Comparing Audeze to Focal is like apples versus oranges. They offer such different sound signatures that, if you’re not strapped for cash, I would recommend buying one of each brand. But recently, both Audeze and Focal released new closed back designs based on their open-back models, and they are similar in price. So, which headphone suits your taste? Let’s find out in this Audeze LCD2C vs Focal Elegia Review.
Audeze LCD2C vs Focal Elegia Review
Bad necks beware; the only complaint I’ve ever heard from LCD fans is the weight. The LCD2C is a lot heavier than the Elegia. The leather ear pads are super thick and the ear cups are huge. The LCD2C is also a more snug fit, making it a generally more suffocating listening experience. I preferred the cooler, microfiber material of the Elegia ear pads, as well as the looser fit around the ears.
Although the Elegia is the lighter headphone, the build appears more solid and durable. The yolk is wide and extends as a single piece around the ear cup. On the LCD2C, however, the headband is attached by one screw to the brace of the of ear cup, and it looks like it could easily come loose.
One reason that Audeze is selling the LCD2C for so cheap compared to other models is the packaging. Unlike the industrial looking briefcase that comes along with most LCD models, the LCD2C is simply packed in a white cardboard box. So, you won’t get a carrying case, which is a compromise most people are willing to make for the discount. The Elegia, on the other hand, neatly packs into a relatively small carrying case, making it a super portable audiophile headphone.
The LCD2C uses a dual 4-pin mini-XLR cable. The Elegia employs a dual 3.5mm cable.
The LCD2C uses planar magnetic technology, while the Elegia employs 40mm dynamic drivers. The Elegia is the lower impedance headphone, at 35 Ohms, which means it’s easier to drive. In fact, an iPhone is enough to give you decent volume. The LCD2C requires more power at 70 Ohms. But a little amp should give you plenty of juice. The LCD2C has the wider frequency response of 10 – 50,000 Hz versus the Elegia’s 5 – 23,000 Hz. But numbers can be misleading, so let’s talk sound.
Overall Impressions: The LCD2C’s rich meatiness vs the Elegia’s clean restraint.
The LCDC2 produces deeper and fatter lows, while the Elegia shows more skill in terms of detail. The bass on the Elegia is more textured and melodic, but lacks the thick, subby feel of the LCD2C. So, if you listen to a lot of pop and hip-hop, the LCD2C are the cans that will satiate you. But if you’re more into acoustic instruments, the Elegia will offer greater transparency. In terms of rock, it becomes a personal preference. If you prefer a rich sounding rock chorus, the LCD2C are your cans. But for a cleaner, more delineated sound, go for the Elegia.
Both headphones offer a present mid range. But after listening to the LCD2C, the Elegia feels like a meatless hamburger. The LCD2C displays a much more full-bodied sound. This is partially because the low-mids are more forward on the LCD2C. Again, rock feels almost anemic on the Elegia after comparing it to the LCD2C. That being said, the Elegia produces a cleaner and better separated sound than the LCD2C. Listening to folk music, the guitar strums in the lower mids were more defined on the Elegia, offering a crystal-like feel that stays true the brand.
Listening to strings, both headphones displayed a similar amount of transparency. But the LCD2C handled the sound with a slightly softer touch, while, again, the Elegia gave the impression of cleaner precision. The Elegia is also the brighter headphone. Playing high-tone percussion instruments, the Elegia provided more sparkle and snap than the comparitively blunted and buttery LCD2C.
We have a pretty clear winner in this category. The Elegia presents a more spacious soundstage and gives a more multidimensional feel. Instrument placement also sounds more pinpoint on the Elegia.
Overall, the LCD2C is a far more satisfying and versatile headphone. Pop and rock music are just not as much fun on the Elegia. And many will find the Elegia generally lacking in vitality. So, if you appreciate a warm and fleshy sound, you’ll prefer the LCD2C for sure. But if your tastes are more conservative and you prefer Zen-like restraint, the Elegia might be for you.
You can find these closed-back cans for the best price at:
Audio 46: Focal Elegia
Audio 46: Audeze LCD2C
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|10 – 50,000 Hz
|5 – 23,000 Hz