Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Philips SHP9500 Review - Grandest Headphones I've Ever Used - under $75!

Philips SHP9500

The Grandest Headphones I've Used | Under $75, Too!

After using the Sony WH-1000XM3 and Sony WH-1000XM4, their audio quality to me left something to desire.  They looked great, felt great, had supreme fit and finish, supreme noise cancelling, but for my purposes: listening to music, they fell short.  I tried to justify them cause they were at the top of everybody's list.  But honestly, regardless of EQ settings, they just sounded dull and flat.

Fast forward to the Grand Legend that is the Philips Audio SHP9500.  RTINGs said (and I'm paraphrasing) it's one of the best sounding headphones they've tested regardless of price--and they test some beasts.  I had my eye on these a few months ago for a few months but they were out of stock everywhere for the longest time.  Well Amazon just got a batch in and I had to try them.

Needless to say I am impressed. I've been listening to them for a week for hours on end and they truly live up to the hype. I was ready to return them immediately if they sounded like junk, but that is not the case at all.  They sound absolutely crisp and clear.  I'll spare you the nerdy details and all the big tech words audio geeks use, but suffice to say these sound absolutely fantastic and they're easily worth double or even triple the price.

As far as comfort goes, they are very comfortable. The stock pads could probably use some improvement and I plan to get some, possibly Brainwavz direct replacements. For now, the stock ones are fine.  Also these work great when plugged into the PS5 controller for gaming--they sound way better than dedicated gaming headphones. 


Ready for use with or without amplifiers
  • Frequency range: 12 - 35,000 Hz.
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB.
  • Maximum power input: 200 mW.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm.
  • Acoustic system: Open.
  • Magnet type: Neodymium.
  • Speaker diameter: 50 mm.

What I paired them with:


MyPin Headphone HiFi Amplifier (Not shown--Takes these headphones from a 9 to a 9.5)  For the price, sure. But not a game changer. Definitely louder, and ever so slightly bassier.  

Thank you for visiting my blog. I take a cut of every purchase made using my links. It does not effect you.  My reviews I can assure you, however, are items I actually bought and love.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

7th Gen 2019-2021+ Lexus ES Subwoofer DIY - Add subs to your stock system easy (Standard + ML)

 7th Gen Lexus ES300h & ES350 2019+ Subwoofer Install

Adding a subwoofer to the stock 2019+ Lexus ES300h and ES350 standard 10-speaker or 17-speaker ML is easy.  This DIY/guide is based on my particular install on my 2021 ES300h with standard 10-speaker audio system.  To my understanding, based on reading the wiring diagrams, the wiring/amp pinout is the exact same as the 17-speaker premium ML system.  Do your own research to confirm first before performing any work. If you do not feel confident in working on your car, take your car to an audio shop! If you have a hybrid, take extra care around the large battery pack beneath the seat. This can cause serious harm or even death if you get shocked by it. Just be extra careful.

What I used or is needed:

Ratchet 3/8"
10mm socket (for battery terminal)
13mm socket (for seatback ground bolt for amp ground)
Wire crimpers
Wire strippers
Tesa Insulation tape (for a professional OEM install to wrap the wires)

Advanced/experienced installers can skip to the wiring/pinout information.  The installation of a subwoofer is pretty basic and the same across all cars except for the exact wires you'll need to tap for audio signal.

Step 1: 

Run your power and ground.  The amp kit will come with ring terminals. This is where a heavy duty solid wire crimper is needed. For power, start by opening the trunk. The 12V battery is in the trunk on the passenger side.  You lift the carpeted flap up to reveal the battery.  Using your 10mm socket, attach your power line.  Remove the fuse for now so you don't touch the power wire to ground causing a spark or a short. Install the fuse at the very very end to be safe!  You won't need much 12V power cabling because the battery is in the trunk where you'll keep your sub. So make sure you cut after so you know how much cable you need.  

Next you'll need to run your ground cable. The length should be no more than 30" according to the manual of my Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.  So I cut it to 30".  For this step, I removed the rear bottom seat cushion. Simply pull up on each side and the seat cushion pops upward and out.  (Upon reinstall, make sure the seatbelt buckles slot into the holes of the cushion.)  I used one of the metal bolts holding the seatback to the chassis to ground my amp. Use a 13mm socket. You'll need to carefully fish the wire through slots/holes at the bottom/back of the seat into the trunk. Use a flashlight. A hanger wire taped to your wires may aid you fishing the wire. There's plenty of slots/holes to feed wire through. Make sure you don't have wires touching any sharp metal. Zip tie them down if needed. Reinstall the seat last. You'll need to run some extra wires across the driver's side to the amp under the driver's seat and subwoofer control under the drivers footwell.

Step 2: 

You'll need to access the stock amp. For both the standard and ML audio systems, the amp is under the driver's seat.  You do NOT need to remove the seat to access the amp. Simply move your seat forward and as high as it will go. You'll need to remove the headrest first by tilting the seat back.  

The amp has a plastic cover held on by three plastic rivets. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to remove.

The harness you'll need is the farthest right one, towards the front of the car.  Naturally these wires are the wires that carry the amplified power so they are heavier duty for function and longevity.

These are the wires on both the standard and ML amp. Same harness, same colors according to my research.  If your amp/harness does not look like this, you may need to do some research. Also this is for my 2021 ES300h standard audio system. Your year/model may vary.

Wires #6 and #21 blue and tan are the stock subwoofer output wires.  Tap your high-level input harness to these.  Since the Rockford Fosgate high-level input harness has two pairs of power and ground for two speakers, just splice both positives and both negatives of the Rockford Fosgate harness together, then you'll have one positive and one ground to tap into the stock harness blue/tan. The polarity doesn't matter here as the amplifier will usually have a phase switcher. 

While you're here, also tap the remote wire. (DO not rely on the high-level input to power on the sub--i made this mistake and got a very loud rumble for three seconds every time i shut off the car.) You'll need to use a remote turn on lead to ACC/switched 12V.  I used a multimeter and the wiring diagram to find a switched 12V wire to tap on the left-most (first) harness on the amp. I used the white wire on the upper top corner. Use a multimeter to confirm it's 12V when ignition ON and 0V when off.  Run this wire along with your signal wire across the left side of the car (just use your fingers to stuff them in the plastic sill covers (or remove them if you want) and run them to the trunk.  

Run your signal wire as well as the remote wire and volume bass knob wire here. A total of three wire groups.  I tucked them more neatly after I took this photo. This is just to show the general area where I ran the wires.  A bright light can help you see holes to fish the wires through.  

Wires wrapped in Tesa tape (see link above) for a professional clean tidy look. Notice in the second pic, I wrapped the bass control knob wire together with the other wires.  This particular subwoofer/amp combination is nice because you can easily detach the wires when you want to remove the sub. It has a quick disconnect.  

This subwoofer also comes in 10" and 12" models. The boxes for both are bigger.

Overall this setup provides a nice kick to the stock setup, particularly with my upgraded dash speakers.  Nothing crazy, just a bit of added low end to complete the sound stage.

Using my Amazon Affiliate links, I get a small percentage of each purchase. It does not affect you. I appreciate it! Also shout out to Crutchfield who helped me made this happen.  They sell the sub at this link:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

2019+ Lexus ES350 FitCam Integrated Dash Cam Install and Review

 Fitcam Dashcam for 2019+ ES350

1080P @ 30FPS, 170° Viewing Angle, Plug and Play, Parking Monitor


Yes, there's an affiliate link involved for this DashCam and yes I make a few cents for every dollar purchased using my links, but I have to say this dashcam absolutely rocks.  It's custom-made just for the 2019+ Lexus ES350 and has a 100% OEM fit and finish. Install is 100% plug and play.  This dash cam comes with a plastic housing that replaces the stock housing behind the mirror that contains the radar sensor.  This ensures a 100% stock appearance with the exception of the new bump added for the camera which is mostly invisible from the driver's seat.  I tested it out and the image quality is great.  You can download the iOS or Android app. For me I have an iPhone 12 Pro and downloaded the app using the instructions and setup is extremely easy.  Also this dashcam comes with a Sandisk memory card-- a surprise to me!

So how do you install it? Well once you open the package, you can see it's mostly self-explanatory. But I'll do my best.

1) Optional but helpful, using your hands, gently pivot the mirror down to give yourself some working room.

2) Using your fingers, pop the upper portion of the black plastic housing off.  

3) Slide the large portion of the housing downwards following the windshield--it's held on by two clips.

4) Turn over that big black plastic piece and locate the two orange/brown clips. Gently pop them off using your fingers, you may need to pry with two fingers. BE GENTLE--DO NOT BREAK THESE.

5) Transfer the two clips to the new black housing/camera housing that the kit comes with.

6) Unplug the stock camera wiring harness located on the right side.  Plug the included wire harness into the windshield where the stock harness was unplugged, then plug the included FitCam cable into the stock receptacle, then plug the round cable into the camera's corresponding round cable.  

7) Simply slide the black plastic camera housing upwards until those two clips lock in place. Before you slide upwards, make sure the black plastic housing is flush with the windshield.  Once you hear it click into place, stuff the wires in the available space/opening and take the Fitcam black plastic small piece and clip it into place.  Be careful not to bend the plastic tabs... they may bend if you dont align it 100% at first. If this happens, simply bend them straight with your fingers and reinstall carefully.  

8) Download the app using the instructions by scanning the QR code and follow the instructions.  

9) The dashcam is recording when the light is flashing blue--which should be automatic every time you drive the car.

That's it! Enjoy! Buy the Fitcam for the 2019+ ES350 by clicking here