Pros: Sound Quality, Impedance, Bass Impact, Fit
Cons: Weight, Size, Rolled Off Highs
May Your Next Set be the LCD-2
If you slap two enormous earcups onto a thin headband you start to approach just how large the LCD-2's are. After all not every phone out there gives you greater than "6 square inches of active driver space". The picture really does not tell the whole story.
I was a little hesitant to try them when Tyll Hertsens handed them to me. I really was a bit shy of such a ridiculously sized phone. So I started with some HE 6's ended up being a beast to drive. At a mere 83.5 dB sensitivity it is no wonder why you have to turn your amp up to 70% volume to start to get the full sound of the HE 6. I quickly moved onto some T5's which were easier to drive, but still had that recessed soundstage that I cannot stand. It is bad enough to have headphones project the sound back into your head which really does not simulate real hearing phenomena, but to have it exaggerated is just unacceptable. In went the HD-800's and boy was the comfort and build quality felt. They were awesome to wear, just lifeless to listen to. Their deeply laid back imaging, their impedance dominated low end, they just leave you unimpressed.
Perhaps these colossal headphones should be tested, I thought while staring at the LCD-2's handed to me earlier. In they went. Their size quickly diminished as the smooth and immediate bass began to oscillate my eardrums. The mids were crystal clear, and the highs were nicely rolled off. The bass was an abyss.
The harder I drove them the better the highs became. The detail on La Roux - [La Roux CD1 #07] Cover My Eyes was simply awe-inspiring. The soundstage in Michael Jackson - [The Essential Michael Jackson CD1 #06] Ben (Single Version) was outstanding. I could here the distant cymbals which put my head in the middle of the studio. When Patricia Barber - [Verse CD1 #04] Pieces was playing the kick bass was airy and deep.
The sound quality is outstanding and the best among the auditioned headphones mentioned in this review. The soundstage is immense. The sonic clarity is one of a kind. The price even at $945 US is fantastic. The bass is the best I have found in a headphone that was not over emphasized. The mids were true and blissful. The design is pleasing and you know there are some expensive elements to the headphone. The cable is well constructed and replaceable.
The sheer weight and size of these headphones place them dangerously close to being full sized speakers. The highs can seem a touch too rolled off and the same goes for vocals. The clamping force combined with their weight made them a bit uncomfortable especially on the cheekbones.
This is the first set of headphones that made me truly suspect what I was hearing was the way the music truly was.
m903 fed via USB
Volume set to 57
261kbps bitrate files
Update August 2012
It as found in late 2011 and early 2012 that both the LCD-2 Rev 2 and LCD-3 had some driver issues. Tyll Hertsens worked on measuring it and many of us heard the issue. It is a combination of blurring and lack of treble response that is the issue. In August of 2012 Tyll gave me a set of LCD-2 Rev 2 and LCD-3 that were very recently manufactured. The LCD-2 Rev 2 has some blurring, but the performance was a definite improvement over my older LCD-2 Rev 1. The LCD-3 was again an improvement over the LCD-2 Rev 2 with hardly any noticeably blurring. The LCD-3 tested in August 2012 sounds amazing and easily remains my favorite headphone to date.