Philips Fidelio X2: The Evolution In Sound

Disclaimer: Philips sent Nathan and myself a free sample of the Philips Fidelio X2. Regular text is from Lieven, Italic text is from Nathan.

box HFN Lieven round kader

 

Some History

Last year in September right before IFA 2013, Jude from Head-fi, Tyll from Innerfidelity, Mike and myself got invited to the Philips labs in Belgium. At that time they were launching the very good L2; the X1 was already on the market. We were briefed on Philips’s headphone development. And we got the idea that they were already working on an improved X1.

Seeing the way they work with measurements and listening panels (do you remember the Golden Ear Training Program?) we were all very sure their next headphone would be special. Well, it’s one year since and the X2 is here. Can it live up to our high expectations?

The X2

The X2 was officially released three months ago at IFA in Germany on September 4. Sorry for the delay. It’s hard to always be quick on publishing reviews, especially of great products like the X2, which demand more time. But please forgive our tardiness. Despite not being on the market soon after its IFA announcement, the X2 is worth the wait.

When quickly comparing the X1 and the X2, you will find that the X2’s sound has been tweaked. It has received replaceable cushions, a small jack connector, updated damping material, a new larger headband, a good measuring cable, a different driver diaphragm, and other sundry changes. Sure, on the outside it might look fairly similar, but I promise you, the X2 is no small revision.

Still it boasts a smooth style aesthetic, the use of quality materials, and great build quality. Great attention has been paid to details like the sexy grill and soft memory foam below the velour of the ear pads. And finally, the pads themselves are replaceable, which should placate the crowd that had been asking to be able to change pads. You will notice that the pads are pretty huge and still manage a wide birth, giving lots of room for your ears.

Comfort wise the X2 is sublime with one “but” which I’ll come back to in a bit. The X2 uses the same suspended headband system as the X1 does but they made it bigger after feedback from the X1 customers. The ear pads are really soft and the grip on the side of year head is doable. It’s not the lightest of pressure but it’s no death grip either and you can of course always bend the band a little. The headband perfectly balances the somewhat heavy 380g headphone on your head; weight is evenly distributed and yet after about two hours, the headband on top of my head starts hurting me. The one thing I really don’t like about the headband system is that it is HUGE. I have a fairly small head and the new XL headband sticks out like 5cm above my head. I look plain ridiculous wearing this headphone, good thing I don’t have to look at myself too often. So that’s good news for you big-headed guys. My advice is the same to you as it is to vampires: stay away from mirrors!

One more thing, the calf leather headband doesn’t quite look as premium as it could. You’d not be off to say that it looks a bit like plastic. Personal, yes, but apt.

Sound

Just like in the X1, the speaker plates of the X2s are pre-tilted to a 15-degree angle to fit the natural shape of the ear, ensuring the music is directed straight into the ear. The X2 still uses 50mm neodymium drivers and Impedance is 30Ohm and the X2 is very easy to drive (100dB@1mW).

“Thanks to the layered motion control diaphragm and sensitive frequency response, the Fidelio X2 delivers rich bass and warm sound without compromising on clarity and airy, spacious sound.” That’s what Philips say in their press release and this time I can fully agree with what the marketing guys have written. But let’s listen first to what Nathan has to say about the X2 sound and I’ll give my impression right after that. Take it away, Nathan.

I must preface this by stating that my history with Philips started out pretty rocky. I was one of like five people in the world to own a Philips’s ill-fated (and silly) DCC tape player. Since, I’ve done my best to stay away. Still, a Philips battery-powered traveller’s beard trimmer slipped in. I’ve had it since 2004 when a wedding took me back to Scandinavia, where I shaved my head to look like the groom’s younger brother. It was the first falling out I had with my then best friend, the groom. It was also when I discovered that what my wife affectionately calls my ‘thin patch’. I no longer speak to the groom. I lay no blame on Philips. 

Still, thanks to DCC, my expectations were set.

It continues right after the click

Philips Fidelio X2: The Evolution In Sound
4.2 (84.19%) 129 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

281 Comments

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    breizh

    Hi,
    nice review !
    does it compare in in SQ to something like…Beyer T1 ? and in musicality ?
    thanks

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      T1 being high fi, this is Mid fi. T1 has more detail and clarity and everything and yet I prefer the X2 over the T1. I just never got to like the T1. I find the X2 to be more musical

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        ohm image

        Still, mid-fi can be just as, if not more, fun. The X2 is where it is at – a steal at any price.

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        breizh

        oh really, thank you very much

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    George Lai

    I found the X1 a tight fit so this X2 is tempting.

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      It’s huge! 😀

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        ohm image

        That’s what she… oh never mind. Great headphones.

      • Reply December 5, 2014

        digitldlnkwnt

        I look so dumb in my Alpha Primes i changed the wallpaper on 27 inch monitor from darker to light so that i couldn’t see myself wearing them. Unparalleled levels of nerdishness here…but i’m still not taking them off.

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Lofthanza Zia

    I have 3 questions.
    1. How do vocals on these compare to the ath-m50s? Do they feel closer or because it’s U shaped-sounding, vocals will just sound as distant as on the ath-m50?
    2. Which one is warmer-sounding, the ath-m50 or the X2? And please which one is less harsh?
    3. Do you consider these an upgrade to the Fidelio L2 and the momentums? I know those are closed headphones, but I wanna if I am on the right track buying the X2s while already owning the aforementioned headphones.

    Thank you very much for the unique review! This review is really worth the wait.

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      X2 isn’t U shaped. Vocals on the X2 are more realistic.
      X2
      L2 is still the technical better headphone but I prefer the overal sound of the X2 over the L2. It definitely is better than the Momentum

      Thank you!

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        Marc

        Quite a shame in my opinion. I was hoping for greater technicalities or at least equal technicalities and not just enhanced musicality. How are the technicalities compared to say the HD650?

        • Reply December 3, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          The x2 technicalities are good, i just feel the l2 is even better but it lacks a bit of bass.

          I am to biased to answer the hd650 question objectively. It is my King

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        Lofthanza Zia

        Thank you sir! Thank you very much for you time!
        One last question plz, do you prefer the sound of the X2s to the hifiman he-400s?

        • Reply December 3, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          Yes I do. it is much more refined. The HE400 is more hardcore. the HE400i is really nice however

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    LustEnvy

    Wow… the review mirrors my thoughts on the X2 as well. Almost too much.

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      We can’t read minds just yet, but how can that be too much? I’d rather say that’s a good thing. You now know how we “hear” things, for when reading other reviews.

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Luis

    Hi. I own the X1. Wonderful cans – OK, not the most “hi-fi”, but terrifically fun and engaging. One just wants to listen for hours and hours!
    Philips capability in releasing such an headphone (capable of showing rivals like Sennheiser, AKG and Beyerdynamic what a highly addicting headphone should be like) really made me reconsider the Dutch brand’s technical capabilities and Know-how…
    Like me, I guess many owners of the X1 may be tempted to sell their X1 and dive into the X2, if the upgrade justifies that – so, Lieven and/or Nathan, how do the 2 models compare in terms of SQ??? Is it worthy to upgrade?? Thanks!

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I did touch that part of the review. The x2 is the better headphone. The x1 is more u shaped and has more bass. The x2 objectively is the best headphone. You have to decide yourself if it is worth upgrading, i think it is

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        Luis

        Indeed, Lieven, you have touched that subject in your review. My fault, i was reading it too fast and haven’t retained that paragraph…
        Thanks for the reply, I am really tempted to take the plunge into the X2…

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Aris Darmawan

    Nice review! I have Philips Fidelio X2 and feel excited about its sound. Now I want to change the cable since the stock cable is too long and I don’t like sleeve material of the cable. Do you have recommended after market cable which can improve the sound of X2? Is Oyaide cable good?

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      ohm image

      Oyaide are great (and for me, local), but the cable portion itself comes in many, many flavours. I don’t think you can make a decision purely on brand name, but Oyaide’s not a bad way to go.

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        Headfonia_L.

        I fully agree with Nathan. I do have to mention that the supplied cable is extremely friction sensitive

      • Reply December 4, 2014

        Aris Darmawan

        I want a cable that can make my headphone brighter and more sparkling since the treble in X2 is so smooth. Is Oyaide good choice?

        • Reply December 4, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          Go for a silver cable, no matter the brand

          • Reply December 4, 2014

            Aris Darmawan

            Does X2 scale up with the changing of stock cable like HD 600/650 does? Thanks for your recommendation before

      • Reply December 5, 2014

        digitldlnkwnt

        Forza Audio works, Plus Sound Audio and Effect audio all make good cables in reasonable price ranges with really nice build quality. I have used Effect and PlusSound and like their cables very much.

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Vaibhav Pisal

    wow.
    how well does it scale up?

    also is it worth getting over shure srh 1840 ? i saw Dales review shure on youtube. maybe he can chime in?

    i see people say its better than senn hd600? so giant killers then ?

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      HD600 kller, yeah, pretty close call. It doesn’t really scale up a lot imho.
      Couldn’t help with the Shure, sorry

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      dalethorn

      There’s no doubt the X2 would give a better bass experience than the Shure 1840, even though the X2 isn’t a killer bass. The 1840 just doesn’t have a warm or solid bass, especially in the low bass where it pretty well falls apart. As far as the upper end goes, I love the 1840 mids and treble (a bit dry though), but I also had the Philips L1 which had a clearly resolving treble, so I guess the X2 would be a better bet than the 1840.

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        Vaibhav Pisal

        thanks dale.

        that clarifies (and also complicates) a lot.

        I was planning to pair shure 1840 with fostex hp a4, but now I will stop as both would be dry (as far as I can gather after reading).

        I am rather new to this hobby and am still figuring out my preferences.

        for sure I prefer smooth lush treble. but I think I like dry midrange. (after comparing two opamps on hud mini)

        tube buffer is the way to go, I guess.

        • Reply December 3, 2014

          dalethorn

          My favorite full-size for all genres would be: AKG K712, MrSpeakers MadDog (or possibly the new MadDog), B&O H6, Beyer COP, Beyer DT770-32, Beyer T90, Final Audio Pandora VI, Grado PS500, Sennheiser IE800, Shure 840, Shure 1840, v-moda M100, and Yamaha MT220. The exceptions are, I use bass reduction with the M100, treble reduction with the T90, and a very, very careful bass boost with the 1840.

          • Reply December 4, 2014

            Vaibhav Pisal

            thats too many. i guess i will buy one and match it with amp and thats it 🙂

  • Reply December 3, 2014

    Carlos Ortiz De Zevallos Eguil

    Hey did you had the chance of listening to the soundmagic hp200? it also has a lot of great reviews, if so how do they compare? i am between the two, thanks a lot

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      dalethorn

      I can’t compare the HP200 to the X2 since I only had the L1, but even the L1 is better, because the HP200 is pretty colored. If I could rate the HP200, I’d say it’s about a $150-$200 USD sound at best. The Beyer Custom One Pro, or the Sennheiser HD380 Pro would be a good match to the HP200, even though the HP200 is open-back.

      • Reply December 3, 2014

        MarcoGV

        I expected a closer call based on your previous video review of the HP200 and your comments on headfonia, such as: “The HP200 is important enough that I don’t want to leave the wrong impression of its sound. It definitely does not have big anything in the bass. It just has to me a more ideal bass than, say, a Sennheiser 800 or Soundmagic HP100. I have or had headphones with big midbass, and the HP200 is nothing like those.” Is this a case of recalibration of your assessment of the HP200 over time? (I know this happened to me for some models.) Or maybe I misunderstood your earlier posts? Or a combination of factors?

        • Reply December 3, 2014

          dalethorn

          I’d say the HP200 bass is comparable to the Philips L1, but I don’t know about the X2. It’s slightly better I think than the B&W P7, since the P7 tends to be a little boomy and its bass is somewhat loose. Now the HP200 sounds great on its own as a general-purpose hi-fi (or mid-fi) headphone, but in a direct comparison to others like the Shure 940 (rather bright), or the Beyer DT770-32 (slightly hollow), the B&O H6 (upper mids emphasis), or even one of my very under-rated favorites the Yamaha MT220, it sounds bland, and a little dark. For the original price of $250 it’s not a bad deal, and if I had a chance to perform the measurements I’ve adopted since I had the HP200 on a new sample of the 200, I’d love to do that, but probably won’t get the chance. It’s a good quality headphone and sounds good, but hard to say more without having it right here with me.

          • Reply December 4, 2014

            Carlos Ortiz De Zevallos Eguil

            do you remember about its detail soundstage and imaging? (mybe in comparison to the L1) somebody on head-fi told me that the hp200 has more clarity and detail than the x2.

            (i cant really compare by myself as i live in Perú and i import them from united states, that means i have to be extra carefull when i pick a headphone)

            • Reply December 4, 2014

              dalethorn

              I wrote some detailed comments about the HP200: The bass is quite good, not as emphasized in upper bass as the Momentum, but still a little emphasized for warmth. The treble is strong, much more than the Momentum, and nearly as much as the Shure 940, i.e. somewhat bright. The soundstage sounded average to me – less than what I would expect of a good open-back headphone. I find the HP200 to be a good value in its price range, and certainly a good sound even if the soundstage is average. If you want a headphone that’s less than half the price of a Senn HD650 but reasonably close in sound, the HP200 should be a good choice. Personally, I think the music is a far greater factor in soundstage than the headphone, as long as the headphone has a reasonable soundstage.

            • Reply December 4, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              clarity maybe, but the X2 is more refined, more musical nd just a higher level headphone. to me anyway

            • Reply December 4, 2014

              MarcoGV

              Yes, at least one long-time head-fier prefers the HP200 to the X2: see http://www.head-fi.org/t/703175/review-soundmagic-hp200/45#post_11087568. It is interesting to see differing opinions, although there aren’t many full reviews of the HP200 (yet?).

              • Reply December 5, 2014

                dalethorn

                If you can get a picture of the box, I think they put a graph of the measured response on the outside of the box, just like they do with the HP100. I’ve had both, and I think they sound pretty much like the graph indicates. Edd of NobleHiFi, who did a review of the M100 here on Headfonia, also has a pretty reliable review of the HP200 and HP100.

    • Reply December 3, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I do have it here and I will review it over the next months somewhere. I have to say I’m not as impressed with it as with the L2 or X2. Choice here would be easy

  • Reply December 4, 2014

    Lofthanza Zia

    I might be asking for too much now, but if you could help, that would be generous. I happen to have the dacmagic xs, not the biggest fan of it when paired with the ath-m50s, it kind of makes them sound thin and a bit harsh. Would the X2s respond to the dacmagic xs in this regard as bad as the ath-m50s do? Or would the dacmagic xs be a fine match?
    Your answer doesnt have to be based on an actual audition of both the X2s and the dacmagic xs. I would appreciate just an assumption, though.

    • Reply December 4, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      In my opinion it is your Dagmagic, it’s the typical Dacmagic sound. you’ld have to go to a really dark headphone to compensate.

      I would suggest changing dac/amp first

  • Reply December 5, 2014

    Carlos Ortiz De Zevallos Eguil

    what source would you recommend for the x2? (and what portable source also) in the 300 range

    • Reply December 5, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      Something like a DX50/90/X3/..

      Basically anything will do

  • Reply December 5, 2014

    digitldlnkwnt

    I keep seeing a lot of X2 being likened to the HD600, with DT770 32 Ohms in the mix as well. It’s funny because I I have the HD600 and the DT770 80 Ohm…maybe the impedence makes huge difference but those two HPs may have come from different planets IMO.

    • Reply December 5, 2014

      dalethorn

      Yes, the HD600 is the classic neutral Sennheiser sound, and the DT770 is very different – darker, yet with a peak in the upper treble, and a very different lower midrange emphasis.

      • Reply December 5, 2014

        digitldlnkwnt

        DT770 also has a bass i can only describe as bass bin like. It’s like being in a club and standing next to bass bin, not only hearing the bass but also the pure movement of air. I like it a lot when i watch movies..great headphone for that. Explosions sound awesome!

  • Reply December 5, 2014

    Dhia Oshaish

    A great write-up Lieven and Nathan! Will the Fidelio X2s deliver a superior listening experience to the the Nad Viso hp 50s?
    Thanks!

    • Reply December 5, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      A very different one. HP50 is closed and very airy sounding, the X2 is more natural. So yes it is a better headphone but for closed headphones the HP50 is superb

      • Reply December 5, 2014

        Lofthanza Art

        Can i add the t51p to the question?

        • Reply December 5, 2014

          dalethorn

          That’s really going a different direction. I think of the Philips’ I’ve had as a more full-bodied sound, and while the T51p has a nice warmth, I consider it a more technical headphone without as much weight.

      • Reply December 5, 2014

        Dhia Oshaish

        Thank you! I do understand that the HP50s are closed headphones with open characteristics. But shall i assume from your answer that the X2s render vocals better than the HP50s?

  • Reply December 5, 2014

    raghu rajappa

    Comparing the L1, L2, X1 and X2 with headphones like momentum or nad viso hp50 or dt770 (32ohm) .. which one is good for classical (instrumental) mainly… or you could even mention any other headphone within 300$ (can stretch a little more but not beyond).. sound quality, preference to closed over ear with comfort as the next priority… open over ears are also ok but prefer closed a little more just for its portability into library and trains maybe…

    • Reply December 6, 2014

      dalethorn

      For classical/instruments I’d choose the DT770-32. All of those headphones have a decent bass, but there’s variation in the treble, so whichever you choose you might want to adjust treble up or down. The HP50 is more a lifestyle headphone, good for rock and metal etc. Same with the Momentum. I wouldn’t use the HP50 or Momentum for the classical music I listen to – mostly symphonies, since my recordings aren’t close-miked and sound slightly distant, and playing those on a headphone with relaxed treble just kills the upper harmonic detail.

      • Reply December 6, 2014

        raghu rajappa

        What about L2 or the other philips fedilio line?? Also any other alternative to dt770?? maybe soundmagic hp150? or even philips shp9500??

        • Reply December 6, 2014

          dalethorn

          I had the L1 – similar to the L2 – the treble is up to the task of classical OK, but the bass a bit heavy. You could possibly live with that OK, or just turn it down a bit. They’re good headphones. The HP150 has colorations in the upper bass/low mids and mid treble that make it less suitable – the lower coloration gives it a “spacious” kind of fake sound. You could probably get used to it if you’re not critical. The 9500 I haven’t heard, but I doubt it qualifies for hi-fi listening. I really like the MT220 – it has a modest coloration in the mid treble – not bad, and the bass and mids are excellent. The MT220 probably is the best value, and very comfortable and well built.

          • Reply December 6, 2014

            raghu rajappa

            Thank you so much. Your reviews too are seriously very helpful!.. Finally, 770 (better sound), mt220 (better value and almost as good sound) and l2 (not a bad option) … this is my conclusion… correct me or add something if you wish to.

  • Reply December 6, 2014

    Tom Ricky

    Does the fidelio X2 have a bump in the treble frequency relative to the ath-m50? I have the ath-m50 and i find them treble-heavy to the extent of being mildly harsh and fatiuging at times. I wanna upgrade to an open headphone, but i dont want to suffer more from this problem.. any thoughts?
    Will the bump in the treble of the X2s translate to more harshness and brightness compared to the ath-m50s?
    Thank u!

  • Reply December 7, 2014

    Patrick

    It finally happend! Should fit very well with my fiio e09k/e17 combo. The points were the majority mentioned are gone, (pads and a better cable in my opinion) plus the soundstage and sounding got a fine update.

    Suits my taste very well for liquid, OST and Hybrid. Similar to the X2 is in my opinion the Shure SE535 (Got them for free after I charged my SE425 and since then using as mobil runner). Both show and are probably intended, for a longer music session in which they shine in suberb mids and quality/quantity bass, highs are good enough, and it depends what type of sounding you are.

    Anyway thanks for reviewing. Also to think I visited this site not long ago and bringing me a smile on my face to each article is always a pleasure – So yeah thanks :). P

  • Reply December 7, 2014

    Dhia Oshaish

    If it’s not much trouble, could I know how these compare to the AKG Pro Audio K712PRO? Which one is more refined and delivers a superior listening experience?
    Thanks indeed!

    • Reply December 8, 2014

      dalethorn

      The K712 is a very lean bass – the opposite of the X2.

  • Reply December 7, 2014

    Tibor

    Nice! Have been waiting for this! Thx! So as an owner of X1 this is a good upgrade if I want more balanced and detailed sound, I am right? But I recently purchased AKG K7XX Massdrop edition, so probably no need to own both with X2? Thank you!

    • Reply December 8, 2014

      dalethorn

      How does your X1 compare to the K7xx? Bass and treble?

      • Reply December 8, 2014

        Tibor

        Sorry, my mistake, I should have said ordered not purchased. I will be able to answer this question next year someday! But you are saying that on K712 is bass very lean, this will be similar with K7XX, if I won’t like it I will sell it!

        • Reply December 8, 2014

          dalethorn

          I cancelled my K7xx due to other commitments, but next time they feature it I will reorder. For me the K7.. series are good headphones with low coloration, and with a modest bass boost, the sound is still clear and detailed.

          • Reply December 8, 2014

            Tibor

            Yeah, I really hope it will be a nice improvement over X1, I am just a bit concerned about that lean bass, but I will see.
            I need to do some improvements in my dac section too.
            A bit off topic, has anyone tried iFi iUsb power supply? Thx

            • Reply December 9, 2014

              dalethorn

              Here’s a suggestion: Try that K7xx, and if the bass is disappointing, try to boost the low bass, or the bass in general but mostly the low bass. Don’t boost a lot, just enough to give it a better sound. Then see if you can accomodate it after awhile. Sometimes you discover a new taste doing that, for certain music anyway.

              • Reply December 9, 2014

                Tibor

                Yeah, I will try for sure! Thank you 🙂

    • Reply December 8, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I would check out the AKG first yes

      • Reply December 8, 2014

        Tibor

        Yes!

      • Reply December 12, 2014

        Jort

        That makes me curious Lieven. Can we expect your review on the AKG K7XX in the very near future?

        • Reply December 12, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          I doubt it Jort. Never was the biggest fan of AKG, plus review samples are extremely hard to get. Unless Dale is reviewing it. Dale?

          • Reply December 12, 2014

            dalethorn

            It’s on my list – hopefully end of the month or sometime in January. I expect it to be similar to the K712 – i.e. a lean bass but decent mids/highs. BTW, my understanding is the K7xx is a custom edition so there might not be any review samples.

          • Reply December 13, 2014

            Jort

            Did the X2 come on your list of favorite 3d soundstage headphones where you can actually pinpoint instruments and voices around your head when you close your eyes. Actually: What are your personal top 3 headphones (under 400$) that can do this sublimely?

            • Reply December 13, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              under 400? None 😀

              • Reply December 13, 2014

                Jort

                Hmmm, maybe sublimely is to strong a word. Let’s say your personal top 2 or 3 who do this BEST up to 500$…

            • Reply December 13, 2014

              dalethorn

              I think it’s almost 90 percent the recording and the remainder the headphone. The headphone makes a difference, but you can’t expect it to improve the lesser recordings.

  • Reply December 19, 2014

    Fleshless

    I´m in for a new headphone and i´m looking at AKG K712, HifiMan HE-400i and Philips Fidelio X2, which would you recommend?

    • Reply December 19, 2014

      dalethorn

      I haven’t heard the HE400 models, but the AKG K712 and the X2 should be more-or-less opposite of each other in bass response – K712 very lean and X2 with more bass. Actually I don’t have the X2, so basing that estimate on the review and the previous models to the X2.

  • Reply December 23, 2014

    Wiwandra

    How does it compare against sony ma-900 and ath ad-900x?

    • Reply December 23, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I doubt anyone knows that 😀

      • Reply December 23, 2014

        Wiwandra

        Oh well, nevermind then, thanx anyway

    • Reply December 23, 2014

      dalethorn

      Just a note – if someone were to take just the best 75 headphones and compare them to each other, it would be 5625 comparisons. Just the report text would be book-length.

      • Reply December 23, 2014

        Headfonia_L.

        We better get started right away, Dale 😉

        • Reply December 23, 2014

          dalethorn

          Yeah – in Astronomy I think they call it the Universal Field Theory, where all conflict and confusion is explained. I don’t think we’re getting close yet.

          • Reply December 24, 2014

            Headfonia_L.

            Questions lately have been getting ridiculous, I’m no longer tolerating repeatedly asked questions, useless questions, impossible questions and lazy people questions. Enough is enough. I think you agree

            • Reply December 24, 2014

              dalethorn

              My iPad has a feature to assign a phrase to a key sequence, which I usually set up as email addresses and websites. So maybe the thing is to set up a few phrases to answer some of those, and keep tweaking them as time goes on. Then you just enter a simple key sequence like ‘qzq1’, ‘qzq2’, etc. – unique keys for each simple text. That way if you have a new customer who didn’t think ahead, you could give them a standard reply where they’d have a chance to re-enter something that makes sense.

              • Reply December 24, 2014

                Headfonia_L.

                good idea!

                • Reply December 24, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  I’m going to try a few, so see if you can catch the “auto” reply (heh).

                  • Reply December 24, 2014

                    George Lai

                    Hear hear

  • Reply December 24, 2014

    breizh

    Hi Lieven and all,

    I know someone who would like to pair the X2 with either a dac/amp combo or with separates dac and amp (not necessary portable, but rather desktop configuration), in a 300-400$ budget (for the dac/amp)
    Could you give one or two proposals ? (O2, M-stage USB,….or better than this ?)

    Thanks a lot !

    • Reply December 26, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I’m not very familiar with amp/dac combos in this price range. I’m not a fan of Amp/dac combos tbh, and all the ones I like are over$1K. sorry

      • Reply December 27, 2014

        breizh

        ok it doesn’t matter – thanks

    • Reply December 26, 2014

      dalethorn

      You could buy one of the mini-DACs like the Dragonfly_2 or Microstreamer etc., and the “amps” in those mini-DACs will drive the X2 adequately for most tracks that have good volume. Then if you want you can add any number of analog headphone amps to the Line Out of the mini-DAC. I like the idea of running my DAC and headphone amp from my laptop computer, so everything is on battery power and isolated from the AC mains. That way I don’t get AC line noise and other problems inherent in AC power.

      • Reply December 27, 2014

        breizh

        ok thanks Dale, it’s a good idea

        • Reply December 29, 2014

          brian

          ifi ican.

  • Reply December 25, 2014

    Warren Nguyen

    I would like it short for everyone, Fidelio X2 is THE headphone to buy at $300. Comfort and sound wise is unbeatable. Even with a low impedance, this headphone still can scale quite well with higher end gears.

    • Reply December 25, 2014

      dalethorn

      Good recommendation – thanks.

      • Reply December 26, 2014

        Headfonia_L.

        This smells like an auto message 😀

        • Reply December 26, 2014

          dalethorn

          Nah – I did much better with those – here’s a sample:
          This question has been answered a few times – try doing a search first.

          Another sample:
          Price isn’t always the biggest factor, but in this case you’ll have to spend more.

          Obviously, a work in progress…

  • Reply December 29, 2014

    Hussain Merchant

    Hi and great review Lieven/Headfonia. I bought
    Sennheiser Momentum over ear last month to replace my old beats studio. These are
    the only two headphones I’ve ever own. I think it was a mistake to buy Momentum
    ‘cuz it is very uncomfortable (small ear cups and stiff headband) and sound
    does not good in my PC at all. I’m looking for my first open back headphones
    and I don’t wanna waste my money this time. I’m reading decent reviews about Philips
    Fidelio X2 and thinking about getting it IF it’s good for heavy, death metal,
    hardcore and these types of genres. I’m gonna receive Sound Blaster Z in few
    days as a gift from my cousin. Currently don’t have any AMP/DAC. Just realtek
    ALC1150 (crap). Is X2 gonna perform well with SBZ or should I sell it and get external
    AMP/DAC? Do you have any other suggestions for open back HPs $250 to $300? I don’t
    listen bass heavy music just something natural and neutral and enjoyable and YES
    must be comfortable. Thank you.

    • Reply December 29, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      I don’t know the amp/Dac you’re getting. I would check prices on the Sennheiser HD600, they are famous for your music type

      • Reply December 30, 2014

        V2760 .

        So for death metal HD600 is better then X2?

        • Reply December 30, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          To me it is

          • Reply December 30, 2014

            dalethorn

            Sounds right – black metal is fairly dark, and the 600 will bring out the details.

    • Reply December 29, 2014

      dalethorn

      Another victim of the “over ear” that does not go “around ear”.

      • Reply December 29, 2014

        George Lai

        Most “over ears” do not go “around ears” for me. Notable exceptions are Audeze and Senn HD700/800.

        • Reply December 29, 2014

          dalethorn

          I do remember. If there is ever doubt among my friends who are upgrading to new headphones, your examples have been a valuable lesson.

          • Reply December 30, 2014

            George Lai

            Thanks, Dale, Happy New yEar 🙂

            • Reply December 30, 2014

              dalethorn

              heh heh – Yes, drink responsibly, but by all means drink.

  • Reply January 1, 2015

    Dhia Oshaish

    Hello! Do these benefit from any burn-in process in your experience? I got mine today and i feel vocals are boxed-in due to the excessive and loose bass. Vocals are hard to follow because of being recessed and overpowered by the upfront bass. This is my first open headphones!
    Thank you!

    • Reply January 1, 2015

      dalethorn

      Which closed headphones are you most familiar with?

      • Reply January 1, 2015

        Guest

        Ath-m50, dt-1350 and t51p.
        The ath-m50 has the most recessed vocals out of these to me, yet the X2s hv more recessed vocals.

      • Reply January 1, 2015

        Dhia Oshaish

        Yes, i hv the ath-m50s, too. And yea, the X2 has more recessed vocals compared to those!

        • Reply January 1, 2015

          dalethorn

          I see the problem now. I have both Beyers and they are extremely mids-centric (esp. 1350), compared to most other headphones I’ve had like the Sennheiser 600/650/800, Beyer T1/T90/DT770-32, etc. Compared to the 1350 and T51p the X2 would sound very recessed. If you have a bass control you could experiment with some different settings to see what you like, and eventually between that and the burn-in you might grow to like the new sound. I’ve grown away from the ‘neutral’ sound myself.

          • Reply January 1, 2015

            Dhia Oshaish

            Thank you very much! Yes, i guess i will grow to like them eventually. Although vocals sound recessed to what i am used to, they still sound more natural.
            i started to feel that bass started to firm up a little bit (could be just my mind adjusting), and that made vocals a little easier to follow.
            Thank you indeed!

            • Reply January 5, 2015

              gianb92

              i also changed M50x with X2 ,the sound not impressed me at the moment maybe i will wait the burn-in ,the sound seems more natural .

        • Reply January 5, 2015

          gianb92

          i also changed M50x with X2 ,the sound not impressed me at the moment maybe i will wait the burn-in ,the sound seems more natural .

          • Reply January 5, 2015

            Dhia Oshaish

            I say give some time for headphone/brain burn in. After i reached nearly 50 hours of listening to the X2, they now certainly deliver a superior sound to the ath-m50, no contest. The X2 does everything better, it makes music more real, more life-like. I am happy i got them. After i adjusted to the sound, i can say everything in this review is so accurate. I am using an amp with it, and it seems to help the X2 play better, the ath-m50 doesnt benefit much from an amp, if not at all.

            • Reply January 5, 2015

              gianb92

              thank you ! Is good fiio 07K for X2 ?

              • Reply January 6, 2015

                dalethorn

                I’ve had the 07k for more than a year. It’s a great amp at a really good price. In high gain mode it should drive the X2 well (I only had the L1, but similar). Lieven might recommend another amp if your budget is higher.

                • Reply January 6, 2015

                  gianb92

                  thank you

              • Reply January 6, 2015

                Dhia Oshaish

                I dunno about the 07k, i havent heard it. However, I am using the dacmagic xs, and its excellent. I will be using the DX90 soon, and will see how well it sounds. I got the fiio x6 somewhere, but hvent used in a very long time. For an amp recommendation, dalethorn and Lieven can help you much better!

                • Reply January 6, 2015

                  gianb92

                  thank you.

    • Reply January 1, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I didn’t experience any burn in change. Maybe your mind will adjust

  • Reply January 2, 2015

    Adryan Wirasyahputra

    how’s the transparency and dynamics in this? ( compared to DT880 pro )
    my 880 feels very dry, wanna switch to HD650/600 but the coloration and soundstage worries me.

    • Reply January 9, 2015

      ohm image

      The X2 is lusher than the DT880, but hasn’t quite as sweet a ring in the upper midrange. The X2 is phenomenal.

      • Reply January 10, 2015

        Adryan Wirasyahputra

        So X2 or HD650?

        • Reply January 10, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          HD650 for me. It’s easier to listen to

          • Reply May 25, 2015

            dz11

            Only because you are using an expensive amp with the hd650. Without that amp the X2 would be better.

  • Reply January 10, 2015

    Eric Thompson

    So whats the difference between the L2 and the X2? Calling these mid-fi, what would you consider hi-fi? I listen to a lot of metal and faster paced music and I don’t think the 600/650’s would be good for those but I want some open cans.

    • Reply January 10, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Hi fi to me are the reference headphones, L2 and X2 are not those.
      The HD600 actually is famous for its speed and performance with metal/rock

      • Reply January 12, 2015

        Eric Thompson

        So LCD 3, HD700/800, T1’s? Would you recommend jumping for the HD700’s or staying with the 600/650’s? I have a gift card to Bestbuy and they sell all of those so I could afford a little more. The HD700’s seem like very good headphones but most of the views I head about on them are very mixed.

        • Reply January 12, 2015

          dalethorn

          I think you could probably sort out what’s best if you analyze your own tastes first, then see whether the HD700 is a good match. The HD800 and T1 have similarities, but they sure have differences too. Best Buy is really good about returns, and if I didn’t already have a couple returns on record now, I’d run down there and pick up a HD700.

          • Reply January 12, 2015

            Eric Thompson

            I’m trying to decide between T90’s, X2/L2’s or HD600/700. I’m really tempted by the 600’s at only $320, but then I read that the Philips are better than the 600/650’s. The thing keeping me from the HD700’s are the mixed reviews and hot treble, but I could go buy a pair and try them out I guess.

            Will the others (T90/X2’s/HD700’s) work better with more conventional amps like an E17 or Schiit Asgard vs an OTL tube amp on the 600/650?

            • Reply January 12, 2015

              dalethorn

              The T90 (and probably HD700) will work with the E17 when you set the high gain. I personally would get the X2 over the HD600, because I don’t like the sweet fuzzy sound (just my opinion) of the HD600 as much as I like the Philips sound. But, I’d consider that between the X2 and the HD700, there’s more than just the brightness of the 700 that might bother you. The X2 mids might not be lively enough. If I were going to use the X2, I’d plan on using an amp that thins out the sound a little – maybe one of those little mini-DACs. But for the HD700, I might take the same DAC or whatever I could find, then attach something like the FiiO E12 to minimize the brightness effect.

            • Reply January 12, 2015

              Headfonia_L.

              Like Dale says, the choice of your headphone depends a lot on the amp you will be using. For Senn HD700/600/650 and T90 you will need a good amp to make them sound their best, preferably an OTL. The X2L2 doesn’t need an amp.

              You might have caught me saying I prefer the 650 over the X2. That’s still the case, but I’m using high end amps here.

              • Reply January 12, 2015

                Eric Thompson

                Is there a really powerful SS amp that would work with them and more? Or any portable amp that will work with the 700/600/T90 or is it more OTL Tube=600/650/700/ and 250 and up beyers and other amps=everything else?

                • Reply January 12, 2015

                  Headfonia_L.

                  Power isn’t always needed. Read up on current vs voltage delivery, it’s very interesting. High impedance headphones, like the Senns or the Beyers (250 and up) perform better with OTLs. At least that’s the common theory

                • Reply January 12, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  Too many choices and comparisons here – once you settle on a specific headphone, recommending an amp will be easier (and take less time).

                  • Reply January 12, 2015

                    Eric Thompson

                    K ill make it easy, what will work with a Fiio X5 or DX 90? Mainly ill listen at home, but if I go on vacation or a long car ride with people that wouldn’t mind hearing my music id like to take them with.

                    • January 12, 2015

                      Dave Ulrich

                      A pair of CIEM’s might be the way to go.

                    • January 13, 2015

                      Eric Thompson

                      Idk i sort of went the universale route cuz i heard horror stories about fitting issues, my SE535’s im very happy with, i dont mean for on the go, but like if i go up to a cabin or hotel for a weekend it would be cool to have a highend open headphone that could work with a portable system

                    • January 13, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      Seems like deja vu again, but, the X2 and HD650 are the best choices for mixed use. I know Lieven would take the 650 given those 2 choices – I’d take the X2. They didn’t describe the exact isolation in the review, but I’m sure it’s better than the 650. To me the 600 and 650 are old, old designs – still “good”, but time to retire. Sennheiser has loosened their price grip on the 600/650 a little, but they’ve been getting rich off of those. They’re still demanding full pop for the HD800, just because they can, and the prestige of course. It would take me some time to get adjusted to the sound of the X2 – 20 minutes at least – and I might have to adjust the bass at some point (don’t know), but the DX90 and X5 can handle that.

                    • January 13, 2015

                      Eric Thompson

                      Closed head phones I wanna collect them all lol I have the momentums and I’m planning on buying the HP50, the P7’s and the M100’s but open headphones confuse me lol. I don’t with open headphones, they run a little more money so I can aspire to owning them all, I could (and probably should) go the XL/L2 but I wanna experience the HD600/650/700 (and the DT 880 to a lesser extent) that everyone including L, rave about but it just seems a little inefficient to get a $500 pair of cants and then a $300+ amp that only works with 1 pair of headphones. All I have now is the E17 so I would like a desk top system but maybe something that paired well with a wider voriety of headphones.

                    • January 13, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      I’ve had the E17 (traded it) and I have the E07k now. Since the gain is adjustable, it works with nearly everything, and the sound is excellent. My experience with the E17 says it’s the next step to a USB mini-DAC like the Microstreamer and others, which in turn is the next step to the best portable amps or mid-priced desktop DAC/amps. The E17 won’t serve as a DAC to apple i-devices, but with a FiiO LOD cable (and apple 30-pin adapter if necessary) it can serve as a good amp for those devices.

                    • January 13, 2015

                      Eric Thompson

                      Do you have any midrange desk top recomendations for what I have been talking about, I’m thinking about Schiit or Fostex

                    • January 13, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      I’d buy the Schiit amps no problem, but Fostex tends to be expensive. If the Fostex amp for iPhone etc. is needed, that’s a good choice, but for general use with a computer, I don’t know if it’s the most economical, like Schiit. The amp reviews here are a long read….

                    • January 14, 2015

                      Eric Thompson

                      Was thinking about the Fostex HP-A4. I also was thinking about the Schiit Valhalla for an OTL amp but it seems like a sort of odd amp and it only has a 14ohm output impedance.

                    • January 13, 2015

                      Eric Thompson

                      And like I said replying to Dave, they don’t need to sound great on portable devices just work with them would be a pig plus even if it takes a specific amp or something.

              • Reply January 12, 2015

                Eric Thompson

                I’m open to getting an E12 and or Bottlehead crack just not guna drop a grand on an amp after dropping close to that on headphones.

                HD600+crack would be cheaper than the 700’s but the 700 can work with other stuff right?

  • Reply January 10, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    great review, reading this, it looks this might be a nice addition to my H6 for home listening; will have to try it out now.

  • Reply January 10, 2015

    Lofthanza Art

    Whats a good upgrade from the stock cable? Mine started to make a shhhhh sound if moved slightly. I am thinking of getting a cable that sound even better than the stock cable. Can i find sth under $70 for that purpose? Thank you!

    • Reply January 11, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Are you sure it is not the connector. It’s either that or just friction noise

  • Reply January 11, 2015

    Guest

    Hi, you’re comparing the X2 to the HD600… i was wondering, in terms of reference hp’s, for

  • Reply January 11, 2015

    Maarten Devillé

    Sorry about that. I was saying, you’re comparing the X2 to the HD600… i was wondering, in terms of reference hp’s, for music production, which would be the better pair? Reasons i’m leaning towards the X2 is, low impedance (i work on a laptop very often), cheaper, standard cable (only one side). And ultimately, better looking (since i think the HD600 is fuggly). But at the end of the day, i still value the better sound over those things. So i’m eager to know.

    In the comments section you say you don’t really consider this pair as reference headphones… so do you consider the HD600 as such? Because i’ve heard from a lot of people the HD600 is the best bet when you don’t have access to studio monitors.

    • Reply January 11, 2015

      dalethorn

      The HD600 has a reference signature, similar to the HD800. Both of those are open. The Philips isn’t particularly close to that. Some closed headphones that are very close to neutral are the Focal Spirit Pro and the Shure SRH-940.

    • Reply January 11, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Like Dale says, the 600 is more reference than the X2, it’s been around for decades already. Yet I don’t consider either of then as reference headphones. For use with a laptop only your choice for the X2 should be easy 😉

  • Reply January 11, 2015

    Headfonia_L.

    I think a lot of people bought Monoprice cables for the X1

  • Reply January 11, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    Hey Lieven and all other experts.
    After re-reading some reviews, there are three likely candidates for a headphone upgrade/addition to the h6 (as I suggested in my previous comment in this topic); the dt 770 pro 32, the x2 or the hd650. With the price cuts some really nice offers. but can the sound quality of the dt770 hold up against especially the x2 and the hd650 (although this is open back off course) at half its price, even when on the corda classic?
    thank you in advance

    • Reply January 11, 2015

      dalethorn

      The DT770 sounds very different from the 650. It’s very typical Beyer sound compared to typical (more or less) Sennheiser sound. But the 770 is a bargain by comparison.

    • Reply January 11, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I think the HD650 will give you more pleasure in the long run as well. Plus it is reasonably priced here! I bought mine for just over 200€ new

      • Reply January 11, 2015

        Nickjan Glas

        the long run is important to me. the cheapest hd 650 I found sofar is 289 and the dt770 144. sometimes great offers come by so maybe a little patience.

        • Reply January 11, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          • Reply January 11, 2015

            Nickjan Glas

            thanks. I ll keep it in mind. the 650 is on the wanted list for some time. but for half the price and a different sound I may give the beyer a shot. I hope to audition the x2 and the beyer (I already tried the 650 numerous times). Too bad canjam is still far away. I ll do some more research before I decide and maybe even get more than one…. depending on budget and growing enthusiasm.

  • Reply January 14, 2015

    al dente

    I wasn’t that happy a year ago with my X1 (1st charge, understand that Philips reviewed the X1, only those with an orange-colored emblem in the package is the 2nd version, ways better!) and sold the X1 for half the price to buy a SRH840 which seems to me more neutral, more balanced, clearer bass …… the next step is going to be an AD900X ……

  • Reply January 15, 2015

    Pantheon

    Hi, I can buy the x1 at 144 euro when the x2 costs 230…does the x2 justify the difference?
    Or can i go on the x1 without regret ?

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      The price for the X2 is correct. The problem is the X1 is now being sold very cheap. Will you get double the pleasure with the X2? not at all but yes it is bette r

    • Reply January 17, 2015

      al dente

      two versions of X1 are available, be sure you get x1/01 and avoid x1/00, it is messy

  • Reply January 15, 2015

    brendantys

    Hi, great review as usual! I was just wondering, which amp and dac would you recommend to pair with the X2? And would it improve the sound significantly? I heard the X2 doesn’t really need an amp due to its low impedance. Thank you in advance.

    • Reply January 15, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      It doesn’t need an amp but it will benefit from it. I would recommend a musical ratrher neutral dac/amp so you don’t get a too warm and bassy sound

  • Reply January 16, 2015

    Tegar M K P

    is there anybody here who have compared akg k550 and fidelio x2?

    • Reply January 18, 2015

      breizh

      Hi,
      I own both. I use them with a Teac HA-501 amp + HRT microstreamer II+ Dac. Both headphones are very good, but one is closed, the other one is open, so…If I had to choose one, i would keep the X2 because of its bass body that fits really nicely wih rock music, and also because i find open headphones to be more natural than closed ones. I also own a Beyer T1 and now that I have the X2 i find myself using it more than the T1 – the TEAC amp is very good but pretty neutral and the X2 provides the fun factor to rock music !
      However, the K550 is really great for a closed one, with the TEAC amp, really. And it surely gives good bass when needed.

      voilà 😉

      • Reply January 29, 2015

        Tegar M K P

        Thank You!!

  • Reply January 20, 2015

    Michael

    Can anyone please comment on X2 vs Sony MA900? Both need no expensive amplification and very comfortable, not sure if it’s worth to buy X2 since I have the model from Sony.

  • Reply April 22, 2015

    Devon Day

    Hmmm… just got finished reading your MH40 review as well. This or the MH40…. hmm…

  • Reply April 26, 2015

    Sarath Mohan

    X2 vs K702+AMP(together it should be less than 300$. Which makes amp 50$ 😐 ) . What you suggest?

  • Reply April 26, 2015

    Guest

    Hi
    X2 or the pm-3??
    which wins in terms of Sound quality?? Open and closed is not an issue.

    Amp&Dac will be aq dragonfly With windows 7 pc and jriver mc19.

    I prefer fun, warmth and engagement over aneutrality and linear sound.

    I like my bass, it should have good bass that hits hard. It should have good detail, weight, presence and punch. Not the boosted kind but what is there should not be presnted in a diluted form. I want to feel it not just hear it.

    my home setup has the lcd2.2 with ha 160d and the new headphone will be used at work with a laptop. I wont be carrying it, it stay at the work place and it needs to work with real world contemprary music, movies, youtube etc.
    It should sound open/airy as well.

    If you guys could help me out with the decison it would be great.

  • Reply April 26, 2015

    vick_85

    Hi
    X2 or the pm-3??
    which wins in terms of Sound quality?? Open and closed is not an issue.

    Amp&Dac will be aq dragonfly With windows 7 pc and jriver mc19.

    I prefer fun, warmth and engagement over a neutral and linear sound.

    I like my bass, it should have good bass that hits hard. It should have good detail, weight, presence and punch. Not the boosted kind but what is there should not be presnted in a diluted form. I want to feel it not just hear it.

    my home setup has the lcd2.2 with ha 160d and the new headphone will be used at work with a laptop. I wont be carrying it, it stay at the work place and it needs to work with real world contemporary music, movies, youtube etc.
    It should sound open/airy as well.

    If you guys could help me out with the decison it would be great.

    • Reply April 26, 2015

      vick_85

      What about the B&W P7. How does it compare to the pm3 & x2.

  • Reply May 6, 2015

    Anon

    Hi Headfonia. I’ve bought a pair of these and paired them with my AK100. Not sure if you guys tried the combination but i’ve found it awful for bass. There is barely any impact, extension or sub-bass. Even plugged directly into my computer and ipod there is barely any. Is this a problem with the high impedance of the AK100 or do you think the headphones may be defective?

    Many thanks.

    • Reply May 6, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I haven’t tried it with the AK100 but the X2 is in no means bass light. It should have impactful bass straight from your phone. But it also depends on your definition of impactful bass

  • Reply June 23, 2015

    Krzysztof Maj

    Guys, how do you rate X2 vs. Beyers T90 taking into account only the sound quality and neutrality? Listening mostly to acoustic jazz and classics, time to time old rock/blues gems.

    • Reply June 23, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      To me the X2 is Mid Fi and the T90 is HiFi. Don’t get me wrong, the X2 is a great headphone but the T90 to me is a level up, especially when it’s well amped (tubes preferably. I also liked it a lot on the Bakoon HPA-01M). The X2 won’t do anything wrong, but the T90 will give you a better and deeper soundstage with a more neutral sound and better detail than the X2. The X2 is smoother and warmer but is more easy to amp. So it basically depends on what you are looking for

      • Reply June 23, 2015

        Krzysztof Maj

        I am looking for very good, true HiFi cans to be substantially better (also in comfort) to Grado 325is. They will be used on Beresford Caiman II DAC out to listen mostly to high resolution files. I need deep soundstage, details, but neutrality, not colored ones.

        • Reply June 23, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Then I would suggest the HE560, T90, HD800 or HE1000 depending on your budget

          • Reply June 23, 2015

            Krzysztof Maj

            Thanks, that helped me a lot. X2 got a lot of high rated reviews, some even saying that better than HD600. T90 since I’ve never had any Beyers caught my eyes, but I was wondering about they neutrality and quite big impedance boost in the low bass – but I guess that’s good because they’ll require less current to drive them appropriately. They have, at least according to the specs quite good efficiency which may help to drive them easily even they’re 250 Ohms. Do you agree with me?

            • Reply June 23, 2015

              Headfonia_L.

              X2 is a great headphone. Sound wise it is even more balanced than the HD650 but still HD650 is better to me for long time listening.

              The T90 is a headphone I wouldn’t call easy to drive. I either use my OTL tube amp, the Violectric V281, the Trio portable tube amp or the Bakoon HPA-01M. Only then it sounds its best to me

              • Reply June 23, 2015

                Krzysztof Maj

                Hm, but still you considered them as better to X2 or Grado 325is right?

                • Reply June 23, 2015

                  Headfonia_L.

                  oh yes

                  • Reply June 23, 2015

                    Krzysztof Maj

                    Thanks a lot. I think I’m gonna buy T90 for the Caiman II DAC.

                    • June 24, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      Let us know how you like the T90.

                    • June 24, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      If I get it, it will be in September and for sure I will let you all know. Should I look for something better in your opinion or T90 are quite good?

                    • June 24, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      I love the T90 but like every headphone they aren’t for everyone 🙂

                    • June 24, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      So what especially couldn’t fit to others in you opinion? In the past when I was on the market for Grado, I’ve found many comments that 325’s are bright and lack of bass. I don’t think so, they’re just detailed and clear and with right amp could sound awesome to my ear.

                    • June 24, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      The 325’s main issue is a hump around 2 khz, and then a small recess in the mid treble and small emphasis around 9 khz. That last item, the emphasis, seems more than it is because of the slight recess lower down. And different ears may hear that differently, but for the majority they’ll perceive a bit of brightness there. The T90 could also have a little of that, but the increased clarity over the 325 will turn the 325’s pain into pleasure. Or something like that…

                    • June 24, 2015

                      dalethorn

                      To be honest, I think it’s the clearest most balanced musical sound you’d get for around that price. The only real challengers are some comparably-priced planars, but what they bring to the comparison (planar bass) they also give up in the upper end coloration and detail where the T90 excels. The rule for me is, for gaming or other listening that’s not purely a music focus, I lean toward the planars, but for listening with no distractions, T90.

                    • June 24, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      Fine, enough to say. Now I need to convince my wife 😉

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      Finally I’ve purchased T90’s. Well, my wife gave me them as present to be more precise 😉 Do I like them? Oh, boy – YES! Wider and much deeper soundstage then on 325is’s, crisp highs and earth shaking bass, at least when used with my Caiman MKII DAC. Really recommend them to anyone who wants to buy decent, true HiFi cans and keep them forever. Maybe one drawback is the cable, could be shorter and thicker and the ear cushions have some microphonics when I move my head around. Otherwise, stunning headphones!

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Glad you like it!

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      Oh, yes, I do. They are pretty efficient so in my opinion quite easy to drive. I have not justify any additional purchase for the headphone amp yet. If I do later, any recommendations? I thought about Lake People G103/109 or Beyer A20.

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      I’d recommend the V200 for solid state and the Bottlehead Crack for OTL tubes. The A20 is quite ok as well but maybe won’t be as good with other headphones. Future wise I think the V200 is the safest and best bet.

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      V200 is quite expensive, but I agree it’s forever investment and could fit to many other cans.

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Look for one second hand, or ask for B-stock. plenty of options 😉 the V100 is more budget fiendly

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      How much I get with V100 comparing to V200?

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      I’d still recommend the V200 over the LakePeople gear. The V100 (check out the V200 review) is more analytic, a tad less bass and warmth. V200 is more powerful, especially nice for Orthos. As you can see I prefer the V200. I now have the V281 with the remote control option. One of the best ss amps on the market.

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      I’d understand your point of view, but V200 is over two time more expensive than my T90 headphones! Could not see any point for that price range.

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Mike always used to say that in High End, the amp should be like 5 times the price of the headphone. you’re still safe 😉

                    • August 12, 2015

                      Krzysztof Maj

                      Sure 😉

  • Reply June 24, 2015

    ericchen0121

    @headfonia_lieven:disqus Saw you had a La Figaro + X2 listening session… I have a modded Bravo tube amp (MOSFETS, etc.) with a 12Au7 Baldwin tube. Would I benefit from a purchase of something like the Darkvoice 336SE? Or something like the Geek Out V2 + Darkvoice?

    I’ve read somebody who talked about good synergy between the X2 and GO + Darkvoice 336, also Schiit Lyr.

    At home, I’m also doing using my AVR receiver Macbook Pro > Onkyo NR515 > Bravo Tube > Fidelio X2. How much difference would i get from something like Darkvoice?

    Confused if I need more! Thanks,
    Eric

    • Reply June 25, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I actually have a non modded Bravo somewhere an I really do not like it. I have no idea how your modded version sounds, but if you’re keeping the X2 and won’t be getting a more high end headphone, I wouldn’t invest in a better amp immediately (even if there will be a little improvement)

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Eli Segal

    Will these work well with AK100ii? thx!

  • Reply August 10, 2015

    Ayush Sharma

    I currently own the Sennheiser HD555 and I am looking for an upgrade. I do not own an amp currently but I was looking at the E17k or something better similarly priced. Which headphones would be better with the above setup. I mostly listen to metal, hard rock, rock, prog rock and some EDM. I like the HD555 and was wondering which would be better to get among X2, HD600/650. I was also looking at the 400i from hifiman but i have never owned planar ones so dont know what to expect. I would be mostly listening through the E17 and sometimes my smartphone(Note 4).

    • Reply August 10, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      With that setup you shouldn’t go for the Sennheisers or the Hifimans, they need better amps. X2 is doable though, I think it’s your best bet

      • Reply August 10, 2015

        Ayush Sharma

        Ok that makes sense, also I just saw that hifiman has launched the new 400s. They are being touted as easier to drive, so what is your opinion of them as there don’t seem to be any reviews of those around. Also would the hifiman EF2A be able to drive the 400i? I can buy a good amplifier, not now but maybe 8-10 months down the line. Would buying a better headphone like the 650 now and later buying a good amp to go with it be better? What I am asking is that, is the X2 sonically inferior as compared to 650 or the 400i? Will it scale as well as these two with better amplification in the future? I have read that post where Dave wrote about his journey with the HD650 and how he was looking for an upgrade for his hd202, I can relate to that right now a lot, I am looking for something like that. Something that will hopefully scale as I continue my journey.

        • Reply August 10, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          I have the 400S actually but haven’t listened to it that much. It’s easy to drive but it does scale up nicely. The minimum amp I recommend for the HD650 is the Crack. There’s also goo other and portable gear but that’s even more expensive.

          X2 is really nice, for me it is 650>HE400i>X2/EL8-0. But my HD650 is always very well amped.

          I think you should go for the X2 or HE400S

          • Reply August 10, 2015

            Ayush Sharma

            Thanks a lot, this really helped me.

  • Reply August 23, 2015

    Eli Segal

    Just my 2 cents,
    I recently bought the X2 and I found out that they’re not the best option to move around with.
    The cable is very microphonic, and when I move I hear the headband moving all the time
    Other than that the sound is great
    But for me I guess I keep looking

    • Reply August 23, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Well the X2 isn’t really a portable headphone is it?

      • Reply August 23, 2015

        Eli Segal

        I’m talking about moving around the house, if I’m only seated I can use my hd650 amped. but I mostly doing things around the house while listening

        • Reply August 24, 2015

          dalethorn

          In our house we stick to the H6 for mobility.

          • Reply August 24, 2015

            Eli Segal

            Yea, I thought about that, but I do prefer open cans when I can

            • Reply August 24, 2015

              dalethorn

              Open headphones with good quality sound in an easy-to-wear format around the house – that’s a rare thing these days. The Beyer T90 might be a little bulky, but I could use it. The Grado SR325 is good, but the cable is huge. The Senn PX100ii I like, but it’s a little dark and not the most premium sound. One standout I had a couple years ago was the Yamaha 200BL – a really nice lightweight open headphone with decent sound, but it may be discontinued.

              • Reply August 24, 2015

                Eli Segal

                Yea you’re right I actually use the hd650 with a pouch where I put a portable amp, the hd650 is light and comfortable (I also shorten the cable for this) . but I’m looking for cans that doesn’t require an amp.
                So currently I’m thinking about: PS500e/he400i/HD700 with balanced cable. but it’s to find a good one for that

                • Reply August 25, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  I liked the PS500, but my instinct is the ‘e’ will be much different. The PS1000e (for example) I wouldn’t sell to anyone who isn’t fully informed first. The 400i – I wish I had one to try out. The HD700 should have the most detail.

                  • Reply August 25, 2015

                    Eli Segal

                    Thanks for the info!

  • Reply August 27, 2015

    Katherine

    For the price I have to say this ones are a real deal, opened back but incredibly well directed straight to the ears, the reflection its absent as the positioning of the plates and foam adapts to the placement you put, sound quality is breathy and clear making really a joy to use this ones in the free time. Not for mixing, not portable and not isolating. They weren’t designed for it, but for a high quality sedentary use where you will notice details and comfort. I would give them 5 if the covering plate material was more resistant and over all more flexible. This are the best pair I have tried in this rage of price and purpose.

  • Reply September 17, 2015

    Basem

    what is best dac + amp for Philips Fidelio X2 (300$) ?

    • Reply September 17, 2015

      dalethorn

      What is your source?

      • Reply September 17, 2015

        Basem

        I’ll use it no my PC, for Gaming and Movies more than music

        Excuse my English… Thank u for helping

        • Reply September 17, 2015

          dalethorn

          My favorites are the mini-DACs such as the Dragonfly or Microstreamer or Audioengine D3, etc. You can upgrade those just by adding an amp to them, i.e. any of those are listed at Headfonia. If you want a desktop system, you could get something like the JDS Labs Element, or one of the iFi models, or a Schiit stack, or any combination of DAC and amp from the thousands available. The Philips should play well on any of these.

          • Reply September 17, 2015

            Basem

            I think I’ll go with Schiit stack
            Magni 2 + Modi 2
            or
            Magni 2 Uber + Modi 2 Uber ?

            • Reply September 17, 2015

              dalethorn

              Uber, of course. A very safe intestment.

              • Reply September 18, 2015

                Basem

                Thank u too much for helping brother ^^

  • Reply October 12, 2015

    R12wan

    Hi. I wonder if anyone can help. If scoured forums for an answer but I’ve not really found a good solution. I have both the Philips X2 and the Grado PS500e. I listen to both from an IMac 27 late 2012. The Grado sounds great straight from the headphone port. With the Philips, I somehow feel it has more to give. I don’t think I need an amp as the iMac has plenty of power. I’m thinking of getting a Dac. Any suggestions that would play nice with both the above headphones? I’ve previously tried the Dragonfly 1.2 with my older Grado SR80i and Philips L2. I thought it played will with the L2 but not the Grado so I returned it. This was almost 2 years ago I think so I can’t recall exactly why I didn’t like it with Grado. Thanks for your help.

    • Reply October 12, 2015

      dalethorn

      Not knowing exactly how you hear the PS500e, it’s hard to say. I found the original PS500 to be very smooth, but they may have revoiced the ‘e’ version. The Dragonfly v1.2 is a little bright and razor sharp with my new Macbook, so it isn’t the best choice for any of the 3 Grados I have. You’ll likely find other mini-DACs to be very similar to the Dragonfly, so there are a couple ways you could go: One is Dragonfly etc. as the DAC, using an external amp that’s a little darker. Maybe even a tube amp. The other way is desktop DAC and amp – either separates, or in one unit.

      • Reply October 12, 2015

        R12wan

        Thanks Dale. Actually I do recall why I returned the Dragonfly. It was too bright with the Grado SR80i but with the Philips L2 it tightened up the base nicely and improved the sound. The PS500e to me is quite forward with tight base and good treble presence. The base doesn’t extend deep though. The treble is not sharp compared to some other grado’s which are to my ears. I don’t want to over complicate things and don’t have a massive budget. I just want a one box solution that does’ take up too much desk space. Forgive me, I have very little understanding of DAC’s and Amp’s etc. I just know what sounds good to me! Any specific one box, compact solutions? Given what you’ve said about the Dragonfly and other mini-dac’s, I don’t think they would be the solution as I don’t want to have to buy something else like a tube amp to pair them with. Thanks in advance.

        • Reply October 12, 2015

          R12wan

          Just looking at a couple of options that have been reviewed here and available in the Uk and within my price range are the Audioengine D1 and the Fiio 10k. Would any of these be good? If so which one? Thanks.

          • Reply October 12, 2015

            dalethorn

            The FiiO E10k would be lower fidelity, and the D1 mini-DAC is several years old. I use the FiiO E17k sometimes, as well as the Oppo HA-2, but those are portable and not the highest fidelity. So maybe take a look at these amps (link below) and see what you think.

            http://headfonia.com/category/amps/portable-amps-amplifiers/

            • Reply October 12, 2015

              R12wan

              Thank you for your help.

  • Reply October 19, 2015

    Juan Luis Quiroz Guevara

    How compared with hifiman he400s???

    • Reply October 19, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Both on the warm side, but the HE400s is the least warm one. X2 still has the best depth and background if my memory serves me well. I would rather pick up the Hifiman than the X2

  • Reply October 21, 2015

    Son Manh

    Hi, I am interesting in this one. What should i get between X2 and HD 650 and HE 560 for Jazz and vocal? Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

    • Reply October 21, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Depends on your source and amplifier.

      • Reply October 21, 2015

        Son Manh

        Hi, i’m using Schiit Mjolnir 2 and AR-M2 as a source. Any suggestion what should i go among the three? Thanks!

        • Reply October 21, 2015

          dalethorn

          With such a great DAP you could run any of those, but adding that amp you could drive small loudspeakers. I would go for the 560 – I think the 650 is old enough to be retired.

          • Reply October 22, 2015

            Son Manh

            Thank you very much for your suggestion Sir! A lot of people recommended the X2 for me but i will go for HE 560 as i have my eyes on that can for a long time now

          • Reply October 22, 2015

            Dave Ulrich

            You just hold your horses there. You don’t want to say anything you can’t take back.

            • Reply October 22, 2015

              dalethorn

              It wouldn’t be the first time. BTW, what’s the possible downside?

  • Reply November 9, 2015

    Feilong

    Hello, I’m very interested in these for a more fun and involving listen complementary to my AKG K702 and Sennheiser HD 600. I have no problems with my K702 and HD600 for acoustic and easy-going genres, but I want more kick and bombastic listening when rocking out.

    Would these satisfy my needs? I’m currently using an ifi Nano iDSD and a Fiio Andes E07K.

    • Reply November 9, 2015

      dalethorn

      That sounds perfect. The Philips will have a real bass presence.

  • Reply January 21, 2016

    Mick Jogger

    Hello guys,

    I am currently in the market for a new Headphone and got interested in the Fidelio X2.
    I currently own a DT-770 that I drive with a ifi nano idsd.

    My question would be if the fidelio would be the right choice, for mostly electronic music (also but not as often rap, metal, jazz) or if I should go with either the DT-880 or the Hifiman He400s

    • Reply January 21, 2016

      dalethorn

      Myself, I’d go for the warmer sounds of the HE400s or HD650, but having owned the DT770, the Philips would be a better match to that headphone. But for the genres you list, warmer and slightly softer on the high end is usually recommended. Interesting choices.

      • Reply January 26, 2016

        Mick Jogger

        I listenend to the DT-880, HD-650 and the Fidelio side-by-side. In the end I decided to keep the X2. For my needs and listening preferences they are the best I can get at that pricepoint!

        • Reply January 26, 2016

          dalethorn

          Good choice! Massdrop has the X2 for one more day for $199, and I’m thinking about ordering it.

  • Reply January 23, 2016

    Maca Bond

    • Reply January 23, 2016

      dalethorn

      Be sure to read the comments about the glue issues.

      • Reply February 4, 2016

        ohm image

        Thank you Dale for keeping on top of this.

        • Reply February 4, 2016

          dalethorn

          I got one today from Massdrop. At $200 USD, fantastic. The worst case is a very slight boominess, a very small recess in vocals, and a tiny amount of crispiness on top. But my overall impression is it’s very smooth. Really hi-fi I think, in spite of the price. The physical quality looks really good. Massdrop users were talking about an edition or manufacture I hadn’t heard of before – I’m not sure which one I got.

  • Reply March 16, 2016

    STARSTERN

    out of these Beyerdynamic T90 or Fidelio X2, or NAD Viso HP50
    the x2 delivers best joy of music overall ?

    • Reply March 16, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I don’t know what you consider as joy. Depending on you preference it can be either one. The T90 however needs serious amplification, the other 2 don’t

    • Reply March 16, 2016

      dalethorn

      Like L says the T90 needs a good amp, but also is a high-res headphone – the other 2 are more forgiving of bad tracks.

      Edit: The T90 and the X2 are very different in price also.

      • Reply March 16, 2016

        STARSTERN

        joy as fostex th900 paired with GS-X MkII

        • Reply March 16, 2016

          dalethorn

          I’ve seen the TH900 on Massdrop for a really good price.

  • Reply July 6, 2016

    Sethis

    Hello guys,
    have you got any expirience with Teac P90SD product ? Im going to buy HD600/650 or X2 with this amplifier/player but im not 100% sure that will be a good combo 🙂

    ps. sorry for my English.

    Thanx for any help/advice.

    • Reply July 6, 2016

      dale thorn

      Someone says it doesn’t support FLAC. The bigger problem is they say it’s barely OK with a Sony 7506, but may not have enough power for HD600/650. Note that the 600/650 impedance is MUCH greater than 300 ohms at lower frequencies.

      • Reply July 6, 2016

        Sethis

        Teac supports FLAC 🙂 and impedance up to 600 ohms.
        Anyway im going to read some reviews now.
        Thnx for fast reply.

  • Reply November 20, 2016

    CC

    L2 are $99 on Newegg, X2’s are $248 on amazon. I really like the sound sig of the Visonic GR07BE, would you consider the L2’s close enough to the line of deminishing returns or are the X2 closer given that sound sig. I also plan to use them for PC gaming(Battlefield).

  • I get pleasure from, lead to I found just what I used to be looking for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye

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