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  1. #1

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    Default Philips Fidelio X1 - I got another headphone for you guys to hear

    I may add more as I get more hours on these, but I'll just say for now that I really like these headphones. They're a full size open air headphone, but are not your typical open headphone. They're actually a great compromise, having some of the best characteristics of both open and closed headphones.

    Design and Comfort
    These don't have the aesthetics of something like the B&W P7 that I have them sitting next to at the moment, but they are made of good materials and appear to be well built. Philips states on the box that these are indoor headphones and I'd agree with that, these are too big, open, and likely not durable enough to be worn outside and tossed around in a gym bag. They're probably not quite durable enough for a studio pair either, but I'll get to a more important reason in a minute why they're not ideal for that anyway. The headband is leather with aluminum around the cups, with the cup inserts actually being plastic.

    These are a suspension style headphone, where you don't adjust the ear cups, but rather place the ear cups around your ears and the headphones adjust themselves on your head. This style is generally very comfortable, but doesn't always produce the best seal and I've never owned a pair of these that fit really well and gave me the kind of seal I need for a good bass response. That is not the case with these, they're very comfortable and seal very well against my ears. I've had a couple people with different size heads try them and they fit them very well also. The ear pad is a velour type material and the pads are a very generous size so they're quite comfortable. I dare say that this is the most comfortable pair of headphones that I've ever worn all things considered.

    Sound
    As I mentioned these are a very good blend of the characteristics of both open and sealed headphones. They have a very impressive bass response that you'd typically find in a good sealed headphone, but the soundstage that you'd expect in a good open headphone. I'd characterize their sound as warm overall, especially from the lows up thru the mids, but with a bit of energy in the treble that's not typical of warm headphones. The bass response overall is very good, though I've heard it get a little loose on a couple very tough recordings - overall it's definitely not a concern but if you try hard enough you can get these to act up on the low end.

    Their FR curve is a straight line, though tilted towards the bass, so you get a very even sounding headphone. They're not what I'd call neutral given the tilt towards the bass, but they're still very even sounding headphones. I can handle a headphone having a sound that leans one way or the other, what I can't handle is an uneven sound with peaks and valleys in the FR curve. So these have a very strong bass response and a warm sounding midrange, and then there's the top end.

    The highs are a bit strange on these, but overall they work for me. They have a tendency to sound synthetic on some tracks and have a little energy up there that on really bad recordings can get harsh if the volume is too loud. Normally I'm out at this point, so the fact that I enjoy these so much tells you that this isn't a significant issue, but in being critical is something I'm bringing up.

    These headphones are FUN as hell to listen to, but are not the last word in neutrality. These therefore wouldn't be good for an application like a studio, but then they're clearly not aimed at that market so that's not a problem so much as an observation. If I want to sit down and listen critically to a piece of music these would not be my first choice, I'd grab my HD800 instead of that. But to sit back and just listen for the fun of it, these are perfect. Philips should market these as 'Fun Headphones for Audiophiles'.

    I will say this, if I could only own ONE pair of headphones under $500 these would be my choice. That's not bad considering they can be had on Amazon for under $250.

    These will be making the trip with me to LSAF along with a couple other surprises that I'm not spilling yet, so you guys there can hear them.
    Last edited by AsSiMiLaTeD; 02-11-2014 at 11:33 PM.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  2. #2

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    Nice review!

    I couldn't resist these when Amazon had them for GB'd for $149.99 ... almost missed the deal doing some pre buying research. Innerfidelity pretty much echoes your review.

    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content...ips-fidelio-x1

    I did order another lower resistance cable after reading all the reviews on Head-Fi and Innerfidelity, but to be honest I can tell little difference between the two; I seriously wonder if it isn't a Philips design intention. The Philips cable is beautifully braided and oxygen free (for what that's worth)..

    The Fidelio X1's just plain sound great/fun, my current go to headphone. I use them with my PC and HDTracks flac w/Aune T1 DAC/Amp making for audio bliss.

    I too highly recommend these headphones.
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  3. #3

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    A couple months in now and these are still currently my favorite headphone. I've got 'better' headphones, but these are still my favorites.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  4. #4

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    They are my main headphones too. A lot better than you'd think with the Philips name attached to them. Not exactly a company known to make great audio equipment.
    |Fronts - Peerless RTA-12B | Center(s) - Peerless Monitor 5 | Rears - Peerless Monitor 4 |
    |AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 |
    |TV - Philips 46" Smart LED | Gaming - Xbox One - Xbox 360 | Headphones - Philips Fidelio X1 |

  5. #5

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    I am constantly on the lookout for Amazon to run these at that $150 special they had a few months back, but have had no luck. If you guys ever decide to sell these, please keep me in mind.

  6. #6

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    The problem with selling them is that there isn't really another headphone out there like it. My ultimate headphone would be a better version of the X1, and I've not yet found it. There are certainly headphones that are better in some aspects and even better overall than the X1, but none of them sound like a better X1 to me. The X1 does everything fairly well but nothing great, what I want is a headphone that does everything great.

    Here are some comparisons to other well known headphones that may help put these in perspective.

    Sennheiser HD600 - The HD600 have a smoother top end and still manage to have great detail if you get them on the right amp, but are a bit too laid back for my taste these days. The X1 aren't bright, but are a tad forward sounding and to my ears sound closer to neutral than the HD600. The X1 have more and better bass and the HD600 have a more natural sounding midrange. I prefer the more lively sound of the X1 overall, it's fun to listen to without ever being harsh or overly bright. What really seals the deal for me though is the better soundstage of the X1. The HD600 sound OK for an open headphone, but their soundstage tends to be more intimate while the X1 is more open and spacious. If you listen to alot of small jazz ensembles or chamber music the HD600 will likely be the better fit. I have alot of orchestral, classical, prog rock and music that generally has a larger sound to it, and the X1 are much better suited for that IMO.

    Sennheiser HD800 - The HD800 are very pickyu about amps, but once you get them mated to a good amp they're very accurate sounding and would probably make great mastering headphones. Even though I have a pair I'm personally not much of a fan of these anymore. They're great for critical listening, but kinda suck the fun out of listening to music for me. They're hyper fast and very revealing so I always see these more as a mastering or engineering headphone than a listening headphone. They're 'better' than the X1 in every way though - they're more detailed, more open and airy sounding, probably have a flatter FR curve, have better low end extension...and for me just not as enjoyable to listen to. Oh, and don't even think about trying poor recordings with the HD800, they'll shred any poor recordings and render them unlistenable.

    Beyer Dynamic DT880 600ohm - To me these are basically the lite version of the HD800. They're not as good as the HD800, but have the same basic qualities and in many systems without ultra high end gear they often sound better. They're a very fast and detailed headphone and have a nice airy soundstage. They're perfect for movie scores and classical music and I actually keep a pair of these on the desk. I'll reach for them when I want a more open or revealing sound than what the X1 offer, they're basically used specifically for some movie scores and some classical albums. The problem with them is I give up some impact or weight to the sound so for slower music or classical they work great but for something that has a more driving sound like, say, the Gladiator score the X1 work much better because they preserve more of the feel for me. I tend to listen to a lot more of the latter, so the DT800 don't get used very often.

    HiFiMan HE-500 - These were my favorite headphones for a while and they're similar to the X1 in that they do alot of things very well. However, they have on major fault that I ultimately just couldn't live with. I'm not sure if it's a result of the FR curve or something else, but they have what I can only describe as a cavernous sound in the mid-range, right where the male vocals tend to me. That's the best way I can describe it, male vocals tend to sound like they were recorded in a cave. They do very well with all other types of music, but unfortunately a good bit of music has vocal tracks and so ultimately I had to let these go. Compared to the X1, these have a better low end and a similar though slightly more detailed top end, they have a slightly larger soundstage and then there's the mid range issue.

    Audeze LCD and LCD2 - I've had each of these in my system for a while, though currently don't have either one. I was personally never a big fan of their house sound, always a bit too warm given my taste in music. They have the best low end I've ever heard on a headphone, but they're all just too laid back and don't have the soundstage I want. This isn't a fault of the headphone so much as a difference in preference, if I were looking for a darker sounding headphone I don't think there is a better option out there. I've only briefly heard the LCD3 but it's even more spectacular than the first two and I've not yet heard the LCDX.

    So all those headphones are more expensive and probably better overall than the X1 but none of them have the same sound signature as the X1 and that's what I'm after. I basically want an X1 with a more refined top end, that better top end should take care of all my wishes giving me more natural sounding instruments and a slightly better soundstage. Anyone run across such a headphone that is NOT the $5000 Stax SR-009 that'll need another $5000 amp to sound good...let me know.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  7. #7

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    Speaking of 5k headphones and amps, weren't you waiting for a setup to arrive???
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8

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    Nice review. I believe there is someone else here who has a pair of the Philips? Sounds like something I might want to give a try as I tend to wade in the shallower end of the HP pool. Nothing above $400. lol

    I have some DT 990s but have not heard the DT880s. The 990s, as you know, have that smiley face curve and are tizzy up top. They REALLY require the "warmth" of tubes.

    Have you heard the newer AKGs? I hear they're a step forward--no pun intended.

    I like the HD 600s quite a bit but do wish they had more low end for some things. Don't use those for movies. I tend to go to the M50s for movies--sure they have some exaggerated bass and are not that tight, but for explosions and the like they do the job. (Though, if no one is around, you could sub the DT 990s because of their wider sound stage and decent bass).

    Thanks! Keep those reviews coming!

    cnh
    Last edited by cnh; 04-28-2014 at 12:13 PM.
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

  9. #9

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    The DT880 has a mopre flat FR than the DT990, the 880 has a bit less bass and a bit less treble, but they do sound pretty similar. The 880 are still pretty 'tizzy' though, too much for me to use as my main headphone.

    Which AKGs are you referring to? I have the K702 Anniversary Edition but have not heard the newest K812.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  10. #10

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    Assimilated....are you running these cans through the Cyber Labs? Do you need an amp to get the most out of them or are they good as?

    Like others, I've been looking for a screaming deal on these as my introduction into better HPs. Basically would run through the Peachtree for now with the potential of something different down the line. Baby steps.
    2.0 - Zu Audio Omen MK-1B's, Peachtree Decco65 ,Zu Mission SC's, Audio Technica TT, Bugle2 & Bottlehead Reduction Phono Pre's, PS Audio UPC200, Doug's Int's
    HT - Anthem MRX300, RTIA3's, RTIA1's, CSIA4, DSW400, 55ST30, APC H15, 360 Elite, Panny DMP-BD35K


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  11. #11

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    They scale pretty well with better gear upstream, but don't need an amp the same way something like the HD600 do. I'm running mine on the Theorem, they should sound superb out of the Peachtree as well.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cnh View Post
    Nice review. I believe there is someone else here who has a pair of the Philips? Sounds like something I might want to give a try as I tend to wade in the shallower end of the HP pool. Nothing above $400. lol
    I know Shepx2 has a pair. He is the one who got me into looking for a pair of my own.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    The DT880 has a mopre flat FR than the DT990, the 880 has a bit less bass and a bit less treble, but they do sound pretty similar. The 880 are still pretty 'tizzy' though, too much for me to use as my main headphone.

    Which AKGs are you referring to? I have the K702 Anniversary Edition but have not heard the newest K812.
    Actually, both. That K702 should be very much like my Q701s as I understand it (a little more bass and less prickly up top--or smoother). The K812s are a new flagship that I have not heard.

    cnh
    Onkyo TX-SR 805 System #1 HT AVR
    Office Two Channel: LSi-7s (Nakamichi CA-5, NAD 214, Pioneer BDP51fd)
    Vintage Polks: Polk Monitor 5As, Monitor 7Bs [HK 730], Monitor 10As [Marantz 2265], SDA-2Bs [Jolida JD-303, Jolida MV-MK4]
    Headphones: HD600, Q701, ATH-M50s etc. Bravo Audio Ocean amp., Onkyo P-304, Adcom GFA-555, Technics Direct Drive TT

  14. #14

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    I just said "f-bomb it" and hit the order button. I'll check into a replacement cable later on if I feel necessary.
    2.0 - Zu Audio Omen MK-1B's, Peachtree Decco65 ,Zu Mission SC's, Audio Technica TT, Bugle2 & Bottlehead Reduction Phono Pre's, PS Audio UPC200, Doug's Int's
    HT - Anthem MRX300, RTIA3's, RTIA1's, CSIA4, DSW400, 55ST30, APC H15, 360 Elite, Panny DMP-BD35K


    Looking for new homes....
    MIT EXp2 Cables
    Anthem MCA20

  15. #15

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    Do you like these better than your Momentums?

  16. #16

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    Yes quite a bit, but that's not really a fair comparison...
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

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    Assimilated, do you feel the X1's have recessed mids? Every review I read, and I hear a lot at headfi, that the X1's have recessed mids but I'm not hearing that. The mids are very forward and in your face, in my opinion. That is, compared to my Polk RTA12's anyway. I have not compared them to other mid/high end headphones because I have never heard any besides the X1.
    |Fronts - Peerless RTA-12B | Center(s) - Peerless Monitor 5 | Rears - Peerless Monitor 4 |
    |AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 |
    |TV - Philips 46" Smart LED | Gaming - Xbox One - Xbox 360 | Headphones - Philips Fidelio X1 |

  18. #18

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    They have a somewhat energetic treble which could lead some to the conclusion that the kids are recessed, but that's not the way I hear it. I don't find them to be forward sounding though, pretty balanced actually.
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  19. #19

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    Do they have more or less midrange than your HiFiMan's? I made it sound worse than it is, they aren't extremely forward but when I turn the volume up a bit on them I find myself wishing I had an EQ so I could bump the mids down just a tad. Possibly because I am running them off of the headphone jack of an AVR.

    Have you ever plugged yours into your HK 3490? How did they sound running off that compared to the Valhalla?

    A guy I work with wanted to hear them one day so I brought them in and he played them off an original iPod and I was flabbergasted that they had more bass and sounded better off his iPod than my Yamaha AVR. Not as much volume but better sounding for sure.
    Last edited by Nightfall; 05-05-2014 at 11:35 PM.
    |Fronts - Peerless RTA-12B | Center(s) - Peerless Monitor 5 | Rears - Peerless Monitor 4 |
    |AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 |
    |TV - Philips 46" Smart LED | Gaming - Xbox One - Xbox 360 | Headphones - Philips Fidelio X1 |

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