Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Philips SHP9600 Review – A Waste Of Time And Money?

Philips SHP9600 Review – A Waste Of Time And Money?

Is Philips' SHP9600 An Actual Upgrade From The Venerable 9500?

by Stuart Charles Black
>AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an eBay affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should buy a 9600, I understand your dilemma.

Investing in one could end up being a complete waste of time and money, and we want to avoid that… at all costs.

In this review, we’ll take one last look at Philips’ attempt to improve on the 9500, and help you make a sound decision.

Should you purchase something completely different from both of these? Let’s dive in and find out.

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping you make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear), all over again, so…

At A Glance

Preview
PHILIPS Over Ear Open Back Stereo Headphones Wired with Detachable Audio Jack, Studio Monitor Headphones for Recording Podcast DJ Music Piano Guitar (SHP9600)
Title
PHILIPS Over Ear Open Back Stereo Headphones Wired with Detachable Audio Jack, Studio Monitor Headphones for Recording Podcast DJ Music Piano Guitar (SHP9600)
Color
Black, Silver, Gold
Weight
10.1 Oz. (298g)
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Metal, Cloth
Connector
3.5mm detachable
Headband Style
Traditional
Impedance
32 Ohm
Sensitivity
102dB/mW
Frequency Response
6Hz - 35kHz
Primary Use
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$69.99
Details
Preview
PHILIPS Over Ear Open Back Stereo Headphones Wired with Detachable Audio Jack, Studio Monitor Headphones for Recording Podcast DJ Music Piano Guitar (SHP9600)
Title
PHILIPS Over Ear Open Back Stereo Headphones Wired with Detachable Audio Jack, Studio Monitor Headphones for Recording Podcast DJ Music Piano Guitar (SHP9600)
Color
Black, Silver, Gold
Weight
10.1 Oz. (298g)
Fit
Circumaural (Around-Ear)
Type
Open Back, Dynamic
Materials
Plastic, Metal, Cloth
Connector
3.5mm detachable
Headband Style
Traditional
Impedance
32 Ohm
Sensitivity
102dB/mW
Frequency Response
6Hz - 35kHz
Primary Use
Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
Cable Length
9.8 ft.
Cable Detachable?
Folding?
Amplification Required?
Prime
Amazon Prime
Price
$69.99
Details

In The Box

Philips SHP9600 Headphones

Straight Cable

1/4″ Snap-on adapter

Limited 1-Year Warranty

Philips SHP9600 Review

Specs/Graph

Thank You RTINGS for the graph!

  • Philips SHP9600 ReviewPrice: Check Amazon! | Check B&H!
  • Type: Open Back, Dynamic
  • Fit: Circumaural
  • Frequency Response: 6Hz – 35kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 102dB/mW
  • Amp Required: No
  • Primary Use(s): Rock, Hip-Hop, EDM, Indie, Pop
  • Materials: Plastic, Metal, Cloth
  • Weight: 10.1 Oz. (298g)
  • Color: Black, Silver, Gold

I didn’t have an official review of the 9600 but wanted to clarify my thoughts about this headphone.

A few things came to mind as I began to think back to when I first bought it in August of 2020.

More on that in a bit.

Let’s start with build and comfort.

Build & Comfort

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

This is an incredibly well-built headphone regardless of its price.

I’ve dropped it quite a bit and it doesn’t seem to really care. In fact, it asks for more like Mick Foley.

It’s a bulky headphone to be sure, but the plastic feels robust and solid.

The cups are oval-shaped and rather shallow, but your ears will fit inside just fine and the headband doesn’t dig into the top of your head.

The headband adjustment also contains metal which helps with the durability factor quite a bit.

When you hold them in your hands, it feels more like a $200-300 product rather than something in the $100 range.

Like the 9500, they sit rather loosely but for whatever reason I found them to clamp a tad harder.

This may just be a matter of them not being as broken in as my 9500, but I feel as though they don’t slide around nearly as much.

The 9600 also improved on the click mechanism in that it locks into place much better this time around.

The 9500’s were a bit too loose and it was difficult to get it to stay on one number.

I included both in my most comfortable headphones of all-time list and once you wear them for a while you’ll understand why.

I’ve almost never had to take either off of my head for any reason at all, and quite literally can wear them for hours on end – even when I’m not listening to music!

In other words, you don’t really feel them because they clamp just right and don’t press into the sides of your head all that much.

It’s as close to “air” as headphones can get I think.

The padding is a cloth material with memory foam on the inside, and while they can wear down over time, I feel like it happens much more gradually than with something like velour.

Sound

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

Bold indicates favorites.

This is where things get really interesting, as the 9600 does present a stark contrast to the flatter, more neutral, airier 9500.

While the bass still rolls off quite a bit in the sub-regions, there’s now a gradual rise in the mid-bass by about 5dB, but it’s not a bump.

It’s more of a shallow incline moving into the low mid-range.

I think it works pretty well for Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, Indie Pop, etc. which is what you’ll primarily be using it for should you decide to take the plunge.

Mid-Range

You may notice a bit of a dip in the presence regions, but it doesn’t feel scooped out when you’re listening to it.

It can sound a bit pushed back at times if you’re comparing it to something more forward, but by and large, you’ll probably never feel like there’s something really off.

Vocals actually still sound surprisingly present and accounted for, but the headphones overall are definitely not entirely “neutral.”

Philips gave them a bit of a fun, slightly warm-ish character.

They actually do very well for the volatile nature of Classical music which I found interesting.

The other difference is that the treble doesn’t have that bite that the 9500 had. Because of this, you can listen to it for longer periods of time without fatigue.

Even so, I still don’t find myself ever reaching for a 9600 to listen to, well, anything.

It’s in large part why I decided to sit down and write this.

Sure, I have over 10 headphones here, but since I bought the 9600 on Amazon for around $130 back in Sept. of 2020, I’ve used it maybe twice outside of the purposes of the 9500 vs. 9600 comparison and re-visiting it now.

It’s very telling when you buy a headphone and it ends up collecting dust.

Does that mean the 9600 doesn’t sound good?

Not at all. But if I hadn’t bought one for the purpose of comparing it to the 9500, I would feel like I wasted my time and money.

Why?

BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!

Lol, just kidding.

Because there are better options out there.

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600

Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600Philips SHP9500 vs. 9600I would never recommend a 9600 to people when they could just get a 9500 and then upgrade to a K702 later on down the road.

You’ve also got the 58X and HD560S, so really, there’s no place for the 9600 in my opinion.

It’s even more damning when you consider that it’s roughly half the price that it initially sold for – a sure sign that it wasn’t worth that much.

Here’s what I paid in 2020:

Not really worth that much and I’m sure most would agree at this point.

It’s actually going for around $60 right now (subject to change of course) and I believe that’s pretty much around the right ballpark.

So if you are still interested in this one at the end of the article, $60 is a good price though I still wouldn’t personally recommend it.

I think this was Philips’ answer to the 58X, but that headphone is much better (read: better tuned) even despite its Soundstage not being quite as good as either the 9500 or 9600 – both of which are rather excellent.

Gaming

Even despite all of this, the 9600 can work pretty well in a gaming setup and still retains some value with its 3.5mm jack.

As with the 9500, you can easily attach a Boom Pro here and be off to the races in no time. Just get a Creative SoundBlasterX G6.

Still, I’d rather you just buy a 9500 instead as you’ll likely end up listening to it way more – as in, indefinitely. I have had my 9500 since around 2017.

Amplification

Sabaj DA2 Amp/DAC Review

Sabaj DA2 Amp/DAC Review

Because they have a low impedance and high Sensitivity, you technically won’t need an amp for either.

Still, you may opt for something like a FiiO K3, or BTR5 to get your feet wet as all pair very well with either headphone.

DON’T OVERTHINK IT!!

My #1 choice for gamers and general music homies is definitely the G6.

Whether or not you’ll actually need a DAC largely depends on how good or bad your phone is, and how good or bad the internal soundcard on your laptop/PC is.

Some people with top-of-the-line gear likely won’t notice a difference after purchasing an Amp/DAC, and others may.

For instance, if you have an Apple computer or phone, you may not benefit at all from separate amplification.

Video Discussion

Don’t forget to leave me some love and subscribe! <3

Final Word

My top picks for gaming and music listening would be the 9500, and then the K702.

If you’d like to find out exactly what the K702 can do for you and why it’s so valuable for gaming as well as general music listening, check out this article:

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Philips SHP9600 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Would you invest in a 9600? What is your experience with these headphones? Are you interested in a 9500? How about my beloved K702? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Photo Gallery

 

Media

More soon!

Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes (2012)

Tasmin Little – The Lark Ascending (2013)

Papa M – Highway Songs (2016)

Papa M – Whatever, Mortal (2001)

Tortoise – TNT (1998)

Papa M – Live From A Shark Cage (1999)

Papa M – Papa M Sings (2001)

Papa M – A Broke Moon Rises (2018)

Papa M – Hole Of Burning Alms (2004)

Oceansize – Frames (2007)

Meitei – Komachi (2019)

Slint – Spiderland (1991)

Bill Evans – Everybody Digs Bill Evans (1959)

Philips SHP9600

4.6

Build

5.0/5

Comfort

5.0/5

Soundstage

4.6/5

Tonality

4.3/5

Tuning

4.1/5

Pros

  • Great Soundstage for gaming
  • Built well and incredibly comfortable.
  • Good for Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B, etc.

Cons

  • Tonality could be better.
  • Tuning is decent, but mid-range may bother some.
  • Value isn't that great as there are better options.

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like

8 comments

TOAST March 20, 2023 - 9:53 pm

These are currently cheaper than the SHP9500 in many territories; I bought my Dad’s set for just over £60 new, back in late 2021. I mentioned them being really good for rock music in one of the other comment sections on here.
I prefer his SHP9600 to my HD 599 SE, even if the latter wins in terms of comfort. The Philips are more lively and engaging, with a comparable soundstage. I reckon that the SHP9600 is a great entry point for newcomers to open-back headphones. The Sennheiser HD 559 is more expensive at the moment in the UK, and those sound really murky and dull.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black March 22, 2023 - 2:50 pm

Hey Sir-Toasts-Alot!

Cool to see you on another post.

What are your thoughts on the 9600’s mids? And why was your dad selling them?

Agree on the 559 and glad to see someone else pointing that out. Those earlier models are indeed murky. Even the 598, to an extent, suffers from this problem.

Dull is also a great way to classify the 500 series overall though there are obvious stong points to them. I just don’t see myself ever owning a 500 model again. I previously owned the 558 and that was pretty much enough for me.

Reply
TOAST March 22, 2023 - 11:55 pm

Ah, I should’ve clarified that I bought the SHP9600 as a Christmas present for him. I’m just using them more often than he does, when I visit the parental household.
The mids are fine to me, maybe not quite as prominent when compared to the Fidelio X2 or X3, but those are far more dynamic sounding headphones. I wouldn’t say that it’s got a scooped sound signature, but it’s definitely in a warmish region.
Nowadays the HD 599 SE is getting used for podcasts and long single player gaming sessions mostly. I barely ever reach for them when I decide to consume music.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black March 25, 2023 - 9:43 pm

The mids are scooped a bit, but it doesn’t make them sound bad or anything. So your “not as prominent” is def on target there. Saem about 500 headphones. I try, and then I’m like.. well, back to the shelf you go. xD

Reply
TOAST March 26, 2023 - 4:31 pm

I don’t listen to certain genres of music that would probably be a better test of mid delivery. The SHP9600 has a more relaxed sound signature when compared to my X3, so it is not best suited for faster and more modern metal.

The comfort level on the 599 is near unbeatable, that saves it from getting sold. I haven’t had the chance to try out the 560S, since it’s been hyped as a “giant killer”, but a lot of folks have stated that it’s a downgrade in terms of comfort when compared to the 579/598/598SR/599.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 3, 2023 - 12:59 am

The 560S is just as comfortable and based on literally the exact same design as the 598 and 599 lol. Let me just sigh real quick at those people. *rolls eyes*

I’ve actually been using the Monitor 80 for mixing and it’s also super good for general listening.

Reply
TOAST April 3, 2023 - 8:56 pm

There are probably minor differences with earpads, but the headband design is a bit different, to my eyes at least. The 560S’s band looks closer to the ones on the 559 and adjacent gaming headsets (Game One, PC37/38X), with some sort of divot in the middle. The others don’t protrude as much, and are made out of some type of pleather.
At the end of the day, it’s just personal preference. My comfort ranking for my collection (and my Dad’s) is:
HD 599 > X3 > MH752 > AH-D340 > AH-D600 > HP151 > X2 > H6PRO > SHP9600 > PC 350 SE > K371 > K702 > SR80

Stuart Charles Black April 10, 2023 - 3:28 pm

Ah. I guess out of what I use most, the rank would be the following: HD600 > Monitor80 > K702 > 9500 > Arya > DEVA > 400se > K240M.

With the exception of the horrible K240M (comfort-wise), the rest are all actually super close and could realistically be swapped around. In other words, they are all incredibly comfortable.

Leave a Comment