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

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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?, 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, Reading 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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