Home Headphone Comparisons Philips Fidelio X2 vs. HD650 | ALL CONTRAST!

Philips Fidelio X2 vs. HD650 | ALL CONTRAST!

by Stuart Charles Black

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Hi there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Philips Fidelio X2 vs. HD650 comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

Today will be a quick and dirty comparison with links to separate articles at the end 🙂

  1. Introduction
  2. Similarities & Differences
  3. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

Introduction

I have the Sennheiser HD 600’s, and the 650s are very similar except for a few things: The bass thumps a bit harder on the 650, and they sound warmer overall. The 600’s are snappier and crisper sounding. The 650s have actually been accused of lulling you to sleep! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but just something to keep in mind.

I absolutely love Sennheiser products and would rank them at or very near the top of Hi-Fi audio. There simply isn’t a company that consistently puts out as many quality headphones. While others may have clunkers from time to time, it seems as though the folks at Sennheiser have a hard time releasing crap. Even their entry-level HD202’s are pretty decent!

As far as the Fidelio X2’s are concerned, The unexpectedly great bass response coming out of these open-backed cans is a treat. Closed back vs. Open back headphones. Normally open-backed headphones leak a bit of sound and the bass response is a little lean and light. The X2’s go against the grain for sure.

Similarities and Differences

Similarities

  • Both are open-backed.
  • Both have a circumaural fit.
  • They are both in a similar price range.

Differences

  • Weight. The X2’s are much heavier than the 650s. The 650 tends to “disappear” on your head and is great for long listening sessions.
  • Headband. The 650’s go for a traditional locking mechanism, while the X2’s have that hammock self-adjustment band. I find the latter to be more convenient.
  • Ear-cup material. The X2’s pads are made of memory foam while the 650’s are velour.
  • Cable. The X2’s have a single-sided cable coming out of only one ear-cup, while the 650s have dual cables coming from both ears. The 650s are also proprietary, so you will only be able to replace them with the Sennheiser brand.
  • Clamp force. The 650s have a lot more clamping pressure than the X2. I don’t find it to be problematic, but you will definitely feel the headphones upon the first usage. They do kind of open up over time. So in essence, the 650s do end up being more comfortable over time.
  • Isolation. Though both are Open-backed, the X2’s have a surprising amount of isolation, while the 650’s do not.
  • Soundstage. The X2’s are very wide but don’t have a lot of depth. This renders it a bit flat at times. The 650’s Soundstage is not as wide but has nice depth. This makes it phenomenal as far as precision, clarity, and detail in the music. What is Soundstage? The 650s are more forward, which gives the music and instruments life. This is one of the defining characteristics of the 600 and 650.
  • Sound Signature. While a tad dark/veiled, the 650 has a very even frequency response. While the X2’s sound and transients may become glossed over at times, and not quite distinguishable at times, the 650 is more resolving in that it reveals more detail. What is the Sennheiser Veil? The detail in the X2 is simply masked at times.
  • Impedance/Amp requirements. What is Headphone Impedance? The HD650 by all accounts needs an amp to power effectively, but it isn’t picky about which one you go with. By contrast, some people say the X2 needs an amp, others claim you will be fine without one. How to choose a headphone amp!
  • Treble. The X2’s treble has been accused of being a bit too harsh/sibilant. What does sibilant mean? Stuff like bells and chimes become a little blurred, unclear, and overall it’s just a little too much. The issue becomes most bothersome with various types of vocals. The 650s by contrast have more detail and clarity, though there’s less treble overall. The 650 is simply more natural sounding.
  • Mid-range. The X2’s bass does not bleed into the mid-range, rendering it very good though the upper mids and low treble are a bit uneven with regard to female vocals. The 650’s midrange is clearer, more forward and natural-sounding by contrast.
  • Bass. The bass on the X2 as mentioned in the open has a lot of impact for an open-backed headphone. The 650 doesn’t go as deep but ends up being tighter and better defined. The X2 has more sub-bass while the 650 has more mid and upper bass.
  • Overall: The X2 provides a fun listen. You’re not going to be obsessing over small details with this one. The 650 provides detail in spades but still remains pretty warm and smooth. If I were to compare the three headphones I’ve mentioned in this article from Warmest to most analytical: X2 > HD650 > HD600.

That said, the biggest things to keep in mind with the X2 are its impressive bass response and harsh treble range. Kind of Jekyll and Hyde to be honest. It really ends up being a typical V-shaped headphone with a problematic high end.

Final Word

Keep in mind that these 2 headphones are vastly different. If you’re looking for more fun, V-shaped type of sound, the X2 (and newer X2HR) are definitely good choices. The fact that you can easily attach a mic is a huge plus as well.

 

I’ve read a lot about The 600 and 650, and while a lot of people loved the 650 at first, over time they reverted back to the 600 because it has a crisper, snappier sound. The 650s are almost a little too warm (as mentioned earlier), and the bass has a tendency to be a bit thick and clammy.

I have the HD600 and can attest to their greatness, but there’s still a better option I’ve tried since originally writing this article. I still have my HD600 and have had it since 2016, but when I tried the HD6XX, I knew I had found “the one” Interested in learning about why?

Sennheiser HD 600 vs. HD 6XX [Definitive Guide]

Sennheiser HD600 vs. HD6XX

HD6XX.

You can also check out my Top 5 Under $500:

The 5 Best Audiophile Headphones For Under $500


Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Philips Fidelio X2 vs. HD650.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

What do you think of my assessment? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

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14 comments

UL October 29, 2017 - 1:54 am

I owned Senn 650, Phillips X1 and X2. For some reason, with all kinds of amps, I always preferred the X1 and X2 over the 650. There is just more presence/body and yet I feel that I can hear as much detail/resolution. For some reason, I simply get lost in the music more with the X1 and X2. Of the two, I prefer the X2 for its better clarity. Just one man’s opinion.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black October 30, 2017 - 10:59 pm

Thanks for that valuable insight! Should help someone out at some point. Have you tried the HD600?

Reply
tili December 19, 2017 - 9:21 am

Thank you for the review. I have the X2HR and found your observations to be correct.
I really need to get rid of the harshness/grating/peak whatever it is called that is hurting/piercing my ears. I don’t want to return them since i love everything about the X2HR’s except the offensive peaking for my ears. I’ve played with the EQ a bit to see the problematic frequency and it was 4-5khz.

Do you think the grating can be fixed with Amp or DAC/amp or should i return it? Is there even a thing like an amp with EQ, not ruining the sound? Or should I go for tubes if that helps?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 19, 2017 - 8:31 pm

Hey Tili!

I would just EQ it down as that should really help. An Amp/DAC isn’t going to cure something like that, although a tube amp would in theory. I would say if you plan on getting into the hobby, go ahead and buy an entry level tube amp like the Schiit Vali. But if that isn’t your intention, there’s no real reason to buy an amp.

Let me know how the EQ works out.

Reply
tili December 23, 2017 - 1:11 pm

I did, thanks!
I can’t EQ the iPad with Spotify accurately. I can EQ on PC with Equalizer APO, but since the sound level coming from the PC is much lower it doesn’t pierce my ears. However the treble is still a bit grainy and artificial sounding. I might return them and invest on E-MU Teak (nvm i missed the massdrop emu teak) instead of wasting my money on an amp for X2. I might also get used to X2’s treble, some people have reported that (mental burn-in). What do you think?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 23, 2017 - 3:40 pm

Hey!

Yeah you bring up an interesting point, and something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. There was a great quote I came across and it goes something like “Our brains adjust to what they are used to, then compare other sounds to that base. As the base changes, so do our impressions of a particular headphone.”

As an example, for the longest time I enjoyed bass heavy headphones with a recessed mid-range and a very bright treble. Nowadays I like a more balanced sound, with a great mid-range and a more articulate bass, but not too much. When I went back to the old type of sound that I used to like, suddenly my ears and mind HATED it. I couldn’t understand why people loved the headphone so much (It was the Bowers and Wilkins P7 if you were wondering). Clammy bass, stuffy sound signature, and lots of bloat. Yuck.

So I think there is a lot of truth to “burn in” in a psychological sense. Listen to a headphone long enough and you sort of become one with it’s sound. I don’t think this is true in all cases, but there are headphones that have grown on me the more I listen to them.

Another example is the Audio Technica ATH M40x. I spent quite a bit of time away from it, and then put it back on. My first impression was “Wow, too much bass.” But the more I listened, the more the bass kind of started to “settle in.” It’s hard to explain, but it also happened with the Crossfade M100’s. It’s just that different headphones have different sound signatures and our brain has to adjust, especially when there is more of a discrepancy between models.

Reply
x2fidelio January 6, 2018 - 2:46 pm

how does the new HD660s compare to the X2? I want to upgrade to it probably

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 8, 2018 - 8:12 pm

Haven’t gotten a chance to hear the 660’s yet. 🙂

Reply
Alex January 14, 2018 - 11:50 pm

Hi! Thanks for the comparison. I loved the x2 so much, but regrettably I had to return it due to the treble problem you talked about, I hate harsh/peaky treble. I since got back to my hd 555 ( x2 is definitely next-tier hp with far superior separation and soundstage not to mention bass response, I actually understood what instrument separation means after first listen to x2) Do you happen to know if fidelio x2HR fixed the treble issue? I also got myself brand new HD650 only to find out it is like 10% better then my hd555, I suffer from buyers remorse now. As a dac/amp I use fiio e10k. I just wish there was a x2 with hd650 treble. Any idea what I might be doing wrong with my 650? Im thinking of ordering another x2 and modding it with paper to cure treble.

Reply
Stuart Charles Black January 16, 2018 - 8:40 pm

Hey Alex!

Not too sure about the X2HR, but the problem is your amp/dac combo. The FiiO E10K is going to have a bit of trouble driving a headphone like the 650, as it’s only rated for up to 150 Ohms. It won’t provide enough power in mW to drive a 650. So I would say keep the 650 and purchase something like a Schiit Magni/Modi Stack, or an Oppo HA-2 if you can afford it. It’s an amazing Amp/DAC combo that provides plenty of power for up to 300 Ohms. The Schiit Magni 3 provides more than enough power (430 mW into 300 Ohms), and 230 mW into 600. Also, if you need something small and portable, the Audioquest Dragonfly Red will work really well with the 650 too. Let me know what you’re leaning towards and what your budget would be. Some articles: How to choose a headphone amp, What is Headphone Impedance?

Reply
Gustang April 1, 2018 - 11:26 am

Just got x2 recently…and it’s all spot on. I read many overhyped review about it and disregard the negative reviews…so ended up bought it, yet it sounds so meh…

BUT still i cant hate it. Its all because it is sooo beautifully crafted..chunky metal, (maybe) real leather, nice velour and low impedance. Fidelio…Even the name is beautiful

I just cant refuse that

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 3, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Hey Gustang!

Are you going to keep it? Let me know, and if not I can recommend you something.

Best regards,
-Stu

Reply
Philip August 8, 2018 - 10:53 pm

I was looking at the philips x2hr for music and gaming. Now after reading the treble problem I’m not sure. What are other good headphones?

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 11, 2018 - 1:44 am

Hey Philip!

Check out my article on the Best Headphones for Gaming.

In short, the 900x is top dog for Gaming, but for both it becomes a bit more tricky. The X2 is on the list if that’s any indication. If you’re worried about the treble I may go with the K712 as the ultimate music/gaming solution.

Let me know if that helps!

Reply

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