Originally Posted by pp312
The 650, despite a similar balance, is quite different to the LCD-2 (Rev1 in my case). The 650 has a very homogenous sound. It's all of a piece, with nothing sticking out---bass, treble or mid. It's a wodge of sound, and I mean that in the best sense. And it's basically honest in its sound, if not very resolving. The LCD-2, on the other hand, is resolving. It separates the elements of the music and presents them to you as interwoven strands, which after the 650 can be a little disconcerting. However, it is more accurate. You may not prefer it, and no law says you have to, but it's closer to the definition of hi-fi, and thus worth the money.
Originally Posted by purrin
My experience was the opposite. While I found the HD650 laid-back in the upper-mids and treble, I felt it was an extremely resolving headphone in terms of being able to extract low level information. The LCD2 offered much more clarity, but it sounded as if some of the low level details got lost, particularly with the r1. This is with running both headphones balanced from my setup. YMMV.
Unsurprisingly I'm with pp312 on this. In fact, his post describes exactly how I feel about my copies of the LCD-2 (rev 1) and HD-650, currently driven from a Bryston BP-25 amp and Metrum Octave DAC. As I've said elsewhere, this is (pretty much the only) one thing I have strong feelings about and, while one may prefer one or the other, I'm puzzled there seems to be disagreement on what I think of as clear technical merits in favour of the LCD-2.
Can we agree that the LCD-2 stages better than the HD-650? I find performers occupy a wider and less precise space with the HD-650. One of my first impressions of the LCD-2 was how much narrower and hence somewhat smaller each performer sounded, something that was a bit disconcerting and didn't necessarily seem better on the very first listen. However I think this goes hand in hand with the increase in resolution that pp312 describes, which I ultimately like. The HD-650 blurs the soundstage by comparison and that makes it harder for me to distinguish low level details in a mix.
Or is the music we listen to a deciding factor? I currently enjoy mostly complex rock and pop recordings. I would concede that the LCD-2 (rev 1) in it's stock form can sound downright muffled with classical records. I counteract that with an equalizer. In fact I use the equalizer all the time and my comments ultimately apply with that in the chain, though I find the midband resolution of the LCD-2 quite independent of it. Still, I do find the LCD-2 does not always have the same advantage with classical music, especially when it's recorded in a big hall with lots of reverb like, for example, John Williams seems to favour for his film scores.
There are a number of other records where I feel the LCD-2 has not added anything over the HD-650 or my speakers, though it didn't make them sound worse either. These are records that, though not personal favorites, sound particularly good on my speakers. When listening with the LCD-2 I typically find their recording quality a bit homogenized and the arrangements usually simpler. Turned out there wasn't anything more going on that the speakers couldn't already resolve.