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Philips Fidelio X1

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Rated #14 in Over-Ear


Philips Fidelio X1


Philips Fidelio X1 | Review & Comparison




Quick Summary

(As compared to AKG's K702 Anniversary and Q701)



  • X1:  Warm and smooth but with a slight "U" shape, a little more of a "fun" signature, bigger bass w/deeper extension, mids less prominent and a bit more neutral sounding, slightly more treble sparkle.  Soundstage size is pretty similar to the Anniversaries, but with smaller instruments and a little more distant presentation.  As a result, inside the soundstage there is a little more spaciousness and room and slightly better imaging.


  • K702 Anniversary:  Also warm and smooth but with a flatter more balanced signature and more natural timbre, less bass, mids fuller and lusher, treble a little warmer/smoother.  Soundstage size is pretty similar to the X1, but with larger instruments and a bit more intimate presentation. 


  • Q701:  Thinner, lighter, drier, faster, more mids (and upper mid), and airier.  Less body and weight to mids and bass.  The soundstage is a bit more distant sounding and instruments float more.   




Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1




The X1’s packaging is pretty nice and looks fairly classy and clean, apart from a somewhat obnoxious white “Philips” badge.  The box has a nice smooth finish and is made of thick and sturdy cardboard.  There are two pieces to the box and the top part pulls apart like a lid.  One thing I like about the X1's box is that it can double as a case for the headphones.  I store my X1s back in the box when not in use.  Inside the bottom portion of the box, the headphones and cable are fitted into a velvety-covered molded plastic piece.  If you lift that molded piece out you will reveal the rest of the cable as well as a nice little paperback booklet detailing the headphone (Philips is clearly proud of this can).  The headphone also comes with a gold plated 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and a little plastic "cable management" piece (not pictured), which is meant for looping your cable around to take up some of the slack.






Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1




I was attracted to the X1s as soon as I first saw pictures of them as they had all the physical traits I prefer in a headphone:  open design, large spacious ear cups, velour pads, detachable cable, and self-adjusting-headband.  They were also one of the best looking headphones I'd seen.  Seeing them in person now, I can confirm that they're physically beautiful.  The colors, materials, and finish all look and feel great.  These are a very classy headphone (apart from a small and unnecessary "High Definition" branding on one of the earcups, no doubt influenced by the Philips HDTV division - luckily it's hardly noticeable).  They feel pretty solid and tightly constructed.  There's very little play in the parts.  Even though the build seems good, I would still be careful with the X1s and wouldn't throw them around - because they are so tightly constructed it almost feels like something will break if impacted due to a lack of play in the parts.  IMO the X1s are a headphone meant to be used at home and babied.  Philips seems to have been thinking the same thing as the box even says "indoor headphone" on it!  tongue.gif


The X1 weighs a little more than the AKGs, but they're not bad at all (the AKGs are a VERY light headphone after all).  I think the actual weights are 362 g for the X1 and 235 g for the AKG.  Philips refers to the X1s headband as a "self-adjustable airy hammock with 3D mesh."  It's a self-adjusting headband design similar to the one AKG uses, and it works well.  One thing that surprised me was the amount (or lack thereof) of headband extension.  There isn't a ton of room, and I can potentially see it being a problem for larger heads.  For my smaller head, it's pretty much a perfect fit.  If you do have a larger head though, there is still hope as the outer bars are bendable.  You should be able to free up some extra room by repositioning them as needed.

Here is a size comparison picture between the X1s and AKGs:

Size Comparison (Click to show)


I've heard bad things about the stock cable, which is a shame because it's quite handsome.  It's black, 9 feet long, and is of the braided variety.  It terminates into an attractive 1/4" plug (a 1/8" adapter is included).  The microphonics on the cable are surprisingly loud, although I don't care, as I would never walk around outside with an X1.  People say you should replace the stock cable in order to improve the damping factor a little (due to high resistance in the stock cable).  I measured the stock cable's resistance and got 1.8 ohms, which is on the high side.  It's easy to replace the cable as it simply connects via a 3.5mm jack on the left ear cup (speaking of which, I'd recommended taking extra care not to accidentally damage that earcup jack).  If you do decide to replace the cable, I recommend NOT going crazy and instead just getting an inexpensive one.  The Monoprice "mobile" 3.5mm cables are a good option.  I've measured the 6 foot version to have a low 0.4 ohm resistance and it's attractive, comes in multiple sizes, and is dirt cheap.  The Mediabridge 3.5mm cables are basically the same just in a different color.  You also shouldn't expect that much to change when replacing the cable.  We're talking about a VERY small difference in the sound here.   These are CABLES after all!  I just don't want people to get out of hand and start chasing different cables, suddenly hearing all kinds of subtle placebo-ish differences in their X1.  My advice is to just get a solid $5-10 cable to avoid the stock cable's resistance issues, then forget about cables and just use the damn headphone.


Apart from the few issues mentioned, I think Philips did a great job designing the X1.





Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1




I find the X1s to be incredibly comfortable - one of the comfiest I've used.   The headband has an ample amount of padding and is quite wide with a lot of surface area to distribute the weight, so the headphones feel light on the head.  The ear pads are also amply padded, with soft velour wrapped memory foam, and the ear cups are quite deep - deeper than the Anniversaries (although slightly smaller in diameter).  They're not quite as deep as the thickest part of the Q701 pad, but almost - and it's the same thickness around the entire pad.  For big-eared head-fiers (myself included) these are one of the deeper earcups out there.  The earpad openings are oval shaped, and that oval is tilted back to line up with the shape of your ears.  The pads themselves are not angled but the drivers are.   One small thing I've noticed is that strong bass can cause the cloth material covering the drivers to vibrate a little, and if the tips of your ears happen to touch this cloth it can occasionally cause a minor tickling sensation during that type of bass.  Most of the time it's not really noticeable, but I feel I should still point it out.  Interestingly, the cups don't really pivot side to side, however it seems to be a non-issue in terms of their fit.  I don't feel any unusual or excessive clamping pressure with the X1s.

The velour pad material is a different type than what AKGs uses.  It's sort of shiny looking, but it's soft and feels nice.  There doesn't seem to be any itchiness, a problem I've mainly had with Audio Techinica pads.  The only bad thing about the earpads is that apparently they're GLUED ON (*face palm*) and are NOT designed to be replaced.  On a headphone this expensive, this is a pretty bad oversight.  I don't know if Philips (or I guess I should say "Funai" now) listens to feedback, but….replaceable pads please.   I can't tell you how much I adore AKGs removable bayonet lock pad system.  My only two complaints with the design are the fixed pads and the less-than-great stock cable.  The latter is much less of an issue of course, since you can just use your own cable.  But the fixed pads should to be addressed IMO.

I find the X1s to be a little more comfortable than the Anniversaries, mainly due to the deeper earcups and more generous headband padding.  I also prefer the Q701 earpads to the Anniversaries, again due to their greater depth.  All three headphones are very comfortable though and are useable for multi-hour sessions.






Philips Fidelio X1     Philips Fidelio X1




Before I listened to the X1s, there were three potential sonic deal breakers I was worried about.  They were:  How bright will the treble be?  How recessed will the mids be? and Will the bass overpower everything?  After getting them I was pleased to hear that none of these turned out be an issue.

The X1s sound fairly warm and smooth with big bass and just a hint of treble sparkle (but still smooth sounding).  The mids are thankfully present and not recessed, and are slightly warmer than neutral.  Even though the X1s are warm sounding, they still have a mild "U" shaped response that pushes them a little more towards that fun home-theatery type of signature.  They are still pretty balanced sounding though, with good genre bandwidth.  The soundstage is on the large side and is spacious sounding with good separation and imaging.  Considering the warmth of the X1, their overall speed is pretty good.  They also have a pretty good texture to their sound.  The X1s are a bit less dry sounding than most open headphones.  It seems like the X1's have a little better room ambience, meaning you can hear the reverb from the recording space a little better, while the Anniversaries are a little drier in this regard.  With the Anniversaries you can hear more low level noises, like chairs squeaking (although this is partly related to the more forward mids).  The X1s are pretty easy to drive, and like most open headphones they leak quite a bit of sound.

The Anniversaries in comparison to the X1 are flatter and more balanced sounding, with fuller lusher mids.  The Anniversaries treble is slightly warmer, and combined with their lesser bass quantity they end up sounding slightly "n" shaped coming from the X1s.  The soundstage size is similar between the two, although the Anniversaries instruments can sound a little larger and more intimate, while the X1s smaller more distant instruments can make their soundstage sound a little roomier.  The Anniversaries timbre usually sounds more realistic and natural, although the X1s are still a bit decent in this regard - better than some other mid-fi cans I've heard.  The Anniversaries are also more refined and "audiophile" in sound, and the X1s forgo some of that.

The Q701 is definitely a lighter, brighter, drier, and faster sounding can then the X1.  There is greater air and emphasis on upper mids and highs.  The bass is light next to the X1.  The soundstage sounds a bit farther reaching.



The bass on the X1s is big, fun, and enjoyable.  Its quantity and extension are both surprising for a headphone this open.  It can be a little loose and one-notish at times, the speed and texture aren't perfect, and the bass loses a little quality and smoothness as it goes into the deepest frequencies, but I partly feel these are somewhat acceptable concessions for the X1 to make.  While some of the X1's bass technicalities may not be the best, whatever compromises it makes to achieve it's "fun" sound seem to be worth it, as once you're listening and enjoying it the minor details often become irrelevant.


The X1 actually has a bass hump around 65-70 Hz, which is pretty deep bass. That's into sub-bass territory, and it makes for a fun addition with movies and games.  The X1s still aren't quite a "bass head" can - they sound too balanced for that.  They're able to manage good genre bandwidth, with enough bass to inject fun into electronic genres while still being able to pull off classical and jazz without the bass overwhelming.  While the X1s bass is a bit accentuated, it thankfully transitions nicely into the mids.  Headphones like the DT990 have a problem where they have lot of mid bass impact but don't have much midrange to transition into.  As a result their bass ends up sounding a little weird and isolated from the rest of the frequencies (IMO).   The X1's bass is more smoothly connected to the mids and sounds more natural and balanced as a result.  The Anniversary takes this a step further, with the bass and mids further blending into each other. 


Compared to the Anniversaries, the X1's bass has greater quantity in both mid and sub-bass frequencies.  There is greater body and impact on the X1.  The X1 also has a lengthier decay, a quality more often found in closed headphones.  The Anniversaries bass speed is a little better, and they keep a little better quality into the low sub bass, sounding a bit smoother on the lowest frequencies.  The Anniversaries bass is flatter sounding and is more modest and balanced with the rest of the signature.  The X1's bass forgoes that for more fun, and is capable of underlining the whole track with a layer of fun that is more difficult for the Anniversary to pull off. 


What surprises me about the X1's big bass is that it's all happening inside a pretty large and open soundstage.  This is an impressive feat considering that it's uncommon for a headphone to have both of these traits simultaneously.  Usually a headphone will focus attention on one or the other, but the X1 ambitiously goes after both of them, and the end result is a pretty cool combination.


To Quote Happy Bullets,

"It is almost like they take the immersion and fun that some closed cans offer and perfectly mix that into an open can."


Overall I feel that if you can look past its imperfect technicalities, the bass on the X1 is a lot of fun.




I've tried a couple of the popular "fun" headphones, and they often seem to overly color or neglect the mids.  I like the X1s because they seem to do a good job at sidestepping this problem, presenting a competent an even-sounding mid-range in-stride with the rest of the signature.  

The X1 mids are present and not deficient, but they're not a particular focus either - not the same way as on the Anniversaries.  The Anniversaries mids are definitely one of its highlights, and it has a midrange that's not only more forward and engaging but also more lush and organic sounding.  Sometimes the mids on the Anniversaries can really reach out and grab hold of you, whereas the mids on the X1 are more content to just get through the song.  The Anniversaries mids are a little warmer while the X1's are a little more neutral sounding, but the X1s mids still have a little smoothness to them.

The Anniversaries mid-range is thicker, fuller, and more intimate - the mids on the X1 can sometimes be a bit distant sounding in comparison.   While I normally don't strive for an intimate sound, I can hear the appeal it can have - sometimes when listening to music on the X1s I want to turn the volume up louder to bring back some of that intimacy.  On the other hand, sometimes I don't want that intimacy, and during these times I prefer the X1s approach more.  Some examples are gaming, movies, and TV - all areas where I tend to prefer a more distant presentation.  The way the X1 presents its mids seems to allow it to free up a little more space and room inside the soundstage, which seems to benefit all the just-mentioned examples.  If you are specifically looking for an intimate mid-centric headphone, you may want to think twice about getting the X1.  You should probably look into the HD650 or Anniversaries instead.  There are plenty of mid-rich as well as mid-recessed headphone options out there, but there is a fine line in the middle of the two and I think the X1 falls more closely into this area.

The Q701s mids are also nice, with good clarity.  However they can sometimes be too light sounding, lacking in body and weight next to the warmer X1 and Anniversary.  Another issue with the Q701 is that some of the upper mids are occasionally too forward and can become a bit hard, strident, and glaring.  This is definitely less of a problem on the Anniversaries, but they're still not immune to it.  The X1 is pretty much in the clear though, and if you're listening to a recording that has overly forward mids/uppermids in the mix, the X1 can sound less fatiguing. 
Overall I'm pretty happy with the mids on the X1 and they fit naturally in with the rest of its sound.




The X1 has an interesting and slightly unusual treble.  They have a hint of treble sparkle, but it's probably less than you're expecting - these are still a warm and smooth sounding headphone.  While there is that hint of sparkle and clarity the X1s also roll off the uppermost treble fairly quickly.  This prevents sibilance and keeps the sound smooth at the cost of covering up some highest frequency details and hampering the air some.  The treble ultimately ends up sounding sort of smooth and sparkly at the same time.  Sometimes the X1s treble can sound a tad artificial and unrefined, but I consider this somewhat normal for this price range - in other words, just a little reminder that this is still a "mid-fi" dynamic can.  The AKGs do have a bit more refinement in their treble though.


The treble on the Anniversaries is slightly smoother than the X1, but the Anniversary also draws more brightness from its stronger upper mids.  As a result the X1 usually doesn't sound that much "brighter" in a comparison.  The Anniversary can even sound brighter on certain tracks depending on what's going on.  Also affecting the perception of brightness is the lesser bass quantity on the Anniversaries, which makes them sound flatter, while the stronger bass on the X1 adds more weight and warmth to the sound. 


Neither headphones treble or brightness sounds offensive to me.  Sibilance isn't a problem on either.


While the amount of air is close, I think X1 has just slightly more.  Although the Anniversaries have slightly warmer treble, I think their treble is also a bit more linear, rolling of more slowly as it extends into the highest frequencies - helping it keep similar air to the X1.   Q701 still clearly has more air then either of them and they are definitely brighter sounding headphone than the X1s - no doubt aided by their more prominent upper mid presence.


The X1s are NOT comparable to the DT990 and HE400 in terms of treble.  The DT990s will still sound sizzling hot next to the X1s.  The much better balanced HE400s are still a couple notches up from the X1 in treble.


I personally wouldn't mind slightly more treble and air from the X1 (same way I feel about the Anniversaries), but I also think it's pretty good as is and walks a safe middle ground.





For me, this is a VERY important aspect of sound.  In fact, it was pretty much THE determining factor on whether or not I would keep the X1s - I'm absolutely a soundstage whore, and I could care less about the rest of the X1s sound signature if it did it all with a small and claustrophobic soundstage.  Luckily the X1s soundstage and imaging were a pleasant surprise.  Both were better than I was expecting and they sealed the deal for me.

The soundstage is large and similar in size to the Anniversaries, although less intimate sounding.   This is sort of similar to the often used "closer to the stage Vs. a few rows back" description, but I think that phrasing is a little cliché and over generalized for describing a headphone's presentation.  Soundstage width is similar between the two.  The X1 may have a little advantage in depth - in part due to their less intimate nature.  Height is also fairly similar between the two, although the AKGs may have a slight advantage due to their larger sounding instruments.

The X1's imaging is quite good.  I was expecting the X1s imaging to be a bit diffuse and hazy, but it's surprisingly focused and sharp.  I actually find the X1's imaging to be a bit better than on the Anniversaries.  The X1's secret to pulling this off is its smaller less intimate sounding instruments.  They tend to make the X1's soundstage come across as being a bit more spacious and roomy then the Anniversaries - not necessarily larger, but roomier.   This is similar to the reason why the Q701's soundstage has an advantage over the Anniversary - but the X1s sound a lot more fun while doing it.  The different presentation seems to sharpen the imaging and improve the separation a little.  The extra roominess is more noticeable and appreciated when gaming then it is with stereo music.  In contrast to the X1s, the Anniversaries instruments are larger and more intimate sounding, and as a result things can occasionally sound more diffuse and crowded inside the soundstage.  As the size of the instruments increases, it often becomes more of a struggle for the headphone to keep an impression of soundstage size, space, and distance.  The Anniversaries fuller mids aren't helping anything either.  The Anniversaries larger more intimate sounding instruments can be a cool effect, and are often appreciated for music, but for gaming and movies the X1s seem to benefit a little more from their type of presentation.    

The Q701's soundstage still sounds a little larger and capable of placing things farther out, although a fair amount of that comes as a result of their lighter airier signature.  The instruments of course will "float" more on the Q701s, with there being less weight and low end to ground them.  


Overall I feel the X1's soundstage and imaging are both excellent, and are one of the X1's highlights.

More soundstage talk in the gaming section…



The X1s are probably the best overall gaming headphone I've personally heard.  I say this because they have the highest combination of "competitive" and "fun" abilities that I've heard in a single headphone. 

During my first initial listening session with the X1, I could tell the signature coming from them would be great for gaming, and they didn't disappoint.  The combination of a slightly fun-tilted signature with immersive bass, open soundstage, and clear imaging makes them almost specialized for gaming and movies.  The X1s work really well with Dolby Headphone, projecting a large and coherent soundstage without any abnormal jumps between sounds - objects pan smoothly around the soundstage and there's a good amount of spaciousness to be heard, which is surprising considering the warmth of the X1.

Earlier I mentioned that the X1s mids sometimes sound more distant when compared to the Anniversaries, but when gaming I want to hear space and distance - and the X1's can do this a bit better than the Anniversaries while still keeping a weighty sound.  The Anniversaries larger instruments and greater intimacy can sometimes throw you off on distance, occasionally making distant sounds seem a little bit closer than they do on the X1.

I prefer the X1s to the Anniversaries for fun and immersive gaming because they combine a more fun tilted signature along with a slightly roomier soundstage and slightly sharper imaging.  All three of those things improve the immersion for me.  With the Anniversaires, the full mids, natural timbre, refined sound, and larger sounding instruments all give it nice immersion as well.  But things like refinement and timbre are bit less important for gaming than they are for music, and I think the soundstage whore in me caves a bit to the X1's roomier soundstage and immersive bass.
As far as competitive gaming goes, if the X1s lose any points it's not because of their soundstage or imaging.  They are warm with a fun signature though, and the bass can be a problem at times - covering up subtle details in the mids (which are already more laid-back then the Anniversaries mids).  Running the X1s through a bass reducing EQ would probably help some for competitive gaming.  The Anniversaries are flatter and more balanced sounding, with more reserved bass and more obviously forward mids, which is an area where a lot of the competitive details lie.  The X1 do gain more soundstage points over the Anniversaries for sounding a little more spacious with sharper imaging - the Anniversaries soundstage sounds a tad more crowded and diffuse.  All in all, it's kind of impossible for headphones like the X1 to truly excel at competitive gaming, since the best headphones for that will always be the ones that focus on presenting just those fine details in the mids and highs (footsteps/reloading/etc.) while keeping the bass reserved and out of the way.  Still, I think the X1s do a damn good job of pulling off the best competitive ability that they can while still managing the fun signature that they do, so I don't fault them for any shortcomings in that area.

Overall I would rate the X1s competitive ability somewhat similarly to the Anniversaries.  When listening for positional cues and details with both of them, I hear a small soundstage/imaging advantage for the X1 but a signature advantage for the Anniversary.  I feel the two differences almost counterbalance each other, but the ultimate deciding factor may come down to the bass.  I won't quibble over the fine details though, as I usually reserve my competitive gaming for the Q701s.  They still hold a small competitive advantage over both the Anniversary and X1 due to their faster, lighter, clearer signature coupled with their open soundstage.  With my pair, I can also control their level of bass with a flick of a switch (literally).  For immersive gaming, while the Q701's open airy soundstage does gives them their own brand of immersion, they are lacking in weight and body next to the Anniversaries and X1s which ultimately puts them at a disadvantage.  Bass boosting them helps, but the mids will still lack some weight and body and they will still be on the dry side.  In my opinion, the X1s hold an edge over both AKGs in terms of fun factor and immersion.


I should mention for people who already own the Anniversaries...do keep in mind that they're already one of the best overall gaming headphone options out there.  While they now have some healthy competition in the X1, it's not like it's "on another level."  It's just a little different flavor of sound.  If the X1's sonic traits and signature described in this review sound appealing to you, then by all means check them out - but if you're going to stick with the Anniversary/Q701, they are also one of the best in this range. 

Overall the X1s are my top recommendation for all-around gaming headphone.  The Anniversaries are a very close second.  You may want to choose accordingly though, based on whether you would prefer a fun tilt or a balanced tilt.  The X1s are also a strong recommendation for movies and TV, which benefit from the same sonic traits that contribute to a more immersive gaming experience.





The X1s are solid recommendation in this price bracket.  I feel the X1s make a nice compliment to a flatter and more traditional "audiophile" headphone, but they're also balanced enough that they make for a very good all-purpose headphone on their own, with a special talent for games and movies.  They're also very comfortable, easy to drive, and are downright gorgeous looking.


As for the inevitable question of "which headphone is better" between the Anniversary and X1?  I really don't think you can generalize that one is "better" than the other, because they both go in two different directions (I feel that statement holds true for many other headphones as well).


To quote Mad Lust Envy:

"That's how I feel as well. Two different kinds of awesome.

The Annie is more balanced, the X1 is more fun. Both have their place, and both are special to me.

It's really apples vs oranges."


I can't fault the Anniversaries for being more balanced and I can't fault the X1s for being more fun.  One single headphone can't simultaneously be both flat and balanced AND bassy and fun.

That's why they compliment each other....and that's why I've kept them both.



My closing thoughts on the X1:

The X1 is an interesting headphone.  It's not the most refined and "audiophile" of headphones, and if you break down its sound into its individual elements and examine their technicalities, some of them may not come across as particularly impressive.  But what makes the X1 special is not its individual technicalities.  The X1 strives to be a Jack of all trades, and I don't mean that in a bad way.  It's a headphone that ambitiously tries to combine some of the best traits from other headphones together - and for the most part, it succeeds.  It's able to pull off a spacious sounding soundstage and a warm fun bass-infused signature simultaneously - all while sounding surprisingly balanced overall. In short, the X1 is a headphone where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and if you're willing to take a step back and accept the small compromises it makes along the way, you're in for one of the more fun and enjoyable listening experiences this price bracket has to offer.


IMO.  wink.gif


Pros: Looks, comfort, detail, detachable cable, sound, build quality

Cons: Stock cord isn't great (build is great but since its woven can cause noise artifacts when something touches it)

Once you take these out of the box you see how high quality they are. The metal on on the ear cups, the grate on the cups that's also made of metal. Then the headband made of leather, overall excellent build quality. Then the sound, just wow they sound great for all music. They have a warm relaxing sound for easy long listening. Would totally recommend to someone who has treble sensitivity because these don't feel irritating at all the music I have tried on them (Jazz, EDM, House, Experimental electronic, Blues, Folk).




Comfort- Excellent


Sound- Excellent





If you have an opportunity to buy them do it you will have no regrets happy listening :happy_face1: 


Pros: Great bass, great soundstage, great sound overall

Cons: None for me

People here are saying these sound artificial, they have too much bass, treble is weird or whatever.

Truth is, these are my perfect headphone, and if you're someone like me, who isn't a seasoned audiophile, and doesn't care about the sound maybe, possibly not being 100% natural and neutral, you're gonna love these!


These have the wow-factor. They sound great. They sound fun! And that's what I want from my headphones - they need to make me want to listen to them. And these just do. If they sound unnatural (which I'm not convinced they do) to achieve this - fine by me. Just make my music sound awesome. And these do exactly that.


Bass ir strong. Are these heavy bass cans? I say no - most of the bass is located low down. They do have an emphasis on sub bass and the kick you get from these, when the music calls for it, is fantastic. No mid bass / high bass bloat. Bass sounds clean and controlled. And powerful.

There's a hint of some treble spark. It's just a little (and perfectly IMHO) elevated.

Mids may be recessed somewhat compared to treble and bass, but they're still upfront and never sound dark.

And then there's the soundstage. So much wider and more open than other cans I've tried. The instruments are playing all around you, rather than inside your head.


The only thing these are a little lacking for me is "opennness". These are not transparent on your ears - they do isolate quite a bit of sound. With no music playing, you can still hear your own voice and your surroundings, but once the music starts playing, the rest completely disappears. But this is just a minor gripe.

Easy to drive, comfortable, great looking, well built. Got one of the last pairs on Amazon.co.uk for 180 pounds and couldn't be happier with my purchase. Gaming, music, movies - these do it all.


P.S. You're not taking these outside - they're not portable, they have retardo-huge earcups and are not that easy to drive. My phone can push them, but to fairly low levels and not enough to drown out background noise, since these are open.


Pros: Extraordinary musical, strikingly lively, huge soundstage, excellent balanced, superior detailed, outstanding comfortable

Cons: Not replaceable ear pads, the cable tends to swirl a bit too much

Audio impressions in music

Many reviewers already wonderfully described everything what is needed to know, so I will try to use a bit different approach.


Namely, does the Philips Fidelio need the headphone amplifier or not, as they have just 30 ohms, what doesn’t demand really serious amplification.


1. Testing with different equipment from just PC, to integrated amplifier and separate external DAC and headphone amp

Philips Fidelio X1 is always keeping their main characteristics, but the presence of those characteristics is significantly changing with use of following equipment:

- when plugged just into PC everything appear as from distance (not present enough), as if you will sitting outside of concert hall and listening to music. Although Fidelio X1 doesn’t need that much of amplification, you can hear, that just a little bit more juice greatly improves entire sound image.


- when plugged into external DAC (without any amplifier, either big integrated one, nor small headphone amplifier) you are definitely getting more quality sound (more resolution and fine details), than just plugged into PC, but there is still this feeling that everything appear as from distance, as if you will sitting outside of concert hall and listening to music.

- when plugged into integrated amplifier, who is not made specifically for headphones (without DAC), you are immediately getting over-emphasized presence, what is literary like day and night difference compared to plugged just in PC or laptop. So you are getting intensity of Fidelio X1 characteristics, but not right away all positive qualities.

- when plugged in integrated amplifier (who is not made specifically for headphones) and external DAC you are starting to get positive qualities of Fidelio X1, but there is still everything very over-emphasized (intensity is still not enough balanced with the quality of sound).

- when plugged into dedicated headphone amplifier (without DAC) you are finally starting to get proper balanced details with appropriate presence of sound, which is not too much and not too little intensive. Fidelio X1 really doesn’t need a lot of amplification, as it has just 30 ohms, so even a little external headphone amplifier is already making a big difference. But without DAC there is still missing the fine resolution of sound, what you will never know until you won’t try it out.

- when plugged into combination of external DAC and headphone amplifier you are “on horse”, sort of speak. You are finally starting to get out the whole potential of Fidelio X1 in balanced presence of intensity and quality.
I’m using Epiphany Acoustics E-DAC and Beresford Capella headphone amplifier.


The difference in intensity and quality is surprisingly obvious, even in those basic options. So it’s really worth to try out all those options for your self.


2. Testing with different analogue cables (for connecting external DAC and headphone amplifier)

I was testing with four different analogue cables between DAC and headphone amplifier. I just kept the same USB cable. It was always entry level AudioQuest Tower 2.0 USB cable.


Up until now I didn’t know that you can actually make so much difference just with changing the “passive” analogue cable, but once I connect the DAC and headphone amplifier with Dynamique Audio NEO 2 the Philips Fidelio X1 literary start to shine like superstar. All positive characteristics of Fidelio X1 were presented in extremely rich enjoyable sound image, which was never too much intrusive. So after 5 months of usage I’m again rediscovering the Fidelio X1 as simply amazingly excellent headphones.


First very obvious impression was, that “there” and “here” was much more organically interconnected. It wasn’t just big sound-stage and then musical tons hanging on different positions. They were going into each another, but still keeping enough room for identification of position.


Increased level of details was amazing, but always enough balanced, never intrusive.


I was getting the impression that Dynamique Audio NEO 2 and Philips Fidelio X1 are made for each another, as Dynamique Audio NEO 2 is smooth and very kind to details and Philips Fidelio X1 is very musical. So they were literary playing with each another, creating the surplus of enjoyment in music. In this sense you can’t speak about neutrality, but in the same time you can’t say that there is too much of bass or too much of mid-range or too much of higher frequencies. Everything was nicely balanced, with addition of additional flair. I was getting the impression that everything is sparkling with liveliness.


I find very nice, that even “up front” feeling of Fidelio X1 was balanced as well. So the characteristics of Philips Fidelio X1 were even more emphasized in all their positive aspects, while all “negative” aspects were in this case “balanced away”. That’s a point, when you start to feel “milk and honey” in you mouths.


Audio impressions in movies

The increased level of details in movies is simply amazing. Especially once I start using the Dynamique Audio NEO 2 analogue cable. It’s literary as having 3D sound.


I really mean it when I said, that the Philips Fidelio X1 is embodiment of outstanding musical headphones. So if you prefer to be engaged into music and movies, this are very much “perfect all-round” headphones.



Pros: Expansive Sound Stage, Amazing Treble and Midrange, Booming Bass.

Cons: Non-removable earcups, bass is slightly lower than closed ear.

 My goal was to get close to theater like experience, this got me in the seat. It's amazing. I picked mine up for ~$150 during a sale and I would reccomend these up till $200, but go for the improved X2 for $250 if the X1 is over $200.

These headphones exude premium quality from the get go. Everything from the box, to the headphone comfort, to the sound. They managed to put in the perfect mix of aluminum metal and lightweight plastic where it seems like the whole can is made of aluminum. Keeps the weight manageable while still very durable.

Sound Stage: The X1 has amazing treble and mid levels sounds, and the bass is strong once it's been burned in. It's not as powerful as the closed can designs but for the under $250 price range you can't beat this cans clarity. I'm not an audiophile but even I appreciate the depth of the sound stage.

Leakage: This is some leakage due to the open can design, but compared to even the closed can HD439's it leaks a lot less. So it's a heighly efficient design.

Cord: Use the Anker 3.5mm at $5 shipped. Best cable for the x1 under 20 dollars shipped.A cable is a cable but this does improve the bass a little bit.

Drawbacks: Non-removable earcups means I'll probably be having trouble a few years down. I haven't had bleeding ear cups yet but I've read it's an issue down the line. Hasn't happened to me as of yet.


Pros: Bass! Airy, wide soundstage, neutral mids, sparkly highs, comfortable

Cons: Some may like more forward mids

I just bought these for £100 secondhand off ebay and I don't think I will get any better for the price, although I have not auditioned the AKG K612.  Bass is punchy, detailed, well textured.  Mids are very smooth, neutral, no spikes whatsoever, highs are sparkly and just right in the mix.  Overall, the detail level is great, clarity is of a high standard as you would expect and the speed response is great.  The soundstage is so airy and wide it really makes for a dreamy wonderful experience and especially with the low to mid bass response which fills the sound in beautifully.  The pads are so lush and comfortable with the velour padding, these feel as good as they sound!  Overall the X1s sound expensive and refined and they are definitely keepers.


Pros: Open, Rich, Natural, Warm, No Sibilance, Imaging, Balance, Comfort and Price considering :)

Cons: Non replaceable ear-pads :(

Warm, Entertaining And Yet Very Refined And Revealing...


If this is what you looking for, stop reading this review and go out buying one of these! 

( The product was tested at 249,99$ ) 

Because this is simply one of the most enjoyable headphones beneath the 500$ mark. The Philips Fidelio X1 was released by Philips Home Audio department in 2012 and had since then quite the fanbase and many great reviews. 


With the Philips X1s, Philips was trying to bring their first true high-end headphone to the market, for critical home listening. Most of their prior products were based on either fashion designs or "mid-fi" headphones, that were mostly meant for mobile use. Not so with this one though... Philips made a big and important first step into the fields of audiophiles and did so with ease. 3 years ago you didnt even really know that Philips made headphones, nor did you ever consider them doing something in that direction. The only ever reoccurring names were Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic and AKG, when it came to european high-end headphones. Now Philips made a name for them selfs and a product that could make it self legend under the enthusiasts, just like The Sennheiser HD6xx line or the AKG K701s did and im going to tell you why.

Build : Like A Tank!

Right out the bat, youll notice that this is truly a premium product. Its made out of many metal parts (Aluminum) and some very high quality plastic, such as in the inner earcup design. The cable has also partial metal parts and seems to be very high quality and quite sturdy overall. Everything looks in place and quite beautiful with this one, the ear pads are very plush and have some medium density memory foam inside, which makes them very comfortable, but more on that later! The top headband is made out of leather and has metal rails inside for extra durability, while the extension itself is more of a self adjusting design ( similar to AKGs ) and is also quite plush and very unique in its material. To put it short, for under 300$ i have never seen a headphone so well put together and of such quality materials. 



Comfort : Like A Feather With Some Tank Issues!

These headphones are amazingly comfortable and that even for longer periods of time. I often found my self forgetting that i had them on sitting at home listening to music for several hours. But not only music, they did also prove themselves to be quite a treat for gaming and movies of all sorts. The Headband is so light on your head, but with just enough tension, to never slip down on your ears. Same goes for the earpads, they are so amazingly comfortable and plush, that sometime i just wanted to put them on to have that feel again. The headphones also do keep you ears quite cool allowing air to flow in and out of the headphone. This makes them of course unsuitable for mobile use out and about, or for listening in loud enviroments. But Philips didnt advertise to be that, they advertise these headphones as home listening headphones and they are exactly that! The only slight criticism id state on the comfort is, that these headphones are somewhat heavy, because of their many metal parts. Not to the point of really annoying me, but i could see why some people may think them to be uncomfortable for that. With 336g they are not the lightes headphones in the world and compared to my Sony MA900s, they are a tank... But as stated above, this may only apply to some persons, mostly young folk with tiny necks ;) Still this takes some of the score.



Sound : Impactful And Revealing. Smooth Yet Entertaining!

This headphone is Gold! It does something that most other high-end headphones cant... Sheer musical pleasure! The Bass hits hard and tight when asked to and the Mids stay really neutral and present in the mix while the Treble does have  sparkle, but knows how to behave himself. The Soundstage doesnt fall short either. Sound to good to be true? Well it definitely is!


The sound of the Fidelio X1 is just amazing, everyone who listens to a wide variety of genres will be quite happy with this headphone. It delivers a pretty flat response, with a warm and also quite open retrieval. Bass is slightly emphasized, yet never to much. Its tight and very well defined, during testing the bass could impress acoustically and with synths without a problem, its simply a very impactful and refined bass that really grabs you! The mids are also really smooth and present, they are very detailed and project vocals and mid subtleties amazingly natural and exciting, while the highs are also really detailed and well extended, but also very, very smooth sounding and at no times fatiguing, unless it is supposed to, like withing games or movie, where there are gunshots and similar effect, which are supposed to sound hard to your ears. It also sounds very open and spacious, with great depth and positional cues, which really tends to impress during live concerts, acoustical music or games and movie. Only downside to the sound would be that it is not completely neutral and therefore not perfect for mixing purposes, but for enjoying music, it is definitely a winner!


Sound : 9.5/10




The Philips X1 is one of the most impressive headphones under the 500$ mark and easily compares with Sennheiser HD600 line (More so with the HD650), AKGs K700 series, Beyerdynamic DT and T series, as well as with Sonys flagship the MA900. The MA900 may have the better soundstage and the HD650 some more detail in the midrange, but overall the X1s have their own signatur and live up to the hype. 


Final Score : 9.75 - Amazing!   



Pros: Euphonic fun headphone that works well for most genres of music and represents very good value for the price

Cons: Earpads not user replaceable, need to swap stock cable

The X1 does many things quite well and blends them together to produce a consistently pleasurable listening experience.


Bass is excellent for an open dynamic headphone, but not excessive, and blends well.


Overall tone is a bit warm, but not overpoweringly so (less so than an HD650). Detail is good (not excellent), but these are not analytical headphones.


Works well across many genres of music, but is weakest at rock - still pretty good but shines on EDM, Jazz, Bluegrass.


Large, plush velour earpads are quite comfortable, Sony MA-900s are the only headphones I have owned that are more comfortable (MA-900s are INSANELY light and comfortable, highly recommended for anyone picky on fit).


Not picky to amp.


My favorite headphone for extended listening sessions.


An excellent value at about USD $230.


Two downsides - the earpads are not user replaceable - I believe they are glued on. At a cost of >$200 that is a bit annoying. Also, it is generally recommended to replace the included cable due to its high impedance (about $10).


Easy to give 5 stars to at this price point.


Pros: Soundstage, construction, bass, mids, treble, musicality, accuracy

Cons: Non-replaceable pads!

What can I say about this headphone that hasn't been said? I just know that all the stupid things about it - the cable with stupid resistance, the non-replaceable pads, the strange headband, the fact that they probably aren't making it any more - all of those things just fade away when you put them on.


They're accurate. Sure, not totally accurate - not like my K550s or HD598s - but an accurate that adds enough excitement to make good music fun. Isn't that what this is all about? I had Mad Dogs for a while, and have nothing but love and respect for those little monsters, but these have all the good parts of the Mad Dog with almost none of the bad. More soundstage. Airy-er treble. Just awesome.


It boils down to this - you can get an HD600 or an HD800 or an AKG K701 and sit and be very proud of your lack of distortion and your oh-so-accurate sound, and I'll respect and like you for that. That's a fine a noble aim. But this headphone makes me smile. It makes me bob in my seat and dance along and act like a moron. Plus, if I DO want to hear every little detail, I just listen for them, and I can. They have the musicality of my old Momentums, some of the accuracy of the K550 and DT1350, some of the space of the HD598, and a beauty all their own.


Sorry, but I can't make it more clear than that. Just go buy the things before they don't make 'em anymore.


Pros: Comfortable for big ears. Exciting sound, great soundstage, clean bass. Easy to drive.

Cons: Non-user replaceable pads. Leaky sound for some.

I highly recommend these for anyone that wants bass and soundstage. They deliver both flawlessly.


Yes, there are more accurate headphones, and more thumpy headphones, but this strikes the perfect middle ground.


If any weakness exists, it is in vocal music, the likes of Norah Jones.


The bass is there, never gets in the way.


In short, these are unique. They sound unlike anything I have heard, and do so in a way that sets them apart, on a pedestal no-one else seems to be interested in: Best Listening Cans. They aren't analytical in any way, they are just accurate enough to feel right, but do their thing impressively well.

Philips Fidelio X1

High fidelity, premium quality Enjoy music at home - Acoustic open-back design - Breathable velvet cushions - Double layered ear-shells

Cord TypeDetachable Oxygen free cable (3m)
Driver Type50mm neodymium drivers
Connector Type1/4" gold plated (3.5mm adapter included)
Impedance30 Ω
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Fidelio X1X1/00692341015859
Fidelio X1X1/28609585232945
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