It’s a dilemma. You want to buy an open-back headphone so you can feel that sweet spaciousness. But your significant other will kill herself if she has to hear Hotel California one more time. Just how different do these two great LCD-2’s sound? Let’s find out in this Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review.
Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
IN the BOX – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back
Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back
|1/4in to dual 4-pin mini-XLR cable
|1/4in to dual 4-pin mini-XLR cable
|3.5mm to 1/4in stereo adapter
|Fancy and Durable Carrying Case
FIT – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
The leather ear pads on the Closed-Back are a little thicker and more solid, while the the leather on the open-back is a more plush and soft. The headphones feel about the same weight when I hold them, but once they’re on my ears, the Closed-Back feel a bit lighter on my head. The simple reason for this might be that the Closed-Back are slightly looser around the ears. However, the difference is negligible, and the comfort level is similar. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t let the minimal contrast in fit be the deciding factor.
DESIGN – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
The specifications of these two headphones are almost identical. A small/portable amp is sufficient to drive them both. The volume required a tiny adjustment on my amp when switching between the two headphones, but that’s only because the Closed-Back’s slightly lower sensitivity.
SOUND – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
It’s the rich and full-bodied closed-back versus the clean and transparent open-back.
Audeze has fantastic lows. The difference here is that the LCD-2 Closed-Back feels a little more subby and resonant. The Open-Back is slightly drier and more melodic. For a lot of pop and hip-hop songs, I prefer the richness, depth and insulation of the Closed Back. But if clarity and definition is the priority, then the open-back should be your choice. The other thing to note is that the lows are better separated from the higher frequencies on the Open-Back. In comparison, the Closed-Back frequency ranges feel a little more cohesive, if not smudgy at times.
In the mid range, the Open-Back has better separation, more instrumental presence and significantly more clarity. However, unsurprisingly, the closed-back is a warmer, fuller and thicker sound. Listening to big rock choruses, I prefer the Closed-Back because of the meaty feel. But with respect to folk, or any kind of music that involves acoustic guitars or pianos, the Open-Back does a better job. It’s more resolving and delicate, conveying nuances in texture that the Closed-Back can’t match. And because of the Open-Back’s comparatively crystal clear mids, pop music, on certain songs, sounds a bit tighter and snappier than it does on the Closed-Back. But as far as which headphone is better for pop, I will say again, that it’s a personal preference.
Both headphones enjoy the slightly rounded highs that make Audeze so easy to listen to in this range. However, when testing out classical strings, the difference in transparency becomes undeniably apparent. The Open-Back is far superior in detail, and is certainly a much more natural experience. The strings on the Closed-Back feel almost compressed in comparison. So, you miss a lot of the complexities in sound. The same can be said when listening to brass. Although not as obvious, trumpets and soprano saxes have a bit more breath and flavor on the Open-Back than they do on the Closed-Back. Therefore, for classical and jazz, the open-back is the clear winner.
If you’re worried about losing too much soundstage by going with the Closed-Back, don’t. I was quite surprised to find that there isn’t a huge difference in width, depth and height between these two headphones. I will admit that the Open-Back did sound more precise and multidimensional. It also felt a tad more spacious, but that may be because of the its superior separation. That being said, I’m quite impressed by how much soundstage Audeze was able to maintain even with a Close-Back design.
SUMMARY – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
The differences between these two headphones are very obvious. If you listen to a lot of pop and rock, and you enjoy an extremely full and thermal sound, go for the LCD-2 Closed. But if you need an all-rounder and you expect utmost transparency and separation, you can’t beat the LCD-2 Open. Of course, if privacy and sound isolation are key factors, I doubt that the LCD-2 Closed will disappoint. At the end of the day, they’re both great headphones for the price.
You can find these headphones for the best price at:
Use our promo code “majorhifi” to get 10% off at Audio 46.
Audio 46: Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Headphones
Audio 46: Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back Headphones
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SPECIFICATIONS – Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back vs Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back Review
|Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back
|Audeze LCD-2 Open-Back
|Maximum power handling
|10Hz – 50kHz
|10Hz – 50kHz