I recently tested both, the Audeze LCD-1 and Sivga P-II. And they seem to have much in common. Both sport a planar magnetic design and they also share similarities with respect to tuning. Also, they’re both selling for $399. So, I thought I’d put them head to head. There are already a ton of reviews written about the LCD-1, and I recently posted a review of the Sivga P-II. So, this article is for readers who are already familiar with at least one of these models but need a solid comparison before pulling the trigger. Which headphone will suit your ears and listening style? And which shows off more skill? Let’s find out in this Audeze LCD-1 vs Sivga P-II Review.
Audeze LCD-1 vs Sivga P-II Review
The first difference to note is the weight. The LCD-1 is quite a bit lighter than the Sivga P-II. The other difference is the size of the earcups and earpads. The earpad circumference on the Sivga P-II is bigger and more oval in shape. So, it feels more like an over-ear headphone than the LCD-1. And if you have particularly large ears, you’ll probably appreciate the more roomy fit of the P-II. But in terms of comfort, the P-II feels firmer on the head, while the earpads on the LCD-1 are a bit more forgiving. That being said, if you tend to get sweaty, itchy ears after long listening stretches, then the material lining of the P-II may be more suitable than the leather earpads on the LCD-1.
Both headphones employ planar magnetic drivers. But the Sivga sports a solid wood shell, while Audeze has gone with a much lighter material for its LCD-1. (The driver is probably lighter as well).
Both headphones come with detachable cables. But unlike the P-II’s cable, the cable connectors on the LCD-1 are reversible. The other main difference to note is the fact that the Sivga P-II employs a balanced cable (and includes a 3.5mm unbalanced adapter) with a 4.4mm termination. But to keep this comparison review fair, I tested both headphones unbalanced.
Both headphones are extremely easy to drive for planar magnetics. But the Sivga P-II has an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 98 dB, while the Audeze LCD-1 has an impedance of 16 Ohms and a sensitivity of 99 dB. So, if you’re looking for the most efficient headphone in terms of power requirement, the LCD-1 has the slight upper hand. But a small mobile device should be enough to power either headphone. To get the most out of these puppies, I paired them with the iFi Black Label Micro.
Finally, though the earcups on both headphones swivel flat, the LCD-1 is far more portable than the P-II, as it folds up into a cute little bundle and is much smaller in size. The LCD-1 also comes in a tough and nifty little carrying case, while the P-II doesn’t.
Though both headphones present an almost equal level of bass presence, the bass on the LCD-1 feels tighter and faster, while Sivga is fatter in it’s presentation. Listening to rock tracks, both headphones deliver a similar amount of low-end warmth. But the Sivga reveals a little more sub bass. Listening to strings in this range, both models offer the same level of transparency. That is, they both sounded smoother rather than highly detailed in their presentation. Still, strings felt richer and more absolute on the LCD-1.
You’ll hear a similar balance in this range. The low-mids and upper mids have a relatively even balance. So, on both headphones, vocals feel naturally placed within the mix. And because the low mids come out to play on both models, both headphones will give you a meaty and all-encompassing feel, especially when listening to tracks with heavy instrumentation.
In terms of clarity in this range, both headphones offer an almost equal level of separation and transparency. But again, the LCD-1 reveals a tad more richness and color. And listening to cellos, for example, the timbre sounded a bit more substantive. Finally, if you’re looking for the speediest response, the LCD-1 wins.
You’ll hear a little more sparkle and crispness on the Sivga P-II than you will on the LCD-1, which feels a bit rolled-off in comparison. So, pop and funk present extra snap on the P-II. And listening to vocals in this range, you can again tell that the LCD-1 carries more weight. Vocals feel thicker and more velvety on the LCD-1, while P-II reveals quite a bit more airiness and breath, which I actually preferred.
The soundstage often sounds a little wider on the Sivga P-II, if not more spacious in general. But the imaging on the LCD-1 is more precise/controlled and well defined. And combined with the added richness, the LCD-1 ends up feeling more multidimensional. So, in this department, my pick might have to be the LCD-1.
PROS and CONS
Pros: Fast; rich; precise imaging; portable.
Cons: High frequencies feel a little rolled-off.
Pros: Well-balanced, airy female vocals, spacious soundstage.
Cons: Not as tight and controlled as the LCD-1.
These two headphones almost have more similarities than they do differences. They are alike with respect to balance and level of skill (in terms of separation and transparency). They also sell at exactly the same price. But the LCD-1 is faster and slightly richer with a more precise soundstage. In contrast, the Sivga P-II is a little more spacious with more airy and sparkly highs. If only two headphones could become one. That being said, if portability is priority, the choice becomes easier.
You can find both models for the best price here: