"will open your eyes to a lot of what you’ve been missing in your sound" says FStoppers of LCD-1
May 04, 2021
"Audio is both one of the most important parts of a video project and a complex set of skills and knowledge in its own right. That's why whenever a project's budget can afford it, I bring in someone specifically to handle recording and mixing. Unfortunately, just like in a lot of photography assignments, the budget doesn't always reflect the vision. So, I am always trying to improve my audio skills and better understand my gear, so that I am always starting from a good, solid foundation. For me, part of that is knowing the difference between a reference set of headphones and one I might use to just enjoy music"
"The LCD-1s feature an open-back design. Open-back headphones are just what they sound like: they allow air to flow through the ear cups. The reason for this is to prevent pressure from building up and causing small echoes inside the headphones. This results in a much better, more natural, and clearer sound profile. Of course, this also has its own drawbacks. With an open-back design, you don’t get any noise-canceling effects, in fact, you will hear most of the sound around you. Meaning open-back headphones usually are not very good for commuting or loud airplanes. The entire design of the LCD-1’s is to create a technically better reference headphone in a smaller, more portable package. These are meant to be used in somewhat controlled environments whether in a home office or while editing audio on the road. I also found them very useful for recording on location, as I often need to keep one ear on the set and another on the audio. "
"The overall design of the headphones is a modern, compact style. They don't stand out or look too bulky, which is nice if you plan to use them on location or while traveling. They are mostly made from plastic, and while that can make them seem a little cheap in your hand, after using them for a while, I can say they are not fragile and the plastic used will hold up over time. The material choice also helps with lowering the weight of the headphones, coming in at just 8.8 ounces (250g). This is considerably lighter than Audeze’s higher-end headphones and most Planar Magnetic headphones. The headband and earcups are both lined with soft lambskin leather and memory foam. The earcups are an oval shape that fits me great, and this should lead to most listeners finding them a good fit. "
"The frequency response is where the LCD-1s really stood out for me. While listening to classical arrangements, not only could I clearly separate the violin parts, I could hear the bow being dragged across the strings. Again, as a drummer, I could distinguish between two different-sized ride cymbals, something that I’m just not used to in a lot of headphones I’ve used. The wide range in frequency response gives a natural and neutral quality beyond what the average person can perceive so that it is not falling apart at the upper range of what you can hear. The overall tone response seemed pleasing to me. It was very clean and open, but it really shined in the treble, both in terms of clarity and balance. I would say it was at its weakest in the mid-range, where it felt like it had a warmth to the sound. I’m not quite sure how to describe it. It wasn't unpleasant, but in comparison, it wasn’t truly clean either. "
"As consumers, we have become accustomed to highly compressed audio on cheap devices, and it's easy to forget the quality and amount of work that goes into a lot of sound engineering. During the testing, one of my favorite renditions of Black Sabbath's "Changes," performed by Charles Bradley, started playing. Now, I’ve heard this song hundreds of times, but the first time I ever heard it, it really moved me, even making my eyes tear up a bit. Hearing it this time on these headphones was like hearing it again for the first time. The depth and clarity in Bradley's soulful voice reached me as if I had never heard it before. "