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Philips SHP9500 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Review updated Jun 21, 2023 at 09:03 am
Latest change: Writing modified Jun 21, 2023 at 09:03 am
Philips SHP9500 Picture
8.3
Neutral Sound
3.9
Commute/Travel
5.3
Sports/Fitness
4.8
Office
4.8
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
1.7
Phone Calls

The Philips SHP9500 are entry-level audiophile headphones. If you're on a budget but want to try out open-back headphones, these are worth considering. By design, they can create a spacious soundstage to help immerse you in your audio, and their flat sound ensures the accurate reproduction of vocals and instruments. They also have a low impedance of 32 ohms with a sensitivity of 101 dB, so you can get away without using them paired with an amp if you don't already have one.

Our Verdict

8.3 Neutral Sound

The Philips SHP9500 are great for neutral sound. These cans have a very neutral sound profile that reproduces vocals and instruments clearly and accurately. Although they lack low-bass, which is expected from their open-back design, they have a touch of extra warmth and boom to help balance their sound. Their passive soundstage is wide and spacious, creating an immersive audio experience. Their low impedance means you don't need to use them with an amp to get the most out of them.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Great passive soundstage performance.
  • Deliver audio consistently.
Cons
  • Bulky and not very stable fit.
3.9 Commute/Travel

The Philips SHP 9500 aren't designed with commute and travel in mind. They're bulky and don't block out background noise due to their open-back design, so you'll hear all the low rumbles of bus engines and people talking around you. They also leak audio, so even if you listen to audio at low volumes, others around you can hear it. That said, these cans have a very comfortable fit.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • Bulky and not very stable fit.
  • Don't block out background noise at all.
  • Leak audio, by design.
5.3 Sports/Fitness

The Philips SHP9500 aren't suitable for sports and fitness. They're audiophile headphones, and their bulky, wired design can easily shift in position and fall off while you're moving. Their cable can also snag on something and yank them off your head. On the upside, their audio cable is detachable.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • Bulky and not very stable fit.
  • Leak audio, by design.
4.8 Office

The Philips SHP9500 aren't the best choice for office use. They have an open-back design, which doesn't block out background noise, and leaks a lot of audio, even at moderate volumes. Since they're audiophile headphones, they also lack a mic, so you can't take calls or online meetings with them. On the upside, they have a very comfortable fit suitable for long days at your desk.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
Cons
  • Bulky and not very stable fit.
  • Don't block out background noise at all.
  • Leak audio, by design.
4.8 Wireless Gaming

The Philips SHP9500 are wired headphones; you can't use them wirelessly.

6.8 Wired Gaming

The Philips SHP9500 are alright for gaming, so long as you don't need mic support or if you have a standalone mic. While their sound is light on bass, they have a neutral sound that ensures dialogue and instruments are natural and clear. Their open-back design also creates a spacious and immersive soundstage, while their comfortable fit ensures you can game for long periods without feeling fatigued.

Pros
  • Comfortable design.
  • Great passive soundstage performance.
Cons
  • Bulky and not very stable fit.
  • Don't block out background noise at all.
1.7 Phone Calls

The Philips SHP9500 are audiophile headphones and don't come with a mic. While you can still use them with a standalone mic, their open-back design won't block any background noise. The headphones also have high audio leakage by design, so others around you will hear your conversation.

  • 8.3 Neutral Sound
  • 3.9 Commute/Travel
  • 5.3 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.8 Office
  • 4.8 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.8 Wired Gaming
  • 1.7 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Jun 21, 2023: We've updated this review's text to improve its clarity and accuracy.
  2. Updated Jun 29, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  3. Updated Feb 05, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  4. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  5. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  6. Updated Feb 16, 2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  7. Updated Aug 10, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  8. Updated Mar 01, 2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.0.
  9. Updated Sep 15, 2016: Review published.
  10. Updated Sep 13, 2016: Our testers have started testing this product.
  11. Updated Aug 09, 2016: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Philips SHP9500 come in one color variation: 'Black'. If you encounter another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the forums, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Philips SHP9500 are wallet-friendly open-back headphones. If you want to get into the audiophile sphere, these cans are a good start, thanks to their flat and neutral sound. Their design allows audio to leave the ear cups and interact with your environment, creating a more natural, spacious, and immersive soundstage. They lack a thumpy low-bass, so if you're looking for similarly designed open-backs with a bit more bass, you'll want to consider the Philips SHP9600.

Check out our recommendations for the best wired headphones, the best audiophile headphones, and the best open-back headphones.

Philips SHP9600

The Philips SHP9600 are very similar open-back headphones to the Philips SHP9500. The SHP9600 have a sleeker, all-black design and leak less audio. They also have a more extended bass and a little extra boom and punch in the bass range that some users may prefer. Both headphones have very balanced sound profiles that suit a wide range of music genres.

Sennheiser HD 599

The Philips SHP9500 and the Sennheiser HD 599 are very comfortable headphones that are great for neutral listening. The Sennheiser deliver more bass for those who prefer a bit of extra punch, but the Philips sound less boomy. The Philips also have a more immersive soundstage.

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Philips SHP9500 and the Philips Fidelio X2HR are both great open-back headphones for neutral sound listening. The Fidelio X2HR have a sleeker and more premium design, and look and feel more durable. Their bass range is also more accurate, and they come with a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and a slightly longer audio cable. While the X2HR have an auto-adjusting headband, the SHP9500 are a little bit more comfortable overall as they don't clamp the head as tightly. Both perform very similarly, but the SHP9500 likely represent better value overall.

Sennheiser HD 560S

The Sennheiser HD 560S and the Philips SHP9500 have different strengths, and you may prefer either. Both models are great for neutral sound, but the Sennheiser have a more neutral bass response, which some listeners may prefer. On the other hand, the Philips are more comfortable, so they can be less fatiguing to wear for long listening sessions, and their passive soundstage seems more immersive.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Philips SHP9500 are both very good audiophile headphones if you like a neutral sound, but they have different sound profiles. The Beyerdynamic reproduce more bass, but they sound fairly sharp and even piercing to some people. The Philips have a significant bass roll-off, but their treble is much better balanced, and they have a more natural-seeming soundstage. They're also less fatiguing to wear for long listening sessions since they fit less tightly than the Beyerdynamic.

Samson SR850

The Philips SHP9500 are better for neutral sound than the Samson SR850. The Philips are open-back headphones with a much more comfortable and breathable fit. They have a much more accurate treble response and a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer. They're also much more comfortable and breathable. On the other hand, while the Samson may sound overly bright to some, they also deliver more punch and boom in the bass range, thanks to their semi-open design.

Superlux HD 681

The Philips SHP9500 are somewhat better for neutral sound than the Superlux HD 681. The Philips are more comfortable, more breathable open-back headphones. Their passive soundstage is perceived as much more open and spacious as well. On the other hand, the Superlux have a semi-open design. They leak less sound and have a more accurate bass response, so mixes have more thump and rumble.

HiFiMan HE400se

The Philips SHP9500 and the HiFiMan HE400se are great entry-level audiophile headphones with small differences. The Philips are more comfortable and have a more even, although slightly brighter treble range. On the other hand, the HiFiMan are better-built, have fewer audio delivery deviations, and can deliver a bit more low-bass. However, most users can appreciate either model.

AKG K702

The AKG K702 and the Philips SHP9500 are both great audiophile headphones if you like a neutral sound. Their sound profiles are similar overall, but the AKG sound even brighter. They can sound too harsh and piercing for some people, so the Philips are a better option if you prefer a smoother sound without losing much detail. The Philips are also more comfortable for long listening sessions, although the AKG feel more durable.

Sennheiser HD 600

The Sennheiser HD 600 and the Philips SHP9500 are both great audiophile headphones if you like a neutral sound. Their sound profiles are very similar; they both have a very balanced sound, although the Philips can reproduce slightly more bass. They're also more comfortable for long listening sessions thanks to their spacious ear cups, but they don't feel as well-made as the Sennheiser.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

The Philips SHP9500 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x. The Philips are much more comfortable, breathable, open-back headphones. They have a more neutral sound profile and a significantly better passive soundstage performance. On the other hand, the closed-back Philips leak less audio and do a better job of passively isolating you from background sound, although they still don't block out very much noise. They're also much more stable.

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X 2013

The Philips SHP9500 are better audiophile headphones than the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X 2013. The Philips reproduce audio much more accurately, with more bass and a more present and detailed treble. They're also better built and are more comfortable. Their passive soundstage is more immersive, too.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Philips SHP9500 are marginally better headphones for neutral sound than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. The Philips are open-back headphones with a much better passive soundstage performance. They're also much more comfortable and breathable. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic have better build quality, a much more stable fit, and a more neutral bass response. Thanks to their closed-back design, they also isolate you from more ambient noise and leak less audio.

Philips Fidelio X3

The Philips SHP9500 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips Fidelio X3. The SHP9500 are more comfortable and have a more balanced, neutral sound profile, especially in the treble range. However, the Fidelio X3 have a better build quality.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and the Philips SHP9500 are both very good headphones for fans of a neutral sound, but they have different enclosures, which offer different strengths. The closed-back design of the Audio-Technica results in better noise isolation and punchier bass, but makes the headphones sound more closed-off. The open-back design of the Philips gives them a much more natural, spacious soundstage, but they leak a lot of sound and lack quite a bit of bass. The Audio-Technica are better in a noise-sensitive environment, like recording or commuting. However, the Philips provide a more open listening experience if you're in a quiet space.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are somewhat better for neutral sound than the Philips SHP9500. The HiFiMan deliver audio more consistently. They have a better passive soundstage performance and better bass accuracy, so your mixes have more thump and rumble. They also have significantly better build quality, and their passive soundstage is more immersive and wide. On the other hand, the Philips are much more comfortable and very breathable.

Drop + Sennheiser PC38X

The Philips SHP9500 are better for neutral sound, while the Drop + Sennheiser PC38X are better for wired gaming, particularly if you're looking for audiophile headphones with a mic. The Philips are more comfortable, have a more neutral sound profile, and their passive soundstage performance is better. However, the Drop have a boom mic that captures your voice clearly, even in moderately noisy environments. They're also better built.

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee

The Philips SHP9500 and the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are both great audiophile headphones if you like a neutral sound, but they have slightly different sound profiles. The Sennheiser produce more thump and rumble while slightly reducing the presence of sibilants. The Philips sound brighter in comparison, with less bass and more intensity in the treble range. They also have a wider soundstage and are much more comfortable for long listening sessions, but the Sennheiser feel more durable.

Sennheiser HD 598

The Philips SHP9500 offer better value than the Sennheiser HD 598. Both headphones perform almost identically, with only minor differences in their audio quality. Both are very comfortable, but the Philips are slightly heavier and bulkier. For most people, the affordable Philips SHP9500 will be a better option.

Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017

The Philips SHP9500 and the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2017 are two over-ear headphones with different uses. The Philips are more designed for critical listeners as they have consistent sound delivery, a fairly neutral sound profile, and an open-back design to help immerse you in your audio. The Astro, however, are designed for wired gaming, particularly if you prefer gaming with a built-in mic. They offer controls allowing you to tweak your sound experience on the fly, have an excellent boom microphone, and receive full audio and microphone support on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, whether using an analog or wired USB connection.

Beats Solo Pro Wireless

The Beats Solo Pro Wireless and the Philips SHP9500 have different strengths, and you may prefer one over the other. The Beats are wireless on-ears designed for casual use. They're better built, more stable, and thanks to their ANC system, they can block out more ambient noise around you. However, the Philips are audiophile headphones. These over-ears are more comfortable and have a neutral sound profile. Since they have an open-back design, they also have a more immersive passive soundstage.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

The Philips SHP9500 have a utilitarian design that looks good without being too flashy. They come in a matte black color scheme highlighted by the metal frame and Philips branding on the ear cups and headband. They're well-padded and look more premium than other headphones above their price range. The ear cup padding is soft. However, it's not the best and looks a little cheaper than the rest of the build quality. For headphones with a slightly sleeker look, see the Philips SHP9600.

8.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.65 lbs
Clamping Force
0.7 lbs

These over-ears are very comfortable. They have large ear cups that easily fit around most sizes of ears, and their fit isn't too tight or heavy on the head. The headband and ear cups are well-padded, making them great for long listening sessions. However, the padding is made from a slightly rough fabric, which can irritate the skin.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
7.8
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 2.5 ยฐC

These headphones are breathable thanks to their open-back design, which allows heat to disperse from the cups. You won't feel your ears get very warm if you're using them, even during long listening sessions.

5.2
Design
Portability
L 8.8" (22.4 cm)
W 7.1" (18.0 cm)
H 4.0" (10.2 cm)
Volume 250.00 inยณ (4,096.75 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones aren't designed to be portable. They're quite large and don't fold into a more compact format. The ear cups also don't lay flat to save space, so they're bulky if you want to put them into a backpack. However, this won't be much of a problem since they're intended for use at your desk.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Philips SHP9500 are decently well-built. They're mostly made of plastic with a thin metal headband to help reinforce their frame. However, the fabric padding seems to tear easily and will show wear faster than leather padding. The swiveling ear cups also feel like a weak point since they can break under moderate stress. If you want something that looks and feels a bit more premium and durable, check out the similarly-performing Philips Fidelio X2HR or the Philips Fidelio X3.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones have a fairly stable fit. They'll stay in place if you're listening to audio at your desk. However, they're still big and bulky, so if you move your head a lot, the headphones can easily slip off your head. Luckily, the audio cable is detachable, so it'll disconnect from the headphones if you accidentally hook them on something.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Philips SHP9500 headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-4.67 dB
Treble Amount
-1.15 dB

These headphones have a neutral sound profile. They lack a thumpy low-bass, though that's normal for open-back headphones. That said, vocals and instruments are accurately reproduced and sound natural, clear, and detailed. Sibilants like hi-hats are also bright but not piercing. Thanks to their low impedance and somewhat high sensitivity, you can also use them without an amp.

7.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.42 dB

The Philips SHP9500's frequency response consistency is very good. They're prone to slight inconsistencies in treble delivery due to positioning and fit. However, once you take the time to ensure a good fit, you'll get consistent audio delivery each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.89 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
58.23 Hz
Low-Bass
-7.82 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.52 dB
High-Bass
1.96 dB

Their bass accuracy is decent. They lack a lot of low-bass, which is normal from open-back headphones, so mixes are light on thump and rumble. However, they have a touch of extra high-bass to help balance out their sound, adding warmth and boom without overwhelming vocals and instruments.

9.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
0.96 dB
Low-Mid
0.54 dB
Mid-Mid
0.35 dB
High-Mid
0.98 dB

These cans have an outstanding mid accuracy. The flat and even response ensures that vocals and instruments sound natural and clear in mixes. In songs like Pruitt Igoe by Philip Glass, the cascading strings and piano halfway into the track are smooth and accurate.

8.7
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.91 dB
Low-Treble
0.99 dB
Mid-Treble
2.01 dB
High-Treble
-8.56 dB

These over-ears have excellent treble accuracy. The response is slightly overemphasized across the range but still quite flat. As a result, vocals and instruments are detailed, while sibilants are bright but not piercing.

7.7
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.63 dB
Dips
0.73 dB

The peaks and dips performance is good. The low-bass is uneven, so certain frequencies lack thump compared to higher frequencies in this range, which deliver extra thump. A bump across the mid to high-bass adds punch and warmth to mixes while an uneven low-treble makes vocals and instruments alternatingly veiled and detailed. Peaks in the mid-treble make sibilants like cymbals piercing.

8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.67
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.44
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.85

The imaging performance is excellent. Philips' audiophile lineup tends to have solid ergonomics and quality control. However, keep in mind that imaging varies across units. Our unit's L/R drivers are also well-matched in group delay, ensuring tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, which ensures that objects like instruments are properly placed in the stereo image. While there's a peak in the phase response's high-treble, this is very hard to hear with real-life content, especially as we lose sensitivity to this range over time.

8.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.9 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
3.61 dB
PRTF Distance
10.85 dB
Openness
9.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
9.2

The Philips SHP9500's passive soundstage performance is great. Their open-back design makes their soundstage feel open, spacious, and wide. Audio seems to come from speakers placed in the room around you rather than from inside your head.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.098
WHD @ 100
0.196

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is great. Even at higher volumes, these cans can reproduce clean and pure audio.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
1.3
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-3.24 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.13 dB
Mid
1.33 dB
Treble
-10.84 dB

The Philips SHP9500 aren't designed to block out background noise. Their open-back design allows ambient sound to mix with your audio, helping to create a more immersive audio experience. If you're looking for audiophile headphones that block background noise, check out the AKG K371 instead.

0.8
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
66.76 dB

These headphones have an open-back design meant to leak audio so sound can interact with your environment and create a more immersive sound. As a result, people around you can hear your audio, even at moderate volume.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 9.84 ft (3.00 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a detachable 1/8" TRS cable and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter so you can connect them to an amp.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can connect the Philips SHP9500 to your PC via analog, but you can only receive audio since they don't have a mic.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug their analog cable into your PlayStation console's AUX port for audio support. However, they're audiophile headphones and don't have a mic.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

You can plug these headphones into your Xbox controller's AUX port and receive audio. Since they don't have a mic, you can't chat with others.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock