Consider this headphone if: you want a beautifully made, sumptuously comfortable headphone that offers an extremely high degree of resolution and finesse, and whose overall balance is mostly neutral, though shelved downward just a bit in the upper mids and highs—thus giving a slightly warmer-than-neutral tonal balance. Especially consider this headphone if you enjoy spectacularly good bass and midrange reproduction. On good material, the midrange of this headphone seems almost to glow from within. Also consider this headphone if you’ve wanted to try a planar magnetic design, but have been frightened away by reports that they are hard to drive; surprisingly, the LCD-2 is relatively easy to drive.
Look further if: you favor compact headphones that offer a high degree of isolation from external sounds. The LCD-2 is comfortable, but also quite large—a characteristic some might find not to their liking. Also, the LCD-2 is an open-back design that lets room noises through and that allows the headphone itself to be heard from the outside when it is playing. Finally, look further if you require strictly neutral upper midrange and treble tonal balance. Lovely and euphonic though the LCD-2 is, there are competing headphones that offer somewhat more neutral tonal balance (e.g., the Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla or HiFiMAN HE-6).
Ratings (relative to comparably priced headphones):
Audeze’s LCD-2 is hands down one of the five best headphones Playback has ever tested. What is more, recent driver revisions from Audeze may mean that the versions you would buy could sound even better than our review samples did, which is saying a mouthful. If you are shopping for a true top-tier class headphone, you owe it to yourself to hear this one before making a final decision.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Just at posting time, Playback learned that Audeze had made a running production change in the LCD-2, introducing new "Revision 2" drivers said to subtly alter and improve the overall voicing of the headphones. Click here to read a follow up review of the LCD-2 with Rev. 2 drivers.
Audeze LCD-2 Planar Magnetic Headphones
Accessories: as above.
Frequency response: 5Hz – 20kHz (with “usable high frequency extension to 50kHz)
Weight: Not specified
Sensitivity: 91 dB (1 mW input)
Impedance: 50 ohms
Price: $945 ($995 with leather headband pad option), can be ordered with wood presentation case or travel case.
Audeze Audio Research Labs