This may be a general question that applys not only to LCD-X but to all Audez'e headphones, but is there a meaningful sonic difference and between lambskin leather and microsuede (leather-free) ear pads?
For instance, when it comes to Hifiman headphones, there is a clear difference in sound between pleather and velour pads. In terms of looks and feel, I suppose they could be considered the Hifiman counterparts of lambskin leather and microsuede, respectively. The pleather pads offer a more forward midrange and bass, while velour sound brighter but offers a slightly better imaging and soundstage. Comfort-wise, both are quite comfortable but I sort of prefer the velour in this regard. I found that Hifiman headphone owners clearly have a preference of one pad over another, depending one their musical tastes.
So here are my questions. I would appreciate a detailed answer from a seasoned listener who preferably have had experience with both.
#1. Is there a meaningful--not merely noticeable upon critical listening, but meaningful that one may definitely prefer one to another--difference in sound quality between lambskin leather and microsuede?
If yes, please proceed to #2; if not, please ignore #2, #2-1, #2-2 and #3 entirely.
#2. If there is a meaningful difference, is there a general consensus (meaning the majority, say over 70-80% of people prefer specifically one type of pad to the other) as to which pad is overall superior-sounding? Or is the opinion mixed among people, somewhat 50-50?
#2-1. If the answer to #2 is that there is a general consensus, is this consensus nearly consistent throughout all Audez'e headphones, or does it change drastically depending on the headphones (LCD-2/3/X/XC)? For example, in case of Hifiman, velour may be strongly preferred among HE-500 users, but pleather could be preferred by some HE-6 users--myself included--because it helps tame the somewhat harsh treble of HE-6.
#2-2. If the answer to #2 is that there hasn't been a general consensus, how do these two pads sound different? Is it similar to Hifiman, that leather has more pronounced mids and bass while microsuede is brighter and wider-sounding? Or is it entirely different?
#3. For LCD-X specifically, considering its sound signature, do you think one type of pad may be more favored by many people than the other? If so, which one, and why?
#4. Sound-quality aside, let's talk about comfort. What I know for a fact is that the LCD-X is a rather heavy headphone, weighing 600 grams. That doesn't necessarily mean it's uncomfortable, as proper headband and cup design could evenly distribute the weight and thus make it more comfortable. Of course, I don't expect the same level of comfort as, say an HD800 or TH900. That being said, is there a significant difference in comfort between leather and microsuede? If so, which do you think is generally more comfortable with LCD-X, specifically?
#5. Lastly, are there any color options for microsuede? The only color I've seen so far is brown, I wonder if there are any other options.