Audeze LCD 2 Family Past & Present - Review

audeze
review

#1

Wow I’m loving this new community! Best of all it seems formatting from Reddit Translates nicely here, non the less this review has been posted already on a few outlets, so forgive me if it’s redundant. But for those who don’t subscribe to other communities enjoy!

For this review I’ll only be comparing the LCD 2 models to each other, I won’t be delving into how they compare to other headphones as I feel that’s been covered extensively by many other reviews. That an I also feature comparisons to my LCD 2 in many of my headphone reviews so hopefully those of you who are following my audio experience have already gotten some insight into this matter.

An as a whole the LCD 2 family is characterized by;

  • Heavy solid linear low end
  • Full bodied low and central mid range
  • Slightly withdrawn upper mid range
  • A fairly dark top end presentation
    • Though of all three models this is where they vary the most
  • Slightly intimate presentation with good depth and clarity
  • Excellent micro detail & resolve with a slight lack of macro detail
    • So transients related to the musician, instruments themselves and the vocalists are more vivid than ambient noises such as foot steps, machinery, or other accidental noises
    • For some of you this is a positive as you may find the inclusion of such “noises” intrusive to the music as a whole
  • Impressively quick dynamics
  • changes in both micro and macro dynamics are equally evident

Now for this review I did volume match each headphone with pink noise and my SPL Meter,

Compared to the other LCD 2’s the latest Fazor’d LCD 2F was;

  • Expansive and airy with good precision & cohesion despite a slightly forward mid range
  • Has the least amount of power and slam in the lows
    • but exception clarity, definition and texture
  • Was slightly drier in the mid range
    • slightly aggressive presentation with a slight focus on the attack and decay with a slight de-emphasis sustain & release
  • Well extended up top with great definition despite a slightly darker than neutral presentation
    • Slightly clearer macro dynamics

Compared to the other LCD 2’s the LCD 2C

  • Very natural full bodied presentation
  • Has excellent power, slam and IMPACT
    • But with a slight lack in clarity, definition and texture
  • A smidge wetter in the mid range
    • Just a bit smoother in presentation with a slight focus on the sustain and release with a slight de-emphasis attack
    • I found the overall decay of instruments to be mostly neutral
  • Having the least definition up top
    • Percussion was still powerful and dynamic, but not quite as vivid nor impressive as on the other 2 models
  • Excellent micro detail and micro dynamics!
    • With a slightly subdued macro dynamic presentation

Compared to the other LCD 2’s the 2012 PreFazor is;

  • Exceptionally Wet & Creamy
  • Crazy resolving
  • Slightly intimate but with exceptional precision and cohesive imaging
  • Hands down the standard for how Bass should be presented at this price point
    • Has the most power with no loss of quality, texture or control
  • Slightly dark but with good texture and resolve up top
  • Slightly slower or rather more romantic than the newer models
    • though this added body/decay or sweetness doesn’t take away from it’s resolve
  • Noticeably more difficult to drive
    • Please for the love of gawd don’t try to power it with your iMac

What about upgrades? To keep it simply how does the 2012 PreFazor LCD 2 with an upgraded cable compare to something like the Audeze MX4 with just the stock cable?

Well I gave my copy of Hotel California a listen and untimely found;

  • That it doesn’t compare

Simply put even with the stock cable the MX4 clearly shows it’s self as being a step above even the best LCD 2 I’ve heard! Quite literally everything is improved so the MX4 offers;

  • Better resolve of both transients and spacial information
    • so the position of the strike of that big drum moves around a little more
  • Texture in the spectrum as a whole
    • So an even more defined tactile edge on each of the guitars individual strings
  • giving you an even deeper appreciation for the beauty of a 12 string guitar
  • even more precise imaging
  • Marginally less bass power,
    • But… while the bass is a little drier and not quite as powerful it does have a similar sense of heft and impact
    • Overall I feel that maybe the MX4s bass is still a step above all the LCD 2s I’ve heard
  • Even more efficient and easier to drive
    • So this one would honestly likely sound pretty good from your iMac!
  • Even lighter and more comfortable

Overall I felt that in-conclusion the two newer LCD 2 Models to be the more desirable recommendations! As they are;

  • Lighter and more comfortable to wear over long periods
  • Easier to drive and ultimately need less power overall to reach their max potential
  • Have a more established life span and continuous support from Audeze
  • An established sound signature and excellent resolve
    • And they scale nicely too

Again while I felt overall the older model was better sounding, it’s still too much of a gamble to have my full recommendation! As with the newer models you’ve got 2 slightly different established sound signatures to choose from without any worry about “losing” anything moving forward! That and their just so easy to own and enjoy! Without any of the fuss or stress of having an older model to bother with.


#2

I’m highly interested in hearing them LCD-2C. I sort of wish I’d jumped at their intro price.

Great write-up, very informative!


#3

Thanks and right! That intro price was super aggressive and a smart move from them. I always like it when a brand launches a product at an introductory price. Exposure is what every one needs, and having a slight incentive to buy blindly will likely help newer products get more exposure fast! Though I’d like to see any introductory discounts also have the “Original MSRP” listed too, so people know where the price will land after that introductory period


#4

Great write up!

I was a pretty big fan of the Audeze MX4 when we had it in the office. Especially when doing a straight up weight comparison between the wood cans and the carbon fibre builds.

The new carbon fibre suspension systems and pads that Audeze has thrown on their new wood models going out definitely make a difference. I know there are some people that are good with the weight but man, if you have bad posture the headphones will destroy your neck.

In comparison to the LCD-4, the bass extension didn’t reach quite as deep but it was still a very warm, pleasant sound signature.

I’ve definitely seen people say to just drive the LCD-2 straight from the iMac or that an amp won’t make a difference. I am also of the opinion to not drive it straight from the iMac.


#5

Blockquote I was a pretty big fan of the Audeze MX4 when we had it in the office. Especially when doing a straight up weight comparison between the wood cans and the carbon fibre builds.

Blockquote I’ve definitely seen people say to just drive the LCD-2 straight from the iMac or that an amp won’t make a difference. I am also of the opinion to not drive it straight from the iMac.

Haha, that last bit was a very reddit specific joke, non the less happy to see you and I have quite a bit of overlap

You review headphones with Metallica Tracks, you also like the MX 4 and you feel driving an Audeze LCD 2 from your Mac is less than ideal. Great minds think alike right


#6

Very nice write up! I too find my LCD2C to sound a little wet, which is backed up by measurements of the C80 clarity index:

I suspect that the difference may largely be down to the LCD2C having pleather ear pads vs the other two headphones’ velour pads. Have you ever heard any LCD2 variants with different pads (like the vegan pads) and do you recall if that made any difference in clarity?


#7

I’ve only heard the 2014 Fazor with Vegan pads and I hated it, though the LCD 2C and Latest 2F do in-fact have the same pleather pads, the two models I reviewed were straight from Audeze and Current Gen units. So the newest revision. I don’t believe Audeze is shipping anything with the Velour Pads any more and if I’m not mistaken I think they only sell the Velour Pads [or vegan ect…] as replacements to existing owners

So I wouldn’t attribute it’s wetness to the pad, not when the 2F has the same pads. I feel it’s more due to the lack of Fazor. As what the fazor originally did was “focus” the sound, which resulted in

  • Less Wettness
  • Improved Clarity

Of course that last part is kinda subjective as some of the Pre Fazor LCD 2 have better clarity than the 2F and are noticeably wetter


#8

Thanks!


#9

No problem and thank you for the C80 measurements, I’ve read over that page a little and the metric overall seems pretty cool


#10

Thanks for doing this post. Very informative.


#12

We will now be pinning reviews and interesting discussion once a day for visibility.


#13

This is my first review as such so please excuse my ignorance in all matters of format
At present. I am the proud owner of a set of pre fazer lcd 2 audeze headphones. They are the latest revision before the fazer transducer was introduced . This has been covered before I am sure, but the way to tell a fazer set of headphones to a non fazer is simply by feeling the ridges through the speaker mesh.A fazer set of headphones will have a pronounced peak and a non fazer pair will simply present as a flat grille .
I purchased these headphones on the used market as a lot of us do . previously I had a set of senheisser hd650,s . Initially I started my audiophile journey with speakers and I would like to present this review as a comparison to how you would perceive high end speakers.
Firstly I will start with the overall feeling of bass extension.This I feel is often not present in headphones as such , because of the ears sensitivity to vibration and the bodies interaction with low frequency waves.The lcd 2 is capable of presenting a credible example of low frequency texture you really do feel that you are listening to a full range set of louds peakers,and they are capable of reproducing frequencies well into what would be termed subsonic.This leads to an incredible experience when listening to music, the bass notes are sublime and fast with incredible weight and slam . This to me is like listening to my t6 evolution nht set up which is classed as full ranged by audiophile magazine. These headphones have a seductive midrange that is very Smoove and forgiving of recordings I personally cannot stand harshness or brightness in my music so these headphones are the perfect choice if you want a pair of cans to just listen and drift away with out any un pleasent harshness . The treble region of these headphones is slightly recessed but I do think that it is acceptable because it adds to the laid back signature of these headphones.
I will draw a comparison here of the Sennheiser hd 650 which I owned for some years .The overall sound of the lcd 2 pre fazor is very much like the hd 650 but there is just more of everything the hd 650 lacks bass weight and overall dynamic power the lcd 2 sounds far more convincing and powerfull. The sound stage of these headphones is only average they do not convey to me the level of realism that I get when I listen to a good speaker system .
I have yet to listen to a headphone set up that is fully competant in this area.To date I still feel that headphones as a whole are a compromise in this area however I have not auditioned the higher end stax electrostatics which are supposed to be king of this area.There has been much written about these headphones but I was just trying to present this review in a way that makes sense to someone comparing them to a full range speaker setup . Which I still regard as superior .Areas that I think the headphone is superior is in the midrange the lcd2 has a beautiful midrange it just sounds magnificent . I can hear every nuance of the recording even how hard the strings were plucked or when the vocalists breathed it is sublime.
In summary I think that these headphones have a very easy listening signature .They provide a credible alternative to a good loudspeaker system . However I don’t think they could be considered as a full replacement for a good full range speaker system this to me is still superior.

.;


#14