- Wonderful soundstage, Great sound
- Horribly uncomfortable
A wonderful sounding headphone at a competitive price but is let down by a poor design that makes it hard to wear over long periods of time.
Price$ 149.95 (AUD)
As a successor to the legendary HP890s, Philips HP895s are a mixed bag. On one hand they offer superior sound quality at an affordable price but on the other they are plagued by discomfort and design issues that significantly reduce the quality of the overall package.
Sound quality is obviously paramount when purchasing headphones and the HP895s do not disappoint in that regard. Their presentation is more neutral than their predecessor, but no less stunning. The quality of the sound is comparable to the Alessandro MS-1. The highs are clear and rich but perhaps a little too harsh for our liking. They do however take a bit of a backseat to the mid-range, which is very strongly presented. Bass was quite punchy, but didn't extend as deep as we've heard on some other models.
The best element of the HP895s was the absolutely phenomenal soundstage. Music seemed to hit us from every direction at once. We found it to be comparable with models 2, 3 or 4 times the price - it was that good. This incredible three dimensional soundscape helped bring out elements in our music we hadn't heard before. The one failing of these headphones was a lack of definition in the individual sounds. It presented our music in a very slow fashion, so a lot of similar sounds meshed together. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, some people prefer a slower sound, but in general we found this to be a weakness.
As phenomenal as the sound is, we had some real problems with the design. You could own the best headphones in the world, but if you couldn't wear them for more than a few minutes without winding up in pain they'd be no good. The HP895s have a squat, robust design, with a wide headband joining the two cups. The cups extend on strips of plastic that snap back into place rather than letting you leave them on the desired length, which is very irritating. From the instant you put them on you can tell they aren't comfortable enough to wear for long listening sessions. This poorly designed fitting system, coupled with a very hard headband mean you wind up with unnecessary pressure on the top and sides of your head, which eventually turns into discomfort and pain. We simply couldn't listen for more than a 15 minutes without having to take a break.
From an aesthetic perspective the HP895s are nothing to write home about either. The open cupped, almost stocky design is certainly quite different from most other models out there, but whether that is for better or worse is really open to debate. They leaked sound quite heavily, but that is to be expected from an open model.
The build quality could also be a potential problem. The biggest flaw with the HP890s was that they almost always broke after limited use. Given 6 months to a year most people had them fall apart in their hands. Whilst obviously we cannot test this properly, we're hoping Philips has corrected the problem with this model. It certainly has a chunky feel to the build, but the HP890s had a similar feel too.
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