Philips Fidelio NC1
| 40 mm Dynamic Driver | Active Noise Cancelling | Neodymium Magnets |
? Philips Fidelio NC1, the only Active Noise Cancelling headphone from the Fidelio series.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 features 40mm dynamic drivers, strong neodymium magnets and ANC technology.
Philips ensures that the drivers inside the Fidelio NC1 are hand picked and grant a very wide frequency response of 7-40000Hz.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 is part of the Fidelio product’s family, which is Philip’s high-class and HiFi audio line that includes headphones such as:
- Philips Fidelio X2HR – over-ear headphone
- Philips Fidelio L2 – over-ear
- Philips Fidelio M1 Mark2 – on-ear
- Philips Fidelio M2BT – Bluetooth
- Philips Fidelio M2L – lightning connector
- Philips Fidelio S2 – in-ear (review)
In particular, the NC1 is the evolution of the Philips Fidelio F1 with the addition of active noise cancelling technology.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 has an internal rechargeable battery that can provide 30 hours of continuous use while the headphone can be, still, used (without ANC) when there is no battery charge left.
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Philips Fidelio NC1 Review
Tests & Scores
Accessories & Packaging
On-ear and over-ear headphones tend to come packed with little to no accessories, instead the Philips Fidelio NC1 comes bundled with nice, quality accessories.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 unboxing results in a 3.5mm audio cable, an USB charging cord, an airplane adapter and a smartly-designed hard case.
The unit comes inside a dark-colored packaging that follows the aesthetics of the Fidelio line and which is very similar to other Fidelio headphone’s packaging.
The cable of the Philips Fidelio NC1 is detachable with a standard 3.5mm connector on both ends.
The connector end that attaches to the left earcup has a 90 degrees angled design while the cable itself has the same fabric finish that can be seen on other Fidelio headphones such as the Philips Fidelio X2 and the Philips Fidelio M1II.
Fortunately, the brand has implemented a single-sided stereo cable connection that will reduce tangling issues and improve the usability.
Inline, the cable holds a single button remote and a microphone for calls.
Philips Fidelio NC1 weight in Ounces and Philips Fidelio NC1 weight in grams.
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Construction Quality and Build
As the Philips Fidelio NC1 belongs to the high-tier family of audio products from the brand, the build and feel of the NC1 is robust and durable.
Most of the construction materials are aluminum, such as the cups and part of the reinforcement of the headband (which is combined with plastic).
The earcups are soft and made of memory foam as the soft inner headband section while the rest of the headband has a rubberized finish that feels almost like silicone.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 might be a small on-ear headphone, yet below the hood it sports advanced features such as:
- Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling (4 microphones and a feed-forward/feed-backward ANC design)
- Standalone acoustic chambers
- Hi-Res audio certification
Bass & Sub Bass
The Philips Fidelio NC1, while used with their ANC turned off, offers a very punchy and deep bass response.
Their lower frequencies exhibit an excellent full-bodied and energetic tuning that, yet does not sound overboosted nor out of control.
Their bass is definitely not conservative but neither falls into a bass-only sounding type of headphone.
The mid-bass and sub-bass will be able to cover any music genre and tracks.
With an EQ, their bass can become insanely deep with, also, some extra punch.
The Philips Fidelio NC1 shows a bass tuning modification once the active noise cancelling is turned on.
Their bass will remain very deep and punchy but will become more controlled, mostly over their mid-bass than when their ANC was deactivated.
Consequently, the NC1 will exhibit less mid-bass bleed and a cleaner overall lower frequencies response.
Users should expect a better balanced and less invasive “retuning” that will, still not get conservative.
It is fair to highlight that the Fidelio NC1 also showed a 50% volume increment when switching on their ANC.
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Mids & Vocals
The Philips Fidelio NC1 has very warm mids with perceivable medium-intensely mid-bass bleed.
In addition to this, their lower vocals sound relaxed and a bit laid back while higher mids are crisp and clear but never harsh.
The general mids personality of the Philips Fidelio NC1 is cozy, full and friendly.
Using an EQ, their midrange can be cleaned up, with clearer lower mids and making lower vocals much less distant and less congested.
Moreover, higher mids can be pushed for a crispier response – expect some mid-bass bleed present but subdued.
As well, with their lower frequencies, the Philips Fidelio NC1 shows a clear sound personality variation once their ANC is turned on.
This time, the NC1 benefits from a groundbreaking improvement and refinement of their whole midrange tuning, becoming much cleaner and balanced.
In general, they will introduce much crispier higher mids, way more clear sounding lower vocals and drastically reduced mid-bass bleed and congestion.
Despite the crispier response, their upper mids will not become frequently harsh (though some peaks might show up from time to time)
Technically, the midrange of the Philips Fidelio NC1 becomes remarkably flat once their active noise cancelling is switched on.
Highs & Treble
With ANC switched off, the Philips Fidelio NC1 has good enough brightness and some mild detail with an overall dark tint.
Despite this, their highs do not sound muddy nor muffled.
Regarding fatiguing peaks, the NC1 has no piercing nor sibilant spikes at any given time.
Overall, the Philips Fidelio NC1 has smooth highs that are not fatiguing nor aggressive but neither dark and muffled.
These sound characteristics will make them enjoyable to listen for prolonged time and will be very appreciated by treble sensitive people.
Still it worth reminding that users should not expect sharp and audiophile-alike detailed highs.
Applying an EQ, their upper end become substantially more open and much brighter – some sibilance will be introduced.
The modification added when ANC is On has shown strong effect over their bass and midrange but will also affect the feel of their highs and treble.
Once their active noise cancelling is turned on, the upper frequencies of the Philips Fidelio NC1 will benefit from a cleaner and brighter sound that is given by the less emphasized bass response.
Additionally, this will allow their drivers to demonstrate their fair-capabilities of detail retrieval while remaining smooth and pleasant.
The sound leaking out of the Philips Fidelio NC1 is less noticeable than on most average headphones.
Users should not expect the most silent headphone on the market but a level leakage that will make them perfectly usable on any daily activities.
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On-ear headphones are not particularly the best performing when isolation is wanted, yet the Philips Fidelio NC1 is equipped with 4 microphones and active noise technology to actively “cancel” the disturbing noises of the environment.
Because of the on-ear design, the NC1 should be expected to have a tougher job isolating from the surroundings than over-ear ANC headphones. Nonetheless, despite their design, the Fidelio NC1 demonstrated an impressive active noise cancelling efficiency that surpasses most other ANC headphones on the market (even over-ear headphones equipped with ANC)
To be more specific, the Philips Fidelio NC1 was able to reach up to 25.8dB of reduction at 125Hz, -23dB at +/- 230Hz and as much as -16.3dB from 600Hz to 1000Hz.
As we have mentioned several times through out the review, the Philips Fidelio NC1 shows a 50% volume output increment when turning their ANC on and a very noticeable sound signature alteration.
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The Philips Fidelio NC1 are light-weighted and very comfortable to wear due to the quality memory foam used for their cushions and their hollow center.
The top section of the headband does not offer a generously padded section but, due to their light weight and thin headband design, they remain fairly non-fatiguing to wear.
On the other hand, as the NC1 is an on-ear headphone, the cushions sitting on the ear will eventually add some fatigue and heat (as every on-ear does)
To better adapt to each user’s morphology, the Philips Fidelio NC1 has tiltable cups. Moreover, the NC1 is easy to transport as it can be rotated to lay flat and even folded to drastically reduce their footprint.
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Response to Equalization
The response to EQ of the Fidelio NC1 was very efficient over their midrange and highs with, also, a massive empowerment of their sub-bass.
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Size & Fit
Philips Fidelio NC1 size and Philips Fidelio NC1 fit.
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Philips Fidelio NC1 Frequency Response Curve
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Philips Fidelio NC1 Technical Specifications
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories||audio cable, charging cable, case, flight adapter|
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Philips Fidelio NC1 Scores
- Design - 9/109/10
- Bass - 8.25/108.3/10
- Mids - 8.5/108.5/10
- Highs - 8/108/10
- Sound Leak - 7.75/107.8/10
- Sound Isolation - 9.5/109.5/10
- Comfort - 9/109/10
- Response to EQ - 8.75/108.8/10
- Value for Money - 8.75/108.8/10
Note: Scores below correspond to their performance with ANC On.
✅ Outstanding sound quality (when ANC is ON)
✅ Impressive flat midrange (ANC ON)
✅ Efficient active noise cancelling
✅ Nice build and aesthetics
✅ Comfortable for an on-ear
✅ Very good case
✅ Detachable cable
✅ Two sound signatures depending on their ANC
❌ Difficult to find in stock
❌ Noticeable reduction of SQ when ANC if Off
The Philips Fidelio NC1 is an impressive on-ear headphone that clearly deserves belonging to the Fidelio family.
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