Philips Fidelio X3 Review: Its BACK but is it BETTER than the X2HR??


today’s video is sponsored by trade man when i reviewed the x2 hr i had some really good things to say about it even now listening back to it in the wake of some really expensive headphones living at my desk i still have a lot nice to say about it for me personally there’s magic in the way those things are tuned it speaks to everything i love about music solid bass sub bass spacey syrupy vocals big sound stage relaxed high end good sense of energy and punch the x2 is the headphone you buy for somebody in your life that loves music but hasn’t yet crossed that line into like stuffy overly specific audio file it’s a great way to spend 155 dollars on headphones and if that’s not a tough fact to follow i don’t know what is nonetheless philip sent out the new fidelio x3s they see a more modern update to their aesthetic and they sound to me like a

completely different headphone we’re gonna talk about why you ready let’s go [Music] yo i’m brian p you’re watching bad seed tech and today we’re checking out the fidelio x3 open back headphone from phillips no relation so the fidelio x3 has some pretty big shoes to fill for me and it comes in at a hefty 349 us for this open back dynamic headphone a price like that lands it squarely in audiophile territory and gets rid of any conversation about bang for buck because that’s a pretty hefty price tag in comparison to the current pricing on the x2hr in fairness the x2 debuted in 2014 at 299 us but it’s still a tough spot for phillips to be in right now the most obvious changes are in the overall look itself the x2 was due for a facelift and it got one the basic geometry is the same but the entire aesthetic was toned down and seems to be shooting for a more premium look now whether or not they hit that mark comes down to personal preference say what you will about the x2 they had character no wondering about the headphone being faux leather or not here this is fine scottish leather and they include a card telling you as much because it is actual leather you do still get some fibers around the cut lines inside

the headband the seam is very visible looks rough to me honestly it’s still the same comfort strap assembly though oddly they feel smaller overall or maybe the tension on the spring strap is just greater but they don’t give me the same immediate feeling of comfort like the old model does and they’re not as comfortable long term despite seeing a big weight reduction from around 388 grams on the x2 to 335 grams on the x3 still no swivel on the ear cups pretty basic frame construction with just the philips logo and all the text has been deleted from the outside of the ear cups the metal mesh is no longer there either replaced with the fabric covering according to their internal materials this redesign the outside covering of this acoustically transparent cloth had such an impact to the acoustics and the sound quality that they had to completely redesign the internals that sounds an awful lot like the tail wagging the dog to me but we’ll talk more about it in a second connections have changed up as well and instead of the single 3.5 to 3.5 on the left side only they’re split now

the big news here is that they include not only a standard 3.5 millimeter cable but also a balanced 2.5 millimeter trrs cable here as well if you happen to be in the camp of people who own something with a 2.

5 millimeter balanced out something from like ifi or fio you’re in luck you do have to be careful as these are wired in such a way that the headphone will not function at all if the left and the right cables are plugged in incorrectly can also be a little hard to find the lnr legend on the cable but it’s there i would have personally preferred to see an xlr cable here for the balanced option as i don’t own anything that has a 2.5 millimeter out so i had to grab a 35 adapter as well we’ll talk about any perceived differences in the sound in just a sec but functionally this new design creates two issues for me number one the x2 hr would drive just fine without an amp it’s one of the things that made it such an easy

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recommend for me the marketing materials do a pretty good job of indicating that balance is the way they intend for you to run this headphone with the 3.5 millimeter on balance cable kind of taking a back seat there but as i said you will need some specialized gear to take advantage of that 2.5 millimeter output fortunately the x3 still drives runs just fine on anything like a phone a game controller whatever the only potential challenge there is that you will still be wrestling this 10 foot cable for portable use and the proprietary wiring that they have now on the split could make it challenging or expensive to find an aftermarket cable the second reason is that the x2 hr when coupled with a v-moda boom pro made for a usable gaming headset despite getting some bleed from the driver into the mic due to the new split cable design this is no longer an option so you could use a mod mic but the fabric outer coverings on the ear cups leave you with very few places to actually mount that mic so forget about using these as a gaming headset which is unfortunate because they are actually really strong for gaming which we’ll get into in just a sec but you are going to be limited to a usb or a boom mic type setup if you want to do that big thanks to trade for

sponsoring today’s video despite having recently moved to seattle a city with a wealth of places to try new coffee working from home in a general desire to not leave the house right now unless it’s absolutely necessary i was interested in trying trade because they deliver coffee right to my door from roasters all over the us curated just for me they make it super easy to get started you take a quick seven question quiz that asks you what styles you enjoy how you prepare your coffee and they curate picks for you based on your preference you pick your delivery frequency and it shows up at your doorstep right from the roaster and fresh then you rate the matches online based on how much you enjoyed the picks and they use that info to tailor future picks for you the beauty part is that they’ve got you covered regardless of your level of experience whether you like pour over drip cold brew all points in between even how you take your coffee and how adventurous you’re feeling in terms of roast and flavors even if you only drink decaf i have personally found new choices that i

would have never reached for all without having to leave my house they make it really fast and easy to get started and trade is currently offering 30 off your first bag of coffee hit the link down in the description thanks again to trade for the support on the channel and thank you for your time i appreciate it ear pads here are still the same round plush memory foam still lint magnets still easily removable as well i’m sure people were nervous about this but there’s no glue to be found here anyway the drivers inside are still angled 50 millimeter but a lot of changes to the internals here with a lot of conversation about enclosure stiffness resonance control some dampening gel some polymer layers a bunch of stuff i’d probably read right off the marketing materials in a very exaggerated sarcastic tone but the cliff notes version here is that this all yields a more progressive controlled roll-off over mids and highs while maintaining generous but detailed bass reproduction that’s what phillips has to say what this phillips has to say is that the bass that i loved in the x2 has been dialed back here in the x3 that’s not to say the x3 is anemic but it was immediately noticeable that there’s no real sub bass and that tonal quality of the bass that like rounded sustained tone on the bass on the x2 just isn’t here the highs feel brighter here as well that’s a relative

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term i know but these bordered on sibilant for me on the high end i don’t have an hd 650 the 6xx is the closest i have in house versus those the x3 still has a bit more of that rounded tonal quality i was talking about on the base versus the 6xx and the highs feel much brighter the 6xx feels stuffy or more subdued to me in comparison for two reasons number one because the highs are significantly brighter on the x3 versus the 6xx like borderline uncomfortable for me the other thing though to its favor is that the x3 still retains that amazing sound stage that we heard on the x2 maybe even to greater effect and both of those are substantially larger than the sound stage on the 6xx the x3 also reveals aspects on the low mids that are more textured and apparent versus the x2 as the bloom on the x2’s base had a tendency to muddy that area the x2 the x2hr not only has a visual character to it it has an audio character to it as well it’s a

really fun musical headphone if you’re really into analytics or picking out the details of the different layers on the high end the x2 is simply not it it’s not for everybody but it was for me when i reviewed it and despite having listened to a lot since then it still is the changes to the x3 don’t do anything for me personally and what i perceive is an effort to make it a safer more balanced headphone they’ve also made it more generic and that’s a dangerous word at a 349 dollar price point particularly since that price and the reduction in base put it squarely up against the hyphen sundara the only other set i own in a similar price range say what you want about hyphen quality control the sundara delivers everything the x3 tries to and it does some things better the sound stage is largely the same if maybe a little bit better on the sundora and it’s got a smoother more controlled high and high mid range a more flattering physical silhouette for us big head guys too as i said the marketing materials definitely make it sound like balanced is the way to go here so i was

hoping that after testing these balanced that low end would fill in a little bit more jury’s still out for me on balance versus unbalance being meaningful to sound quality but i didn’t have any big revelation running the x3 balanced versus unbalanced i realized that depending on your perspective this has not been a very flattering review so far so it’s not to say that the x3 is a bad headphone it’s not there’s moments of brilliance there it’s just that these probably would have reviewed better for me had i never heard the x2 at all that’s highly subjective of course but the x2 just scratches like a really fun specific musical itch for me for those of you hoping that these would land you closer in terms of neutrality and balance to a 6xx 650 whatever this is not that it’s worth noting too that

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all the changes to the x3 it’s still amazing soundstage and its low power requirement make for one hell of a gaming headphone something i cannot say about the x2 so personally with the massive discrepancy and current pricing of the x3 and the x2 my best advice is that if you saw my review of the x2 and that sounded good to you go run and grab the x2 before they’re gone and enjoy the best 155 dollars you’ll ever spend on a headphone on the flip side of that argument if you have heard the x2 and weren’t particularly impressed because you felt like the base was overblown or the highs were too spacey and pushed out but you love the construction and the sound stage these may be worth a look for you i would probably still let that price come down a little bit first though not sure when we’ll see widely available stock on these but as usual i will put all the pertinent links down in the description thanks again to trade for sponsoring today don’t forget to hit the link in the description to save 30 off your first bag of coffee and that’s it for this time i’m brian p thanks so much for watching don’t forget to hit that like button hit that sub button and until next time stay up you

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