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** Confessions of a Failing Audiophile ** - I hated the LCD2  

post #1 of 631
Thread Starter 

P9150033.JPG

 

 

Over the past 15 years I have struggled to satisfy my audio needs without much success.  It seems like every time I read a thread title with more than 1 exclamation point, I get as excited as a ravenous wolf whom just witness the sudden spontaneous combustion of some woodland creature.  Not only is it a well earned meal, but a nicely cooked one, too! 

 

Thats pretty much how I feel in regards to any new Hi Fi set that comes into the market. The latest beast to enter my house were the famed Audeze LCD2 Planar Magnetics.  After much consideration, I've come to realize nothing is going to make me happy.

 

I've been through pretty much every hi fi set in existence with the most expensive staxx models, the HE90 and the TakeT.  Can't really think of any other of the big boys that I haven't played with already.  After the HE500 other Hifiman models failed to keep my interest I decided to give it one last shot, one final ride into the sunset with the LCD2 so to speak.  

 

 

My overall impressions are negative. I much prefer the He-500 in every way and for every genre.  Call me crazy, but I was not even remotely impressed with the Audeze.  I found the sound stage too small for me and something that made me cringe and reach out for my He-500 very often.  I didn't find it realistic in the slightest nor did I find it large and spacious in any direction except forward.  My goodness, it had bar none the best stage depth I have ever witnessed in any set of headphones.  The sense of space in front of you, that "layering" as some call it was just fantastic.  But at what cost?  The set was absurdly gigantic.  Don't get me wrong, most of the other new models have this problem as well.  

 

Pretty much all of the newer really high end sets are just fantastically uncomfortable.  What is this?  The 1940s all over again?  This is 2011 for crying out loud, the technology should be getting smaller, not larger.  These sets aren't the future, earbuds are.  Who wants to use a giant bulky set of headphones that weights 400+ grams with earcups resembling car tires strapped to your head?  Nobody does.  The LCD2 cable is pure nonsense and the Hifi man cables are even worse.  Every time I sat down, the cable would just bunch up on my chest due to the odd angle and length of the connectors on each earcup.  They are simply too big and offset in a poor direction to be even remotely considered comfortable...and the cable...well...You just spent potentially near $900 to get a generic cable in terms of physical construction, great quality inside, but outside its just a garden hose.  Things like this should never exist in a package costing this much mula.   ( hifi man, are you listening? ) 

 

Despite the poor comfort qualities, the sound quality isn't really that much nicer than what the Edition 8 is capable of.  Having both side by side properly amped, I much prefer the Edtiion 8 for dang near everything except bass.  The LCD2 has the best bass quality of any set of headphones I have ever had the pleasure of using.  To my ears at least, it was the best.  Kudos to you if you disagree.  I am stunned by the LCD2s efficiency, my Cavali and Schiit brand amps did nothing for it beyond just using my Cowan J3.  Super Efficient set, amazingly so.  Requires massive power to get any change in sound out of a decent source with yet more decent output.  Don't bother with budget amping if you are using anything on the level of the J3, it wont make enough difference to justify the price you paid for your amp.  Invest in a Lyr or something insanely powerful to get that extra 10% in clarity and soundstaging, otherwise skip the amping

 

For a set like this, nobody in their right mind is going to use it as a studio monitor so it really shouldnt have such a massive cable.  Its better to have a shorter cable with the option of adding an extension over being forced to recable or pay an extra $200 just for another shorter cable.  That nonsense needs to stop, we audiophiles buy your gear and keep you running yet most of the big boy toys do not cater at all to audiophiles.  

 

I liked the LCD2, but it didn't impress me much and fell into the category of "potentially massively overhyped sets" within a few days.  It made me seriously want to only use my Edition 8 which had the same natural-ish setup and presentation.  Yet, in a closed back set?  I would pick the closed back set with great soundstage size, clarity and comfort over the open back set with a the same qualities but with inferior comfort.

 

Sure, this review is a bit late in the game as the LCD2 has been out for a while.  I really don't care for hi fi audio anymore,  I went back to the basics and have been immensely happy.  Anything beyond $300 bones for a set of headphones is just crazy to me now, I feel like the ego  and mental state that comes with being an audiophile blinded me to reality and how pretty much everyone looks at me like im nuts for paying that much for headphones.  I've started to agree with these people...I feel conflicted beyond reason right now and am not sure which side to take anymore.  

 

 

Thanks for readin'

 

-Some dude who has lost faith in hi fi audio 

 


Edited by swbf2cheater - 9/27/11 at 8:05am
post #2 of 631

I disagree, but interesting read.

post #3 of 631

What genres are you listening to?

 

What exactly are your 'audio needs'?

 

Do loudspeakers do anything for you?

post #4 of 631
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anathallo View Post

What genres are you listening to?

 

What exactly are your 'audio needs'?

 

Do loudspeakers do anything for you?


-All types

 

-Large Spacious sound stage, not neutral, comfortable, great clarity, easily driven, short cable

 

-Nope

 

post #5 of 631

It's just a pity you couldn't find something that could "wow" you or just keep you satisfied. 

 

It could be my curse (or blessing) but it seems i've not been blessed with "golden ears" so although i can pretty much discern good sound quality to a large extent, i've never seen the point of investing in a super high-end rig as well. It also might be that i engage in really low-level listening (in order to protect/extend my hearing), so it seems a moderately priced rig that offers about 90% of a super high-end rig, has me already all swooning and satisfied.

 

Maybe you should take some time away from it all and revisit the scene in a few months. I'm pretty sure you'll appreciate the tiny nuances of "audiophile" music more then, just sounds like burn-out to me. 

 

eek.gif

post #6 of 631

You need a better amp tongue_smile.gif

But yeah, I think we tend to expect too much from a new set of cans so it's easy to get disappointed.

post #7 of 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

-Large Spacious sound stage, not neutral, comfortable, great clarity, easily driven, short cable


Well, no wonder you don't like it. It's almost exactly what you don't want.

 

You could argue that the shelved treble isn't neutral, but the lack of peaks is neutral. They're not very comfortable, but the pads and clamping do soften up with time. Brilliant sparkling clarity isn't the strong suit of the headphones. They emphasize imaging over large soundstage. Perfect for me and my tastes, not good for you.

 

How do you like the HE-500 though, in general? I'm getting curious about it, but the treble peak that Tyll measured does not look comfortable for me.

post #8 of 631
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crumpler View Post

It's just a pity you couldn't find something that could "wow" you or just keep you satisfied. 

 

It could be my curse (or blessing) but it seems i've not been blessed with "golden ears" so although i can pretty much discern good sound quality to a large extent, i've never seen the point of investing in a super high-end rig as well. It also might be that i engage in really low-level listening (in order to protect/extend my hearing), so it seems a moderately priced rig that offers about 90% of a super high-end rig, has me already all swooning and satisfied.

 

Maybe you should take some time away from it all and revisit the scene in a few months. I'm pretty sure you'll appreciate the tiny nuances of "audiophile" music more then, just sounds like burn-out to me. 

 

eek.gif


This basically sums up my experiences of the last 15 or so years.  My J3, Blox M2C and Sennheiser HD 598 mogami recable ( paid $120 for it ) are much more fun and enjoyable than any other set up I have ever owned.  I don't even need an amp, my Pico slim gets no use.  Don't get me started on amps!! I'll get hanged for what I would really like to say about them.  Anywho, don't mind my ramblings.  I don't think a $900 Audeze LCD2 is worth $720 more than my HD 598.  I don't hear the nearly 800 bucks in there, and even worse in the more expensive ones like the edition 8.  While its my favorite hi fi set, at $1500 its like 10% better than my HD 598.  All I hear that is different or "better" is a bit of clarity, certainly not $1400+ worth of a difference.  

 

the mid fi sets are where happiness truly lies for me, I can't justify paying that much for basically nothing and also having these companies toss the set at you and say "yep, we made this, its gigantic! We don't care if you look crazy wearing it, we also don't care if its 400 grams and has earpad problems! BUY IT "

 

 

 

post #9 of 631
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Well, no wonder you don't like it. It's almost exactly what you don't want.

 

You could argue that the shelved treble isn't neutral, but the lack of peaks is neutral. They're not very comfortable, but the pads and clamping do soften up with time. Brilliant sparkling clarity isn't the strong suit of the headphones. They emphasize imaging over large soundstage. Perfect for me and my tastes, not good for you.

 

How do you like the HE-500 though, in general? I'm getting curious about it, but the treble peak that Tyll measured does not look comfortable for me.


 

In comparison to the LCD2, I loved the Hifiman sets and hated the LCD2 but all of them cost way too much and I didn't keep a single one.  And I am pretty sure the LCD2 met the sonic qualities I was looking for.  It does have a large soundstage, but its not a good one for anything except depth, its not neutral, more natural than neutral ( doesnt sound anything like the Shure 840 or 940 that are monitors and DEFINITELY NEUTRAL ) and it has excellent clarity.  Its just terribly uncomfortable and unpractical.  I am tired of making a compromise for the sake of being an audiophile.  Stop the nonsense, dont conform to the audio companies making your headphones.  Make them conform to you, instead.  Thats my new theory.  

 

 

 


Edited by swbf2cheater - 9/25/11 at 8:21am
post #10 of 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

I don't think a $900 Audeze LCD2 is worth $720 more than my HD 598.  I don't hear the nearly 800 bucks in there, and even worse in the more expensive ones like the edition 8.


It's a big problem in hi-fi. I'm either lucky or cursed that I fell in love with the LCD-2 bass and imaging. I don't need to spend this much.

 

I used my RE0 out of my Clip+ a couple days ago for the first time in a while, and if it wasn't for the tizzy treble, lack of bass, and three point imaging, I would have been very happy with it. It was really a matter of sound signature, not quality. Even cheap headphones are plenty detailed.

post #11 of 631

They are *headphones*, no wonder they didn't wow you.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of people on this site have never experienced a really good full range speaker system -- properly amped and with a proper source.  And never hear good  live music in an appropriate acoustic setting.  Therein is the difference.  Brings me back to my favorite saying... "you don't know what you don't know".

post #12 of 631
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


It's a big problem in hi-fi. I'm either lucky or cursed that I fell in love with the LCD-2 bass and imaging. I don't need to spend this much.

 

I used my RE0 out of my Clip+ a couple days ago for the first time in a while, and if it wasn't for the tizzy treble, lack of bass, and three point imaging, I would have been very happy with it. It was really a matter of sound signature, not quality. Even cheap headphones are plenty detailed.


If it works for you, thats wonderful.  The Edition 8 was my one set, i just wish it costs about $1400 less and had better bass. Finding that one set for you is worth the trouble.  I was not able to really find mine until I got to the $1500 range and even then it was hard to enjoy the set because I knew the $1500 set was only "this much" better than said $120 set of used HD 598s which still had a better soundstage and imaging. 

 

post #13 of 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Mostro View Post

They are *headphones*, no wonder they didn't wow you.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of people on this site have never experienced a really good full range speaker system -- properly amped and with a proper source.  And never hear good  live music in an appropriate acoustic setting.  Therein is the difference.  Brings me back to my favorite saying... "you don't know what you don't know".

 Not many of us can afford a full range speaker system rolleyes.gif
 

 

post #14 of 631
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifianddrumming View Post

 Not many of us can afford a full range speaker system rolleyes.gif


Or the room treatment needed to make it sound good.

 

Seems sort of silly to come into a thread where the OP is basically complaining about price/performance ratios, and suggest full range speakers biggrin.gif

post #15 of 631
Thread Starter 

We can talk about kittens if you'd prefer that ? 

 

:3

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