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published: Jun-25-2014

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.


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Philips SHP-9500


The Philips SHP-9500 is the successor of the SHP-9000. The street price is around € 120.-. It has similar weight (very light weight) and similar type of cloth pads. The headphone is very comfortable and nice looking. It is more neutral sounding than the SHP-9000 and has better highs extension but lacks bass extension. Bass itself sounds good and tight but bass heads should look elsewhere. Bass wise it is similar to AKG K500 / ATH AD700. The treble is somewhat peaky and elevated and thus it sounds overly sparkly. The dip around 3kHz removes some ‘clarity’ but the elevated treble ‘compensates’ more or less.


Below the CSD of the SHP-9500 which isn’t as ‘clean’ as some other headphones in this price range (€ 100.-) but resonances in the 3-5kHz range aren’t as bad as in higher and lower parts of the frequency range. Left, Right.

shp9500 csd

Fortunately this headphone reacts very well to EQ and when the missing bass is ‘added’ and the treble peak is lowered it sounds very good !

When 2mm thick synthetic felt is mounted in front of the drivers the peaky treble is lowered to more normal levels and this headphone sounds really well with this simple mod. The effect is shown below in the overlay of the CSD. Original SHP-9500, SHP-9500 with felt in front of the driver. Resonances are shorter and the amplitude of the treble  is lowered to ‘normal’ levels. Aside from the bass extension (bass itself sounds fine and tight) this headphone sounds surprisingly good.

9500 felt csd

Below the SHP-9500 (with felt) compared to the much more expensive Philips X1. The SHP-9500 with felt is a little brighter (which I thought was lacking in the X1) but doesn’t have the bass extension. Fortunately with EQ this bass issue is easily solved and in my opinion the SHP-9500 (with EQ/felt) sounds better than the X1.

x1 vs shp9500 feltAll in all a very light weight and comfortable headphone that sounds very good (certainly with the felt and some EQ) and can recommend it.

Playing on the Kameleon amplifier the frequency response can be flattened further.
The SHP-9500 used for these measurements is stock (so no felt in front of the driver).
Bass extension is now great and the filter module is constructed so it has a ‘very slight warmish’ character.
The dip around 3kHz is removed but the small treble peak around 5kHz could not be removed, the frequencies above it are now at normal levels.
Aside from the small peak around 3kHz the headphone is flat from 20Hz to 16kHz +/-3dB. Left, Right

SHP-9500 Kameleon

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