Originally Posted by LolaPalocz
I've been using these Philips Fidelio S1 for the last 10 days, and feel like joining head-fi and sharing some impressions (and make this thread alive).
* A bit of context, about me and my experience
I'm no audiophile, I entered this game of earphones 6 months ago, after quite a year without listening to music at home because of obnoxious neighbours polluting with their music and heels any of my attempts at listening to music on speakers.
Got first a bose qc15, which managed to anihilate these neigbours (still using them for movies, not so much for music), but felt the need to get some more confortable IEM for listening at night and maybe sleep on the side with them.
Over these months and countless hours reading reviews here, I tried : Meelectronics M6, Soundmagic PL50 and E10, JVC HA-NCX78, HA-FX67, HA-EX5B, HA-FX8, Sennheiser CX300ii and CX200ii, T-Jays Three, Philips SHE3590.
Mostly 10-50$ earphones. Never felt like risking more.
Sound quality was ok for me with all of these (except PL50 lacking bass, E10 being too dark, cx300 being too muddy).
I listen to electronica, jazz, classical, but my main music while testing was ambient, non distracting (but nevertheless interesting) music to block out other noises and allow sleeping or focusing on reading, etc... The lack of bass kills this effect (the pl50 was the most confortable of all, but this music was lacking body with them).
I had more concerns with practicality issues : friendly cables (too stiff on the soundmagics, crappy on sennheisers and she3590), cable length (120cm is too long, 70cm is ideal for me, have to be able to braid them), stable fit and low profile to be able to sleep on the side with them, tip confort...
Among all these, my favorites are the M6 : wonderful cable, low profile, favorite sound signature (no eq needed), but yet a bit unconfortable to sleep on the side with them.
Still using the T-Jays Three for that (so-so cable, but short, hurts when wore cable down, but wonderful cables over ears for sleeping, even if channels inverted, eq needed).
So, i was quite happy with the M6.
But while reading some reviews here, I felt like trying some upper-fi phones, to get a touch of high quality sound. Candidates were the Vsonic GR07 and Hifiman RE-400. Then came joker's review of the Philips Fidelio S1 and S2. These were a lot easier to get here in France, so got a S1 at a shop nearby. Wasnt expecting to keep and like them (looked too big, obviously not candidates for sleeping on the side, long cable, semi-opened, probably low isolation...).
I expected only to get a feel of quality sound, and that I would decide there wasnt any much differences for me with the M6 I love, and that I would be fine and stick to the M6 and stopped looking for other things.
Well, I'm no more using the M6.
* Ergonomy and practicality impressions
I've read people having problems with the seal. I had them too the first days. I always use medium sized tips. Tried them with the S1 : stock medium tips, sony hybrids, others : the seal was loose, always feeling the need to re-adjust, the large body felt unconforatble with its contact with the back of the ear.
Tried some Comply T200 : the seal was fine, but i dont like much having these comply tips filling the whole ear.
I then tried the large stock tips (and other large tips, but the stock ones are the best), and well, I've used them for a week and it's now the most confortable IEM I have.
I just pop them in like earbuds, no need to push them into the ear : the body sits into the external ear, and the large tips naturally seal the ear entrance, like a cone meeting a cylinder : the contact surface may be smaller than the cylinder against cylinder contact one usually gets when pushing a tip into the ear entrance, but in the end, it feels really confortable (i'm always a bit irritated after some time by the contact between the top of a tip and the flat bottom of the ear entrance, where the ear canal makes a turn). It's the best seal I've had in regards to moving : I can frown, open big my mouth, make faces, the seal stays! And they are easy to pop out and back.
Also, the big body that bothered me the first days does not anymore. I guess the pressure is now distributed between the seal and the body, so it's fine (I mostly forget i have them in the ears, no need to touch them for hours, only sometimes getting the feeling of having these big things in my ears).
Isolation is quite ok (on par with m6 with stock tips or sony hybrids, on par with comply tips on various other iems, better than soundmagic e10, which must be more than semi-opened to be so non-isolating).
The flat cable is nice, very flexible, wraps around my neck like a clothe or soft leather (can't be braided to be shortened, so I use it like that). It can tangle, but it rolls and wraps nicely without any memory effect.
Used them on a clip+ that has some hardware defect, that makes a small one seconde noise every 1/2 minute when rockbox reads and buffers data from storage. I've been using a 150ohm impedance adapter to get rid of it. Good news with the S1 : it's the only iem i have that dont need this adapter.
My other device is a sony mw600 bluetooth receiver that gets audio streamed from linux players, and that device has a quite important hiss when streaming (hiss stops 2 secondes after audio streaming is stopped) : unfortunatly, I still need that impedance adapter with the S1.
Anyway, it's better than all the others iems i have regarding hiss.
* About the sound.
As stated, i'm no audiophile, and dont feel at ease with all your vocabulary :) So please, feel free to put names onto my impressions.
I can't tell my mids from my treebles :) But I can tell about the bass, and I really like it on the S1. It's full and present, not muddy at all, and I may now understand a bit about what people call "bass texture", i now hear different kind of bass :). Compared to the other iems I have, quantity is along the lines of the M6, may be a bit more. It's there and really present, but always bearable (unlike the T-Jays Three or Philips SHE3590 where bass is often unbearable).
The overall sound is balanced, like I like it on the M6. I feel the E10 to be too dark, the PL50 lacking bass and having bothering pics in the treebles. None of that with the S1, it's smooth and pleasurable.
There is less raw excitement than with the she3590, but it's better for long term listening (never felt the need to skip a track).
One strange thing is that on some tracks (solo or prepared piano, mono-layered ambient drones), the sound feels "remote", like coming from a distant room, like if there was some kind of reverberation. The sound is here in my head, volume is there, but I often feel the need to push the volume up to get a feeling of fullness. It's sometimes frustrating. I like these musics better with the other more straightfoward iems.
But on well produced, multi-layered tracks (pop, full electronica, jazz trios and more - not so much with orchestral classical), that same characteristic adds, i think, an other dimension, layers of music, really exciting ! It's like coming from mono to stereo :) Could that be what people call "soundstage depth" (I can't say it's wide : the sound is still in my head) ? Or is that "airyness" ? Or just better treebles ?
Or maybe that feeling of distance is there in the tracks, and just does not reveal itself with other less quality iems ?
It's a feeling I never had with my other iems. Is that the typical sound of opened cans ? (i think all those iems i have are closed back, and the only headphone i have is the qc15, thus closed).
Would really like to have answers to these questions, thank you :)
Another thing that may be related : I never really enjoyed jazz tracks where some instruments are stuck to one channel (ie: bass on the left, piano on the right). These are more enjoyable on these Fidelio.
Overall, I'm really happy with them. Just wanted to share that.