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Amp recommendations for Audeze LCD-2

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by oqvist, Jun 4, 2010.
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  1. oqvist
    Please chime in what your best amps are for this headphone or educated guesses compared to previous ortho experiences.
  2. Skylab Contributor
    Well...of the amps I own, the best was the Leben CS300X.  The Leben and the LCD-2 together are HEAVENLY.
    Next best was the Meier Concerto - which was also excellent with the LCD-2 (and is solid state, unlike the Leben...and also 1/4 the price of the Leben...)
  3. dBel84
    I did most of my listening with an amp that will be coming to market shortly - it is being "unveiled" at canjam. It is the Liquid Fire amp from Cavalli Audio. It is a tube hybrid, high voltage for the tubes to keep them operating at their most linear point, dual 30V rails for the class A Mosfet output stage which allows 42V p-p swing. DC coupled so no caps or transformers n the signal path and a servo which keeps the offset at zero. 
    It is a wonderfully powerful amp and well worth the audition. Cavalli Audio is also releasing a solid state amp, the "Liquid Gold" which will have similar voltage swing but will be faster. 
  4. dBel84
    I will add more commercial amps as I read through the vast list out there and find amps that I feel would be worth an audition. 
    well this sounded like an easy task but there are sooooo many amps out there! I guess I have lived a secluded life in DIYland. So I will not be tracking down all the topologies of the commercial offerings as I could spend many hours on this which I have no real interest in for myself. If people have an amp in mind, might I suggest you do the leg work and post a comprehensive overview of what is known about topology and specs and then we can hash out an opinion. 
    (keeping this to commercial amps as DIY is another ball game )
  5. Leny
    Can this thread please include prices, so as to maintain a sense of perspective.
    I've just had a quick look around, but can not find prices for Mr. Cavalli's Liquid Fire and Liquid Gold amps. Has the price been released?
  6. Ridleyguy


    I believe the Liquid Fire will be priced around $2,000 based on my recollection of speaking with Dr. Cavalli at CanJam, but I can't confirm that.  He also seemed interested in following up with people from CanJam as he was making a list of people who auditioned the amp.  as well as getting feedback on pricing for the Liquid Fire. 
  7. Markj
    I am using SPL Phonitor amp (pro audio) and playing Dire Straits Brothers In Arms makes it sound like 3D, drums way in front of the head and guitar on the side, just like watching them. I don't know where they were standing at the recording, but it is a new scale of experience compare to other headphones on same setup. Headphone out of my cd player with LCD-2 sounds better then with T1. No previous experience with orthos (that I remember).
  8. Markj
    SPL Phonitor is solid state amp with SPL proprietary opamps. 1.7 Watt at 600 OHM, Retail about $2000.
  9. oqvist
    only 360 mA out of 50 Kohm though. I hear you about dire straits have their recordings are phenomenal. Soundstaging out of my Auditor is the best I heard so far too.
    Do you find the Phonitor being able to drive the T1 better then the LCD-2?
  10. Leny

    Ridleyguy thank you for the swift answer.
    The specification quotes 360 mW into 30 Ohms.
    That translates into 216 mW into 50 Ohms.
    That translates into approximately 114 dB into a LCD-2.
    More than enough.
    (Obviously you will ignore the 15W LCD-2 maximum rating, as you surely understand that is the maximum level that the speaker unit will withstand before sustaining physical damage, and hence it has no relevance to human listening levels or actual power requirements for normal listening).
    Kevin.T and linuxid10t like this.
  11. oqvist
    Yes correct at 30 ohms. I am not looking at volume but an amp that can drive the LCD-2s to the max. Would 116mW really be sufficient for a 50 ohm heapdhone? People recommend DIY amps and such which have way more power or to use speaker terminals.
  12. Leny


    That's because a lot of people talk out of their ignorant butts!
    Facts are important when it comes to understanding headphone power requirements, so let's consider the facts relating to the LCD-2...
    According to the specification published on Audez'e site the LCD-2 headphones have a 50 Ohm impedance and a 91 dB at 1 mW sensitivity.
    According to the specification published on SPL's site the Phonitor amplifier has 360 mW into 30 Ohms.
    360 mW into 30 Ohms has a voltage swing (supported by sufficient current) that translates into 216 mW into 50 Ohms.  
    Given the 91 dB at 1 mW rating of the LCD-2, then 216 mW translates into approximately 114 dB.
    And now for reasonable supposition... if a user is listening at a typical 80 dB, then 114 dB gives 34 dB of headroom, which should be more than enough for almost anyone.
    And now for enthusiastic extremism... if a user is headbanging at 95-100 dB they might conceivably require an occasional peak rock-concert level of 120 dB (which really is head-in-the-speakers loud), in which case an amplifier would have to deliver 1 Watt (i.e. 1000 mW), which on a 50 ohm load is 7.07 V RMS and a peak current of 200 mA.
    This all assumes that the impedance curve is flat, however if it undulates then a little more reserve power might be required for some headbangers!
    So, in conclusion, the Phonitor should provide more than sufficient volume for most people most of the time, but committed loud rock lovers might desire a touch more.
  13. kunalraiker
    I have never heard any ortho headphones, but whenever I have read anuy post about the LCD2 ,I have also read along with it the best amp for it is the liquid gold by Cavalli.
  14. Skylab Contributor


    Fascinating, since that amp isn't yet available, and almost no one has ever heard one.
  15. oqvist
    the power of unobtanium is strong :)
    @Leny I don´t think anyone have ever mentioned that you won´t get ample volume with a phonitor/auditor rather that it may not be able to drive the LCD-2 to the max. As always it can just be bad synergy for a persons ear.
    Also specs are often measured at optimal temperatures and such to make it look as  good as possible. max output is not always the same as continous output either
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