My old Sennheiser HD598 headphones are beginning to fall apart, so I started looking for some new headphones to replace them. While I'm not really an audiophile, I listen to a lot of music every day, mostly electronic, so I want something that sounds good and that I can wear for several hours. This is my search criteria:
While on the hunt for a new pair of headphones, I stumbled upon a really good offer for the Philips Fidelio X2HR so I decided to give them a try, just to make a review. This is NOT a sposored review.
I know, I'm kinda late to the party since this model has been out since 2017, but right now they can be purchased for a fraction of their launch price, between 100 and 150€, and at this price, they deliver some really good value.
Inside the box we can find the headphones themselves, a 3 meters long detachable 3.5mm braided cable, and a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter so you can connect them to your DAC or amp (which is not required by the way).
At the bottom of the box, there's a booklet with some marketing material. This is a waste of paper in my opinion because by the time I get to read it, I've already bought them; it is good for a laugh though, because apparently Philips considers 40kHz to be treble. Technically correct is the best kind of correct.
The included cable feels sturdy in the hand, but the lack of strain relief on the side that connects to the headphones is inexcusable. At least it's a standard cable and can be cheaply replaced if it breaks. Looking at you, Sennheiser.
The headphones themselves are incredibly well built for this price range: the outer structure and the mesh on the sides are made of metal and feel very solid, the ear cups are made of plastic but they don't feel cheap or squeak.
The band on top is made of real leather, which someone may not like, while the hammock thing in the middle that rests on your head is made of a synthetic fabric.
The 2 pads on the side are made of a synthetic velvety material with memory foam inside. They have a strong chemical smell when you take them out of the box, but it goes away after a few days of use and it turns into a nice "new car" smell.
The official specs of these headphones are these:
I don't have the necessary equipment to verify these, but if you're interested in a more in-depth, technical review, check out RTINGs.com's rewiew of these headphones.
These headphones are very comfortable and I can wear them for hours without problems. The weight is approximately 400 grams, but they don't feel heavy at all. The height adjusts automatically thanks to that hammock thing (although I have a feeling that it might lose its springiness over time and then you'll have a big problem), and they don't put too much clamping force on the sides.
Temperature-wise, they're slightly on the warm side, but not enough to be a problem unless you live in a very hot environment. One thing that might cause problems to some people though are the fairly large (and round) ear cups: if your head has the wrong shape, you may not be able to get a proper seal around your ears and this will impact the sound quality as well as comfort.
For the price, these headphones sound really good, and their sound profile is somewhat similar to the Sennheiser that I use every day.
The bass is good, especially for open-back headphones: it has some punch to it, it's clear and doesn't interfere with the rest of the sound. The mids are very flat, with no audible distortion at any frequency, but I can't help but feel that they're somewhat lacking in volume; there's also a noticeable dip in the 9-11kHz range that is much more pronounced compared to other headphones, and this makes the high-mid-low-treble area sound a bit muffled. It can be improved a lot if your sound card has an EQ function though. The alleged 5-40000 Hz frequency response is obviously marketing BS, a more honest rating would be 30-16000 Hz in my opinion, or maybe I'm just getting old.
The soundstage is exceptional: it's wide, nothing sounds like it's in your face or in your head, and you can tell where every sound comes from, which makes these headphones pretty good for gaming as well.
I should also point out that, being open-back, these headphones have almost zero isolation: you can hear everything that's going on outside, and people around you will be able to hear what you're listening to, so you can't really use them in public or in a noisy environment.
At their current price, the Philips Fidelio X2HR offer terrific value, really good sound, great build quality and good comfort.
I won't be keeping these headphones since they're so similar to the ones I already have, but I highly recommend these headphones if you can get them at around 100-120€, especially to people who are trying to get into good headphones and don't want to spend a fortune, since this price range is pretty close to the point of diminishing returns.