Pros: Best sounding dynamic available at this price. Sounds great with all genres and easy to pair with amp. Solid, attractive build.
Cons: Heavy. Soundstage not the widest.
The punchy, fully extended and impressively tight bass of the Audeze cans are probably what they are most famous for, and rightfully so. While I feel the bass is not quite as clean and distinct as I hear on the STAX SR-009, in every other way it's as good as can be. And it's still cleaner than most, allowing for great bass texture to be admired. Impactful and even thumping when the music requires it and yet the bass transits into the midrange flawlessly - never ever does the bass overbear the rest of the sound. The bass here is honest and nuanced; because it never gets bloated or muddy each instrument can be differentiated. Many headphones can't focus the bass enough to really allow the textures and timbres of the bass components to shine through and instead present what is commonly referred to as "one note" sounding lows. And too often, there is either too much or too little bass. With the LCD-2, bass sounds like bass should.
No matter how good the bass is, it's the midrange that matters most to me. And the LCD-2 has one of the most naturally balanced and velvety smooth midrange performances of any headphone I've heard so far. Whether it's instruments or vocals, everything sounds organic and true to life. Being a planar design, the LCD-2 can provide a very fast, grain free sound which helps to increase the realism of voices in particular. While the LCD-2 lacks the last amount of sonic texture the electrostatic headphones from STAX present, great resolution is still offered and coupled with the very low distortion levels, this allows for great detail to be heard. Still though, it's the smoothness that really shines here. It's a wonderfully liquid sound that's comfortable on the ears for hours. Transparency is the word to use.
I consider the bass and midrange of the LCD-2 to be the best I've heard from a dynamic headphone. The treble is really great as well, just not as standard-setting in my opinion. On the plus side, the treble is very flat and blends as beautifully with the mids as the bass does, and the treble is both rich, present and extended without sounding bright or harsh in the slightest. However, to me the treble is not as effortlessly presented as the rest of the sound. It's not quite as airy and silky as I would like in order for the LCD-2 to be my end of the road headphone. Compared to the electrostats, the LCD-2 just sounds slightly slow and grainy in the highs. Take note that the LCD-2 sounds significantly faster and most of all smoother in the highs than headphones like the HD 700, Denons and many others. It's just not quite on par with the bass and mids. I much prefer an easy-on-the-ears treble that is comfortable for long listening to a slightly airier and clearer but more fatiguing treble though, so I'm still a happy listener.
Good I'd say. Good imaging and good depth but slightly compressed in terms of width. They certainly don't sound as open and expansive as the HD 800, but I feel there is enough room for the instruments to be separated nicely.
Build quality, design, comfort
These are built like tanks! Heavy and rock-solid is what they are. Doubtful they'll ever break, and if they do it's because of the wood cracking by itself over time.
Design wise, I'm a fan. These headphones are BIG, and I mean BIG - not just in the diameter of the earpieces but also because of the size of the earpads. They look cool on your head though, I like the combination of the wood (in this case rosewood) and the design of the grills. The entire thing has the charm of a handmade piece but it's so well assembled it looks more like it was precision built in a factory.
A good thing about the design is that it balances the weight very evenly on your head. As these are heavy headphones, this is crucial for comfort. And they are comfortable around the ears (I have LCD-3 earpads on my pair), but can start to hurt on top of your head after extended use. A simple readjustment usually solves this.