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Philips Fidelio X2HR Review (headphone)

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I quite like my old X2s (which to my knowledge are more or less the same headphone), and I definitely miss the comfort and soundstage of them when I'm using my HD600s that replaced them.

I guess I did find the bass a bit muddled on the X2, but not really exaggerated in any way. In comparison the HD600s sound to me as if they dig deeper and cleaner than the X2s.

What I never really could come to grips with was the treble, which for a lack of a better word sounded grainy to me at louder volumes. I wonder if that is related to the dips and peaks in the frequency response, I would've guessed that it was some form of distortion based on my subjective impression. Fortunately enough I normally don't listen at ear shattering levels so the graininess never bothered me too much in practice, but perhaps I do not listen to very loud levels because of that troublesome treble. Separating cause from effect can be hard.
 

Maiky76

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Hi,

Here are some thoughts about the EQ.
Notes about the EQ design:
  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF).
  • The range above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo the boosts and preamp gain need to be carefully considered to avoid issues

Good L/R match.
need to decrease the primary resonances at HF
Boos LF as ususal

I have generated one EQ, the APO config files are attached.

Score no EQ: 75.3
Score Armirm: 66.2 -> 71.6
Score with EQ: 77.8

Code:
Philips Fidelio X2HR APO EQ Score 96000Hz
January112021-105746

Preamp: -6 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 28.5 Hz Gain 6 dB Q 1.79
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 212 Hz Gain -1.1 dB Q 1
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 1678 Hz Gain -3.1 dB Q 4.62
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 2996 Hz Gain 2.3 dB Q 0.88
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 5060 Hz Gain -6.6 dB Q 4.8
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 6
EDIt correct filter for @amirm updated score
Philips Fidelio X2HR Dashboard.png
 

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Wow, I had even higher expectations after this raving review:oops:
LOL, these subjective reviews are useless. They can say anything they want and there's no way of verifying. For an amp, they can say "it opens up the soundstage", "increased punch and clarity", etc. I have not read subjective reviews for audio products in a long time.
 

fieldcar

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I dusted off my X2's about a month ago and had essentially a similar conclusion to what Amir had. Bass got muddy pretty early on with bass heavy tracks, and it never extended into the sub region enough to satisfy me. As for the general tune around the pinna gain, it always thought it was good. Treble was rolled off but not overly dark, which I usually prefer. I have no regrets though, as it was a different time in the audiophile game when I got these non-HR's.
 
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infinitesymphony

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Sennheiser HD-650 has a score of 78 and is recommended at ASR, X2HR has a score of 84 and is not recommended.
There are a couple of factors that may be even more important than how closely the target curve is matched:

1. Does the frequency response have a perceptual slope downward from bass to treble, similar to the in-room response of a flat FR speaker?
2. Are the frequency regions balanced with each other or are there some that are significantly far from the target, or that produce significant distortion?

If either of those are wrong, it almost doesn't matter how closely the rest of the FR matches the target.

(Just my observations as I watch the headphone threads accumulate.)
 
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bobbooo said:

Note Rtings do not use industry standard measuring equipment. In terms of the Harman target, below is a better ranking table based on measurements that do, ranked according to Harman's predicted preference rating (effectively adherence to their target):

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/blob/master/results/RANKING.md

Sennheiserser HD-650 has a score of 78 and is recommended at ASR, X2HR has a score of 84 and is not recommended.
I have X2HR which I got for only $130 with shipping. An absolute steal for this price. Cheaper than Beyer DT 770 80 ohm and Monoprice M1060C which I also got as reference.
 
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I love mine. They need EQ for sure.

It's telling that every set of measurements (and recommended EQ settings) I've found online have been different, often radically so. This includes measurements and settings in this thread. I don't know if this speaks to sample variation of head form variation.

I tried EQing by ear, but ended up with curves that sounded good on some songs, bad on others. So I started trying measurement-based recommendations. Some of them were wildly wrong, at least for my pair / my ears. One was very close. I used it and gradually tweaked it by ear, and ended up with a curve that sounds extremely natural for all the music I listen to. The soundstage remains open-sounding. I don't ever hear any distortion in the bass, even though I boost it several db. It's possible I'm not sensitive to this. I'm very sensitive to brightness in the upper-mids, and have taken a big bite out of these.

Just in case anyone's curious, here's what my curve looks like. Not to suggest this will work for anyone else ...

Screen Shot 2021-01-10 at 11.52.24 PM.jpg
 

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solderdude

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No way of knowing unless you try them to be honest.
I like my X2, and want to try out the X3 some time, if I followed just what other people say, my Nighthawks would have been sold many moons ago.
I follow this forum for the many folks with way bigger brains than me to help guide me in my decisions, but if my ears like what they're hearing, sometimes that's good enough.
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/philips/fidelio-x3

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4g7y3sbozszmpb8/Philips Fidelio X3.pdf?dl=0

Do you have a link(s) on your site to your measurement fixture?
yes
 
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ABH

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Agreed 100%. I used to have an old philips Uptown...used it fully until it crumbles, and then bought Fidelio L1 on sale... quite a significant improvement overall, then the X2HR went on sale ... immediately clicked my old Amazon acc. And until today, remained my favorite. So, for each ears (esp as old age starts to show its effects)...
 

Jimmy

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It may be different materials or just sample variation, but my old X2 sound quite different to the current X2HR that I tested, except in the bass region.

Proof of that is that trying the proposed EQ settings for the HR with my probably first production batch X2 makes them unlistenable.

The HD600 in my opinion is in another level, it may lack in the bass department but makes it up in all other areas.

What made me purchase it originally was Tyll's review where the X2's were told to be something like a vitamined HD600, but for me that's not the case, not even close.

But even with their defects these are enjoyable headphones that do a lot of things well and at the current prices offer a lot of value.

I quite like my old X2s (which to my knowledge are more or less the same headphone), and I definitely miss the comfort and soundstage of them when I'm using my HD600s that replaced them.

I guess I did find the bass a bit muddled on the X2, but not really exaggerated in any way. In comparison the HD600s sound to me as if they dig deeper and cleaner than the X2s.

What I never really could come to grips with was the treble, which for a lack of a better word sounded grainy to me at louder volumes. I wonder if that is related to the dips and peaks in the frequency response, I would've guessed that it was some form of distortion based on my subjective impression. Fortunately enough I normally don't listen at ear shattering levels so the graininess never bothered me too much in practice, but perhaps I do not listen to very loud levels because of that troublesome treble. Separating cause from effect can be hard.
 

PenguinMusic

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Hi,

No time to read comments.

My own comment : really disappointed in these results.
Because I own the Fidelio X2HR and as far as I am concerned, I can listen to it for hours.
And I am enjoying the sound I hear coming out of it.
Objective and subjective :-(

Well, that was before I got another headphone I like much more (but not in the same price league).

I also have the Audioquest Nighthawk that I do not use.
Maybe I will send it in to amirm so he can test it...

Regards.
 

Patrick1958

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solderdude

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It is caused by different HATS (different pinnae, different ear canals, different correction curves, different positioning)
Some of it could be unit could also be unit to unit variance.
 
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PenguinMusic

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As far as headphones go the X2HR is fine.
None of what will be measured is perfect or even near it.
The same is true for speakers.
What works for person A may not work for person B.
Hi,

As usual : post full of wisdom :)

The Fidelio X2HR definitely works for me.
I will not force my view on this upon anyone in here.

Just making a totally personnal and subjective statement :)

Regards.
 
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Hi,

As usual : post full of wisdom :)

The Fidelio X2HR definitely works for me.
I will not force my view on this upon anyone in here.

Just making a totally personnal and subjective statement :)

Regards.
Sure, but well, the Guru has a different opinion. It's not fine and not recommended, although highly praised in other places. I am bit disappointed because I trust my senses to some degree. Sure they can go wrong, but if I see a "measured" temperature showing -3°Celsius and I see the rain outside... yeah you know the answer.

A bit of trust to this forum has just been cut off and interestingly not a better headphone has been shown off in this price point yet. Let's wait and see what it would be....
 

PenguinMusic

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Sure, but well, the Guru has a different opinion. It's not fine and not recommended, although highly praised in other places. I am bit disappointed because I trust my senses to some degree. Sure they can go wrong, but if I see a "measured" temperature showing -3°Celsius and I see the rain outside... yeah you know the answer.

A bit of trust to this forum has just been cut off and interestingly not a better headphone has been shown off in this price point yet. Let's wait and see what it would be....
Hi,

Well, if you like it...
Me I do.
So I'll keep using it despite what Guru says :).

But of course, I will make no claims that it sounds better than another headphone or that it is the most "transparent" headphone on the market.
And I will not even claim that sun is shining and that we have a nice temperature where we can walk around in a bathing suit.
I'll just make a a statement : I like what I hear even though I am aware it doesn't do things right. Despite the cold and rain :)

I think there has been an even cheaper headphone that got recommandation here 2/3 days ago.

What I do notice though is that, unless I missed something, all headphones so far have been granted a recommendation after they receive (more or less massive) EQ.
Me, I am waiting for the headphone that would perform as it should out of the box.

Would be curious to know what the first one will be...
Would also be curious to see the Fidelio X3 being tested to see if it does better than the X2.
 

raistlin65

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Hi,

As usual : post full of wisdom :)

The Fidelio X2HR definitely works for me.
I will not force my view on this upon anyone in here.

Just making a totally personnal and subjective statement :)

Regards.
You needn't apologize for mixing in your personal experience.

Pretty much everyone who proclaims that their favorite headphone sounds great and must be superior to others because it's a close match to HTR, is doing so, in part, based upon confirmation they received from sighted, personal anecdotal experience.

And as far as this preference rating rankings that people like to point to as proof of superiority of one headphone over another

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/blob/master/results/RANKING.md

Notably, there are no Harman headphones scoring an excellent rating of 90 or above. Where are the excellent Harman produced headphones that uses Harman's research to match HTR? Lots of Sennheisers.
 
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With respect to resonance, I'd like to share my experience.
I heard some buzzing resonance at bass frequencies coming from my X2 (Woox, non-HR, so unsure if it applies still).
Then I noticed something rattling inside when tilting my head. I removed the ear pads to find they where glued to the mounting pins with what could be best described as tree resin. It was very brittle and removing the ear pads was not hard at all. It was loose pieces of this hard and brittle resin that had caused the resonance. Once I cleaned them out, the buzzz disappeared.
 
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