This was my first foray into open over-ear headphones. Having owned many in-ear headphones (triple-fi 10's, Phonak PFE 122's, and Sony XBA-4ip's included), and a pair of Goldring NS-1000's, I was not sure about what to expect. Having heard many great things about philips new fidelio range, however, convinced me to give these a go.
Now for the review;
DESIGN When I took these out of the box for the first time, I was completely taken by the quality of construction and materials used - These really look the part when it comes to high end headphones. Solid construction, they are UNBELIEVABLY comfy too, like being gently smothered by a beautifully fluffy cloud. The cable deserves a mention also. All you need to know is that it is a durable, problem-free cable (no tangling issues). So up to this point I was very impressed, before even getting to the sound quality.
AUDIO I was testing these through my macbook with a Fiio e7 DAC, and I will admit initially I was disappointed. I read some reviews that these don't need a burn in and that they sound best 'out of the box' - this couldn't be more wrong! I could detect some sibilance in the vocals and the soundstage wasn't as expansive as I was expecting. So I decided to leave them to burn in overnight. I came back to them after about 15 hours burn time, and the sound had exponentially improved! Punchy purposeful bass, beautifully clear vocals and midrange with great presence, and sparkling high tones that astounded without ever becoming too harsh. It was also miraculous how much the headphones opened up. A totally different experience to what I was used to. In ear headphones inject sound into your ear whereas the Fidelio X1's sound very spatial after a burn in (The music is all around you rather then in your brain). Give em 40 hours until they are absolutely at their best. Handles 256-320kbs audio files remarkably well, but shine just that extra more with WAV and FLAC files.
OVERALL VERDICT I'm a happy guy. A work of art atheistically, and musically the perfect balance of fidelity & excitement. Great Value at £270
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