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Philips Fidelio NC1L ANC on-ear headphones go battery-free

Katharine Byrne
8 Jan 2015
Philips Fidelio NC1L
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World's first noise-cancelling on-ear headphones to go battery free with Lightning connector for iOS owners

Philips has announced the Fidelio NC1L headphones, the world's first on-ear headphones with Active Noise Cancelling to go battery-free. It does this by using the direct digital connection in an iPhone's Lightning connector, following in the footsteps of the Fidelio M2L headphones which we finally went hands on with yesterday at CES 2015.

With its high-bandwidth neodymium drivers, memory foam ear pads and fully foldable frame, iPhone owners can well and truly say goodbye to Apple's terrible ear buds. Like the Fidelio M2L headphones, the 24-bit Digital to Analog Conversion (DAC), amplification and noise cancellation takes place in the headphones themselves, helping to retain more musical detail and keep interference to a minimum. The Fidelio NC1L aren't just for listening to music either, as you can also use them to take calls on your iPhone, too.

“The Philips Fidelio NC1L headphones combine advanced Active Noise Cancelling technology with all the advantages of a direct digital connection to your iOS device,” said Wiebo Vaartjes, CEO of WOOX Innovations. “Following the launch of our first Lightning-enabled headphones, the Philips Fidelio M2L, we’re proud to announce another world first. Now you can immerse yourself in authentic sound without distraction, no matter how long your journey.”

To enable its Active Noise Cancellation, the NC1L headphones use four microphones to detect ambient noise before inverting the signal to cancel it out, converting background noise to silence. Two of these are 'FeedBackward' microphones, which are positioned next to the headphone drivers to provide strong noise cancellation at low frequencies. The other two are 'FeedForward' microphones, which are located on the outside of the headphone and are used to extend the bandwidth of the noise cancellation into mid and high frequencies.

There are three modes to choose from, including Active Noise Cancelling, Open-Ear Listening (which lets in ambient noise so you can hear what's going on around you), and Natural Voice (a calibrated level of Active Noise Cancellation to enable a more natural and comfortable experience when making calls using the built-in mic).

The Fidelio NC1L headphones will be available in Western Europe this spring, according to Philips, with a suggested retail price of 299 Euros (or roughly £235). Be sure to check back later for our final verdict as soon as we get our hands on a review sample. 

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