AUDEZ'E LCD - 2 HEADPHONE REVIEW
I finally got my hands on long awaited and much anticipated Audeze's LCD2. Here are the initial impressions of LCD -2.
About Me :
i am gurubhai's friend and an music enthusiast.
As some of you already know i am an avid fan and disciple of planar magnetic headphones. My first planar was vintage Fostex T20 orthodynamic headphone, thanks to the legendary thread on HeadFi. After that I have never bought any dynamic headphone.. My Beyerdynamic DT 880 600 ?s has been craving for love for a long time now. I came to know about Audeze from HeadFi threads and some of initial impressions and comparisons made me think, and with my orthodynamic heart and every review I read, I knew I wanted this. I had read about LCD1 and was sure that Audeze was coming out with something great. And once you listen to LCD2, you know Audeze has kept their promise.
After the launch and when I had the moolah, I contacted them, they kept me in waiting list. After three weeks of waiting they contacted me that my order was ready. I placed an order online and got it shipped to a friend in USA, who was coming to India. He used the headphone for one month, and brought it with him. He said he cannot appreciate any other headphone now. I have reasons to believe that he is another orthodynamic disciple now.
My music preference is vocal/acoustic/jazz/rock/blues/classical. Their formats ranged from Mp3s, FLAC to DTS-HD.
My previous / present headphones :
Dynamic : Denon AH-d1001, Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohms, Beyerdynamic DT-231, Sennheiser HD 201, Sennheiser HD 595, Sennheiser HD580.
Planar : NAD RP18 (mylar), Yamaha HP-50S , Yamaha YH-2 , Fostex t20, Fostex t50rp.
Now coming back to LCD2
Since my friend was already using it for over a month it came to me with a significant burn in.
The first day I just casually listened to them on my newly built EHHA amp, I enjoyed the music for a next few hours and god..she was hot.
Its fairly easy to drive which is not the case with most of the orthodynamic headphone, even an iphone does the job decently.
The wooden box with the fine finish immediately gets your attention. The golden lid on the box speaks of the treasure inside. Initial impressions on opening the box were very elegant and eye catching. The headphone properly encased against dark pink silk cloth background was just beautiful. It came with specifications booklet , warranty card, wood care solvent kit, connecting wires and the headphone itself.
On the very first look the black grills against the wood immediately catch your attention. These are very beautifully designed and has the vintage visual appeal. When you hold it in your hand you know Its big in size, It weighs around kg, The overall build is rock solid. Steel sprung headband with metal ratchet type arm adjustments give it a strong feel. It does not slip once they are positioned. The headband foam are nice and soft and are very comfortable, though they could have done better. The cups themselves are solid, nice looking wood with a great finish. From the manufacturer its "Hand selected Caribbean Rosewood". The steel rill looks good with the overall build.
The Pads are made of lamb skin , offer good support and seal to create the soundtage. These pads make the headphones very comfortable, even after wearing them for long durations.
The option of mini xlr offers an elegant solution to custom cable connectors , the manual even has connection details for making your own custom cables (which I have already done). There are 4 screws in the back which give immediate access to the rear of the driver, something orthoheads would appreciate.
The wires I think are a bit heavy and sleeve at the RCA end could have been better, they produce sound and affect microphonics when they rub against each other.
The delicacy of the treble on the LCD-2 is very special, sounds pure and articulate and has a very a detailed top, smooth, very natural sounding, and very transparent. Its neither soft nor bright, tone of instruments is very accurate in almost all recordings. Live recordings are so live, you are teleported to the event itself. One can make out even the very subtle instruments. It is the most detailed ortho I have heard. Its effortless, natural and offers nice and neat balanced sound. If one likes classical instrumental compositions of Indian artists, its an absolute bliss when listening on LCD2.
The mids have been stronghold of orthodynamic headphones and LCD2 does not disappoint you, its just breathtaking, absolutely natural and transparent. The vocals are very naturally presented, especially in case of female vocalists. Lata Mangeshkar, Sarah Brightman and Elizabeth Fraser( Song of the siren ) had never sounded so special. it seems they are singing right next to you. If you listen to opera its a real treat to your ears. Even the vocals in metal had a lot of detail ( the words you could only read in lyrics can be discerned ). Violin sounds like violin and you can make out the individual strums of guitar, sometimes even the sound of fingers brushing the guitar string. Overall midrange is very precise, transparent and natural.
Yes,This baby got some base
The bass has been an area of concern in orthodynamic headphones and requires modding , but LCD2 is just spot on. As a matter of fact LCD2 has the best bass reproduction I have ever heard in any dynamic/ortho headphone. This clearly is one of the most unique features of this headphone. The lower frequencies are tight and extended. It has definition, layered, accurate and blends well with texture. The bass has depth and is clearly one of the winning points of this headphone.
Soundstage makes things feel very much alive. Very deep and wide, gives the feeling of being in a grand theatre. You get very intimately involved with the music. To sum it up, listening to these on your reclined chair, add some beer.. you are into a freefall, gravity simply disappears.
It has been a long time since I took the plunge into the orthodynamic pool. I have been modifying those vintage orthos to arrive at the destination and after LCD2 , its definitely one of those destinations. LCD2 has an excellent soundstage and bass, treble is very very articulate and mids simply superb. Ever since I have got my hands on these headphones I very rarely turn to my other headphones, they wait for me like the other jealous wife. I am sure LCD2 will stay in my inventory for a long time. I would recommend these headphones as must have for any music lover. Wish the price range was more affordable, but quality music does not come cheap !