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Audeze LCD-X

Audeze LCD-X Black

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

Hi-end monitoring headphones


27th February 2015

Audeze LCD-X Black by Vintageidiot

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Audeze LCD-X

I have had a pair of the Audeze LCD-X for about 3 months now. I also received closed back inserts to swap out if needed. I have used all sorts of standard studio headphones in my musical career, Sony, AT, Sennheiser, etc. This particular brand of headphones is not along those lines, they are priced for hifi audio enthusiasts. The level of quality places it in the hi-end studio owner bracket, for those seeking an uncompromising delivery of audio. The most endearing quality I have found with these headphones is that I do not feel as if I have headphones on when wearing them. Not so much in the physical aspect but in that I do not feel as though my ears are closed off inside of a cup. These headphones sound to me as if I am in a perfect acoustic room.

The bass response is superb, as is the mid and treble frequencies, in my opinion. I can find no wrong with these headphones. I also own AT20 and 45 series headphones which I use in normal tracking duties. For mixing I employ my Audeze's. I have lent them to other studio owners to hear and to test against other headphones, and in my opinion there was no contest whatsoever. I am fortunate to have toured the facility and also been allowed to see all of the parts used in their construction. I received mine in a business agreement where I am working on a design for Audeze which is why I was afforded the opportunity.

Let me say that my business relationship has no bearing on my opinion of these headphones. No review by me would have any bearing on my future relationship. Fact is, I hear what I hear and am blunt in sharing those thoughts. If you are in the position to invest $1700 for headphones I think that you will be astonished with the sound of these, whether used to listen to your mobile device, on your laptop, or through your studio monitoring output. These headphones speak for themselves.....

  • 2
13th June 2020

Audeze LCD-X Black by Enlightened Hand

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Audeze LCD-X

I'm a late supporter of Audeze. I've used many different headphones, many different brands for monitoring and mixing audio and I've loved others before. But my experience with Audeze has changed my view of headphones as a primary mixing tool.

I started out discovering Audeze using the Audeze LCD-1. And for $400 I found it to be one of the best headphones I had ever used. It is smoother than all but the best that I had used before. It had more clean bass extension than all of the $500 and under headphones I had used before. It was more detailed than many of the others as well. I was impressed. I only bought them to see if Audeze as a brand was serious. It turns out that it is.

As impressed as I was with the LCD-1 I needed something with more dynamic range and sense of impact to reflect whatever the mix was doing. I also wanted a bigger soundstage presentation. After checking around it seems that Audeze designed the LCD-X, which I'm reviewing here, for just those kinds of needs.

The LCD-X is a large, over-the-ear, open backed, planar-magnetic headphone. The body is made of Aluminum, with leather earpads and memory foam cushion. The latest design, which I have, has a dual headband of perforated leather and aluminum supports.

As headphones go they are heavy. Audeze lists their weight at 635 grams which is roughly 1.4 pounds. I don't find that a problem. I have used them for 8 hours a day multiple days a week actually on my head. But there are some people that find that sort of thing very annoying and for them I don't think the LCD-X is going to be their favorite. But if you can get by that you'll find excellent sound reproduction.

LISTENING Playback system=Grace M900 set to DAC filter 2, high power mode, and crossfeed off to LCD-X, all fed via USB from a Macbook Pro and Tidal uncompressed tracks

To get a sense of the bass reproduction I listened to Finley Quaye's track Even After All from his 97' album Maverick A Strike. I chose this track because the bass is low and very close to the kick drum in texture and only a high quality bass reproduction will allow you to easily discern the kick from the bass guitar. With the LCD-X the micro-dynamics of the bass guitar attack are forceful and easy to hear, and the kick drum is clearly separate. From a frequency perspective the bass reproduction of the spectrum was full and rich and easy to decipher placement, timbre and easy to judge the quality. It was very realistic and there was no bass overtone emphasis. There was no overhang in the bass. The starts and stops of bass notes were crisp. In a word it was clean.

I also listened to Massive Attack's track Angel from their 98' album Mezzanine. I chose Angel because it reaches quite deep in the bass, with an octave doubled bass line that would be very difficult to judge if your headphones don't reach low enough and don't have a clean enough presentation. The LCD-X pulled that off with no problem. It was a clear window into the kick and doubled bass parts. Even the quality of the bass was easy to know through the LCD-X. I could hear the extra looseness of the low octave bass guitar strings. The information coming from the LCD-X makes it easy to catch, all the while the kick drum stands as distinctly different punch and texture.

To examine the dynamic range and stereo soundstage of the LCD-X I listened to the Sheffield Drum and Track Record, specifically the Jim Keltner: Basic Drummer Free Improvisation track. I use this track to calibrate my ears when I'm about to start a drum recording session in order for me to keep in mind what well recorded drums sound like raw. This track also will test the abilities of your playback system as the dynamic range is huge and the transients are loud. Only a high quality system will be able to reproduce this track with fidelity and not compress those transients or introduce noise at the quiet parts. Running this through the LCD-X was exactly what I was looking for. The dynamic range of the LCD-X is great. It's like being in the room. I was listening to drums in a good sounding space. No compression. No noise. Plenty of impact. It was easy to get a sense of the air around the drums. It felt raw and dynamic. The quiet parts were gentle and subtle. The loud parts were literally moving. They felt impactful and punchy without any sense of limiting. The soundstage was wide and clear. This is truthful playback.

Another examination of the dynamics, soundstage, mids, and highs came when I listened to the London Symphony Orchestra's recordings of Beethoven's 9 Symphonies, with Wyn Morris conducting. The realism on display was exceptional. I've been to quite a few orchestral performances and this was pretty much the same auditory experience. The soundstage is wide and deep and the detail here was exceptionally natural. It wasn't hyper crisp like some headphones with a touch of exaggeration in the mids and highs. It was how it feels to me to sit in the front of an orchestra hall and listen. The dynamic range made the recordings come to life. And I could still hear the noise of the recording equipment used to capture this, as well as foot movement and shifts of position in chairs when they happened during the quiet parts. It was very easy for me to place instruments in the ensemble. The width was natural as was everything else.

I wanted to get a sense of modern pop production through the LCD-X and so I listened to Dua Lipa's Future Nostalgia, which is about as pop as it gets. I already liked the recording and mix work on this album. But hearing it through the LCD-X brought it to life. I heard the micro-dynamics mixed in that are difficult to hear due to liberal use of compression and loudness overall. But hearing subtle changes in mix element volume made the album breathe a lot more than on inferior playback. It was definitely a fun experience. While as a pop album everything is very locked down in the mix. It still was easy to hear differences in the sibilance between tracks on Dua's voice. The first two tracks, for example, were more sibilant than the 5th track, even though they were mixed by the same person. To have that much ability to spot differences is incredibly useful as a mix tool.

I could go on but the conclusions kept being the same. As a monitoring and mixing tool the LCD-X is superior to any other headphone I have listened to. It is extremely faithful to the source material, capable of extreme lows with weight and impact, extreme highs with naturalness and clarity, a mid-range that is perfectly judged and dynamic range that can account for any music genre. I find listening to them extremely close to listening to high quality speaker systems in purpose built rooms. I can't fault them for anything. They are a serious tool for people looking for the finest mix playback they can get. I highly recommend them.

They are designed for a high quality DAC and amplifier. You should invest in that if you have any intentions on using the LCD-X.

  • 3
15th August 2020

Audeze LCD-X Black by Juan2daPaab

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 2 out of 5
  • Features N/A
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.25
Audeze LCD-X

[Note: the version of this product I received has the 2 piece headband, not the version shown in the image here]

I had a chance to check these out.

Unfortunately, they were not for me.

Build: Many have mentioned that these are heavy, but as a former Stax user I thought I'd be used to it. However, I was wrong. These are definitely the heaviest pair of headphones I've ever used, and they didn't feel stable on my head. Standing up to reach for something a few feet away, I was afraid the LCD-X's would fall off - I had to make a conscious effort to keep my head level, as tilting my head downward felt as though I'd be sending my $1200 into oblivion. And another gripe: the exposed screws in the headband proved to be a trap for hair to get caught in.

Sound: These had excellent bass response, a large soundstage, and I could definitely hear details in music that I did not notice before, however the dip in the upper mid-range (roughly 3K) that others have mentioned in GS forums (and can be confirmed by the LCD-X Sonarworks profile) is real and noticeable. Strings lose some of their sheen, and vocals take a step back. I would describe the sound as "dark". This could be corrected with Sonarworks, however, for $1200, personally I want these to sound great out of the box.

In conclusion, I will be sending them back. They are too uncomfortable and while they do provide a detailed, bass-forward sound, I feel like I would still use Sonarworks EQ correction to mix with them.

 

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