Everyday Listening Reviews the Audeze LCD-1

September 14, 2020

"Who hasn’t heard of Audeze? The US-based headphone manufacturer are an icon of the headphone industry, their LCD line-up having both huge success and staying power. If there’s one thing that alienated buyers from these models, it’s likely their price followed quickly by their large, heavy design. The new LCD-1 is their solution to these qualms, and their sleekest LCD headphone yet excluding the on-ear SINE. It implements the same technologies in a compact form factor designed for all-day comfort. Furthermore, the sound signature has been tuned with monitoring in-mind, pivotal as such a balanced sound is not so easy to come by around this price range."

"Futuristic is one of the descriptors that came to mind when I first lay eyes on the LCD-1. It’s a compendium of clean lines merged with Audeze’s signature faceplate design merging minimalism and the tradition that came before. The plastic construction is a departure from the tanky builds we’ve come to expect from Audeze, however, it is premium where it counts. The earpads and headband make an especially strong impression, employing a gorgeous lambskin leather with plush memory foam on the earpads and soft sponge on the headband. The swiveling mechanism features a metal reinforcement plate that will provide more reliable function over time. Though not the most premium in terms of overall material choice, the LCD-1 feels relatively sturdy and upholds a strong user experience."

"I am a huge fan of the LCD-1’s fit and comfort, the lambskin feels superbly soft and supple, while the heat-activated memory foam conforms perfectly to the head over time. They are an over-ear headphone and, as others have stated, the pads are on the smaller side, measuring in at approximately 3.5 x 6 cm but with a larger cavity behind. As the pads are quite deep, they did fully engulf my ears so I didn’t personally find this to form discomfort over time. As always, YMMV here. The headband is reasonably thin but well-padded. Due to the lightweight design of the headphones, they don’t wear on the head like many other either, so I was able to wear them for hours with no issue. For professionals, this will be a prime selling point of the LCD-1, their all-day comfort and the excellent wearing properties of the lambskin leather. Of course, being an open-back design do expect sound leakage in addition to minimal noise isolation. Though compact and fold-able, this makes them less ideal for portable use."

"The LCD-1 isn’t an especially spacious headphone, especially for an open-back, but they do still offer more expansion than most closed headphones. Width extends just beyond the head while depth projects just a little less forming a slightly oval presentation. There isn’t huge bass to fill out its stage nor an especially open vocal image which can contrast to a lot of headphones that, to me, appear quite laid-back in the midrange providing the impression of a larger stage. What the LCD-1 excels with instead is imaging, with especially accurate localization and distance perception through its space. Directional cues are tack sharp and well-defined making them a good choice for both music and gaming. Separation receives high marks as well given its linear and balanced signature. The background is clean which provides defined, distinct layers and offers enhanced perception of the foreground when the track gets busy."

"The LCD-1 surely is not one of those epiphany headphones that awe on first listen. Its plastic build and bass extension will certainly leave some listeners wanting. Similarly, the soundstage is hardly as open as their form factor may suggest. However, it is often these unassuming headphones that bode best for long critical listening sessions. As, even to the keen eared, the LCD-1 is simply a headphone that comes across as sounding “correct”. That’s not to say that this is a perfectly balanced headphone, but one that upholds a very even and faithful representation throughout the entire spectrum. Enhancing this impression is the agile transient response that aids fine detail retrieval alongside their lightweight design with soft lambskin leather that maintains comfort all day long. There are some competitors doing similar things at a cheaper price or with a little more engagement, but none quite strike the same balance of qualities as the LCD-1. This is a strong recommendation from me for those looking to buy a comfortable and very well-balanced open-back headphone at a reasonable price."