Philips Fidelio X3 Review: Huge soundstage in an elegant design [Video]

Six years later, Philips has updated one of their popular headphones with the Fidelio X3. With a similar design and goal, the open-back audiophile headphones boast a wide frequency response with incredible separation and a huge soundstage. Head below to watch the video and find out more about the Philips Fidelio X3.

Out of the box

Getting the $349.99 Philips Fidelio X3 out of the box, the headphones also come with two detachable cables — one with a 3.5mm connector and the other a 2.5mm TRRS connector for listening in the balanced mode.

Philips also includes a 3.5 to ¼-inch adapter for more compatibility as well as a cable clip and soft cloth bag.

Design

While most open-back headphones like the earlier Fidelio X2HR show off their inner workings, the Fidelio X3 covers up this feature with a clean, dark gray fabric. It makes the overall design language of the headphones simple and elegant.

The rest of the headphones feature a subtle black and gray colorway with Philips on both arms and Fidelio X3 across the top of the outer headband.

Philips Fidelio X3: Video

Comfort

With this simple overall design, the Fidelio X3 is plenty comfortable. The inner and outer headbands are both wrapped in sustainably sourced Muirhead Scottish leather. While the earcups don’t extend down from the headband in a more standard fashion, the inner headband stretches to fit over your head.

I think I would prefer a more standard design here with the earcups extending or adjusting from the headband, but I still found the Fidelio X3 to be plenty comfortable.

Memory foam earcup cushions wrapped in a kind of suede-like fabric offer a nice soft feel resting against my head. They also pick up a ton of lint. This was definitely the first time I’ve ever had to use a lint roller on a pair of headphones before shooting a video. Overall, I’ve found the Fidelio X3 headphones very comfortable.

Philips Fidelio X3: Cables

My only gripe on materials here is the cable. While its detachable 3m design makes it easy to use, there is quite a bit of cable noise when it touches or rubs against anything. In most situations, this wasn’t an issue, but when the cable did hit my desk or move across my shirt, that sound would transfer into the headphones.

At the headphones, the cables are split into the left and right connectors. When used with that 2.5mm TRRS connector, the Fidelio X3 can deliver balanced audio from a balanced source which is meant to separate the ground and improve stereo separation. I don’t have a balanced audio setup to test this, but I found the X3 to work very well with the standard 3.5mm TRS connection.

How do they sound?

In short, these headphones sound incredible. The aim here was to provide a pair of headphones with a natural sound signature with a wide, clear soundstage and they hit the nail on the head.

Large 50mm drivers deliver a crazy frequency response from 5-40,000 Hz for a huge sound. Bass is impactful, but not overpowering. If you are a bass head, you might find these lacking. Mid-range stays under control and highs are crisp and very clear.

On some metal tracks like Mist from Protest the Hero, the cymbals were on the edge of harsh, but in almost every other track I listened to that wasn’t an issue.

Soundstage and separation

Where the Philips Fidelio X3 really shines in my opinion is the soundstage. Tracks open up and instruments spread out over the headphones in an incredibly immersive way. Listening to rock busy rock and metal tracks, it really expands the sound to make them less overwhelming and more discernible.

At the same time it feels like the sound can wrap around both sides of your head with great stereo separation. It sounds like this is aided by the balanced mode design, but even in unbalanced it sounds incredible.

Other Philips headphones

At the same time, Philps also released the new SHP9600, which is another great open-back pair of headphones at a more affordable price. We’ll be doing a full review of those headphones at a later time.

Wrapping up

Priced at $350, the Philips Fidelio X3 costs quite a bit but delivers incredible sound quality. And we’re already seeing price cuts on these recently released headphones. While writing this they are $100 off on Amazon, but be sure to watch 9to5Toys through the deal season to make sure you get the best price on these amazing headphones.

Going forward, the Philips Fidelio X3 will be my go-to headphones for listening to music and editing video here in my home studio, as long as my kids aren’t too loud for the open-back nature. The soundstage is incredible and rivals much more expensive headphones while the sound is clear and full, and the headset is plenty comfortable for long listening sessions.

Buy Philips Fidelio X3

 

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