The Philips Fidelio X3’s tagline sounds very attractive and does intrigue us on how a headphone can produce concert-like sound quality and presence. Since Philips has designed their Fidelio X3 for audiophiles, we do have high hopes for these over-ear headphones. It would probably need a matching headphone amplifier to help unleash its full potential and if you are currently looking for one, do continue to read on.
Recently, there are more headphone amps to choose from, and finding the ones which are matching and compatible with the Philips Fidelio X3 will take us some effort. As we need to learn more about the Fidelio X3 sound signatures and characteristics. Once we have such data in our hands, we will be able to work out a list of the best amps to go for. This list will be prepared and shared with you later on.
Sound Characteristics and Merits of Philips Fidelio X3
It is an open-back design headphone and based on the Fidelio X3’s tagline, we probably could expect a wide and spacious soundstage coming out from them. Even though an open-back headphone can project a larger soundstage than a closed-back design of the same price range, it does have its flaws. The disadvantage of using an open-back headphone like the Philips Fidelio X3 will be the sound leakage, meaning the music you are playing will leak out partially to the surrounding areas near you. It also has poor noise isolation capabilities where you can hear surrounding noises around you.
Philips Fidelio X3 is made to be used in the comfort of your own home so the earlier mentioned disadvantages wouldn’t really be an issue. It is pretty lightweight and feels very comfortable to wear, partly thanks to the memory foam earcups. You can most likely wear them for hours without feeling discomfort and it is highly recommended to only use the Fidelio X3 for casual listening as it might fall off during strenuous exercises. This dynamic headphone has a low impedance of 30 Ohms which means it is really easy to drive. The headphone sensitivity is below average and it will fare better when it is amplified by an amp.
These headphones certainly have an innate ability to project a wide and open soundstage, it is likely one of the widest in this price range. The soundstage went past our heads and provided us with an immersive experience. Midrange reproduction is equally impressive, it is accurately delivered with high clarity. Voices sounded natural and subtle nuances can clearly be heard such as small quick breaths which makes listening to vocal-centric songs more intimate. There are so many music details been produced in the mids and the musical instruments are authentically reproduced as well. Really remarkable midrange prowess for a headphone at this price point.
The stereo imaging and separation also help to stabilize the soundstage, making it more focused and defining each musician with precision. Philips Fidelio X3 midrange does overshadow the highs though and the treble does sound bright at times but not to a point of cringe. The bass performance is as expected from an open-back headphone where you won’t feel the rumble. Even so, the lack of impact is replaced with high bass accuracy and taut delivery. We were expecting more energy and enthusiasm but the Fidelio X3 does fall short in this area. Probably a bit more punch in the bass delivery might do the trick.
The Philips Fidelio X3 are neutral characteristic headphones that lean towards bright sounding. It has impeccable stereo spacing and knows how to make full use of the spacious soundstage it can muster. The overall sound reproduction is clean and has a polished background which brings out the sonic space even more. It will be great for listeners who like to relax while listening to their favorite music but if you are looking for a lively and energetic performer, the Fidelio X3 probably is not for you. We will be listing out the best headphone amps to match with the Philips Fidelio X3 headphones, we will be taking the amplifier price points into consideration as well.
Philips Fidelio X3 Specifications
- Type: Open-back, Dynamic
- Frequency range: 5Hz-40kHz
- Impedance: 30 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 98dB
- Speaker diameter: 50mm
- Weight: 307g (0.68lbs)
Best Headphone Amps to match with Philips Fidelio X3
JDS Labs Atom Amp+ will be an ideal entry-level headphone amplifier to pair with your Philips Fidelio X3 headphones. With up to 1 Watt max continuous power, the Atom Amp+ has more than enough muscles to really drive the Fidelio X3. The neutral sonic characteristics of the headphone amp have a hint of warmth and coloration so as to provide a more pleasing sound quality. The JDS Labs Atom Amp+ midrange reproduction is sweet-sounding which complements the Philips Fidelio X3 and gives us a smoother delivery. It has an affordable price tag and will suit most listeners’ budgets.
The DarkVoice 336SE is an excellent tube headphone amp to match with the Philips Fidelio X3. It is able to increase the scale of the sound which also helps to enlarge the size of the soundstage and gives us a grander music presentation. The midrange prowess of the DarkVoice 336SE will work nicely with the Philips Fidelio X3 as well, giving us a clearer and more solid mids. This tube amp has sound quality that is easy on the ears and this helps to slightly soften the treble. Tube rolling is optional as we find the stock tubes are good enough but this does give you an opportunity to alter the sound signatures to your liking by changing to other tubes.
The Schiit Audio Magni 3+ is another amazing entry-level headphone amp to go for and to partner up with the Philips Fidelio X3 open-back headphones. Other than amplifying the headphone, the Magni 3+ is able to provide a slightly weightier bass reproduction without compromising the agility. There is a hint of warmth as well, giving you a bit more full-bodied midrange reproduction. All in all, the Schiit Audio Magni 3+ is still rather neutral and will allow your Philips Fidelio X3 to add some of its characteristics into the overall sound reproduction without influencing it much. We do find it easier to listen to music as it is less fatiguing.
S.M.S.L HO200 is one of the best headphone amps to match with the Philips Fidelio X3. This is a powerful balanced headphone amplifier and can effortlessly make your Fidelio X3 headphones sing. You probably wouldn’t need to upgrade your amp anymore since it can drive some of the most demanding headphones with ease. The S.M.S.L HO200 is an ideal amp for listeners who prefer to have more accuracy and transparency in their music delivery. This is also well suited for analytical audio enthusiasts. With the S.M.S.L HO200 amplifying the Philips Fidelio X3, the music presentations become more detailed and cleaner.
If you require a headphone amp with a built-in DAC then the award-winning Chord Mojo will be a fantastic choice to pair with your Philips Fidelio X3. This is a rhythmic driven and dynamic headphone amp which will drive the Fidelio X3 with ease and will deliver a more engaging music presentation. It is also an informative amplifier where it can dish out plenty of musical details. The energetic performance of the Chord Mojo will help to provide a more enjoyable and fun music listening experience. It is a musical-sounding headphone amp and it doesn’t add more brightness to the sound reproduction, making it a suitable match for the Philips Fidelio X3 headphones.
Drop O2 + SDAC will be a more affordable headphone amp with a built-in D/A converter for your Philips Fidelio X3. The higher affordability of the Drop O2 + SDAC doesn’t compromise the sonic performance, it is more than capable of driving the Fidelio X3 headphones. The DAC chip AKM AK4452 supports up to 24-bit/96kHz sampling rates. The Drop O2 + SDAC is able to drive the headphones to a very high volume and also allow the sonic characteristics of the Philips Fidelio X3 to shine through without colorations due to the neutral sonic characteristic of the headphone amp. For an entry-level amp/DAC at this price point, it is really difficult for us to nitpick.
There’s no real need to get a headphone amp with a built-in DAC but it does help you to save space and maybe some money. You can always get a dedicated DAC with better performance and sound quality. The listed headphone amps are all worthy of your time and effort to check them out. When you have shortlisted a few of them, you might want to arrange an audition to hear them out using your Philips Fidelio X3 headphones. If you are using your own D/A converter or planning to get a new one, it is wise to test it together with the potential headphone amp and your Fidelio X3.