So this is Audeze’s entry level offering… and I must say that is a BIG understatement. These are well above other Audeze’s headphones in terms of euphoric listening experience. These should be in fact placed well above the LCD x in my opinion.
From their website:
Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. That’s when Dragoslav Colich, who has 30+ years’ experience in designing planar drivers, joined the team as CTO to create the LCD-1 headphone.
Then we created the legendary, award-winning LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones, and the higher-efficiency LCD-X and XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8 and SINE series headphones. Audeze turned to their strategic partner Designworks, a BMW Group Subsidiary, for the cutting-edge industrial design for the new headphones as well as the Deckard DAC/Amplifier.
Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.
This review unit was lent to me by audio excellence, for a review. Nevertheless, my review will contain no bias
|Transducer type||Planar magnetic|
|Magnetic structure||Proprietary push-pull design|
|Transducer size||106 mm|
|Maximum power handling||15W (for 200ms)|
|Sound pressure level||>130dB with 15W|
|Frequency response||5Hz – 20kHz extended out to 50kHz|
|Total harmonic distortion||<1% through entire frequency range|
|Efficiency||101dB / 1mW|
|Optimal power requirement||1 – 4W|
THE BUILD QUALITY
All you will see on these headphones is wood, metal, and Leather. Of course, you can opt out for their Vegan option. Anyhow, the build is absolute and everything screams quality. There is nothing else to say…. every hinge and cup is done in the most perfect way possible. At this price range, thank god.
Because these are make of top quality material and heavy drivers, they are heavy and to top it all off, the headband is too thin to distribute the weight correctly on your head. This results to quite an impressive amount of discomfort within 30 minutes of listening. However, there is a solution. You just got to buy the 200 dollar carbon fiber headband that comes with only their TOTL model, LCD4. Is it worth it? well… for the comfort improvement, yes. You will especially need it if you are coming from more lightweight headphones like the HD650.
The drivers used are planar magnetic drivers and to me, this is a plus because other than the fact that Audeze has great experience tuning these types of drivers, these types of drivers can make a more impactful sound.
Included is also their latest technology, the “fazor,” which is a wave guide to increase the clarity and lower distortion.
Lower Frequencies: With a satisfying amount of sub bass, what really defines the LCD 2 in my opinion is their punchy and tight bass. It is one of the most clean, fast and punchy bass I’ve every heard in a headphone. I think this is what people refer to when they say “planar bass is better.” Incredible amount of satisfaction.
Mid Frequencies: I found this headphone to excel with micro detail in this range. Vocals sound wet and airy while retaining the euphoric vocal signature you would experience in the HD650s. This is impressive because with larger soundstage, this becomes harder. And yes, these do have bigger sound stage than the HD650s but less than the HD800s. with that in mind, the violin tracks sound incredible on these headphones. Lindsey stirlings’ songs all sounded too good to be true. Despite the discomfort, I had to keep it on.
High Frequencies: Falls short in the upper range compared to HD800s but excels in the lower ranges. Again, micro detail will almost trick you into thinking it is a much better headphone than the HD800s. Technically HD800s do better in this range but if your ears like it more, doesn’t that mean it’s just better too? well, in my opinion the LCD 2 pleased my ears more.
Soundstage/imaging: The soundstage was larger than the HD650 and tad smaller than the HD800s and Hifiman edition x v2. However, the imaging was quite impressive, although this also fell short compared to the mighty HD800s. In terms of imaging, it was quite similar to the level of the Hifiman edition x v2. A lot of you will disagree or agree with me in these comparisons but remember one thing. “these are mild differences, these headphone are pretty similar in sound stage and imaging.” To the extent of you not being able to correctly analyze it unless you had them all side by side like me to go back and forth on the sound stage test tracks.
Bottom line, I would put these as my favorite planar magnetic headphones of this month. Perhaps this year.