Audez’e LCD-2 Trio

We had a small local meet last weekend at which we had three LCD-2s being present. One was calico’s, who’s the master of wood housing headphones. The other was my friend Mike’s LCD-2. And lastly is the Audeze LCD-2 at my possession, which belongs to Peter. We were mainly testing how the Burson HA-160 pairs with the LCD-2, and there was also a DAC-less HA-160 in addition to the HA-160D. Quite a good synergy, and I think Mike liked the Burson so much with Rock that he’s considering of buying a HA-160D. I would agree too. One of the best amps for Rock, paired with one of the best headphones for Rock.

Here are the photos of the three LCD-2 versions. Enjoy.

The newer grill have an “A” letter design embedded. The wood finishing has a light clear coat for a more maintenance-free use.

The older style grill. The wood housing is free from clear-coat. Requires polishing every once in a while, but classier looking.

Differences also include headband foam and the Grado-style rod.

Pads differences. Probably due to the pads being hand-built. Also notice the different connectors used. The newest one had a connector that sticks out of the housing.

This one has a slightly different left/right thickness of the pads.

This is the earliest version, and had the best built pads.

Different cable connectors. This is the older style.

This is the newer style.

The newer headband pads from up close. Also notice the smoother, more rounded metal block holding the housing rods.

The older style.

This one is quite unfortunate. Different left/right pad thickness, and the steel band that holds the headphone cup has finishing defects (the right side — corossion behind the paint, perhaps?).

The older style has a hole in the housing. Not sure what it’s for.

Different mini-XLR connectors. The newer style on the right is better looking and has a better spring-locking mechanism.

These are the wood grills that calico built.

Another woody grill.

  • Kunal

    What about the sound, any worthwhile differences.

    • Mike

      I only spent a short time listening to some Piano solos. There are slight differences in the midrange, one more forward and one more laid-back, and one in between. It's similar to how the HD600 changes between brand new pads to well-worn pads. Again, slight differences, by no means Grado like forward.

  • Brian

    I wonder how mine is going to look like… should be similar to the one that Jose has with the aluminium block thingie.

  • Kunal

    It happens that more people prefer the LCD2 over the HE-6

    • Mike

      Yep. It seems so doesn't it?

      • Kunal

        I have noticed that the HE-6 are souding a little sibilant for jazz and female vocal, causing them to sound harsh,don't know whether its the T-1 amp but sort of strainous.

        • Mike

          Interesting. One of the comments that I often get with the HE-6 is how it has a clear and yet sibilance free treble. I guess some recordings just have so much sibilance that it still comes through.

          • Kunal

            I know, I just placed an order for the LCD2,I do listen to quite a few female vocal albums and the harshness is getting in the way of enjoyment.

            Mike any quick comparisons last time if you want to share,pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee

            Will help me decide,please be frank.

            • Mike

              Okay, I think you've reached that point where it becomes a recording-by-recording case. The HE-6 have a more forward mids, and I often prefer its vocal presentation to the LCD-2's. However, the LCD-2 also has its own magic, and when paired with the Zana, the vocal is quite special as well. I think a lot of variables are at play here, with recording being the most significant factor. Both are great cans, but you will always find one recording that sounds better on the other headphone. Can't have a perfect universal headphone.Go ahead with the LCD-2, and while you're at it, order the Omega 2 as well. :p

    • Daniel

      Nuetral < Natural.

    • Brian

      I doubt it has nothing to do with SQ but rather, Hifiman’s very late and ill-timed entry into the market.

      • Mike

        Yes the LCD-2 has been in the market for much longer.

  • wharfrat

    Mike,

    Seems like we both have insomnia, lol.

    Tried the LCD-2 with the HI-FiMan EF5 yet? your sense and thoughts?

    • Mike

      I haven't done that, no. But I'll give it a try later today and get back to you. :)

    • Mike

      Using the LCD-2 with the EF5 now… very sweet pairing. Norah Jones sound sweet with good presence and vocal weight. Playing Rock music, the pace is a bit relaxed with the EF-5. I know some people prefer this kind of a presentation for Rock, compared to the fast-paced Burson.
      Overall I still prefer the Burson as it gives a nice synergy in terms of PRaT especially for Rock, but that's just my personal preference. To sum it up, the EF-5 and LCD-2 matches up quite nicely.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854814728 Yossi Goldstein

    I'm a "victim" of pads thinness. my left one is so thin right now it actually hurts.
    Audeze sent me new pads but they are yet to arrive. My pair is with A on the grills.

    • Mike

      How long have you been using your LCD-2?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=854814728 Yossi Goldstein

        2 Months. But I noticed right away that they are thin.

  • Kunal

    I received my LCD2's today,Sankar was kind enough to get me a pair quickly,I personally requested one from previous enquiry.
    I'am using the Leben CS300X to drive it,not a bad combination.
    i'am very sleepy tonight for much impressions,would post some more later.

    • Mike

      Sweet. So now you have both LCD-2 and HE-6?

      • Kunal

        I had to return the HE-6 because of the sibilance I reported before.

        • Mike

          Ouch. you must have pretty sibilant music, man. :)

          • Kunal

            The music was mainstream jazz, like Diana Krall and Norah Jones.
            It wasn't as bad at the start but noticed the sibilance interferring with the overall music ,just had to return it.

            that to say,what I like about the LCD2 is the proffesional look and feel of the product,the dedication that has gone inside selling this headphone is worth mentioning.
            Right from the packaging to the final finish,I 'am impressed.

            The sound,well I had loaned a pair earlier to my purchase and was very excited about its signature,now to burn it some more and get the Leben to take me away.

          • Kunal

            The music was mainstream jazz, like Diana Krall and Norah Jones.
            It wasn't as bad at the start but noticed the sibilance interferring with the overall music ,just had to return it.

            that to say,what I like about the LCD2 is the proffesional look and feel of the product,the dedication that has gone inside selling this headphone is worth mentioning.
            Right from the packaging to the final finish,I 'am impressed.

            The sound,well I had loaned a pair earlier to my purchase and was very excited about its signature,now to burn it some more and get the Leben to take me away.

            • Mike

              Glad you're enjoying it. Some people are liking the wood finish of the LCD-2, while others think that the HE-6's glossy finish is more proper.

              • Kunal

                I definitely agree that the plastic finish on the HE-6 is also nice,but the overall finish and parts of the LCD2 are way above what the HE-6 stands with.
                The music is very enjoyable with the leben,if only I had the HE-6 to test also.

        • grokit

          Were you using the headphone jack or the speaker taps of the Leben for the HE-6? If you didn't use the speaker taps you didn't hear the HE-6 driven to it's potential. Just my 2 cents.

          • Kunal

            Hi,

            I did not have the Leben during the time I had the HE-6,but I did manage to use the FULL POTENTIAL of the HE-6 because I tapped it into a T2050 Class T-Amp T1.

  • Kunal

    The imaging and the tonal qualities of the LCD2 are extremely accurate,probably the Leben help it with thatbut as a complete rig.
    The sound is something not easily replicated by anything else.

    The O2's are way recessed in comparision,rest of the qualities are shared with the LCD2.

  • grokit

    This article doesn't mention the cable differences, the new LCD-2 cable is much less microphonic.

    • Kunal

      That is right,but continues to be microphonic,don't know why Audeze went down this path for the cable.

    • Mike

      Hi grokit,I wasn't aware that they have changed the cables. Seems like there is always an update with each newer batch.

  • Elias

    How’s the comfort of the LCD-2? Would it be very uncomfortable if I wear spectacles and put on the LCD-2 for a few hours?

    • Anonymous

      The comfort is quite good, but I wouldn’t know since I don’t wear glasses.

      • Elias

        Darn. Will just have to wear my contact lenses more then. These are larger than the HD800 yeah?

        • Anonymous

          They are larger in the thickness of the housing, but diameter wise, the HD800 is slightly bigger still.

          I actually have a friend who wears glasses and yet he never seem to complain about the fitting with the LCD2.

          • gumbo

            I’ve seen a lot of people report that the LCD-2 clashes heavily with their glasses, especially when the glasses have thick rims.

            • Anonymous

              Hmm, yes that may be true.

              Sorry I am really just the wrong person to ask as I dont wear glasses.

        • Anonymous

          I am trying the LCD2 with a plastic frame sunglasses, and the glasses dont bother me at all.

  • Albert

    Mike, have you tried any replacement cable or mod that could increase the treble brightness?

    • Anonymous

      Most of the local guys seem to settle down with the Moon Audio Silver
      Dragon. Perhaps due to the fact that it’s the most affordable cable when
      bought as bulk cable.

      I don’t think they’ve done a comparison with the other brand name cable
      manufacturers.

      • Albert

        Have you heard the Silver Dragon pairing? If yes, any drawbacks from the stock tonal balance?

        Do you have any experience with the recent batch of LCD-2? I’m wondering whether Audeze have improve its sound quality better than the older generations.

        • Anonymous

          I haven’t quite tried the Silver Dragon recable. It should bring the treble levels up, but I am not sure about the rest of the tonality.

          I tried the Silver Dragon with the HE-500, and though there were more treble, overall I prefer the balance of the stock cable.

          I tried a new batch LCD-2 with the new stock cable (the non canare one), and it brings the midrange out better, but I thought it congested the midrange and changes the timbre of the mids as well. Again I prefer the more linear, darker sound of the original Canare cable.

          • Albert

            Where LCD-2 is extremely good in its bass, what aspects grab you the most of the HE-500?

            Have you ever tried cables called Crystal Piccolino? If yes, how it compared against the likes of the TWAg and Silver Dragon? The marketing seems sensational, the price too.
            Thanks buddy.

            • Anonymous

              The HE-500 have a more conventional audiophile headphone tonal response,
              while still offering the good stuff with modern planars, I guess. A lot
              of people, even LCD-2 owners find it to be too dark and the midrange to
              be too laid back. They then try to bring it up with silver cables. I
              think at the end they’re two different headphones, and just like how I
              like some part of the T1 and some part of the HD800, they are two
              different headphones and different people will like one better than the
              other.

              The Crystal Piccolino is really good, but the price is unreasonable in
              my opinion. I have compared it to the TWAg and Silver Dragon and find
              the Piccolino to offer a refinement level above the TWAg and SD. Here is
              a piece I wrote that mentioned about the Piccolino:
              http://www.headfonia.com/whiplash-audios-twag/

  • Guest

    Can the HM-801 drive this headphone?

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps not adequately.

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