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HeadAmp Headphone Demos -- Sign up now for HiFiMAN HE-560 - Page 20

post #286 of 1464
Just packaged the LCD2, and will be on it's way MalVeauX today. smily_headphones1.gif
post #287 of 1464

I got the LCD2 Rosewood in the mail this morning.  It's a thing of beauty.

post #288 of 1464
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

I got the LCD2 Rosewood in the mail this morning.  It's a thing of beauty.


That it is, let us know what you think of it sound wise.

post #289 of 1464
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

I got the LCD2 Rosewood in the mail this morning.  It's a thing of beauty.

Ugh, the wait is murder. Only two more to go. 😤
post #290 of 1464
Originally Posted by DemonFox View Post

Ugh, the wait is murder. Only two more to go. 😤

I assure you it is worth the wait....smily_headphones1.gif
Before the package arrived, I have spent 2 weeks, arranging and rearranging my song picks, my gears, my cables, sequence-procedure steps, just to make sure time spent efficiently and effectively.........that was a bit neurotic on my end....smily_headphones1.gif

You won't be disappointed mate.

post #291 of 1464



Received the LCD2's (Bamboo) today.


Will update with impressions and photos this evening after I spend some time with them. I already have a balanced cable for the LCD2 so I can use it via speaker taps too. So I'll have quite a few different ways to see just how much this ortho likes current. Will do head to head with the HE500, side by side.


Thanks to Justin for this great opportunity.


Very best,

post #292 of 1464
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post



Received the LCD2's (Bamboo) today.


Will update with impressions and photos this evening after I spend some time with them. I already have a balanced cable for the LCD2 so I can use it via speaker taps too. So I'll have quite a few different ways to see just how much this ortho likes current. Will do head to head with the HE500, side by side.


Thanks to Justin for this great opportunity.


Very best,

looking forward to this comparison...been wondering what's next after the HE500 for me.

post #293 of 1464



First, a big thank you to Justin for the chance to demo/audition these. It's not easy to just get a few high-ends together and play with them. Thankfully I already had one. This opportunity let me test my choice against another popular choice to get an idea of what the LCD2 is all about and compare it to my HE500. Two champions that retail for less than they are probably worth in my opinion.


So I've spent some time with the LCD2.


Construction, Comfort, Egonomics, Connectivity (LCD2):


Overall the construction seems ok. Not something I'd want to drop, but the pivot points and molding seems pretty good. The pads are very nice, both on the cups and the headband, soft, yet firm, plush but with some strength. The frame is metal and wood with some plastic bits here and there. Nice overall finish. It does creak and make noise when you move, something maybe a little oil would fix up. I like that the cup slider has notches, so you can just pull it to equal siding. Slides nicely, holds nicely. Good and firm feel to that action. Connectivity is mini-XLR. Supplied cable is unbalanced. The headphone is definitely big and fairly heavy. Very bulky to wear. It also has considerable clamp force from the headband combined with the thickness and firmness of the pads. It fits like a glove actually, very tight. Not unwearable, but definitely not the most comfortable thing I've worn. The cable extends away at an angle instead of vertically downward, a nice touch, to keep it from sitting on your shoulders and touching things (rubbing the cable produces noise after all).


Source Equipment Used for Audition (LCD2):


I have a custom balanced cable already that is mini-XLR to 4 pin XLR termination, so I have the ability to go balanced and unbalanced at will. This also means I get to use things like speaker amps with my banana plug adapter.

I didn't use the stock cable that came with the LCD2 sample, as it's unbalanced. Also my cables work for both my HE500 and LCD2 so they will use the same source near-exactly even down to the cable.

My cables & adapters are made by Brian over at BTG Audio.


DAC: Maverick Audio TubeMagic D2

Pre-amp: Little Dot MK III

Amp: Emotiva mini-X A-100


Portable setup tested: Sansa Fuze, with LOD to Fiio E11


I sampled between the Emotiva & LDMKIII (even though it's an OTL) just to see how things were.

I have an Objective 2 at my other house, so I will test that tomorrow.

I also have a NFB12, but probably won't bother using it since I have better equipment and already know it will work fine. I would probably do it another time but I won't have these permanently so I'm limiting what I use.


Playback is from FooBar2000, everything lossless FLAC.

Genres are everything except hiphop/rap/etc. Tested classical, jazz, electronic, rock, etc. Pretty much a bit of everything.


The Audition (Day 1, Initial Impressions) (LCD2):




Wearing the LCD2 is like putting on a serious helmet. It's heavy. It's big. It commands presence and you know it's there. The clamp force is fairly strong. It's not for the feint of pressure, or weak of neck. Pads are comfortable leather, good quality. Though I prefer velour/microfiber. I'm sure it would have been more comfortable if I stretched the headband, but since this is not my LCD2 to do so with, I did not alter it or do anything outside of normal fitting. I slid the cups down about 2 or 3 clicks on each side (I like the notches, they're sturdy too), so I had room to spare and it felt balanced and even. Definitely can accommodate smaller heads and bigger heads. While wearing the LCD2, I noticed the room sounded darker instantly. I spoke out and made noise to see if I could detect some form of passive isolation going on, despite being an open air headphone. It seems to behave much more like a semi-open headphone to my ear in that regard, I felt like there was a little passive isolation going on. Probably the big thick pads making a tunnel to my ears really, but who knows. Definitely does not give you the sense of them not impeding on environmental sound coming in, they do indeed change how you hear (which to me is a sign of how they will sound for sound stage width and imaging).


Compared to HE500: The HE500 a heavy headphone too, so I was not having issues either way. I like velour better. My HE500 has next to no clamp force, since I've had it a long time, so I found it much more comfortable than the LCD2. But that comparison may not be fair since mine is well broken in and the headband loosened over time/use. Pads are undeniable though, I much prefer velour. While wearing the HE500 I don't feel like I'm hearing the environment differently, it doesn't sound like there's passive isolation at all. This was why I initially got the HE500 over the LCD series back when the HE500 was released, due to reported comfort. I finally get to say, without a doubt, the HE500 is more comfortable to me. It's actually surprising how big the LCD2 is. It's significantly bigger than the HE500, and I used to think the HIfiman series headphones were rather large.


Separation, Speed & Imaging:


The separation of tones is excellent, it's a fast headphone, which I expected of an ortho of any quality with some current behind it. Black space when there's nothing between. Everything is separate and crisp. Not blurry or grainy. The imaging is good, not superb though (kind of left & right sounding... very stereo, but not with the best of blends). The speed is definitely why it's bass is able to do what it does.


Compared to HE500: I found imaging to be better on the HE500. Speed was about the same. Separation was about the same.


Sound Stage:


Sound stage is ok. I was actually a little disappointed. I expected with such deep cups that it would have been a little better, more width. What I found was that it actually sounded a little too stereo. Left and Right were fairly obvious instead of a nice blend between the two. This is probably why I found the imaging to be less than superb. The stage seemed wide, but it didn't seem to meet very well in the middle, so things always sounded fairly left or fairly right. It wasn't stark though, it was subtle, if anything. I merely noticed it compared to my normal array of headphones. Kind of left me feeling wonky for things like classical. But wasn't an issue with electronica for example. This may of course just be a preference thing on my end.


Compared to HE500: The sound stage was wider, deeper, and more around me. It wasn't even subtle. It definitely is different. I felt like the audio was around me, not just left and right. The HE500 has much better blending and creates a more natural realistic field. It has the superior sound stage to my ears.




The treble is nice, fatigue-free. It doesn't strike me as a really dark headphone, it just doesn't sound like a really bright headphone. The extension and control is great. There's no sibilance. I suppose it's accurate to say that the treble rolls off, but perhaps it does so late instead of early on the curve as it's not as dark as the HD650 (which is what I think of when I think of a dark headphone). I found violin to not have the piercing emotion that I sought, which made sense. And some guitar solos didn't quite have bite or sting. That's a good thing for some people. For others who enjoy that, well, it doesn't quite deliver that. Makes sense though since it's not labeled bright by most people who listen to it.


Compared to HE500: The HE500 is definitely a brighter headphone. One is not better than the other. It's simply a preference thing. You either like slightly brighter treble, or you like slightly darker treble. I prefer a little more brightness because I like the piercing sawing of a violin and the sting of a guitar solo. Just my preference.




The LCD2 has buttery mids. They're not forward perhaps, but maybe they seemed ever so slightly forward to me. If anything is slightly emphasized to me, it seemed to be the lower and middle treble maybe. With the treble taking a little dip and the bass being as flat as it is, it just seemed like the mids were always front and center. Juicy, buttery mids. Definitely does instruments and vocals and melodies justice and gives them a serious voice. The word recession definitely doesn't apply here even in the slightest perhaps.


Compared to HE500: The HE500's mids are not quite as forward, so maybe they are technically a little recessed (and I mean little). I did notice that between the two, the HE500 sounded slightly more natural to me. But that may also just be because I'm more used to their presentation since I've had them a long time.




The bass is quite interesting. Everyone talks about it being a bassy ortho. It's not. It's not bassy at all to me. It's simply incredibly flat, which is really hard to achieve, so it has superb bass quality. I think it's called bassy perhaps because of it's very good SPL as it goes down into sub-bass. I didn't find bass to sound emphasized in tracks, but it was able to dig down deep without effort, the control was excellent, the texture was wonderful. It wasn't boomy, it was very tight and controlled, but could have authority when it was called upon.


Equalization: I had to equalize to see what the bass would do. I changed to a frequency response equalization that emphasized sub-bass, and holy batman, it was incredible. It felt like a speaker. Literally. My neck was vibrating. I could feel it inside my neck and head. The LCD2, if you tell it to do more bass than it's stock form, unleashes a bassy cloud of awesome. Probably the best emphasized bass I've ever heard short of an actual subwoofer of quality. After hearing bass equalized, it was hard going back to stock flat response. Anyone who wants a bassy treat, the LCD2 will be that with equalization. Without equalization, I was not really thinking "hrm, this is for bassheads" at all.


Compared to HE500: Going back and forth, the HE500 has incredible bass too. The LCD2 seems to have a slight edge on the texture and crispness of the bass. It becomes stark when I equalize. The LCD2 definitely handles higher bass output with better control, more authority, and impact than the HE500 after I equalize to emphasize bass. So the hat goes to the LCD2 for bass. By only by a small tick.


Lasting Impression (LCD2):


It was actually quite scary how similar the HE500 and LCD2 were. Their differences were not stark, but usually only slight. The biggest difference to my ears were the sound stage width, imaging and treble. The rest was very close, with some slightly better aspects happening on the LCD2 with bass and possibly even mids (though I'm not quite sure there, as I found the HE500 to have a more natural sound ultimately). Really great headphone. However, after auditioning both the HE500 and LCD2 side by side, it's kind of easy for me to pick one over the other and not even hesitate. I put a lot of favor into comfort, sound stage, and overall signature and for me the HE500 takes the cup on that one, so while the LCD2 is a serious contender, the HE500 has my preferences.


I tested the LCD2 from the LDMKIII OTL to see if it would have issues and clip, but actually found it handled quite well, which I didn't expect.

I also tested the LCD2 from my Fuze/E11 portable setup to see how it handled and sounded, and surprisingly it was quite good as well.

The LCD2 is efficient enough to run well from pretty much anything.

But I find it's best from something with serious current. I always went right back to my pre-amp & speaker amp setup.


Thanks again to Justin for the audition!


LCD2 & HE500 Eye Candy:





Very best,

post #294 of 1464

Nice write up.  Thank you very much.

post #295 of 1464

Excellent impressions.  Love the new avatar as well

post #296 of 1464

One of the better (better as in unbiased and keeping to the objective center-line) HE500 vs LCD2 writeups I've read yet; looking forward to your second part as you acclimate more to the LCD2.

post #297 of 1464
Nice impressions, very structured and concise. Thank you for a direct comparison to HE500, I was wondering on my next step would be, HE500 or LCD2.
I can't wait for the speaker tapping review.......smily_headphones1.gif.

post #298 of 1464

I may need to check this out....


Originally Posted by justin w. View Post

Soon I will be opening up another item for demo - the Stax SR-407 earspeakers + SRM-252S amp.  This is a $1,070 combination which is entry-level for Stax.



Like this except those are the SR-207; the SR-407 are 2 steps up

post #299 of 1464

I'll be shipping the LCD-2 out this afternoon.  Gopanthersgo lives literally like 45 minutes away from me, so I expect the LCD-2 to arrive by tomorrow at the latest.

post #300 of 1464



Sent the LCD2 (East Coast) to Mac336 today.


Thanks again for the opportunity Justin!


Very best,

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