Review: Audeze LCD2 Classic – Modern Oldschool

The Audeze LCD2 Classic is a look back at the original Audeze LCD2 which changed the personal audio world.

 

Disclaimer: The Audeze LCD2 Classic was sent to us by Audeze for review. Audeze is not related to Headfonia in any other way.

Audeze

If you’ve been following the personal audio world for the last 10 years, then Audeze will ring many bells. The California, USA based company completely changed and upped the headphone game to new levels. Bio from the Audeze site:

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 LCD-XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8, SINE and iSINE 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.

Planar Magnetic Technology

A short summary of the tech for those not familiar with it.

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.

If you want to read more about the technology, you can do this here:

https://www.audeze.com/planar-magnetic-technology

https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/how-planar-magnetic-headphones-work

LCD 2 History

Do you remember when the original LCD2 was released back in 2010? I for one do as it was very big news. With the LCD2, Audeze (re)launched planar technology and they sound-wise raised the bar for other companies. The LCD-2 back then was launched for around $1200USD if I’m not mistaken and it was one of the headphones which opened the door for other high end headphones and companies.

After the LCD2 things only improved sound-wise, build-wise and price-wise and we nowadays find it normal to see $3K flagship headphones. The LCD2 back then also looked like nothing else on the market and it for me up to today still is one of the most beautiful headphones ever made. The grill – which is still being used today – is gorgeous and I’m convinced everyone knows exactly how it looks.  The first versions also exclusively used exotic wood for the cups, something that nowadays is very normal. In this very old article by Mike he is comparing two different versions of the early LCD2. The mini-article also shows how the original grill looked liked and I’m convinced many of you have never seen it before.

Then later Audeze changed the design of the LCD2, started using bamboo wood and placed the connectors on the outside of the headphone. Build wise that probably was the right thing to do, but to me the new look LCD2 from that version on, never was as sexy anymore.

The original LCD came from a period where Audeze’s Fazor tech wasn’t available yet, and also that tech was added in the later models, completely changing sound of the iconic original headphone. The new LCD2(.2) never had the same impact on me and by then there also was the LCD3 and other top quality planars from other brands.

The original LCD2, or LCD2.1 as I like to call it was one of the first high end headphones I bought and I still have it here with me. Even though I hardly ever use it, it means too much to me to ever get rid of. Nowadays we’re used to top quality (planar) sound, but back then the LCD2 was innovative and it sounded like nothing you ever heard before. I still remember how I felt listening to it back in 2010/2011, it was revolutionary.

So yes, the Audeze LCD2 changed the personal audio world and raised the bar for all headphones, especially planar magnetic ones.

2018 LCD2 Classic

And now it’s back! Well, sort of. Audeze last year decided to launch the good old LCD2 again, without the fazor drivers and in a new all black look, with no more wood. You find its dedicated web page right here: https://www.audeze.com/products/lcd-collection/lcd2-classic

Audeze states:

Since its release in 2009, our original LCD2 headphone has been an industry favorite among passionate listeners everywhere. Audeze proudly presents a new take on our classic LCD2 design. The new LCD2 Classic headphone comes with a lightweight suspension headband, special crystal-infused nylon rings, remodeled audio jacks, and features the warm sound signature of the original LCD2 driver. Made right here in our Southern California facility.

Technical Specs

StyleOver-ear, open-back
Transducer typePlanar magnetic
Magnetic structureProprietary magnet array
Phase managementN/A
Magnet typeNeodymium N50
Diaphragm typeUltra-thin
Transducer size106 mm
Maximum power handling5W RMS
Maximum SPL>130dB
Frequency response10Hz – 50kHz
THD<0.1% @ 100dB
Impedance70 ohms
Sensitivity101dB/1mw (at Drum Reference Point)
Minimum power requirement>100mW
Recommended power level>250mW

 

The review continues on page two after the click here or by using the jump below

Review: Audeze LCD2 Classic – Modern Oldschool
4 (80.58%) 138 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

7 Comments

  • Reply April 18, 2019

    joe

    Great article – I do like the way you compare the two LCDs.

    I do love my LCD2.1 as it was the first “high-level” headphones I own. At the time of purchase, my go-to phones have been the Beyerdynamic DT770AE. They still are my “everyday” PC ones, the LCD is the “special” occasion with the Brocksieper Tube AMP and the Technics 1200MKII source.

    At my office I use the Audeze Moebius at the moment, which is a great technical gimmick with clear sound but it’s clearly not that special as the LCD2.1

    Thanks for putting out the difference to the new Classic – maybe I will give them a try/demo.

    Cheers, joe

  • Reply April 18, 2019

    Booker

    I always hear of the legendary LCD-2 classics, but have yet to hear them myself. Good review, I had no idea the new ones were tuned so differently.

    One question: have you heard the LCD-2 closed backs? They’re about the same price as the new LCD-2 classics and I wondered how they compare? When they came out various reviews compared them to the original classics, but now reading this and seeing the new vs original LCD-2 classics sound different I’m left wondering how their current line-up of new open back vs closed back compare.

  • Reply April 21, 2019

    Sp12er

    Budget is Mojo… Can’t people keep low to the ground and try adding Dragonfly Red on source comparison please~?

  • Reply April 28, 2019

    Sk

    Hi, very comprehensive and sopt on review. Kindly do review Hd58x jubilee from massdrop. Really looking forward to it, as many say its cheaper hd660s.

  • Reply May 25, 2019

    Dulan Weerasinha

    Great review, and comparison with the original LCD-2 is very informative.

    I already have the Sennheiser HD650, HiFiMan HE-560 and Meze 99 Neo (main used when travelling). Love the sound signature of the HD650, but find the HE-560’s too forward/bright without uing EQ (use a Schiit Loki).

    The LCD2 Classic has been on my shortlist for a while now, along with the Focal Elear. How does the LCD2C compare to the Focal Elear, especially since the Elears can now be sourced for under $500?

  • […] Headfonia’s review focuses on more the fact that the LCD-2 is an upgraded version of a classic, saying the new iteration is “recommended if you want a balanced, precise and clean sound from a more neutrally tuned headphone.” CNET mentions the Audeze LCD-2  are absolutely worth checking out, adding “their strengths are easy to discern for everyone, not just audiophiles.” […]

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