So, I recently participated in Headamp's/Justin tour for the LCD-XCs and well, here some impressions...
After acquiring MrSpeakers Alpha Dogs last year, I quickly thought of buying the LCD-XCs outright not only because of their looks (they look amazing!!!!!) but because if the planar sound of modded T50RP drivers were pleasant and excellent performers then these closed-back from Audeze would kick butt all over the place! And I can say that I'm glad I didn't spend almost $2000 for headphones I KNOW I would have gotten rid of... now, don't throw stones at me yet... lol! It's just that for the price the LCD-XC sells, I wasn't really all that impressed...
Presentation is Ok. They come in their huge case, with good cables, cleaning kit, etc. Their design is just excellent to my eyes. They look good, they feel sturdy and well built and once you hold them you just know that what you have in your hands is quality! Once on your head though, that "well-built"/sturdy quality translate to heavy as hell. The Alpha Dogs are already a bit heavy (for the headphones that I'm used to) but somehow their ample Alpha Pads and the full headband strap makes it feel less heavy. Not so with the XCs. The pads are indeed comfortable though but I couldn't spend hours like I usually do with my other headphones.
Sound was good though. Direct comparison, it provides more bass quantity than the Alpha Dogs with good impact and presence. It sounds more textured as well.
The mids are lovely and they don't "suffer" from the tiny warm veil than the ADs apply (and I enjoy). The big difference for me though was the mid/upper treble presence. It is definitely more forward, less grainy and best of all not shrill. And if you ask: "well, that doesn't sound like a bad description to me...", well, Still... still they were missing "something"... I was listening to my usual test songs: Kaskade - "Fire in your Shoes", Jon Cleary - "So Damn Good", Mima - "Oigo Voces", Esperanza Spalding - "What a Friend", Sara Bareilles - "Vegas"/"King of Anything", Killswitch Engage - "Fixation on the Darkness", J-King y Maximan - "Dura, Dura", Calvin Harris - "Feel so Close", Three Six Mafia - "Late Night Tip", Orquesta Macabeo - "Me Repito", etc. and I just wasn't enjoying the headphones as much as I thought. Put back the ADs, and I was feeling it, changed back to the XCs and ... yeah... something was off. I tried to pinpoint it to something specific:
1) Natural sound somehow feeling "too much" to my ears?
2) Soundstage wasn't particularly too wide?!? (although imaging was very good)
3) Could it be my chain (NuForce Icon HDP --> Burson Soloist SL)?
4) Could it be that I'm used to the Alpha Dogs sound?
5) Or could it be that I just couldn't see how Audeze could charge so much for a small incremental sound quality increase (at least to my perception)?
I can say that it was surprising listening to the XCs and NOT being blown away! So overall I still preferred the Alpha Dogs... from sound to comfort. I know... blasphemy right?!?! Well, at least the LCD-XCs are VERY easy to drive (unlike the ADs!) so that's definitely a plus!
LCD-XC mixed with mostly "cheapos"...
Bass quantity: PF Dido D901 --> Denon D5000 (LA-modded) --> LCD-XCs --> DS Drama --> Yamaha MT220 --> Alpha Dogs --> DS Dolphins --> Spider Moonlight
Bass quality: LCD-XCs --> D5000 (LA-modded) --> Alpha Dogs --> Yamaha MT220 --> PF Dido D901 --> Spider Moonlight --> DS Drama --> DS Dolphin
Mids presentation: LCD-XCs --> Alpha Dogs --> Spider Moonlight --> D5000 (LA-modded) --> Yamaha MT220 --> PF Dido D901 --> DS Dolphin --> DS Drama
Soundstage/imaging: D5000 (LA-modded) --> Alpha Dogs --> LCD-XCs --> PF Dido D901 --> Spider Moonlight --> Yamaha MT220 --> DS Dolphin --> DS Drama
Highs: LCD-XCs --> Alpha Dogs --> D5000 (LA-modded) --> DS Drama --> PF Dido D901 --> Yamaha MT220 --> Spider Moonlight --> DS Dolphin
Sound Isolation/Leakage: Alpha Dogs --> Spider Moonlight --> LCD XCs --> PF Dido D901 --> DS Drama --> Yamaha MT220 --> DS Dolphin --> D5000 (LA-modded)
Fun Factor: D5000 (LA-modded) --> PF Dido D901 --> DS Dolphin --> Yamaha MT220 --> Alpha Dogs --> LCD XCs --> DS Drama --> Spider Moonlight
**Price: DS Dolphin --> Yamaha MT220 --> Alpha Dogs --> D5000 (LA-modded) --> PF Dido D901 --> LCD XCs --> DS Drama --> Spider Moonlight
** tied to fun factor (i.e. would I spend what they cost cause I enjoy them?)
I wanted to compare the LCD-XCs to my LFF Enigma's and my modded Beyer T5p's but the Enigma's are actually arriving this week and Martin seems that he isn't done woodifying my T5p's... (yeah I know... crazy idea I had...)
Finally, just wanted to mention that I tested these guys on my PC... USB --> Nuforce Icon HDP --> Burson Soloist SL and directly from my AK100 MK2 as well.
I was actually going for a full-on review, but decided to just post as "impressions" here instead.