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REVIEW – Audeze LCD-3 planar magnetic headphones - Page 34  

post #496 of 533

Indeed that appears to be the case. I even checked Londonistan :-)

 

E-mail them again. I imagine they must be extremely busy right now.

post #497 of 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Indeed that appears to be the case. I even checked Londonistan :-)

 

E-mail them again. I imagine they must be extremely busy right now.



Londonistan is the title of a very interesting book by Melanie Phillips - very worth a read. 

 

Given email is quick to send, quick to reply - i'd have thought a week was more than enough. Especially given the content and the fact I have bought from them before. Doesn't really inspire me to part with another $2k......

 

If I ran my business like this - I can't see my customers staying, no matter how "extremely busy" I was! Why do we put up with shabby, sloppy and sh'ite service??? I've seen it on other threads too for some rather expensive tube amps....

post #498 of 533

My LCD-3 Review

 

 

IMG_2162.JPG

 

 

 

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original LCD-2.  There was a lot right with it - in particular a clear and transparent midrange, and a very persuasive and welcome approach to treble balance.  But for me it was handicapped by what I heard as a slightly plodding, slow, and wooden bass, with significant smear and overhang.  Anything worse than it was worse, obviously, but anything better than it was worse, too, because it was different.

 

So largely in isolation - and after taking a pair apart, all the way down to the raw components - I concluded that because the diaphragm was rigidly edge-clamped and relatively stiff and heavy (in Mylar-and-electrical-traces terms, that is) there was mechanical energy entering the frame structures and releasing through relatively small and stiff pads via bone conduction to the ears.

 

And it’s possible Audeze reached the same conclusion, because in my opinion the most important addition to the LCD-2 Rev 2 was the much larger and softer pads.  I believe these act to mechanically decouple the frames from the head while maintaining a good seal.

 

And certainly the Rev 2’s bass was far better than the original.  It was deep, fast, precise, and had terrific pitch definition.  The lack of smearing made a largely unchanged midrange sound even better - tremendously clear and transparent.

 

But the Rev 2 wasn’t all good news.  I felt the treble was tipped up compared to the original.  My pair seemed to rise gently from about 500 Hz for an octave before shelving down again much more slowly than before, and then kicking up again around 5 - 6 kHz for a noticeable peak.  Overall I felt the balance was uncannily like the HD800.  Cymbals and sibilance were a little hot and fierce - not at all what I wanted from Audeze.

 

So ultimately I felt the Rev 2 was a detour into a blind alley.  What we needed was the original, minus its faults.

 

And that’s exactly what the LCD-3 is.

 

The pads are sensational.  They’re several steps beyond even the Rev 2’s.  The leather is amazingly soft, and the foam inside feels like some sophisticated near-liquid gel.  (I’m sure it isn’t, but it’s very well chosen.)  The seal is tremendous.  In effect the LCD-3 is the world’s best sealed headphone.  The backwave is perfectly contained in a chamber made of heavy, dense material - except it’s the frontwave, not the backwave, and the heavy dense material is your skull, and your ear is right there in the sealed chamber.

 

Bass is as good or better than the Rev 2’s, and the midrange and treble is as good or better than the original’s.  The original treble balance has been maintained - I would say my pair starts to roll off gently before 1,000 Hz and falls in a straight line for three or so octaves.

 

The effect is not dark, but distant.  My main amp right now (and forever, he said rashly) is a custom hot-rod Apex Pinnacle made for me by Pete Millett.  I asked him for a non-Swiss-Army-knife version of my regular Pinnacle - a single unbalanced input, a single unbalanced output, point to point wiring, no relays, no gain control, no nothing.  I use the KR PX4s and a pre-GE 1942 Ken-Rad VT231 in it, and the result is about 120% of what the regular Pinnacle is - gorgeous SET loveliness, spooky clarity, total transparency, fantastic flow and dynamics.  It renders frequency response in terms of dimension - loud is close, quiet is distant.  The LCD-3 is right on board with that approach - the treble is 100% all there, no question, but it isn’t in your face.  It’s all happening slightly further back.  The singer is close to you, and the cymbals are exactly where they should be, at the back of the stage.

 

But that stage isn’t very deep, to be honest, which is the first of two flaws.  The soundscape (or whatever you want to call it) is narrow - not much more than the width of your head - and shallow: from just behind your eyes to just in front.  (To be boring: I think that’s because of the edge clamping.  The diaphragm moves like a trampoline, which means it moves less and later as you look away from its center, which means phase coherency is badly compromised, and positioning cues depend on phase as well as volume.)

 

I think the edge clamping causes the LCD-3’s other flaw, too.  No question it’s a superb headphone - real-life weight and heft; great, great bass depth, precision, and articulation; fabulous, world-class midrange smoothness and clarity; terrific treble delicacy and super-intelligent treble voicing - but in terms of nuance, shading, punctuation, and microdynamics it’s a little constrained, a little dulled, a little reluctant.  I don’t want to anthropomorphize a couple of square inches of Mylar, but I feel I can hear those clamped edges wanting to break free, wanting to move, wanting to turn current into acceleration, not heat.

 

For about six months now I’ve been using a headphone I first tried on a whim - the Headphile Terminator V4, which is essentially a Darth Beyer 4, a woodied Beyer 770.  Not necessarily one of the usual suspects in the high end arena, but whether by good luck or good judgment, it’s completely competitive - and completely addictive.  Compared to my HD800s it has a radically bass-heavy sound, and compared to the LCD-3 its bass is a little sloppy and underdamped.  But elsewhere it lacks absolutely nothing, and overall, if I close my eyes, it sounds uncannily like listening to a great speaker-based system in a good room - a great speaker-based system from about 1995, to be honest, with all that implies ... big, generous bass, smooth distant treble, a cavernously huge soundscape, precisely located details.

 

But above all the Terminators sound alive - extremely fast, propulsively dynamic, joyous, happy, exuberant, and unconfined.  In comparison the LCD-3 - while being perhaps better in every academic sense - sound too timid, too smooth, a little too afraid of the ragged chaos of live music-making.  Right now I love Daniel Lanois’s album “Black Dub”, which has crazy post-production swirl and echo all over it, which sound miles away but insanely lively and human on the Terminators, and a little closed-in and polite and “correct” on the LCD-3s.  The kick drum sounds quick and deep and precise on the LCD-3s, but on the Terminators you can actually hear the drummer thinking, “Right, ****** it, let’s rock.”

 

Conclusion?  If I hadn’t heard the Terminators - and hadn’t been weirdly open-minded about their different balance in the first moments - I would have put away my HD800s for good and listened very happily to the LCD-3s for years to come.  I can totally understand someone like Skylab, for instance, who loved the original LCD-2, but now prefers the LCD-3, because the LCD-3 is absolutely a perfected LCD-2.  For me it’s a close-run thing, but at the end of the day, when I’m all done working and the lights are low, I’m going to stick with the Terminators, just for the fun of it.

 
post #499 of 533

Well written and I enjoyed the read. I am guessing you like your new Pete Millett design single ended. I guess the question since you heard the Rev2 and now the LCD3 do you feel its worth a 1K more for the new version. Does it offer value?  I also find it interesting you really enjoy those Darth Beyers. I have never heard a pair and maybe one day will do so.  So the question I have is the HD800 staying or is it going.

post #500 of 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post

I guess the question since you heard the Rev2 and now the LCD3 do you feel its worth a 1K more for the new version. Does it offer value?


Well, I'm the guy who spent ten grand to get a slightly better Pinnacle, so yes, I think the LCD-3 is well worth a grand over the Rev 2.  Totally worth it.  It's a far better phone overall.  And I've always been curious as to why we feel headphones should be so relatively cheap - not that I wouldn't like them to be, but is there an organic reason why a TOTL headphone should cost 10% or less of the price of a TOTL CD player or DAC?

 

post #501 of 533

I guess a easier question would have been do you like them better than your HD800 which is 1500.00. The terminators are half the price and from your post UI would think you prefer them more so.   I also would like to see more phones cheaper but I guess  I am basing that on manufactures cost to market which in most cases is 5X production cost which I totally understand as business cost of running a business is very high. I am wondering what it would actually cost to produce those as drivers are not expensive in general. Glad you like them.

post #502 of 533

Thanks, Frank.  Yes, overall I like the LCD-3 better than the HD800.  The HD800 has a tiny edge in terms of precision and clarity, I guess, and certainly in terms of dimensionality, but the LCD-3 comes very close in terms of the former and isn't awful in terms of the latter, and ultimately its treble presentation just sounds way more like the real world.  And (astonishingly!) the LCD-3 is more comfortable - the HD800's pads feel thin and hard in comparison.

post #503 of 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post

Thanks, Frank.  Yes, overall I like the LCD-3 better than the HD800.  The HD800 has a tiny edge in terms of precision and clarity, I guess, and certainly in terms of dimensionality, but the LCD-3 comes very close in terms of the former and isn't awful in terms of the latter, and ultimately its treble presentation just sounds way more like the real world.  And (astonishingly!) the LCD-3 is more comfortable - the HD800's pads feel thin and hard in comparison.



Wow. High praise when i know how much you like the HD800. Enjoy them and again nice write up.

post #504 of 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post



Wow. High praise when i know how much you like the HD800.



I know.  I think the HD800 is a true great, and I had no problem at all accommodating its treble, but it's undeniably the product of a long process of drifting further and further away from a natural balance.

post #505 of 533
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

Ah. Understood. I actually have quite a few binaural recordings (to my knowledge, there are not that many), but I haven't considered them as reference material for evaluating headphone setups. I guess I should rotate them in.



 This one is very good if you need an acoustic guitar binaural recording ~ full dummy head used I believe

 

 

 

Ottmar Up Close.jpg

 

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra - Up Close (2008)

 

A binaural dummy head recording, sometimes also called holophonics.
The listener has to use headphones to experience the 3D surround-sound quality of the music since the recording uses the head-related transfer function.
Recorded live-to-stereo in August of 2007. No edits were made and the volume was not compressed!
1. Carrousel - 6:34
2. La Luna - 6:34
3. Cocteau - 5:06
4. The River - 7:14
5. Sao Paulo - 7:31
6. Silence (Excerpt) - 2:53
7. Three Days Without You - 4:26
8. Up Close - 6:08
9. Underworld - 3:31
10. Entrance + Tuning - 0:20

 

 


Edited by Gwarmi - 11/19/11 at 2:41pm
post #506 of 533

LFF has a whole thread dedicated to binaural recordings I believe.

post #507 of 533

Just one side question here, how does normal stereo music using the Smyth Realiser compare with true binaural recordings? 


Edited by googleli - 11/19/11 at 4:50pm
post #508 of 533

One very complex algorithm :-)

post #509 of 533
Thread Starter 

Nice post, InnerSpace, thanks!

post #510 of 533

Great review InnerSpace! smile.gif They are amazing headphones!

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