The Philips SHP9600 are wired-only open-back headphones designed for neutral sound. They perform very similarly to their predecessor, the Philips SHP9500, but they have a slightly sleeker look and a more extended bass. Overall, their sound profile is still well-balanced, so they’re suitable for lots of different music genres. Their open and spacious soundstage helps immerse you in your favorite music. That said, due to their open-back design, they leak a bit of sound and don’t isolate a lot of ambient noise, so they aren’t ideal for outdoor use.
Review The Philips SHP9600 Headphones
1. Design & Build Quality
The Philips SHP9600 has a simple, all-black design. They look very similar to the Philips SHP9500, but the side panels on these headphones are plain, giving them a slightly sleeker look. The headband and the ear cups are well-padded.
The Philips SHP9600 are very comfortable headphones. They’re lightweight, and they aren’t too tight, so they don’t put a lot of pressure on your ears. The ear cups and the headband are well-padded for a comfortable fit.
The Philips SHP9600 isn’t very portable headphones. Like most over-ears, they have a rather bulky design. They don’t fold into a more compact format, so they may not fit easily into your bag.
The Philips SHP9600 are decently well-built headphones. Like the Philips SHP9500, they feel a bit plasticky, but overall their build seems quite stable and durable. The thin metal frame that reinforces the headband helps make it more sturdy. However, the fabric padding seems like it could tear easily, and the swiveling ear cups seem like a weak point. For open-back headphones with the better build quality, see the Philips Fidelio X3.
2. Sound Quality
These headphones have decent bass accuracy. Like most open-backs, they struggle to reproduce low-bass, so you don’t feel the deep thump of instruments like kick drums. However, the overextended mid and high-bass adds an extra punch and boom to the mix, though it may sound slightly muddy.
These headphones got great mid accuracy. The response is even and balanced throughout the range, so vocals and lead instruments sound full-bodied and present. However, the underemphasis in the high-mid can weaken these same instruments.
With impressive treble accuracy. The response is mostly flat and even, so voices and sibilants like cymbals are bright and brilliant. There’s a slight underemphasis in the low-treble, however, which can ever-so-slightly hurt the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
It has excellent stereo imaging. Weighted group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in a tight bass and transparent treble. The L/R drivers of our unit are well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase, so objects like voices and instruments are accurately placed and localized in the stereo field. These results are only valid for our test unit, so your experience may vary.
Good peaks and dips performance. They’re lacking a bit of low-bass, but the peak in the mid and high bass adds an extra boominess and punch. The dip in the high-mid makes vocals and lead instruments sound weak and distant. The slight peak in the mid-treble can make some sibilants a bit piercing.
The Philips SHP9600 has a good passive soundstage thanks to its open-back design. They interact with the pinna, or the outer ear, to create a soundstage that’s large, open, and spacious. However, the sound still seems like it’s coming from inside your head, rather than in front of you.
3. Noise Isolation & Leakage
The Philips SHP9600 has a terrible noise isolation performance. Due to their open-back design, they don’t isolate against noise in the bass and mid-range, so you can hear background voices and sounds like bus and plane engines. They perform a bit better in the treble range, but you may still be able to hear higher frequency noises like AC units.
These headphones have an awful leakage performance, which is typical of open-backs. They leak a lot of noise, especially in the mid and treble ranges, and the leakage is loud and comprehensible.
The Philips SHP9600 is very good for neutral sound. Their balanced sound profile packs an extra punch and boom, but it’s still suitable for listening to a variety of music genres. Thanks to their open-back design, their soundstage is very open and spacious. Their audio delivery is pretty consistent, too, although their treble delivery may vary depending on their fit, seal, and positioning.