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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. headphoneloverinNY
    Thank you for this message! So, I of course, had hastily ordered the Monoprice one on accident (but was able to cancel the purchase luckily). I see the massdrop for 690 USD on Ebay. Around what price do you think I should be looking for it?
  2. BrotherKathos
    Its $350 from massdrop new. It was a pretty popular item so it should drop again fairly soon. Maybe a couple months at most ir it could be a couple of weeks, probably right after the new year. If you can't wait that long the Schiit Asgard 2 is $250 and is also good with the lcd2c. I liked it in low gain with my modi multibit and lcd2c and that combo acually had the biggest sound-stage and the most depth. Its just not nearly as clean as the thx, but the haziness of the Asgard is actually very endearing to me. High gain had tighter bass, but the highs got more pronounced as well. I would only need to crank it to 12:00 max for my typical volume levels even in low gain. The Asgard meets Audeze's reccomended power specs at 1.0 wats rms very close to the lcd2c's ohm rating as well. Glad you caught the order error in time. :)
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  3. JNKM
    Being pretty new to hifi, I had been pretty curious about the LCD-2C (and planars in general), so I was super stoked to purchase a pair of these from the recent Black Friday B-stock sale. What initially caught my attention was the description of these as presenting the stereo image in a "huge" way, filling up the sonic spectrum with the planar "wall of sound" that is often mentioned. Further piquing my curiosity were the many conflicting conclusions about their bass: on the hand, there was so much talk about the epic "planar bass" and its high resolution/quality; on the other hand, there were those who expressed disappointment or caution in how "bass light" these were (despite all the talk of a flat or neutral bass presentation). For me, I was fascinated by this question of bass quality vs. quantity -- what would a headphone that had amazing bass quality but less perceived quantity sound like (especially if the sonic images were actually as huge as has been described)? Would it be satisfying or revelatory for a listener like me, who had thus far only been trolling around in warm(er) dynamics?

    This isn't meant to be a comprehensive review at all, but I wanted to share a couple of things that struck me upon listening to the LCD-2C (through a Lyr 3 with the stock Tung-Sol tube) for the past few days:
    • These cans are SMOOTH. I never really understood what "smooth" meant until I listened to the LCD-2C (and a planar in general, I guess). It's eerily seductive: it's almost like the sound waves have no edges as they hit your ear. To put it another way, it's almost like the sound is a crystal clear pane of glass that just comes at you all at once as a single, coherent, unbroken image (perhaps this is what people mean by these being "plasticky"?), instead of having the sound waves feel more jagged, textured, dirtier, tactile. While the latter presentation is what I've gotten used to in dynamics, and lends to a more visceral, organic, albeit dirtier (possibly grainier) sound, there is something also remarkably pleasing about the planar presentation. It paradoxically feels both artificial and high-fidelity at the same time -- a fascinating paradox. It's not unlike the difference between watching a movie on film vs. watching on Blu-ray with motion-smoothing. This of course works better for certain things and not necessarily for others...
    • Upon first listen, the bass quantity was indeed light. For those who are used to flatter sound signatures, or who aren't bassheads, this might be fine and seemingly "accurate," but I've discovered just how important a mid-bass hump is to my personal sense of realism and naturalness (to say nothing of the Harmon response curve). Bass slam was lacking: e.g. bass drum kicks sometimes sounded like a tap instead of a more visceral thud or boom. For this reason, switching between these cans and my HD650 (through Valhalla 2), I found that the latter had a more engaging, compelling, and somewhat romantic bass presentation -- though in quantity only. Once I turned up the bass dial on my Schiit Loki Mini, the bass of the LCD-2C came alive: you were rewarded with a deep, thunderous, and sometimes overwhelming sense of the sub-bass rumble, as well as mid-bass punch (though to a slighter lesser degree than sub-bass rumble). I don't think I've ever heard a sub-bass-centric presentation like this before -- an extraordinary combination of quality and quantity -- and it was truly a revelation and deeply satisfying. The low distortion levels really lets the LCD-2C be EQ'ed to one's own tastes, which is a huge plus in my book.
    • The mids were very pleasing, and the treble was sufficiently tame for my own tastes. And all throughout the spectrum, I think you get a very clear and surprisingly detailed sound (at least, from someone who is a bit treble-phobic). The only thing that really bothered me was a bit of shout in the vocals, which are popped out or pushed forward a bit so that they're rather in-your-face, almost uncomfortably so. This makes for a rather strange sense of soundstage: the main/center vocals are pushed forward while everything else feels sufficiently and comfortably stepped back. The "three blob effect" that some have mentioned seems to play into the sense of soundstage, but because of the large sonic images, this wasn't too much an issue, since any potential holes in the soundstage were all filled in with sound. As for the vocal forwardness, I couldn't really find a good dial on the Loki Mini to remedy this, but I imagine this could be taken care of rather easily with some parametric EQ.
    Despite how much these headphones blew me away, however, I decided they were ultimately not for me -- for one reason in particular: comfort. I am very sensitive to weight and pressure, and the LCD-2Cs eventually got the better of me, leading to headaches and even nausea (which I think was due as much to the headband as the big boost I had to give to the bass).

    But the silver lining for me is that this experience with the LCD-2C also gave me a newfound appreciation for my Atticus and HD650 as well. The Atticus (at least through the Lyr 3) has some of that smooth planar magic in the midrange while still providing that deeply satisfying bass slam. The LCD-2C rivals the Atticus in giving body and richness to vocals, especially in the former's very linear transition from bass to mids -- this is quite a feat, since the Atticus has made most headphones sound thin to me (even the HD650!). But moreover, the Atticus also has a really nice soundstage (especially being a closed back), while still producing very large sonic images as well. And the HD650? Well, through the Valhalla 2, it simply remains the most natural sound I've heard so far...

    All in all, I can't emphasize enough just how much I enjoyed these headphones -- they've opened my eyes to the possibilities and pleasures provided by planars. Sad it didn't work out this time, but I really hope I get a chance to hear some more!
  4. BrotherKathos
    That’s too bad they didn’t work out for you. I wonder if alot of the difference was the amps as well since you seemed to use different ones in the test which to my understanding would make for a poor ab comparison. Why not compare headphones through same source and amp? I’ve found the lcd2c to have much more full range bass and slam that my 650s using the same source and amp, while they do have a bit more depth space and clarity than the 650 as well.

    I think the lcd2c benefits from a more natural and organic source pairing to a very precise amp like a thx aaa linear 789. That eay you get pretty much the exact natural smoothness of a r2r dac and still maintain all the clarity. My 650 is the headphone that makes everything sound good since its so dim on its own. Its the only one I can use with the overly grainy magni 3. Its all about the pairing, and it seems you were unable to hit the jackpot with the lcd2c and your current gear. Hopefully you will try again another time when and if you switch to another source and amp. I’m guessing you were using a delta sigma dac?
  5. JNKM
    That's a good question and good point you raise. So, first off, the source was the same for all comparisons -- Bimby Gen 5, which I think is natural and organic enough.

    As for a very clinically precise amp, yeah, I just don't have one. I had read that Lyr 3 was a fine pairing with the LCD-2C, which is why I thought it might be a good fit with the gear I already had (the Lyr 3 is fantastic with my Atticus). So in a way, there was an underlying financial question here as well: could I add this headphone to my current stable in a seamless way without having to buy additional gear? This is one of the reasons why I chose to keep the HD650 on the Val2 instead of putting the two headphones on the same amp: I was interested in comparing systems/pairings for overall sonic satisfaction/enjoyment rather than comparing just headphones with each other.

    With that said, however, I thought the sound of the LCD-2C was great -- as I said, it really blew me away! The qualms I had were very minor and easily correctible through some light EQ. So I think the pairing of the LCD-2C with the Lyr 3 was actually quite good! If it hadn't been for the comfort, I would've totally kept it, since it would've added such a different dimension to my stable. My mistake if that message didn't come through clearly enough.
  6. BrotherKathos
    I see. Yeh the lcd2c is way way heavier than the 650. It might be because I’ve got a stronger than average neck from playing football for a decade, but the lcd2c is actually alot more comfortable to me than the 650. the 650 actually causes discomfort for me from the clampdown and the headband, while the earpads and head strap on the audeze work much better. The weight is the least fatigued part, maybe from all the years of heavy helmets and whiping my neck around from impacts.
  7. JNKM
    Yeah, I guess it’s as much about knowing your body as it is about sonic preferences/tastes. I keep learning the same lesson over and over again: no matter how much research you do, it ultimately comes down to just trying the gear yourself!
    Andrey2019 and ChaChaRealSmooth like this.
  8. BrotherKathos
    I agree, you can read all the reviews in the world, but your fav system will probably be he result of a coincidence or happy accident. Thats why in this hobby its good to just go with happy hunting as the motto :)
  9. betula
    Nice and meticulous analysis of your experience, thanks. I couldn't live without the sub-bass extension, slam and detail of the 2C. HD650 simply can't match this bass quality. The natural timbre of the 650s though can be quite appealing. IMO this is mostly music genre dependent.
    I really liked the NightHawks before I bought the 2C, and like all dynamic drivers they've got a huge mid-bass hump too. I haven't really realised this mid-bass hump until I get to know the flat bass response of planars, extending lower than any dynamic drivers. Even though I love my bass, I can't really go back to these mid-bass emphasised dynamic drivers anymore, they just sound unnatural. Planar bass feels much more natural, and the slam the 2Cs give is more satisfying than any mid-bass quantity. I think it is perhaps educating your ears as well? Like you can educate your taste buds with high quality cheeses/wines or oysters. :)
    Anyway, it is great to have so many wonderful headphone options. Everyone can find a pair that suits their taste.
    JNKM and Andrey2019 like this.
  10. newaudio46
    I’ve decided upon the lcd2c over the Oppo PM2.
    I’ve read on the forum the some people don’t think the mojo will be powerful enough for the lcd2c. what are people’s opinions on this?. I will be using the mojo on my iPhone 8plus.
  11. betula
    Mojo is a great start, but there is room for improvement with the 2C.
  12. ChaChaRealSmooth
    I wish more people did this honestly.

    I'll admit I got lucky with my purchase. I tried both a LCD-2C and a LCD-2 (2017) and I hummed and ha'd trying to decide which one I liked better (for the record, I loved the way they both sounded. The Audeze house sound plays right into my preferences). Then just when I thought I was going to buy the LCD-2 with the updated band, I found this absolutely killer deal on a 2016 LCD-3. Ended up buying the LCD-3 and boy, I love it!

    But to be absolutely clear, I would have been perfectly happy with either of the LCD-2s and highly recommend them.

    Post-2016 LCDs tend to be pretty efficient, so the Mojo should get you to good listening levels. I think you would benefit from a dedicated amp though; my experience with Chord has been that the DAC section is fine but the amp section, while not bad, is not up to snuff for any headphone remotely hard to drive (and the Audezes definitely require more current)
    JNKM likes this.
  13. newaudio46
    I have my denon 4400 I use for home cinema, I will also be using that. I was originally going to do with Oppo HA2 se. I would like to get the best out of them and I’m stating to think a portable dac would not do the job. Is the mojo the best out there at the moment that is portable for thoes headphones or do you all think I’m better off going for the Oppo PM2 with the mojo or the oppo dac and they are easy to drive. It’s a shame because but I’ve not been able to audition them
  14. betula
    I think Mojo is better than the Oppo HA2SE. If you want power and portability iFi Micro iDSD BL might be even better.
    I'd also choose the 2C over the PM2 even out a portable source.
    It is not that the 2C sounds bad out of Mojo. They sound really good. But with a dedicated desktop amp they get more power which means a bigger and more authoritative sound, bigger soundstage and better extension both to the low end and treble. Don't worry, they are enjoyable with Mojo. They just sound even better with full size amplification.
    omniweltall likes this.
  15. Andrey2019
    Hi @JNKM

    Very great comment and very detailed experience description!
    After this comment I also want to listen ZMFAtticus and see how they sounds to me!
    By the way - weight of Atticus is 600g. and weight of LCD2c is 550g. - I have just measured weight of my LCD2c specifically for this comment :)
    So it might be a headband that is just not for you. Or you should try to listen to planar headphones without an EQ for a while - to get used to their sound.

    Some time ago I have first time tried open back headphones (not LCD). I had only closed back models for several years before that. And I totally disliked open back ones.
    But my friend who gave me these open back pair to test for some time said: "Do not be in a hurry - listen to them for a week or two and then make your conclusions."

    And indeed - after a 2 weeks I found them attractive. Open backs and closed ones just sounded differently - but both of them could be quite good.
    Maybe you have the same situation with planars and dynamic headphones? If you dislike headband of LCD - you could try planars form different manufacturer and could find them appealing to you :)
    gargani and JNKM like this.
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