TechDissected Reviews the Audeze LCD-1

October 05, 2020

"There is something quite admirable about Audeze’s almost complete refusal to compromise. From the outset, the company has targeted both the professional market and the higher-end domestic consumer – and by using an alluring combination of planar magnetic technology, lavish materials and an unmistakable aesthetic, it has established a product range that’s been rapturously received. This is an extremely light headphone, coming in at around 250g. It’s also quite small, reminding me somewhat of their earlier Sine on-ear headphones – but of course the Audeze LCD-1 is thankfully still an over-ear headphone. The ear cups also fold upwards to help with portability. I worry that because of the plastic materials, this folding mechanism may wear out over time, but we’ll just have to wait and see for that. As mentioned, The Audeze LCD-1 is a planar magnetic headphone, just like the rest of Audeze’s headphones, and of course it also uses a single-sided ‘Fluxor’ magnetic array (rather than a double-sided system), which helps keep with weight down. Again I’m reminded somewhat of their older Sine headphones, but this new implementation is in many ways what I wanted that to be: A lightweight, portable, planar magnetic headphone that I could take with me anywhere – and this time it’s with an over-ear design, making it much more enjoyable to use. I’m someone who really doesn’t like on-ear designs for longer sessions."

"It’s hard to know what’s most impressive about the way the LCD-1’s sound. Is it the prodigious detail levels? Certainly a listen to the close-mic’d guitars-and-voice intimacy of David Olney’s Jerusalem Tomorrow lets the Audezes communicate the finest details of the singer’s voice – his lip- and palate-noises, his breath management, his phrasing and his unmistakable character. Some headphones make it sound like Olney’s accompanied by one guitar, but the LCD-1’s make it obvious there are two: an electric and an acoustic, playing in such close formation that they almost sound double-tracked. But such is the insight on offer here, the differences in string-gauge, picking force and simple tonality are made absolutely explicit. They’re similarly talented where scale and frequency extension are concerned. The Anna Meredith tune exists on a wide, tall soundstage, and when the recording tips decisively in favor of ‘attack’, the LCD-1’s dig as deep and hit almost as hard as any dynamic-driver alternative. And they do so without undue stress, without skewing their overall frequency response and without any apparent effort. Wind the volume northwards (because you’re not around other people, obviously), and the LCD-1 simply gets louder. Its even-handedness and balance isn’t compromised in the slightest."

"There’s a lot to be said for how the LCD-1’s allow you to analyze the music. If that’s what you require of your hi-fi, then Audeze has created a pair of headphones well worth a listen; especially if you’re hoping to use them for a bit of mixing as well. The Audeze LCD-1’s are a bit more on the expensive side at $399 for those that just want an every day pair of headphones to listen to music on their phone or play some video games. These are more for the audiophile type of listener who is willing to spend a bit more on their headphones."