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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. MyPants
    I've read most of this thread but haven't seen more than a few casual mentions of the Emotiva BasX A100. Can anybody share their A100 + LCD-2C experience? I have a set of these coming on Thursday and I'm sure my Asgard 2 will power them ok, but I get the sense that I may want to invest in stupid amounts of headroom for these.
  2. greenkiwi
    is 70 ohm enough impedance to run the A100 with the jumper set for full output? I'd guess it is.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  3. heliosphann
    Just keep in mind these do only have a sensitivity of 101dB/1mw. Ohms isn't everything, just ask the HE-6! :)
  4. davehutch
    Jesus! There's a 'chorus' in this? :L3000:
  5. YtseJamer
    Z review :expressionless:

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    trellus likes this.
  6. EDMlord
    More useless rambeling from zeos as usual. He needs to learn how to describe the sound of a headphone properly imo.
    alphanumerix1 likes this.
  7. MyPants
    Following up on my question, I'm trying to make sense of a power conversion here using this site https://www.the12volt.com/ohm/ohmslawcalculators.asp. It looks like 50w into 8ohms is 20v. 20v at 70ohms is 5.7w or juuuuust above the maximum power handling of the LCD-2C. Does this mean that a good amount of the volume knob on an A100 with the jumpers installed would actually be safe for the LCD-2C, or am I missing something in the math?
  8. iPaintCode
    I've been using a pair of LCD-2C's I bought from a long time user here off a Chord Huge 2 (Was using a WA7 + WA7tp) and like that combo. Not for everyone but I've been really enjoying the Chord Hugo 2 on most of the headphones I own, not the most powerful power I have available but it does shockingly well. I've always liked the original LCD-2 sound the most, even better than the 3's and 1000% better than the XC's (The XC's sounded high end but it couldn't handle more than 10 minutes with the sound signature) and slightly better than the LCD-X but if the 2C's and X's were the same prices I would get the X's as I felt there was more just enough refinement to cover more genre's.

    I also have a pair of Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Closed and I feel it's a nice headphone to pair with the LCD-2C, IMHO they complement each other, at least to my ears.
    knopi likes this.
  9. Gambitek
    He drives me up the wall. Barely comments on sound in any useful terms, the weird weeb wallpapers, and says that basically almost every headphone sounds amazing. Ugh. I'll take DMS any day over him (pls come back Metal571, we miss you)
    George Taylor and EDMlord like this.
  10. davehutch
    My understanding is it's not as simple as that. Ohm's Law only applies to DC circuits and audio is AC. Also, impedance varies across the frequency range so although a nominal impedance can be used, it's just that...nominal.
    Having said that, I too would love a simple method of working out whether an amp is suitable for a given headphone. The mW figures quoted don't make much sense to me, based on real life experience users are feeding back.
    MyPants likes this.
  11. EDMlord
    It drives me crazy as well, especally the fact that he talks like he knows everything. With his ridiculus overhyping, he has misguided me on no less than 2 headphone purchases (when i was new to this hobby). Why does this staight up horrible audio reviewer have to be the the most known on youtube....
    conquerator2 likes this.
  12. conquerator2
    I’ve been content with my own HE4XX for quite some time now. It ain’t perfect, but for the asking price it seemed to represent great value. However, I’ve long been curios about three new headphones, the Focal Clear, Audeze LCD-2C and Mr. Speakers AEON open, and today I took advantage of an opportunity to compare them.

    First, I want to thank Audigo, my local headphone retailer, for allowing me to do so. They let me spend over four hours in their music listening corner, where I also got to chat with one of the shop assistants who made this whole experience possible.

    I brought in my home rig, with Audio gd’s R2R11 at the forefront, and my trusty Roland Quad-Capture handling the USB duties (to my ears it sounds a bit better than R2R11’s own USB input). I listened to rock, instrumental music as well as pop and EDM, all carefully selected from my collection of well-mastered tracks that I know well.

    I compared each headphone with one another, trying to match volume as best as I could, and always reset by going back to my trusty HE4XX (or Clear). My genre taste is wide, from contemporary jams to older classics, and I do compose original music, so I did my best to put these headphones through the paces. These impressions are still of my own though, so do take them with a grain of salt please.

    First, let’s talk about the Audeze LCD-2C which, to my knowledge, I expected to sound similarly to the original Fazor-less LCD-2. Regardless of these facts, this headphone managed to impress me and was instantly easy to like. It has a fairly neutral tonality, with a slight treble-lite tuning, which makes them darker than all its competitors. I thought its bass response was fair, with nice texture, if quite not as deep and visceral as I was expecting it to be. Due to its slightly smoothed treble, the listening experience was completely fatigue-free, while taking little away in the way of clarity. In light of this, I was particularly impressed by its vast, spacious soundstage which I absolutely did not see coming. The overall imaging was likewise stellar, with the headphone surprisingly detailed overall. Vocals tended to be a bit more laid-back than I’d like, and lacked a dash of presence in the mix at times. The comfort was surprisingly good, perhaps the best of all headphones compared, and the cable was likewise very nice; wieldy and easy to use. This headphone’s biggest strength to me was the soundstage, its size and how much detail it was able to render despite its (overt) smoothness. My critique then, would also be pointed at this smoothness and how it made the headphone sound a bit soft and unexcited at times, vocals withstanding. As a package though, this Audeze scores high marks from me, and I was contemplating its purchase on the spot (still am). For the asking price, I think Audeze has done a tremendous job!

    Next, let’s talk about the Clear. This is the priciest headphone of the bunch and so my expectations were high. After following its thread closely, I had a certain picture in my head which this headphone did follow, for better, or for worse. Let’s start with the good; and there is lots to love. The tonality is, to my ears, spot on. Highs sparkle with clarity, but stay fatigue-free. The midrange is virtually flat to my ears, which is great as it allows each song to shine through (and it stays extraordinarily even too). The bass was probably the most impressive aspect to my ears, with the viscerality, and overall dynamics even, far above the headphones compared here. The bass had oomph for days, while staying reasonably tight and textured. This headphone sings with clarity just the same as it swoops down with thunderous impact. It is also a fairly revealing headphone, more detailed than its competition, however it is let down by one single aspect; its soundstage. It’s simply put, too small, and for me personally, somewhat belittles the rest of its technicalities that work so well. I subjectively appreciate soundstage width a lot, and it’s one of the aspects I evaluate carefully when I review headphones (yes, soundstage). While I was listening to most every song, enjoying myself in the process, I couldn’t help but think how much better this all would be if there was more space between the notes. This makes busy mixes blend more together than they should, and make spacious recordings sound intimate, and intimate sound narrow. I felt the Clear lost some of its composure when sounds were panned harder to the left or right which I attribute to this soundstage deficiency (they are not blurred per say, but you can only fit so many clearly in a confined space) The build quality is very good, though the comfort overall was a notch below the Audeze (I can’t believe I am saying this) which I attribute to the lack of a suspension-style headband (suspension + deep pads = almost always a win). The cable I wasn’t too thrilled with either, as it is chunkier and ultimately unwieldy compared to the supple LCD2C one. The case is very nice however! So, as should be clear (ha!), I liked almost every aspect of this headphone, notably its incredible dynamics and spot-on overall tonality, but both of which were somewhat brought down a couple notches by an abysmal soundstage (which I felt the Utopia handled much better, despite not being THE largest)… If you don’t care about soundstage, you WILL love this headphone. If you do, this is tough, especially since it did so much just right.

    Moving on, let’s talk about the AEON open! With this one, I too was fairly hyped about, though imagined its tonality might not be for everyone. After auditioning its bigger brother Ether (both the original which I owned, and the Flow), I was expecting that, just slightly scaled down. In some ways, I got that, in others, not so much. As you probably know, they come with filters, and I ended up settling on no filters in the end, as I only had access to one-notch white filters which I felt muffled the sound a bit too much, trading for increased bass presence. The overall sound to my ears sits somewhere between the Clear, which is square neutral, and the LCD2C, which is darker. The soundstage too I felt was square in the middle, with a moderately intimate portrayal of instruments. “This sounds like a great middle ground between the two, then!” you might say. Well, yes and no. I wasn’t a big fan of the tonal balance of the AEON. The bass has decent body and impact, similar to the LCD-2C, so that’s good. However, I found the lower midrange problematic, with a wee too much presence which made the headphone slightly muddy sounding. The rest of the midrange wasn’t as smooth to my ears as that of the others either, and here it is initially smooth but then gets a bit honky higher up, which gave unnatural presence to certain instruments (like pianos or mallets) while making the otherwise smooth vocals sound emphasized when it came to sibilants. For science, I subjected each headphone to the same ordeal at one point where I set the Clear as my starting point (reference) and would then go to each headphone to verify their tonality, and then back to Clear to adjust my ears back to its reference sound. The LCD2C passed this test, sounding simply a bit rolled off in the treble and less dynamic, but without an apparent shift in tonal accuracy. The HE4XX passed this too, merely sounding a bit brighter and more anemic in the bass, but again without obvious colorations. The AEON was the only headphone to fail this test, where right after the Clear, the lower midrange felt bloated and an audible unevenness in the mid-treble transition (sibilants) was apparent. Comfort-wise, it was very good, with the cable similarly awkward to handle like Clear’s. Carrying case was nice too. In the end then, to my ears, it was not able to eclipse any of these other headphones, lacking the smoothness and spaciousness of the LCD2C and the clarity and dynamics of the Clear. Mileage clearly varies on this one, but in light of the other contenders I was expecting a more refined experience.

    Well, now you might be thinking how does a cheaply 4XX tie into this? Well, contrary to my expectations, it turns out not bad at all! To begin with, it is the brightest of these three headphones, though unlike most other HiFiMANs, it never gets painful in the sibilants range (instead, this emphasis is moved higher up, where it is nowhere near as problematic to my ears). It also has the least bass punch, but what it lacks in punch it somewhat makes up in texture. It is only slightly less spacious than the LCD2C (still feels weird to say this), though again it makes that up in (perceived) sparkle and excitement, until they are both murdered by the Clear in this area. In terms of speed and detail retrieval, I thought it went toe to toe with the LCD-2C, though it again fell short of the Clear’s prowess (as I once again ponder what it could do if the soundstage was better). Comfort is quite good overall, though the design is bulkier than the sleek AEON and sleeker still Clear (but not the LCD2C) and the cables they come with are actually good (better than HiFiMAN’s own cables. I wish everyone ditched fabric / textile sleeved cables. They tend to be much less wieldy and keep their shape more / kink). Some time ago, I considered selling these, and after today I am glad I didn’t. I was surprised they did hold their own, taking some of the attributes of the LCD2C (spaciousness) and Clear (Clarity/sparkle) while lacking in others (bass presence and overall precision / cohesion) a teeny bit.

    Overall then, I did enjoy this audition quite a bit, though by the end my ears were very tired, and I stopped writing notes at that point. To my ears, the LCD2C was the easiest headphone to like, while the Clear was the easiest to fall in love with and just enjoy. I am disappointed the AEON did not do it for me, but such is life. I can also now rest easy knowing that the HE4XX is a great price / performance product that harkens back to the old days of HiFiMAN and value. This, coincidentally, piqued my interest about the Sundara and thanks to Audigo, I should be able to have a listen to that in a couple days. I can see myself ending up with either the LCD2C or Sundara when all is done (or both if one of them ends up replacing the HE4XX). It’s good to see that reasonably priced products are still present in the headphone game, which will hopefully stir even more competition in the future. I’ll put a couple useful statistics below to recap as well as summarize some of the important attributes. Thank you for reading!

    Sensitivity (least to most) – HE4XX > AEON > LCD2C > Clear

    Tonality (bright to dark) – HE4XX > Clear > AEON > LCD2C

    Bass Quantity – Clear > AEON > LCD2C > 4XX

    Bass Quality – even, none sounded one-notey or bloated

    Midrange – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Treble Quantity – HE4XX > Clear > AEON > LCD2C

    Treble Quality – Clear > HE4XX = LCD2C > AEON

    Clarity – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Soundstage – LCD2C > HE4XX > AEON >> Clear

    Imaging – equally good

    Composure – Clear = LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Bang for buck – HE4XX > LCD2C > Clear > AEON

    Overall – Clear > LCD2C = HE4XX > AEON

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    JNKM, betula, DrSeven and 6 others like this.
  13. heliosphann
    I usually find Zeos reviews really entertaining and that's about it. In this one though he really drove me nuts with his "comparisons" of how he remembered other LCD's sounding. Just horrible impressions. I'm pretty sure I remember him calling LCD3's bright in this video?!? What?
  14. Gambitek
    ^^Wow what a great comparison. I have to say: I don't want to try any of those other headphones if you think the LCD2C has the best soundstage because to me they were absolutely claustrophobic.
  15. Raphael DeLaGhetto
    Maybe we just have a different definition of wide v. theirs because I keep seeing this & it's blowing my mind.
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