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I thought the SHP9500 were the bee's knees. I bought a spare because they were affordable and sounded incredible for the price. I thought the X2HR could not possibly be much better. I was wrong.
Right off the bat when listening to the SHP9500 you can tell that a chunk of bass and all the sub-bass was missing. You can tell the sharp peak in the high treble. I should have known immediately that it meant there was something out there without those problems.
The X2HR is the answer. The bass is back. Its no bass-head level of boom, but it's all there. It's tight and allows you to hear everything just above and below the thump. The peak in the treble that pierced you ears whenever a female vocalist pronounces the "s"? Gone. The soundstage? It's still all there. And then as you observe the vocals, you realize the much greater resolution in sound detail that wasn't there in the SHP9500. The Hi-Res sticker is well deserved. The SHP9500 would never qualify for it. This is what makes the higher price tag totally worth it.
And build quality? I used to praise the SHP9500 for its build quality at its price point. But its now just cheap plastic when compared to the X2HR. You open the box and take the set out, you feel the weight. You see the steel suspension bands. The pads are a smaller, stiffer velour material. they conform and are packed much better to the housing. The whole thing is way more rigid. You realize this is a frickin tank of a unit.
The clamping force is just right. The loose adjustment bands on the SHP9500 are gone because the X2HR uses a bungee head strap that stretches to fit and won't allow the cups to sag onto your ears. The plastic housing for the drivers are of better quality and more precisely machined. The velour pads doesn't soak up sweat and they are now easily replaceable. The pads are smaller and deeper and your ears should not touch the driver.
The 3.5mm jack is still there is almost the same position for your custom cables and Vmoda boom mics. Its as easy to drive as the SHP9500.
If you consider yourself an audiophile and not looking to settle on 'good enough', then you should be looking at this and NOT the SHP9500.
Don't get me wrong. The SHP9500 are AMAZING for the price because they sound proper and gives all the garbage under $100 no reason to exist. But after upgrading to the X2HR, you realize that the SHP9500 is actually not an audiophile headphone.
Been reading all these great reviews for the fidelio x2 for years now and finally, it went on sale and is in stock. Bass is one of the best among open backs. Soundstage is huge. The detail is crisp. And this is built like a tank. This might be the headphones for all the ragers out there. It's all metal, hardly any plastic if any. Comfort is not an issue either with those gigantic earpads. For under $100, these are a no brainer. Get these.
Edit: Pads are removable. Local sg warranty for one year covered by R-Logic International Pte. Ltd