Review: Audeze LCD2 Classic – Modern Oldschool

Comparisons

 

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.

Conclusion

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.

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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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