I love Audeze. They’re one of the few audiophile brands that give lower frequencies the love and generosity they deserve. But I’m also becoming a fan of MrSpeakers because their soundstage tends to be so unique and memorable. Today, we’ll compare two of the most popular closed-back, planar magnetic cans under $1000. My colleagues have written extensively about both, the LCD2 Closed and the Aeon Flow Closed here and here. This review is for those who are already familiar with at least one of these headphones and want to avoid any buyer’s remorse. Which headphone better suits your taste and preferred musical genres? Let’s find out in this Audeze LCD2 Classic vs MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed-Back Headphones Review.
Audeze LCD2 Classic vs MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed-Back Headphones Review
Decisions decisions. Would you prefer triangles on your ears or a brace on your neck? You’ll find a huge difference in fit between these two headphones. Both cans will provide you with approximately the same amount of sound isolation, but compared to the Aeon Flow, the LCD2 Closed is heavier than a brick. So, if you listen for long periods or you can’t stand a cumbersome feel, you should think twice before choosing an Audeze headphone. Personally, I’d pay any price for great sound, even if it means going to a chiropractor.
It’s difficult to compare specs between these two planar magnetic headphones because MrSpeakers doesn’t release them (impedance and sensitivity aside). I get it. Specs are often deceiving, and they cause a lot of virtual violence on Head-Fi forums. I will mention that both headphones are easy to drive, and I made minimal volume adjustments when switching between headphones. I used the iFi Black Label Micro to power them, but a smaller amp should give you plenty of juice.
Unsurprisingly, in terms of portability, the Aeon Flow is the sure winner. It comes in a compact hard case, which you can easily fit in a backpack. I have a lot of affection for Audeze, but you’ll need to buy a hatchback to move it from A to B. I jest. A regular sedan will do. Part of what makes the LCD2 Closed this affordable is the fact that it doesn’t come with the famous, industrial strength travel case that’s included with models like the original LCD-2. In fact, you’ll have to dish out 130 bucks to get one. So, ideally, this is a headphone you want to park at home.
Aeon Flow Closed
Overall Impressions: The fleshy warmth and transparency of the LCD2 Closed vs the speedy response and multidimensional soundstage of Aeon Flow Closed.
The lower frequencies are much leaner on the Aeon Flow than they are on the LCD2 Closed. And if you’re a sucker for warmth, you’ll definitely want to stick with the LCD2 Closed. Listening to pop and hip-hop, bass sits more forward and offers a lot more punch. And moving onto rock, you’ll get a much meatier profile from the LCD2. I also played some acoustic double bass and the timbre had a more natural feel, displaying more nuance and resolve than it did on the Aeon Flow. That being said, the LCD2’s lows aren’t for everyone. And if you prefer a cleaner and lighter profile, the Aeon Flow might be more suitable.
Both headphones offer an evenly-balanced and present midrange. You won’t get emphasized high-mids or very forward-leaning vocals on either of these cans. But listening to some big rock choruses, the Aeon Flow did a better job of separating the mids from the lows. On the other hand, the LCD2 Closed had a more seamless transition from the lows to the mids. The result is a more full-bodied and expansive sound coming from the LCD2, and again, it might feel too heavy for some.
Because of the LCD2’s warm sound signature, I expected the thinner Aeon Flow to have better separation and clarity in the low-mids. But when listening to guitar strums in this range, the LCD2 Closed didn’t fare any worse, offering just as much clean separation as the Aeon Flow. And listening to Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, I heard more texture and subtlety in Bob’s vocals and harmonica on the LCD2. So, if you’re looking for the most realistic listening experience, the LCD2 should be your choice. But in terms of speed, the Aeon Flow might have the slight edge. Listening to pop, the transient response was super fast, giving songs tons of snap and tight, crispy goodness.
Hearing strings in this range, it becomes abundantly clear the the LCD2 is the more transparent and detailed headphone. That being said, the Aeon Flow does offer a pleasing smoothness and fluidity that makes the music easy to listen to. With respect to jazz, for example, I did the usual Miles Davis trumpet test. And the very highest peaks were a tad more rounded on the Aeon Flow.
The Aeon Flow is the winner here. If offers an incredibly stimulating soundscape, conveying more dimension (especially in terms height) and a more accurate sense of imaging. Part of this may be because the Aeon Flow offers a slightly tighter feel, giving instruments more outline or definition. And in general, I find that few planar magnetic headphones can match the super fun feel of MrSpeakers’ soundstage.
The LCD2 Closed and the Aeon Flow offer very different sound characteristics. But if I had to pick which headphone was the most skilled overall, it would be the LCD2 Closed. I also found it to be the more satiating listening experience across all genres. But if low frequencies aren’t your thing and you value a uniquely multidimensional soundstage, the Aeon Flow Closed might be your baby.
You can buy these headphones for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)
Audio 46: MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed-Back Headphones (Use our promo code, “majorhifi” to get a 10% discount)