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Audeze LCD-2C Classic - Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by XERO1, Oct 7, 2017.
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  1. astrostar59
    Interesting how many have differing views on this subject. I came from TOTL HPs, Stax 009s and 007As powered by a KGSShv Carbon. And had that system for some time. I think it comes down to what we all want. IMO no headphone does it all to the required level we may crave, indeed is it even possible? Remember we are expecting one transducer to do all the work, not 2 or 3 units majoring in their own frequency ranges. Single driver speaker design is probably one of the hardest to design of all speaker types, almost impossible to achieve to the highest level.

    For me, the electrostatics do the detail, speed and micro detail (plankton) to an extreme level. And it was a fun ride for some time, but I have come to a crossroads about it. Even though I used a top DAC with that system, it still never really talked to me, or made me enjoy the music to the extent I would if I was at a live venue. In other words I stopped using it as much as I should have been. And also found I was avoiding certain types of music as well. This is all a very personal thing, one person hears it very differently to another.

    The Audeze LCD4 impressed me at Can-Jam out of the head-amp GSX MK2, and also out of the DAVE direct. It got me thinking. What do I actually want from my music? Do I want a stethoscope to analyse the information, or do I want to pretend I am listening to the music as a live event. The live event is much harder to achieve, and one that many modern hifi systems (2 channel included) have lost the way IMO.

    I believe the Audeze is world class in the bass and all important Midrange, the way is glues those elements together is more convincing than any other HP I have heard to date bar the HE-1. The soundstage and presentation is more relaxed than the Stax, it doesn't overload my ears and allows me to hear (search) for the other details going on. It is all still there for the taking, it is just in a more (to me) realistic envelope. The other aspect I like a LOT is the weight and body to the music and the timbre. It all feels more solid, bit warmer and more organic, less hifi and etherial.

    The treble response in the LCD4 has got slated by Tyll, and I agree it has an obvious dip around the 6-8K areas. And it is less manic and energised v the 009s and Utopia. This is the classic area mosts HPs have problems with as we know. Big speakers in a high end system are more linear and gets away with it, as we tend to sit back from the image and have other environment aspects such as sofas and carpets damping this high treble energy. It comes to us from a distance, we don't have our ears jammed up against the drivers. In a HP we have that.

    Also there is plenty of evidence the human ear picks up the 6-8khz areas as louder than both above and below that frequency. So do we want or need a HP that aims for as linear a FR as possible? Or do we want one that compensates for the human ear? I have come to the conclusion I prefer the latter for HPs, but not for big speakers.

    In my HP search, I also tried the Utopia, and it was nice, but too close to the 009, not as good as the 009 in many areas as well. The HE1000V2 was smoother IMO, but I felt the LCD4 was closer to the sound I was after. Not heard the Abyss yet, but that is not very efficient (less than the LCD4) so would probably require a powerful amp, is more expensive new, and the frame may be problematic to me.

    Going back to the LCD2-C I disagree about it being ok for mid fi. I believe it touches some of the areas some of the best HPs out there are doing best at, and avoids a lot of the pitfalls with it. IMO searching for that elusive last bit of detail is great, but has a price. And too much detail can sound unrealistic as well, like too much sugar on the cake, it gets sickly after a while... The more forgiving nature and the way the LCD handles the upper vocal regions is very forgiving, and allows me to relax into more types of music. For example, I never enjoyed the Cranberries on any Stax HP, and cringed when Delores hit the chorus in Zombie (for example). Eva Cassidy unplugged: 'Need your love so much' is another. On the LCD it sounds so natural and club atmosphere, very realistic on the voices.

    Anyway, my thoughts on the LCD2 so far. LCD4 review coming later.....
    Steveevo9, YtseJamer, jurumal and 5 others like this.
  2. gLer
    Thank you @astrostar59 that’s an incredibly detailed, insightful and helpful analysis. It’s particularly useful because you took the time to contrast the benefits of the summit-fi systems people often hold up as examples of ‘perfect’ sound, and explained why this isn’t really so if your aim is musical enjoyment rather than analysis. This hobby is just as popular with techies that chase stats, charts, graphs and numbers as it is with those who have no interests in numbers but only how something sounds to them. Most of us are probably somewhere in-between, and your analysis articulates how different equipment appeals to different people in different ways. Looking forward to your LCD-4 review - if Bob Katz is any sort of authority, I believe it will be glowing. Thanks again.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    YtseJamer likes this.
  3. mikewr
    Not asking for a full blown comparison, but does anyone know if the current LCD-2F is warmer overall than the 2C or vice versa?
  4. givemetacos
    Someone actually did that already in this thread here. While I admit that user is very controversial and harsh in the way he presents his impressions, his conclusions are exactly in line with my own (and I also own all those headphones he mentioned). Basically, Atticus is more resolving, more dynamic, has more slam, has a wider soundstage, and has a more natural timbre to instruments/vocals. LCD2C is more neutral, more smooth and laid back, has more accurate and precise sub-bass texture, and is more open sounding. I need to keep emphasizing this, but I am not saying any headphone is superior to another. They are all really really top notch, but they have different strengths and even their "weaknesses" are not bad by any means. Basically, if I could only own 1 headphone and Atticus and LCD2C were my choices, I would choose LCD2C. It is a better all rounder and doesn't suck in anything. If I was picking one of those two headphones to complement a collection, I would choose Atticus because it has a more unique sound and does some things I have never heard another headphone match.

    Come on, that isn't what I said at all. I said "LCD2C is really great for people upgrading from mid-fi cans". That's a subtle wording change, but significant in interpretation. I think LCD2C is absolutely a step up from mid-fi and appropriately priced, even better than many other cans in the same price bracket. But what seems to be a controversial statement is that I don't believe it is quite in the same class as TOTL. Let me phrase it this way, if someone were a millionaire and had unlimited budget for this hobby, I don't think LCD-2 would be a necessity in a collection. I think LCD-3/4 could definitely be in there, but I don't see LCD-2 as doing something more special than those. Yet, if it were me, I would still have HD650 in that collection simply because of its coherent mid to high transition and incredibly natural sound, and when paired on TOTL tube amps, I think there are very specific types of tracks it can excel with in a way that no other headphone can beat. But again, if I wasn't in that position and had a limited budget and could only have 1 headphone and had to choose between HD650 and LCD2C, I would take LCD2C.

    But maybe your experience will be completely different than my own. I will be curious to see if after you get more head time on LCD-4 and if you decide you love it and will keep it, whether or not you will choose to keep LCD2C also.

    Honestly, LCD2C is probably a little warmer than 2016 LCD-2F, but not a huge amount. It has been a while since I heard pre-fazor LCD-2, but I feel like my LCD2C isn't as warm as I remember that. But it isn't quite as bright as I remember when I owned LCD-2F. I think it is somewhere in the middle in terms of warmth. LCD2C is definitely closer to neutral than I thought it was going to be.
    jaco61 likes this.
  5. mikewr
    I was gonna say the same thing; it sounds like Audeze tuned the 2c a little more towards neutral than I was expecting. Never heard the original so was curious. The more I listen to it the more I'm finding little things I like with it and things that don't, hate to nitpick but it is what it is.
  6. HardstyleLoco96
    So guys im considering on getting a planar and something that I can be happy with as I am coming from iems. My daily are the LZ big dipper. So I am currently considering the Sine, Sine DX, El-8 open back, Mrspeakers Aeon closed/open and im considering the Lcd2-C. Reason is they all are in my budget and have good reviews and impressions. I want something close to neutral or balanced but still with a bit of warmth rather than analytical, with excellent lows, mids and highs. I've listened to the LCD2 and loved them and really am curious how the LCD2-C compare, for the price is it better or worse or more like a sidegrade? Already been reading comfort is one of the best if not it is the best in the LCD series, but very mixed impressions, hearing about sibilance or no sibilance, harsh highs, male vocals sounding slightly drowned out. I am really leaning towards these but now not so sure.
  7. Rinsushi
    Anyone using the Roon Reveal Plugin for LCD-2C? How is it?
  8. lentoviolento
    lcd2c is arrived
    do i have to burn them in?? how many hours?? after one hour i don't heat the magic i felt when i had lcd2f2016.. but it's been almost 6 months and in the meantime i had many hps...
    at the moment the best in the price range is aeon open...
  9. HardstyleLoco96
    When you get the chance and have done burn in, please compare to the Aeon Open :)
  10. lentoviolento

    i could try but i don't have the skills to do it.. nor the words (i'm italian). but in a few days i will write a comparison between atticus aeon and this one as good as i can
  11. givemetacos
    Are you wanting something with more warmth? Or just harder hitting bass? The LCD-2F really isn't different enough to warrant switching around honestly. Don't overthink it. Unless you can pinpoint something specific you feel like you are missing I wouldn't go chasing after problems.

    If you loved LCD-2F, like I said, LCD2C isn't crazy different. There's no sibilance and I tried to point out earlier that word was misused somewhere and not justified. The harsh highs I suspect might be from the 8-10k peak area, but it really isn't a huge peak and nothing out of the ordinary compared to most headphones. They are nowhere near "harsh" as say any Beyer can. If the LCD-2F wasn't harsh to your ears, I wouldn't think the LCD2C would be either. If you are set on planars in this price bracket, the LC2C is a very safe bet. It would be a pretty easy recommendation at $600. Now that it is $800 I would say it is worth at least auditioning AFC and AFO just to be sure. I quite liked those, but I didn't hear them back to back with LCD2C so I can't make a good comparison. I suppose you might as well wait for more Sundara impressions too since those are starting roll out.

    They could probably use some burn-in just to be safe, whether or not you believe in that;. I also think audio memory is pretty bad so I suspect you might just need some time to re-adjust to the LCD-2 sound.
  12. HardstyleLoco96
    Thankyou very much, appreciate the help
  13. lentoviolento
    you are right about audio memory. in this cases i think about the feelings not the technicism. but it's too soon to make a statement
  14. HardstyleLoco96
    At Addicted to audio they selling for 899 Aud
  15. franz12
    I agree with this. That is why I returned Clear, which I felt it retrieves too much detail, to a point to which it is distracting. That is why I still think aeon flow open is a better choice than clear if I choose only one between them. Both of them are gone, but Cranberries's Zomebie was incredibly good on aeon flow open.

    And I also agree with @givemetacos regarding female vocal, as his impression is consistent with when I auditioned LCD 2,3,4 about a year ago. I A/B them against hd800s listening Janet Jackson's Unbreakable. Her voice is already somewhat dark. And with all the LCD, her voice was unrealistically dark to my ears, and I felt like she was singing under some blankets. So I understood why Tyll took it out of his WOF after all. But I agree that LCDs may perform better with brighter songs I bought hd800s twice, but sold it twice because treble in hd800s was harsh to my ears. The best treble I heard so far is clear and aeon flow open though.
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