The Philips X2/27 Fidelio promises to heroically put to rest the criticism caused by the few but daunting faults of its predecessor, the X1, launched only a year before. While it hasn’t really done much to set itself apart in terms of design and style, and an untrained eye would be unable to tell the X2 and the X1 apart, this latest Fidelio headset has certainly shown fans that Philips gives a hoot, and a big one at that, about what they think makes a good sound and a comfy headset.
These are full-size, open, over-ear headphones with a balanced sound that doesn’t necessarily agree with what a sonically impressive speaker should yield, technically speaking, yet it’s about as close to that absolute, ear titillating sound your ears crave as you can get.
Build Quality & Design
To show that buyers have the final say in what Philips should dish out on the sound crazed market, the company clad the Fidelio X2 in removable ear-cushions and gave its headband a bit more leeway for those of us with an exceptionally large noggin. The X1, by comparison, had non-removable cushions, so once your cat had a whiff of your headphones, their days would have been numbered. They also had a headband most taller, more cerebrally endowed people would have struggled with.
Otherwise, the Fidelio X2 is not all that different from the F1, in terms of build. It comes with 2 aluminium straps covered in calf skin, soft to the touch and remarkably robust. The Fidelio range only comes in black, so this is perhaps the one aspect that the creative department is reluctant to change. Fair enough.
The velour covered memory foam ear-pads are, as mentioned previously, removable. Philips won’t replace them, but their authorized repair centers will, which is a big plus in our book, because it means you can get a good couple of years out of these headphones without worrying about the dainty ear-pads. They’re also adjustable, swivelling around with plenty of leeway to ensure optimum alignment with the ears. Another interesting element is the fact that, while the ear-pads are circular on the outside, they’re oval on the inside, giving you a snugger fit than your average over-ears.
The headband is a hammock-like suspended, airy strap with good cushioning, similar to the one on the F1. It’s fastened with elastic bands that will give you support and a bit of pressure, but any more than you’d expect to find in sturdy, solid Philips over-ear headphones.
The Fidelio X2 was developed based on the needs and wants of users, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will tick all the right boxes, sonically speaking, for the majority. Both sophisticated and less sophisticated users were involved in surveys for the research, but most of what the X2 is today is due to blind listener tests.
Its speaker plates are tilted at a 15-degree angle to fit the shape of the ear and to achieve maximum resonance. The composite diaphragm is made of two sections, a central one that’s pretty standard, and an outer one that’s layered with gel for more sensitive frequency response. The Fidelio X2 delivers a natural sound, but one that’s rich enough even though it’s just an open circumaural headset. Detailed bass can make transitions into higher frequencies without a glitch, and it carries on like that for hours on end.
The X2 is immersive, to say the least. Be it music, video game or film, the X2 will plunge you straight into the action and keep you there. Cinematic effects produce rumbling that crosses from the headphones to the brain to cause a spectacularly thrilling listening experience. The low bass extension is perfect for film and multimedia, but really dedicated gamers will probably find that they prefer even chunkier, closed earphones for an extremely realistic listening and gaming experience.
In a nutshell, the X2 is not cripplingly bold, but not dull, either. The mid ranges are smooth with only some of the more aggressive pitches pulling through. It’s balanced, non-fatiguing and strikingly clear, with a pretty linear, smooth sound.
When you first set eyes on the X2, you’ll probably be taking it out of its box. Unlike the felt and foam box the X1 came in, this will be a plastic and cardboard box, but with all the components set out in the same fashion.
Much like with the X1 before it, the headband of the X2 can be bent slightly for a better fit with your head shape and less pressure on the skull.
Also like the X1, the X2 has an impedance of 30 Ohms, maximum power input of 500 mW, and it’s just as sensitive, with 100 dB at 1mW. The speakers are the same size, measuring 50 mm, and likewise, the cable is 3 meters long, with a 3.5 mm jack, as mentioned earlier. In terms of weight, the X2 is slightly lighter, weighing in at 380 g, as opposed to the 430 g heavy X1.
Fidelio X2 are headphones you’d have to try really hard not to like. They are beautifully tuned Mid-Fi and open headphones, mostly ideal for use at home rather than public places, with soft treble and balanced tone. Slightly on the bulky side, but comfortable enough to make you forget you’re even wearing them, let alone how big they are, the Fidelio X2 don’t go out of their way to impress you, because they don’t need to. The techies at Philips brought the Fidelio range one step closer to absolute perfection when they decided to listen to their understandably adoring fans.
|Frequency response||5 – 40 000 Hz|
|Maximum power input||500 mW|
|Sensitivity||100 dB @ 1mW|
|Speaker diameter||50 mm|
|Acoustic Headphone system||Open-Type|
Build & Design90/10
- - Splendid Immersive Audio Quality
- - Midrange is the best we've probably ever heard
- - Light for its specification
- - Stunning Frequency Response Range
- - Quite Bulky
- - Supplied cable may get dirty easily