Home Headphone Comparisons Philips SHP9500 vs. X2 | UNEXPECTED BASS?

Philips SHP9500 vs. X2 | UNEXPECTED BASS?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on

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Hi there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the Philips SHP9500 vs. X2, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…

You’ve come to the right place!!!

What I will bring you in this review

Today I will outline the Fidelio X2 and compare it with the SHP9500 towards the end. πŸ™‚

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Amp/DAC requirements
  8. Who these headphones benefit?
  9. Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
  10. Consensus/Conclusion
  11. Similarities & Differences
  12. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Philips Fidelio X2



  • Type: Open back
  • Fit: Circumaural
  • Impedance: 30 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 100dB
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 40kHz
  • Material: Leather, Memory Foam
  • Diaphragm Material: Liquid Crystal Polymer
  • Diaphragm Diameter: 2in.
  • Weight: 382g
  • Inputs: 3.5mm, 1/4″
  • Cable Length: 3m
  • Additional Features: Detachable cable


Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Fidelio X2’s is the fact that they are open backed headphones that really excel in the bass department. Closed back vs. Open back headphones. Many people couldn’t believe how good they sounded because generally open headphones are kind of lean in bass and it isn’t as prominent.

It’s important to remember that the X2’s aren’t meant to sound neutral. They have a fun/warm sound signature, with a great soundstage and instrument separation. I would call them bass head cans without the bloat that you may get with other models. Think of the sound overall as mellow and airy.


  • Good build quality. Feels durable and the headphones have a lot of metal to them.
  • Low clamp pressure and very comfortable.
  • Great bass response, but sometimes can be overpowering and too much.
  • Nice big soundstage. It’s clear, fast and detailed. What is Soundstage?
  • Good instrument separation.
  • A fun sounding headphone for sure.
  • Balanced overall, but still immensely enjoyable. All the frequencies are well represented.


  • Left and right side sound imbalance issues or not playing audio.
  • Cymbals and treble wonky/sibilant/muffled at times. What does Sibilant mean?
  • Color/dye from the ear-pads may come off and get on your ears.

Video Review

Amp/DAC requirements

Some folks say these need an amp, others claim they sound great without one. How to choose a headphone amp!

Who these headphones benefit?

Endorsed for all of the following:

  • Hardcore
  • Deathcore
  • Symphonic Metal
  • Rock/Classic Rock
  • Rap/Hip-Hop
  • Orchestrated soundtracks
  • Gaming/Movies
  • Live band
  • EDM/Drum and bass, although sometimes they can get kind of loud and uncomfortable sounding.
  • Chill Step
  • Classical/Jazz
  • Acoustic

Not for:

  • Mastering/Reference

Thoughts from Stu’s notepad

  • Beware of defective and counterfeit pairs of the Fidelio X2 that were manufactured by Gibson after Philips sold the consumer electronics dept. to them. A big issue is glue on the ear pads when they are marketed as being removable. There have also been reports of other cosmetic issues with the metal trim pieces around the ear-cups being glued incorrectly.
  • The mid-range is a bit recessed due to the strong bass presence.
  • Included is a 1/4″ adapter with 3m cable and 3.5mm termination. Pretty standard.
  • The stock ear pads will collect a lot of lint and will have to be cleaned often.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to get the ones that don’t have glued on ear pads, they can be replaced with the Brainwavz HM5 pads relatively easily.
  • They are very forgiving of your source so you won’t have to worry too much about them being too analytical and revealing of poor quality files. This could be a good or bad thing depending on your preference. I tend to gravitate towards honest and neutral, but I still love a fun sound and don’t always like to be super critical of my music.
  • These aren’t too portable, as they are big and of course open backed. They will leak sound so you’re best scenario is to use them in studio.
  • The self adjusting head hammock is a welcome change from your traditional head band and works nicely.
  • These tend to do well with bigger heads, and if you are a Conehead, even better! πŸ˜› If you’re a dainty female, they are likely to take up half your face. Lol.
  • The chord here is also not proprietary so you can replace it with any external cable of your choosing.


Buy them if you’re willing to take a gamble on which version you will receive. A lot of folks tried a few times sending them back and were finally able to get the correct model without the glued on ear-pads.

Similarities & Differences


  • Both have 50mm drivers and according to many, they both use the SAME driver. Take this with a grain of salt though.
  • Both headphones have a tendency of moving around on your dome piece a little if you move around a lot. I noticed this with the 9500. They are comfortable, but will move if you make a sudden movement.
  • Both have replaceable chords.
  • Both have around the same impedance. 32 Ohm for the 9500 vs. the 30 Ohm of the X2.
  • Around the same sensitivity. 101dB for the 9500 vs. 100dB for the X2.


  • The wiring on the X2’s is braided while the 9500’s have a traditional straight cable.
  • The 9500’s are fairly light while the X2’s are much heavier.
  • The 9500’s have a balanced, neutral signature while the X2’s seem to be more bass oriented. The low end tends to bleed into the mid-range.
  • The 9500’s use a peculiar cloth that feels a bit odd, while the X2’s use a velour/memory foam type of material. The cloth of the 9500 isn’t unpleasant, it’s just different.
  • The 9500’s tend to be sharper in the treble range, leading to more sibilance.
  • The 9500’s have a shallower ear-cup and your ears will probably touch the drivers inside. The X2’s cups are a little deeper.
  • The X2’s soundstage is more noticeable and more open sounding.
  • The X2’s will perform better for movies/gaming while the 9500’s excel more in stuff like podcasts and youtube videos.
  • The mid-range on the X2’s is better than the 9500’s.
  • You may become fatigued quicker with the 9500’s, meaning certain types of voices will wear your ears out faster.
  • The X2’s utilize that hammock head band self adjusting mechanism while the 9500’s go for a more traditional fit.

My Video Review (Part II)

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel! Any support is much appreciated πŸ™‚

Final Word

While the X2’s are the better headphone overall, is the extra cost justified? Some say it’s not, and that the differences are minimal enough to where you can purchase the 9500’s and feel okay with it. I happen to really enjoy mine, and couldn’t believe I was getting this type of sound for less than $100. Interested in learning more about them? Check out my review!


Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on the Philips SHP9500 vs. X2.

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

Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? Are you inclined to save a few bucks and snag the 9500’s? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,





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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canman1971 March 5, 2017 - 7:30 pm

Nice comparison. The SHP9500 are great value for money and are my second love, my first love are the HD600 πŸ™‚

Stu March 8, 2017 - 4:01 am

Thank you for stopping by man! I love the 600’s too. Man they really spoil you though. I got really used to the sound of them, but had been listening with some other portable headphones. When I came back to the 600’s I was blown away all over again. Lol.

Gustang August 14, 2018 - 10:04 am

Now i have trouble taming X2 bass. Using various tweak with tonebooster morphit either mimic other headphone or custom eq, but still cant find balanced proportion.

Im thinking changing the pads with brainwavs velour but i doubt it will improve for the better, that it could even be worse ?

Stuart Charles Black August 15, 2018 - 2:26 pm

The Brainwavz velour will open up the Soundstage and decrease the bass for sure. I don’t know what you were EQ’ing, but you may try taming 60-70 Hz down a little as that tends to be the problem area. I really don’t like a mid-bass that’s too boosted because it makes the headphone sound kind of clammy and fuzzy. Unfortunately this is where most companies boost the bass and it kind of irritates me. Is this the issue you’re having with the X2?

The Brainwavz may actually help, but they also might make the treble become too peaky and that’s the last thing we want here.

Let me know your thoughts!!

Eduardo Nogueira February 21, 2020 - 8:02 pm

I have the x2s and I love it. I may buy the 9500s just to see if I can use it around the uni as the x2s a kinda big and heavier. The HM5 pads are nice but I would like an alternative. They tend to be way to soft and get flat or deformed with time. I always give a punch around 64hz in my x2s to make bass drum more present, sometimes some 8khz also helps when listening heavy metal or prog.

Stuart Charles Black February 25, 2020 - 3:19 pm

Hey man! Yeah I would like to get an X2HR as I want to do a video comparison of them both. I own the 9500 and use it for Gaming and of course music. It’s a different flavor of sound; definitely more sterile, crisp, clear, and neutral. I love how the X2HR’s have that gradual, smooth rise to around 60Hz as you mentioned. Interesting that you EQ it around there. I much prefer that over the “bump” of say a 40x around 100-200Hz. It’s way more natural sounding on the X2. Would you be willing to send the X2 for demo/comparison to the 9500? I have a YouTube channel but don’t have a video of the X2. Let me know!!


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