Philips has created another pair of open-back headphones, the SPH9500, and their intention is to offer both the home and portable listeners a versatile solution that’s easy to drive using common audio players yet offers the same high audio quality as some of the most expensive models.
Design and build quality
When you first put these headphones on your head, you will immediately notice the excellent comfort provided by the double layered headband padding and the breathable ear cushion for longer wearing comfort. The SHP9500 as one of the most comfortable full-size headphones at this price, and the self-adjusting headband always provides just the right clamping force.
The open-back design ensures a good ventilation, but the earpads are not replaceable. However, their quality is good, so they will likely outlive the headphones themselves.
Included with the headphones is a 3m cable with a gold-plated connected. Due to the length, the cable is limited mostly to indoor use, but it can be instantly replaced with any other 3.5mm audio cable. Philips made a wise choice and avoided using a proprietary connector.
The design is professional and the headphones are well constructed. We have never noticed any unwanted sounds, resonance, or other general annoyance during our testing.
The 50mm neodymium drivers are designed to deliver a full sound and accurately all frequencies. We have found the sonic character of the SHP9500 to be midrange-centric. However, that definitely doesn’t mean that the headphones would be unable to cope well with lows and highs.
Bass, especially, is represented accurately, which could make a few bassheads feel like the headphones lack a punch. In reality, they simply do their best to avoid unnecessary sound coloration. Many happy owners have found them to work amazingly well for home instrument practice, including the piano and drums.
If you intend to use the headphones outside and plan on replacing the cable with a shorter one, you need to make sure that you don’t buy a low-quality cable. We had one laying around, which resulted in connectivity issues and general sound degradation. Audio cables are cheap, so pay a bit extra for a higher quality.
What’s in the box?
The high-quality cardboard box contains the headphones stored in a handy mesh pouch. The cable is stored separately to prevent the headphones from getting scratched. On the cable is also the included adapter, and the box also hides a small warranty card.