Philips SHP805 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Philips Model SHP805
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 240 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Plastic Isolation (dB) 0
Impedance (ohms) 32 Cable Length (cm) 300
Frequency Response (Hz) 10 - 28000  
Connector 3.5mm with 6.5mm adaptor Street Price US$30
Buy from  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 5.0 Bass Impact 7.0
Bass Quality 5.0 Mids Quality 4.0
Highs Quality 4.0 Soundstage 6.0
Detail 5.0 Portability 1.0
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 6.0
Durability 4.0 Improvement With Amplification 5.0
Value for Money 9.0    
Overall Score 4.8 Total Reviews 1

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member sgrossklass on 06 Jan 06  14:18
Individual review
Bass Extension5
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality5
Mids Quality4
Highs Quality4

Please note that the rankings I gave are for the *un-EQ'd* cans. They were run off an Onkyo TX-SV636 A/V receiver's headphone out (4556 based, R_out ~= 150 ohm), the source was a Terratec Aureon 5.1 Sky sound card (Winamp/ASIO+ASIO4All) playing mostly FLAC'd (or MP3 320k) 16/44 radio recordings off a Grundig T7500 FM tuner taken via an identical card, with some FLAC or high-bitrate MP3 VBR CD contents thrown in. I'm also not too good in assigning numbers to perceived qualities, so take these with the proverbial grain of salt. (Same applies to the weight given, which is not specified by Philips - an oversight that made it impossible for me to add the SHP895 here - and had to be measured with, err, high-precision kitchen equipment. On a second measurement, this came out as approx. 280 g cable included.) I've owned these for more than a month now, with plenty of listening and some high-level break-in thrown in (they weren't entirely new but hadn't been used a lot). The main reference cans are my trusty HD590s here, along with vintage HD420SLs and misc. other not so high-end cans (K26P and DT231 mostly).

The Philips SHP805 (also called SBC-HP805 with the old nomenclature, thankfully shortened now) has been out since about May 2005, superseding the SBC-HP800. Here in Germany, you can buy these cans for 25 EUR, or 30 EUR tops, which is not a lot for fullsized circumaural open headphones. That's about PX100 pricing, rather a bit less. They do not seem to be available on the US market, but you can buy them in Southeast Asia, Saudi Arabia or India, for example.

Some more data:
Sensitivity: 104 dB (unclear whether dB/1mW or dB/1Vrms, but roughly comparable to HD497's in practice, so probably dB/1mW)
Drivers: 40 mm diaphragm dia., CCAW voice coil, ferrite magnets

So, how's the build? Unsurprisingly, these are not as sturdy as higher-priced models, and I'd treat them with relative care (no portable use for sure, their size and openness would discourage this anyway), but given the price (and some of Philips' historic "achievements") it could have been far worse. All plastic parts fit together well, there are no annoying creaking noises (only the pads can slide around a tiny bit), they're not very microphonic either. Only the headband adjustment may give some alarming snapping noises when twisting the earcups against each other. My SHP805 has already accidentally landed on the carpet from ~1 m height without any damage, so at least they don't break immediately. It may be worth mentioning that the 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm adapter belonging to these cans is of the screw-on variety, which is far from standard in this price range.
As far as the looks are concerned, I like them, quite unlike the HD497's. Perhaps it's the contrast between silver and black that makes the difference; the styling is rather appealing in general. The SHP805 certainly looks pricier than it is.

Comfort is average for open cans and good given the price range; I can wear these for hours on end without them really bothering me. Little can be said against the softly padded headband (pleather covered), while the pressure from the fabric covered foam earpads never quite disappears, partly because the pads tend to touch your ears, particularly when the headband size isn't adjusted perfectly - so be sure to do that. The size adjustment slides easily when the phones are not on the head but won't move by itself when they're used, which is fairly neat. I get warm ears after a while, so it seems the earpad materials don't breathe too well - but then, you can't have everything at that kind of price. (Which, btw, includes user-replaceable earpads or a detachable cable.) Thankfully the weight is low, not quite HD590 low subjectively but certainly in the same ballpark. (The '590 measures ~240 g with cable vs. ~280 g for these.) If you take a peek under the earpads you get an idea of where this comes from, not more material than necessary was used. While we're in that area - you didn't expect angled drivers in this price class, did you?

On to the sound: Without EQ, the SHP805 already performs very well for its price range, with close to no detectable hollowness, decidedly punchy bass with rather good extension (with an assortment of test tones, I noticed that bass response only takes a dive under 40 Hz, where it rolls off far more quickly compared to the HD590), mids that are somewhat on the thin and aggressive side and powerful highs (up to about 14...15 kHz or so where they drop off) - in other words, a hardware version of the classic V-shaped "rock" EQ. That actually doesn't sound half bad with some music, like classical, and was probably chosen to impress the general public with not so great associated equipment (and in fact, it works better when running the Philips out of various portable radios), but if you're used to higher-end cans with a much flatter EQ, it's definitely overdone. Which is kind of a pity, since with a good software (or standalone digital) EQ these cans show what they really can do. Then they grow far beyond their price range, getting close to ~$100 cans sonically. Yes, they're still not quite as dead between the notes as HD590s (how should they, with thin-foam-covered plastic grilles, some bare plastic partly behind the driver, and most importantly, some bare plastic inside the earcups where your ears go?) and consequently somewhat more closed-in sounding, but thanks to the absence of (obvious hearing-detectable) narrow peaks or dips they're very EQ friendly so you can achieve a fairly flat response (that I actually prefer to the HD590's which features somewhat peaky lower treble that is not so easy to EQ out). Then the smoothness of these cans gets more obvious as well, something else not expected at this price level. At time of writing, I'm using this setting for the Shibatch Super Equalizer Winamp plugin which is 1/2-octave graphic (.eq file, all one line, can be converted to a Foobar2000 EQ setting rather easily; future changed settings and modifications, if any, will be posted on Head-Fi, probably thread #145905):

0 2 4 5 4 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 3 4 4 5 5 0 0 2 4 5 4 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 3 4 4 5 5 0

With an EQ like that, quality throughout the spectrum improves noticeably - bass is more even (a solid 6.0 in quality and 5.0 in impact), the previously tilted mids become much nicer (6.0), and the highs less overbearing (again, 6.0; they aren't harsh to begin with, after break-in that is). Then these cans show what good (middle-class) headphones have to offer, and perform well with a variety of musical genres, which generally isn't a bad sign. If they made a version of these with this kind of frequency response - I wonder how it'd measure up, it's 100% ear-tuned so far - it would probably be selling like hotcakes.

Soundstaging is rather good, certainly aided by the angled drivers - the center is more zoomed in/spread out than on the HD590 (which gives a rather speaker-like presentation in general and does well in terms of soundstage coherence), and the sides "wrap around" to the ears a bit earlier, but overall nothing to complain about, certainly not in this price class.

For some more tweaking, feel free to experiment with damping material. Applying some thin strips of soft foam (cut from a sheet once belonging to a sound card packaging) to the spots with the visible bare plastic (squeeze them under the earpad) or even along the rim of the whole earpad seems to help with the slight hollowness observed, but required changing the EQ a bit (2 dB boost for the 5 kHz band).

To sum it up, these are very good budget fullsized cans if you only have a standalone audio setup and excellent if you're into computers-as-source with at least a half-decent sound card. For 25 EUR, you can do a *lot* worse.

Philips SHP805