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Over-Ear item created by jacksonchansf, Aug 22, 2012
Pros - tight incredible punchy bass. micro detail. great violin.
Cons - heavy. uncomfortable
Video review here:
So this is Audeze's entry level offering... and I must say that is a BIG understatement. These are well above other Audeze's headphones in terms of euphoric listening experience. These should be in fact placed well above the LCD x in my opinion.
From their website:
Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. That’s when Dragoslav Colich, who has 30+ years’ experience in designing planar drivers, joined the team as CTO to create the LCD-1 headphone.
Then we created the legendary, award-winning LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones, and the higher-efficiency LCD-X and XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8 and SINE series headphones. Audeze turned to their strategic partner Designworks, a BMW Group Subsidiary, for the cutting-edge industrial design for the new headphones as well as the Deckard DAC/Amplifier.
Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.
This review unit was lent to me by audio excellence, for a review. Nevertheless, my review will contain no bias
Style Open circumaural
Transducer type Planar magnetic
Magnetic structure Proprietary push-pull design
Magnet type Neodymium
Transducer size 106 mm
Maximum power handling 15W (for 200ms)
Sound pressure level >130dB with 15W
Frequency response 5Hz – 20kHz extended out to 50kHz
Total harmonic distortion <1% through entire frequency range
Impedance7 70 ohms
Efficiency 101dB / 1mW
Optimal power requirement 1 – 4W
THE BUILD QUALITY
All you will see on these headphones is wood, metal, and Leather. Of course, you can opt out for their Vegan option. Anyhow, the build is absolute and everything screams quality. There is nothing else to say.... every hinge and cup is done in the most perfect way possible. At this price range, thank god.
Because these are make of top quality material and heavy drivers, they are heavy and to top it all off, the headband is too thin to distribute the weight correctly on your head. This results to quite an impressive amount of discomfort within 30 minutes of listening. However, there is a solution. You just got to buy the 200 dollar carbon fiber headband that comes with only their TOTL model, LCD4. Is it worth it? well... for the comfort improvement, yes. You will especially need it if you are coming from more lightweight headphones like the HD650.
The drivers used are planar magnetic drivers and to me, this is a plus because other than the fact that Audeze has great experience tuning these types of drivers, these types of drivers can make a more impactful sound in a closed housing like this. Isolation is also very good due to the overall build.
Included is also their latest technology, the “fazor,” which is a wave guide to increase the clarity and lower distortion.
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Lower Frequencies: With a satisfying amount of sub bass, what really defines the LCD 2 in my opinion is their punchy and tight bass. It is one of the most clean, fast and punchy bass I've every heard in a headphone. I think this is what people refer to when they say "planar bass is better." Incredible amount of satisfaction.
Mid Frequencies: I found this headphone to excel with micro detail in this range. Vocals sound wet and airy while retaining the euphoric vocal signature you would experience in the HD650s. This is impressive because with larger soundstage, this becomes harder. And yes, these do have bigger sound stage than the HD650s but less than the HD800s. with that in mind, the violin tracks sound incredible on these headphones. Lindsey stirlings' songs all sounded too good to be true. Despite the discomfort, I had to keep it on.
High Frequencies: Falls short in the upper range compared to HD800s but excels in the lower ranges. Again, micro detail will almost trick you into thinking it is a much better headphone than the HD800s. Technically HD800s do better in this range but if your ears like it more, doesn't that mean it's just better too? well, in my opinion the LCD 2 pleased my ears more.
Soundstage/imaging: The soundstage was larger than the HD650 and tad smaller than the HD800s and Hifiman edition x v2. However, the imaging was quite impressive, although this also fell short compared to the mighty HD800s. In terms of imaging, it was quite similar to the level of the Hifiman edition x v2. A lot of you will disagree or agree with me in these comparisons but remember one thing. "these are mild differences, these headphone are pretty similar in sound stage and imaging." To the extent of you not being able to correctly analyze it unless you had them all side by side like me to go back and forth on the sound stage test tracks.
Bottom line, I would put these as my favorite planar magnetic headphones of this month. Perhaps this year.
Pros - Best bass I have heard, wonderfully detailed smooth mids, natural sound and voices
Cons - A little heavy and can get uncomfortable for some
I remember the day I wrote my first question on this forum. The first response contained "Welcome and sorry for your wallet."
I did not understand for the moment what that was supposed to mean. The question was about what headphone amplifier I should get. I was thinking on a no more than 200EUR budget. Well needless to say, in a few days I bought a Corda Cantate 2 with over 400 EUR.
And so...it begun. After getting an amplifier i considered my hd595 weren't in my cantates' league. I begun the search for new headphones. And so I met DarKu who offered me a deal i could not refuse : HD650 with Zu Mobius Cable.
Then i bought a Xonar Essence ST, then a Grado Rs2i, a Burson HA-160DS, a PS Audio Duet Power Conditioner, power cables, wireworld starlight usb cable, etc
Darku was the first true audiofile I met. He had years of experience with a lot of headphones and headphones audio gear.
We became friends and he guided me from that point on to my audio nirvana .
I loved my HD650 + Zu Mobius Cable+Burson ha-160ds combo.
Because of Darku and http://www.avstore.ro/ , i had some oppurtunities to hear a lot of refference class headphones, but none impressed me so much as to give away the HD650. Many headphones were better in many aspects, but the overall sound signature did not appeal to me. I was pretty sure, that if i buy other headphones, i will surely keep the HD650.
Meantime Darku got an LCD2 to pair with his HD800 and Burson HA-160D.
He had the courtesy to loan me both headphones for a week.
The LCD2 blew me away. The mids were so lush and full, the bass so well defined and tight, the highs were warm. I fell in love. I could not get them off my head. It was 3 am. I was very tired. I was saying to myself "one more song...one more song". I fell asleep on my chair in front of the computer with the headphones on the head, listening to music.
No other headphones achieved that level of performance with my ears.
After a few days with lcd2, when i put the hd650 on my head, they sounded like a toy ) .
Before "meeting" the lcd2 i always thought that when i upgrade my hd650 to a better pair, i was absolutely sure i would keep the hd650. The lcd-2 was the only pair of headphones that made me sell them and not look back.
LCD-2 brought life to music. I listened to some Nightwish songs that i did not recognize from the sound. It was like they were different songs.
The classical music made me feel on the stage, each instrument teasing me and vibrating into my skin giving me goose bumps.
From that point on, my mind was set on these headphones.
The next week DarKu lent me the HD800. Those headphones were very impressive too. They have an incredible level of detail, sound-stage and airiness. They were so fast, i could feel my ears moving from the air displaced )
But i could not listen to all my music with pleasure. The emotion was not there as it was with LCD-2. Nightwish and other rock type sounded terrible on hd800 compared to lcd-2. In my opinion the LCD2 won the contest easily for listening to music.
After almost one year later, i was prepared to buy one. I have sold all my headphones and waited for avstore.ro to become a authorized dealer. The wait was hard, considering i have sold both my headphones. I have contacted the Audeze support to get an update on the dealer status. Until then i thought Audezes' support was not so good. My opinion changed dramatically in the next weeks. They explained the situation and we started talking. I have related my first impression on their product. They liked my words and they gave me a gift for that (a Liquid Stranger CD, Earpads, an Audeze key ring and 2 pencils). I was amazed with their gift and gesture. I thank them again for that.
The wait was a little longer than I planned, but it was worth it. I got my brand new pair of LCD2 Bamboo
They are absolutely great. Have you ever listened to Leonard Cohen on LCD2?
If not, please do! His amazing voice is extraordinarily reproduced by these headphones.
I was listening to a violin in a classical opera and I suddenly for the first time in my life got an urge to start playing the violin. I was already seeing myself with the violin hold down with my chin and playing it frenetically . I really thought for a minute of getting a payed class or something...
I am sure many of you guys received a lot of friends and tried to share the joy, and many of your friends did not get the best of the sound quality, saying he does not hear the differences or he will never give that sort of money on headphones.
I got that a lot with my former headphones. I ended up explaining to them it is not something to get immediately, that your ears refine in time, your brain adjusts to the sound, etc ...
Well....with lcd2 i did not have to explain myself any-longer
I can tell you that these headphones really impressed a lot of people in my circle
My father also likes music, especially classical music. In college every time he had money he bought a vinyl. We have over 200 now. He sat down and i let him listen for over 15 minutes alone in the room. When i returned he had tears in his eyes. He found a fine interpretation of Bach sonata 3, and on these headphones, the music became very emotional.
My mother, whom is not into these kind of things and never understood this passion and the sums of money paid for it ), was really impressed with these headphones. After she listened she begun to understand my passion, which is a major thing coming from my mother.
I have a friend that just begun to work at the national opera in Bucharest.
He has an extraordinary voice. He has sang and recorded the Tosca opera .
I gave his father to listen his interpretation on the headphones.
He was astonished, listening with his eyes closed just like my father.
He said that he liked it better on the headphones than real life.
I have convinced my wife to listen Leonard Cohen (one of her favourite artists) with lcd2. She started singing along, and then it was hard to remove the headphones off her head ). WIth my previous headphones she walked away after the first song.
I have managed to record her listening and singing in the same time, without her seing me at first, because it was dark in the room for a better listening experience
Here first reaction:
When she left, she dedicated Abbas' "Thank you for the music" song to me, as I take my hat off to Audeze and dedicate it to them:
This w/e I also had a friend come for a little audiophile get-together and we listened to a lot of headphones that day. Needless to say, he started to get the money to buy LCD2 )
This picture was taken before LCD2 rocked his world :
So thank you for a great product Audeze, and thank you Avstore for becoming first authorised Audeze dealer in Romania.
I also thank you DarKu for the guidance and for introducing me the LCD2 , and for being a good friend!
And do not forget Burson ha-160ds. It is a great pair for lcd2.
I can't wait to listen to their new Conductor which would be an even better pair, considering the fact that it has a similar amplifier to Soloist.
P.S. These headphones are an audiophile trap. This is the most efficient chain I have seen until now. It chains the audiophile to the computer or audio rig starting the moment he puts them on. Be careful, it works on normal people too, and normal people may become audiophiles.
Another friend that was thrown back with his feet up by the lcd2s: