Choosing a pair of over-ear headphones means deciding which features are most important for you. For example, is sound isolation as essential as comfort? And which is more essential—accurate sound reproduction or enhanced bass? Let’s look at these three pairs to see which one will be the best for you.
Superlux HD668B Dynamic Semi-Open Headphones
The Superlux HD668B headphones have a non-traditional headband design. The band is cushioned, but only in two places instead of across the whole width. This openness allows for better air circulation. And both the headband pads and the ear pads are covered in vinyl that won’t ruin when you perspire on them. Their weight, without the cord, is 7.8 ounces.
The ear cups have a semi-open structure as well. This helps your ears stay cooler, but won’t isolate you from outside sounds as well as a closed design. It will also let your audio leak so others can hear it. These headphones work better if you’re using them in a quiet space.
As for connecting, the Superlux headphones come with two cables. One is a meter (approximately 3 feet) long, and the other is 3 meters in length. They can be connected together so you have plenty of cord to reach between you and your device.
While all of those features are important, most users are even more concerned about the quality of the sound reproduction in their headphones. And that’s where the Superlux HD6668B shine. At their typical selling price, it’s challenging to find a pair that sounds this good.
Users and reviewers report that the Superlux reproduce spatially accurate sound with clear high tones and balanced bass. Voice recordings, like audio books, are crisp and clean. The only weakness comes when listening to deep bass notes. There’s no rumble to them, so users who prefer boom won’t find it with this pair.
More features of the Superlux HD668B Headphones:
- Frequency response is wider than what most consumer headphones offer: 10-30,000Hz
- Impedance 56 ohms—best suited for PCs and stereos, not smartphones or mp3 players
- SPL 98dB at 1mW
Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones
The Philips SHP9500 over-ear headphones have a full open-back design, not a semi-open one like the Superlux pair. As a result, you wouldn’t want to wear them when you want to block out ambient noise. The audio you hear will also leak out for others around you to hear, too.
On the other hand, the open-back design makes for clear high tones. While low tones aren’t emphasized, the overall sound reproduction is very accurate. And with the wide frequency response on this pair, the audio you listen to is true high-fidelity. It doesn’t matter if it’s rock, classical, or voice recordings. Just don’t expect rumbles from heavy bass tracks. The open-back design doesn’t support that.
The SHP9500 is comfortable to wear for extended periods. In fact, the ear pads are breathable material and the ear cups spread the clamping force evenly around your ear. The headband is also well-padded and fits larger heads with no problem. And since the headphones only weigh 0.66 pounds, they are less heavy than the Superlux pair.
Finally, the cord that comes with the SHP9500 original (not the SHP9500S reviewed below) is 3 meters long. That’s over 9 feet in length. And it has a gold-plated plug that resists corrosion and ensures better contact.
More features of the Philips SHP9500 Headphones:
- 50MM drivers
- 32 ohms impedance
- Sensitivity 101dB
- Frequency response 12-35,000 Hz
Philips SHP9500S 50mm drivers HiFi Stereo Headphones SHP9500S
What are the differences between the SHP9500 and the SHP9500S? First, it looks like Philips is discontinuing the SHP9500 and replacing it with the SHP9500S. Some owners of the earlier model reported receiving a carrying pouch with their headphones, but no case comes with the SHP9500S. And the cord length on the SHP9500S is shorter at just 1.5 meters, or close to 5 feet long, instead of 3 meters.
But perhaps the most critical difference is that the SHP9500S have a wider frequency response. Instead of 12-35,000Hz, they range from 6-35,000Hz, allowing for a more dynamic quality to the audio you hear. Of course, your listening experience will depend on the quality of the music you play, whether it’s a CD or a lossy compressed file.
Like the Philips SHP9500, the SHP9500S are open-back. This means the audio will leak at high volumes for those around you to hear. And they aren’t good for noise isolation or wearing in noisy places like public transport or on the street. As Philips declares, this pair is best for home audio.
More features of the Philips SHP9500S Headphones:
- 50MM drivers
- 32 ohms impedance
- Sensitivity 101dB
- Frequency response 6-35,000 Hz
Let’s start the recommendations by discussing what these three pairs of headphones are not suited for doing. They are open-back, so they don’t cancel out ambient noise and they leak sound. They don’t provide a deep booming bass sound. And they aren’t very portable since they are all on the bulky side, with long cords. If you’re looking for headphones for a studio or for travel, these will not satisfy you.
On the other hand, the Superlux and Philips headphones in our review today are ideal if you are somewhat of an audiophile who loves to listen to music and audio books at home or in a quiet office. Or if you want high quality sound for gaming, but you don’t need a built-in microphone.
All three pairs are comfortable for extended wear, and all three pairs reproduce audio very accurately. The Superlux HD668B are better for connecting to home stereo equipment or computers since their impedance is rated at 56 ohms.
Meanwhile, both of the Philips pairs are compatible with most devices, from computers and televisions to mp3 players and phones, as long as they have a 3.5mm audio jack. If you prefer a long cord, get the SHP9500 because its audio cable is 3 meters, or 9.84 feet long.
But if you don’t mind a 1.5m (4.92 feet) cord, you may prefer the Philips SHP9500S. They are the updated version of the SHP9500 model. And their frequency response is wider, from 6-35,000Hz.