Philips is on a great run at the moment. We’ve liked every one of the company’s new Fidelio headphones (opens in new tab), even giving the £160 portable-use M1s an Award this year. Now it’s the Philips X1s (opens in new tab)’ turn to impress.
These are intended for home use: they’re comfortable, well made and have a usefully long 3m cable topped off with a good quality 6.3mm plug (3.5m adaptor included).
Philips Fidelio X1 review: Design
The X1s are an open-backed design. This tends to have advantages when it comes to sound quality, but often suffers from heavy sound leakage. If anyone is in the room with you they’ll be able to sing along to your music without trouble. There’s little else to complain about, however.
Philips Fidelio X1 review: Sound quality
These headphones are immensely listenable. Philips has chosen a mature, smooth tonal balance that never makes a meal of below-par recordings or poor amplification no matter how bright or aggressive they may be.
Yet give the X1s quality partnering equipment and decent recordings, and they shine. That well-judged tonal balance is coupled to expressive dynamics and a high degree of insight.
All that resolution pays dividends with complex recordings such as Massive Attack’s Heligoland, where it’s easy to hear deep within the dense production and still enjoy the hard-charging rhythm tracks.
The same impressive qualities are evident whether you listen to classical works such as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or The xx’s sparsely produced Angels.