Blog | Audeze

RMAF LCD3 Notes from InnerFidelity

Tyll Hertsens from wrote some glowing praise for our LCD3 headphones after RMAF this year.  We truly appreciate the following:  "I consider the LCD-3 the very best headphone you can get for use with a traditional headphone amplifier. You'll have to step up to the big bux of electrostatic headphones and amplifiers to best them. Simply put, if you're not ready to spend $10,000+ on headphones and amp, the LCD-3 is the way to get world class sound on headphones."

Link to original article here.


RMAF Coverage 2011

Gizmodo blogged about our headphones in a terrific article here:  Daily Desired: Headphones With Soft Ear Pads and Big Sound.  

Additionally, Audio BeatDigital High-End, Shoot Online had some great pictures and stories to share as well.  Many thanks to all who participated and stopped by!

Audeze Welcomes New CTO

Las Vegas, NV (10 OCT 2011):  Audeze Inc. is pleased to announce the hiring of renowned Industry veteran Dragoslov Colich as the new Chief Technology Officer.

“Mr. Colich brings over 30 years of experience in Design and Mass production of Planar Magnetic speakers systems. We are extremely delighted that he will be joining our team to take Audeze forward”, said Sankar Thiagasamudram, Co-Founder.
In this capacity Mr. Colich will be reporting to the President of Audeze. As CTO, Mr. Colich will be responsible for developing and executing Audeze's Technical strategy and research, including development of the new speaker line. In the past he has designed several iconic products including the famed Monsoon Series of speakers for Sonigistix.  He has also worked at Nexxt and Level 9 Sound Designs.
“Both Sankar and Alex have done a tremendous job in the last two years and I am thrilled at the opportunity to be involved with this exciting company” said Mr. Colich.

Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF) 2011

Audeze will be attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Festival (RMAF) from Oct 14 -16th in Denver, CO. Come visit us at CanJam@RMAF and at the Atrium 4th Floor, Room 477. At this year's event, Audeze will once again be showcasing our latest audio products.


Cable Update

We recently moved to a new vendor for our LCD2 cables. Because of this change, the LCD2 cables will look visually a little bit different compared to our existing cables. Internally, these new cables use the same material and the wiring diagram remains the same. This change in vendors has now afforded us the ability to offer a balanced cable as an accessory.

Additional Driver Information

Several customers have emailed us asking for more details regarding changes in our driver manufacturing. We want to be open and transparent with our customers on the changes we are implementing so below is some additional information outlining our manufacturing and thought processes. 

We love the original LCD2 sound signature and as such we have not changed the overall balance or frequency response of the headphones. The newer LCD2s show a very similar response curve because we adheared to our original design intent. Quite simply, our revised drivers now use a thinner raw material. This thinner raw material results in reduced mass of the diaphragm. Less mass in the diaphragm results in greater acceleration and better impulse response. Better response in our driver results in higher resolution and extensions in both ends of the spectrum (and better imaging). The highs are more pronounced because of greater detail now created. We'd like to underscore that we are not boosting the high frequencies. Perhaps using the term "darker" in the previous post conveyed the wrong information. There is a significant difference between boosting high frequencies (peaky response) and pronounced highs. As we mentioned earlier, we love the original LCD2 sound signature and this is an improvement upon it. We are not changing the nature of the headphone, but rather finessing it and this is one of the reasons we decided to continue with the LCD2 name. 
Frequency response charts:
The main reason we provide the frequency response curves for each headphone is to primarily assure our customers that each unit is measured and tested. The variations in graphs when you measure the same headphone (any headphone) twice with slightly different positioning (this is human nature of placing the headphones on the measurement tool) is noticeable. The amount of consistency on these curves over the course of hundreds of LCD2 headphones is quite astounding and we are very proud of this. However, not everything about the headphones can be discerned from just the frequency response graphs. The charts additionally show some differences when we changed over to our newer (and improved) pads.


Recent Purchase Upgrade

We have received a fair amount of inquiries about the LCD2 Rev 2 driver. Since some of you may have missed the new revision by a few days of purchase we thought it would be the right thing to offer those of who purchased the LCD2 in the month of June the opportunity to ship your headphones back to Audeze for a complimentary upgrade. At the time of the upgrade we will additionally offer those within the specified period of purchase the opportunity to upgrade to a leather headband for $50.

Driver Update and Leather Headband

Audeze LCD2 headphones were introduced in October of 2009. Even among planar magnetic headphones currently on the market (and those of the past), our drivers were quite different with our unique structure and design. The LCD2 has gone through several minor cosmetic changes, but the driver has remained unchanged thus far. 

We are now introducing revision two (Rev2) of our LCD2 driver.  The model will remain the same but newer shipments from the middle of June 2011 onward will have the rev2 driver.
Does the sonic signature change?
The LCD2 Rev2 transducer has the same mechanical construction as original transducer, but uses newly developed, thinner and more reliable diaphragm material. The overall sound signature remains very similar. The low frequencies remain flat, but are tighter and even more extended (flat to 5 Hz), the midrange is smoother and more transparent, while high frequencies are more extended, detailed and even more pronounced. With the Rev2 we are addressing concerns of many customers who feel that original LCD2 had a darker high-frequency signature than many top headphones.
While the overall sonic signature remains similar, this new revision provides substantial improvement in sound quality (this is no hyperbole), the sound resolution and especially the imaging, which is wider, is more stable and 3-dimensional. If you loved the LCD2 sonic signature, then you will love the new one even more.
Does this mean there is a new model?
No. Although we considered this, we decided to continue with the LCD2 model. Though the changes are noteworthy, we do not believe it warrants a completely new model.  The change will be seamless to new customers. 
If you bought LCD2 headphones recently (mid-June), please email us your serial number and will tell you if you have the newer driver.
Why change it?
A few reasons. We were able to develop improved diaphragm material that offered several benefits and decided to pass these improvements along to customers. The issues we had with some older stock provided the impetus to move to the new diaphragm quicker than expected.
Leather headbands?
One of the major requests we have had from our customers is for more comfortable headbands. This newly designed leather headband will be a drop in replacement for the current headband. Additionally, we will provide the leather headband as an upgrade option for the LCD2 for existing customers. The headband is wrapped with high quality, soft lambskin leather with memory foam cushions for maximum comfort and accoustical balance. 
May I still order the LCD2 with the older headband?
I do not like using leather. Do I have any options?
Yes. For users who do not like to use leather, we will provide leather-free options (both headband and earpads). These will be available from August.
What are the costs?
  • LCD2 with the current headband - $945 (No price change -- comes with the new Rev2 driver)
  • LCD2 with leather headband - $995 (leather headband, Rev2 driver standard)
  • Separate leather headband accessory - $100 (comes with headband and blocks)
  • Separate headband assembly (with yoke, pins etc) - $140


LCD-2 Update

May 2011

We have received a few emails about driver failures. We continue to stand behind our driver and will offer full warranty, repair or replacement for any headphone issue including this one. There is no co-relation between serial numbers on headphones and driver. The Driver assembly is done separately and the headband is done in a different facility ahead of time.  These failures seem to occur after the final testing phase, a little while later. We have  received some of the defective units back and we have done failure analysis on them. The defective units seem to be connected to a small batch of raw material. This issue is limited to a roll of the material lamination and we have added additional tests, QC processes etc to completely eliminate this issue.

Our manufacturing process includes several stages of testing and inspection of raw materials, components, subassemblies and final product. We have changed and revamped our production process and quality processes to do extended tests and quality control in order to catch potential problems like these that are not apparent initially.

Critical component of each transducer is diaphragm. We are now doing an additional 100% visual test on each diaphragm under microscope for uniformity of traces and have very high criteria for approval. Electrical tests are performed for circuit continuity and impedance matching. We have also added an extended  very high power test to eliminate potentially bad circuits.

Normally assembled transducers are being tested for frequency response and  distortion. Measurements are performed in IEC Baffle. At this stage we match transducer pairs for sensitivity and frequency response within +/-0.5dB.

For final testing we have added high power tests with sine tones with average SPL over 120dB.

Assembled headphones are being measured with Neumann KU 100 Artificial Head for Frequency Response and Distortion.  Before Shipping we have now added a long burn in test on every headphone with Pink Noise at average level of 95 dB. We continue to stand behind our driver and will offer full warranty, repair and replacement for any headphone issue.  We are quite confident these additional tests will ensure that these issues do not occur again. We have worked with our suppliers to completely eliminate this issue in future.

AVGuide on LCD-2

AVguide: “The sound: full-bodied, very revealing, and yet almost shockingly smooth. A true sonic “chameleon,” the LCD-2 instantly and effortlessly reveals even small differences between associated electronics”