There have been rave reviews about the new Philips Fidelio X2. I couldn’t wait to get my ears between one. I purchased this pair and started to do some comparisons to the Sennheiser HD 600 and Sennheiser Momentum 2.0.
The build quality is superb: very sturdy, no exposed wires, and cables were nice. The pads are detachable but some have found that the pads were glued on. Overall, I found the cans themselves were comfortable for my round Asian head. The pads were soft but should’ve came with lint rollers.
Now for the sound. The soundstage is wide and the tonality tilts towards the warmer side. It has impactful bass with decent sub-bass presence but came off a bit boomy and bloated at times. The bass on the Momentums wasn’t as weighty but was much better controlled and tighter.
As far as presence, there’s equal power across the spectrum but I found that it wasn’t too engaging. Compared directly to the HD 600s, it sounded like the more fun and smooth headphone. I wouldn’t say the vocals were accurate on the X2s but it did a better job than the Momentums, which lacked the textures the X2 provided. I felt like the Sennheisers had more air around the instruments and were more dynamic and engaging. Although not as technically accurate as the X2, it drew me more to the music.
At times I felt like the X2 sounded a bit muffled, suffocated, and dull in comparison. Yes it’s smooth and detail resolution is great but I personally didn’t find it musical or enjoyable to listen to. The Momentums sounded a bit grainy and lean in comparison but I found it to be more engaging and I felt like I could hear more of the music. It had better PRaT. It lacks a bit of that body the X2 fills but to my ears, the Momentums maintain their vocal and instrumental individuality better. It’s just cleaner in my opinion.
The Momentums mids were a bit recessed in comparison but it didn’t bother me. I felt like the X2s mids were a bit too forward at times. The X2s do have that seductive sound but for some tracks comes off a bit too dark for my tastes.
As with all things audio, it comes down personal taste. As for me, I just couldn’t get myself to enjoy the sound out of these cans. I don’t find them transparent or dynamic enough for my audio palate. The bass is great and fun but I found I wanted more delineation from the mids. There’s decent extension on the treble and there is realism to strings and woodwinds…but something’s just missing for me. I actually found myself enjoying the sound of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x more, as long as the music wasn’t too busy. In my opinion, the Philips Fidelio X2 is technically superior to all the other cans in this comparison, including the Sennheiser HD 600, but I still prefer the others due to their musicality.
Power: PS Audio Dectet
USB: Uptone Regen + LPS
Digital Cables: Chord Silver Plus USB
Amp/DAC: Sim Audio Moon 430HAD
Source: MSI GS40 Phantom