The Philips Fidelio X3 over-ear headphones could be an audiophile's dream

philips fidelio
(Image credit: Philips)

Philips has announced the latest over-ear headphones in its popular Fidelio series, the Philips Fidelio X3, which come with an audiophile-friendly open-back design that allows for a wide soundstage. 

The Fidelio X3s will be available to buy in this month for €349, which works out at around $390 / £300 / AU$560, making them more expensive than their five star-rated predecessors, the Philips Fidelio X2.

The new over-ear headphones have been designed to deliver warm bass without sacrificing detail in the mid and high frequencies. According to Philips you can expect a "tight, impactful sound with exceptional separation of instruments and voices, while the high end is clean, detailed and has excellent extension".

You'll also be able to enjoy your Hi-Res Audio files with these cans, with a wide frequency range of 5-40,000Hz – good news if you're a subscriber to Tidal or Qobuz. 

To ramp up the audio quality even further, you can use these headphones in 'balanced mode' – that is, using separate left and right cables for each earcup. In theory, this improves stereo separation, and should contribute to the expansive sound. 

philips fidelio

(Image credit: Philips)

Luxurious design

Powering the Fidelio X3s are large multi-layer 50mm drivers, which are designed to create a spacious and powerful sound. 

Open-back headphones allow air to pass through the ear cups, which reduces air-pressure build-up and prevents sound from echoing inside your cans, helping to make your headphones sound more natural and clear. 

As these headphones use an "acoustically-transparent" material instead of a traditional grille, there will probably be a substantial amount of sound leakage though, which means they may not be suitable for using in public. 

To further improve the sound quality, the Philips Fidelio X3s are pre-tilted to a 15-degree angle, which Philips says will "fit more accurately to the natural shape of the ear and ensure music is directed straight into the ear canal for a truly immersive listening experience". 

They should prove comfortable during long listening sessions, too. Built from a lightweight steel frame covered in black leather, the Fidelio X3s have a thick felt headband and foam earpads to cushion your ears.

While that all sounds very luxurious, it does mean these cans won't be suitable for anyone who avoids using animal products. 

You also won't find any 'smart' extras here such as noise cancellation or wireless connectivity, so don't expect the Philips Fidelio X3s to rival the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones – instead, these cans are squarely aimed at audiophiles who are looking for pure audio fidelity above everything else. 

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.