When a pair of headphones are styled to capture the beauty of a Bentley automobile, then you know you have just put something special on your head. Philips has taken the Fidelio line of sound docks and expanded the brand to include a new line of headphones. The flagship of this newest line of audio head candy is the Fidelio L1 headphones. These headphones are truly an exquisite piece of craftsmanship that audiophiles and car enthusiasts alike will love.
So why the Bentley tie-in? Philips decided on a design aesthetic that strays from the typical plasticky headphones that seem to have bombarded the market as of late. Taking cues from the Bentley design, and its grill specifically, the Fidelio L1 possess a look that stands out from the crowd with a solid metal construction that will withstand the elements. From the headband to the cable, every part of the L1 has been thoughtfully designed and manufactured. The ear cups consist of memory foam for a comfortable fit for long periods of listening. They also pivot to hug your ears and allow for the best seal possible. The ear cups are held in place by solid metal hinges and a frame that can certainly take a beating.
The headband is wrapped along with the ear cups, in a very fine leather, that completes the package. Both those with bigger heads or smaller heads, will find the L1’s comfortable to wear, and that they aren’t too top heavy that they slip off your head. In actuality the Fidelio L1’s are pretty lightweight even though they give off the illusion of being hefty.
The L1’s do come with a storage pouch for protection, but they actually aren’t that easy to transport since they lack the ability to be collapsible. But the fact that they can take abuse is pretty reassuring for travel, and that the ear cups can be rotated flat makes it easier to slip into tight places in your bag. The L1 also comes with two fabric covered cables. One cable is a straight up audio cable without any type of remote, while the other does offer an in-line remote, making it easy to answer incoming calls from most smartphones. Also included is a 6.3mm adapter so that you can use the headphones with other home audio devices.
While the L1 is one fine looking headphone, the looks do not upstage the sound quality. Staying true to the performance of the Fidelio line of audio docks, the Fidelio L1 exhibits crisp and warm sound that will make your body melt into your headphones. These headphones even make Spotify sound amazing. Mids, highs, and lows were all balanced and sublime. On certain songs the highs do seem be a bit too high, but that could just be my own listening experience. Not all ears are created equal after all.
In general though, the L1 headphones sound like Philips stuffed their best Fidelio dock inside a pair of headphones. The 40mm high-definition optimally vented neodymium speaker drivers simply shine. The subtleties of the guitar strings, crisp vocals like Celine Dion, and even the not so crisp vocals of Gavin Degraw sound amazing. While bass is not as meaty as I would like, the experience is still extremely balanced, but you can tell right away that the L1’s definitely favor the mids, and especially the highs.
When all is said and done the Fidelio L1’s are a welcome addition to the robust Fidelio line of audio equipment from Philips. It stands up to the quality of its audio dock cousins and stands on its on two feet as an excellent pair of great sounding, as well as excellently constructed headphones. The Philips Fidelio L1 headphones will be hitting store shelves and online retailers around April and will retail for $299.99.
The Good: Great sound reproduction that shows its loves of the mids and highs. Solid construction. Very comfortable to wear, and quite simply a beautiful looking pair of headphones.
The Bad: Not easily portable. Those who love their bass may not be easily impressed.