Driver Update and Leather Headband.
The LCD-2 headphones were introduced in Oct 2009. Even among Planar Magnetic headphones, these drivers were quite different with a unique structure and design. The LCD-2 has gone through several minor cosmetic changes, but the driver has remained unchanged so far.
Now we are introducing revision2 of the driver. The LCD-2s as a model remain the same. Newer LCD-2 shipments from middle of June have revision2 of the driver.
Does the sonic signature change ?
Revision 2 transducer has the same mechanical construction as original transducer, but uses newly developed, thinner and more reliable diaphragm material. Overall sound signature remains similar. Low frequencies stay flat, but are tighter and even more extended (flat to 5 Hz), midrange is smoother and more transparent, while high frequencies are more extended, detailed and more pronounced. With Rev.2 we are addressing concerns of many customers who feel that original LCD2 has darker high frequency signature than many top of the line headphones.
While overall sonic signature remains similar, new revision provides substantial improvement in sound quality (this is no hyperbole), sound resolution and especially imaging, which is wider, more stable and 3 dimensional. If you loved the LCD-2 sonic signature, you will like the new one even more.
Does this mean there is a new model ?
No. We considered this, but decided to continue with the same LCD-2 model. Though the changes are significant, we don't think it warrants a completely new model. The change will be seamless to new customers. Customers who order LCD-2 will get the new driver by default.
If you bought the headphones recently (mid-june), please email us your serial number and we can tell you if it is newer driver.
Why change it suddenly ?
A couple of reasons. We have developed new diaphragm material that offered several benefits over the existing material. We decided to pass along the improvements to customers. The issues we had with some older stock gave us 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 Leather headbands. Well, here it is. The headband is designed to fit the LCD-2 and be as comfortable as possible. This will be a drop in replacement for the current headband. We will provide the Leather headband as an upgrade option for the LCD-2 for existing customers. You can order the headband here. The headband is wrapped with high quality, very soft lamb skin leather with memory foam cushions to give the user a maximum comfort.
Can I still order the LCD-2 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 is the cost ?
LCD-2 with the current headband -$945 (No price change. Comes with the new Rev2 Driver)
LCD-2 with Leather Headband - $995 (Leather headband, Rev2 Driver standard)
Separate Leather Headband - $100 (comes with headband and blocks)
Separate Headband assembly (with yoke, pins etc) - $140
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http://www.t3ind.com/ - Click here for the orginal
Earpadnya terbuat dari kulit domba. Earcupnya dari kayu Caribbean Rosewood. Jantung dari Audeze LCD-2 adalah Planar Magnetic Driver yang menggunakan 12 magnet di tiap drivernya. Bergaya retro membuat orang akan memandang setiap pemakainya.
Kalau saja bobotnya lebih ringan, saya tidak akan menyadari bahwa saya sedang mendengarkan headphone. Suara yang dihasilkan sangat natural dan open, dengan bass yang deep dan smooth, Mid Range atau Vocal sangat detil dan balance walaupun staging tidak terlalu luas. Bagi sebagian orang Treblenya terasa agak dark, tetapi bagi saya yang juga sound engineer merasakan Treblenya sangat Natural seperti kondisi realitas frekuensi di ruang studio rekaman.
Pada lagu Am I Not Merciful yang menjadi salah satu sound track film Gladiator pada bagian dentuman timpani yang menggelegar tetap dapat dihasilkan dengan baik tanpa distorsi walaupun saya naikkan volume levelnya sampai 90% menunjukkan akurasi reproduksi suara yang sangat baik dan kemampuannya menghandel Sound Pressure Level yang tinggi.
Rp. 12,5 JUTA www.kAnTong-kResek.com
MAu MEMBERIKAN HADIAH
yANG BERKESAN BAGI
PARTNER ANDA yANG HoBBy
words HENDRA S.K /
PHoTo giNo fEbRiSA
Love: Sound sangat natural dan akurat, Design Retro, Nyaman digunakan dalam waktu lama.
Hate: Agak berat, harus mengembalikannya selepas pengujian.
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Website updated, if you have any issues, please contact us at info @ audeze.com
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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.
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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”
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LCD-2 review by Savyasaachi K
June 13th, 2010, Reposted in new Blog
Usher in the ortho era.
It brings forth the same fun, finesse and importantly, the soul and passion that the creator put into making these headphones. It makes you feel special. It makes you feel you are at one with the music, an extension of the audience Patricia Barber was singing to. The power of speed, detail, vividness in the low frequencies, the midrange seductiveness, its ability to ensconce you in the event that knocks on your eardrums and then make it all seem par for the course. Truly staggering.
I am an unabashed fan of orthodynamic headphones. Have been a dedicated orthohead for over two years now. All thanks to dBel84 for introducing me to some home made SFI driver based headphones at a meet. The Orthodynamic thread soon became a sanctuary and the folks who take part in the thread very close friends. We are dedicated group who share a passion for planar driven headphones and in our ideal world planar headphones would take back their rightful place at the head of the pack in audiophile headphone listening.
I have heard the best that the dynamic and electrostat headphones have to offer in the form of the HD800, T1 (not enough listening time however), PS-1000, Koss ESP950, Stax O2, lambda, SR-404 and they have all fallen short of what orthos can do.
Sonic frontiers TransDAC heavily modded
Assemblage DAC 2.7 heavily modded
Reference headphone - Smeggy built Fostex T50RP woodies aka “Thunderpants”
With my review playlist at the ready I sat down to put the LCD-2 through its paces. I listen to every kind of music in nearly every type of digital format. My playlist reflected this. I wanted to see how the LCD-2 would perform in an everyday situation for me rather than just running through some reference discs. Genres from Indie rock to Southern rock, Country and folk to hardrock and metal, from jazz to pop, with western classical and Indian Classical rounding up the list. Their formats ranged from Mp3s, FLAC to XRCDs and DTS-HD Master Audio recordings were.
When Don informed me that he had the newest Audeze LCD-2 in his possession and invited me over to a listen, I jumped at the opportunity. Being a planar fan through and through I was excited to see what progress Audez’e had made over the promising LCD-1 that I had owned. With Portland’s very own M Ward’s – Post war at the ready I arrived at his place. As Don brought out the headphones, my jaw dropped at the gorgeous headphones he held in his hand. With the limited time at hand, after ogling at the LCD-2s build quality he set me down with his system with a cup of coffee in hand and left me to run it through its paces. I sat mesmerized for a full 40 minutes listening nearly to the entire album. When I was done all I could remark to Don was, “wow, that is something else”. Yes I was a bit at a loss for words unlike today writing this review. I had one of the best vintage orthos tuned by dBel84 and a pair of the Fostex T50RP woody thunderpants. I ran a few tracks again going back and forth between the headphones and came away with the conclusion the LCD-2 was clearly the better headphone. All from within 40 mins of listening to it. I did find a few ‘faults’ at first with the LCD-2. I commented that I felt the bottom end was a bit flabby and that the high frequencies weren’t hot enough to my tastes. But overall the headphones were the first ones that sounded ultra refined with oodles of detail and yet remained musical to me. I thanked Don for the opportunity and reluctantly left.
A couple of days later kwkarth agreed to come over to my place with his review pair of the LCD-2s so I could listen to them on my rig. We spent well over an hour running through some reference material. We also got around to trying the LCD-2 out of a portable amp with an Ipod as a source. The ALO Rx amplifier + Ipod combo did a commendable job here and confirmed to me that the LCD-2s could after all be driven comfortably with a portable amp such as the ALO Rx. This is good news to those who plan on using these headphones on the go as well. The audition was still too hurried to form any compelling impressions and I persuaded Audez’e to let me borrow the LCD-2 from dBel84s for a few days. Much to my delight they agreed.
Soon as I got home, i gingerly brought out the headphones. Like a voluptuous woman pining for some love, the LCD-2 screamed at my hungry eyes for attention, to reach and caress her curves. I admit, I did. The headband foam was nice and soft, the pads were of high quality leather, they had worn in nicely since the first time I tried them on. The mini-XLR jacks is something that all would agree to being made standard on high end headphones. The cable was a far cry from the thick unwieldy one on the LCD-1 and neatly terminated into a Neutral jack. To top it all off, I was ecstatic to see 4 screws in the back which give immediate access to the rear of the driver, the area of most interest for us orthoheads who like to tune and configure orthos to our tastes. The guys at Audez’e had clearly been paying attention to our wish list.
Holding the LCD-2s in your hand, you know its a high end product, the result of quality workmanship and sound engineering.
Does it have ’sachu’ bass?
I am notorious to be very picky with the low frequency response on any system I listen to. I personally feel most people are only exposed to a flat monotonic bass note on headphones. Orthos opened my eyes and gave me hope that they can reproduce speaker like texturing in low frequency notes. This drew me back into the headphone scene. Whenever i try a new headphone I am instantly focused on the low frequency reproduction capability.
I like the low frequencies to be extended, tight, accurate in tonal reproduction and most importantly textured. Largely, orthos do a fairly decent job in this area albeit after a fair amount of tuning, but still end up compromising on one of the other areas. Having owned and heard the LCD-1 and sold primarily for its lackluster performance when it came to low frequency response I wasn’t prepared to accept the fact that the LCD-2s could come anywhere close to the prowess of my reference TPs.
First thing I tried was an Indian Classical piece From the album, The Valley Recalls – 2. The impact of the Ghatam was everything that I expected it to be. The tablas and Mrudangam were sounding surreal, quick with just the right impact. Some orthos veil the notes from how a Tabla or Mrudangam sound but the LCD-2 was a revelation here. I had to convince myself what I was hearing was right. I quickly switched back to my reference headphones and could make out that the “tok” sound on a tabla was sounding off, more like a “tick” on the Fostex thunderpants. back on the LCD-2 I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the amalgamation of 3 ancient Indian percussion instruments fire away in harmony. As the track reached its crescendo, the tabla master Zhakir Hussain furiously thumping way on the tablas while the mrudangam was trying to keep up the tempo, each and every note blended blissfully. I felt I was back in the First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland where they once performed a year or two ago.
Next I tried some Electronica,Pop the Cherry and Currywurst by Aerodromme. Breakbeat drum and bass and electronica usually don’t have ultra low frequency material. What i look for here is impact. On the EHHA, the LCD-2s were head pounding but lacking some definition. Switching to the Stacker 2, the definition got back, more tighter bass but the impact was not as great. I stuck with the Stacker 2 amplifier as for the first time, I was able to rock hard to Electronica and DnB and actually appreciate the details in the recordings which i once thought to be non-existent. One only expects the 4 by 4 beat in a DnB track to stand out , but with the LCD-2 it transforms the experience and gets a rave going in your head.
On M Ward’s “Poison Cup” and Patricia Barber’s Companion album, I could actually feel the pads vibrating on the ultra low bass notes. The double bass was as real and as tactile as it can get. It was like an onion. You can keep peeling away layer after layer of bass. They one upped my much vaunted thunderpants in the low frequency reproduction in everything except the impact levels. The LCD-2 were just as effortless as the thunderpants throughout. Fabulous!
One further thing that I noticed was that some notes sounded stunning different on the two headphones. I don’t quite know how to explain this but the notes just sounded real on the LCD-2. I was stunned and disappointed at the same time. As much as I hate to admit it I felt let down by my reference headphones. I again attribute the LCD-2s prowess in recreating tonally accurate notes to its open design, not to mention what appears to meticulously tweaked driver to extract every little bit of ortho goodness available. For a closed headphone my reference headphones are still the best I’ve heard. But overall, the LCD-2 frankly walked away with the prize. My reference headphones were no competition to be fully upfront.
The all important midrange.
Midrange is the stronghold of nearly all orthos. No, your dynamic headphone or stat headphone just don’t do it like an ortho and that’s a fact. The dynamics lack the emotion while stats sound thin to these ears. Perhaps the only stat to come close to otho like sound in the midrange is the Stax O2 MK1. To date the best midrange I have heard on any headphone has been the ultra rare and venerable Yamaha Yh-1000. It gave me the first eargasm ever listening to Margo sing Sweet Jane. It is very hard to describe the emotional involvement that one goes through when one listens to something so superlative, one that hasn’t been experienced before and try to put words to describe the feeling. Its just something you have to hear for yourself. But then the YH1K is so rare a headphone that only a handful have had the privilege. I like my vocals just a bit upfront so I raised my eyebrow when i saw the freq curve on the LCD-2 prior to listening to it thinking, hmm that doesn’t look good for the midrange. That 6-10dB drop from 1kHz onwards is significant i felt.
Those first 40 mins laid any apprehensions I had to rest. Now M Ward is a handsome albeit short man with a voice that makes girls swoon. Listening to him sing “Rollercoaster” left me swaying too and thinking I could kiss the man, he is after all singing right in front of me. It felt so real, you could hear each and every breath he took between verses, the backup vocals were something I had never heard on my reference headphones in the “Eyes on the Prize” track, at least not as clearly. I could pick out 3 distinct voices in the background. I was dumbstruck. I knew then, this was it. We finally had a pair of headphones that could go toe to toe with the Yh-1000 and then some. The difference between the two is the ultra low distortion levels. Both have the same emotion and awestruck feeling that they leave in their wake. But, the LCD-2 goes one step further giving you the blackest of black backgrounds.
The track ‘Good Ole Boys like me’ By Don Williams brought me to tears. His silky smooth yet rough in a complex way reminded me why he was my favorite Country artist. To round up the male vocals test, i played Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills and Pantera’s Cowboys from hell. Till date I never knew one could actually discern details in genres such as metal, that one could connect with the normally screeching vocals on an emotional level. With the LCD-2 it wasn’t just mindless headbanging, but it was headbanging with emotion.
For female vocals i rifled through Loreena Mckennit – A Phrygian Moon and Mummer’s dance first. The lovely Canadian’s voice sailed through the blob sitting between my ears. The tonal accuracy is nothing like I have heard. I rang up Rachel Yamagata’s “I’ll find a way” to hear her Sweet nasal voice sending shivers down my spine just as it did once in a demo room at RMAF. I felt I was back at the Crystal Ballroom a year ago when I saw her perform live (even with a slight case of the flu, the poor dear). The LCD-2 was resolving enough to show some distortion in the music however which I was surprised by. As I had listened to this track so many times in so many high end systems that while it was barely noticeable on them, it immodestly stood out on the LCD-2. Margo is a favorite of mine and naturally any female vocals test I do involves Sweet Jane and Blue Moon Revisited. I felt like I could just die and go to heaven listening to her on the LCD-2. I was on such a high listening to the LCD-2 that i played Lisa Gerrad’s ‘Elysium’ track on the Gladiator OST. One of the most moving pieces of cinema scores ever created and the LCD-2 didn’t disappoint as it moved me to my core. To round up the female Vocals test the Companion album by Patricia Barber (XRCD) was played a full 4 times from end to end. Every time revealing more and more details in the midrange. Putting it simply, the midrange on the LCD-2 is godlike.
Man it feels good to get high..
As noted in the initial impressions, i felt the energy in the highs were a tad lacking. However, as I got to spend more and more time with the LCD-2, it was apparent that they in fact extended just as well as the best headphones without adding coloration, being absolutely neutral in reproducing source material as it should be. I did miss the leading edge on tracks like the ‘Librarian’ or on any of the metal tracks. The strength however lies in the LCD-2s resolving power. I thought my reference headphones were the best resolving orthodynamic headphones I had heard. Boy was I wrong. The LCD-2 made mince meat of them in this regard. For instance, you could hear every creak in “I’ll find a way”, the cymbals were lifelike. On M ward’s ‘Chinese translation’, his power with an acoustic guitar was there in its fully glory, each string being plucked, his fingers sliding up and down the strings, On Don Williams track too, one could hear the guitar plucks being as close to lifelike as it can get. On My Morning Jacket’s ” Touch me I am going to scream. Part2″ there are at various points where the keyboards come in and while the Fostex thunderpants clouded the consecutive notes, the LCD-2 picked them apart beautifully.
Special mention for the Indian classical track. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia on the bamboo flute and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma on the ancient instrument the Santoor (hammered Dulcimer), two living legends coming together to create some of the best pieces of music ever played. Each strike on the santoor and its harmonics were reproduced seamlessly. There is this section of the track where Shiv kumar sharma ramps up the tempo on the Santoor (each strike being as precise and fast as a pinprick) and so does Hariprasad Chaurasia on the flute (increasing the pitch as well) blending the two instruments into something only the Gods could have scripted. The urgency in the tempo one feels yet calmness reverberated by the tonal qualities of the instruments strike a balance that i had never experienced before listening to this track.
This is an area that most vintage orthos are severely handicapped at. I personally am not a soundstage freak. I don’t want an area spanning a football field between my ears but enough to give breathing space for all the elements in an orchestra to come through without glazing over is fine. Even this modest task is mucked up by most vintage orthos. The other thing that most headphones and not just orthos suffer from is a fractured soundstaging, its not a seamless transition from left to middle to right.
The only headphone I have heard do this superlatively has been the HD800 and it maintains this advantage over the LCD-2. However the upside on the LCD-2 is that there is actually enough of a soundstage. For example listening to The Battle – Gladiator OST you feel like you are actually there, the opening scene flashes before your eyes, you are there on the battle field, charging at them barbarians yelling “Roma Victor!”. Listening to Rachael Yamagata singing “I’ll find a way” I was transported back in time just as mesmerized to the Reimyo room at RMAF with the lights dimmed down. That feeling of immersion in the music was something I had never experienced with an orthodynamic headphone before. The open nature coupled with the transducer design is to be credited for this.
Imaging to me is more important than soundstage. My reference headphones have a problem with imaging well cause of their closed nature. It falls short with complex music where instruments lose their focus and get mixed up. The one headphone that did this better than anything else was the Stax Omega 2 or O2 MK1. The O2 is superlative in this field. I was overjoyed when I could pick out each and every instrument in the Listen Up! DTS master audio recording. This is one of the hallmarks of these headphones and so easily noticeable that I made a comment to the effect to Don about it when I heard it the first time. When Omar Hakim(on drums) goes off on a solo in the dts recording I was spellbound listening to each instrument, the hi-hat, the cymbals, snare, tom toms and the kick drum all in their rightful spaces with room to breathe.
Switching to Loreena Mckennit’s “Highway man”, the complex jamboree of instruments in the mix filter through the music that made me aware of what instrument was playing where in the scene and importantly how it sounded. My reference headphones just utterly made a hash of it here. I was hearing details in the background that I had never heard before, such as the backup vocals on M ward’s “Post war” track.
Conclusion: The LCD-2 was right up there alongside the O2 in imaging.
Low level listening.
The LCD-2 is probably the best headphone I have had the pleasure of using for low level listening. Just for this reason alone I want to buy these headphones. Most headphones if not all that I have heard need to me to up the volume control knob to get full dynamic range reproduction. Not the case with the LCD-2 which translates to safer listening.
The LCD-2s retrieval ability at low listening levels is by far the greatest thing for me. How many times have you had to turn the volume down so your wife or gf wouldn’t beat you in the head with your headphones cause you were disturbing her? For me its come close to being atleast once. It is frustrating listening to music at low levels simply because all, yes all headphones that I have listened to simply cannot sustain a full dynamic range at low levels. Some need to be turned up to hear and low frequencies notes at all, others make Margo of Cowboy Junkies sound like those American Idol wannabes.
But in comes the LCD-2, it makes it all seem so effortless at low volumes. There is all the low frequency extension, the shimmer in the highs and maintains that seductive midrange. I was sold on them after they kept me awake till 5 in the morning for two nights in a row of low level listening. This means my ears get to enjoy music without damaging for a very long time..maybe even till I am 40-50 years old.
Nothing even comes close to it in this department.
What does this all mean to you and to me?
Staying true to the one and only rule of the audiophile world I will say trust your own ears. But if you don’t know what you are hearing, then yeah just take my word for it.
The boys at Audez’e have come a long way since the LCD-1 that they released at last year’s Canjam. To think a company’s first real headphone product can sound as good as it does, look and feel good as good as it does just blows me away. These guys have undoubtedly put a lot of pain and effort, while all the time listening to the community for feedback and suggestions in bringing out the best they could offer. In my eyes and to these ears, they have surpassed every expectation by light years.
To me, the LCD-2 is the culmination of the end of a 3 decade drought for a true high end planar headphone that is well designed, well thought out, that can hang with the big guns of the stat world and then some. But, most importantly, it is one that has been tuned to perfection just like the only other ortho in my mind, the venerable Wharfedale Isodynamic that performs at its best from the get go. The Wharfedale was a revolutionary product in design and conception, the Audez’e is a fitting tribute to the pro-genesis of othodynamic headphones and is well poised to herald a resurrection of a once forgotten technology.
While my reference headphones are brilliant sounding albeit being closed ones the LCD-2 comes along and says ..hang on there son..this is how you do it.
The LCD-2 has managed to show me that the rabbit hole indeed goes deeper. When I was feeling secure that my bleeding wallet had been patched up for good by my reference headphones, that I had reached a plateau with regards to how good a transducer can sound, that “this is it. It can get no better”, the LCD-2 like an erupting volcano raised the bar into the stratosphere and in process made my wallet shrivel back in fear. I quickly realized that the asking price on these headphones was a pittance compared to the pure audio nirvana I was experiencing. Its a bit like watching Top gear with Jeremy Clarkson yelling “Power!!” while power sliding an angry yet sophisticated Ferrari V12 for the entire show. It brings forth the same fun, finesse and importantly, the soul and passion that the creator put into making these headphones. It makes you feel special. It makes you feel you are at one with the music, an extension of the audience Patricia Barber was singing to. The power of speed, detail, vividness in the low frequencies, the midrange seductiveness, its ability to ensconce you in the event that knocks on your eardrums and then make it all seem par for the course. Truly staggering.
I found myself scrambling through my music collection as the time to return them was at hand. As Jim James emotionally sang the last verses of track 8 on Evil Urges serenading his lady, the librarian, I found myself joining in, serenading the delightful little creature called the LCD-2, promising her that we’ll be reunited soon.
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Review of Audez’e LCD-2 by Donald Basel
Originally Published on May 24th, 2010. Ported over to the new blog.
They have a richness of tone that very few headphones or speakers reproduce, without sounding “lush”. There is no hint of sibilance and will bring even the toughest logger to his knees
I felt extremely privileged to be included in the first group of people to hear the long awaited and much anticipated release of Audeze’s LCD2. Some history: I am not new to planar magnetic technology and have been an avid fan and disciple of planar magnetic headphones ever since I was lured into the murky waters by the vintage yamaha orthodynamic headphones. If not for the keen efforts of wualta on HeadFi, this dream would most likely not have been realized. I first heard about Audeze when a friend and fellow disciple of orthodynamic headphones discovered this small company in California, managed to make contact with them and establish that initial dialogue which brought to us the LCD1 and now the LCD2. I really liked the LCD1, it was my first glimpse at what modern planar drivers were capable of. The LCD1 was a top performer and finally offered a modern headphone that had better performance than the venerable Fostex T50vx. It did most things that one would want from a headphone but finally didn’t have the ability to reproduce the bass notes with the authority that they deserved. The LCD1 was always aimed at being a market entry headphone with limited production, as it used an off the shelf foster frame and cup the biggest weaknss for these drivers in the end as they were more than capable of superb performance. The LCD2 is finally here to continue the promise from this dedicated company. An aside on Audeze – they have been very open to guidance from the experience of the headphone community and have worked hard to address most people’s concerns/requests in their development process. I would be remiss if I did not mention the HE5 from HeadDirect. This is another planar magnetic headphone which made a surprise appearance at CanJam 09 and has garnered much popularity amongst headphiles. I have had the opportunity to hear 2 versions of this headphone, the earliest suffered some congestion on the bass and a peakiness in the upper mids, the later version had cleaned up the bass with some damping but the peak remained and although it was still a very good headphone, it still needed some fine tuning. I have not yet heard the HE5LE but this was version is supposed to address the concerns noted in the HE5.
Back to the LCD2.
Music chain – RED BOOK CD – Yamaha DVD1700(SACD) – highly modified Sonic Frontiers Transdac – direct coupled tube hybrid amplifier with class A mosfet output.
My music preference is vocal/acoustic/jazz/rock/blues/classical
Initial impressions on opening the box were very positive. My review sample did not come in the wooden box but that did not detract from my initial impressions. The black grills against the wood immediately caught my eye , not sure if they had me in mind when they were designing these but they sure had my attention. Weighing in at 1/2kg, these headphones leave you with both visual appeal and a tactile sense of anticipation. The overall engineering is rock solid. Steel sprung headband with metal ratchet type arm adjustments allow for a very sturdy feel. No slipping and no movement once they are positioned where you want them. The foam headband has caused a little stir of disappointment in the community but make no mistake, they are very comfortable. They do not retain the impression of my sophisticated headphone stand ( a large hand clamp). The cups themselves are solid, lovely wood with a simple finish, as it turns out “Hand selected Caribbean Rosewood”. The addition of the mini xlr is a welcome addition and offers an elegant solution to custom cable connectors of many manufacturers. The steel rill is attractive and finishes the overall look of these headphones. Someone described them as “steampunk”. The grill trills when you drag a nail over the surface but I cannot hear any resonance concerns with them. They also are able to screw off, allowing the more adventurous to modify and fine tune the sound to their liking. The Pads are substantial and offer great support and seal to create the sound scape that enables notes to be be free and create that ever important soundstage. I was a little concerned about how hard the leather was, but the lambskin do not sweat ( a huge negative of the stock O2 pads ) and they are more comfy than I had anticipated. You are most definitely aware that you are wearing a serious pair of headphones, none of this ” I forgot I was even wearing them” but after 3 hours, I still felt comfortable.
I was told that these drivers had only had an hour of play on them and thus I anticipated the need for a little burn in. I naturally could not wait indefinitely to hear them and I am not completely sold on the idea of prolonged burn in. To me if it takes 500 hours for a headphone to sound good to you, you have acclimated to the sound signature and learned how to appreciate it. But that is a can of worms for another debate. I had a few hours before I could sit down with them so I put on some white noise and let them warble.
The first night I just sat back and listened to them, I can normally pick up on idiosyncrasies pretty quickly with casual listening. Nothing jumped out at me and I thoroughly enjoyed the following 3 hours, would I be a prat to say they had PRaT .
The next round comprised listening to some white noise, pink noise and frequency sweeps ( stereophile editors choice test CD ) – subjectively there are no peaks, no inconsistencies, white noise is homogenous , it extends both high and low.
An emphasis on impressions – subjective attributes based on personal preferences.
I like my headphones to present a detailed top end with air and delicacy. This is evident in most all recordings. Live recordings sound just that, live. The acoustic space and pinpoint timing of a Jazz band is reflected in the percussion, ensuring a particularly intimate experience. Is it the most detailed ortho I have heard, no, some of my orthos are damped to enhance the top end and moving from such an orthodynamic headphone to the LCD2, the initial reduction in top end energy is noticeable but that feeling is soon replaced by a sense of overall balance and enjoyment. I am sure there will be some who
would like a more pronounced top end, this is after all a selfish hobby which promotes personal preferences but for me, these headphones offer a perfectly balanced sound.
The mids are what particularly stand out for me. They have a rich tonal balance with no loss or emphasis, sound “organic” yet are not boring. They have a richness of tone that very few headphones or speakers reproduce, without sounding “lush”. There is no hint of sibilance and will bring even the toughest logger to his knees if he hears xxx (insert favorite female vocalist here) Not many headphones reproduce the lower mids well as many headphones have a low mid upper bass bump – this directly impacts on the baritone and can often paint a muddled picture in this department. I listened to an assortment of recordings which focus on the voice within an acoustic space, I wish I could share this experience with you. Just breathtaking and absolutely natural.
The downfall of so many great orthos – do you leave them slightly under damped so that the bass throbs with a little less control than would be ideal or do you tighten it up so that the bass is several dB down but very tight and accurate. The LCD2 has no problem here – it just keeps going down. The acoustic bass of YoYoMa’s cello on the Appalachian Waltz reverberates with multilayered bass that it transfixed me for the moment. I initially thought I heard some low bass warble but it turned out after much listening and reflection that I was hearing bass notes in the music which had never featured in my experience
of the music before. This was only on one particular electronica piece of music which I don’t listen to frequently but does extend the bass notes pretty low. Bach’s Toccata’s and Fugues sound vivid, Ulanji’s bass drum virtuoso is thunderous and never did I feel the bass was congested or lacked definition. The bass is tight, punchy, fast and layered with all the texture of the mids. Does it sound as deep as the venerable TP , no, the TP’s feel like they have greater impact but they are also closed and lose some of that depth and layering as a consequence.
I have been modifying vintage orthodynamic headphones for some time and have a good feel for what I am trying to achieve when I start out with any given model. The LCD2 accomplishes many of these objectives and manages to retain an open soundstage without compromising the depth of bass extension or delicacy of treble articulation and the mids are just “to die for”. I knew that my time was coming to an end with this pair of headphones and my final wow came when I listened to a piece of Scottish Folk music recorded by Linnrecords , William Jacksons CorryVrechan. It is a very dramatic piece of music with wide dynamic swings, drums, bass, bagpipes, pennywhistle, just a lovely shamble of music. It was the perfect note to finish my experience as it left me feeling invigorated and so completely convinced that these headphones were a must have for my collection. I for one am convinced that this is the advance in magnetic planar technology that I had hoped it would be.
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Santa Monica CA, 05-02-2010
Audez’e is proud to introduce the LCD-2s designed for Recording / Mixing Engineers as reference headphones and the audiophiles and music enthusiasts.
The LCD-2s are in production and will start shipping to customers on May 10th. We are in the process of contacting people who have emailed / pre-ordered the headphones.
Hand selected Caribbean Rosewood ear cups.
Lamb Skin Leather Ear pads.
Audeze’s unique planar magnetic transducer with matched sensitivity.
Mini XLR interchangeable cable.
Very easy to drive with amplifiers.
Left and right transducers have matched sensitivity and frequency response.
The LCD-2 housing is designed and custom built from hand selected Caribbean Rosewood. It is built to enhance the quality of the sound and offers a unique coloration and graining. The LCD-2 ear pads are designed to optimally recreate the entire pro audio frequency range. The sloped ear pad design allows us to faithfully reproduce the detail and clarity to the bass, midrange and the treble. The ear pads are made of premium lambskin leather with specially selected foam to offer the right amount of firmness.
Impedance: 50 Ohms, nominal
Sensitivity: 91 dB/1mW
Maximum power handling: 15W
Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 20 KHz, usable high frequency extension 50 KHz.
Distortion: Less than 1% even at full output.
Impedance: 50 Ohms, nominal
Efficiency: 91 dB/1mW
Maximum power handling: 15W
Maximum output: 133dB, 15W
Active diaphragm area: 6.17 square inches.
Contact pressure: 1.5 N, adjustable, comfortable headband.
Weight: 550 g, without cable.
Maximum diaphragm excursion: 2.5mm p-p
Maximum output: 133dB, 15W
1 year warranty.
Custom wooden box for storage.
Wood care kit.
Original LCD-1 Owners, please contact us for upgrade information.
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Audeze LCD-2 Waterfall plots, low frequency extension and driver impedence
Reposted from January 2010.
Low frequency extension on the LCD-2 relative to other headphones. Measurements done using the Neumann KU 100 Dummy head. The water-fall plots, low frequency extension and the driver impedance.
1. Waterfall Plot of the LCD-2.
2. Impedance driver of the LCD-2 driver.
3. Low-frequency response of LCD-2 and other headphones.
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LCD-1 Review by Mark Rabne
<Reposted from Aug 10 2009>
If you are an audio engineer, you don’t have a reference monitor by which you judge all other reference monitors. Your reference is the actual instrument you are reproducing the sound of. You gain an intimate familiarity of the sound you hear at an acoustic guitars sound hole, or the sound of your guitarists fingers as they grip and re-grip the strings of his instrument.
You can close your eyes and mentally replay the impact and the decay of your drummers snare drum or the delicate metallic resolution as the bell of his cymbal is struck with the tip of a drum stick. You don’t listen to recordings of your pianist, but rather you have your body half-way into his piano and you immerse yourself in the intonations and harmonics flowing from the strings and from the sound board of the instrument. But having said that, if forced to choose and declare any particular reference monitor or reference headphone, I would choose the Audeze LCD-1Reference Headphones. The Audeze LCD-1 exhibits a faithfulness, articulation, and full spectrum accuracy which squarely places them in a class of their own. The LCD-1 is palindrome-like in its unwavering reproduction of sound from the original source material.
Low frequencies produced by the LCD-1 give music a firm foundation without becoming overbearing or fatiguing. Kick drums, bass guitars and synthesizers are forcefully and powerfully reproduced, but they are correctly proportioned within the overall audio spectrum. There is no sense that the headphone housing itself is resonating and adding any unwanted coloration or bias to the original program material. The low-frequency control of the LCD-1 allows the remaining musical and vocal content to find a place in the spectrum without needing any equalization whatsoever.
Vocal clarity and presence and vocal positioning in the sound stage panorama is simply breathtaking. The diaphragms in the LCD-1 are so lightweight that they are nearly massless. For all practical purposes, the diaphragms can go through their full range of excursion with no physical restrictions except for the air molecules they are compressing and rarefying as they oscillate. The highly controlled movements of the diaphragm yield a midrange that is open and uncluttered and in which every source has a place to exist free from smearing caused by harmonic interactions between them.
While listening to live recordings in the LCD-1s, even with my eyes open, I find myself transported to the venue itself and my mind is actively building a map of the stage and where the performers are. When I hear my fellow audience members begin to applaud at the end of a song, I am hearing the individual hand claps of person three seats to my left. I can hear a couple chatting about four seats to my right despite the fact that there are thousands of people applauding all around me.
As the next song opens, I am transported to the stage next to the drum kit where the high hat and cymbals are crashing. The powerful planar magnets in the LCD-1 are enforcing a disciplined and instantaneous movement of the diaphragm which exactingly reproduces the source material out beyond the range of human hearing. Again, I have this feeling of being on the drummers chair as he goes around the kit. On a waterfall plot, I am sure is disciplined control of high frequencies looks like a rock falling off a cliff. But for now, I am measuring it in how precisely and genuinely the crashing metal sounds all around me.
There is an unconstricted and distortionles feel to the sound of the LCD-1 headphones. By replacing traditional cones or domes with low mass planar diaphragms, the difference is as noticeable as switching from a low-end dynamic microphone to a premium condenser microphone for recording your favorite instrument.
The perceived sound stage is absolutely massive which is due to their extreme resolution and disciplined diaphragm movements. The spatial placement of vocalists and instruments is in part due to the control exerted on the diaphragms which allows for precise timing and spatial orientation information to be conveyed to the listener.
If you are looking for a new reference headphone or if you are seeking an exceptionally capable headphone to take your listening experience to an entirely new plateau, audition the Audeze LCD-1.
I am listening to a song called Hosanna by Kirk Franklin and I have tears streaming down my cheeks onto the collar of my shirt.
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