Philips Fidelio X1

General Information

High fidelity, premium quality
Enjoy music at home

- Acoustic open-back design
- Breathable velvet cushions
- Double layered ear-shells

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
Philips Fidelio X1S - The End Is Here
Pros: Smooth, mature sound, very resolving, great soundstage and layering, now at a very affordable price if you can find one, fantastic build quality with a mix of real leather, metal, and very high quality plastics
Cons: May be hard to replace the earpads (but I read somewhere that the X1S is replaceable, unlike the X1). I just need to research more to know how when the time comes.

I started falling in love with music since I was a kid. Back in the day, we're talking around 1995 onwards, been buying tapes and CDs, collecting music.

Enjoyed the old Walkman, the old Discman, the old iPod, the old Fiio X1, a hi-fi smartphone, and now my old and trusty Fiio M11. Burnt all my music to a drive and now they're in a couple of SD cards and a laptop.

Been loving good sound since those days too, with my old JVC boombox and with our old JVC component system.

With headphones however, it did not become serious until the early part of 2015. I've been on and off in this hobby, had several reviews written here at Head-fi, and had enjoyed the adventures of auditioning new gear every once in a while. The last review I've ever written is back in early 2020, just right before the pandemic hit.

So why the two year plus hiatus? Well, aside from the pandemic, a lot busier personal life, and other interests, THE ENDGAME HEADPHONE PROVED TO BE ELUSIVE...until now.


Is there such a thing? Some of you might say yes and some of you might say no. The truth is...there is. THERE IS A PERFECT SOUND FOR YOU...AND JUST FOR YOU.

I've always loved the JVC sound - that mellow, inoffensive, relaxed tuning that keeps you listening for hours.

I've always loved the Grado sound - that lifelike, in your face, live-like sound that's hard to ignore.

I've always loved the Shure sound - that clarity, free flowing details, and shimmer that's as clear as day.

So is there anything else I'd like to add? Maybe a mash-up of the three?

At times, maybe a bit more life on the JVC?
A bit more space on the Grado?
A bit more bass on the Shure?

A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Just where do we find that sweet perfect spot?


Also back in the old days, my eldest sister had a Philips boombox. And while the sound from that old CD player is nothing to write home about, it is something that stuck me with me due to days spent listening to music that my sister introduced me to. She is one of my biggest musical influences.

Fast forward 2022 and I kinda missed this hobby. So as a gift from my wife and my beloved son (so lucky that they let me choose my gift), I decided to get myself what I believe is THE ENDGAME HEADPHONE.


It’s a full circle isn’t it? It may be a sweet coincidence that my first foray into this hobby is through the JVC RX-700 and guess what? The legendary Fiio X1.

Now enter, the Philips Fidelio X1S.


So, is my wish granted? How does it sound? Well, what do you know? it actually has…

A lot more life than the JVC RX-700.
A lot more space than the Grado SR80e.
A lot more bass than the Shure SRH440.


What does that mean?

BASS is tight, smooth, ever so independent from the rest of the frequencies. It doesn’t bleed into the midrange, and if it does, it does so with finesse. Call it boosted but the kind of boost that can only come from a hardware bass boost like in the Fiio E12. It is that clean. More than adequate and yet so tasteful.

MIDS are a touch forward but never harsh. Again, smooth. Vocals can feel forward but my oh my, do vocals sound so emotionally intimate in these. Like the singer sings to you in a private setting or a small lounge, especially in softer ballads like jazz. Instruments come in very clearly and yet tame…the right kind of tame, like actual music (and not noise) is being presented to you for your sole listening pleasure.

HIGHS are inoffensive but very, very detailed. The highs show you the actual, impressive, resolving power of these headphones. There are details that you haven’t noticed before, like hi-hats on a particular space in the soundstage, or the differences in notes when plucking the guitar for example. We continue with the theme of being smooth yet every detail in the highs, same as the mids, come in very, very clearly.


“To your right, yes to your right. There is something in there. Wait there is something playing a little back. Then again, something behind that as well. Oh a little bit to the left, there is something there too! A bit higher up, you’d find something. A little below that, something is playing. I can clearly see them in their own little space.” See where I’m going with this? Layering in these headphones is just fantastic! Soundstage is wide, really wide! It has incredible height too. This is made more evident when testing recordings with very distinct spatial positioning like official Dolby Atmos samples or the classic Virtual Barber binaural recording. While the Grado is known for its midrange, what we've got here is a world-class soundstage.

So it begs the question – Is it good for rock? Well it is versatile enough to play anything at any genre due to it’s smooth yet very detailed nature but if you are looking for the Grado type of impact and mid-forwardness…you may not find it here. And I like it this way. It is a more mature sound, a surer sound, akin to a metal guitarist who gracefully shifted to blues or jazz, way past his younger years of rocking and rolling. A musician aged like a fine red wine.


So I guess, this is it. This is truly goodbye. Or maybe I’ll see you again in a few years. Nevertheless, I wish someday, somehow, you find the perfect headphones just for you. As for the Fidelio X1S, it keeps on taking me back to those summers filled with poetry and music, spent with my beloved big sister. And the music plays on and on…

Happy listening, everyone!

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Pros: Excellent bass, soothing vocals, non fatiguing treble.
Cons: Pads are glued on

Although, I prefer neutral headphones, I like to have fun with bassy headphones that don't have a muddy sound. On my adventure to find a pair of headphones that satisfied my open back bass needs I went through several popular headphones mid-fi headphones until I settled with the X1s. Powered by my SMSL M8 Stack, these headphones sounded great with everything I threw at them. I spent most of my time with these headphones listening to EDM/Hip Hop and also did a bit of competitive gaming.

Frequency response: 10 - 40 000 Hz
Impedance: 30 Ohm
Maximum power input: 500 mW
Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1mW
Speaker diameter: 50 mm
Distortion: <0.1% THD

Comfort: The X1s/X2s are by far the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. I have a fairly big head, so most headphones I wear feel too small or have too much clamp. This was not the case with the Fidelios. There is little to no clamp and the velour earpads feel like pillows resting gently on my ears.

Bass: These headphones have a midbass hump with rolled off sub bass. The mid bass has plenty of impact and doesn't bleed into the mids.

Vocals: The mids on these headphones are very warm and clear but slightly recessed. I found that these headphones made male vocals sound a lot more interesting than they usually are.

Treble: While the treble is not the greatest quality of these headphones, they do have great treble reproduction. The high end is smooth and non fatiguing with a little sparkle added to them without being sibilant.

Build Quality: As good as these headphones sound, the build quality is probably it's best feature. These headphones have an all metal construction with a calf leather headband. My only complaint as far as build quality goes is the provided 3.5mm cable. These headphones sounded slightly grainy until I swapped out the provided cable for a better one.

Competitive Gaming: The X1s are an excellent choice for competitive gaming. The boosted low end makes it easy to distinguish enemy footsteps.

All in all, these headphones can often be found under $200 and I think they are a steal for the price. The instruments are accurately produced, the vocals are warm and clear, and the all parts of the music is nicely positioned in the sound field. If you love open back headphones but want similar bass impact as closed cans, then look no further. These bass rich headphones are must have for fans of EDM/Hip Hop. These headphones leak a lot of sound and I would not recommended these to anyone that uses their headphones in a noisy environment.


New Head-Fier
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 


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