Audeze LCD2 Planar Magnetic Headphones - Reviews
Pros: Truly physical bass without distortion
Cons: Comfort, comfort, comfort
Bass - fantastic, clean, physical - I listen to a wide variety of music and the LCD-2 shined across the spectrum, but particularly stood out in bass heavy EDM.
 
Mids - natural and to my ears quite engaging.
 
Treble - slightly rolled off at the high end, but still engaging - for me this is a positive - harsh treble actively pains my ears.
 
For me a very high degree of goodness here ... except .. COMFORT
 
I have a small male head with largish 70mm ears. For me, I couldn't wear the LCD-2s for more than an hour without constantly adjusting them - even after bending the headband to reduce clamping force.
 
For me the issue seemed to be that they were large enough and heavy enough that they placed pressure on my head quite a distance from my ear, and this just did not work with my head topology.
 
These were my 1st truly high end audio headphones, and I thought that even at $995 they delivered value for money.
 
However .. that doesn't do me any good if I can't wear them.
 
That said, they were good enough I'm considering the LCD-3s, which have a similar signature but are generally regarded as more comfortable due to softer pads.
Sweden
Sweden
It could be an idea to try out the LCD-3 or vegan pads first. I also modded the rev 1 headband with a thicker HD555 velour headband pad.
One of the biggest things for comfort was when I changed the stock speaker like cable to a thin and flexible copper cable someone on the DIY forum section made me. Felt like it dropped 100 grams in weight and now you can move your head better..
Still a very heavy headphone, but more comfortable.
As someone who owns both LCD-2 and 3 it's a very nice upgrade soundwise if you match them with the right amp.
Still the best headphone I've heard to date.
DrikTheTroll
DrikTheTroll
Thanks for the ideas - I think my best bet is to try the LCD-3 since the consensus seems to be that it is noticeably more comfortable. I was using an upgrade cable (Silver Arrow) - more for ease of movement than sound. Didn't think to try the vegan pads. Fit is such a personal thing - for example I found the HE-400 very very comfortable even given its weight - for me its more about clamp than weight.
Pros: Wonderful Mid-range, Excellent Bass
Cons: Right Channel died 2 months later(fixed and quickly returned)
I originally owned the Sennheiser HD800's and I thought they were great!(After they were burned in; out of the box they were the worst thing I'd ever heard) But I always felt like it was missing something. I LOVED the soundstage, clarity, speed and detail. But vocals didn't sound right to me. I had read many reviews of the LCD-2's and constantly went back and forth about buying a pair. Finally, I pulled the trigger and liked what I heard. However, it wasn't until the headphones had burned in that I finally understood what all the fuss was about. Out of the box it sounded a bit cloudy, even a little muffled. But after burn in the mid-range sounded beautiful and full of life and the bass was melodic and authoritative but never obtrusive. This is truly an amazing headphone that even sounds nice without an amp. Highly recommended!
LoveKnight
LoveKnight
When you say LCD-2 can sound nice without an amp then may I ask you use this headphone out of what? A direct onboard PC, laptops, Mac or DAP? Thanks because LCD-2 is on my eyes now.
SoulFan84
SoulFan84
I have it plugged into my computer's headphone jack. My computer has HD audio with the latest Realtek HD audio driver. All enhancements are turned off. It won't sound as loud as say, a Sennheiser HD555/598, but the sound especially after burn in will be nice.
GL1TCH3D
GL1TCH3D
What motherboard are you using?
Regardless, the LCD2 definitely requires more to do its best.
Also, what amp were you using for the HD800?
Pros: Overall Sound Quality; Deep Bass; Natural; Midrange; Angled Ear Pads and THE LOOK!
Cons: Price Range; Must be paired with the right setup
My Setup:
 
  1. Lossless FLAC using MediaMonkey with WASAPI drivers.
  2. $10 USB cable
  3. ALO PanAm Amp
  4. Siemens Tubes / Russian Tubes
  5. Standard Cable
  6. LCD2 v.2
 
My Review:
 
In order to write this review I have been listening to this setup for over a 100 hours. So I am quite sure everything is burned in by now. The sound quality is simply beautiful! I listen to pretty much everything except Rap and I have not find any problems with these headphones. I cannot ear any background noise (more due to the amp I imagine). I do not believe into the all and precise description of the sound range because it is completely different for everybody. But I found the sound really clean and natural. I was pleasantly surprised by delivery of the sound thanks to those "massive" and angled ear pads. Indeed, the sound-stage is wonderful in my opinion.
I would recommend these headphones to anyone that want to rediscover their favorite tracks. I have not tried the LCD2 with any other setup, however, when I do I will update this review!
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
)
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

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.
Night Crawler
Night Crawler
I can't wait to eat mine for the first time ever, in just a few days! nom nom nom ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)╯
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.
DamageInc77
DamageInc77
I don't think that the LCD-3 is a minus. It's over twice the price and only about 20% better.
That just makes this one have far better value.
DefQon
DefQon
Wow did you actually purchase your LCD2's $1242?
DamageInc77
DamageInc77
Yeah. Everything is super expensive en Europe.
I got them for 987 Euro.
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. 
miceblue
miceblue
You thought the soundstage was pretty good?
From the 3 LCD-2's I've heard, I've always found the soundstage to be quite congested for an open-back headphone; it's quite the opposite compared to the HD800.
dukeskd
dukeskd
Agree with miceblue, the soundstage is not huge. The separation is good but congestion is what I'd call the soundstage.
TwoEars
TwoEars
Same here - the LCD-2 is very, very good but I personally prefer a little bit more open and "forward" sound.
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.
 
 
 
temporaryname
temporaryname
Just a note: the dark sound signature relates to the sound stage. Try adding more treble with EQ and see if it 'opens up'.
Age is also relevant. As you grow older, your sensitivity to treble decreases but your sensitivity to bass increases. If you're 50 then I can understand if you find the LCD-2's as too bassy and too dark. For someone young like me (early 20's) it's just right and presents a very natural organic presentation. I'd find more treble to be fatiguing and less bass to be robbing the soul of the music I'm listening to.
I also share the sentiment in regards to the LCD-3.
DefQon
DefQon
I'm in my early twenties and the dark signature is only slightly present on the rev.1's, the rev.2 are bit more forward or slightly more clear.
DefQon
DefQon
But overall its two different but in a similar sound signature.
Pros: Incredible sound
Cons: none
I never thought it was possible for such rich sound from a headphone. Simply amazing headphones.
XxDobermanxX
XxDobermanxX
Amazing headphone that i will never get to hear or own *sigh*
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).
 
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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.
Devarika Woulf
Devarika Woulf
The LCD-2 R.2 was frankly uncomfortable when I first got them. After about 3 hours it was unbearable.

After a month of 5 or so hours a day, both the pads and band have gotten much better. I feel them on my head but it's no big deal. The pads really don't hurt around my ear no more.

I too thought of bringing it back but stuck it out. Yay me! ^_^
Argo Duck
Argo Duck
Congrats for successfully solving the problem! Although I was lucky and never had this problem, I think your bit of ingenuity could be useful for others
DoctaCosmos
DoctaCosmos
make sure you always have the volume at 100% on your source and then use the analog volume knobb to change the loudness
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. 
SennheiserHD
SennheiserHD
you own all these headphones?
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.
Nick01
Nick01
I really wanted to like it, but it's sooo heavy :frowning2:
dagothur
dagothur
You get used to the weight after enough use. It also depends on where you wear them on your head and how large your noggin' is. I have a big head so I didn't have problems.
uryens
uryens
Dagotthur, very nice and comprehensive review !
I agree 100% and I'm too very impressed with LCD-2s...
thanx !
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.

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jeffreyfranz
jeffreyfranz
I hope more people who have listened to the latest revision (LCD-2 Rev. 2) will chime in. I would like to read as many users' opinions as possible. Thanks for your write-up.
 
Here are my impressions of the LCD-2 r.2   I will refer to the latest LCD-2 Revision2 as r.2 from this point on.

 

The r.2 has a thinner newly developed faster diaphragm and this new development has impacted the LCD in very beneficial ways in every aspect of its performance.  There is now more upper frequency extension than previous, this does not appear to be an increase or boost in treble amplitude but more an increase in the range of the r.2 itself in terms of portrayal and response.  Tonal characteristics of the r.2 are the same but the tonal range has been extended into the upper frequencies.  This upper frequency extension means more noticeability in that area and the key here is not an increase in treble amplitude, not an infringement of treble upon the sonic characteristic of the LCD as many have feared and speculated, but an increase in resolution and clarity from the new driver.  The frequency extension does not translate into a more forward sonic character, it hasn't created glare, edginess, artificial brightness, or a hardness to the delivery. There is more air now to this region and overall detail.  This detail does not create any hardness or bring to the r.2 an analytical nature. Audeze has described the upper range as more pronounced but I believe they have used the wrong term to describe what has happened in this region.  "More pronounced" can be misconstrued perhaps as forward or aggressive and this is not the case at all.  The upper range is simply more defined now with more access to inner detail. A veil has been lifted and there is more focus and speed to the detail, all of this seems natural and not analytical or cold. 

 

Sonic elements in the upper region are approached with more realism than before. Cymbals, chimes, cowbells, tambourines, are now better represented and reproduced. They have a more natural and metallic shimmer with more air.    The shimmer has quicker speed now and a more effortless and natural deliverance, a more realistic metallic timbre which is fast and delicate as it decays. They are simply more convincing and have more micro dynamics and frequency extension.

 

The r.2 is simply quicker overall.  There is more resolution of low level detail, micro dynamics, and more clarity to the detail which is more accessible and easier to discern giving the r.2 a more effortless sense of delivery. 

 

 This refinement in detail, clarity, micro dynamics, and overall resolution provides the r.2 with better focus, imaging and an improved soundstage.  The soundstage is more dimensional with more apparent depth from front to back and is more layered in it's defining presentation. This improvement comes from the cues derived from the speed of the new drivers. That extra resolution to the low level detail and micro dynamic detail gives instruments more of a physical embodiment, a touch more air around them and a touch more dimensional realism.  These cues allow for that ever small amount of detail to be separated in the soundfield and it adds to the overall realism.  A small triangle in the back of the mix when struck now seems to have more space and air around it and the extra bit of low level detail gives the instrument more of a physical embodiment and location in the space of the soundfield. 

 

Overall the soundstage has improved in dimensionality and seems wider. Not wider in terms of more seemingly extended distance in physical separation of instruments than before but that there no longer seems to be a constriction at the edges as there once was. You don't get that sense that there is something restricting  the edge of the soundstage, truncating it and reflecting it back closing it in. Now the soundstage seems to gently fall away at the edges leaving more of an impression that there is a natural unconstrained space for the instruments and music to sit within rather than be walled in by some sort of containment.   Before this restraint at the edges was a distraction but now with the gentle release at the edges of the soundstage the listener is free to enjoy the soundstage in a more natural presentation.  There is also an improved height to the soundstage as well. 

 

Midrange tonality remains the same but the added resolution has improved its definition and dimensionality.  Bass is a bit deeper and seems to have more extension to its depth than obtrusive amplitude. The entire spectrum seems to have benefited from a little more dynamic low level detail and resolution which adds an extra small amount of realism to the surface of a drum being hit with the drumstick, the pluck of a guitar string, or a cymbal being struck.  Instruments are just a bit more palpable where it counts.  

 

I am enjoying the new leather headband. I do not notice its presence at all while listening and I don't think it adds more weight to the LCD.  The latest LCD comes with the drivers secured with a plastic tie wrap so be forewarned to remove it before you try to adjust the height of the cans.  I didn't see them at first and couldn't figure out for a minute why they would not adjust.  

 

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MrScary
MrScary
wish my rev.1's would blow a driver so I can get a free upgrade
ardilla
ardilla
Nice write up - but I think the r.1 still holds it's own after comparing them side by side (on a Violectric V200). They should kept making the r.1's too - their lushness is simply too seductive to ignore. Also, I think the r.1 sounds better on my WA2 than on the Violectric, but I never heard the r.1 on the WA2 and haven't compared side by side. I just feel that the Violectric might made the thicker-sounding than the WA2 (oddly, the WA2 beeing a tube OTL)
MrScary
MrScary
I have LCD-2 R1's they never had any issues and I listen at level's just below that of ear damage.. Quite a while back their was so much how do ya say it.. bull about the variations that it was laughable at best.. The bottom line is every amp and DAC and source you use is going to affect the way your headphones sound.. No change in driver's is going to make such a dramatic difference that anyone would notice it I have listened to both.It was surely a interesting rant at one time but... Its like anything.I play guitar and have for 32 year's so I deal with some complex signal chain's and I can change the sound's of the speakers by merely changing a simple setting of one notch so all in all many times us audiophiles go to extreme levels same as any guitar player that knows his speakers and effects and tubes etc on and on. Always searching for the perfect tone... that "tone" everyone seeks is simply the "tone" that you are happy with or trying to emulate it is an impossible venture but surely great fun... If you listen to a master recording with any headphone's you will notice a dramatic difference in studio environment in comparison to what we do "color the sound" with tubes and Dac's etc etc.. All on the path to find "The Tone!" Its all personal preference.. which is great but that's all it is... I only buy new headphones every 5 years because in 5 year's their may indeed be a change or newer drive technology but.. Since I do some session work in the Music Industry we are heading for a dangerous trend.. People in general have now accepted ITUNES and 320kbs Ogg or .Mp3 as an acceptable form of listening CD's are on their way out quickly and sadly a typical CD has 400 Megs of data in .Flac format maybe 240 or so... That sound 's like not much to many of us that have large Internet pipes but the reality is most Internet users do not have that bandwidth and the patience to fill up their .mp3 player etc would be unsatisfactory their are now talks of immediately releasing material via the Internet instead of having even a 3 month ahead of time "Release date" so if we do accept pissant 320k recording's our madness over our headphones is truly an exercise in insanity.. We have gone backwards from the LP to the CD now to the .mp3 or Itune's crude for the most part the general public doesn't care. And they set the bar for everyone.
Pros: Wonderfully realistic sound and timbre, non-fatiguing.
Cons: Possibly the price, some may not enjoy the dark sound signature
Intro
 
I recently received a brand new loaner pair of the Audez'e LCD-2, the version with the 'new' pads but not the updated drivers). Straight out of the box, music sounded great with the LCD-2, and out of curiosity I compared them with the Sennheiser HD 650. Whilst the LCD-2 seemed technically superior, my gut feeling was that they weren’t worth the $950 more to upgrade from the HD 650...
 

But fast forward a few hours to nearer the end of my day, and I’m listening to music files (320 kbps and Apple Lossless audio files) sent to the LCD-2 via iTunes to the Lavry DA 10 DAC/Amp and having a wonderful time. 


 

Overall, to me the LCD-2 are absolutely fantastic headphones, the most technically adept I've yet heard. Here are some specifics about them, the way I see it. 

 

Packaging, looks, and physical feel of the LCD-2

 

The packaging for the LCD-2 is very impressive. The wooden box is beautifully shiny and smells very new and quite expensive, though I felt the box smell could be less pungent. But I guess that way the smell will last for a long time. From memory it doesn’t seem to be as refined as the Sony R10 packaging, but the LCD-2 packing is still very elegant. It was fun to unravel the cling-film that covered the pads of the brand new headphone; doing so also gave me a sense of the custom-manufactured nature and care put into creating the LCD-2.

 
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The LCD-2 are amongst the heaviest headphones I’ve worn and I’m definitely aware that they’re on my head. But I find that attribute of them to be grounding, as I enjoy being present in this moment, here and now in my body. At this time of writing I’ve had the LCD-2 on for over 2 hours, and though I’m aware of them on my head - probably because I’m thinking about them - wearing them is quite a pleasant sensation.

 

The stock LCD-2 cable is stiffer than the stock Sennheiser HD 6x0 series cables, and I sometimes feel the stiffness of the LCD-2 cable if I move, but that adds to the LCD-2 gearing me towards physical grounding, which is probably important to those who want to ably stay in the present moment. That said, it's easy to become immersed in music with the LCD-2. The weight of the LCD-2 is probably enough grounding for me when listening though, so I’d probably prefer another more flexible cable, but the stock cable is most satisfactory.

 

Aesthetically, the LCD-2 are larger headphones than I thought they might have been from when I looked at pictures of them online. On me they seem to look like they mean business, and other than I just did a few seconds ago, I probably won’t look in the mirror again to check how they look on me (well maybe I will :wink:, but the important thing to me is that I'm sitting here now wearing the LCD-2 and my cheeks are gently tingling from the smiling and joy I’m experiencing. 


 

Clarity, timbre, and sound signature

 

The LCD-2 excellently delineate musical lines. Their rhythmic articulation and impact is the best I’ve heard from any headphone so far – great PRaT, as we say – which has led to me hearing many details with them that I’ve never heard before in recordings I’ve listened to for years. The LCD-2 have also revealed distortion on recordings more clearly than I’ve yet heard, but not unpleasantly so, just in a way that often makes me think, ‘oh, interesting – so that’s how that recording actually sounds…’ 


 

The timbre they reveal sounds and feels very natural to me. When I'm listening to a live performance recording with the LCD-2 and aware that I’m hearing music with headphones, the sound of the instruments is still very realistic, like a smaller version of my favourite musicians playing inside my head. 


 

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On a related side-note, I have played the drum set for many years and enjoy hearing a well-tuned and played drum set acoustically. When listening to recordings of drums on headphones, I’ve always been disappointed by the sound and feel of drums, but the LCD-2 has really changed that for me. Right now as I write this, I am experiencing the most realistic experience I've yet had of hearing live drums via headphones, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you Audez’e; truly well done!

 

Listening to some acoustic jazz, such as ‘So What’ from Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue album, the LCD-2 come across as ever-so-slightly bassier than natural, so a more neutral/bass-light headphone could be preferable for listening to acoustic music. Whilst I have enjoyed the neutral frequency balance of the Sennheiser HD 600 when listening to acoustic/jazz recordings, I’ve never experienced recordings of those styles as viscerally as I have with the LCD-2, and to do so in a way that every note is clearly defined, even on a musically dense recording e.g. one of Miles Davis’ really large ensembles, is an astonishing experience for me.

 
The soundstage of the LCD-2 is definitely narrower than the HD 650, which has a very wide soundstage. But the LCD-2 soundstage is very enjoyable to me.

 

Bass, mids, and treble

 

The bass reproduction of the LCD-2 is of great quality. Everything happening in the bass region is very clear, and it’s very visceral. As I said, I have found  the LCD-2 ever-so-slightly bassier than natural, but for Electronic music, such as Squarepusher’s ‘Do You Know Squarepusher,’ the sound is superlative and the lower end of the sonic spectrum sounds very satisfying. The same seems to be true for rock recordings, too. It feels real. Wow!

 

The mids are very clear and sound quite natural to me, my 'natural' being based on my experience of hearing live music and my experience as a performing musician (hundreds of gigs performed). In response to a post I read on these forums, I tried boosting the LCD-2 mids at around 3 + 4 K by almost 3 dB, and definitely find that makes them more forward and engaging sounding. 'Un-boosted,' I can see why they can be described as lacking in ‘bite,’ but I wouldn’t call the LCD-2 hollow-sounding. I'm finding it very enjoyably un-fatiguing, and that for me is a real plus point.

 

I’ve read about the LCD-2 being described having a dark sound signature, which I would agree with, and though they are far from (from memory) the treble extension and airiness of both the Sennheiser HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1, both of which I found very fatiguing after a short while of listening, the LCD-2 extend nicely and sufficiently in the treble for me. Though I could want them to extend further, I can clearly hear quite ample treble detail in a way that is non-fatiguing as they are. I like that muchly, as I want my hearing to remain healthy.

 

In closing

 

Regardless any of the technicalites and subtleties I’ve described, I’ve been listening to music with the LCD-2 constantly whilst typing these notes, which I guess have morphed into a review, and frequently laughing with enjoyment at the wonderful musical experience I’ve been having and still am.

 

The LCD-2 are a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to further their capacity to experience the joy that can be found when listening to music. 


 

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Windsor
Windsor
Thanks, Syros. I hope you resolve your itch in a way that works for you. :wink:
bluemonkeyflyer
bluemonkeyflyer
Very nicely written review and photos! Thanks for taking the time to share your impressions
redcat2
redcat2
It's not looking good, looks like i will have to buy another set of headphones!!
There are loads of reviews for these great cans, so I'll keep this short. Fantastic.
 
What you've read about them is true, they're that good :¬)
 
 
Nice pair of cans.
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rmappita
rmappita
Best review I've read! It helped me a lot
Fatmangolf
Fatmangolf
Sweet!
Argo Duck
Argo Duck
Nicely judged and well-balanced review - thanks!!
Pros: Incredibly detailed yet smooth sound
Cons: hilariously massive, reveals mixing flaws in some of my favorite music
I visited 32 ohm audio in portland specifically to audition all of my candidate cans: the 800s, 650s, the LCD-2s and the T1s. I didn't get to listen to T1s, I did get to listen to T5s.
 
I'm using one of the early 32ohm cables for the LCD-2s. In order of preference:
 
LCD-2s: bought them. Incredible. Unbelievable detail but balanced across the range. Nothing is over (or under) represented. Normally sibilant voices (ssssssssss) sound great in these cans. The 800s accentuate sibilant voices unpleasantly. Not so with these. Worst thing I can say about them is they're a bit heavy and the foam (FOAM?) on the headband is stupid. It will wear away.
 
650s: damn good headphone for the money. If the LCD2s didn't exist I would have bought these.
 
T1s: meh. music didn't feel as pushed up into the highs like the 800s but these just didn't have any magic. Basically mediocre 800s.
 
 

800s: horrible treble. music sounded as if it had been pushed up into the treble range. by far the most comfortable I tried because they weighed next to nothing and had huge ear cups. I preferred the sound of the 650s
 
Bought a musicbox because I wanted to be able to drive speakers with the same amp and I wanted all the inputs including iCrap. That, and it sounded wonderful with these.
 
The combination of the musicbox and the LCD-2s is ideal, and worth every penny.
Pros: Warm sound, But with super crystal sound, Fantastic bass, Cool design, smooth mid and treble.
Cons: lower treble can be a bit more pronounced. Upper treble can be a bit dry at times.
I am gonna make it short. This is it! This is the headphone for me from trying out lots of different ones.
 
LCD 2 sounds really warm with my WA 6 SE. But that doesn't mean the sound is muffled. The mid and treble is super clear without going too bright!.And it sounds so real. Especially the instruments. I am a basshead and I have to say this headphone has the best bass I ever heard. I compared it with D5000/7000 and Ed 8 which are all fantastic in the bass department. Ed 8 and D7000 have very very good bass that are well controlled, D5000's one is a lil bit boomy, uncontrolled. The LCD 2 has the deepest bass. It goes way down. The bass depth is just incredible. And it has reasonable soundstage which I found is as good as D7000. 
 
Btw, although it's a bit heavy, But I never found it uncomfortable. I can wear it 2 - 3 hours with no problem.
 
If you like your music to sound real, I suggest this is the one for you. Especially good for pop and hip hop. Actually it's capable at doing any genre from what I tried. There is no doubt why this is headphone is ranking number one here! It really bring the music to real life for you! 
 
And IMO, no headphones ~$1000 price range can compete with LCD 2.
 
 
 
 
Pros: Cool design
Cons: Muffled, closed sound with all type of low- and high- quality headamps
Errata 28.April 2012:
I have to correct my initial and mainly negative review of my LCD-2. Due to purchase of an Auralic Taurus headamp for balanced drive, I discovered that the cabling (Moon Audio Silver Dragon) must have been wired wrongly. Redoing the whole termination to a balanced (4-pin) XLR contact did the trick and I have to sheepishly follow the herd of Audeze'ers :p

Running the new cabling via another adapter to a regular (non-balanced) 1/4" jack now also sound splendid.
But I can truly recommend the Auralic headamp in balanced mode.




Way too muffled and closed-in sound for my preference.

Yes, they may be a bit more than little warm which can be acceptable but I find them to have a lack of treble extension and transparency which robs the music for realism. I feel too much that I'm listenening to headphones.

My signal sources is a Weiss DAC which does not sound tubey or muted via mye amp and speakers. My other favourite source is a TW Acustic Raven turntable with the slightly romantic Benz LP catridge feeding a Cary PH 302 RiAA but again this source sounds transparent enough through the amp and speakers.

I use various head amps; Burson HA160, Trafomatic Head One, Weiss DAC202 headphone out, Musical. Fidelity X-Can V3 without any success or synergy. Cabling is Dragon Silver. At least the transistor amps should not be suspected for obscuring details. Neither of these amps obscure details with my Sennheiser HD800.

I love my Sennheiser HD800 (with Cardas cabling) so much more that using the LCD-2 is just an exercise to see if these phones will improve over time. Even my chepo Grado RS60i sounds more engaging than the Audeze's.

Bought the Audeze's due to all the positive reviews but my taste must differ significantly from the norm.
If you have the option, I suggest you listen to them prior to buying.
buson160man
buson160man
I have recently purchased a lcd2 phone.The one i bought is the rev 2.I definitely do not agree with you about the high end extension.I am using a burson ha160 amp with a pngea ac-14 power cord on the amp.The sound is very refined and dynamic as hell.I have only briefly heard a hd 800 in passing so i cannot comment on the sennheiser.I do have a akg 701 and i must say it sounds ok with the burson but nowhere neer as refined as the audeze phones.The low level detail with the audeze is very apparent in my system.Things like musicians humming while they are playing and foot tapping as well as pianists hitting the foot pedals while they are playing are also very pronounced.So i definitely disagree with your assessment of the audeze phones at least with the rev 2 model.
dvidos
dvidos
Why didn't you change rating from 2 stars to more if you changed your mind about this headphones?
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