General Information

XTC2 Main.jpg

JM Audio XTC2™ OPEN Custom Tuned 50mm Dynamic Headphone

Larger cup than the original 100mm
The XTC2-open is 110mm with a wedge horn like edge around the wood rim- the larger size provides a larger soundscape with all the goodnesses of the XTC and then some more -

Other new changes are a front angled forward 3.5 headphone jack.

We are taking orders as this new releases operates flawlessly and has a new appropriately named JM REFERENCE tuning which excels at pulling all the details and mids out of a recording with deep accurate non bloated bass.

Please do not think the original XTC open is being discontinued at all
This is not the case - the XTC is our number one best headphone to date with more proud and very very satisfied owners world wide than any other headphone we sell.

The XTC2 Open is just larger.
The original XTC is still sitting high in the headphone world as one of the finest sounding headphones one can buy regardless of price.

But we never stand still and we always will innovate.

Choose Your Custom Driver + Choose Your Tuning

We hand match every single driver set we install- but you choose what is best for you: 32, 64 and 300 ohm in a 52nm magnet Beryllium or a 32 Ohm Biowool Nano driver. Both types of drivers are wound with ofc copper specified for JM Audio - we also customize your headphones by discussing your preferences for tuning just for you. If you are unsure which driver is best for your current set up just email us:

We don’t mass produce anything. We custom tailor our products to suit what an individual wants and that takes skill and time. Even our most basic build or mod will get the utmost time and dedication from us until we are satisfied with the sound quality. We have to meet all of the typical quality we feel is necessary. We don’t simply install a some so called matched stock drivers, slap a sticker on it and call it a day… We actually have our drivers made to our specs and then we get those so called machine matched drivers and check them over and over until we find an ideal match by hand. I hand select each and every set to ensure they really are a mated match ...I use this process for every single headphone I make... and it could take up to three days or more for me to ensure this as I progress through multiple tests. Even the wire I solder and the way I solder could affect the matching. Why do I do this? Because each and every one of my customers deserves my best- but mostly I do it because I feel compelled by the obsessive search for doing all I can to ensure the finest headphones I can make - and every single one I make gets love and attention like this as if it’s my one and only set I am ever going to make… I never rush tunings - I take time on each individual headphone until it is ready to be loved and used.

Back Story:
I have spent the better part of this last few years searching for the best measuring dynamic driver… one that can be customized and tailored for warmth and extraordinary detail - and can be further dialed in any way a user may like before they order. I found what I consider the finest drivers ever- a customized to our spec- all forged/cast not stamped basket utilizing N52 magnets and a customized wound occ copper coil system with a very fast and agile nano sized 50mm diver - one of the best I ever measured.

What's It Sound Like? The XTC™ is tuned to reveal all the details deep inside your recordings. You can expect deep tight bass with no bloat yet at the same time the XTC™ is even and smooth through the mid range and treble. The XTC™ has precise timbre and has a knack of digging out sublime details with air as light as a feather; while remaining composed and never harsh or sibilant. Each song you play you will dive deeper into the recording and immerse yourself like no other headphone I know of currently.

What's the weight and comfort? The XTC Open is very light and comfortable headphone (14-16 ounces - as a comparison the Hifiman Arya weigh in at 404g / 14.3oz.) and extremely comfortable headband

How is performance & what's the technology? While remaining light and comfortable - it's a heavy weight in performance- utilizing JM Audio patent pending JM Audio Fractal Porous Graphene Carbon™ and JM Audio Fractal Fiberglass Mesh™ both used together to open and extend the soundstage and create more depth emulating more space and air while helping create a pin point accurate stage. This technology unique to JM Audio helps us achieve an amazingly open sound unlike any we ever heard before.

Driver Choices
- our customers get to choose the driver and the tuning of that driver- from an easy to drive and extremely fast customized JM Audio BioWool or JM Audio Custom Made Beryllium available in 32ohms with a rated 114 db efficiency, or you may choose a our Beryllium 64ohm at 113.5 db efficiency or our Beryllium 300 ohm driver if you have an OTL or similar amplifier.

Ear Pad Choices:
You also get a choice of ear pads. We have a few choices : A real favorite of mine is the ‘Fluffy Memory Foam Angled’ for a more bassy dynamic experience with ultimate comfort- like two soft pillows on your ears. The ultimate ear pad choice now is two very premium affordable options - top of the line deep cushion memory foam perforated angled premium sheepskin leather (more open sound than solid but slightly less bass) or solid top grain cushion supple soft leather memory foam angled (more bass than the perforated sheep leather). Both of these are my personal favorite both for comfort, sound and ultimate luxury. Email me for recommendations if you are looking for personal guidance- We will help you select the correct driver, ear pads and wood styles that meet you needs or desires for sound and esthetics.

Choices for 2M Included Standard Wire
: The XTC™ open also includes beautiful 2mm braided w/36 strand 26AWG high purity OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) cable, Litz structure which means some strands will be mixed diameters yielding best performance. Each ear cup gets a dual 3.5mm male plug for direct wiring to each ear cup driver- choose your amp end as either trs 3.5mm, trs 6.3mm, 4.4 trrs or XLR.

The Ultimate Matching:
For only $45 additional you can get a second wire plus the ultimate in internal and external matched wiring - - we hand solder your XTC™ with internal 7N occ and WBT silver solder. This option also includes our own Copperhead (the same wire we use to solder the drivers) in a 1.5m length braided wire in your choice of trs 3.5mm or trrs 4.4mm on the amp end. The 7N OCC option gives you the ultimate matched wiring inside and out. What is 7n OCC? Basically the best copper wire you can buy in terms of both sound quality and physical properties. We can use this on your XTC for internal wiring- Material: OCC 7N (99,99999%) copper- OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) a casting process developed to help defeat annealing issues and virtually eliminate all grain boundaries in copper. It is the best of the best available and we believe we are the only headphone company offering this option.

We are including: A practical Waterproof Flight Case to protect these during transport and storage.

(Please note: Black, Brazilian Zebra or Black Brazilian Wood color is additional.)

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Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
JMAudio XTC2 Biowool "Defined Bass with Elevated Detail" Tuning (White Cherry Wood)
Pros: Natural Sound, Excellent Dynamics, Excellent Balanced Tuning, Beautiful Build and Wood Craftsmanship, Outstanding Comfort, Extremely High Value Product
Cons: None
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I feel there is allot to be said about JMAudio's new product, the XTC2. I am going to just come out and say it - I feel this is the best "dynamic" headphone I've heard to date.. at any price point. Let's dig into the basics first:

Treble: Very carefully tuned. The treble has great extension and really helps the headphone show off sparkle, air, and excitement. Things sound exciting and crystal clear on the high end but never get too aggressive or fatiguing; just engaging with a good clean treble presentation.

Mids: Fantastic mids. These headphones present vocals and instruments in a very clean, clear, and natural way. Vocals just POP! when tracks call for it... almost in a shocking way in fact. When listening to certain songs by Kaleo for example, it's just impossible to convey how insane the vocals come through and just make you "shudder" as the emotion digs deep straight into your soul (lol). There are times where these present mids in a very HD650 kinda way but on some massive steroids... It's a beautiful BEAUTIFUL thing to experience...

Bass: The bass is just incredible. GREAT sub bass extension, very good and linear mid bass presentation (no humps or anything weird here), and the whole thing just feels very balanced sounding. Clean and high quality bass that never messes with the mid range and never sounds muddy. Nice, tight, impactful, punchy bass. You play some EDM tracks and this thing will slap you around in a fun way. It's just excellent all around.

Sound Stage and Imaging: Very very good.. the sound stage is a big step up over the original XTC. The XTC2 definitely presents things in a bigger and "grand" kind of way. The OG XTC is a more intimate experience where the XTC2 really opens up and plays in a broader space. It's nothing like an HD800S but it's also not exaggerated and the area things play in just sounds natural (you'll hear me use this term allot). Imaging is extremely precise on these - you can make out positioning easily of any instruments/vocalist/etc.

Comfort: Excellent. My guess from wearing them is that they're probably between 400-450g? Excellent clamp pressure.. not too tight, not too loose.. Solid all day comfort.

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Okay, with basics out of the way now - why do I actually LOVE this headphone? What is it about them that a "graph" won't show you?

- The XTC2 sounds ALIVE. The music reproduction is always natural, full bodied, emotional, and fun. You get so much information but it is never forced at you. Lots of textures in the mids, bass, and vocals sound real / life like. The tuning is fantastic, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. Everything sounds balanced, clear, detailed, and completely deceiving of the fact that these only cost around $1000. These punch much much higher than their price tag.

Okay.. I can talk about how I like these all day long but how do they sound compared to some other headphones that I currently (or have very recently) own? Let's take a look: (Apologies, I am just going to provide my thoughts as they flow out of me in the moment).

XTC2 vs HD800S - HD800S definitely presents a little more detail to the tracks here. More sound stage as well and a more "laid back" sound compared to the XTC2. The XTC2 gets more aggressive with tracks.. more fun. HD800S has nearly non-existent bass when comparing to the XTC2 which has the ability to really rumble and vibrate your ear drums when the tracks call for it. HD800S has a bit of a treble peak on some tracks and XTC2 has a cleaner more polite treble presentation (better tuning). HD800S really excels at orchestra, accoustic, vocal, and jazz tracks for my preference. The XTC2 is warmer, more full bodied (but almost equally detailed), has more intensity and fun to the tracks, and plays better across more genres (especially modern genres).

XTC2 vs Arya Organic - I actually find the Organic Arya too sibilant for my tastes. The Organic to me has a much more aggressive V sound signature compared to both the Arya Stealth and the XTC2. The XTC2 has a fuller and thicker sound. The bass on the XTC2 has a very dynamic quality to it.. very hard visceral punch where as the Arya has that "planar" bass to it which is equally fun and powerful.. they're just different but both great. The Arya has a more immersive 3D way of presenting tracks but also less presence to the mid-range and vocals. The XTC2 has better tuning - it is never sibilant. It has that dynamic punch, equally good detail, and can convey emotion effortlessly in tracks. My biggest problem with the Arya is that there are just too many moments when I have to stop a track because my ears are going "oww" and the XTC2 is just far kinder to me in that regard. I will say that for those who are searching an aggressive V sound may prefer the Arya Organic.. but if you're looking for balance, emotion, and overall excellence, I think the XTC2 wins here.

XTC2 vs LCD-3 (fazor with latest open cell ear pads) - XTC2 has a harder hitting bass response no doubt. LCD3 has excellent bass but again, it is that planar quality bass. LCD-3 in comparison has a more "nimble" presentation to it. The mids sound creamy and smooth. Very rich but clean at the same time. The XTC2 has a bigger sound, the bass really thwomps around while digging harder and deeper providing an overall more exciting experience. The mids on XTC2 are fuller, thicker, more brash and less apologetic (they just come at you with power and intensity at times). The LCD-3 is a more "careful" sounding thing in my opinion.. really enjoyable.. but the XTC2 is just bigger, badder and more fun.

XTC2 vs DCA Ether 2: Both are excellent headphones IMO but Ether 2 is a more chill and reserved listening experience. Ether 2 has a tuning that is non-fatiguing but also less exciting. The XTC2 is non-fatiguing but MORE exciting. It's hard to explain but XTC2 just pushes more sound at you. Vocals sound better, cleaner, clearer and more natural. Ether 2 has a darker sound signature to it and I think that's what can at times be a less engaging experience than the XTC2. XTC2 has a more natural timbre to it while the Ether 2 just sounds like a fantastic darker leaning headphone (and I feel both are great).

XTC2 vs TH909 - XTC2 has better tuning but I find TH909 a ton of fun. The 909 has a weird "sub woofer" effect when you listen to music with bass. It also can make vocals sound artificially good in the treble region .. almost in an unnatural way but I actually like that about them. They are that "weird" sounding thing that I actually like.. The XTC2 is a natural sounding headphone that has a much higher quality bass presentation with significantly more sub bass (and it doesn't ever sound like a sub woofer in my car that I had in my early 20's lol). Vocals, instruments, and just about everything sounds more real and lifelike on the XTC2. I easily give the XTC2 my recommendation for most people on this one (unless you just enjoy the weird sound of the the TH909 like I do.. haha)

XTC2 vs Diana V2 - Honestly these are the two kings of my stable. The XTC2 is the dynamic king. It's excellent in all categories... bass, mids, treble.. it has it all. The Diana V2 is also that.. but in planar form. Do you want the greatest dynamic headphone of all time? Buy the XTC2.... Do you want the greatest planar headphone? Buy the Abyss... Only thing is the XTC2 is much cheaper so you gotta give it that value "win".

XTC2 vs HE1000 Stealth and HE1000SE: I feel both the HEK Stealth and HEKSE share a very similar sound signature and DNA. The HEKSE has slightly more detail and emphasis to its' treble presentation (compared to the HEK Stealth) while the HEK Stealth just sounded more balanced to my ears in regards to timbre and tonality (compared to the HEKSE). I really enjoyed the Hifiman stuff but it just didn't move me like the XTC2 does. I feel they lean a little more toward the technical side of the house when compared directly to the XTC2 which is a much more musical sound (but also very balanced at the same time). Personally I prefer the XTC2 but still found HEK Stealth and HEKSE to be excellent overall if you're looking for a more technical and planar sound.

XTC2 vs XTC-O (biowool): These really share allot of DNA. the XTC2 sounds very very much like an XTC-O but improves on several things - size/comfort. The XTC2 is bigger, more comfortable, and just more impressive. Sound Stage - improved where things sound bigger and more "grand". Tuning - I found the original XTC-O to sound a tiny bit sharp to my ears with the fluffy and leather pads. They were perfect however with the perf hybrid pads. With the XTC2, I feel they are perfect with the fluffy pads. I have yet to try the perf angled leather (John will send these to me to try soon and I will update my review of thow the pads compare).

XTC2 vs XTC2 (Biowool vs Beryllium): I found the Beryllium to provide a smoother listening experience with a more immersive (and slightly looser) sounding bass. I actually really enjoyed the bass allot on the Beryllium but felt it didn't have quite enough "bite" for me in the treble region. The Biowool just has a slightly "sharper" and more aggressive sound that I really tend to enjoy but I feel both headphones are excellent and you will prefer one or the other based on whether you're looking for a more "chill/detailed" or more "aggressive/detailed" sound signature... comparitively speaking of course. Also note that YMMV depending on pads + tuning. This was just the observation made between the two units I got to hear (The Beryllium had the JMAudio Reference tuning).

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Closing Thoughts:

I find the XTC2 is the epitome of "dynamic" driver performance. They are excellent and go way way way beyond the price tag JMAudio is charging for them. In all honesty, if you want to buy something that sounds "better" you will have to look at really high end products (Summit-Fi) such as the Susvara, Ab-1266 / Phi / TC, Staxx SR009 etc. I can't think of a better product to spend $1000 on if that is your budget. These things ROCK. They are tuned EXTREMELY well, have detail, BASS, beautiful and engaging mids, crystal clear treble. Maybe one day, a dynamic headphone will come around that will dethrone the XTC2... but that day is not today.

Thanks for reading folks. Please note - I am no professional reviewer. Just a guy who is super passionate about audio. I apologize if my descriptions or comparisons rub someone the wrong way or if you disagree etc. These are my honest thoughts and feelings after I've personally heard and compared these products myself.

Note - My audio chain and testing gear consisted of:

Schiit Bifrost 2/64 > Schiit Lyr + > Various Tubes > Headphones
Burson Conductor 3XR > Headphones
Topping DX7 (og) > Headphones
Topping DX7 as DAC > Lyr+ > Headphones
Hifiman EF400 > Headphones
Hifiman EF400 as DAC > Lyr+ > Headphones
Hiby R6 DAP > Headphones

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good review.
very interested in these as a 300ohm version (as i have my 1st otl amp on order)
curious to know if they are worth the extra over original XTCO of identical spec driver as idealy i would like to keep cost down.
@oldson it's worth it. The price difference is not that big and the XTC2 offers some noticeable advantages over the XTC og even though both are very good. The XTC2 in my opinion offers a bigger sound stage.. things sound more 3 dimensional but it also seems to work better with more ear pads I try. The OG XTC, I really landed on 1 ear pad that worked best for me, but with the XTC2, I actually equally love how it sounds with 3-4 different ear pads and use them all depending on how I want to tweak the sound for my mood that day. I think the XTC2 is very well worth the extra spend. Since writing this review, this headphone has actually shot up to my #1 favorite product of all time. I can't think of any headphone at any price point that I like more than the XTC2.
i want a closed pair too.
my Mrs has hid my wallet



100+ Head-Fier
This is a very extensive and helpful review. It has helped me decide to order the Beryllium driver version. This is mostly because I prefer a 300 ohm driver. I have a collection of amps and want to be able to use my OTL amps as well.


New Head-Fier
I have the XTC2’s ad well. Tuned detailed slightly on the warm side with enhanced bass at around 60 ohm with the beryllium drivers. Not sure how it gets any better and agree with everything said above. With the Burson Soloist 3X GT it makes magic. Also using a Benchmark HPA4 which is a little more measured with more focus on the last bit of detail. If you ever consider a closed back the XTC2.5 is amazing and approaches the open back in soundstage with the ultimate ability to flesh out every little detail. I think John refers to them as detail monsters. I have them tuned linear down to 10hz and detailed slightly on the warm side. I will say that given the extreme ability to discern every nuance and detail the choice of DAC and HPA is crucial to the results. I just can’t wait for the next listening session and that I think is the highest praise I can think of as that is what this is all about after all. John is nothing short of a headphone savant.

My two main HP systems are:

Auralic Aries G1 - Hegel HD30 DAC - Benchmark HPA4

Auralic Aries G1 - SPL Diamond DAC - Burson Soloist 3X GT