The Philips SHE9000 earphones haven't seemingly been marketed or designed to outdo the budget market's big names. They don't offer the ridiculous bass that many entry-level IEM pairs strive for - but like the non-blingtastic looks, this isn't a negative.
There's a decent amount of bass on offer, but it's reasonably well behaved and balanced, avoiding the boomy effects of basshead rivals. One point to the Philips SHE9000.
The problem is the rest. There's little treble sparkle here, not much sense of dynamism and pretty unimpressive separation and detail. They sound pretty balanced next to other pairs around the same price, including the Jays a-JAYS Four for example. But they also tend to sound a bit dull, a tad boring.
The Philips SHE9000 don't make any disastrously wrong moves, but their slightly bland presentation is perhaps worse than a plucky but flawed sound signature. Without a bombastic bass or much treble presence, they often simply sound rather small and bland. They're warm enough, but often the warmth is cloying, muddling arrangements - and the treble doesn't have enough bite to break through it. Vocals often end up getting a little lost in the middy mist, which we'd normally only expect from a bassier earphone. It's a pity because they're close to sounding good.
We don't expect miracles at this entry-level point, but there are real crackers available at the same price. The Sennheiser CX300 and Creative EP-830 offer a good time for less money, and at almost £40 they also have to contend with some lesser-known alternatives like the Soundmagic E10 and HiFiMAN RE0, both of which are simply a lot better.
While the neat design and metal bodies work in their favour, that you can get better sound elsewhere for the same price seals the Philips SHE9000's fate. Unless you find them at a significantly reduced price, we recommend looking elsewhere.
The Philips SHE9000 make a good first impression. They have metal-coated bodies, decent styling and a price that makes them attractive as an easy upgrade from bundled earphones. However, a muddled sound that doesn't offer all that much excitement or detail means they perform less well than some similarly priced rivals.