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Philips' retro-styled CitiScape Downtown headphones

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always listen to the Downtowns... Check out our review of these amazing 'phones.

Our Verdict

Some minor niggles, but they offer great sound, sit comfortably and are a reasonable price, too.


  • Great sound
  • Amazing value
  • Retro chic


  • No remote volume control
  • Odd flat cable
  • Retro chic

The Downtowns are old school. It's not just the brown colour - they're also available in purple and white - but the design and build. The overlapping cloth on the headband, the hockey-puck shape of the earpads, the extremely soft leather and cloth mix of the earpad's material, the metal headband… it all combines to make the Downtowns feel like headphones your dad would have sitting next to his turntable - which is likely to feel either comforting or cloying.

Either way, they're easy to adjust and are comfortable (those who find headphones painful that press on your ears rather than sit around them might get a bit sore over time), and aren't heavy.

But the sound is the important thing, and Philips has delivered here. For under £50, these are alarmingly good. Audio feels expansive and clear, and the balance is excellent.

Sound investment

Bass is resonant without being too boomy or oppressive; the mid-range is warm, deep and wide; and the high end is packed with detail and sharpness without ever becoming shrill. In short, they easily trump headphones that cost a good chunk more.

Alas, they're not quite perfect. There's an in-line mic and control for answering calls, but it lacks volume controls, and we're not fans of the flat, wide cable. But this is a superb set of headphones, whichever decade you're in.

Key info

  • Price: £38
  • Manufacturer: Philips
  • Weight: 171g
  • Frequency response: 18-22,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm
  • Sensitivity: 102dB
  • Cable length: 1.2m

This review originally featured in Tap! Magazine issue 22.

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The Verdict

out of 10

Philips CitiScape Downtown headphones

Some minor niggles, but they offer great sound, sit comfortably and are a reasonable price, too.