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Significantly refined over the LCD-2s, but significantly more costly.

A Review On: Audeze LCD3 Planar Magnetic Headphone

Audeze LCD3 Planar Magnetic Headphone

Rated # 35 in Over-Ear
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Price paid: $1,945.00
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Pros: They have that orthodynamic magic taken to the next level.

Cons: The magic comes at a heavy price.

If there is a more apt example of the Law of Diminishing Returns than these headphones, I'd be surprised. For the refinement over the LCD-2s, the price is double.  With the new LOTUS drivers, an acronym that appears to target electrostats ("Light Omega Type") there is a significant improvement in all the areas that the LCD-2s had issues. Complex orchestral music is now no longer a blur; the mildly annoying ringing in the treble has gone and everything sounds more detailed and separate. It is easier to pick out individual instruments in good recordings. The penalty is fast-attack fun of listening to, say, well-recorded pop has been replaced somewhat with a more "analytical" presentation that picks the nits out of recordings and equipment, as now the rest of each note is now more detailed, revealing the texture in a manner that previously was the realm of electrostatic drivers.


The improvements are also of only a degree that they might not be readily noticeable on other than high-end gear, so I'd say if someone had a total rig budget, if getting the LCD-3s was going to result in a significant sacrifice in source and amp quality, I wouldn't bother. 


As for the price, lets face it, audio is an expensive hobby to get serious about. If you want to be positive, Sony R-10s, now a decade out of production, cost over $5k on the used market. Even the Stax SR-009s cost around $5000 or more outside of Japan.  However, the Stax do still best the orthos for ultimate detail,  imaging and being the closest to having a lack of coloration, but less than before.


In the end, I could live with these as the One Headphone at home. That being said, I can only wish this technology would filter down into lower-end headphones. Those who have experienced the inexpensive magic of vintage orthos know that great-sounding headphones don't have to be anywhere near as expensive. LIke other top-of-the-line headphones, the LCD-3s may be a huge win for those who can justify shelling out for them and comparable equipment to get the most from them, it will be how they influence mainstream manufacturers that will end up mattering the most.

Amazon.comAudeze Lcd-3 at Amazon.comSee It »


Nicely said, Currawong. I agree with nearly everything here, including the increased clarity in symphonic music (which I found problematic with the LCD-2.2) and the mild disappointment experienced on certain aggressive tracks when moving from the LCD-2.2 to the LCD-3 (I found this when listening to Motorhead, which I don't seem to do very often any more).
Nice review. Nice i.e. it is balanced and to the point. I have a hard time deciding to go for the LCD-3, or not. It also a bit scary to read OoS's comment above regarding "aggressive" sound. Eventhough I do not listen to e.g. Motorhead, I do not want too much treble energy than the LCD-2 rev. 2 conveys at the moment. I've learned that it can be fascinating to hear more and more details, but at a certain (undefined) point - it becomes fatiguing. Hence, I'm curious to see if the fatiguing part will reveal it self with the LCD-3 some months down the line.
This week i have tried LCD 3 at Stereo Shop in ION Plaza Singapore.
Stereo do not have very good desktop amp , Stereo has only IBasso PB2 , D4 , Beter Dynamic A 1 and my amp Ibasso Dzero
With IBasso PB 2 : LCD 3 sound so muffled , sound very dark , maybe not so synergie with PB 2
With IBasso D 4 : Sound a little better , more power , but the sound stil mnuffeled.
With Beyer A 1 : Sound very bad , doesn't synergie with LCD 3
i turned the Volume to Maxx , I feel not enough power to Drive LCD 3
With IBasso Dzero : Sound the best from these 4 Amplifier what i have on Stereo.
My Question to allo my Head Fi Friends :
Why LCD 3 sound is darker than my LCD 2 Rev 2 eben LCD2 Rev 1 ?
My opinion LCD 3 , is not so easy to drive , compare my LCD 2 Rev 1 and Rev 2
Until now i did not believe , why LCD 3 sound not so good , i like my LCD2 Rev 2.
Shall i use very good amp liuke The Leben , what Skylab use The Leben to Drive LCD 3 in his review
Please advise , because i am a big fans for LCD Headphone.
I wish to buy LCD 3 , because of the SQ not so good , now i hold to buy LCD 3, until realy i read
very good review and i will try by my self in the Future.
After one weeks of marathon hearing from LCD 3 , at the end i bought my LCD 3 for my Headphone Collection.
LCD 3 is the best natural Headphone i ever heard to date.
My Headphpone Collection are : HD 800 , T 1 ,ED 8 Ruthenium , LCD 2 rev 2 , ATH WQ 1000 X , HD 650
My Souce are : Imac 27" with WAV File Music
CD Player April Music Stello CDA 500
DAC : Stello CDA 500 as stand alone DAC
Cable : RCA Cable ACR Reference Silver Cable
USB Cable ACR Reference II
Head Amp : Pre Amp from T + A P 10 - 2 from Germany
Music genre : Jazz, Audiophile , Blues , Slow Rock , Classical Music.
High : more open anbd detail compare to my LCD 2 rev 2
Mid : more sweet and natural compare to my LCD 2 Rev 2
Bass : the Bass Quality LCD 2 rev 2 more than my LCD 3 , but the LCD 3 Bass Quality is better and deeper Bass and more Detail.
Separation : much better than my CD 2 Rev 2 , i can hear the instrumental placement better than my lCD 2 Rev 2
Sound Staging : wide and very good in Depth Layering compare to my LCD 2 Rev 2.
only my HD 800 is more wider sound stage than my lCD 3.
Conculsion : LCD 3 is the best Headphone in my Collection, is very natural sounding Headphone.
If your Source and Amp very bad , your LCD 3 become very bad Sound Quality.
Now with my set up above , in my personal opinion is the best set up for LCD 3.
does anyone have any idea of how well the Burson HA160D would drive the LCD-3's?
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