Audeze LCD-1 Featured in Heavy's Best Reference Headphones List

March 08, 2021

"Though Audeze produces some of the most high-end planar magnetic headphones on the market, their high-end headphones can cost more than renting 40 hours of professional studio time. That’s why I have no qualms in saying that their entry-level Audeze LCD-1 headphones are more than accurate enough to serve as a reference tool for home recording artists."

"The standout technology that sets the LCD-1s apart from the competition is its 90mm planar magnetic drivers. Compared to moving-coil drivers, planar magnetic drivers have a lower distortion factor as well as a more accurate transient response, which really helps bring out both low-end sound and short-lived peaks like snare hits. This is aptly demonstrated by the LCD-1s buttery smooth sound."

"The Audeze LCD-1s provide an overall balanced sound signature without making the audio feel flat or lifeless. The low-end delivers a full and present thump without bleeding into the midrange. It won’t pack the same punch as closed-back headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but this is a good thing in the studio context. Vocals and other mid-range instruments sit neatly in the mix, which really showcases the superior sound staging capabilities of these cans. The treble output of these headphones is a true high point (pun intended) for the sound, as the amount of detail you get in the twang of a guitar string or the snap of a rim shot really brings the audio to life. That said, a slight bump in the  3-4KHz frequency range does colorize the sound some, but not enough to shake our faith in the sonic accuracy of these headphones."

"So what’s left to dislike about a pair of headphones that checks this many boxes? Not much. By nature, planar magnetic headphones are heavier and bulkier than moving-coil headphones, and so they aren’t the most comfortable pair of cans I own. The clamping force of the headband was also a bit much for me out of the box, too, but the sample unit I received has become notably more comfortable after repeated use. The open-back design might make them hard to use to monitor live recordings too but they are still a top choice for mixing."