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Audeze LCD-X - Page 91

post #1351 of 5408

I've had both vegan and leather LCD-2.2s, and the vegan is much more comfortable.  I'm not sure if it's density of the foam, or just the texture's better breatheability that makes me think that, though.

I'd suggest trying it with the yoke rod things extended as far as feasible.  Neither the -3 or the -2 is as comfortable as the HD800.  Not even close.  The Audezes are more durable and sturdy than the HD800, but the Sennheiser wins in ergonomics.  The only problem I had with the 800 was that the giant cups pushed a bit on my jaw... but that was easy to adjust.

post #1352 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

Great write up of these top cans! 

 

Thanks for your impressions...now I'm really curious to hear the LCD-XCs...so far the LCD-Xs are still astounding me with every listen. Gotta say that the wooden earcups on  the XC look very impressive!

 

Agreed!

 

Thank you, Peter!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by emertxe View Post
 

 

Thank you very much but it seems I cannot find enough info on how you value comfort on both. Imagine that you would have to own only one high-end headphones - in that case, comfort would become extremely important, if not the most important thing.

 

You state in your comparison with LCD-3 that you find LCD-X almost the same comfortwise... As you also managed to own LCD-2, therefore I would like to ask (you or anyone else):

 

1) Is the headband design still as odd as it was with LCD-2? That leather rev2 headband was such a pain for my head... Maybe the vegan version would improve on that somehow but not sure as the weight is still very high and its distribution is not ideal.

 

2) Is the clamping force still much more present than with HD800? I am allergic to that so while I could stand the weight itself, I just cannot stand excessive clamp that a lot of headphones have.

 

I definitely prefer comfort of Hifimans over Audeze - much less clamp due to wider-extended headband... Even the weight distribution seems better - I definitely dont feel like wearing heavy headphones, as I did with LCD-2. Maybe LCD-X could change that?

 

Sorry I didn't add this. I forgot. I find them both comfortable as I am not very picky with this. LCD-X is for me basically on the same comfort level as LCD-3. However, HD800 is still the most comfortable between the 3.

 

To answer your questions:

 

1. The headband on LCD2 did put pressure on the top of may head too. LCD-3 and X are better here than that. I listened to music for hours with them and still haven't had a thing.

 

2. The clamping force is still more present than HD800, but it doesn't bother me .

 

Have you ever tried the LCD-3s ? They are a step up over LCD-2 : no more pressure on the top of the head & much softer ear-pads (so less clamping force). And so is the X.


Edited by dan.gheorghe - 11/21/13 at 3:44am
post #1353 of 5408

LCD-2 didn't put pressure on the top of my head, but LCD-3 does after 3+ hours aproximately, it's an annoying pain that makes me have to take them off.

post #1354 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by mowglycdb View Post
 

LCD-2 didn't put pressure on the top of my head, but LCD-3 does after 3+ hours aproximately, it's an annoying pain that makes me have to take them off.

Never had this problem, but we all have different shaped heads :P

post #1355 of 5408
Hello -
I want to buy an amp to drive my LCD-X and am interested in Schiit products. Does anybody have experience with the Asgard 2 or Lyr amps and the LCD-X? Thanks for your help -

RCBinTN
post #1356 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan.gheorghe View Post
 

 

Thank you, Peter!

 

 

Sorry I didn't add this. I forgot. I find them both comfortable as I am not very picky with this. LCD-X is for me basically on the same comfort level as LCD-3. However, HD800 is still the most comfortable between the 3.

 

To answer your questions:

 

1. The headband on LCD2 did put pressure on the top of may head too. LCD-3 and X are better here than that. I listened to music for hours with them and still haven't had a thing.

 

2. The clamping force is still more present than HD800, but it doesn't bother me .

 

Have you ever tried the LCD-3s ? They are a step up over LCD-2 : no more pressure on the top of the head & much softer ear-pads (so less clamping force). And so is the X.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cizx View Post
 

I've had both vegan and leather LCD-2.2s, and the vegan is much more comfortable.  I'm not sure if it's density of the foam, or just the texture's better breatheability that makes me think that, though.

I'd suggest trying it with the yoke rod things extended as far as feasible.  Neither the -3 or the -2 is as comfortable as the HD800.  Not even close.  The Audezes are more durable and sturdy than the HD800, but the Sennheiser wins in ergonomics.  The only problem I had with the 800 was that the giant cups pushed a bit on my jaw... but that was easy to adjust.

 

Thank you both for your responses... Considering the fact that I find even the HD800 clamping a little bit more than I would like at times, LCD-X seem to be a no-go headphones for me. On the other hand, if I had enough money to own two high-end headphones, I would give them a try most probably.

post #1357 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by RCBinTN View Post

Hello -
I want to buy an amp to drive my LCD-X and am interested in Schiit products. Does anybody have experience with the Asgard 2 or Lyr amps and the LCD-X? Thanks for your help -

RCBinTN


I've listened to the LCD-X with the Lyr, and while it doesn't sound bad, I don't think it's a great match.  The LCD-X's voicing out of the Lyr is thick and warm, but lacking in detail. To me, the LCD-X is very much about transparancy and detail and it seems a shame to pair it with an amp that blurs the LCD-X's resolution. It may be a stretch for your budget, but you should consider the Mjolnir. The LCD-X has a very tight, detailed, and powerful sound with the Mjolnir. I haven't heard the Asgard 2 with the LCD-X, but it would be worth trying. The A2 has less power than the Mjolnir, but the LCD-Xs have very efficient transducers. The A2 does have higher levels of distortion and a higher noise floor than the Mjolnir--which is dead quiet and clean with the LCD-X.

post #1358 of 5408

Audez’e LCD-X review

 

Packaging:

 

The LCD-X’s arrived well packed in an outer cardboard shipping box around their rugged transport case.  Inside the case, the LCD-X were well protected in custom cutout foam. Also in the case were a Single Ended Cable, a Balanced Cable & a 1/4 to 1/8 Adaptor.  I love the rugged case.  It features a nice handle for transporting your headphones.  While no one will mistake these for typical portable headphones, it’s nice to be able to take them from home to office or from meet to meet with the confidence that this case inspires.  That said, I do wish the ‘phones would fit in the case with cable of your choosing still attached.  The LCD-X mini-XLR solution for attaching the cables to the headphones is by far the best I’ve seen, but I still don’t love the idea of taking those on and off over and over.  This is a minor quibble as I don’t expect to be taking these out of the house all that often.

 

 

 

Fit and Finish:

 

To date, Audez’e has been known for using various woods to make the ring that surrounds the drivers.  With the X and XC incarnations, they have chosen to go instead with a metal ring, available in gunmetal gray or black.  Opinions vary, but I find myself quite enjoying the aesthetic.  The leather pads and headband are carry-overs from their prior headphones.  They are comfortable and exude luxury.  I’m able to get a very secure fit that allows for no around-the-ear sound leakage.  These are, however, open back ‘phones and you will hear ambient sounds and others will hear your music.  These are not headphones for commuters or frequent flyers.  If you need isolation from the outside world, consider the XC’s.  Those are the cousins of the X’s that feature a closed back design...but that’s another review altogether.

 

 

 

Comfort:  

 

Make no mistake, the X’s are heavy headphones. At 600g, they are almost double the weight of the reigning comfort kings, the Sennheiser HD800’s  That said, I have never experienced discomfort from either the weight or the clamping force while wearing the LCD-2’s nor the LCD-X’s.  In long listening sessions, I tend to sit in an Ikea chair that allows me to rest my head, thus relieving my neck from having to hold them up, but even in long sessions sitting at my desk, I find them to be comfortable for long periods of time.  If you have neck or back issues or if you don’t like heavy headphones, these may not be the model for you.  

 

Review Equipment:

 

For this review. I used FLAC or ALAC files from MAC computers  Most of the listening was done on the Red Wine Audio Balanced ‘Audez’e Edition’ Isabellina HPA DAC/Amp (Mullard ECC88 tube, optical input) and Schiit Gungnir/Mjolnir (USB input) with additional listening done on the Schiit Bifrost/Lyr (tubes used: Amperex Orange Globe ECC88 and Mullard ECC88, optical input).  All listening was done using the stock cables from Audez’e.  www.schiit.com www.redwineaudio.com

 

The Sound:

 

Let me begin by saying that the Audez’e LCD-2’s (rev. 1) were a revelation in listening for me.  When I first heard them, I had a solid mid-fi budget system feauring a Little Dot MkIII and Sennheiser HD650's and thought it was as good as it could possibly get.  Then I attended a Head-Fi.org meet up and heard the LCD-2’s and my jaw literally dropped.  I will always have a soft place in my heart for the LCD-2’s as they brought me into the world of true high end headphone listening.  

 

I still have my pair of LCD-2’s and I listen to them often.  Again, I thought I had found audio nirvana.  So much so, that I wasn’t even tempted by all the accolades that were heaped upon the LCD-3’s when they were released.  I was content.  Flash forward to October 2013.  I attended CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival.  Much like that first Head-Fi meet, I had my ears and mind opened.  Even over the cacophony of the CanJam room, I was able to tell that the LCD-X were something special.  I was able to procure a pair for an upcoming meet I was hosting and have been able to spend an extended time listening to them for this review.

 

After playing them on a continuous loop for 24 hours to loosen up any tightness that might have remained in the new drivers and then having them in use for the day at the meetup, I started listening critically.

 

The first track that listened to was Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather.  The intro showed immediately that the new drivers were a big step forward over the LCD-2’s.  Transients were much faster.  There was clear delineation between cymbal strikes and the corresponding decay with no hangover between the two.  The treble was more extended without being bright. The snare attack was palpable.  The voice seemed less congested and the bass line was delivered with typical Audez’e force and depth.  Though with the Lyr, a warm sounding amp, the upper bass seemed to have a hump that blended into the lower midrange a little bit. 


This was all quite surprising, as I would never have characterized the LCD-2’s as congested nor slow, but the X’s were simply more open and faster throughout the midrange and treble regions.

 

Moving on to female vocals, I dropped the digital needle on the title track from Allison Krause’s Paper Airplane.  The opening guitar plucks showed that the treble speed was no fluke.  The pluck, ring and decay were all distinct and clear. Her wonderful voice soared without a hint of graininess or sibilance.

 

Switching to acoustic Jazz, I played title track from Harry Connick Jr.s excellent Lofty’s Roach Soufflé album.  Again I was struck by the natural sound of the drums. The snare was realistically portrayed while the cymbals had just the right amount of metallic ring rather than digital ‘tick’.  The upright bass was a little in-my-face for my liking when listening through the Bifrost/Lyr stack.  More of that upper bass hump?  The piano was lovely.  From left hand to right, it seemed to have the right combination of detail and timbre.  More surprising than all that was the imaging. One of the knocks on planar magnetic designs was that they didn’t present a wide, deep and tall soundstage.  While the jazz trio didn’t really provide an opportunity to demonstrate width and height, the depth was a significant improvement on the planars I have auditioned to date.  There was a clear sense of the space with excellent separation between the instruments front to back and left to right.

 

Time to put that imaging to the test with some classical music.  LvB’s 5th Piano Concerto (Till Fellner, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano) was first up.  The tonality was spot on.  While I would stop short of calling the imaging ‘holographic’ I will say that the left to right width and the placement all across the soundstage was excellent.  There was no ‘Three Blob’ imaging here.  I could clearly ‘see’ the placement of the piano center stage forward while the strings were distinctly just behind and evenly spread. It was also easy to get a sense of the space.

 

Next up was Yo Yo Ma’s interpretation of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B (Yo-Yo Ma, New York Philharmonic, Kurt Masur).  The warmth of Yo Yo Ma’s signature Montagnana cello comes through in spades.  It’s almost as though the cello was what these ‘phones were meant to play.  Again the imaging was distinct, but this recording really lent itself to showing how tall the image was.  Mic placement was closer to the stage and the sound enveloped from both sides as well as from above and below.  The horns are rendered exceptionally as well.  There was no hint of grain or metallic sound from the violins.  

 

Listening to two different recordings of the 4th movement of LvB’s 9th was a fascinating exercise with the X’s.  Their imaging ability made the choices the recording engineers had made crystal clear.  The London Symphony Orch recording with Wyn Morris on the podium was clearly a stage mic’d recording with the soloists much more up front in the presentation despite them more likely being behind the musicians.  This presented an great opportunity to hear the detail retrieval capabilities of the X’s as well as how they handled the choral vocals.  The words to the ode to Joy are clear and easy to understand.  The soloists each occupy their own space.  The timbre is excellent but there is little sense of the space in which the recording was made.  Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s performance under Christoph Eschenbach was a live recording and you get a much greater sense of Verizon Hall where the performance took place.  You get the obligatory coughs and creaks from the audience, but even those are clearly well placed.  The soloists are much further back in the presentation and tend to blur together more as a result.  This should not be seen as a knock on the LCD-X’s, but rather a logical difference stemming from the recordings.  What I found interesting was that the X’s made the differences so readily obvious.


A note on Amp Synnergy:

 

While the LCD-X’s are relatively easy to drive with their resistive 22ohm load and 96dB efficiency, they do require an amplifier to get the best sound from them.  They are a current hungry design that will be best served by transformer coupled tube amps or discrete solid state designs rather than OTL tube or op-amp based amps.  As to which specific amps, I can speak to the ones I have on hand.  I found the Lyr to have great synergy with the X’s cousin, the XC, but not as much with the X’s.  The notoriously warm sound signature of the Lyr rendered a ‘thickness’ in the midrange that I found too syrupy.  The RWA Balanced Isabelina, with it’s 5W of high current battery driven power, proved a great match.  None of that syrupy signature from the Lyr while rendering palpable imaging and still never approaching what I’d call bright or aggressive  The RWA got the best from the treble capabilities of the X’s.  Another solid, and somewhat surprising, match is the Schiit Gungnir/Mjolnir combination.  I was concerned it might be too aggressive with the X's extended treble, but I was wrong.  There is power and detail to spare, but even sibilant recordings from Lyle Lovett and Peter Gabriel were lacking in their typical brightness.  This combination rendered the best fine detail and offered the greatest control over the prodigious bass.  The best news is that the X’s absolutely do scale with the amplifier and will showcase the pluses and minuses of your electronics chain.

 

Conclusion:

 

I found the LCD-X’s to represent the state of the art in headphone design.  They improved upon the prior designs in a way that did nothing to detract.  The imaging is improved, the speed and detail retrieval is excellent.  I did note a small upper bass emphasis on a very few recordings, but it was not consistent and it left me thinking it had more to do with the recording than the phones, but it may mean a little care should be taken when pairing them with a very warm amplifier.  

 

I’m happy to say that the LCD-X’s will be remaining in my system and I am looking forward to experiencing my entire library again for the first time.  

 

Highly Recommended


Edited by leesure - 11/21/13 at 10:39am
post #1359 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


I've listened to the LCD-X with the Lyr, and while it doesn't sound bad, I don't think it's a great match.  The LCD-X's voicing out of the Lyr is thick and warm, but lacking in detail. To me, the LCD-X is very much about transparancy and detail and it seems a shame to pair it with an amp that blurs the LCD-X's resolution. It may be a stretch for your budget, but you should consider the Mjolnir. The LCD-X has a very tight, detailed, and powerful sound with the Mjolnir. I haven't heard the Asgard 2 with the LCD-X, but it would be worth trying. The A2 has less power than the Mjolnir, but the LCD-Xs have very efficient transducers. The A2 does have higher levels of distortion and a higher noise floor than the Mjolnir--which is dead quiet and clean with the LCD-X.

 

Well said Barry,

 

I think the Lyr is just too syrupy for the X's.  'Thick' is the exact term I use. 

 

I have been listening to the M&G stack for about the last 24 hours straight, it seems.  I'm more and more impressed by the pairing.  I was concerned about an overly aggressive sound, but quite the contrary, it's smooth and effortless...even on typically aggressive recordings. 

post #1360 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by leesure View Post
 

 

Well said Barry,

 

I think the Lyr is just too syrupy for the X's.  'Thick' is the exact term I use. 

 

I have been listening to the M&G stack for about the last 24 hours straight, it seems.  I'm more and more impressed by the pairing.  I was concerned about an overly aggressive sound, but quite the contrary, it's smooth and effortless...even on typically aggressive recordings. 

 

I'm finding the same exact things with the Mjolnir/Gungnir and the LCD-X. Even small amounts of sibilance and treble glare really bother me, but I'm only hearing smooth, extended, and coherent treble with the M/G. I was very ready to sell the Mjolnir if it was too forward, but I think it's a very good pairing with the LCD-X.

 

BTW, great review and I look forward to hearing your take on the WA22 vs the Mjolnir with the LCD-X.

post #1361 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by leesure View Post
 

Audez’e LCD-X review

 

Conclusion:

 

I found the LCD-X’s to represent the state of the art in headphone design.  They improved upon the prior designs in a way that did nothing to detract.  The imaging is improved, the speed and detail retrieval is excellent.  I did note a small upper bass emphasis on a very few recordings, but it was not consistent and it left me thinking it had more to do with the recording than the phones, but it may mean a little care should be taken when pairing them with a very warm amplifier.  

 

I’m happy to say that the LCD-X’s will be remaining in my system and I am looking forward to experiencing my entire library again for the first time.  

 

Highly Recommended

 

"This is a fantastic review that addresses literally every single question I have about the LCD-X: comfort, amp synergy, usefulness with chamber and orchestral music, comparisons with other models. Thanks leesure!" --Olias

 

"Damn you." -- Olias' wallet

post #1362 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by leesure View Post
 

Audez’e LCD-X review

 

(snip)

 

I found the LCD-X’s to represent the state of the art in headphone design.  They improved upon the prior designs in a way that did nothing to detract.  The imaging is improved, the speed and detail retrieval is excellent.  I did note a small upper bass emphasis on a very few recordings, but it was not consistent and it left me thinking it had more to do with the recording than the phones, but it may mean a little care should be taken when pairing them with a very warm amplifier.  

 

I’m happy to say that the LCD-X’s will be remaining in my system and I am looking forward to experiencing my entire library again for the first time.  

 

Highly Recommended

 

I'm glad to see you did a review, I enjoyed reading it. Some nice photography as well.

 

Have the LCD-X's completely taken the place of your LCD-2's, or are there still certain songs/genres where you prefer the 2's?


Edited by Taowolf51 - 11/21/13 at 11:36am
post #1363 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taowolf51 View Post
 

 

I'm glad to see you did a review, I enjoyed reading it. Some nice photography as well.

 

Regarding amps, would you say the LCD-X likes the multi-watt amps just as much as the older Audeze headphones, or would a less powerful amp be just as appropriate if it was designed well enough?

 

Tough to say.  I think I'd put the floor at about 1W for the sake of headroom, but I think the more important factor will be the nature of the power.  These things crave current and many headphone amps are not necessarily designed to drive 22ohm loads...especially the OTL amps.  Look to a solid state or transformer coupled design that can deliver the goods into 22ohms. 

 

That said, you don't necessarily have to spend a tin to get that. The Magni will drive them in a satisfying fashion.  I'm guessing the Asgard will too.  The Mjolnir definitely does.  The Lyr is not a good option, IMO. 

 

I would expect the Burson to be a nice fit.  The Woo 6SE as well.

post #1364 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by leesure View Post
 

 

Well said Barry,

 

I think the Lyr is just too syrupy for the X's.  'Thick' is the exact term I use. 

 

I have been listening to the M&G stack for about the last 24 hours straight, it seems.  I'm more and more impressed by the pairing.  I was concerned about an overly aggressive sound, but quite the contrary, it's smooth and effortless...even on typically aggressive recordings. 

 

 

Leesure - excellent review.   It mirrors my impressions of the LCD-X pretty spot-on, even down to the seeming lack of synergy with the Lyr (though I've found that tube rolling can mitigate that a bit).   I had been driving them through Gungnir (SE)->Pioneer SA-9100 (restored 1974 discrete SS integrated) and they sounded great.   I picked up some balanced->SE cables and am not running it as Gungnir (Bal) -> BAT VK-5i Pre (Matsu****a 7DJ8 tubes) -> SA-9100 and the synergy is outstanding.

 

I've been A/Bing the LCD-X and LCD-3 and have been on the fence about which to keep.  I'd say I'm around 95% sure at this point that the LCD-3 will soon be up for sale.

post #1365 of 5408
Quote:
Originally Posted by madFloyd View Post

Disclaimer: Please forgive me for not reading the entire thread. 

I have never heard Audeze headphones but have always been interested in them. I've never gone forward because of what I've read of their tonal balance and the fact that they needed strong amplification.

I have just read that the X will work with portable devices and are much less dark sounding.

I am wondering if these will work with my AK100 (modded by Red Wine Audio).  

Has anyone tried these on a decent portable player?

Thanks in advance.
I'd also like to know this. I'm testing my colorfly C4 with the LCD 2 and 3 tomorrow. It has 2V output so should be Ok... But even better with the new more efficient models. I'll let you know soon.
Edited by deafanddumb - 11/21/13 at 2:34pm
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