Philips HE591 Surround Sound Earbuds

Philips HE591 Surround Sound Earbuds

Forward sounding presentation that gives music some jump. Affordable. Soundstage depth and width are quite good, although the entire presentation could use some more warmth. Very good with folk, pop, and vocals.

Asymmetric cable is so annoying. The top end had some extra energy that might bother some. Weird surround effect that lets you hear the singer before he even opens his mouth. No extra flanges for those of us with asymmetic ear canals. Can't locate the inline volume controls anywhere..

If the asymmetric cable design were not so annoying, we would like these headphones a lot more as they are rather comfortable. The overall sound quality is quite good with neutrality across the board, but it really could use a splash of red.

Philips SHE591 Virtual Surround In-Ear Headphones: Where's the Beef?

Fairly comfortable in-ear virtual surround headphones that don't hurt the wallet or your ears.

Philips is a company whose headphones do not jump off the page and scream, “Buy me”. The manufacturer is best known for its video technology and the development of digital television systems and the compact disc. Its core business in the United States is in lifestyle related products, including health care technology. It may be the third largest consumer electronics company in the world, but headphones have never been its focus. That being said, Philips has been quite busy during the iPod-era and has expanded its headphone line-up to over 40 models, including the SHE591. They do face some rather stiff competition from Sony, JVC, Grado, Bose, and others, but Philips products seem to be selling rather well. Philips has a number of good (although not spectacular sounding) models such as the SHE591 that serve their purpose quite well; Easy to wear for extended periods of time, well-made, value priced, and easy to travel with.

Sonically, the SHE591 are a mixed bag. They were not very neutral across the entire frequency range. I would like to know what happened to the meat in the mid bass and the extreme bottom end. The drivers seem more than capable of pumping out the jams, but they seem reticent when asked to take the floor with demanding material. Do not be afraid, do your thing! Most frustrating when they were so easy to listen to for that long of a listening session. One thing that did stick out and not in a good way was an upper midrange that added too much emphasis to vocals. Robbie Williams is high enough, folks. He did not need any more emphasis. 50 Red Bulls a day. Yikes. The result is that the presentation is somewhat more forward sounding than some people might care for. If you like your music from row ‘a’, the Philips SHE591 might be your ticket to happiness.

My longest listening session with the SHE591 was more than seventy-five minutes at medium volume levels before I turned them off. The comfort level is above average, which makes them good for working out or commuting. The problem is the asymmetric cable design that makes no sense at all. Not to me, or anyone else in the office. Numerous Philips models seem to have this asymmetric cable design and we really do not care for it. We read the Philips packaging and while the explanation makes sense, the reality is that the left headphone pops out when your turn your head. Granted, a bald looking woman resembling Britney Spears walked past us when that happened and we all did a double take.

The SHE591 is my favorite model from Philips, primarily because it has a pulse and breathes some fire into the music I like. If it had some additional weight in the bass and lower midrange, it would be a great little headphone for a very affordable price. Not bad, but not quite there.

Technical Info

Brand: Philips
Model: HE591 Surround Sound Earbuds
Acoustic System: Open
Diaphragm: Mylar Dome
Magnet type: Neodymium
Voice coil: CCAW
Frequency response: 16 – 22,000 Hz
Impedance: 16 ohms
Maximum power input: 50 mW
Sensitivity: 106 db
Speaker diameter: 15 mm
Type: Dynamic
Price: $24.99

Speak Your Mind