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 🙂
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
I have the Sennheiser HD 600’s, and the 650’s 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 more crisp sounding. The 650’s 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
Both are open backed.
Both have a circumaural fit.
They are both in a similar price range.
Weight. The X2’s are much heavier than the 650’s. 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 650’s have dual cables coming from both ears. The 650’s are also proprietary, so you will only be able to replace them with the Sennheiser brand.
Clamp force. The 650’s 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 first usage. They do kind of open up over time. So in essence, the 650’s 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 is very wide, but doesn’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 650’s 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.
Treble. The X2’s treble has been accused of being a bit to 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 650’s by contrast have a 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 it’s 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.
The HD650 is a better headphone overall, but I’m not sure I would recommend it today. I’ve read a lot about The 600 and 650, and while lot of people loved the 650 at first, over time they reverted back to the 600 because it has a crisper, snappier sound. The 650’s 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. In my mind they are the benchmark and reference point for audiophile headphones, to which everything should be compared. What you’re getting with the 600 is incredible imaging and clear, precise, articulate detail. Interested in learning everything you need to know about them?
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.