[Review] First thoughts Philips HP890 headphones

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by amazingtrade, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. amazingtrade

    amazingtrade Mad Madchestoh fan

    Jun 19, 2003
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    First thoughts Philips HP890 headphones


    First impressions

    My first thoughts when opening the box was the thickness of the cable, its much thicker than anything to get with the sub £150 senheisers. The build quality looked very good, and the headphones looked massive which in fact they are. They look like they should cost a lot more.

    The 3.5†- 5.25†adapter screws into the 3.5†jack which I assume gives better contact, this confused me at first but it makes a lot sense. There is also a nice stand although I find it too for my shelf. The headphones themselves are heavy but also very comfortable, although after extending listening you have to take them of a couple of minutes as they can get quite clammy.

    Ok now for sound quality. I could be over dramatic here but I will try and keep it truthful and not go over the top. Over at Headfi these phones get compared to the likes of the Senhieser HD600 which to be honest is probably pushing to far. So for comparison I will compare with the Senhieser HD495 which I know itsn't much to compare it to.

    The first thing I noticed when listening to them is the treble detail on the REM Reveal album, it seemed very detailed if a little harsh. The bass seemed pretty much like my HD495's until I cranked up the volume a little, and the bass guitars really kicked in without distorting one bit. The next task was to try out New Order's “Blue Monday†on 12â€Â. I was simply staggered at the results, the bass was so deep you could feel them vibrate. The midrange seemed just as good as the HD495's as well, and the treble was a lot more open. What this headphones seem to do is offer good bass without spoiling the music, I have listened to these headphones for 6 hours now and there isn't any of evidence of boom at all.

    I then tried to playing some more simple tracks such as Simon and Garfunkel's “The Boxer†this track seemed to really open the mid range and again the treble was much more lively than my HD495's. Then it was time to try the old audiophile's favourite REM's Automatic for the People on 12â€Â. This sounded simply stunning, the bass was so accurate and deep, the mid range was clear and seemed to flow freely where as my HD495's sometimes sounded as if they were struggling to cope with the flow of the music.

    After a few hours of listening, I have come to conclusion that these make my HD495's seem truly awful even at the £30 I paid for them. I certainly would think they are upto the task of seeing off a lot of the sub £100 competition. I am glad I choose these headphones now, they are £60 cheaper than the Grado SR80's, and a large number people at headfi seem to prefer these Philips. I cannot say though as I have not heard the Grado's so I can't personally comment. I suppose these headphones are not as transparent as the sound coming out of my speakers, but they still good. Remember I am testing them with my PM6010OSE amp.


    The people at Headfi were right, these headphones really are the best £50 you can spend on a pair. The build quality is brilliant, the cable won't need upgrading and should it break standard Senheiser ones fit. The detail is not much better than my old phones but the way it puts everything together is brilliant. I can listen to anything on these, where as my HD495's there is no way I could listen to dance music of them.

    I am not saying these are perfect, but there are the best headphones I have personally ever heard, though that's probably not saying much. People on Headfi have said that they think these headphones are so cheap because they are made in China, but say sonically they are on par with HD600's but different sounding. Again I can't personally comment.

    Update: I am listening to Tracy Chapman's album now, (from 1988) and it sounds much more lively than before, before it always sounded so flat. These headphones are a little bright, but I've heard much worse.

    I would like a tad more smoothness but I can live with these, I have had them for hours now and the music simply flows.

    WHF style rating:
    For: Detail, good bass, good timing, fine treble, open mid range, build quality, price. They sound like they don't need a headphone amp to give them their best, although this would probably help them a lot.
    Against: Some people may find them a little bright, I would avoid using these with an amp like a Kenwood 3030R.

    I am very happy! Any questions please ask
    amazingtrade, Aug 17, 2003
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