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Wired open-back headphones can be a bit tricky to deal with, they are bulkier and not the most ideal for working out, commuting, or focusing on work/studies. However, under the right conditions, open-back headphones are very comfortable, and deliver more natural audio, making them the go-to devices for watching movies and working with sound. (I don’t recommend these for gaming as one of the major disadvantages of open-back headphones is the lack of proper noise isolation.)
So when it comes to wired open-back headphones, the Philips Fidelio X2HR is one of the more affordable and durable options on the market. It sits on the upper low-end in terms of quality and it is a great option for beginners to get invested in open-back headphones. In this article, I’ll cover some detailed information on the Philips Fidelio X2HR wired open-back headphones which includes the design, sound quality, and overall pros and cons. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will have better knowledge and a good sense of where to start with open-back headphones.
Table of Contents
Driver Size: 40mm/50mm (50mm model is almost two times the price of the 40mm)
Frequency Range: 5Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: 100 dB at 1mW
Weight: 0.86 lbs
Wired Connectivity Options: 3.5mm TRS
Looks and Build Quality
Considering the style and overall looks of the device, it’s a stylish yet bulky pair of headphones. The cans are huge and more than half of it is occupied by thick earpads. The housing for the drivers is very sleek and is built with plastic along with little bits of metal reinforcing the more sensitive areas.
The white metal grille on the outside of the ear pads adds a nice touch and protects the drivers while still allowing air to flow through. The adjustable headband may add to the bulkiness of these headphones and the little plastic pins holding them in place might feel a little flimsy, but it is well padded and flexible enough to accommodate bigger heads. (If you are worried about gaming, check out our list of the Best Gaming Headsets for big heads.)
Comfort and Portability
Let’s rip that band-aid right off, these headphones are not easy to carry around. You can’t fold them and they don’t have a carrying case. Also, if you’re hoping to carry them around your neck, I’ve got news for you: don’t do it. The cans are bulky and despite the thick padding on the earpads, you will feel like wearing a neck brace. So when it comes to portability, this one’s a goner.
On the brighter side, these open-back headphones are amazing to work with. The earcups are very well padded and the automatically adjustable headband slides up easily without any discomfort. The open-back design feels very comfortable and even though the large cans cover the ears it doesn’t get very hot and you can wear them for long hours without the need to adjust or take them off. (Although you might want to take regular breaks to avoid jaw pain and practice proper ear care)
Controls and I/O
The connectivity options on these wired open-back headphones are pretty slim. There is no Bluetooth connectivity so going wireless is not an option. Fortunately, the 3.5mm (⅛” TRS) cord can be detached and the provided cable is 10.3ft long. This is perfect for studio work but for working out or traveling (which I already did not recommend) it’s too long and going to be awkward to carry around. Also, you might need to keep these cables from twisting/tangling as these aren’t tangle-free cables.
On top of that, to help you with studio work and connecting these to an amplifier (which will be necessary since you cannot control the volume on this device) there’s an ⅛” to ¼” TRS adapter. Also, if you need some ideas on some affordable starter amplifiers, check out our article on the best amplifiers under $100.
So all things considered, the controls and I/O options on this device are limited to only analog wired audio and since these are meant for professional work or listening to music I believe that the 3.5mm cord and TRS adapter is more than enough for the applications it was intended for. (Which does not include running, working out, or traveling.)
Imaging and Soundstage
One thing that open-back headphones do very well is creating an exceptional passive soundstage. (it doesn’t have active soundstage capabilities.) Everything feels wide, open and the sounds are very well localized.
The imaging capabilities of these headphones are also top of the line, the left and right speakers have a perfect balance whether it’s low-end bass or high-end treble and everything is heard very distinctly.
The bass reproduction, for the most part, is very spot on and it’s accurate enough for studio applications. Unfortunately for bass heads, this might not be the best “bass-heavy” pair of headphones because of their open-back design – which lacks those satisfying powerful bumps.
Mids and Highs
The mids are very accurate and unlike the two ends of the spectrum, they don’t have any issues when taken to the extreme. So if accurate vocals are your thing, these headphones are a perfect choice. The highs are also fairly accurate, and good enough for studio work. However, at the extreme, things can be a little unpleasant. Hopefully, this won’t be too noticeable as long as you don’t go too high.
Noise Isolation and Leakage
This is where things start to fall apart, noise isolation is pretty much nonexistent due to the open-back design and you’ll hear everything going on around you. So taking these to the gym or trying to work/study with them, is pretty much useless. On top of that, sound leaks are very prominent and anyone close to you will be able to hear what you’re listening to, even at medium volumes.
What’s in the Box?
Pair of headphones
1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter
3.5mm (⅛” TRS) audio cable (10 feet long)
What We Like
Highly accurate and well-balanced audio
Very comfortable for long hours
Know Before Buying
No volume control on the headphones
Poor noise isolation and sound leakage
If you’re looking to get into the open-back audiophile experience, the Philips Fidelio X2HR wired headphones are a suitable candidate. These headphones have a decent amount of value, and if you use them under the right circumstances, you will learn to appreciate them for their highly accurate sound and comfort. Unfortunately, these “right circumstances” are limited to indoor studio work, listening to music, and watching movies. On top of that, this pair doesn’t have a microphone, so gaming and answering phone calls are out of the question altogether but you can always purchase a standalone microphone like OneOdio’s FM1.