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Is Astell & Kern AK70 MKii good enough to properly drive Audeze LCD-2C headphones?
As I listen to more, I notice that there isn't a lot of bass quantity to these headphones, but there is somewhat of a bass impact and the decay being more in the subs. It feels like low-mids bass is kinda sucked out. Bass is pretty damped, but not hard like I recall the Focal Clear bass, but a bit softer. It's just that it's not the warm type of bass with much quantity that has a bit of a decay. It seems most of the bass on the low-end side rather than upper, which seem a bit minimal there. I don't think this will be the type of sound for those that like a bit of warmth or mids-body to the sounds.
I could understand when people see this headphone as a bit on the dark side, it seems lower treble is a bit dulled, in which gives the perception that upper-mids to be more noticeable, especially the 4-5k, and if there is sibilance, it will be there. Not that sibilant will be prominent with this type of treble tuning.
I'm starting to notice the mids to sound a bit weird as I've experienced Audeze headphones in the past. Just the vocals seems off to me, doesn't seem like all the harmonics of the vocals are there for male vocals. Mids vocals sounds like there a bit of tunneling sound effect.
I don't find the resolution(or detail retrieval) is it's forte, but the more relaxed lower treble and sounding clear(due to not much upper bass to low mids to provide body). But, it seems the treble is a bit too relaxed that mixed with mids, creates a bit of tunneling effect, and a bit dull'd. Vocals seems to be not so defined, not as defined it should with all the harmonics. The treble quality seems to be similar to Sundara as for definition.
I was always curious about how lcd2c sounds. Great to hear your impressions about it. How can you compare its sound to Sundara? Which one do you prefer if you value high quliaty of mids to lower treble?
Sundara sounds like bass is flatter with LCD2C having more prominent in the lower bass region. Sundara is more prominent in the upper-mids, so the female vocals comes out more due to the more lifted 4-5k I believe. Upper mids vocals pop out more with the Sundara due to the greater level of treble in the upper-mids. I think the difference in vocals is LCD2C is 2-3k sounds more prominent, whereas for the Sundara, the 4-5k(which makes vocals come out more certain tracks). So, LCD2C upper-mids sounds more dulled compared the Sundara. LCD2C in comparison to Sundara doesn't sound like 2k mids is dipped(as for the Sundara, not all vocals pop out as the mids sounds recessed, particularly the 2k). Some tracks, the Sundara sounds like it doesn't have much bass impact as the LCD2C, which impacts with the lower-end bass. I think Sundara's impact is felt more when the track has upper bass quantity(and when it impacts, it hits harder). Due to this 4-5k region emphasis, upper-mids vocals pops out more with the Sundara, sounds fuller tonality(for treble) for those vocals.
So, if one thinks the LCD2C vocals do not seem prominent enough in terms of treble tonality, Sundara sounds fuller, but for the upper-mids emphasized vocals. So, if one thinks the LCD2C sounds a bit dimmed, Sundara shines a bit more light to it.
As far as technicalities of driver performance, I think they are about the same level in terms of refinement they can output.
Bass impact for both are different. In general, LCD2C sound softer in impact, but it's impactful more quanity(in the lower bass region). But, the impact are depending on what part of the bass spectrum of the tracks are impacting. LCD2 sounds deeper in impact, but also not as hard.
When you compare them, you realize how different tracks react differently to different headphones. You can't say one has more bass impact or quantity, it's actually track dependent one can sound like it has more and the other less. That's a difference I notice between the two.
I know HE560 was more refined than the Sundara, and LCD2C seems to be in the same level of refinement as the Sundara.
Personally, I prefer the Sundara's treble tonality over the LCD2C, in which I think dips a bit in the upper mids. On the other hand, Sundara dips a bit on the 2k mids, which creates some vocals to sound recessed.I really don't understand why Audeze tunes the mids like this? The caveat of HE560 is that, it's a bit on the brighter side in the lower treble.
LCD2C is $300 more than the Sundara. IMO LCD2C should be priced to compete with Sundara than $300 higher. This is purely on sound of course, but the build quality of LCD2C is definately worth more. It looks really nice, and feels great on the head with a nice cable.
I think Sundara has a harder bass and can hit harder. LCD2C in comparison seems softer but impact quantity is greater, but overall quantity doesn't seem to be much of the whole bass spectrum.
Had a little meet with friends yesterday and compared against 3 non-f , Clear , K1000. It was surprised that the 2C performed better than 3 non F out of Taurus mk2 where it can dig out details that the 3 can't, on the other hands, it's more or less compared to the Clear (both hp are on equal ground, with Clear has a little more on top but lacking against 2c at the bottom)
There are several things to consider regarding LCD2 bass:
the LCD2 has nearly no bass distortion, particularly when you play it loud. So it gives the impression of tamer / less punchy bass.
it goes flat very low, which gives the impression of softer / less tight bass.
The only way to get the full potential of those actual qualities is to have a very fast and generous amp. That's why the LCD's love balanced amp.
The same goes for the mid/trebles, if you have fast and precise amp, darkness is over.
In fact, the LCD's can easily scale up to an amp 10 times of its price.
Unfortunately, your claim is not true, at least regarding lcd2c. LCD2c does not require a powerful amp to drive it. All kinds of amp arguments must be backed by some evidence.
According to measurements about lcd2c from Innerfideity,
"..With 110mVrms needed to achieve 90dB at the ear, these headphones will be driven to useable levels with a portable source."
In regards to HiFiman Sundara,
"Needing 245mVrms to drive these headphones to 90dBspl at the ear indicates it will not be easily driven to loud levels from portable devices. I'd recomend and amp or dedicated DAP for portable use."
In fact, Focal Clear is also very efficient,
"With about 111mVrms needed to achieve 90dB at the ear, the Clear will be driven to solid listening levels by portable devices."
Truly, a headphone which will scale well is LCD4.
"The LCD-4 needs 482mVrms to reach 90dBspl at the ear. These headphones will run quite a bit more towards the top of your volume dial than most."
Noticed no one had added the LCD2 Classic to the review database yet so I went ahead and did it along with a review. Note however that this is coming from someone who generally prefers dynamic drivers. If it were not for the headband issue I would have happily kept them, but now I guess the search goes on. Still want a planar as my complementary headphone though...
My claim are true experience with various Audeze including the LCD2C.
Sensitivity/power doesn't give you the all story. When you talk about "With 110mVrms needed to achieve 90dB at the ear" I can tell you it's not for a bass note at say 32hz. To achieve 90dB for that frequency you need much more than 110mVrms.. If you have the material, try it by yourself. You will see that in order to go properly deep down you need a good amount of juice. If you don't have the same conclusion after your test, let me know I'm interested.
I know, but these things are all relative. Your argument also applies also to other cans. I mean, scalability of lcd2c would not be any better than other cans.
I've been using my Chord Hugo 2 to power my desktop as I've temporarily packed up my Woo Audio amp till I get my new desk shipped in and find the CH2 powers the LCD2C just fine. I actually prefer it on the CH2 over the WA amp I have, at least on the LCD2C. I didn't do the math but I estimate the CH2 is feeding them around 550mW's, of course, I would love to give them more power but they get plenty loud even my Chord Mojo.
There is not a lot of hp that goes that low particularly without distortion. So it means more power for the subs will add distortion on other cans while it will brings more subs on the audeze.
I have also noticed significant increase in depth and volume of the bass when I pull the cans away from my ears about 1/3 of an inch or so. Somebody here thought that deeper pads would solve that "issue" but I think the effect occurs not because the increased distance between driver and ear but because of breaking the seal. I'm gonna find out tomorrow when I get back from work.
Also, would that void the warranty if I unscrew the 8 screws that hold the pleather headband in place and adjust it in some way? I've got a bit pointy head that hits the middle of the metal arcs and causes slight discomfort.