It may not be obvious, but headphones that fit perfectly with your portable mobile device on the go is not necessarily the best choice for your 'proper' stereo at home. Although portable headphones works nicely outdoors as they usually have sealed/closed cups and shut out noise, they may for the same reason be a little too closed for home use. The sound may be experienced as oppressive after a while and small ear cups and cushions are not as comfortable as large ones.
As in the case of Philips Fidelio X2. They are open, meaning that the new 50-mm driver delivering the sound is sitting in an open chamber. The downside to open headphones can be a little too thin bass, plus others can hear the music you listen to as they leak sound.
But Philips showed that they had the solution to the first problem in the predecessor Fidelio X1, which looks just like the X2 we´re reviewing here. The design is almost identical, except that the X2 has a few small cosmetic changes. But despite the fact that X2 has brand new drivers, Philips has retained its predecessor’s rich bass and warm sound.
Here you also get a detachable, 10 feet long cable that is covered with fabric, but now with 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm adapters. The beautiful, thick, cloth-covered ear pads are still there, but is now finally removable. X1's main shortcoming is remedied by the X2 weighing less. In addition, the headband is larger, providing more space for your head.
The brand new 50 mm drivers with new composite diaphragm and neodymium magnets have improved damping and gives, according to Philips, a smoother frequency response in the midrange and treble. The drivers are angled towards the ear canal to suppress reflections in the outer ear, and since we're talking about open headphones it leaks a lot of sound from the cups.
In a direct comparison with its predecessor X1 we immediately notice that the technical changes has made the X2 a better headphone. The improvements are particularly evident in voices and wind instruments, cymbals, and in the finer nuances of the treble, which is more distinct and clear. The soundstage is still rich, but bass is tighter and better balanced.
Although I started the test with an iPhone 6 – because Fidelio X2 has a 3.5 mm plug – it was obvious that the headphones came into its own only when they were connected to an amplifier. I preferred to use a good and very capable headphone amplifier with adjustable output impedance. Classical music – in this case a violin concerto – clearly showed how much more open and detail-rich the sound from X2 is compared to X1. The sound from the strings was much richer and more highlighted in the soundstage.
Moving on to more complex classical music with a full orchestra, I experienced yet another example of the X2's improvements. Here not only the chorus had better focus, perspective is larger too.
Playing some more contemporary music, like R&B with a massive deep bass that can tear the thin driver membranes to pieces, the X1 will show itself to be a bit too powerful in the bass, but in X2 it´s better balanced against the midrange. Voices are gloriously rendered in the large open cups.
Just like its predecessor, Philips Fidelio X2 is a serious competitor to Sennheiser Momentum, but also to NAD Viso HP50, B&W P7 and other really expensive headphones too. They do not work the best for portable use, but for home use the X2 is a given candidate and one of the best choices you can make at this price. They sound so pleasantly effortless and are so comfortable that you´ll have the desire to wear them for long listening sessions - longer than you can with many of the competitors headphones.
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Powerful 50 mm neodymium drivers for wide yet precise range
Each speaker is carefully handpicked, tuned and tested, and is paired for the most detailed natural sound. The 50-mm drivers utilise high-power neodymium magnets to reproduce all your music's dynamics and deliver well-balanced crisp bass, transparent mid-range and pristine high frequencies.
Acoustic open-back architecture for pristine audio fidelity
An acoustic open-back architecture eliminates air pressure build-up behind the driver, allowing the diaphragm ample free movement, greatly enhancing sound transparency and smoothening extended high frequencies.
Breathable velour cushions to help disperse pressure and heat
Crafting the Philips Fidelio X2 starts with meticulously choosing each material for its functionality and ergonomic comfort. Deluxe memory foam ear pads are matched with a velour material of optimised density with high breathability, to dissipate pressure and heat for longer-wearing comfort.
Layered motion control diaphragm delivers precise sound
Layered Motion Control (LMC) drivers feature a multi-layered polymer diaphragm that encases a layer of damping gel. These layers form a flexible boundary and – together with the gel – absorb and dampen any exaggerated frequencies, resulting in a smooth and flatter frequency response. The result is a more balanced, natural and refined range of high-frequency sounds.
Deluxe memory foam earpads for long-wearing comfort
The materials used for the Fidelio X2 are carefully selected to ensure long-wearing comfort and enhanced sound performance. Deluxe breathable ear pads with memory foam are designed for optimal ergonomic fit. Not only does the foam mould itself perfectly to the shape of your ear, it also seals in bass sounds while keeping out ambient noise.
Pre-tilted drivers fit the ears for minimal sound reflection
The ear shells are engineered to tilt at 15 degrees, fitting your ear's natural geometry and immersing you in a truly precise and unadulterated sound performance. Audio signals are directly channelled into your ears, creating a dynamic and authentic listening experience.
Self-adjustable airy hammock with 3D mesh for a perfect fit
The self-adjustable lightweight hammock features an airy 3D mesh, which is not only breathable, but is also flexible enough to ensure a perfect fit – always.
Dedicated cable management clip for tangle-free ease
Double-layered ear shells engineered for sound precision
The Philips Fidelio X2's double-layered ear shells are engineered to reduce resonance and vibration, bringing you flawless sound with genuine precision and uncompromised detail. The solid, layered construction ensures durability, making the X2 the ideal music companion at home.