The standard 3.5mm headphone jack is the portable headphone equivalent to the power outlet: It’s simple. It works. It’s been around for forever.
But in order to expand what’s possible in any field, it pays to think forward. With the Fidelio NC1L, Philips has done just that by designing a pair of noise-canceling headphones that use a Lightning cable instead of the ‘old standby.
We know everyone is partial to their analog connection, and the thought of its replacement causes no shortage of uproar from the audio community at large, ourselves included. However, there are several reasons why going straight through a digital connection for a pair of headphones like the NC1L makes a lot of sense.
First of all, the iOS-based NC1L are able to achieve the highest resolution rate possible from Apple’s beloved iPhone, 24bit/48kHz. And if Apple steps up its game in hi-res audio, the Fidelio NC1L will be ready, with room to go up to 24bit/96kHz. In addition, because the headphones are app based, they’re also upgradeable, able to be updated in the same way as other straight digital devices like a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
The Fidelio app also offers adjustable noise cancellation, allowing you to customize just how much sound you want to lock out, and how much you want to let in. As for the performance, our initial audition of the cans impressed, as they blocked out an immense amount of ambient noise even at low volume levels. The set we tried out is only a prototype, and the final version will undergo some interior and exterior design changes. But even at the early stages, we’re excited about this technology.
The Fidelio NC1L will be priced at $300 upon release, and are expected to be available in their final form this April.