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Audeze LCD2 Classic headphones: Simply sublime

By Kenny Yeo - 22 Mar 2018

Sound analysis & conclusions

How does the LCD2 Classic sound?

If you like a lush and engaging sound, the LCD2 Classic would be right up your alley. The highs never sound harsh or shrill, and the mids are incredibly smooth and intimate. And like most Audeze headphones, the LCD2 Classic has fantastic bass that goes very deep. Its bass isn’t boosted or accentuated; it just sounds amazingly clean, punchy and textured. The LCD2 Classic is also very detailed and clear. In short, they sound pretty awesome.

 

Do the LCD2 Classic and LCD-2 sound different at all?

The LCD2 Classic and LCD-2 sound very similar and you would have to listen very hard to spot any differences.

They do, but - and this is a huge but - only if you have them both with you and listen to one after the other. Even then, you might strain to hear the differences.

Nevertheless, here’s what I heard:

  • The overall tonality and signature of the headphones are most similarly but with the LCD2 Classic sounding a shade warmer. Just a shade. The LCD-2, on the other hand, sounds a little brighter and is certainly the more neutral-sounding headphone overall.
     
  • The LCD2 Classic slams a tad harder in the bass, but only just.
     
  • Both also have a very smooth rendition of the mids, and both have highs that are superbly tame and never harsh or shrill.
     
  • The biggest difference lies in their imaging and soundstage. In my listening, I found the LCD-2 to have a wider soundstage and more accurate imaging. The LCD2 Classic is hazier in this regard, though again, not by a wide margin.

To conclude, I must emphasize that the differences between the two headphones are very, very slight. And I suspect that if I didn't have the two headphones on hand to compare against each other, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference at all.

 

If that’s the case, which one should I get?

Thanks to its lower price tag, more people can now sample the lush sounds of Audeze's LCD headphones.

Since the two sound so similar, I think there are other factors that are more worthy of consideration.

  • Aesthetics - Do you like the wooden cups of the LCD-2 over the metal rings of the LCD2 Classic?
     
  • Comfort - The LCD2 Classic is a lot more comfortable because of its lower weight and suspension-style headband.
     
  • Budget - Because of the two headphones sound so alike, and the LCD2 Classic is significantly more affordable, I think that the LCD2 Classic offers better value for money - even if it doesn’t come with the LCD-2’s rugged carrying case, have wooden ear cup rings, and genuine leather ear pads.

The short story is this: The LCD2 Classic offers about 90% to 95% the performance of the LCD2C for about 65% the price.

At any rate, you really can’t go wrong with either pair of headphones. They are stellar performers and are some of the best headphones that you can get at their respective price points.

 

Are there alternatives to consider?

The Aeon Flow headphones from MrSpeakers are worth auditioning too if you are ready to splash the cash on a set of high-end headphones.

Other headphones that you should consider at this price point are the MrSpeakers Aeon Flows. Priced identically at S$1,099, the Aeon Flows come in closed-back and open-back forms and also utilize planar magnetic drivers. However, the Aeon Flow headphones sound vastly different from the Audeze LCD2 Classic. In fact, the two Aeon Flow headphones don’t even sound like each other at all!

The closed-back version of the Aeon Flow is remarkably neutral in its sound. It sounds accurate, but it can also sound a little too polite and unexciting for some people. The Audeze LCD2 Classic and LCD-2 are more dynamic and engaging.

The open-back version, on the other hand, has a warmer signature even when compared to the Audezes. For an open-back headphone, its bass response is surprisingly strong. There’s a slight bloom in the mid-bass that bleeds very slightly into the mids, which gives it a thick almost gooey sound. It’s an inviting and alluring sound that compares well to the Audezes’ slightly warm signature.

Also worth checking out is the PM-2 from Oppo. (Image source: Oppo)

Another planar magnetic headphone worth considering at this price point is the Oppo PM-2. Priced at S$999, the PM-2 is more affordable and also considerably easier to drive than both the MrSpeakers and Audezes. This means you won't need a headphone amplifier to get the best out of it - though having one would definitely improve its performance.

The PM-2 sounds great too. It's more neutral than the Audezes and the open-back Aeon Flow, but has a slightly harsh treble that can be off-putting to those who are treble sensitive. Bass goes deep and is clean and snappy, and the mid-range is well balanced. However, the PM-2 isn't as intimate as the Audezes and the open-back Aeon Flow.

9.0
  • Design 9
  • Performance 9
  • Features 7.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Well built and great looks
Improved comfort
Fantastic, alluring sound
Lowest priced LCD headphone
The Bad
Little accessories
Can be heavy for some users
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