

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