Philips SHP9600 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Sep 25, 2020 at 09:29 am
Philips SHP9600 Picture
5.1
Mixed Usage
7.8
Neutral Sound
3.9
Commute/Travel
5.1
Sports/Fitness
4.8
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.6
Wired Gaming
1.6
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Dynamic

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.

Our Verdict

5.1 Mixed Usage

The Philips SHP9600 are disappointing for mixed usage. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a large, open soundstage that helps immerse you in your favorite music. Unfortunately, their open-back design also lets in a lot of ambient noise, which may be distracting if you're working in a noisy office or commuting on public transport. These bulky over-ears aren't stable enough to wear during your workouts, either. That said, their comfortable fit is ideal for listening at home.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Balanced sound profile.
  • Open and spacious soundstage.
Cons
  • Not stable enough for exercise.
  • No microphone.
  • No customization features.
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
7.8 Neutral Sound

The Philips SHP9600 are 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.

Pros
  • Balanced sound profile.
  • Open and spacious soundstage.
Cons
  • Somewhat inconsistent treble delivery.
3.9 Commute/Travel

The Philips SHP9600 are bad for commute and travel. They can be comfortably worn for long listening sessions, but their bulky design isn't very portable. Due to their open-back design, they also don't block out ambient noise, so you can still hear bus and plane engines while wearing these headphones.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Not very portable.
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
5.1 Sports/Fitness

The Philips SHP9600 are inadequate for sports and fitness. These bulky over-ears aren't designed to be used while working out. While they're stable enough for casual listening sessions, they tend to fall off your ears during moderately intense movements. That said, these headphones are very comfortable.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Not stable enough for exercise.
  • Not very portable.
4.8 Office

The Philips SHP9600 are poor for office use. While they're very comfortable, these open-back headphones are designed to interact with your environment to create a more open and spacious soundstage, so they don't isolate against a lot of background noises. They also leak a bit of noise, which may be distracting for your coworkers.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation performance.
  • Leaks a lot of noise.
4.5 Wireless Gaming

The Philips SHP9600 are wired-only headphones, so they aren't suitable for wireless gaming.

6.6 Wired Gaming

The Philips SHP9600 are adequate for wired gaming. These comfortable headphones can be worn for long gaming sessions without a lot of fatigue, and they have negligible latency thanks to their wired connection. They pack a little extra boom in the bass range, too, so you feel explosions and other action-packed scenes in your favorite games. That said, they don't have a microphone, so you can't communicate with your teammates while gaming.

Pros
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Audio-compatible with Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
Cons
  • No microphone.
  • No customization features.
1.6 Phone Calls

The Philips SHP9600 don't have a microphone, so they aren't suitable for making phone calls.

  • 5.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 3.9 Commute/Travel
  • 5.1 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.8 Office
  • 4.5 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.6 Wired Gaming
  • 1.6 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Philips SHP9600 have 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.

8.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.66 lbs
Clamping Force
1.0 lbs

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.

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

These headphones don't have a control scheme.

5.4
Design
Portability
L 7.9 "
W 6.8 "
H 3.8 "
Volume 204 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The Philips SHP9600 aren'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.

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

These headphones don't come with a protective case or pouch.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

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 a better build quality, see the Philips Fidelio X3.

6.0
Design
Stability

These headphones are acceptably stable. They aren't meant to be worn during exercise. While they're stable enough to stay on your head during regular listening sessions, they can still fall off your ears with low-intensity movements. High-intensity movements can easily move them off your head.

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

  • Phillips SHP9600 headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter
  • 1/8" TRS audio cable

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.97 db
Treble Amount
-2.48 db

The Philips SHP9600 have a balanced, slightly warm sound profile. Like most open-back headphones, they struggle to reproduce low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. They pack an extra boom and punch to help compensate, however. Overall, they're suitable for listening to a range of music genres.

8.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.4 dB

These headphones have an impressive frequency response consistency. They sound the same across different listeners and reseats each time you use them, although there may be some inconsistencies in the treble range depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.88 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
45.55 Hz
Low-Bass
-5.72 dB
Mid-Bass
2.06 dB
High-Bass
4.42 dB

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.

8.0
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.71 dB
Low-Mid
2.14 dB
Mid-Mid
0.1 dB
High-Mid
-3.63 dB

These headphones have 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.

8.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.46 dB
Low-Treble
-2.07 dB
Mid-Treble
0.24 dB
High-Treble
-7.39 dB

These headphones have 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.

7.5
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.7 db
Dips
1.11 db

These headphones have 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.

8.5
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.23
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.8
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.65
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.31

These headphones have 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.

7.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.78 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
7.12 dB
PRTF Distance
9.97 dB
Openness
9.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.4

The Philips SHP9600 have a good passive soundstage thanks to their open-back design. They interact with the pinna, or the outer ear, to create a soundstage that's large, open, and spacious. However, sound still seems like it's coming from inside your head, rather than in front of you.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App

These headphones don't have a virtual soundstage feature.

8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.220
WHD @ 100
0.093

The Philips SHP9600 have a great weighted harmonic distortion performance. The entire frequency range falls within good limits, resulting in a clean and pure audio reproduction.

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 we used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid with these test settings.

Isolation
1.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-4.81 dB
Bass
0.22 dB
Mid
0.22 dB
Treble
-14.64 dB

The Philips SHP9600 have 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.

2.0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
61.82 dB

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.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

These headphones don't have a microphone.

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

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

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

These headphones don't have any active components, so they don't require a battery.

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

These headphones don't come with a companion app.

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

These headphones aren't Bluetooth-compatible, and can only be used with a wired connection.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones aren't compatible with non-Bluetooth wireless, and they can only be used with a wired connection.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 10 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Philips SHP9600 come with a 1/8" TRS audio cable. While they don't have a microphone, they can provide audio when connected to your PC, PS4, or Xbox One.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

You can connect these headphones to your PC or PS4 controller using an analog connection, but they don't have a microphone, so you can only hear audio.

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

You can connect these headphones to your Xbox One controller, but they don't have a microphone, so you can only hear audio.

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

The Philips SHP9600 don't have a base or a dock.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Philips SHP9600 perform similarly to the Philips SHP9500 but have a more extended bass. They have an open and spacious soundstage thanks to their open-back design, and their balanced sound profile suits lots of different music genres. However, these headphones aren't very versatile, and they don't come with a lot of features or customization options. If you're looking for other headphones, check out our recommendations for the best open-back headphones, the best headphones for audiophiles, and the best headphones for music.

Philips SHP9500

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

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The Philips Fidelio X2HR are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips SHP9600. While both pairs of open-back headphones have balanced sound profiles, the Fidelio X2HR have a more neutral sound. They're also better-built. That said, some listeners may prefer the extra boom and punch in the SHP9600's bass range. The SHP9600 also have a more comfortable fit.

Sennheiser HD 599

The Sennheiser HD 599 are somewhat better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips SHP9600. The Sennheiser have a more stable fit, and a more neutral, balanced sound profile. That said, the Philips still have a very neutral sound profile and similar overall performance.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO and the Philips SHP9600 are both open-back headphones that are good for neutral sound, and depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other. Both have balanced sound profiles with a bit of extra punch in the bass range, but the Beyerdynamic's bass is more extended. The Beyerdynamic are also better-built and have a more stable fit. That said, the Philips are more comfortable, and their audio delivery is more consistent.

Philips Fidelio X3

The Philips Fidelio X3 and the Philips SHP9600 have very similar performances overall, and they're both very good for neutral sound. The SHP9600 are more comfortable, and they have a more balanced treble accuracy. However, the Fidelio X3 are better-built, and they have more accurate bass and mid ranges. Depending on your listening habits, you may prefer one over the other.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are better headphones for neutral sound than the Philips SHP9600. Both pairs of open-back headphones have a balanced sound profile, but the Sennheiser have a more neutral sound profile. They're also better-built, and they have a more stable fit. That said, some listeners may prefer the Philips' more extended bass, and the extra boom and punch in their bass range. The Philips also have a more comfortable fit.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and the Philips SHP9600 are both open-back headphones that are good for neutral sound and pack an extra punch in the bass range. The Beyerdynamic are better-built, more stable, and they come with a portable carrying case. Their bass also extends lower than the Philips' bass. That said, the Philips have a more comfortable fit, which some listeners may prefer.

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