The Philips Fidelio X2 is part of an entire new range of Philips Fidelio Headphones which are touted to deliver an authentic immersive sound experience. Going at a price tag of SGD499, it uses 50mm high-definition neodymium drivers to justify that high price.
The first thing you notice about the X2 would be its class. Philips has evidently put some thought into the design of the X2 and I wouldn't fret about being seen with it on the bus or the train. The padding on the phones makes for a really comfortable wear in the long run. Its size however poses a few problems thought not overly major. For one, the fitting is a little loose and the headphones didn't fit snugly to my head, resulting in a lack of noise isolation and sound quality which left me wanting. For most of the part, I rectified this issue by clamping my hands against the side of the cans to create that noise isolating seal but I would imagine nobody wants to do that for prolonged periods. However, this problem should mainly affect Asians (as we tend to have smaller heads), so perhaps Philips might consider having a version of this model more suited towards Asians! Other than the snug fit issue, on more matters of comfort, there's a little cushioned band which rests nicely over the top of your head and takes most of the weight away somehow so you don't really feel the any heftiness from the headphones.
But perhaps it's time to move on to the sound quality, the main part that you would actually be concerned about. On the whole, the X2 does what it's meant to do, deliver an authentic listening experience featuring rich bass and warm sound. I do take slight issues with the rich bass part though. The lows of the headphones doesn't work right out of the box. If you ask me, I feel the bass could be thicker and more impactful. I had to fiddle around with my equalizer settings for quite a bit to even get it sounding right; even if perhaps my ear is accustomed to more bass than it should be, the X2 could honestly do with more work on the bass.
Mids wise, the X2 performs perfectly! Better than any other headphone or earphone I've had in fact. The clarity on the mids is simply stunning and I'm amazed to hear such sound coming from a pair of headphones costing so little. I was blown away by the level of detail I could hear around the mids range. The highs are generally smooth and it performs well on the treble side.
The X2 delivers a wide soundstage which makes it sound like you're not really listening from a headphone but more like you're sitting in a small room with a nice surround sound system. And honestly, if I closed my eyes and kept my hands on the cans to ensure that noise isolation seal, I could really imagine that that was precisely the case.
Without doubt, the headphones would sound a lot better routed through an amplifier but I usually try not to do that considering how troublesome it is to have an amp plugged in on the go (one more device to the pocket already bulging with devices). Also, I did not really have time to burn-in to the X2 and as always, the performance should improve gradually with burn-in!
All in all, the X2 is a rather neutral headphone which performs well in the mids to highs area and offers excellent comfort though lacking a snug fit for those with smaller heads. If you're not overly demanding and listen to music with more mids and highs than this is the headphone for you, otherwise you'll be left wanting for more impactful bass. For the right kind of music though, the X2 offers a load of detail and clarity that are usually found in much higher-end headphones and it is a rather good deal; definitely it's not going to outperform the top-of-the-line Sennheisers but hey, you're paying a whole lot less at just S$499!
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