Audeze LCD-X Review

Audeze LCD-X Review

Headphone manufacturer Audeze commands a good deal of respect around these parts, mostly because their headphones are well-built and deliver a truly awesome sound.  Does the Audeze LCD-X live up to this reputation?  And if you’ve got $1699 to blow on headphones, is it worth the price?  MajorHifi investigates.

Audeze LCD-X Review

Audeze LCD-X Review

The LCD-X comes packaged with a monstrous heavy-duty case.  Inside this case, you’ll find the headphones, two headphone cables (one with a balanced output plug and one with a 1/4” stereo plug), and a 1/4” to 3.5 mm stereo adapter cable.

The cable connection is mini-XLR, and the construction of the cables themselves seems fairly rugged.

Sitting a little heavy on my head, these headphones feature great construction, but at a price.  The weight is slightly diminished by the inclusion of comfortable leather padding on the earcups and headband.

Specs

Style Open circumaural
Transducer Type Planar magnetic
Magnet Type Proprietary self-closing high-grade Neodymium design
Diaphragm 6.17 square inches (39.8 square cm)
Maximum Power 15 W (for 200 ms)
Optimal Range 1 to 4 W
SPL > 130 dB with 15 W
Frequency Response 5 to 20,000 Hz, extension to 50,000 Hz
THD < 1 %
Impedance 20 Ω
Efficiency 95 dB / 1 mW
Cable Length 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
Weight 21.2 oz (600 g)

As these specs show, the LCD-X sports a wide frequency range, good volume, and a low nominal impedance.  This headphone is definitely designed for portable use, and would work perfectly with an iPod or personal computer.

Low End

The low end on the LCD-X is deep, full, and robust.  Detail is practically overflowing, while remaining well-controlled.  This lack of bleed in the bass is complemented by strong impact and a superb sense of clarity.

Mids

In the midrange, the sound is fairly accurate with plenty of detail.  While instruments remain marvelous, vocals seem a bit pinched and pulled due to some lurking distortion.   This distortion doesn’t result in a completely garbage sound, but does detract from the otherwise solid chops of these headphones.

High End

Detailed but not piercing or uncomfortable, the high end on the LCD-X deserves some recognition for a fairly smooth character that will surely impress on the first listening.  While there is ample detail in this part of the frequency range, it can also sound a bit “off” at times – perhaps a little too thin and lacking the nuances of similarly-priced headphones from the same manufacturer.

Soundstage

Soundstage is present, with depth and placement lending realism to the sound.  While not quite as grandiose or impressive as some cheaper headphones (like the Sennheiser HD800), that sense of realism still goes a long way in making this good-sounding headphone sound even better.

Overall Impressions

The Audeze LCD-X is a premium headphone with great construction.  Sound-wise, the LCD-X features a sweet, highly-detailed and squeaky-clean low end.  Mids are simply okay, and the highs are mostly decent with some slight inconsistencies.  While this headphone will never be The Headphone That Does It All, its sound still shines with certain types of music.

Recommendations

If you’re a fan of classical music and you want the strings to sound like strings, the LCD-X may not be for you.  The slightly-less-than-completely-accurate mids and highs won’t be doing you any favors, and the bass may get in the way, too.  If this is the case, I’d recommend the somewhat-flatter LCD-3.

For rock, hip-hop, and EDM fans, though, these pricey ‘phones are a hard option to beat.  That almost-perfect low end lends stellar quality to any bass-heavy track, while the realistic soundstage is a definite step up from less expensive cans.

Perhaps the only real competitor with the LCD-X, in terms of sound, is the Hifiman Edition X.  That headphone, while somewhat lighter, may lack the overall contrast and definition of the LCD-X, opting instead for a smoother sound profile.

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