Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware
The Philips SHP9600 may have been released around the same time as the Fidelio X3, but they are each targeted at different audiences, especially when you consider the price. Another difference you can see is the way the SHP9600 looks compared to the Fidelio X3. While the Fidelio X3 had a pretty nice choice of materials and genuine leather, the SHP9600 is much more down to earth in its construction. As such, we have a mostly black body. The bronze-gold ring around each ear adds a nice accent point from the rest of the black exterior. Philips branding can be found on the top headband. If you compare this to the Philips SHP9500, the only discernable difference is the removal of the large L and R indicators on the outside. In its place here is a large metal grille. You can clearly see the drivers from this side however, which is expected for an open-back design. Overall, the design is nothing spectacular, but it functionally does the job.
When it comes to construction quality, the Philips SHP9600 is made out of mostly plastic. This goes from the plastic band at the top to the plastic structure of the ears. The internal headband structure is reinforced with steel to make this whole unit stronger. Once again, there is nothing really spectacular about the build quality. The plastic creaks a bit when moving about, especially when it swivels on its earcups. While these are not meant to be portable, as already exhibited by its included long cable, I think they still could have refined the overall construction. Otherwise, the traditional design means nothing on this headset is really foldable. In terms of dimensions, the Philips SHP9600 measures in at 9.7cm in depth, 21.5cm in height, and 20.3cm in width when it is fully extended.
One thing I really like about over-the-ear headphones is the fact they sit around the ears and thus do not exhibit as much pressure on the ears. The Philips SHP9600 is one of the larger headphones I have worn in terms of how much it covers my ears. Those with glasses may feel a bit of discomfort on the arms of your glasses, but this is pretty typical. Moving on, the padding on the SHP9600 is good with a sufficiently thick foam here. My ears do not protrude out too much, so I did not notice my ears touching the inner portion of the headset, but I have read other users complaining about this issue. Thankfully, the inner portion is also lined with fabric to alleviate this potential source of discomfort.
Inside these earcups, we have a 50mm neodymium acoustic drivers. These drivers have a frequency response of 12Hz to 35kHz, which are quite beyond the standard human hearing range of 20Hz to 20kHz. The rated sensitivity is 101dB @ 1mW with an impedance of 32 ohms. Unlike some traditional open-back headphones, the SHP9600 are easy to drive with portable devices like your smartphone or tablet. I would still recommend an amplified source to get the most out of these headphones. The maximum input power is 200mW. The connection to the headphones exists on the left earcup with a single 3.5mm audio jack to plug into. Thus, you can use either end of the provided cable to plug into your headphones.
Moving to the top, you can see the headband on the Philips SHP9600. Unlike the Philips Fidelio X3, which used a suspended headband design, we have a more traditional headband here with a large fabric foam between the top headband. This headband is technically suspended below, but we still have a more typical design because we also have extending ears on both sides. The extending arms are notched and visually have printed lines to show how much you have extended each ear. I appreciate this because not only does it provide assurance that I have extended each arm out for the same length, but it also helps me remember how much to extend my headphones.
In terms of comfort, I think the Philips SHP9600 are quite pleasant to wear. The measured weight for the headphones is around 300g without the cable attached, which makes the headset feel light. In addition, the overall clamping pressure of the headphones is on the lighter side. It still sufficiently holds the whole unit to my head with stability, but I can also shake my head a bit to get the headphones to fall off. In the end, the low mass, plushy padding, and lighter clamping force means I can wear the SHP9600 for hours without needing to remove them.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis