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.