Fidelio X1 Review

by admin
Summary
Fidelio X1s are smooth sounding headphones that emphasize fun without fully compromising details. This makes them ideal for genres that are bass heavy or focused on vocal or single instruments; however, they can feel congested when it comes to heavily layered music. I would not hesitate to recommend these for someone looking for a fun pair of headphones, especially at their current prices.

 

Quality and comfort

The Fidelio X1s are relatively comfortable for headphones weighing 430 grams. The velour pads are still going strong after 2 years of using them. The headband is a typical one size fits all headband used in the AKG 701s, and they’re definitely comfortable for at least short sessions. Build quality is nice, and they have an attractive and professional look to them.

On the downside, the headphones are a bit heavy, so you can always feel the headphones on your head, which can get a bit annoying 2-3 hours with them on. In addition, some parts of the headphones squeak when it moves around a bit, and the headphones also move around if you’re constantly moving your head, forcing me to constantly adjust its position.

 

Sound

First, I’d like to establish that these headphones are not even close to neutral in their frequency response, which is not a bad thing. The X1s are tuned for a fun and smooth sound, and I think these headphones will click as the most engaging and hifi-sounding amongst the non audiophile community.

Philips achieve this in the bass by making them very present in the sound. These are basshead cans, and electronic or hip hop enthusiasts will be overjoyed. The bass can feel a bit loose at times, but it’s not so wild where everything sounds muddy. The mids are recessed to create a more laid back sound, and the highs are relatively smooth with a slight bump compared to the mids. When it comes to soundstage, the width is adequate, but depth is where the headphones really shine.

Overall, these characteristics create a cohesive and engaging sound that’s easy to listen to without sacrificing a ton of details. One way to describe the sound is that these headphones make everything sound beautiful, where even rock music sounds smooth and fun; however, when it comes heavily layered music, these headphones seriously struggle because the sound feels so congested.

I think for audiophiles, it’s hard to justify these as primary headphones since they lack so many key characteristics of standard audiophile grade headphones. With that said, they fit in perfectly into a collection after you’ve established a collection, or if you really aren’t that interested in hifi and just want a pair of really enjoyable headphones to listen to.

 

Music section
Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk
  • 00:00 – 00:36 – The headphones have a warm characteristic, and there’s enough soundstage depth in the voice and bass in the background.
  • 00:36 – 1:08 – The first thing you notice is the large quantity of bass. It doesn’t completely overwhelm everything else, so you’ll still be able to hear the guitar parts. The treble seems to be rolled off – you can hear it, but it’s not in your face.
  • 6:58 – 7:30 – Bass doesn’t sound as tight in this section like other headphones, but it’s still enjoyable to listen to. The highs also don’t seem to be super tight as there isn’t crispness in the cymbal hits. Soundstage is wide enough to identify every instrument with enough separation.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • 00:00 – 00:50 Similar observations as above. The bass is definitely the first thing you notice. Soundstage allows you to focus on any instrument you want to, and there’s enough depth to give it a 3D feel. Voices are slightly recessed, but the smooth and warm character makes it very friendly to listen to.
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
  • 00:00 -1:00 Long resonating reverb on the bass gives it a large sense of depth, and the piano here sounds smooth, unlike many headphones I’ve listened to this song with (note: the loud piano entrance is how it was recorded). The voice is also very smooth, but you can describe it as slightly recessed. There’s a very intimidate feel to the soundstage.
Four seasons L’estate III Presto – Vivaldi (Pavel)
  • 00:00 – 00:44 The attacks aren’t harsh at all, and there’s a lot more presence in bass / cello section, which creates a large sense of depth to the overall music, which I definitely enjoy. The soundstage width feels a bit congested, making it hard to identify individual orchestral sections.
  • 00:45 -1:04 Attacks are unrealistically soft, but pleasing. There are no harsh highs from the violins, but the soloist doesn’t feel featured as a result of being recessed a bit.
  • 1:05 – 1:20 – Again, I love the depths in the bass and cello section
Count Bubba – Gordon Goodwin
  • 00:00 – 00:41 The sax section feels a bit recessed and slightly flat (not tonally of course, from a soundstage perspective), and the trumpet pops aren’t as noticeable. The upright bass is definitely in front, but everything feels a bit too congested.
  • 1:10 – 1:39 Sax section sounds nice and smooth, but it’s falsely pretty as it should be in your face more.
Closing thoughts
– For those in DIY speaker building, these have a very similar signature as the karma indignias speakers
– I personally believe that this frequency response excels at solo vocals or instruments, gaming, movies, and electronic music for rocking out. On complex and layered music, details can get lost or the sound can feel congested oftentimes

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