Fun, clear, spacious, and comfortable. Can't ask for much more.
I have owned over 30 and some odd amount of headphones ranging from $15 (the very much beloved Koss KSC75), to $1000 (the high end Audeze LCD2 planarmagnetic).
The Fidelio X1 fits the mid-fi range of headphones, yet the sound signature is basically suited to my specific tastes like no other headphone I've owned has ever had. It offers a clean, energetic, yet bassy sound, that almost no other open backed headphone has ever touched. Open backed headphones tend to lose a lot of it's bass due to the lack of seal, but the magicians at Philips somehow managed to give the X1 a full and lively bass response that is more akin to closed back headphones.
If you're in the market for a headphone with a large soundstage, added bass response, clean and linear mids up to the treble (with some sparkle), the X1 should be on the top of anyone's list. My only complaints are:
1. The pads aren't user replaceable, so you may have to contact Philips once the pads go bad.
2. The stock, removable cable, while stunningly beautiful, is a bad match with the X1. It has a high resistance (somewhere along 1.8ohms), which can muddy up the sound and bottleneck the performance. Find a cheap alternative (like the In-akustik Star Series MP3 Stereo Extension Audio Cable, which btw has the wrong image for the 9.8ft listing on OnlineShopDealer) which has a lower ohm spec (AFAIK it's around 0.2ohm). I'm currently using a Mediabridge 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable which works quite well and doesn't choke the X1's signature. It also has a low resistance.
Again, the Fidelio X1 is for those that want an all-purpose, fun, comfortable, generally easy to drive headphone. If you like a balanced sound but want just a a bit more bass than neutral without sacrificing quality elsewhere, the X1 is it. It's pretty efficient, but I'd advise on using at LEAST something like the Fiio E07K which will feed the X1 a clean, amped signal. I myself use a $500 Audio-Gd Compass 2 DAC/AMP, but it isn't necessary to spend that much, as the X1 isn't very demanding. My personal suggestion as a great budget setup for it would be something like the Schiit Modi and Schiit Magni dac and amp stack.
A great alternative is the AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition for those that want a more balanced but still decent bass, and richer mids/vocals, and smoother treble. These two headphones are like apples to oranges, but both are very amazing, and can be considered end game for an affordable price.
Wow, just Wow
I got these and initially my impressions were - "oh god these sound muddy / horrible, no better than my $10 headphones I will be returning asap". However I then proceeded to replace the analog 3.5mm cable as people suggested and holy $'%$ these things came to life (and this was with a cheap logitech aux 2m cable btw).
The sound coming out of these things is just so damn impressive, the bass is so detailed and the mids and highs are are just where they should be. The balance is great and will ensure you can listen to music for hours and hours and not get bored - ultimately I was just left listening to the music and rocking my head. If you are a just a dude like me looking to get a premium set of headphones then these are THE be all and end all. Just for reference I have AKG 240s, Audio technica Pro500s and some JTS-535s for comparison and these blow the rest of them out of the water with nothing left to drink. I have also tried some Beyerdynamic T1s from a friend and these phones are honestly in the same league as well ($250 vs $800+).
The build quality is phenomenal, quality components used, they come boxed really well, however let me list a few things to consider:
*Cable it comes with although looks good is terrible, it WILL make the phones sound horrible - replace it asap
*Although really comfortable for my medium sized head, people with larger heads may have problems with too tight a fit.
*People with glasses may also have trouble as these fit pretty firmly (although they are very comfortable).
*The pads are non-replaceable however they feel like they will last a very long time and maybe just need an alcohol wipe to clean them from time to time.
They work well straight from the computer and also work well from portable players too, and work well on pretty much everything else. I usually never do reviews, and the sound from these just impressed me so much. Great work Phillips.
The best $300 headphones out there?!
I do not like writing wordy reviews, so this will be by far the longest review I have written. However, I hope my review is not too long-winded and gets straight to the point. My review is intended for someone on the fence about buying these headphones to give them a shot.
I own another "mainstream" set of headphones in the Sol Republic Master Tracks, so when I reference the differences I noticed with the Fidelio headphones, I am referring to those. I also have purchased the Beyerdynamic DT-990 Premium 32 Ohm version headphones, however they were too bright (clear, strong treble, but not much bass) for my taste, so I ended up selling them. The Beyerdynamic headphones had great reviews, but it just shows you how subjective headphones can be to different people. If I had reviewed the Byerdynamic's, I would have given them 2 stars, whereas 99% of the reviewers give them 5 stars.
Ratings out of 10 (1 lowest, 10 highest):
These headphones are very comfortable. The hammock-style head-strap is the most comfortable thing for the top of the head I ever felt. It really feels like a very soft rubber band (even though it is a padded, mesh type material) on the top of your head, and you soon don't even feel it on there at all.
The pads have plenty of cushion, however they are slightly stiff at first until they warm up. Once some heat is transferred into them, they are nice. The fabric is slightly coarse, but not too bad.
These are well built and feel like a much higher priced set of headphones. They are very large, so I would not use these as a portable pair. This is one of the main reasons I kept the above-mentioned Master Tracks as my out-and-about pair of headphones.
These headphones are semi-open headphones. This is done to improve the soundstage. However, as discussed in some other reviews, these do not leak a lot of sound. They could be worn in the same room with someone else, and I doubt the sound would bother them. Although from my experience, outside noises (t.v., people talking, etc) leak inward pretty easily.
The included 9.8' cord ends in a 6.3mm connection (the big connection that plugs into stereos, not cell phones, Ipods, or MP3 players. They include a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter for the use in the above mentioned devices. However, there are two issues here. First, an almost 10' cord is very long. Second, when you add the 3.5mm adapter on, the connection point is 4" inches in length, and it adds a good amount of weight. This will put a lot of pressure on your cell phone, Ipod, or MP3 connection point and stick way out. I would recommend getting a 3rd party 3.5mm to 3.5mm cord.
Yes, I know I said my scale was 1 through 10. However, the sound is amazing. I use these plugged directly into my Samsung Note II and my Google Nexus. I turn the volume to about 75% for them to be loud enough for me (and to not ruin my hearing). These are low impedance headphones, so just about anything will power them nicely. Several of the reviews I read before purchasing these headphones stated the cable that come with these has a high impedance, so I went ahead and purchased an after-market cable to use. This is the one I purchased: Mediabridge - 3.5mm Male To 3.5mm Male Stereo Audio Cable - 4 Feet -New design accomodates iphone, itouch, smartphone and mp3 cases
I listen to a lot of Pink Floyd, so I will highlight a few songs for examples on the sound.
Echoes: With this set, I can clearly hear Richard Wright's voice singing in the background of David Gilmour's voice. You can hear his voice slightly on the Master Tracks, but here it was like he was standing to the side and singing. Roger Water's heavy, slow bass playing really thumps. In the middle of the song when they begin to jam, it was amazing. Great soundstage.
Us and Them: This song was one of my favorite songs that the Master Tracks could not get right. At times in the song when the chorus hit, the extra bass would muddy up the sound of everything. However, the Fidelio handles it perfectly. It still keeps the strong bass, but not at the expense of the highs.
Wish You Were Here: With the Fidelios, the acoustic opening is amazing. I can even here the background noise of movement, coughs, and the clearing of throats that I really never fully heard until now. It is amazing you can listen to a song on these and hear things you never could before (and I have listened to this song for 20+ years).
Money: It's all about David Gilmour's voice and Roger Water's bass here. It sounded great, with nothing getting muddy.
Mother: With Roger Water's despair and angst in his voice, along with David Gilmour's chorus and guitar. One of my favorite songs and perfectly balanced on here.
Shine On You Crazy Diamond: Great keyboard arrangement really shines with the good sound stage of the headphones, amazing guitar work, and steady drumming play very nice together.
In closing, these headphones might not work for you, but you really should give them a listen before you make your final decision. Buying the right headphones for you takes some work. You might get lucky and get the perfect pair with your first purchase. Although just like myself, it will probably take reading a lot of reviews and buying a few different styles to get the perfect one for you. With the Fidelio headphones, I have found the perfect ones for my listening needs and music style. The only downside I can really say about these headphones is the ear-pads are not replaceable. However, since they are black and if you take care of them, they should last for years.
I brought this for desktop use.
Leather cover, metal headband, aluminum alloy junction ring, detachable cables, simple looks but very luxury. By comparing other products, this one is no plastics!!! (Yay, not toy)
High, mid, low, very well balanced with ultrahigh definition. For the sound quality, I would recommend this first, and besides the price is really a bargain!!
Very comfortable, no pressure to head and ears, good for long time hearing.
As this is the open type, so leakage is inevitable, but not that heavy as other reviews said, it's acceptable.
30ohms almost needs no amplifier, good for any device.
The only thing should be the smelling of chemicals. Before any use, I suggest to unbox and just lay this thing somewhere to let the smell go.
Sold my HD598 and DT770s...
Great fun all-rounder audiophile grade headphones.
Before getting the X1, I used to own both the Sennheiser HD598 and the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro limited Edition because they complimented each other. I promptly sold them after getting the X1 because the X1 managed to sound like a perfect blend of both, merging the wide soundstage and clear mids of the HD598 and the deep and punchy bass of the DT770.
Don't get me wrong, the X1 is a jack of all trades but master of none. There are plenty of headphones in this price range (I paid $250 for the X1) that will excel over the X1 on a particular technical aspect but in my mind no set of headphones in this bracket will beat the overall sound and musicality of the X1. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to enjoy the music that they're listening rather than analyzing it.
My musical tastes range from jazz to hiphop with a bit of dubstep mixed in for good measure. The X1 are also excellent for video games and movies.
The best headphones period
They are comfortable and light. Great for longer periods of music listening or movie watching. Yes, I said movie and music in the same sentence.
They sounded great right out of the box and only got better with age. A buddy and I had both of our socks blown off, listening to them for the first time. We both had to pick our chins off the floor. As they have aged the bass has improve and the over all sound stage has widened.
They do everything really well, the bass is tight and big, yet not over powering.
The mids are huge, together and unhindered by the bass. Vocals are beautiful, precise and with amazing clarity.
The highs are brilliant, clean and powerful, yet are not harsh or distorted.
With music, as to be expected, they are wonderful. I have not listen to music this much in a long time, I can't get enough. With a busy life style and a family I had given up on my audiophile life. My big dollar pleasure stereo system sits and collects dust or play the occasional kid's CD. I just don't have time or can play it at level I'd like without disturbing the family. We also have a great theater and it to can't be played at the volume it needs to be to get the complete experience. These headphones are a god send. They play movies with a sound stage that pulls you into the action.
I spent 5 months looking for the right cans, trying everything from $60.00 to $1,600. The Filelio's hit the mark in every way, they gave me the best sound quality at the best cost. You can't bet them without spending a fortune. Even then it will be your judgement if they have been beaten in sound quality. To me, these matched or bettered headphones costing $800.00 to $1000.00 and you couldn't use the expensive units for movies. They lacked the bass punch required to make movies real. Ok, I know, a real audiophile would not use the same system for music and movies but there are time in you life you may need to compromise. These headphones are way beyond a compromise they are inspiring.
Listen for yourself because every bodies tastes and needs are different. They might not be your choice but you will think your listening to a much more expensive headphone.
I love these headphones
I love these headphones. I don't own a ton of mid or high-end HP's like others, but I've had a chance to "demo" a few good and even great ones (Grado SR225, 325, PS500, and Audeze LCD3 were the last pairs I tried on). I'm not a headphone connoisseur, so I unfortunately won't be able to describe the X1's like some lavish, decadent food that makes your mouth gush with drool. With that forewarning said, I'll begin my personal review.
There are people who have a very select set of musical genre they listen to...all bass-y types, or all acoustic/classical, or hip-hop/edm/techno. The point is: their taste isn't all over the place. For those people, their preferred headphones are well-suited to a specific set of genre. Well, that unfortunately isn't me. While I largely listen to rock/indie/acoustic genres and live soundtracks (let's say 70%), I like to be prepared for when I deviate from the norm (hip-hop, country, classical and some EDM/techno/rave). I can't afford another set of headphones right now, so my only choice is an all-rounder. I also love to pick apart and analyze songs, but I also want to have a fun listening experience. This is how the X1 has won my heart. I know that the X1's are not for analytical listening...but i'll do that with any pair of headphones that are capable of giving me even a decent bit of clarity.
There is a sound signature that I appreciate about headphones like the Grado's, but they don't seem to have enough life on the low-end to be exciting. Enter the X1! On certain live tracks where synthesized boominess, drums, bass guitar, cello or similar is the signature kick for the song, the X1's have certainly exceeded my expectations and made me smile. The right word to describe my experience: EXCITING. There is just enough that they don't invade or drown out the vocals and acoustic/electric guitars.
Regarding vocal listening: the X1's were great, sometimes I was even amazed. They perform well...but I felt they were a bit recessed at times. On certain tracks where I just want to hear detail and clarity, the X1's could only do so much justice. At this point, I don't know if a headphone exists that is like the X1 but where the vocals are not compromised at all. I think that, in this department and price point, a great headphone may have been the ATH-AD900X...but the low-end took a backseat with that headphone which is one of the reasons I never kept it. The words to describe my experience: there are many times where the vocals are wonderful and quite enjoyable, but other times they take a bit of a backseat to everything else when I don't want them to.
Regardings the electric and acoustic guitars: they're amazing. For me, there is a great bit of clarity when I hear a guy shredding away on his electric while another guy is complimenting with picking. Or sometimes I'll listen to a classical piece and I want to zone in on the violins...AMAZING. The best part is that I don't get that ear-piercing feeling, whereas a headphone like the ATH-AD900X sometimes did.
Another reviewer had described the X1 as a "jack of all trades, master of none". I think this is quite a befitting description. Perhaps even in some sense (maybe just mine), the X1 is in a class of its own. How many open-backed headphones have performed as well as this?
I encourage anyone interested on the X1 to do their due diligence before purchasing. But I think there is a high chance you won't regret it, especially if you're new to headphones and want a fun listening experience. With the X1, you won't have a headphone that's unique and one of the best at one thing, but at least you're not going to lose out on much with the way it performs very well as an all-rounder. I also bought it around three months ago when it was around $200--quite a sweet deal considering it's around $260 as of this review. I can't say I would've purchased the X1 if it was $260 simply because around that price point I would've been looking at more headphones and could have easily taken a chance on another set.
If you are reading this, buy the X1s.
If you are here, looking at reviews for the X1 then I have something to say to you:
Buy them. Unlike AKG, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Audio-Technica, or any other brand, Philips, and their Fidelio line, are relatively new and unknown in the world of headphones. This means that if you have ended up here it is because you are curious or maybe have read external reviews about these.
You have decided you want something fun, and musical, but still high fidelity and with plenty of range. The X1s will deliver on what you want. The K712 are flatter and cleaner, the 880s are cheaper and a tad bit more comfortable. The 600 and 650s are more expensive, and feel flimsier, but deliver perhaps a more comfortable and less tiring experience.
But in light of all of that you are here, looking at the X1s. They have solid bass, but not too much. They have just enough to be fun, but it is never in the way. It is proud, it is present and, most importantly, it is quick and clean.
Yes, they leak sound out in equal measure to what is projected inwards, but that is a small price to pay for the absolute best musical experience south of 700 dollars. Note I said musical: These are not flat. They are fun. They are for listening. They don't need an amp.
They have legs up on AKG, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic and Audio-Technica in the Driver design department. It is newer, and as such has access to better technology in the design. AKG's new K712 may be better in many regards, but it costs much more. And even then, it lacks the X1s quick low end response.
So, as I said: If you are here, looking at these headphones, you should not hesitate to buy them. The ear pads may not be replaceable, but they are durable. The audio jack is plenty durable. Like with any consumer product, treat these well and they will last forever. Treat them poorly and they will die fast.
Great comfortable sound
A few things stand out when you use the X1. Comfort and immersion.
Before I begin, I have been using various headphones over the years, including the typical recommendations such as the Beyerdynamic DT880, Hifiman HE400, Audio Technica AD500. They're all considered "audiophile" headphones, with lots of detail, bright trebles, and relatively subdued bass.
The X1 stood out in terms of build quality - even in some high end headphones (such as the Hifiman HE-6 or Sennheiser HD series), usually the build is plasticky, or somewhat creaky. The X1 has a beautiful metallic finish with sleek lines and a really comforting velour pad. The headband is relatively supple and doesn't pressure the top of my head too much. Aesthetically it is simply beautiful with a blend of silver, black and a dark brown arch. Really premium build.
The sound of the X1 can be described as versatile - it can do almost any kind of media, movies, music, gaming, in most genres and present them well. The bass is phenomenal and rattling in games. The midrange is lush in music and movies, and even for technical pieces such as orchestral recordings it can present the lows and highs well. The sound is relatively precise as well. I can tell which instrument is placed where, and it all comes together harmoniously.
Overall a great buy, especially now that they have a month of discounts to a lower price point of $249. You can hardly find any other more compelling choices around this price.
Great headphones for average listener AND audiophiles
These are amazing. First of all, the comfort is just stupid awesome... velour pads + memory foam + auto adjust mesh padded double headband... yes please. These look phenomenal too - superb sexyness. I can't stop taking them off my head and looking at them as well as listening.
I got them mostly because I am certainly a bass head and wanted open-ears for better gaming soundstage. Music I listen to is mostly STS9, bassnectar, bluetech, psychill/trance, deep dubstep, reggae, electronic, rock, hip hop, etc. I am extremely pleased with their sound for all of these genres. I was VERY worried there wouldn't be enough bass, but they certainly deliver. The wide soundstage combined with this bass is a great combination for live recordings. If you are not a basshead, you can always EQ down but not up, so that fact still makes them great for everyone, basshead or not.
I use these with a Yamaha receiver & PS3 as my console setup, and a Denon DNX-600 dj mixer/soundcard for my PC. Sounds great with both, but my PC soundcard is stereo. I'm sure the surround COULD sound better with a surround soundcard, but I like having everything hooked up to my mixer and I don't like dealing with surround drivers and what not (plus it seems like extra money). PS3 however I have optical to receiver for Dolby/DTS 5.1, and it is just ridiculous... It makes me want a soundcard with virtual surround for my PC, but it really depends on the game (some games make better use of it without it sounding too tin-can-ish).
I'd definitely call myself an audiophile in the sense that I like to be smart about what gear and file formats I use, but I really hate people spending hundreds of dollars on various amps that barely change the sound. Ain't nobody got time (or MONEY) for that. While I understand doing this with ridiculously expensive headphones that might have a larger sound change with different amps, I find this a frustrating and unnecessary process.
The only thing you want to remember in the way of extra hardware to combine with them is a different cable, as everyone else has said. I can notice a very slight difference with different cables but honestly, the stock cable is so sleek, sexy, and comfortable (the material and weight is like no other I've seen), that I still use it when I'm using my PS3. On PC, however, I talk to people, so I use a V-Moda BoomPro Mic+Cable. These headphones have a removal cable obviously, so that is a PERFECT combination (particularly since the V-Moda boom pro mic has a volume knob on the cable itself, so you can change the volume if you're a couch PC gamer and don't have a volume remote. I do this sometimes, so double win).
I was worried about impedance mismatch between receiver and these headphones because my ATH-M50s sound very nasty through my receiver compared to my PC soundcard, so I was pleased to discover this is not the case with the X1s. Songs do sound a little better through my PC soundcard than mobile device, but I think that's to be expected with any decent headphone, regardless of impedance.
Feel free to ask questions. I'm all about these X1s, and I think more users should try these out than gaming headsets.
One last thing: The earpads. It is a shame they aren't removable and I almost didn't buy them because of this. However, I can understand why after seeing the build quality, and I believe some guys at Head-fi have already found a way. Might be a bit risky/messy but possible. I've had other headphones for 4/5 years and never changed earpads, so I'm not quite that concerned. Hopefully Philips would be willing to replace them for you for a small fee when the time comes.