Orthos definitely benefit from some juice behind them, but raw power is only part of the equation. An amp needs to be able to exercise control over a transducer, and that also has a lot to do with subtlety and finesse. That's why the current niche arms race to see who can make the most monstrous headphone amp is kind of silly. It's not all strong arming, and really, is a flaming dumptruck hurling down the street at 70 MPH in control?
I would think for the LCD-3 that tonal synergy is even more important than overall power. The problem is, the LCD-3 varies so much from unit to unit in my experience. In general though I found the LCD-3s I tried tended to have a more midrange emphasis with less treble presence than the current revision of the LCD-2 (though not as shelved as the original LCD-2). Bass was flabby and unfocused on some of them, but on others extremely tight and well-entended, really quite impressive. Some definitely had more treble presence than others, but I've never encountered a "bright" LCD-3 myself. Biggest issue was the midrange which seemed to get muddied up on some of the units, seemed to lack any sense detail emphasis or any engaging quality. This combined with the flabby bass and lack of treble made for some units that just sounded awful, suffocating without any sense of air or dynamics. On these units the D in LCD stands for drowning; that was very much the sensation that came to mind, like one was drowning in a musical swamp. It's a shame because the good LCD-3s sounded really quite good.
Maybe Audez'e is making them brighter now like the later LCD-2s versus the newer ones? I hope they get the LCD-4 right...
Edited by MuppetFace - 5/4/13 at 11:57pm