Philips Fidelio L1

  1. AlfredKeppler
    Outstanding build quality, good overall sound
    Written by AlfredKeppler
    Published May 13, 2014
    Pros - excellent build quality, detachable cable, comfortable, good bass,
    Cons - parts not changeable, carpet in lower highs, too low clamping force (moves on head)
    I bought this cans because I needed a pair of headphones for outside mobile use with a normal phone/mp3-player. As such, the design and build quality were the most important factors to decide.
    In this regards, the Fidelio L1 is an excellenct choice, as they are beautiful and have a very solid feel to it - everything on this headphone consists of either metal or leather. The leather ear feels very soft and plushy, but not as plushy and comfortable as for example the Beyerdynamic DT series' velour pads - they do get warm on the ears after some while, but that is a general disadvantage of non-pervorated leather materials. The clamping force is quite nice after some time, but it could be a bit more of it, as they move around on my head when I do rapid head movements - they tend to either slide into my neck or into my face - this is one of the major disadvantages in my opinion.
    They isolate quite well against the outside world, considering the mesh structure on the outside of the earpads. Sound leakage into the outside world is also low - up to no-existance at my personal hearing levels (I asked a friend sitting 50 cm away from me in a quiet surrounding).
    However, this cans aren't the most physically portable out there. The cable is detachable (it comes with 2x 1m long cables, one of them with a 3 button cable remote), but it tends to coil itself up and to entangle horribly. Tee soft bag feels good put doesn't protect the cans at all - it's just a means of transportation. It's quite bulky to transport on its own because it can't be folded up like some portable cans do. However, the ear pads swifle, so they can be placed around  the neck and get out of the way easily.

    They sound like typical semi-open cans, without the feeling of being closed in, but not with a particular amazing sound stage. The bass response is rich without being over the top and relatively warm sounding - the bass blends well with the low mids without sound peaks, but lack a bit of really deep bass in my opinion. However, there is a "carpet sound" right at the frequencies of normal human speech - that leads to a relatively long time until one gets used to it's sound, but it doesn't affect my listening experience too much once I get used to it. However, this characteristic is this pair of headphones' major flaw and could be the major reason not to buy this pair (at least, not as the primary one) - but you should check for yourself if you don't mind it, like it or hate it. The treble is there clearly and not too aggressive or pronounced.
    They are very easy to drive, because the have "just" 32 Ohms impedance (I'm used to 250+ ohms from my Beyer and old AKG cans) and are quite efficient. They don't profit from a headphone amp at all (unlike the former named ones) and can be easily driven off of any clean (they pick up hissing noises quite well, but not as good as IEMs, of course) "normal use" sources, like phone and mp3 player headphone jacks.
    Overall, I use them as my smartphone pair of headphones. They are fun to listen to but not too revealing and detailed. They are exceptionally good for a wide range of musical genres (I listenen to Prog Rock/Metal, Classical, Rock and Metal, Jazz and a variety of electronical genres, in this order) and for multimedia use. The major setback with these is the uneven response I described as "carpet", but I get used to it in about 5-20 minutes every time. I wouldn't buy them for the 180€ they cost on Amazon; watch out for used ones or special sales for about 120€,  that would make a good deal that I could recommend at least trying for everyone.
  2. Trunks159
    Great Design, OK Overall
    Written by Trunks159
    Published Apr 29, 2013
    Pros - Excellent SQ, beautiful design, very affordable (for some)
    Cons - Bass can at times creep up on the mids, Isolation
    Here Goes My First Head-Fi Review!​
    1. Just to let you know what your getting into, these don’t NEED an amp, but they do like em’.  Don’t worry about amping because you don’t need it, it’ll be a little quiet though. 
    2. They are semi-open.
    3. 26ohms
    4. Emphasize the bass (don’t all portable cans do that?)
    Build- 7/7- Absolutely fantastic build.  The headband is real leather (or at least the top that is pressed with Philips on top of it), and the build is conposed mostly of metal.  The wire is covered in fabric.  I actually pulled the earcups to a 180° angle to both test the build and improve clamping pressure.
    Comfort- 9/12- The first time you put them on, you’ll notice the brutal clamping pressure, and im someone who thinks the dt770s are a little light at times with the clamp.  Now all you have to do is stretch the hell out of the headband and you’ll get very favoring results, but right now they do clamp quite a bit.
    Looks-1.75/2-  Theres no reason to have this section but I’ll throw it in there anyway.  They look great, its just the cord that sticks fron the top of the cans can look a little goofy, but I still like em’.  I still think the black momentum(don’t have) looks the best, followed by the MDR 1R(do have).
    Isolation-4/6-Compared to the 1rs, these do have a little less isolation, since they are semi-open.  The isolation is just enough for me to use on the train and bus, but i do loose the bass.  These isolate just enough for me to hear people talk to me, when the music is played low, which i love!  The isolation will not be a turn off if you know what your getting into.
    Bass- 9/10-The bass is pumping!  I like it for dance/electronic and rap, r&b, and pop music. The bass is emphasized, but I don’t think it’s crazy bass.  It’s very tight and quick, and it goes down deep.  Its tighter aand deeper than the 1r’s bass, and just tighter than the dt770’s (80 ohm).
    Mids- 7.5/10- I’m not gojng to say they’re crystal clear mids because their not.  They are pushed back a tiny bit, but move up as you burn them in.  The sound is very smooth and warm, and the upper bass does interfere with the lower mids.  Eq fixes the hell out of it though!
    Highs-8.5/10- You know, iI’ve never been able to succefully attampt talikg about the highs.  All I know is that they’re not emphasized, or recessed.  I do boost them because i’m a bit of a treble head, and i just like the air  and space it can give some headphones.  They’re very even sounding, but I don’t even know how high they extend or anything.  I just like them more than the MA900s and 1r’s highs.
    With eq, these can become just a different set of cans.  The soundstage expands, and they no longer sound congested.
    The MA900s have better, clearer mids and a wider and deeper soundstage, the the l1s have better highs and bass extension (and quantity).
    The 1r’s… The 1rs are just more upfront…  More up close and personal.  The bass I think at least isn’t as solid or deep  as the l1s, and the highs are around the same level.  The L1s are a little clearer though and have a deeper doundstage, at least with eq. It does depend on what you looking for.
    I just flat out am not a fan of the dt770s.
    The ma900s trash all cans in comfort, and the 1rs are a little behind it.
    This is all just coming out a a sansa clip zip, ipod touch 4g, galaxy player 5, or ipad 2, plus a fiio e6.  No super huge power requirements.
    I overall enjoy these cans and they work well with my 1rs and ma900s.
    They get 46.75/57  which is about 82%.
    Update:  The comfort didn't increase, and as time goes on, I've started to dislike these.  The bass simply isn't tight enough.
    Update 2:  These don't really compete well with other portables.
      SleeStack1 likes this.
    1. holyangel117
      How does this compare to the PSB M4U 1?
      holyangel117, Dec 2, 2013
    2. Trunks159
      Not very well at all.
      Trunks159, Dec 7, 2013
    3. holyangel117
      What about in terms of sound quality?
      holyangel117, Dec 10, 2013
  3. abmannetje
    Good to see, great to hear
    Written by abmannetje
    Published Mar 29, 2013
    Pros - Great sound experience; Comfortable and easy to use; Nice and solid finish; Everything seems to be just correct; 3 button usage mounted in the cable;
    Cons - Maybe leather is not the best material if you are using this device on your bike, in the pouring rain.; The soft travelbag might not be the best prot
    I was given the chance to test the new Philips Fidelio L1 For "The Insiders".
    I had been looking for a new headphone set to replace my old In-ears. It needed to comply with a few demands: 1) I do not want to be disturbed by the chatter noise of my colleagues when I'm being all focussed at work and 2) I don't want toe disturb my colleagues with my music when I’m listening to noise they don’t like.
    3) I also don’t want to have that fatigue feeling, which one sometimes can have after using those in-ears for a long period. And 4) the headphone set has to fit within my backpack, along with all my other stuff.
    The L1 looks great, it really does and has really handy features, like the connector-plug close to the headphone, and a cable with a volume and pause-button. A second cable with a removable big-plug, twistable ear shells for transportation and (also important) a sublime sound. It looks really nice with the black and aluminium parts and the fine Italian leather. The head mount fits really good without a pressing feeling, and is easily to adjust to the correct size without sliding back to the former position. The cushions are made of memory-foam and fit very well around the ears, where they seal off the background noise better then I expected. The connector which is about 10 cm below the left shell is made to release tension on the cable if necessary. Mounted in one of the two included cables is a three-button-usage which supports Apple devices for volume and pause.

    After having used the headphones for several full days now, I must say I didn’t feel any discomfort, unless I must admir my ears are getting warmer after a couple of hours. But I like to think that goes for all over-ears headphones. I did not receive any comment from my colleagues about my taste of music and I wasn’t disturbed by background noises. I must admit hearing things in the music of which I didn’t now they were there, it is like experiencing the music again, and that is something I really like, like the music is being surrounded inside my head.
    The three button usage in the cable is actually more. It controles the volume. Can make your music pause and continue and can make you skip a track forward.On the backside there is a small pinhole size microphone.
    I am originated in the primal years of portable music devices, and I am used to headphones being as small as possible, so for me this is an unusual large format for a set of headphones. However, compared with the headphones available on the market at present day, the Philips Fidelio L1 fits quite perfect. The L1 is said being perfect for on-the-go as well as good to use at the office or at home. Being on a bike, I think it blocks too much of the traffic noise to navigate safely, but while using transport transportation, I think it is good to use for blocking neighbour noise, where as your neighbour don't need to get bothered by your music.

    -         Great sound experience
    -         Comfortable and easy to use
    -         Nice and solid finish
    -         Everything seems to be just correct
    -         3 button usage mounted in the cable
    -         Very complete set
    -         Maybe leather is not the best material if you are using this device on your bike, in the pouring rain.
    -         The soft travelbag might not be the best protection
    My conclusion: a nice device, with a lot of good properties. For users who, like myself, don’t have an absolute hearing this is a very good headphone.  
    And to the customer who has added some comment below: I am not working for Philips, actually I work for the Netherlands Government, making ships navigate safely through our waters, but thans, I see your opinion as a compliment for my skill as a professionel writer. I have writen the review from my user-point-of-view. 

    1. customer
      That one is for sure written by someone from Phillips themselves, for sure. A billion dollar company has enough with 4 writers to work 40 hours a week on creating fake names and e-mail addresses to write fake positive reviews allover the internet. The Phillips L1 is great headphone if you want to go deepsea diving and need to get used to high ear pressure as the phillips as way way too much bass.,
      customer, Mar 30, 2013
  4. RoMee
    From a basshead's point of view
    Written by RoMee
    Published Jan 24, 2013
    Pros - Durable, not too bulky, great all arounder
    Cons - Could use a little sparkle in the highs and needs to be amped to shine
    I'm gonna write a quick impression since there isn't too many information and/or reviews on this headphone, especially from a basshead.
    This is just my opinion and is based on my preference. I'm a basshead but my demand for bass is not what it used to be. Bass is still my top criteria when purchasing headphones followed by curiosity.

    To start, these are great looking headphones, they're built really good and it's one of the more durable headphones I've ever had. They are also very comfortable and are not too bulky.
    I listen to mostly edm, rap, than indie rock and country. To my ears this headphone works great with all these genre of music. For rap I just turn up the bass on my FiiO E11 to 2 and it gives me enough bass and impact. Bass hits hard when the track calls for it and behaves when it don't. The bass quantity is probably a couple of notches above entry level bass for bassheads. If you're new or is still in the "Beats phase" where you want a huge amount of bass this is not the headphone for you. The bass on this headphone is more for the seasoned basshead who has learned to appreciate good controlled bass while sacrificing a little bit of quantity for quality.
    The mids are pretty good for me, vocals are great and forward, but sometime it does get a bit shouty at high volume, but only on some track.
    The highs could use some sparkle and this will probably be the reason why some might not like this headphone. I like warm/dark sounding headphones so this don't really bother me.
    The only major issues for me would be the non-replaceable ear pads, I would really hate to trash these just because the ear pads are worn. 
    This isn't the best sounding headphone I've had or heard but for some reason I can't seem to stop using them. With good imaging and above average soundstage, I use them for everything, gaming, movies, music, portable, etc. This is probably the only headphone I would never sell and would re-buy if it breaks. I bought these on sale for $152 shipped, and at this price it's a steal and is well worth the $249-$299 msrp.
  5. Nordwestlicht
    Very disappointed by the Fidelio L1
    Written by Nordwestlicht
    Published Aug 13, 2012
    Pros - COMFORT
    A picture taken on just a normal Headphones-Testing-Day™
    The L1 is in the second row, the third can from the left, between the D5000 and DT770 Edition.
    About the L1:
    + very tight seductive bass
    + really enjoyable wearing comfort (memory foam pads)
    + relatively good build quality and materials (metal, leather)
    + good isolation for a semi-open can
    + no piercing highs
    o nice and classy design with kind of an aggressive optical approach
    o for some too much bass
    o not balanced sounding
    o very dark and slightly full sounding
    o rolled off highs
    o overall lower mid-fi sound
    o medium large soundstage
    THE BAD:
    - wearing parts like the ear pads are not replaceable
    (environmentally and economically very bad, as you can literally throw the L1 away, after the pads are worn down, if you won't/can't find a DIY-method until then, to fix it -
    - slightly metallic resonances in the bass
    - nasal sound because of its 2kHz-peak
    - the cable transmits much structure-borne sound
    - too expansive for its performance
    - overall unnatural sound
    - veiled and muddy midrange
    - there's nothing to see in the highs
    - very bad instrument separation
    - far away from a hi-fi sound (not enough detail information in the sound, etc.)
    - no fun at all because of its flaws
    - lubricant on the aluminium hinge
    - "Made in China" (instead of e.g. "Made in Holland")
    - too expansive, because even the Creative Aurvana Live! or Superlux HD668B offer an overall better sound for much less money
    These headphones are one of my biggest disappointments in my history of headphones since the 1990s. Shame on you, my Dutch neighbors at Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.!
    I had them twice, to find out, whether something was wrong with my first pair.
    But sadly the second L1 sounded identically.
    Maybe I should simply wait for the open Fidelio X1 with 50mm driver.
    I really hope so... but if the X1 comes also with "planned obsolescence", I'll not buy it, as a matter of principle.
    Now, feel free to praise or hate my opinion and rating on the L1... [​IMG]
    1. View previous replies...
    2. andaca
      andaca, Jun 25, 2013
    3. Sladeophile
      I found this review very expansive...
      Sladeophile, Aug 11, 2014
    4. lasuther
      Amazon US has them at $125, I think that is a decent price.
      lasuther, Jan 6, 2015
  6. Marcus Tam
    Best headphone I ever had
    Written by Marcus Tam
    Published Jul 24, 2012
    Pros - very transparent sound, good finishing and premium packaging
    Philips Fidelio L1 headphone is the best headphone I ever had.
    it can re-produce the original sound which the producer did in studio. the product finish is really good. the metail earshell and leather headband shows the good finishing. the packaging is cool and stylish. i really love this headphone.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      Good review, philips is stepping up, its a good allrounder
      XxDobermanxX, Jul 25, 2012
    2. Nordwestlicht
      "it can re-produce the original sound which the producer did in studio." - what a nonsense...
      Nordwestlicht, Aug 13, 2012