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Audeze LCD-24 LIMITED EDITION - now including impressions and comparisons

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by alexzogh, Sep 6, 2019.
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  1. alexzogh
    Couldn't resist... Went ahead and ordered, having read only one review. Big fan of Audeze though, my very old LCD-3's are still in regular rotation even after purchasing much more expensive headphones.


    grokit, EDN80 and XERO1 like this.
  2. alexzogh
    Found a couple of reviews...

    The only comparison is to Stax 009. Not really a fare comparison as the underlying technology creates very distinct sound signatures. It's like comparing focal utopia's to Hifiman Suvara's. very different sound signatures, with individuals gravitating to each based upon preference.

    Me - I 'like it all (own Stax 007's, Focal Utopia's, etc....) but recognize trying to pick a winner is like comparing ice cream. We all have different tastes.

    No comparisons really at all.

    I would really like to see a review comparing this to other similarly priced planar magnetic headphones. If one doesn't come out before mine arrive, I'll do it myself :>
    Gibson59, CactoesGel and XERO1 like this.
  3. alexzogh
    Just received this email from Audeze:


    Thanks for your order. Due to a limited number made and slight delay in a parts shipment from a vendor, we expect your order to ship in 4-6 weeks. Once the parts are in-house, production will complete assembly and we'll get the order out ASAP.
    If this causes problems for you, please let us know and we can cancel and refund the order. Otherwise, once in transit you should get an automated tracking email from the carrier.
    We apologize for the delay and appreciate your patience!
  4. IridiumEagle
    I picked up an LCD-24. Here are my impressions:

    Note: I am highly skeptical of claims that the LCD-X or the 24 cannot be driven totally effectively by something like a Dragonfly Red, and I also doubt people can hear the difference between 44khz and 96khz. Just letting you know my biases upfront :) Cross-posted from the 4z thread.
  5. alexzogh
    Thanks for that. Helpful. Mine arrived today. Hope to have a mini review up here early next week. I have s lot of headphones to compare it to, so this should be fairly comprehensive.

    Key comparisons will be to lcd 4, lcd 3, Meze empyerians, hifiman 1000se’s, all planar headphones.

  6. tan29844
    Wow man really looking forward to your comparisons! I'm coming from Hifiman and really thinking about getting one of the LCD lineup or the Empy. Wonder how LCD-24 compared to all of them :) Great photo btw
  7. mixman
    So despite that email Audeze sent you, they got them out to you that quickly?
  8. alexzogh
    Yup. Received that email, then received a “shipped”.

    I’m guessing that first email may have been sent to everyone that ordered, then they shipped what stock they had and I made the cut from pre orders.
  9. mixman
    Cool. Eagerly waiting your comparisons. That is a great headphone collection you have there, so good opportunity to hear some comparisons. Any initial impressions, especially against the Empyrean?
  10. protoss

  11. mixman
    Unfortunately neither review was very useful. Without some sort of comparison(s) any review on these doesn't help much. I think everyone wants to know how the LCD24 compares to the LCD 4/4z, Empyrean and maybe ZMF. In other words......'Why should I buy the 24 over those headphones, or even in addition to them?'
    Chidi and kid vic like this.
  12. protoss
    Well at least they did the best they could to help others.

    I thought you have a 4z? If So, why bother? And if not, maybe buy another brand :p

    I hear Staxs is a good company :p
  13. mixman
    Nope don't have a 4Z, never did nor a 4 either. That's the thing, I would like a comparison so I understand the differences in tonal balance, soundstage and overall sound between the two.
  14. alexzogh

    Ready to provide some initial comparisons..... First, a few unboxing photos :gs1000smile:

    As usual, Audeze has done a nice job on the shipping box. The internal pelican case is completely isolated from all 6 sides of the box. You would be surprised to know not everyone does this. If you look up my unboxing of my Meze Empyrean's you will see that they left a bit to "chance". Should also note that even though this is an all-plastic case (vs. Meze metal, or Focal wood) it feels and looks significantly more substantial that many of my other cases. Maybe one day I'll do a side by side case review....


    Not a lot to write home about in the case contents. Audeze leather conditioner, stock cabe (more on that later) user guide, and serial number (I'm within the first 20 manufactured)

    IMG_20190916_163107 (1).jpg

    I work from home a few days a week, and when I do, I spend most of the day wearing one of my headphones. I've settled into a rhythm of switching between hifiman HE 1000 V2's, and Audeze LCD3's (with a little modification) as both are very comfortable for long periods of time. One of the primary reasons I was really interested in the LCD-24's is the prospect of getting TOTL open back performance in a lightweight package that I could wear all day. Thus, many of my comparisons will be against the Hifiman HE 1000 V2's, as they are my goto every phones.

    Audeze LCD-24 vs. Hifiman HE 1000 V2


    The system used for the test:

    Music software: Tidal
    USB out to Chord HUGO 2 acting the DAC (thus, not true MQA output, so all songs are played non-MQA lossless)
    Auris Headonia 2a3 headphone amp

    Each headphone used it's supplied stock 1/4 chord. Only modifications I made between headphones was to dial in the proper impedance and modify the amp volume to provide a consistent measured SPL out of the headphones.

    Tidal test songs - playlist available here: https://tidal.com/browse/playlist/ffa5b190-5f3a-44c8-aae8-8bd21e7136a3


    First thing I want to know.... what does the bass sound and feel like.

    I wanted to see how well the 24's resolve flooded bass vs the Hifiman's.

    There is no better track than Alexandre Desplat's "Jupiter and Oracle+Aboriginal Dogs" from the Isle of Dogs soundtrack. It's a rich weaving of western-influenced gregorian like chants infused with saxophone, bassoon, and a few other instruments, overlaid with Japanese Taiko drums and clappers for good measure.

    The Gregorian like intro to the song sounds good on almost any headphone with basic bass capabilities. When the other layers start to get added, one can quickly hear the resolving power and true bass credentials a pair of headphones bring to the table.

    Besides being very light on my head, the Hifiman headphones have always provided a very tight bass response. The 24's matched the tightness and speed of the hifiman's, but brought with it the impact and bass attack Adueze has become famous for. There was a three-dimensionality to the presentation that wasn't lacking in the 1000's, but WAY more apparent in the lcd-24s. The soundstage is much wider. We are not talking about Abyss levels of bass response - still slamming, but much more controlled and refined. As the complexity of the track increased, the LCD-24 started to pull away from a quality perspective (tightness, speed & 'slam' ) Never became muddled or distorted, and each bass instrument (voice,sax, drum) was clearly articulated. The Stacatto like taiko clap between drum hits isn't a bass note, but I couldn't help hearing a definite difference in speed "quality" between the HE1000's and the LCD-24's, and frankly, I wasn't expecting this. Maybe there was a resolving power issue. I swear with the 24's, I could picture and hear in my mind the independent sound of the drum stick and how it integrated into the sound of it hitting the Clapp side of the drum. I put the HE's back on, and I couldn't hear it.

    To make sure my brain wasn't playing tricks, I pulled out my Focal Utopia's, and sure enough, there was that subtle drumstick "tap". Now that I found a little nugget, I started pulling out other headphones to see if I could hear this supper subtle detail.

    HD800's - no, HD820's - yes, but subtle. Meze Empyreans - no, LCD-3's - no. 64 Audio A18T IEM's - yes. Stax 007's - yes (although the rest of the bass was so diminutive, I was a little startled by the sound...) LCD-4's - No!

    second song: These Bones by the Fairfield Four

    This is an all-bass acapella group, whose lead singer in the song, Joe Thomson has the most incredible bass velvety pipes you likely ever hear. As a funny side note, He' a full-time special needs school bus driver, and does this on the side with his church. He won a grammy a few years back (when he was 80!) and thanked all his friends at the transportation department.

    The divergence in tonality and quality was so large between the HE1000's and the LCD-24's in this song, I had to recheck the impedance and volume settings to make sure there wasn't something wrong. In this song, the deviation between the two was like the difference between listening to a great recording (HE1000's) and being in the room (LCD-24's). The sound was significantly more articulate and expansive. I *think* what I'm hearing with the LCD-24's is a much more expansive soundstage with a harder-hitting bass with the same quality speed and tonality of the HE1000's. I had a Cheshire grin listening to this on the LCD-24s.

    Again, for a quick gut check, I pulled out the LCD-4's and listened again. The LCD-4 definitely have a more impactful bass "slam". The speed and tonality seem indistinguishable, but the soundstage on the LCD-24's seems wider, yet tighter at the same time. What do I mean by that? that the musicians within the larger soundstage were locked in. The larger soundstage is really coming from the ambients (reverb, etc...). I pulled out the HD-800's, my usual goto for a wide soundstage, and the LCD-24's were not quite that wide, but in the ballpark. I wonder if this is something Audeze was trying to accomplish, or if it's just a byproduct of the design. Either way, it's the widest soundstage of any Planar I've used, and I've used a lot of them.


    I choose one song, "Hunting Wabbits" by Big Phat Band

    This is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to old school Saturday morning cartoons played by some of the best studio musicians in the business. Sax's, Trumpets, Trombone's, percussion, Piccolo's play multiple interweaving leads in a ridiculously fast staccato playing style. I've played instruments most of my life, and I don't think I could play any part in this piece.

    Wow! The LCD-24's have the same full-bodied midrange of the LCD-4s. Very well balanced. When returning to the 1000's, I detected a bit of sibilance and the subtleties I heard in the lcd-24 (musicians taking in breaths, piccolo valves tapping) was still there, but much less obvious. Again, there is a resolving power difference between the two. I had a hard time just comparing the LCD-24's to the LCD-4's on this piece of music, as there are certain passages that bring in big slamming bass notes which are much more pronounced on the LCD-4s. I have to say though, that I *think* I like the presentation better on the LCD-24. How the bass melts into the mids seems more natural and pleasing to my ear. Both the LCD-24 and the LCD-4' were amazing at separating and articulating all of the layers of sound when this piece gets going.

    Just a quick vs on the Meze Empyreans - While I love these headphones, and they are the best looking of the bunch, they sound downright muddy on this particular track vs. the LCD's, HD8XX's and Focal. I wish I could explain the difference a little more, but it's like looking out of a window with a screen, vs one without. Everything was there, it just didn't seem to have the chops to keep up.

    From an articulation perspective, the LCD-24's were no match for the focal utopia though. I don't think there are many headphones that are. Given how fast this piece is played, the Utopia's incredibly stiff beryllium driver seems to reproduce every nuance better than the LCD-24's, but only noticeable when A/B testing.


    Song - "Sleepless" by Cazzette

    Sleepless is an all-synth dance song, with the main singer's voice going through a treble tuned vocoder. Lot's of highs, a good thumping bass halfway through the song and lots of layers as the song goes on.

    hmm... Well, the Hifiman's held there own pretty good on this song. There isn't a lot of subtlety to the instruments or the singing (it's a vocoder) so my mind wasn't 'alerted' to hear those differences. In fact, I would say this is an excellent song to show off the 1000's. Once the bass line comes in, it's a bit of a different story. LCD-24's start to slam in a way that just forces my head to start bopping back and forth. 1000's still did well here, and this was like the difference between the 24's and the utopia's as I'm not sure I could call out big differences without doing back to back A/B testing.

    Meze Empyreans also did well here, but I think both the Hifiman and the LCD-24's extracted a bit more resolution and had a bit more musicality to them.

    You may have noticed at this point I haven't thrown in many comparisons to the LCD-3's. Honestly, they were just outgunned here, and once that became obvious after the first playing, I thought the LCD-4's would be a better comparison.

    For good measure, I'll add one more song - Haydn: String Quartet in D off the Nordic Sound album.

    Both the HE1000's and the LCD-24's resolved a lot of detail in the piece (bow hits, slight vibrato fingering, etc...). The LCD-24's were a little more transparent, a little "richer" with a superior soundstage. Did a quick A/B with the LCD-4's and this may be the one song where the LCD-24's sounded better to my ear. Maybe the soundstage might be the overlapping lows to mids which were just a little less dramatic.

    As I get more time with the headphone, I'll post some more specific info, and maybe more detail on some specific head to head comparisons.

    From my perspective, these are keepers.Very comfortable and lightweight on the head. I do have a bit of an issue with long-term wear, as my ears felt a bit like they were sweating after a few hours. This is something I would normally feel in a closed-back headphone like the Senn 820's. Again, I don't have a lot of time with them, so we'll see how this goes after I get used to them.
    delirium, rickles, Kopf and 10 others like this.
  15. CoryGillmore
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