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Product Recommendation - Philips SHE9500 Ultra Sound In Ear Headphones

By Andrew Pollack on 11/13/2007 at 08:45 AM EST

I've been thinking about upgrading the earphones for my Zen player for a while now, but it is difficult to finally pick a product.. They sit in blister packs at the store proclaiming greatness but even if you could try them, would you really want to be sticking demo units in your ears from other people?

On a recommendation from a clerk, I decided to try this set from Philips. They weren't too expensive and the size and shape looked workable. They're fantastic. The difference in sound quality over the cheap ear buds that come with iPods and such can't be described. The deeper sounds are much more rich and the clarity overall is much better. I'm not going to claim they have great "dynamic range" or anything. The sound is more of that sort of rich mid-tone sound you get from a Bose radio. The audiophiles claim it isn't that good (they call it "Bose, no highs and no lows") but the rest of us really find it an enjoyable listen. The Philips ear buds are also much more comfortable, and keep out other sound much better.

Other features include a little pouch to keep them in and a couple of different sized "caps" for people with ears of different shapes. The cord is a little strange. The split for the right and left ears is is shorter to one side than the other. I think that's meant to be helpful. The cord itself is short, but comes pre-connected to an extension. I think the idea is if you keep your iPod or whatever in your shirt pocket or an arm-band like the runners do, you want the short cord. The rest of us use the extension.

In any case, these are small, sound great, aren't too expensive, and are very comfortable.

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