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Audeze LCD-3 and $1K amp or Audeze LCD-2 and $2K, where is the sweet spot?

post #1 of 209
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

First and foremost, if this is the wrong place to post this type of question, please move or delete as needed.

 

So, I just sold off my Manley Stingray and Merlin TSM speakers which I have used for the last few years.  I have a 20 month old at home and another on the way in 7 months and just haven't been able to listen to the speakers as before (son's room is directly above my listening area).  So I have made the decision to join the hi-end headphone world to let me listen to music while the  children are sleeping.

 

I have trolled through most of the Audeze LCD-2, LCD-2 Rev 2, and LCD-3 threads but can not find answer to my question.  If you had a total budget of $3K, would get the LCD-3 with a $1K amp, like a Woo 6SE, Schiit Mjolnir, Buson Soloist; or go for the LCD-2 Rev 2 with a $2K amp, like a Woo WA22, used RSA Apache, or other options not yet found?

 

Source will be a computer based system with a Mac Mini, Metric Halo ULN-8 AD/DA and Rega P7/Dynavector at 24/192 through the AD side of the ULN-8.  The ULN-8 being a "studio" AD/DA is balanced through out. 

 

I listen to all genres of music and am sold on the Audeze house sound just not sure were the best bang for the buck is going to be.  My gut instinct is to go with the LCD2 and a high quality amp to maximize their performance versus potentially short changing the expected improvement of the LCD-3 but not giving them adequate amplification.

 

Thanks ahead for any input and I can't wait to join the party.

post #2 of 209

In my experience, headphone upgrades are more meaningful than amp or source upgrades. (assuming a decent baseline quality above ipod or laptop on board quality)

 

Also, I really did not like the LCD2 (too dark, too uncomfortable, no soundstage) but the LCD3 is the best headphone I've yet heard... and I've only driven it off an Amphora and now a Soloist.

 

I say get the LCD3 and then look at the 1K amps. You may want to add the TTVJ Arete to your list, too.

 

just my 2 cents

post #3 of 209
I agree. I find the 3 to be a huge upgrade over the 2 and your impressions mirrors mine exactly. In fact, I don't care for the 2 and absolutely love the 3. Listened to the 2 off a plethora of 2-3000.00 amps. They did improve it, but couldn't overcome their shortcomings. I'll take the 3 on 500.00 amp over the 2 on a 3000.00 amp.
post #4 of 209
Thread Starter 
That's why I asked. For most loudspeaker systems I have built, it has been the opposite, but sounds like with the headphones, they are having a greater effect on overall sound quality.

Keep the input coming!


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post #5 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

In my experience, headphone upgrades are more meaningful than amp or source upgrades. (assuming a decent baseline quality above ipod or laptop on board quality)

 

Also, I really did not like the LCD2 (too dark, too uncomfortable, no soundstage) but the LCD3 is the best headphone I've yet heard... and I've only driven it off an Amphora and now a Soloist.

 

I say get the LCD3 and then look at the 1K amps. You may want to add the TTVJ Arete to your list, too.

 

just my 2 cents

 

Whatever happened to that O2 rig? 

post #6 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post

 

Whatever happened to that O2 rig? 

 

I really liked the sound but they didn’t have  the bass impact that I knew I could get from dynamics. And I balked at the proposition of having to spend ~5K on an amp to get the best from them (and still not being sure if the bass kick would be there). 

 

So I decided to step down a rung or two on the ladder and go back to dynamics. But it’s worked out OK with the LCD3.

post #7 of 209

Have everyone been talking about the LCD-2 Rev 1 or Rev 2 because there is a slight but significant difference (comfort, brighter etc) .

post #8 of 209
It looks like we've taken a similar path. I don't have little children now but I'm keeping the wife happy by not corrupting her decorating scheme with big speakers and my eclectic taste in music. I opted for the LCD-2 rev 2 and a Burson HA 160 D but first got my feet wet with a Sennheiser 600 and FIIO E-9 and FIIO E 17 to get a feel for how Headfi would work out for me. I also read through many threads on this site before making the LCD/Burson plunge. I did not think (and still don't) that the LCD 3 was that much of an improvement for twice as much money, though I came close to buying them instead. I used some of my budget to also purchase B&W MM 1 speakers for my small home office and Emotiva Airmotive 4 speakers for my family room computer center which I run through my Buron pre amp to take tadvantage of the DAC. I also use the Sennheisers with the E 17 and my IPad for portable use. Trust me, this is an addicting hobby and I have reripped all my music into lossless files. No doubt more cans and amps are in my future!!!

If money is not a concern, I'm sure the LCD 3's would be "better" but I'm wildly satisfied with the LCD 2 choice. Good luck and happy parenting :-).
post #9 of 209

Valid point. Often people say things like "... I once listened to the LCD-2 ... and they were...". Their postings omit the rev. and that is a vital piece of information missing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MomijiTMO View Post

Have everyone been talking about the LCD-2 Rev 1 or Rev 2 because there is a slight but significant difference (comfort, brighter etc) .

post #10 of 209

If I were you, I would buy an Eddie Current Super 7 headphone amp.  It is less than $2K and sounds far better than any amp I have heard, full stop, and that includes amps from Woo and RSA.  (I currently also own the WA22 and used to own a Luxman P1-u, by the way.)  Sound quality, by the way, does not correlate very well with retail price when it comes to headphone amps, and a really good headphone amp (the Super 7) will sound a lot better than an adequate headphone amp that happens to cost more.

 

I own the LCD-2 (rev 2) and have zero interest in trading up to the LCD-3.  Drivers have failed in my LCD-2s twice in a little over a year since I bought them new, so reliability is not a strong point in my book.  They are also not particularly comfortable for long listening sessions, as they are pretty heavy.  They also provide zero isolation, in case that matters.  Finally, I personally prefer the sound quality of my JH-16 custom IEM's to the LCD-2s.  Yes, the LCD-2s have better bass, but the JH-16s (used with the Super 7) are just more detailed and musical.  Admittedly, I am in the minority in that opinion. 

 

Finally, if you buy a tube amp, be aware that very few of them have covers, so you are going to want it to be on a high enough shelf that your kids won't risk getting burned by an exposed vacuum tube.

post #11 of 209

Oh. We see different on a couple of things.

 

I have the LCD-2 rev. 1, LCD-2 rev. 2 and the LCD-3 - and misc. amps. None of my drivers have failed. No cracks in wood. Rev. 2 is lighter than rev. 1 - and LCD-3 is super comfortable to wear (compared to the LCD-2 with stiff pads). I guess the new / contemporary version of the LCD-2 with angled cable connectors has softer pads (aka increased comfort).

 

The isolation is far from zero. In fact, the isolation is better than the HiFiMAN HE-500 and HE-6 - and even better compared to the Stax SR-007mkII. The reason is simply the amount of woven fabric the manufacturers apply to their headphones. Stax = none. HifIMAN = some. Audeze = more.

post #12 of 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loevhagen View Post

The isolation is far from zero. In fact, the isolation is better than the HiFiMAN HE-500 and HE-6 - and even better compared to the Stax SR-007mkII. The reason is simply the amount of woven fabric the manufacturers apply to their headphones. Stax = none. HifIMAN = some. Audeze = more.

 

Comparing the isolation of the HE-X00 and the LCD-X is like comparing which bucket can hold more water when they both have holes - there is no point comparing. If you need isolation, do not consider any of these headphones. 


Edited by MomijiTMO - 7/18/12 at 5:09pm
post #13 of 209
I beg to differ. Have you tried them, all out in the same livingroom for several weeks? Or, is it just speculation?

Of course, all are leaking buckets - but some of them holds water more...
post #14 of 209

Get the better amp. Amps are all-important. Sometimes a lesser amp coupled with a better, maybe more revealing phone, can sound really bad, as the phones will channel the flaws in the signal fed to it.

Just like with speakers.

post #15 of 209

Just to suggest something, I have found that there is great synergy (fantastic natural sound that makes me forget the desire for speakers) from

my LCD3s with an RSA B52. So maybe try an LCD3 with Ray's Raptor. I've never heard the Raptor but I have read it's quite similar to the B52 at a fraction of the price.

So that's $2000 for the LCD3s and $1175 for the amp, both refundable if you don't like them. And you can tube-roll to tune things, always a great option.There are some pretty detailed and

rave-grade older reviews of the Raptor out there FWIW (in 6 moons or Enjoy The Music I think).

 

It's just my feeling that you would like a tube sound with the Audezes. I have found that tube amps (like RSA and Apex) are much better with Audezes than solid state ones, even high end ones,

especially with judicious tube rolling. And if you like deep bass, the LCD3s are it.


Edited by rgs9200m - 7/18/12 at 8:25pm
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