The Philips Fidelio X3 is targeting an audience that is more concerned with High Fidelity than with True Wireless or Noise Cancelling. The sheer listening pleasure of these sophisticated headphones is in the relaxed, peaceful atmosphere they create. If you’ve never heard of a high-end pair of headphones before, the Philips Fidelio X3 is going to blow you away – there’s no doubt about it.
We can say that about very few headphones these days and only a handful of those products cost under $500 / £500. And yet, the Philips Fidelio X3 is among them.
It’s a great buy, not just for first-time critical listeners but also for audiophiles constantly chasing that perfect sound.
It offers a robust, full mid-range and low-end sound with vibrant treble that can feel a bit over-excited at times, but nonetheless sounds warm and rich.
It’s a serious competitor against the legendary Sennheiser HD600, HD650, and HD6XX, but in a more modern design with plush felt padding that makes it feel luxurious to wear.
Price Analysis and Release Date
The Philips Fidelio X3 was released in September 2020 and is the sequel to the four-year-old Fidelio X2.
The Fidelio X3 is a bit on the expensive side at around $300 / £300 (around AU$400), which sounds like a lot but is actually the going rate for a prized pair of open-back, over-ear headphones.
Compared to those, the Fidelio X3’s $300 / £300 price point actually isn’t so bad.
Specification and Design
- Dimensions: 110 x 230 x 190mm / Weight: 0.38kg
- Muirhead leather bands, Kvadrat fabric
- Memory foam earcup cushions
These headphones certainly look and feel premium.
Utilising a smorgasbord of top-notch materials, including Muirhead leather, Kvadrat fabric, and a dark satin metal finish to the arms, the Fidelio X3 has a classic aesthetic, yet tweaked for a more modern lifestyle.
The earcups are memory foam, covered by velvet for comfort. If you’re going to listen to the whole of Tubular Bells in one sitting, that’s essential.
Our only minor concern is that the outer material isn’t as cool to the touch as, say, lamb’s leather, so the earcups are pretty insulating temperature-wise.
That’s great for the winter months, but you might feel a little warm after long periods in summer. Still, the headset as a whole is light and non-restrictive.
That’s mainly thanks to the dual headband design, with an inner band resting on the top of your head and the outer floating a little above.
This keeps the overall build sturdy, while giving a detached, looser fit.
Apart from that, there are two mini jack outputs – one on each ear – for pure stereo connection via the included cable.
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Sound Quality of Fidelio X3
With a little running in, these Philips headphones prove they don’t only look and feel luxurious – they sound it as well.
The presentation is predictably more open than any closed-back pair around this price, but that doesn’t mean you need lose solidity or a full-bodied presentation.
The Fidelio X3 are not shy to offer that kind of richness.
We use ours with the Chord Hugo 2 DAC, and they make good use of the incredible detail on offer.
Vocals are plumped well by a generous bass and lower midrange, but there’s texture within them as well.
It’s a natural-sounding presentation of voices and instruments that allows both for deeper listening and for zoning out, satisfied you’re hearing things as they’re meant to be.
They’re happy organising big arrangements, too, whether that’s a dense pack of snarling guitars or an orchestra in full swing; the separation on offer does not deny a sense of everything being tied together or the confidence that another few instruments could be thrown in before the Fidelio X3 began to struggle.
Everything is played with consummate ease; the only issue is that sometimes it feels like these Philips are a little too laid back.
Swap to the Fidelio X3’s main competitor, the Award-winning Grado SR325e, and the whole energy of the music changes.
The treble is most evidently livelier, which does mean you have to be even more careful with the quality of your source with the Grado headphones, but it can almost sound like the music is playing at an entirely different speed.
Greater agility and more dynamic punch allow tracks to skip along more freely, and it feels as if there’s more detail on offer here too.
The more you swap from one to the other, the more pronounced these differences seem to become.
Rhythmic coherence and dynamics are often what sets Grado above the rest – when it gets things right, at least – and their ability to make a hugely energetic and entertaining pair of headphones, without wearing out your ears, is accentuated by the comparison with Philips’s Fidelio X3.
There is a lot to love about these Philips open-back Fidelio headphones.
Many will even prefer their more subdued performance, which can indeed allow for a measured deeper listening experience.
However, that is the thing that holds it back from becoming a class leader. We’d love a more open treble and a bit more life but, even so, the Fidelio X3 should appear on your audition list.
Frequently Asked Question
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions by Users before making a Purchase. We took our time to answer these questions so you have no need to worry. Check it out!
QUES: Do these comfortably fit a head that wears a hat size of 8 1/2?
ANS: Can’t say for sure as I’m 7 3/4 but I’m able to wear them comfortably for 6-8 hrs at a time. Seems plenty to room to spare.
QUES: Is there a serial number on the item itself? If so, where?
ANS: The stock number is located on a tag on the wire and the serial number is located on the box
QUES: How much do they weigh?
ANS: X3 0.84 lbs
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