The one and only headphone the that really matters to compare the Classic to is the original LCD2.1.
You’ve seen many references to it in the review already, so I’ll keep it short. The original version, at least to me, is fuller bodied from bottom to top, a warmer and smoother sounding than the classic, and the presentation is a bit slower and richer aka more romantic. The bass section has slightly more impact (it’s bigger) and the treble section is softer. The mids to me are the closest together in both the new and old version, though the older one is smoother and the newer cleaner, more precise. I don’t really think there’s any difference in regards to sound stage width and depth, separation and spaciousness. The new version is cleaner, more clear and faster, like the LCD-X.
When I first started listening to headphones I would for sure have preferred the original version but nowadays, I tend to prefer a faster, cleaner, more precise sound and that means the LCD2 Classic is my preferred LCD2 of both versions. They’re both good, close to each other and at the same time different enough. I doubt many people will have or want both in their collection but it’s perfectly defendable to have both, if not only for the gorgeous, sexy look of the original. The Classic is pretty too, but it has a more industrial, clean look which I certainly appreciate as well.
Comfort wise the Classic easily is the best as it has the newer, improved headband system which distributes the weight a whole lot better. It’s still a heavy headphone but you feel it less.
The major contender of Audeze has often been Hifiman and with the award winning Ananda ($849) they have direct contender using the same technology at he more or less same price point. The Ananda is more like the original, with a fuller bodied and (much) warmer, smooth sound. The Ananda beats it in technicalities though and it is more wide, deep and spacious with better layering. The Ananda sounds a lot more like a modern open headphone but it shows the speed the Classic has. I absolutely love the Ananda and have given it an award, it’s just hat good. Comfort wise it’s much lighter and even more comfortable as well.
Does that mean the Ananda is the best headphone? On technicalities it maybe is but their sound signature is so very different that they’re more complimentary than direct competitors if you look at it from a sound point of view.
I think Audeze did the right thing with creating the classic the way they did it. A great looking, more comfortable headphone, which is a very affordable and to top it off with a really great sound quality.
The Classic is enough the same and different to even have both headphones in your collection, and as it is now, I actually prefer the sound of the Classic over that of my LCD2.1.
They’re both beautiful and great in every way, but emotionally they’re not the same. Audeze and the LCD2 did so much for the personal audio world and back then this really was an eye opener. The original LCD2 might actually be one of the most sexy headphones ever built. A true icon.
In this price range the LCD2 classic certainly is recommended if you want a balanced, precise and clean sound from a more neutrally tuned headphone. It’s very easy to like.