Review: Audeze LCD2 Classic – Modern Oldschool

Bass

 

The bass in the LCD2 Classic is more neutral than it was in the beginning. Bass here is tight and reaches low when needed but it doesn’t have the big impact anymore. The layering, as said, isn’t the very best compared to newer headphones. Bass tightness and control are still top and the delivery is punchy.

The original version had more body and impact and it was one of the main reasons why so many people love(d) the LCD2 so much. The typical orthodynamic bass back then simply was impressive. Nowadays it’s more behaved and neutral, yet dynamic.

Depending on the amp used you can add a bit of bass if you want more impact, or you can always EQ it up a little. I never felt the need to do so however.

Mids

The mids connect perfectly to the bass, which means they are also lighter in body and presence, but with excellent prat. Mids are fast, clean and clear and the voices are slightly forward. Instead of a warm, smooth delivery you get a fast and clear presentation as you would expect from a more neutral tuned headphone.

In the original LCD2, the mids were softer, smoother/warmer, fuller and more romantic, but they technically didn’t score as high as they do now.

Treble

The treble section never was the strongest point of the original LCD2 and it still isn’t now in the Classic, even though I find it to be more lively and further extended compared to before. Treble is energetic and very dynamic but it simply is a little rolled of. Some say the LCD2 Classic’s treble response still is warmer but I can’t really put that label on the LCD2 Classic’s treble. On the original I perfectly can though.

In the original the bass and mid-bass (as you have just read) was more present and I think it made the treble seem of a lesser level, but in the new Classic version, the bass is different and it makes you see/hear the treble in a whole different way, it just combines better compared to before.

Treble still isn’t the best on the market, but it certainly is good, especially at this price point. Don’t go expecting super extended, layered and precise treble however.

Sources / Amplification

In my opinion the LCD2 Classic, rated at 70Ohms impedance and 101dB sensitivity isn’t the headphone to use straight from a DAP, but let’s try!

DAPS

From the Sony WM1Z the volume has to go up as never before but the Sony actually pulls it off somewhat. Bass goes deep and has nice impact. The Classic does sound a little slower and warmer and the delivery is smoother but that most likely is due to the WM1Z. The treble becomes softer and for me a bit too soft but if you like the WM1Z and clear and clean, neutrally sounding headphones, then you actually might love this combo. For me it’s mostly the bass that impresses straight from a DAP, but he SQ isn’t up to level as when compared to a desktop amp.

The HiBy Music R6 PRO sounds cleaner, has a lighter bass kick, fuller mids and more extended, energetic treble. This actually is a good pairing but you body-wise from bottom to top get a lighter sound. The balance here is going a bit too much to the bass section, and the linearity of the Classic is off here. It’s nice sounding if you just want extra bass, but it’s not the real LCD2 Classic. Voices are really nice though.

I do really like the Classic straight from the L&P L6 as it seems to deliver just the right amount of body, smoothness, energy and extension. You get a very airy, wide musical sound and the voices are really excellent. The only thing one could complain about here is the bass impact, as many of you will probably want it to be bigger. Also if you don’t like spacious sound, this isn’t he combo for you either.

The combo with the A&K SP1000M probably is the one most of you will like as it has good body, good bass impact, speed and clarity with energetic treble. The downside here is the sound stage width and depth but everything else really sounds nice. The vocals are a little more forward sounding though. Now on to the real amps!

AMPS / DESKTOP GEAR

When switching to the real amplifiers the performance of the LCD2 Classic immediately rises.

From the Auris Audio HA2-SE you get a full bodied sound, with impressive deep bass, full bodied mids, natural voices and soft treble. The bass isn’t the very tightest though, but the deliver overall is smooth, musical and relaxing. The soft and warm tube approach of the HA2-SE wonderfully blends with the speed, clarity and precision of the LCD2 Classic. If only the bass was a little tighter.

From its big brother, the Headonia, you get just hat. The Headonia is a more neutral, sounding, very precise high end tube amp and it at all times is perfectly in control. Great body, linearity, precision and clarity is what you’ll hear. The sound stage is wide, the separation and spaciousness excellent. And all that while being musical, fast and detailed. This is simply perfect, but the amp of course isn’t the cheapest either and it can buy you 10 more LCD2 Classics…

IF that’s out of your budget, I can fully recommend the Feliks Audio Euforia. Great bass, body, impact, clarity and speed. It’s just like the Headonia but at a lower technical level and a little bit of added tube warmth/smoothness. This is the “dream away” combo for sure.

The Solid state Violectric V281, the “little” brother of the Niimbus used for the above sound section, with the Classic also sounds best in single ended mode. The V281 in SE mode (basically a V200) still is a warmer sounding, full bodied, softer and musical amplifier and that’s exactly how your LCD2 Classic will sound. It’s very good and musical but technically it’s under the level of the Niimbus and it’s less neutral of course. Still a very enjoyable combo, something that was to be expected as the Violectric gear and Audeze headphones have always had great synergy.

The LCD2 Classic also sounds excellent from the transportable Chord Electronics Hugo 2. Great balance, good bass body, nice detail, natural voices and energetic treble. For me the Hugo 2 is the best sounding “budget friendly” solid state source. If that’s still above your budget, I can confirm it also sounds really good from the Mojo, yet not as refined, relaxed and rich. With the Mojo you get less depth, bass body and you get a more digital, slightly sharper sound. But one I could perfectly live with all day long.

In the end it’s safe to say the LCD2 Classic prefers a good amplifier to sound its best and that won’t surprise anyone. It performs excellently both on tubes as well as on solid state, but as good as always in a single ended configuration. For me the 3 best amps with the Classic are the Headonia, the Niimbus US4+ and the Hugo 2.

Comparison and conclusion on the last page here: https://www.headfonia.com/audeze-lcd2-classic-review/4

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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.

10 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?

  • Reply July 30, 2019

    SP

    Regarding your comments about pairing with Sony NWWM1Z, was it from the single ended or balanced output of the DAP?

    • Reply July 30, 2019

      Lieven

      Balanced

      • Reply July 30, 2019

        SP

        Thank you for your reply, I will probably look at an easier to drive model to use with the Sony. On paper lcd-x looks like it may work.

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