Best Gaming Philips Fidelio X2HR Headphones Review


It may not be obvious, but headphones that are ideal for your portable mobile device on the go are not always the best choice for your ‘proper’ stereo at home. Although portable headphones work well outdoors because they typically have sealed/closed cups that block out noise, they may be a little too closed for indoor use for the same reason.

After a while, the sound may become oppressive, and small ear cups and cushions are not as comfortable as large ones. As is the case with the Philips Fidelio X2.

They are open, which means that the new 50-mm driver delivering the sound is in an open chamber. The disadvantage of open headphones is that the bass can be a little too thin, and others can hear the music you’re listening to because they leak sound.

Philips Fidelio X2HR Headphones Review
Philips Fidelio X2HR Headphones Review

Top 3 Best Philips Fidelio X2HR Headphones to Amazon

Well-Balanced Philips Fidelio X2HR Sound

According to Philips, the new 50 mm drivers with new composite diaphragms and neodymium magnets have improved damping and provide a smoother frequency response in the midrange and treble. The drivers are angled towards the ear canal to reduce reflections in the outer ear, and because we’re talking about open headphones, the cups leak a lot of sound.

When comparing the X2 to its predecessor, the X1, we can immediately see that the technical changes have made the X2 a better headphone. The enhancements are most noticeable in voices and wind instruments, cymbals, and the finer nuances of the treble, which is more distinct and clear. The soundstage is still expansive, but the bass is tighter and more balanced.

Philips Fidelio X2HR DR

So, what makes the Philips Fidelio X2s so special? Their majesty begins to shine through the moment you take them out of the box. They are, without a doubt, enormous. The premium materials used in their construction, as well as the 50mm neodymium drivers, ensure that they are satisfyingly weighty without being heavy.

The airy hammock beneath the headband ensures a super comfy fit, and the (removable/replaceable) memory foam earpads sit around your ears and clamp on to your head with a satisfyingly firm grip and a soft touch.

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Philips Fidelio X2HR Minor Drawbacks

They are not, however, perfect, as one would expect. They do leak sound and aren’t very soundproof, so you’ll be disturbed on a bus. The 3m cable isn’t ideal for on-the-go listening, either, though you could argue that the open back design of the cans isn’t designed for it in the first place.

And the lack of a travel case certainly supports that notion – though I suspect the omission of such a case is motivated more by the desire to keep the price low than anything else. And the headphones are so large that a travel case would have to be quite cumbersome in any case.

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Philips X2 / X2HR Super Review
Philips X2 / X2HR Super Review

PHILIPS FIDELIO X2HR HEADPHONE OVER ALL REVIEW

The headphones come with a 3m braided cable with 3.5mm connectors and a 6.3mm adapter, as well as a slickly produced manual that includes both marketing and technical information. In this booklet, Philips appears to be very proud of this headphone design, which makes the recently-launched divisive X3’s new form factor all the more perplexing.

I know it’s unusual for a headphone company to market to customers who have already purchased the product, but as someone who used to love manuals, this is a nice touch. The sound signature’s highlight is a natural and robust bass response, which is uncommon in open back headphone models.

The bass is rich, warm, and textured, and it stays fairly true to the source material. It doesn’t blend in too much with the rest of the sound, and it has a surprising nuance for a headphone at this price. The midrange is also enjoyable, with a realistic texture that makes music sound fantastic.

The only minor flaw is the treble, which has a couple of peaks that give the sound a mild harshness, though it’s nowhere near as intense as the infamous DT990 Pro. That classic Beyerdynamic model is a perfect point of comparison, and the X2HR has felt like a “fixed” DT990 from the first listen to this review two weeks later.

Even though I’m a crazy person who enjoys Beyerdynamic’s house sound, I’ll admit that the DT990 goes too far for most listeners. It’s an aggressive headphone with a lot of sibilance that feels like it’s trying to hit you with sound. The overall character of the X2HR is similar, but it’s smoothed out to the point where it’ll be a pleasant listen for all but the most demanding audiophiles.

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I believe that the similarly priced HD58X and AKG K371 offer slightly more in terms of raw sound reproduction, but neither has the same sense of openness as the X2HR.

Its skill with the stereo image makes it frequently recommended for gaming, and while I agree that it has an enjoyable sense of spatial width, it’s best suited to single player gamers. If you use a third-party microphone with the X2HR, whether a desktop model or a third-party attachable boom, you will most likely experience sound leak from your game audio into the microphone.

I put the X2HR through its paces in a three-hour gaming session with a friend, using a NeeGo removable boom mic, and he could hear both his own voice and my game audio echoing back down the line at times. Sennheiser has designed some of their open back gaming headsets to help mitigate this issue, but the X2HR is strictly designed for enjoyable home audio listening, and I doubt its designers considered this use case.

Alternative Video: Philips Fidelio X2HR Review

Philips Fidelio X2HR Review

Is Philips Fidelio X2HR Worth The Price?

For the price, the build quality is excellent. Make no mistake: this is a beefy, tough headphone, with all of the advantages and disadvantages that entails. They weigh 380g without the cable, which is quite a bit for an open back dynamic headphone.

Metals predominate in the material choices, with only a little plastic in the ear cups and some “calf leather” wrapped around the headband, which is proudly highlighted in the booklet. The frame is free of chatter and creaks, and the ear cups only swivel up and down, though the headband is flexible enough to allow for some lateral adjustment on your head.

Comfort isn’t quite where I’d like it to be, though the headphones do their best to make you forget. The ear pads are enormous and filled with a luxurious, slowly rebounding memory foam. They’d be fantastic for assisting with the seal on a closed-back headphone, but they’re delightful overkill here.

The ear cups are roomy, and the angled drivers give my ears plenty of room. Adjustment is entirely provided by a spring-loaded suspension strap, but it’s tuned so tightly that the first time you wear it, these will clamp your head and pull up towards the top of it.

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The clamp settles out a little after a while, but it’s still strong enough that the heavy weight of these headphones never disappears and you’re always aware you’ve got a big metal thing on your head.

It doesn’t cause hotspots or discomfort over time, but rather has an omnipresent big feeling that many other headphones strive to avoid. It’s still a reasonably comfortable headphone for its size and metal construction, but some additional adjustment flexibility would be welcome. Despite being just as tight, the DT990 Pro’s frame felt more balanced and comfortable on my head during long sessions.

CONCLUSION: Philips Fidelio X2HR Review

These headphones are fantastic. With multiple pairs of far more expensive headphones under my desk, it says a lot that these have been my go-to cans lately.

Perhaps they’re a notch below the top Oppo or Sennheiser offerings in terms of pure sound quality. However, the fact that you’d be saving a lot of money by going with the Philips is a no-brainer. My all-time favorite headphones are still the PM-1, but the X2s are a close second – they’re more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, easier to keep on your head, and far, far cheaper. They also look better.

Philips Fidelio X2HR Detailed Review
Philips Fidelio X2HR Detailed Review

FAQs About Philips Fidelio X2HR

Is the Philips Fidelio X2HR good?

The Philips Fidelio X2HR are an excellent pair of wired open-back headphones for listening to neutral sound. Their sound profile is very well-balanced, making them appropriate for a wide range of genres and content, though some people may find them piercing or dull on certain tracks.

Is the Philips Fidelio suitable for gaming?

The Drop + Sennheiser PC38X are better for wired gaming, while the Philips Fidelio X2HR are better for neutral sound. The Philips have a more neutral default sound profile and perform better in terms of passive soundstage.

What is Philips Fidelio?

Philips Fidelio is a sound obsession realized through precise audio engineering and expressed through thoughtful, innovative design. Fidelio, the next generation of seamless audio born from an uncompromising approach to sound, is inspired by Philip’s heritage of over 50 years in acoustic innovation.

Is a DAC amp required for the X2HR?

An 80 ohm impedance would be a good match for the Solo’s output. Normally, the X2 doesn’t require an amp, but many people claim it improves slightly with one.

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