just shipped the west coast lcds to worx.
thanks again to justin for the opportunity, if i ever end up buying another pair of headphones ill make sure i get it from him.
Just received the LCD-2 Bamboo with Vegan pad yesterday and wants to thanks Justin once again for the wonderful opportunity letting me demo.
I read a lot about the LCD-2 on headfi and thoughts it would be a different headphone than what I have gather here.
Comfort is actually very good especially with the Vegan earpad is much softer than the earpad on my HD650, but the headband is kind of sitting on top of my head making a little discomfort. HD650 with LCD-2 earpad would be a perfect setup for comfort.
Weight of the headphone is not that noticeable that was very unexpected. The construction of the LCD-2 is very solidly build does make the HD650 feel cheap in comparison.
Here is my short impressions on the LCD-2 sound.
Setup 1: LCD-2 / HD650 --> Yamaha RX-797 receiver --> HRT Music Streamer II+ --> PC
LCD-2 is darker than the HD650, overall sounds are very similar to the HD650.
In this setup the HD650 easily beat the LCD-2 in all aspects such as better mid, better acoustic, bigger soundstage, clarity, and even the bass is better.
Setup 2: LCD-2 / HD650 --> Super 7 --> PS Audio Nuwave DAC ---> PC
Oddly, my impression is completely reverse in this setup. Everything just better on the LCD-2, matching up with the right gears did make a different.
What I come away from the LCD-2 is that my HD650 is more than capable of reproducing music for my need, still the LCD-2 is a great headphone really like the vegan earpad.
Awesome! Thanks for the pic and your impressions.
I'm thinking maybe your Yamaha receiver's headphone jack is high impedance which would probably explain the HD650 outperforming the LCD2 in that setup.
Just received the STAX system. I'll make sure to post pictures and impressions later this weekend. Thanks again to Justin!
A couple quick pictures:
Can't wait to get the LCD2's :) Might get them tomorrow if I'm lucky.
I'll do a comparison using the Schiit Stack (Magni and Modi) and a FiiO E10 (Which I doubt can handle the LCd-2) vs my HE-400.
If it's a big enough difference to me, might just buy it since I'm the last person on the list.
So I'll be shipping the STAX system to the next person tomorrow, and I thought it was time to give some impressions of them. I did most of my listening using my HRT MS Pro instead of the pico. The first night I had them I was comparing my main system with the entire STAX system, but found that I certainly preferred the MS Pro to the pico due to a tighter/cleaner bass and smoother treble, which are the characteristics that have made the Pro my favorite DAC so far.
The headphones that I did most of my comparison to are my Sony MA900, which I've settled on as my main headphones. I've been wondering what direction to eventually go in for my next upgrade, and after trying and returning the Mad Dogs with Alpha Pads, it made me realize the overly dark sound signatures were not for me. So, I was very happy to be able to try out the STAX sound, which I've read is very different from the upgrade track of Mad dogs to Audeze. Anyways, I very much enjoyed the sound of this STAX system! Compared to the MA900, the bass quantity is slightly lower with slighter more treble output. This makes them seem more neutral than the MA900, and also more engaging. The soundstage is smaller than the Sony in both width and depth, which gives a more intimate sound, and also increases the engaging feeling. The MA900 can sound very laid back and diffuse sometime in comparison. The STAX midrange sounds very close to the MA900, but it definitely feels "faster". I would prefer the STAX for listening to rock music with multiple distorted guitar tracks for example. In general, detail seems to be about equal to the Sony. What surprised me the most about these headphones is the bass quality! I haven't heard STAX bass talked a lot about, but I think it's my favorite, most natural sounding, bass presentation that I've heard so far.
Comfort of these headphones is amazing! The pads can get hot in the long run, but in terms of short term comfort, these are the best I've worn so far. Overall, I found these cans to give a very neutral and natural presentation. I do not, however, think I would move from my MA900 to these phones; the differences were slight, and sometimes I actually preferred the Sony. It does make me more interested though in the higher end STAX headphones as an eventual upgrade since the overall sound signature matches very closely to my preferred style. Time to start saving some money! Thanks again Justin!
Awesome, I can not wait until those bad boys make it my way. Great impressions btw and the I'm very excited to see how they compare to my main cans as well.
Only 5 more to go!
Just received the LCD2 today.
Cutting through all the tape was sure fun :)
The frequency response of this individual unit.
Everything looking good. God they're pretty in rosewood...
Picture 1 with the Project H Amp/DAC. Excuse the mess on my "desk."
Yup. They're pretty.
Comparisons between the Mad Dog will be coming soon. As well as an overall impression.
Before I start my impressions, I’d like to thank Justin at headamp.com for giving us a chance to listen to the LCD-2s basically for free. This is especially appreciated for me since the nearest hi-fi store is a 4.5 hour drive away from where I live, so to say the least, demoing headphones is an opportunity I rarely get.
I’ll also explain my gear before I get going as well. Currently, I do all of my listening through Project H, a custom CS4398 DAC and Objective 2 Amplifier. You can read more about it here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/652306/diy-custom-amplifier-and-dac-project-h#post_9188048 . You can also look at my Last.fm profile as well here: http://www.last.fm/user/mechgamer123 In short, I’ve subject the LCD2 to the following genres: (+ means this genre was listened to more often than others)
· Classic Rock (+)
· J-Pop (+)
***BEFORE I GET STARTED, I’D LIKE TO PUT A DISCLAIMER HERE SAYING THESE ARE JUST MY OPINIONS. THEY ARE NOT OF SOMEONE WHO HAS HEARD EVERY HEADPHONE OUT THERE. I’M A STUDENT WHO’S BEEN AN AUDIOPHILE FOR A LITTLE OVER A YEAR***
This will mainly be a comparison between the MrSpeakers Mad Dogs and the LCD2s. The Mad Dogs were purchased in December of 2012 and were upgraded to the Alpha pads in February.
If you didn’t know yet, the LCD2 and Mad Dogs (which will be referred to from here on out as the MDs) are tuned to sound very similar to each other. They both exhibit very clean, linear, and low distortion bass, followed by a flat, slightly lowered midrange and non-offensive treble. For genres with poor mastering (too much bass, treble spikes, etc.) I find this type of sound signature does an excellent job of not stabbing your ears with pain (I am very sensitive to treble spikes and the like) while retaining a good amount of detail in the treble region. In my opinion, both the MDs and LCD2s sound very good on a variety of genres, especially rock and classic rock. For songs and genres with instruments that mainly reside in the upper area of the sound spectrum do not sound their best, but still sound very good and non-fatiguing.
Now on to the actual sound quality of the LCD2 in comparison to the MD. I’ll get straight to the point. Yes, the LCD2 does sound better, but only slightly. The LCD2s do have a tiny bit more bass slam than the MDs, but as I soon figured thanks to Hans, adding a small boost in the 80-100hz area (I had to raise the 64hz bar in iTunes) the bass has the potential to sound just about as punchy on the MD as the LCD2. I do want to say that I can hear a slight bit better extension at the absolute lowest register, but this is relatively small and not noticeable on very many genres.
There is another slightly more noticeable difference though, and that’s the “airiness” of both headphones. I hate to use the word airy, as I feel that it’s a bit clichéd and different people interpret it to mean different things, but it is the best word I can come up with to describe the difference between the two. To me, the LCD2s sound more like you’re listening to the artist live, where the room just feels like it has more “space”, while the MD sounds more like you’re listening to them in a small recording studio that feels just a bit closed in. I don’t want to say the LCD2 has any echoing or anything of the sort, and I don’t want to say the MDs sound closed in by any means, but that’s simply the best way I was able to come up with for describing them.
On the topic of soundstage, the “openness” described above does contribute to the LCD2 feeling like it has a bigger soundstage, but from my experience, I didn’t hear that much of a difference in terms of width between the MD and LCD2. They sounded about the same to me. Then again, I’m not too good at telling how big the soundstage is, so it’s probably best to ignore this bit.
Apart from these three things mentioned above, the two cans sound almost exactly the same to my ears. Did the LCD2s shock me with the “next level” of detail over the MD? Nope. I thought maybe they were a few times, but I went back and heard the passage again with the MDs and heard exactly the same amount of detail on both. Is it possible that I skipped over something at one point? Yes, but again, these are just my opinions.
Feel free to hate me at this point for saying this, but yes. I really do think that these $300 headphones sound extremely close to these $1000 headphones.
With that out of the way, I’d like to get on to my main problem with the LCD2s, and that is the build quality. Upon removing the LCD2s from their pelican case, it’s apparent to me that the wood looks very nice, but it definitely isn’t the final word in craftsmanship. The swivels for the ear pads look almost unfinished to my eye, like they could use a bit more sanding down.
While I’m on the topic of the ear cups, the LCD2s have bigger pads than the MDs, and as such, they’re more comfortable on the outer ring of my ear. The alpha pads on the MDs tend to rub up against my ear when wearing them. This is not a major discomfort, but I think it’s worth noting that the LCD2s are more comfortable in this respect. The leather pads don’t compress that much to conform to your head on the LCD2s as they do on the MDs though. This may just be because these are a relatively new unit, but they have been circulated and worn for probably about 20 days already. The MDs on the other hand compress around you ears and feel very soft. They also seal extremely well. The clamp force is also less on the MD than the LCD2, even though I consider the MD to have a relatively tight clamp compared to some of the other headphones I’ve heard (Compared to another set of MDs, mine seem to clamp a good bit more though so it may just be my unit.)
The headband is probably the worst part of the LCD2s though. Not only can you not adjust it very precisely, leading to me having to settle with the headphones being just a bit too small to have my ears perfectly centered around my ears. The headband also seems to push the whole weight of the LCD2s (which are the heaviest headphones I’ve ever listened to) onto the center of my head, despite not having a bump of padding directly in the middle of my head. To make matters worse, the leather is curved to the padding in the opposite direction of your head. This makes the point of contact for the whole weight of the headphones even smaller than many other headphones I’ve tried out. After 5 minutes, I can feel my head getting sore. This small point of contact also means the headphones are practically free to move around on your head. Just slightly leaning forward or backward is enough to make the headband slide around. It’s so bad that I actually had the LCD2s fall off my head once while leaning forward too much (don’t worry, it was just a test and I had my hands less than a cm away from the cups to catch them when they fell of my head.)
The swivels on the LCD2s are also a disappointment. While the MDs make the occasional creak or squeak when I’m putting them on my head or adjusting them, the LCD2s seem to creak more often when they move around on my head from the headband being poor or when putting them on and taking them off.
The final part of the build on the LCD2 I’d like to talk about is the cable and its related items. While the flat cable is nice, and the splitter is excellent, the 3.5mm connector feels slightly cheap and the connectors are simply bizarre to say the least. Every time I set the headphones down, no matter which direction I set them down, I always feel like I’m inflicting unnecessary stress on the cable and it will break earlier than it should. I also get this fear when I’m listening to the headphones too, since the cable terminations are angled as well. I guess that is good for people who have short necks though; the cable definitely won’t rub up against your neck or shoulders.
In summary, the LCD2 do sound better than the MDs, though only slightly. As an overall headphone package, I much prefer the Mad Dogs to the LCD2 due to their superior comfort, build quality, and the fact that it is closed back. This part is completely my opinion, but I prefer having some form of isolation so that I don’t hear every little thing going on in your house. This is just my opinion though and I fully understand the merits of an open back can, they just don’t work out terribly well for me in the long run.
If anyone has any questions, let me know.
Oh, and here are some pictures:
[Both cans resting on my crappy computer]
[The headband bothers my OCD...]
[I think the MD pads are thicker than the LCD2! :O]
[This part isn't exactly the final say in build quality]
Define: properly driven
Project-H should supply ample power to the LCD-2's.
I've heard the LCD-2's on numerous gear including Schiit's gear and nothing dramatically changed the sound of the LCD-2 apart from the amp's differences in sound. I share similar LCD-2 audio experiences with mechgamer123's impressions.