Since everything is now being compared to the LCD-2, I thought I'd get the jump on the LCD-2 vs. Cream Soda thread. Disclaimer: I have an M^3 with STEPS and a variable bass boost/crossfeed hi/low but I can't figure out how to connect it to the cream soda, which will have to be A/B'd unamped. A friend says he'll lend me a Black Dragon cable but I'm just going to press on. Also, I wasn't sure how long to burn in the cream soda, though I did let it breathe a little before I took my first drink. The ice is high-powered. I was going to use that stuff that's 88 cents a big bag but decided that normal ice isn't good enough. This needs to be after-market ice. I made it myself. It has been in the freezer for at least three days. It's extremely dry. I don't think there's better stock out there.
TRANSPARENCY VS. COLORATION
Both the LCD-2 and the cream soda have a golden brown, slightly honeyed, appearance. I think the cream soda is sweeter. On the other hand, the LCD-2 is definitely warmer. By comparison, the cream soda feels colder, especially with those hand-made ice cubes. One factor to be considered is the housing. I was going to woody up the cream soda but decided against it. I didn't want a wooden coloration. Instead, I opted for an acrylic cup, which is completely transparent, much more so than the LCD-2, even with its Grado-like back sans the actual Grado shells.
GRIT AND SPARKLE
I'm a big Grado lover because I just love the grit and sparkle of Grado cans. I know some people prefer a more refined taste, something more laid back, but the Grados put me on stage, even if the soundstage is therefore narrower. So, how do these two compare? First of all, I'd have to give the grit and sparkle factor to the cream soda. It's not as dynamic as other choices (rootbeer, for example) but it clearly beats the LCD-2, which just couldn't compete.
There's always a tradeoff between high and low. Dark cans are usually bassier than their brighter counterparts, but who wants to listen to orchestral pieces with a DT770? With its lambskin cushions, the LCD-2 holds a fair amount of bass in, better than the Grados with their porous cushions. On the other hand, my cream soda goes pretty deep - four inches at least. In fact, the cream soda goes all the way to the bottom. There's no drop-off or leakage.
Both have about equal portability. I can take both just about anywhere. The LCD-2 has an edge in certain settings, like the library (I can't take my cream soda there) but with the exception of mountain climbing, my cream soda pretty much goes with me wherever I want. Neither should be introduced to the beach or taken out during a thunderstorm, but they're both extremely portable.
Here's where the cream soda again takes the lead. Unlike the LCD-2, which may not be everybody's cup of tea for long sessions, my cream soda is good for as long as the ice can last. In fact, it's like wearing nothing at all. I never get ear fatigue, even with a soundstage this wide. The only problem is that during longer sessions, the cream soda feels a little diluted.
PRICE VS. VALUE
The LCD-2 costs $995; the cream soda cost me 88 cents. Part of that is distribution. The only way to get the LCD-2 is to go to Aude'ze's website - and it only takes payment in PayPal money. The cream soda is available through Walmart, which I can shop locally. There are seasonal fluctuations, so sometimes the price is as high as $1.25. If I use a different distributor, it can cost me almost $2. Still, for the cost of one LCD-2, I can buy 1,000 units of the cream soda. So, while the cream soda has less durability, per se, its price makes it a better value. I have no idea what an LCD-2 will sound like by the time I consume 1,000 units of cream soda.
Because it can only be purchased through the Aude'ze website, processing time for the LCD-2 is about a month. As cream soda can be ordered locally, its ordering time is much shorter. I'd say about 20 minutes (5 minutes to reach Walmart, 5 minutes to find, 5 minutes to order and 5 minutes to return home).
I don't know how Aude'ze is handling returns. Walmart gives me up to 90 days, no questions asked. The only catch is that you can't return the cream soda after you've drunk it.
Edited by Bilavideo - 6/27/10 at 1:46pm