Having the LCD-X tour unit for a few days, I decided to do an Audeze family shootout between the 2, 3, and the X – and added the Fostex TH900 for good measure. Using m2man’s $8K plus home setup including his Laptop > Off-Ramp 5 > PWDmkII > Schiit Mjolnir – not to mention a lot of power conditioning – we plugged two in at a time to quickly switch back and forth. With the LCD-X’s lower impedance, it made it harder to volume match, but the results were consistent up and down the volume range as we adjusted the volume.
IMO, compared to my LCD2.2, m2man’s LCD3 sound very similar in signature to the LCD2.2 but faster for a little more clarity, extended a little more on top, and a little sweeter especially in the mid frequency range. The LCD-X on the other hand, while retaining the Audeze house sound, seems to have a shifted signature. It feels shifted up in the frequency range and a little faster yet providing even greater clarity than my LCD2.2 or the m2man’s LCD3s. It’s not that the LCD-X is lacking in the bass department either, but the bass seems to be turned down a notch keeping it from getting in the way of the rest of the frequency range. The result is a very realistic sounding sound stage that is even wider and closer to being there. However, to me the LCD-X is all about the mids - the have sweeter sounding mids than I have ever heard before while integrating seamlessly into the rest of the frequency range. The Fostex TH900 is a very nice sounding headphone, but IMO the LCD-X was the clear winner. In fact, both m2man and I felt that the LCD-X swept the shootout easily.
As an added point of interest, I happened to have the X5 DAP tour unit at the same time so we took a listen on it as well. While using a DAP is an obvious step down from a good desktop setup, it is nice to be able to listen to quality sound without being chained to the desktop. The short of it is that the LCD-X scales down extraordinarily well providing a sound quality far closer to the m2man’s desktop sound that any other in the lineup. While this bodes well for the LCD-X, it also speaks to how high quality and authoritative of a sound that the X5 really puts out. I was quite impressed with the X5 and will be getting on at their launch. Scaling down is an often overlooked value point for a headphone, but one that is of particular importance for the LCD-X. For anyone interested in more details with the X5, you can find my X5 review with headphone pairings at:
NOTE: As much as it pains my heart to send away these headphones, they are being sent out today to claybum who is next on the tour.