PHILIPS FIDELIO X1
The X1 headphones are one of Philips’ newer additions to their Fidelio lineup. Much like the Momentum, the X1 have a calf leather headband to give the cans a high-end feel. The color scheme however is not as coherent as on the Sennheiser for example, though we still like the X1’s look enough for it to sit a close second behind the Momentum where aesthetics are concerned.
The leather headband doesn’t actually make contact with the top of the user’s head, that job being served by a wide hammock of fabric. Coupled with large ear-cups equipped with memory foam and a velour covering, everything about the Philips X1’s fit is plush, soft and gentle. The headphones may be the largest in terms of size in the shootout, but the overall weight is hardly noticeable. Due to the breathability of the velour, over-heating isn’t a problem even after extended use.
In light of its size, portability is not the X1’s strong suite. Both the Momentum, with its hard carrying case, and the wireless Evo Zx can easily be packed into one’s bag. The X1 on the other hand comes with an extremely long optical fiber cable and a 6.35mm connector plug, both of which indicate that the headphones are intended for more sedentary use. An impedance rating of 30 Ohms however means that the X1 can still be paired and used with a portable music device or smartphone, without any significant loss in performance.
Philips chooses to fit the X1 with 50mm drivers, the largest sported by any competitor in this roundup. Combined with the hardware is an open-back design, which underlines the audiophile credentials of this device. In practice, the headphones have lively and colorful audio which was a pleasure to listen to. The high frequencies were given their
“THESE HEADPHONES MAY BE THE LARGEST IN TERMS OF SIZE IN THE SHOOTOUT, BUT THE OVERALL WEIGHT IS HARDLY NOTICEABLE.”
due as the trebles were warm and vibrant. Melt My Heart To Stone was reproduced with its characteristic soulful tone intact. There were still flaws with playback; bass performance was slightly sloppy, and the mid-range could have benefitted from a bit more presence in the overall mix.
The shining characteristic of the X1 though was the realism of audio. The cans have a good transient response, which meant that the shakers and alternate percussion instruments used on Hotel California retained their unique timbre. With the openback design adding to the roomy feeling of the soundstage, the X1 does a good job at reproducing the live, acoustic track.