Audeze LCD2 Planar Magnetic Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.55455/5,
  1. tamleo
    5.0/5,
    "Nearest perfect headphone of mine so far.."
    Pros - Too much, see below..
    Cons - Silghtly distant mids, Requires a powerful amp to sound all of its best, crap build of newest stock cable (adz6), comfort issue for long listening session
    Pros of Audeze LCD-2 R2:
    1. Midrange (natural, detail, seduction..->phenomenal mids makes even harshest rock or terrible mordern electronic pop sound super smooth and emotional/touchy but still full of energy)
    2. Treble (oudstanding quality and natural treble, slightly lacks the quantity though)
    3.Bass (Very detailed, fast, tight and powerful bass. Although I know it will be hard to implement this for such an open and top-tier hi-fi headphone, BUT a little more kick, impact, solid at mid-bass and bigger amount at sub-bass would become perfect[​IMG] )
    4. Good design and material (excepts the stock cable and tough pads)
    Compared headphones: few Denon, Beyer, grado, Sony fullsize models, jvc, sony, westone..iems[​IMG]
  2. totheark
    5.0/5,
    "these headphones are"
    Pros - the sound quality will never fail you, perfect sync with anything you plug them into, durability is amazing
    Cons - price, the size, weight,
    these headphones are delicious. great look, unfailing sound reproduction.
  3. DamageInc77
    5.0/5,
    "Outstanding Headphones"
    Pros - Incredible bass, mids and treble. Excellent Design and construction quality. Hand Made in USA
    Cons - Can get a tad uncomfortable if worn for more than 4 hours.
    These are simply amazing. For a price far below it's competitors like the Sennheiser HD800 and the various Beyerdynamic models, there is nothing better than these.
  4. SennHI808
    4.5/5,
    "First time listening to these amazing cans!!"
    Pros - Amazing clarity with great separation. Bass was very nice. Huge soundstage.
    Cons - A bit heavy. Hard to pay $1000 for a pair of headphones. Requires a very nice amp.
    I just had a chance to finally listen to these Audez'e LCD-2 headphones and must say that these were absolutely amazing. My local shop had it paired with the Schiit Lyr (not sure if these pair well together) and they sounded very nice. The soundstage and separation were top notch and the bass was deep and very present. When you actually get to see and wear these cans you can tell immediately that they are very high quality and built with the finest materials. They are a bit heavy but it didn't bother me in any way. It seems crazy to pay $1000usd for headphones but compared to the HD800 and HiFiMan HE-6 they seem to be a great value. Before I listened to these I would never pay that high for a can, but of course that has all changed. Sorry wallet. I am a rookie in this vast world of hi-fi so I am just sharing my 2 cents. 
  5. DefQon
    4.0/5,
    "Just ok, but not the best!"
    Pros - Mids, treble, bass, unique design, wood
    Cons - ,price for sound, slightly slow and tad bit muddy, decayed when listening to fast bpm music, weight, slightly rolled off highs
    Purchased one of the later batches of the LCD2 rev.1's back in '2010' just few months before the rev.2 came out.
     
    A quick review on these is that, they have a slightly dark sound signature, the bass on these are absolutely great but the bass extension and bass impact on these are good but not excellent (same applies to the LCD2 rev.2's which I will write a short comparison in a sec). The mids on this thing is absolutely nice for those who luster for a bit more clear vocal reproduction, an SS amp would benefit dearly over a tube amp, not to say that a tube amp pairs up badly with the LCD2's it depends on what you want with your overall music listening experience.
     
    Comparing these to my HD800's, CD950's and Lambda Pro's is that they don't have the best soundstaging, instead of being in a wide open auditorium, the LCD2's restrict your listening experience to that of being in a narrow but very long hallway.
     
    To wrap up this short review, the only difference I've managed to spot between extensive listening between the LCD2 rev.1 and rev.2 is the latter is slightly, only tad bit forward with the mids, treble sounds a slightly clear but bass is slightly hollow and reduced compared to the rev,1's which is also slightly darker than the rev.2's. Neither is best, just the LCD2 rev.2 improves only to a very slight point that people didn't favour from the rev.1's, while the rev.1's retained the 'original' bass quality.
     
    The only reason I gave it some con's is because:
     
    1. the weight
    2. I listen to a wide range of genre's, mainly electronic based music, for fast breakbeat/dnb (150bpm+) and hardcore techno, the LCD2's are slightly slow and can sound congested or muddy sometimes, my HD800's (even though it has reduced bass), it and my Lambda Pro's sound extremely well with fast dnb music, just one thing the LCD2's aren't perfect for, even though there bass reproduction is good as it is)
    3. there is a bit of decay to certain music I listen to with the LCD2's, sounding slightly unnatural, but yet again I don't think these can's are aimed for the neutral crowd as there is bass emphasism on these.
    4. slightly rolled off highs, listen to some classical waltz with some vocal's and you will know what I'm talking about.
    5. Not worth $995, the LCD2's would be attractive at maybe $600-700 most.
     
    Test and review was done on a wide range of equipment (some from memory)
     
    Violectric V100/V200
    Little Dot MK VI+
    Beta 22 2 channel and 3 channel
    Assorted balanced cables
    Martin Ross balanced DAC with HP output
    FLAC source via digital toslink > Creative Fatality Pro digital out port > my PC.
     
    4 Stars overall, I think it's because of my expectations from having an extensive library of headphones I've owned and auditioned before that has put the LCD2's out of my recommended Top 5 list.
     
     
     
  6. Squuiid
    5.0/5,
    "LCD2 with Lyr-Bifrost = Awesome"
    Pros - Incredible sound
    Cons - none
    I never thought it was possible for such rich sound from a headphone. Simply amazing headphones.
  7. JohnQbert
    4.0/5,
    "Great Sound, but dissapointing headband"
    Pros - Great bass
    Cons - Uncomfortable headband
    I'm no audiophile, but I was looking for top sound reproduction for listening to high quality music and watching movies.

    I purchased the Audeze LCD-2 over the Sennheiser HD 800 because I wanted a warmer sound with more bass (I own a set of Sennheiser HD 555's so I know somewhat what the review's state are the pro's of the HD 800 in regards to soundstage , but can be lacking in bass). The Audeze definitely have the bass I was missing from the Sennheiser 555's, but sound quality is on an entirely different level too (better).

    The real problem I wanted to mention with the Audeze LCD-2 is the headband.

    I read many many reviews before making my purchase and I took note of the statements that they are heavy and uncomfortable for those with smaller/softer heads. When I received the Audeze LCD-2, I could barely wear them for more than 15 minutes without experiencing very bad discomfort. I flattened out the headband a little and then I could tolerate about 30-45 minutes before I'd have a headache - I spent about a week with the headphones in this state.

    I thought I was going to return them, because spending $1,000 on something you can't use is rather stupid. Although the sound quality on these is amazing to me and I didn't want to lose that.
    I wasn't sure if it was the headband or the weight of the headphones that was causing the discomfort.

    The solution for me was removing the leather headband and making my own headband. I ended up pulling out a sewing kit and I made a new soft foam headband and attaching it to the original metal band (It's removable so I could always go back to the leather one). I can now use the Audeze LCD-2 for multiple hours without experiencing discomfort - so for me it seems it was the pressure the headband placed on my head and not the weight of the headphones.

    I realize spending $1000 on headphones and having to create your own comfort seems somewhat silly, but I figured I paid for the audio quality and not so much for the other items Audeze doesn't specialize in (headbands).
     
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additional Notes (After initially writing the review:
     
    I'm powering these using a Schitt Audio's Asgard headphone amp.
     
    Originally I could easily max out the amp volume and still need more volume, but I recently added Schitt Audio's BIFROST DAC, and now the Asgard is completely capable of powering these headphones.
     
    I was originally using PC > Other DAC(Speaker system built-in) > Asgard, but I could easily max the volume in certain situations.
     
    Now its, PC > BiFrost > Asgard, I only need a quarter turn and its rather loud, any higher and I'm likely to have hearing loss.
     
    Again, I'm no audiophile, but the BiFrost allowed the Audeze to come truly alive, since all of the details were being properly processed, as my other DAC unit wasn't allowing these to be passed to the headphones.
     
    Now when I listen to music, movies, ect, I feel as though I'm in a room listening to speakers - sometimes I forget I have headphones on (If I don't move my head much, as the headphones weight shifting makes them apparent).
     
    I just wanted to mention this, since some reviews say the Asgard can be maxed out with these headphones and have you wanting more. Honestly I had situations where this was true with only using the Asgard(no BiFrost), which was concerning to me.
     
    The DAC you use does play a role in the ability of your amp to produce adequate volume levels.
    Argo Duck, Syros and Devarika Woulf like this.
  8. Lan647
    4.5/5,
    "Very highly recommended"
    Pros - Organic tonality. Tight, deep, powerful bass. Great all-rounder. Solid, attractive build.
    Cons - Heavy. Lacks that last bit of openness and delicacy.
    A large, hefty bit of planar magnetic goodness. Wood, metal and leather construction is very nice. A bit heavy for prolonged use though, can cause discomfort on top of your head. 

    It has already been said. Fantastic bass that should appeal to everyone, a very smooth and full-bodied midrange and a pleasant, nonobtrusive natural sounding treble. Very refined with low distortion and high detail, if not quite as spectacular in this regard as electrostatics. Some may find them a little to the dark side, lacking that airy openness. 

    I think this is the best choice below $1000. I prefer them to most. 
  9. dagothur
    5.0/5,
    "A chameleon of the headphone world"
    Pros - Liquid, refined bass, beautiful mids, amazing transience and presentation, glorious highs, competitive price
    Cons - Huge and dorky looking, has been said to be heavy to the point of inducing pain
    I would like to preface this by saying I've not had the kind of time I had with my Denon AH-D7000s - which were my favorite headphones that got almost 100% of head-time and hundreds of hours of use - as I have with my LCD-2s.  However, I shall be using them as the basis of comparison since I found - and still find - the D7000s to be an amazing pair of headphones, especially for their price point.  I bought these headphones at the beginning of September with the intention of getting a sample of their sound and perhaps even making them my top choice of headphone.  For the sake of reference, I was using a Nuforce Icon HDP as a DAC and amp.  At this point, I can definitely say they are now my go-to headphones.  On to the review!
    Revision: After having spent six months with these headphones, I've come to a few new conclusions that I think are worthy of sharing.  These new conclusions will be based partly on my experiences with the LCD-2s and the Audio GD NFB-10SE - a combo I am loving - and the much extended listening time I've had since the original review.  The revised sections will be marked as such.

    Packaging and Design 
       This was the most over-packaged headphone I've ever bought.  It was in the beautiful wooden box, with foam, inside of another cardboard box, inside of a larger cardboard box.  The box that carries the LCD-2 itself is a dark, polished wood with the Audez'e logo on the bottom right of the lid.  Inside is red silk(?), and some foam on the inside of the lid to protect the LCD-2s.  The LCD 2s smelled strongly of Oak - due to the wood polish, I presume - and leather.  The headphones themselves are extremely sturdy and heavy (this will be discussed further in the 'comfort and use' section).  These won't be breaking anytime soon.  
       These are completely open, and although very attractive and stylish looking off the head, look absolutely foolish while on the skull.  The headphone jack is a large, silver 1/4 inch (or 6.33 mm) plug with a bit of black rubber that screws on.  Overall, these headphones are sturdy and well-made, but I gave them a half-star less because of the weight and how ridiculous they look on the head.

    Comfort and Use
      This seemed to be a point of contention on the LCD-2 thread before it was locked.  I will admit it's a bit of hit-and-miss in terms of comfort, but I found having the large back end of the leather pads sitting at the point where the jaw meets the neck is prime.  These aren't nearly as comfortable as my Denon D7000s - which disappear on the head without question -, but for somebody with an enormous noggin' (I have to adjust it almost all the way up) it's not so bad.  If you have a small head and/or neck, you'll have to get adjusted to the heftiness of the LCD-2s.  The clamp force is a measure greater than what I expected or am used to, which may become an issue depending on the music you're listening to or how long you use them.

    Sound
         
         Highs:  The highs on the LCD-2s are brilliant.  The Beyer Dt990s up until hearing the LCD-2s had the best highs I had ever heard, especially paired with a warm amp.  However, once listening to Dream Theater, Rush, and various classical music, I have found a clear winner.  Sibilant is not even in the same building as these headphones.  Cymbals and hi-hats are perfectly crisp, high vocals are engaging and wonderful.  There is absolutely no artificial tonality to these headphones.  It feels as if the singer is in the room with you as the music plays.  I used to think the Denons had natural-sounding highs, but the LCD-2s are far superior.  A word of advice, though:  these headphones, like most, shine when given proper recording.  Give it a 128 kbps, and you won't feel the magic.  I can definitely say the mids and bass on these cans are definitely their strong point, but the highs are certainly no slouch.
         Revision: The highs are heavily dependent on how well textured the amp or source is.  My Nuforce is a bit laid back, at least in comparison with my NFB, so the highs weren't as articulate as they could be. With the NFB, the highs are distinct and well-articulated, but it seems to bring the highs themselves closer to an in-your-face Grado signature.  The strengths of the LCD-2 highs - natural, non-sibilant and engaging - were amplified, but very occasionally the highs were striding the fence on sibilant.  
         Mids:  The crown prince of mids has earned his title.  The vocals are never harsh, or artificial.  Every note is sweet and perfectly executed.  "Spanish Harlem", a song I've noticed thrown around a lot as a benchmark for engaging mids, sounds mesmerizing on these headphones.  It's like Rebecca Pidgeon is whispering into your ear the entire song.  Voice has a very live, natural quality to it.  I had never realized how recessed the midrange had been on my Denons or M50s until having heard these.  Listening to the song "Autumn Serenade" from "Standards" is stunning.  The Denons have sweet, engaging vocals, but the LCD-2s bring life and naturalness to singing in a way no other headphone can.  Another song by Livingston Taylor, "Grandma's Hands", is conveyed with a natural energy that I've yet to hear again.  There is no negative to the mids.  If you enjoy mids, go for a pair of LCD-2s.  You will not be disappointed by any means.
        Revision: The mids are, and remain to be, the strength of the LCD-2s.  In general, the NFB provides a lot more power and articulation than the Nuforce did, which lends better distinction to the vocals.  This shouldn't be mistaken for emphasis or edginess.  Mid-range clarity and naturalness is merely enhanced, as if the singer cleared their throat and gave it some extra oomph.
       Bass:  The bass of the LCD-2s does not have the impact of my D7000s, by any stretch.  That is something you will notice immediately coming from a pair of fun and bassy headphones to these.  Although it doesn't have as much impact as a pair of D7000s, it certainly has plenty of impact to spare.  With the song "Slam" by Pendulum, the first minute or so of the song can be a challenge for a headphone to really deliver the kind of 'Slam' for which the song is titled.  The LCD-2s do so perfectly, and with a refinement that trumps the Denons.  A very good test of bass is the song "Failure in the Flesh" by Through the Eyes of the Dead, which can also be challenging for a headphone to do properly.  On the LCD-2s, the drum notes and vocals have a beautiful union of force and refinement.   There is no muddiness whatsoever, no matter how low or how strong the bass goes.  The bass on these beauties is liquid, refined and extended.
        Revision: As with the mids, the bass isn't necessarily emphasized over the rest of the frequency range.  Everything in the lower end is just better articulated, textured and powered over the Nuforce's performance.  I would also compare the change in signature from the Nuforce to NFB with leaning towards the AKG, but the bass proves this not to be.  Bass notes are tighter, punchier and faster, but still fast and natural.  
        Soundstage:  Oh yes, soundstage.  Most closed headphones simply can't compete with open headphones in terms of soundstage, and the LCD-2s don't make me disbelieve this.  The soundstage is much wider than my Denons - which I believe is again from the open design -, and much deeper.  All the notes feel as if they're placed accurately and distinctly in space.  Listen to any drum-heavy song, and you'll understand what it really means to feel the music.  "Festival De Teum" feels down right ethereal through these cans.  If that choir is 10 feet above you, and thirty feet forward, you'll definitely know it with these headphones.
       Revision: Not much to say here, but I definitely feel like soundstage was improved.  This might be because presence and transience are far improved, so each note feels distinct in space, but I do believe depth is noticeably better.
       Presence and Transience:  One of my problems with choosing which headphone stays or goes was how different the presentation was between the Denons and LCD-2s.  The D7000s have, hands-down, some of the best instrument separation and presence I've ever heard.  However, after a lot of listening to the LCD-2s, I've decided I prefer them.  Everything is transparent and clear through these headphones, which was a caveat for the Denons.  As with soundstage, any drum-heavy track will reveal just how well these headphones do Presence, and how quickly.  The Dt990s are the fastest headphones I've ever heard by far, but the LCD-2s aren't too far behind.  Cymbals have a crisp, clean quality, and every note feels distinct.
       Revision: If you had a problem with the LCD-2's presence and transience, the NFB will fix it in kind.  Every single part of the music is distinct, clear and clean.  This might be the largest improvement I heard from the NFB, and generally brings the LCD-2s closer to the Grados or AKGs in this respect.  Heavy metal, rock and classical all benefit extremely well from this enhancement.  It's almost as if the LCD-2s were veiled with the Nuforce, and now it's being set free by the change in source/amp.
     Conclusion:  These are all around the best headphones I've ever heard.  Nothing sounds bad on them, and everything feels natural, transparent and liquid.  According to the FR graph, these headphones are reasonably neutral, and I have to agree.  They're not bottom-heavy like my Denons were, or too focused in the mids and highs like I find my Grado Sr-80s.  They're not as comfortable as my Denons by a large margin, and might cause some fatigue after extended listening.  When properly amped, they can deliver sweet musical bliss.  I only have experience with the Meier Opera and Nuforce Icon HDP, but the Amp Recommendations thread has impressions for every amp under the sun with these.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this to any headphone user (if you have $1000 to drop) with a proper amp and a large cranium.
      Revision: The LCD-2s are truly chameleons in the way they respond to changes in amps.  The sound signature remains slightly dark, and their strengths are the same - transparency, clarity, midrange, naturalness, etc. - but each amp seems to add its flavor to the headphones themselves.  I wouldn't say it's drastic, as with the Paradox t50 mods, but it's certainly noticeable.
    Syros and steelstring41 like this.
  10. dyl1dyl
    5.0/5,
    "Rev 2s versus Rev 1s"
    Pros - Soundstage is great, mids are beautiful, impactful bass, smooth unfatiguing highs, beautiful box
    Cons - Not the last word in comfort
     
    Just got my rev 2s a few weeks ago. After pretty extensive comparison with my previous rev 1s, I prefer the rev 2s for almost any music. The overall fidelity is just slightly better and the upper mids and treble, slightly more pronounced, though imo a bit of midrange density is sacrificed. What makes me prefer the rev2s is the soundstage more than anything else. In the rev1s, I really disliked the sound stage as I found it to be really disjointed, presenting sound in three columns, left, centre and right with "walls" between each column. In the new rev 2s, while the soundstage is not expansive like a hd800, it is a very nice, coherent semicircle presented in front of the listener and I really like this change, hence my preference for the rev 2s.


    Syros likes this.