Philips SHP9500 Review

Written By Pete Anthony 
Last Updated On:

Specs at a glance:

  • price point: ~$100
  • driver type: dynamic
  • weight: 10 oz
  • response range: 12-35k Hz
  • impedance: 32 Ohm
  • sensitivity: 101 dB (W/m)
  • wireless: no
  • warranty: 2 years

out of the box

Thick cardboard inner box with a firm packing piece. Packaging is good enough for safe shipping, though not much of an unboxing experience. The flimsy bag doesn’t close and seems only useful for preventing dust and such. I think it came with a small pamphlet but I got these about a year ago and think mine’s long gone. Any pertinent information can be found on their website.

Included with the headphones:

  • bag
  • double male wire
  • 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter plug

headphone front and back

Fit and comfort:

These might be the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. They easily fit over the ear and the pads have a great consistent feel, as does the exterior cloth-like material that contains them. The headphones can pivot about 20 degrees both horizontally and vertically, so no one should have trouble getting a decent fit.

The left headphone has a 3.5mm jack so the cable is replaceable.


The headband has the same great padding and cloth covering. It suspends independently against the band which has yet another piece of soft rubber. Again, probably the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn.

adjustable band

The band clicks with each adjustment line, and the visible numbers make matching each side easy. I did find that the headphones would loosen a bit until they “settled” into a relaxed fit, which is fine but kind of annoying.


The included cable is nice and sturdy and quite long, no noticeable microphonics. The joints and plugs are solid as well, but I’ve experienced some connection loss on the devices I tried. Nothing a quick wiggle couldn’t fix though. You can always replace the cable if you want to.

Check them out more on Amazon

Sound And Performance

If you’ve never used open back headphones before these might sound strange at first, kind of like the sound is being pulled out. The idea of an open back headphone is that it actually broadcasts sound out the back as well, which can make the sound feel more open – kind of closer to actual speakers.

General impression:

I’ve put in at least 50 hours of listening time, and these sound very good for their price-point, no obvious flaws. The sound is nice and soft while retaining good clarity.

Sound signature/response curve:

The mids are definitely a bit recessed, mid-high vocal range feels a bit removed. Bass extension is great

Any specific issues:

I can’t really think of any.

Sound staging:

This is one thing that open backs can specifically help. That said, I don’t think the SHP9500s offer much for sound staging. Everything sounds kind of centralized and on top of one ather. Good sound staging is generally expensive.


The bass is very solid, strong while maintaining clarity and tone. It can feel a bit overpowering at times, but I think that’s due to the recessed mids.

Compared to monitors:

These sound nothing like monitors nor are they designed to. The clear goal is comfort and ease, not critical listening. That said, A/B testing with monitors didn’t reveal any shortcomings, the sound style is just different.


The 101 sensitivity rating is high, but, I still found these needed more volume to sound “right.” 32 Ohm resistance is also a bit on the high side. It’s possible that some mobile devices will have trouble powering these, but these aren’t intended for use on the go to begin with.


None really, but that goes against the design goal of an open back. These are meant for home use in a suitably quiet environment. Don’t use these in public – you’ll hear all the external noise and people around you will be able to hear your music.


Two years, pretty standard at this price-point.

Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition

Good open back headphones are generally expensive, yet the SPH9500 succeeds as such for a very competitive price. I’ve seen these get discounted well under $100, at which they’re unquestionably worth the money. And they are seriously comfortable. These don’t have isolation and are intended for at-home use. If you want something for easy listening in the house, the SPH9500 is an excellent choice.

Get the SPH9500 on Amazon