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Philips SHE8000 review

Easy-going, decently detailed sound, let down by fat bass and notched-out midrange Tested at £25

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

They might not be for you if drama is what you seek, but if you like a rounded, easygoing sound, these are worth a listen


  • +

    Mellow presentation works well during long sessions

  • +

    decent stereo imaging

  • +

    fair detail


  • -

    Slightly flabby bass

  • -

    recessed midrange

Stylish and understated with their dark-red enclosures and silicone ear-tips, these Philips SHE8000 ’buds are obviously gunning for the Sennheiser/SoundMagic market. In looks, in fact, they’re one of the nicest looking pairs we've seen. But, of course, as the Nixon The Wires prove, a pretty face only gets you so far…

Like the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS55s, the SHE8000s are hung from the ‘superior bass’ peg. In our experience this can mean one of two things: genuinely superior bass, or woolly bombast. And in this case it’s unfortunately more of the latter.

The low frequency performance isn’t taken to extreme levels, thankfully, but we’d like a little more dexterity when it comes to bass drums and rhythm.

On its own, that might not be too much of a problem – but matters aren’t helped by the somewhat recessed midrange and an over-controlled quality to high frequencies.Imagine an hour-glass, in fact, and that’s what the SHE8000s’ sound looks like.

Mellow sound appeals
There is a flip-side to all that restraint, though, when it comes to ease of listening. There’s a mellowness to the Philips’ sound that’s quite appealing, especially when listening over long periods, and for all the slightly tubby bass there’s still decent (if not world-beating) separation between instruments.

Likewise, stereo imaging is reasonably precise. We find ourselves caught between two stools with these Philips earbuds.

On the one hand, they offer an easy-going, decently detailed sound – but we just can’t get past that slightly fat-bottomed bass and notched-out midrange.

If you like a mellow, rounded tone to your headphones, though, these are worth a whirl.

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What Hi-Fi?
What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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