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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. Andrey2019
    Hi @spacequeen7

    Seems like in our shops this unit with DAC+AMP is for sale https://www.amazon.com/GUSTARD-A20H-AK4497EQ-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B01M5DA9V6
    And it has both DAC and AMP inside it. Cost here about $1000.
    And, yes, I will definitely audition such expensive device before purchase. Otherwise there is no sense to pay such huge amount of money :)

    Thanks for the suggestion :)

    By the way, just to continue discussion. I saw that Questyle in this November produced new upgraded version of CMA600i: Questyle Audio CMA Twelve (review here: https://headphone.guru/questyle-aud...amplifier-wireless-receiver-look-ma-no-wires/).

    So it is interesting - how is it sounds... :)
    I think it will be available in shops soon (I have already asked salesman to check). So it might be cool thing too :)
    spacequeen7 likes this.
  2. exhale
    I'd definitely look for an amp which outputs more power (mW) around 64ohm. The LCD-2s need somewhere around 1,5W (1500mW) in 70ohm (IIRC, if not, someone please correct me) to be properly "fed". I'm also in the market for a new amp and so far, my eyes have stopped at Burson Conductor V2(the + version is more expensive but it also adds a DAC; the normal V2 is amp only), Klipsch Heritage, WooAudio WA6(SE) but with different tubes and a few models from Schiit (you can go check their european store, they have some decent products). Just as you, i'm also chasing balanced output (which my current amp lacks) but this shouldn't be a primary focus, if you could get an amp that delivers the necessary power via normal 6,3mm, like the Conductor does. At the same time, i've read about some people complaining about a constant buzz in their headphones, when using the Conductor v2, due to it's stupidly huge output power (around 8 full Watts in 32ohm!!!).
  3. Andrey2019
    Hi @exhale
    Thanks for suggestion!

    Unfortunately - as I mention in initial question Monoprice, Burson Audio, Schiit, WooAudio and Klipsch are not available in my city.
    Buying product in internet without auditioning it - too much gamble for me... So I'm searching for different options.
    exhale likes this.
  4. mushin1989
    The Emotiva A-100, as others have mentioned, will pretty much definitely do the job. However, it is massive compared to most other amps you might grab, especially if you don't have any need to drive speakers.
  5. evolutiontheory
    I have a Fiio Q5 and just ordered LCD2C. Can it drive the LCD2C via the 3.5 mm port? Any suggestions to make it work other than getting an all new balanced cable?
  6. psuKinger
    I happen to own a pair of LCD-2C's, and also have available both a Fiio Q1 and a Schiit Jotunheim to drive them with. I have not spent any time A-B comparing the LCD-2Cs via both power sources, but I have done at least a little A-B comparing of a much cheaper Planar Magnetic (HiFiMan HE-4XX) on both power sources. The HiFiMan are definitely a step (or three) down, performance wise, AND this isn't apples-to-apples (35 ohms vs. 70, 93 db/wm vs 101), but in my brief A-B comparisons the HiFiMan 4XX's don't benefit *THAT* much from being on my Jot vs. the Fiio. It's certainly a "law of diminishing returns" improvement. I will try to spend some time comparing the Audeze's on both, because I'm interested now in what I learn.

    That said, Audeze's own guidance on this is as follows:
    "Any good amp with an output of 1/2 watt at the headphone's rated impedance should have no trouble driving them. A good rule of thumb is that if you get sufficient volume with your gain knob set between 1 and 2 o'clock, the amp has enough power to drive the phones."
    Per: https://audeze.zendesk.com/hc/en-us...ell-if-an-amp-can-drive-my-Audeze-Headphones-

    Some simple P = V^2/R math shows that my My Schiit Jot, unbalanced, should be providing just about 0.57 Watts at 70 ohms (based on assuming 6.32 volts, consistent with what I calculated for the advertised ratings at 50 ohm and 16 ohm).
    Conversely, if I assume something like 2.6 volts for my Fiio (based on what I calculate for the advertised values at 32 ohms and 150 ohms), the Fiio only has about 0.1 Watts to give... which is well below the guidance/rule of thumb provided by Audeze of wanting 0.5 watts at rated resistance.

    I *think* I'm getting a balanced XLR cable from periapt for my Audeze's for Christmas... which should allow my Jot to put ~2.1 watts into 70 ohms (based on 12.2 volts, consistent with the ratings advertised for 32 ohm and 50 ohm). Which will give me a little bit more fun A-B comparing to try...

    Also, it may be worth noting that Audeze's own amp, the Deckard, is rated to put out 1.73 watts into 70 ohms... that might tell us something about what Audeze themselves think is truly optimal for highest performance.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  7. psuKinger
    Follow-up to my previous post, I spent a brief amount of time tonight A-B comparing my Audeze LCD-2C's off the two different DAC/AMP combo units mentioned (Portable fiio Q1 and desktop Schiit Jotunheim).
    I tested on two very different songs. A 16/44.1 lossless FLAC rip (using Exact Audio Copy) of the hard rock song "Song for a Broken Mosque" by the band Kyng for a heavy, hard-hitting, sludgy, "wall of sound", and a 24/96 FLAC purchase from HDTracks of Norah Jones song "Sunrise" for a more nuanced, strings+vocals track.

    The difference between the two DAC/AMPs was significantly more noticeable on the Audeze LCD-2C then I've observed in A-Bing the much cheaper HiFiMan HE-4XX.
    Note: I didn't have any means to test whether the difference I'm hearing is the differences between the two DACs or the two Amps (or what % it is of both). I had them both act as both DAC and Amp.

    As was previouly noted. The Fiio was plenty powerful for achieving "loud listening volumes." But the similarities ended there. It's hard to describe the difference I'm hearing in a way that won't make a non-believer's eyes roll, but for both songs the Jot sounds more “open” and “expressive”. And I know how that reads/sounds to a skeptic. For lack of better vocabulary to express what I'm hearing, and trying to be as objective as I can, the sounds off the fiio all sound like their emanating from the same “elevation” (vertical height as measured from the floor). The Jot has more sounds coming at my ears from more/varied elevations inside the earcups. Less concrete and more subjectively, the fiio sounds like the sounds are being squeezed thru a tube of toothpaste, and the Jot sounds like it's giving the music more room to “flow down the pipe” to my ears.

    Norah's vocals are excessively forward on the fiio. The nuances of the strings and piano are considerable more recessed and in the background. The Jot is a much more balanced expression of the music, which to me sounds more like what Norah probably intended. Just to add a little more variety in the mix, for the Norah Jones song, I added my Sennheiser HD-6XX into the mix. In order of preference, from worst (#4) to best (#1), my preference was:
    4) Sennheiser HD-6XX off Fiio Q1
    3) Audeze LCD-2C off Fiio Q1
    2) Audeze LCD-2C off Schiit Jot
    1) Sennheiser HD-6XX off Schiit Jot

    FWIW, in my A-B comparison time, my experience agrees with what @gLer descried... the fiio did not fail to deliver adequate power in terms of achieving loud listening volumes, but sound quality was substantially improved when using the Jotunheim. TIFWIW.
    Andrey2019 and gLer like this.
  8. gLer
    Great post and very useful observations. I was a skeptic myself for years before actually hearing such differences for myself, especially with the LCDs. The differences can vary from subtle to startling, but they’re always there. I tear my hair out now when I see people claiming that as long as you give a headphone enough power it’s properly amped. Just doesn’t work that way in the real world, and I have no idea why, nor do I claim to understand the science behind it. I can only describe what I’m hearing.
  9. newaudio46
    I just got my lcd2f 2016 model. I’ve used my denon av to try them out and the sound quality is not all that impressive. Is it just me or is the the denon?

    I have a chord mojo, I’m just waiting for Apple camera adapter to come so I can use it, dontuo guys think this will make an improvement?
  10. tamleo
    Many say the LCD2s are not amp-nitpicking headphones. However I don't think it is really true in my case. The LCD2s go from OK headphones to great headphones depended on what amp they are plugged-in. I think the HD800s go from terrible ones.
    I like my LCD-2s to pair with warm to neutral ss amps. SS amps with rich-mids and natural-sounding characteristic will show the full potency of the LCD2s.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
    spookanide likes this.
  11. blackdragon87
    I have a Apex Hi-fi Butte amp. It sounds great with my LCD2
  12. newaudio46
    I will just have to wait for my cable for the mojo to come. Most of not all of the people ok the forum say that it can power the lcd2 well and also sounds very good as well
  13. gLer
    Don’t mean to be a party pooper but you’re definitely not going to make the most of your LCD-2 with a Mojo. As a dac it’s fine but you’ll need a more powerful amp to control them properly and give them the power they really need to shine. Doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. You should easily find something in the Mojo’s price range. In fact an Audio-gd R2R-11 or NFB-11 costs less than a Mojo, sounds just as good, and has enough power to drive your LCDs perfectly.
  14. paruchuribros
    I do connect R3 usb c -> micro usb - >Mojo - >3.5 mm to LR splitter->Audeze Deckard -> best sound quality for me
  15. capetownwatches
    I have to agree with my esteemed colleague on this one - the LCD2 will certainly reward more current than the Mojo can deliver, and your ears will thank you.
    gLer likes this.
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