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Great Sound, but dissapointing headband

A Review On: Audeze LCD2 Planar Magnetic Headphones

Audeze LCD2 Planar Magnetic Headphones

Rated # 3 in Over-Ear
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Recent Pricing:
Amazon.com
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $995.00
JohnQbert
Posted · 275 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: Great bass

Cons: Uncomfortable headband

I'm no audiophile, but I was looking for top sound reproduction for listening to high quality music and watching movies.

I purchased the Audeze LCD-2 over the Sennheiser HD 800 because I wanted a warmer sound with more bass (I own a set of Sennheiser HD 555's so I know somewhat what the review's state are the pro's of the HD 800 in regards to soundstage , but can be lacking in bass). The Audeze definitely have the bass I was missing from the Sennheiser 555's, but sound quality is on an entirely different level too (better).

The real problem I wanted to mention with the Audeze LCD-2 is the headband.

I read many many reviews before making my purchase and I took note of the statements that they are heavy and uncomfortable for those with smaller/softer heads. When I received the Audeze LCD-2, I could barely wear them for more than 15 minutes without experiencing very bad discomfort. I flattened out the headband a little and then I could tolerate about 30-45 minutes before I'd have a headache - I spent about a week with the headphones in this state.

I thought I was going to return them, because spending $1,000 on something you can't use is rather stupid. Although the sound quality on these is amazing to me and I didn't want to lose that.
I wasn't sure if it was the headband or the weight of the headphones that was causing the discomfort.

The solution for me was removing the leather headband and making my own headband. I ended up pulling out a sewing kit and I made a new soft foam headband and attaching it to the original metal band (It's removable so I could always go back to the leather one). I can now use the Audeze LCD-2 for multiple hours without experiencing discomfort - so for me it seems it was the pressure the headband placed on my head and not the weight of the headphones.

I realize spending $1000 on headphones and having to create your own comfort seems somewhat silly, but I figured I paid for the audio quality and not so much for the other items Audeze doesn't specialize in (headbands).

 

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Additional Notes (After initially writing the review:

 

I'm powering these using a Schitt Audio's Asgard headphone amp.

 

Originally I could easily max out the amp volume and still need more volume, but I recently added Schitt Audio's BIFROST DAC, and now the Asgard is completely capable of powering these headphones.

 

I was originally using PC > Other DAC(Speaker system built-in) > Asgard, but I could easily max the volume in certain situations.

 

Now its, PC > BiFrost > Asgard, I only need a quarter turn and its rather loud, any higher and I'm likely to have hearing loss.

 

Again, I'm no audiophile, but the BiFrost allowed the Audeze to come truly alive, since all of the details were being properly processed, as my other DAC unit wasn't allowing these to be passed to the headphones.

 

Now when I listen to music, movies, ect, I feel as though I'm in a room listening to speakers - sometimes I forget I have headphones on (If I don't move my head much, as the headphones weight shifting makes them apparent).

 

I just wanted to mention this, since some reviews say the Asgard can be maxed out with these headphones and have you wanting more. Honestly I had situations where this was true with only using the Asgard(no BiFrost), which was concerning to me.

 

The DAC you use does play a role in the ability of your amp to produce adequate volume levels.

4 Comments:

When I got my LCD-2 rev. 1, it still had the bare spring steel headband with glued-on exposed foam. I found it too tight. My solution was to wrap the headband over my thigh, bending it completely the opposite way a couple of times. This sounds drastic and any other headband would surely break by doing this, however spring steel does not break and simply bends back, merely losing a bit of it's tension. As far as I know the new leather headband still contains the spring steel inside.
The LCD-2 R.2 was frankly uncomfortable when I first got them. After about 3 hours it was unbearable.

After a month of 5 or so hours a day, both the pads and band have gotten much better. I feel them on my head but it's no big deal. The pads really don't hurt around my ear no more.

I too thought of bringing it back but stuck it out. Yay me! ^_^
Congrats for successfully solving the problem! Although I was lucky and never had this problem, I think your bit of ingenuity could be useful for others
make sure you always have the volume at 100% on your source and then use the analog volume knobb to change the loudness
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