You unlock such headphones with the source of respectable power. Beyond it, is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of listening, a dimension of zenful mind. You’re moving into a land of both body and substance, of melody and bliss. You’ve just crossed over into, the Audiophile Zone. At least, this is one path to achieve this, thanks to the Audeze LCD-2 Classic headphones.
Having opportunities to sit down and listen to models like this is quite a privilege every time. Getting paid to dive into some of your favorite music and play with some of our favorite amps. It is such a pleasure to call this a job. This week’s task has been to really dig into these headphones to see where they sit within our favorites and boy do they have a spot.
These headphones can really bring tracks to life. They aren’t perfect and they don’t pair to just anything. However, when you do find what you like to pair them to, you will sit there forever listening to track after track, to see what they bring to each listening experience.
A body of pure aluminum, with no signs of sacrifice anywhere. The overall design of these headphones is both solid and enjoyable to the eyes. You can tell that Audeze put a lot of pride into the manufacturing process.
The muffs swing in and out, left to right, and can be adjustable by sliding the rods up or down on either side. Each grill features the Audeze logo attached via Phillips screws.
A layer of leather beneath the aluminum band acts as the cushion above your head. Thin to the eyes, it actually does its job nicely without noticeable discomfort. The pads on each side fully encompass your ears while providing the ultimate comfort. The headphones truly feel fantastic on the head.
The y-cable connects to each muff via mini XLR, providing a secure connection that is easy to attach and detach without trouble. The cable, braided throughout, running to a quarter-inch connection. This cable is both durable and pleasant to the eyes as well. The black insulation/jacket featuring a glossy look.
It is also the perfect length, without adding the excessive slack that snags or trips you up as you move around.
The case is fantastic in every way. Providing heavy protection for the headphones, while also making you look quite cool as you walk around with them. It, of course, will not travel well within baggage due to its size, but it is just fine to carry by hand around the house or location to location.
This is a great addition to everything since it adds value to the product while also providing a long-lasting blanker of protection that looks great, has re-enforced corners, and a solid latch
The headphones are also decently light for their size (544 grams). Not incredibly light, but noticeable as your initial expectations assume they would weigh in a little more than they do. Not as light as the company’s new LCD-5 flagship model that just launched, though.
Like many pairs of high-end headphones, they offer a wonderful performance that will leave you listening to them for hours on end. As mentioned, though, they are not perfect. Like many of these high-end models, they also pair to specific content, but not all.
In order for them to pair well to a wider selection of content, you do have to make use of an EQ solution to help balance them just right. Else, you might find that they are a little messy when it comes to some rock genres while exhausting in others (specifically, within the higher frequencies). Rock is just one genre that can be used as an example.
The frequencies do cover a huge range (10Hz to 50kHz), making them quite capable in many areas. When paired to the right content, they can absolutely sing to you, right out of the box. We were able to still find a lot of source music that could accomplish this. Artists like Ana Caram, Beck, Dave Brubeck, Lorde, Melody Gardot, Michael Buble, Muddy Waters, Pink Floyd, Tab Benoit, Melvin Taylor, and UB40, to name (quite) a few. These artists had some songs that meshed so well with these headphones.
Many of these tracks benefiting from the mids and highs. However, lows are not to be taken lightly either. The lows don’t always come out with every track. However, when they do, they might sneak up on you. We found this to be true with artists like Bright McKnight and Lorde.
Then you have some really balanced results that sound fantastic. A good example of this is ProjECK’s (ft. Mateus Asato) cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”. There is just a wonderful mesh of frequencies come from all over. This is also thanks to there being such a huge soundstage.
The soundstage can really create a unique experience in a track. Especially with the various layers of instruments that can really spread around in some of these tracks. We found so many tracks that spread all over the place. A good example is the following copy of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. It is just a YouTube video, yet it sounds amazing and has an absolutely huge stage.
Keep in mind, your best results come from high-res source music. Most of everything we paired these with was FLAC, DSD, and SACD in format. We also tried out various DTS tracks to achieve cleaner results than the above YouTube video. Tracks from Pink Floyd and Beatles in DTS were quite enjoyable.
Then we paired the headphones to a good amp each time. The latter being something any good pair of audiophile or reference headphones is going to likely require.
You want to be able to drive them with an amp that compliments their capabilities. We were able to do so across multiple models that range from affordable to much more expensive than the headphones. Our trusty Little Dot MK2 tube amp did a great job at a price of less than $200, while the SPL Phonitor X amplifier opened them up a little more, but runs around $2,500 (debatable on how much more it adds to them). So your options are quite spread out, but you can absolutely drive these at a low cost due to how sensitive they are.
This leads us back to our mention of EQ though. If you want these to be a good go-to for any music you throw at them, you may want to invest in an EQ to add in-line between your source and your amp (if it is coming from a computer, then you can achieve this with software). This really helps expand on their capabilities.
These headphones sound great out of the box with so many types of music. You need EQ to expand from there to really tune them into other options like many forms of rock, outside of guitar solos and acoustic options. Thankfully, most listeners likely wouldn’t be considering these for hard rock and other similarly harsh genres. Instead, one would likely be buying into the LCD-2 Classic headphones for the purpose of pairing them to classic, blues, jazz, and other tracks that are meant for audiophile listening. For this reason, the need for EQ doesn’t weigh the score down as much.
Quality of build and overall comfort is also a wonderful contributor to the final score, as is the visual design of the headphones.
We really did like this model and plan to spend a lot more time with it. You will likely see this one pop up in the content to come as it will pair well with some of the amps that we come across.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go back to listening to some Muddy Waters with these on my head.
|Proprietary magnet array
|Maximum power handling
|10Hz – 50kHz
|<0.1% @ 100dB
|101 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
|Minimum power requirement
|Recommended power level
Co-Author: James H.
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