Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread

I could be missing something totally obvious (not too experienced with EQ). I’ve attached 3 photos, the first being what I think is your most updated Peace EQ, the second being your older one, and third being the Roon one. Again I might just be inexperienced, but assuming either of the first 2 pictures are your updated Peace EQ, neither of them match the Roon one? Just to make sure I’m not missing something really obvious, what I’m looking at for example is how both the Peace EQ’s have a 254hz and 524hz band while the Roon one does not, and the Roon EQ has a 1000hz and 2100hz band while both the Peace ones don’t, etc.



The first 2 are the same. V1 eq. Look at the values.
The Roon one is the V2 everyone refers to.

4 Likes

Ahh… that is correct. Not my sharpest moment haha. So EQ profiles are interchangeable between Roon and Peace, got it!

1 Like

Just a PSA for those using Roon & HQPlayer together. You should apply your PEQ in HQPlayer rather than Roon by loading the PEQ as a .txt file into the pipeline matrix in HQPlayer. All DSP should then be turned off in Roon, passing a bit-perfect signal to HQPlayer and eliminating the loss of fidelity encountered by applying EQ in Roon first then upsampling afterwards.

Using @Resolve v2 PEQ as outlined above and it sounds incredible. If anyone has any questions drop me a PM and I’ll walk you through the pipeline matrix setup in HQPlayer.

2 Likes

Can I upsample with HQPlayer streaming from Spotify?

Audeze LCD-5 Headphones

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Review written by Jeremy B. (@jb77)

A Special Thank You!

To Mr. Todd Green owner of Todd The Vinyl Junkie

Audiophile Equipment, Component Stereo Systems & Home Stereo System Components

Preface

A little about me, I am not a professional reviewer, as I do this for the ‘fun’ of audio. I have been interested in audio for as long as I can remember, originally my interest started in home theater/surround audio. In time that interest grew into 2-channel audio and now personal audio/headphones.

Introduction

As I start this review off, I wanted to give A special Thank You to Todd Green, The LCD-5 is on a kind loan from Todd As part of his loaner review program.

This introduction is based on my initial exposure and time I had with the Audeze LCD-5. I did the initial impressions exclusively on my Chord Hugo TT 2.

Note: As with all audio gear this is my personal subjective opinion. Everyone has their own preferences, which in turn makes everyone’s review subjective to their tastes and opinions.

*Relevant information and specifications can be found on Audeze’s website. LCD-5 | Transparency, Resolution and Speed at only 420 grams.

First Impressions & (TLDR)

First a quick note on EQ.

“Wait….did this guy just say EQ??? That’s it I am done.”

Wait… hold on let me explain.

I get it, as I use to be anti-EQ until I devoted time to try it, now I really enjoy it on certain headphones, plus I view EQ (now) as a tool to enjoy different aspects of my headphones. I fully understand those who don’t EQ and respect that. I also acknowledge that EQ can have negative effects and in some cases should not be used. I just wanted to give a brief idea of why I EQ some headphones. Now onto the review.

I was able to spend a little time with the LCD5’s and honestly I was a bit disappointed in its performance at first. It is a very interesting headphone that took me a while to truly understand what it was doing and capable of. Stock it’s good, but I can tell it has a slight midrange boost, a mid treble recession with a higher treble peek, makes for a (very hard to put into words) weird experience (it’s not sibilant or fatiguing), however with EQ these really shine. I would go as far as saying that the LCD5 is probably the best all-rounder (totl) headphone. Regarding the LCD5’s and possibly being the best all-rounder totl headphone. That’s with the caveat of needing EQ, as without EQ I would not rank it that high. For someone who enjoys a more neutral presentation and EQ’s I could definitely see this being a one and done totl headphone. Without EQ I would go Focal Utopia as they (for me) have better out of box tuning.

Overall Impressions

Smooth, detailed and separation are the words that come to mind when describing the sound of the LCD5. Amazing detail yet it is smooth in it’s presentation, without adding any harshness or sibilance to the music and the image separation is phenomenal.

Build Quality

10 of 10

The build quality is excellent. From the use of premium materials, such as magnesium, acetate and carbon-fiber. The LCD5’s are a very well made headphone.

Comfort

7 of 10

Comfort will be an issue for some, yes they are light weight especially compared to other Audeze however the clamp is pretty intense. The comfort does improve a bit after wearing them for a while, as the pad seem to conform more. Also this appears to have been addressed by Audeze, (I have not confirmed this so take it with a grain of salt) as from my understanding they have (or will have) a larger headband available from Audeze.

Sound quality

6 of 10

Without EQ they are good but not to my preference.

9 of 10 (with EQ)

With EQ the LCD5 are probably some of the best (totl) ‘all-rounders’ you can currently buy.

Gear I used for review:

Chord Hugo TT 2 (as a ‘all in one’ using the onboard amp)

Holo Audio Spring 2 DAC

Quicksilver Audio Headphone Amp (transformer coupled tube amp)

Schiit Lyr 3 (hybrid tube amp)

On to sound quality, the part that most of us care about. This part of the review will be a bit short as I will be focusing a bit more on comparisons.

Detail/Resolution: I’ll start off with Detail/Resolution, The LCD5’s have extremely good detail retrieval, the second most detail retrieval of any headphone I have heard thus far (SR1A). The LCD5’s dive into your recordings dig out detail and all of the fine nuances of your tracks.

Soundstage: The LCD5’s have a good soundstage, it’s not the widest but it does hit all three axis, (width, depth and height). It’s a bit more holographic in its presentation. Soundstage is something that is very subjective on what people enjoy, some really enjoy an intimate soundstage and others look for the ‘biggest’ soundstage they can find. The LCD5’s are in the middle. Though because of the way the soundstage is presented in this headphone, it is very “lifelike” it gives you a sense of being “there”.

Imaging: This is another strong point of the LCD5’s, as the imaging and separation of instruments is absolutely phenomenal. Each instrument has its own ‘space’ in the recording that can be specifically pinpointed easily while listening. This was an absolute treat for orchestral and classical genres.

Treble: Treble is a bit weird on the LCD5, as right after a slight midrange boost there is a treble recession, followed by a treble peak in the upper frequencies, it is not sibilant or fatiguing in anyway but is not to my liking, however with EQ this issue is no longer present and becomes a strong point of the LCD5. As after EQ the LCD5’s treble is extremely detailed with a good amount of air, while at the same time not being sibilant or fatiguing. This makes for a very good listen even for treble focused music. However this does not mean it will coverup poor recordings as you will hear everything the track has to offer (good or bad).

Midrange: Stock, the midrange is the star of the show as it is fantastic, though it does has a bit of a mid forward tilt. The midrange like the treble is very detailed and will show you all of those micro details and nuances the track has to offer. With EQ it’s even better (to my ear) as it has a bit more weight and evenness without losing what makes it special. This definitely has the best midrange of the other Audeze I have heard.

Bass: Bass on the LCD5’s is very detailed throughout the low end, not quite as detailed as the SR1A but close and with noticeably better impact and punch. I believe the LCD5’s have some of the most detailed bass for a planar. With EQ the LCD5’s can become very impactful and full, that can reach very low frequencies. The LCD5 do audibly go down to 20Hz Very impressive.

Summary:

Though the LCD5’s did not initially impress me, after EQ these quickly became one of my favorite headphones for enjoying music. I was engaged and wanted to just continue listening, I did not want or feel the need to switch to anything else. This is one of the highest recommendations I can give a headphone.

For EQ I tried 4 different profiles:

Resolve’s EQ rev 1 & rev 2. Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread - #150 by Resolve (Posts 161 & 572)

Chrono’s EQ profile Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread - #150 by Resolve (post 478)

A list of Chrono’s other EQ profiles Chrono's EQ Profile Compilation

Oratory1990‘s EQ profiles https://www.reddit.com/r/oratory1990/wiki/index/list_of_presets

Above are 3 great resources for those who may want to try EQ. Sometimes I will use their profiles as a baseline, then I modify as needed to suit my preferences. For those who have never used EQ before. I highly recommend researching a bit first, to have a better understanding of how to correctly use EQ. One of the most common errors of EQ’ing for the first time, is forgetting to set the digital gain or pre-gain (when using software EQ), if this is not set correctly you will have clipping issues which sound horrible. When using software EQ you need to reduce digital gain or the gain slider (depending on the software used) so the peeks are all below the 0dB reference line, otherwise it will cause clipping.

Now let’s move onto Comparisons.

Comparisons

-Vs LCDXC (2021 version)

Obviously not a fair comparison (closed vs open) and with LCD5 being meaningfully better in basically every category. I added this comparison because they have a similar sonic signature, the LCD5 is more neutral, however with a more mid treble recession, as the LCDXC is more on the neutral bright side. I could see people who enjoy the LCDXC (assuming LCDX 2021 as well) really enjoying the LCD5 as a progressive step up. Or I could see people who really enjoy the LCD5 might enjoy the LCDXC as a closed back option. Additional note the LCDXC is a headphone that greatly benefits from EQ. After EQ the LCDXC is an outstanding closed back headphone.

Detail/Resolution: detail capabilities of the LCDXC are very good it does a very good job of displaying the macro and micro details available in the track. This is one of the better detail and resolution capable close back headphones. Compared to the LCD5, the LCD5 Is noticeably on another level.

Soundstage: The trend of this comparison will really express how much the LCDXC benefits from EQ. Stock (at least in my experience) the soundstage is a bit more compressed. After EQ the sound stage seems to open up and gives a really good open space for a close back headphone.

Imaging: As expected for a quality planner magnetic driver, imaging capabilities are quite good especially for closed back. As the LCDXC offers great instrument separation and blackness of background for each of those instruments. However the LCD5 is a noticeable step above.

Treble: Treble is quite good on the LCDXC, as it is detailed and extended with a good amount of air. Though the LCD5 after EQ is noticeably better.

Midrange: Stock the mid range is OK on the LCDXC though after EQ the headphone comes alive. After EQ the midrange offers a really good presentation, that is a bit more on the neutral side. With very good resolution capabilities showcasing the micro and macro details of the recording. Again the LCD5 is noticeably better.

Bass: Bass on the LCDXC in stock configuration is quite lethargic and lacking punch and slam. This headphone greatly benefits from EQ, as after EQ the LCDXC really comes to life. You end up with a headphone that has really good extension and punch and slam. The LCD5 is still better in bass especially regarding bass detail, though the LCDXC after EQ is a very fun and engaging headphone.

Preference (stock)

- [x] LCD5

- LCDXC

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- LCDXC

-Vs RAD-0 (standard/default tuning)

This was an interesting comparison as these are both outstanding headphones for different reasons. overall the sound tuning of the LCD5 is more neutral tuned than the RAD-0 being more neutral-warm with a slight mid forward tilt (to my ear). The LCD5 has better overall stage width as the RAD-0 is more intimate. Detail is better on the LCD5 but the RAD-0 gets close. They both use competent drivers that take EQ very well (for those who like to EQ). I could see this comparison coming down to more of a tuning preference on what someone might enjoy more. I also liken the RAD-0 to ZMF headphones, especially the Verite open.

Detail/Resolution: Detail on the RAD-0 is quite good and is just a bit shy of the LCD5 overall. You are able to enjoy the micro-details the track has to offer, though with EQ these stand out a bit more due to the tonality change.

Soundstage: The RAD-0 has good but not great soundstage as it’s a bit more intimate, especially compared to the LCD5. Which is a slightly wider stage also the LCD5 has a bit more forward depth compared to the RAD-0 as the RAD-0 is more width then depth in its presentation.

Imaging: Imaging is good, but feels like it is slightly held back by the more intimate sound stage, especially compared to other planar magnetic headphones. This is one area that the LCD5 definitely surpasses the RAD-0.

Treble: Treble is very enjoyable on the RAD-0. It offers great detail with an OK amount of air, that is neither harsh nor sibilant. With the addition of EQ the RAD-0 shines even further, showcasing a bit more air and upper extension wile maintaining a smooth presentation that is not harsh or sibilant. Compared to the LCD5 stock tuning the RAD-0 is more enjoyable. Though once you EQ the LCD5 is a bit more to my liking though the RAD-0 is really close.

Midrange: The midrange response on these headphones is simply wonderful. It has a slight mid-forward tilt. It is very resolving in the midrange that really showcases the micro-details. It also really shines with vocals. With EQ it expands on the enjoyment level. Compared to the LCD5 the LCD5 is a bit more neutral and is able to better showcase overall detail and micro detail. If you enjoy a bit more warmth the RAD-0 will be better suited.

Bass: Bass on the RAD-0 is done very well. Some will consider them slightly bass light though this is easily fixed with EQ. The RAD-0 is detailed in the entire presentation of the bass response though not quite up to the level of the LCD5. With EQ both the RAD-0 and LCD5 are exemplary performers that will deliver all that wonderful punch and slam with really good base detail.

Preference (stock)

- LCD5

- [x] RAD-0

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- RAD-0

-Vs HifiMan Arya (v3 stealth magnets)

The Arya is also a neutral/neutral bright tuning however it does not have the mid treble recession as the LCD5. Is Arya up to the technical performance of the LCD5…no… as the LCD5 is better in most categories, however I can see people who like a neutral/neutral bright tuning really enjoying the Arya as a less expensive option compared to the LCD5. *Side note, the Arya’s are a headphone I do not EQ.

Detail/Resolution: The detail and resolution capabilities are very good on the Arya’s. The Arya’s really punch above their price point for how well they can present the micro details of the recording. As good as the Arya’s are for detail and resolution the LCD5’s are on another level.

Soundstage: I do agree with others who say the Arya V1 and V2 have a wider stage compared to the V3 stealth magnets edition. However the difference is not huge and the V3 still has a superb soundstage that is wide with good depth. The Arya’s soundstage is wider compared to the LCD5. Though the LCD5’s have slightly better depth and overall a bit more cohesive soundstage.

Imaging: outside of detail and resolution, imaging is the star of the show for the Arya’s. The imaging capabilities are absolutely phenomenal, it can show you each and every instrument within it’s own space, with clear separation between them. What will become somewhat of the theme for this comparison, the Arya’s put up one heck of a fight, but they are simply ‘bested’ by the LCD5.

Treble: The Arya’s have great treble extension, with really good air and separation without being harsh or sibilant. In my opinion an improvement over the V2. Though the Arya is a neutral/neutral bright tuned headphone. Those who prefer a warmer signature may not care for the treble on the Arya, or the Arya’s in general. Compared to the LCD5 (stock tuning) I like the treble presentation more on the Arya’s. I do not EQ the Arya’s but with the LCD5’s EQ’ed the treble is superior in every aspect.

Midrange: Midrange on the Arya’s is also quite good. It is highly detailed with a good overall presentation though it is a bit more on the neutral side. It still makes for a very enjoyable experience. As good as the midrange is on the Arya’s it simply can’t compete with the LCD5 either stock or EQ’ed. Though for its price, the Arya’s put up a heck of a fight.

Bass: Bass is actually quite good on the V3 stealth magnet edition. It is definitely an improvement over the V2. It has more than adequate impact for most genres and easily could be used as an all rounder headphone, though it would not be first pick for bass heavy music. Bass on the LCD5 is better, it is more detailed and has more punch and slam especially after EQ.

Preference (stock)

- LCD5

- [x] Arya

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- Arya (I don’t EQ the Arya)

-Vs HEDDphone

I consider the HEDDphone to be one of the best values for performance in its category. The HEDDphone’s AMT driver technology is very impressive, it has a physicality throughout the entire frequency response that is unmatched by any other headphone I’ve heard thus far. This makes for an extremely fun and engaging experience. The driver is also capable of very good detail retrieval, imaging, and flat out speed. The main downside to the HEDDphone is it’s overall size and weight, as it is a very large and heavy headphone, clamp is also aggressively strong. Though over time the clamp has lessened. I also added a suspension strap that helped significantly with overall comfort. If you can deal with the comfort issues the HEDDphone really does punch well above its weight and gets very close to the detail and overall performance levels of the Focal Utopia’s.

Detail/Resolution: The detail and resolution capabilities of the HEDDphone’s are extremely good they get close to competing with the likes of the Focal Utopia’s. This is where the HEDDphone is such a good value, as technical performance is excellent. Comparing to the LCD5 the LCD5’s has better overall detail and resolution capabilities but not by much.

Soundstage: Soundstage on the HEDDphone’s is very impressive, it’s a very wide stage though it lacks depth in its overall presentation. Not including the lack of depth it is actually a very speaker like presentation that further adds to the enjoyment of the HEDDphone. In comparison the LCD5’s have a deeper stage but they do not match the width of the HEDDphone.

Imaging: imaging is another strong suit of the HEDDphone. The image placement is exceptional and has a very good separation of instruments etc. The LCD5 is better overall for imaging and separation but not by much.

Treble: The treble on the HEDDphone is very detailed and well presented without being harsh or sibilant, however I do prefer EQ for the HEDDphone, which (for me) takes the capabilities to another level. With EQ it gets even closer to the performance level of the Focal Utopia. Compared to the LCD5 the HEDDphone is better when both are stock, however it’s flips when they are EQ’ed and the LCD5 pulls ahead.

Midrange: The midrange response on the HEDDphone is simply wonderful, it presents itself nicely without being really forward or recessed. It comes across as more flat or linear. Agin I prefer EQ as just with the treble, it takes the HEDDpone’s to another level. As good as the HEDDphone is, the LCD5 is better both stock and EQ’ed.

Bass: I’ll start off by saying the bass on the LCD5’s is better both stock and EQ’ed. It’s a bit hard to put into words how the bass sounds/feel’s on the HEDDphone. As the AMT driver still gives you a physicality to the bass/sub bass, though it comes across not as punchy (I know that doesn’t make sense but it is hard to describe). Side note the HEDDphone does need to be amped correctly to sound its best. Aforementioned was before EQ, once you use EQ the HEDDphone’s bass response becomes more punchy, but again it’s different then other driver types in its physicality.

Preference (stock)

- LCD5

- [x] HEDDphone

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- HEDDphone

-Vs HifiMan HE6SE v2 (Adorama edition)

While the HE6SE can’t compete technically with the LCD5, the HE6SE has this attention grabbing ‘angry sound’ (angry in a fun way) which makes the LCD5 sound gentle in comparison. The HE6SE (when powered correctly) has a level of sub-bass that the LCD5 can’t match and makes the HE6SE an amazingly fun experience *Side note, the HE6SE are a headphone I do not EQ.

Detail/Resolution: the HE6SE are good at detail retrieval however they are not detail monster, they do dive into your recordings and dig out detail, though they are not a class leader by any means. Seek other headphones if your goal is to get the most detail retrieval possible. In comparison to the LCD5 it’s no contest as the LCD5 is one of the best at detail retrieval.

Soundstage: the soundstage on the HE6SE is good but it’s not it’s stand out feature. the LCD5 soundstage is better, what I mean by that, it does hit all three axis, it has width, depth and height. Some really enjoy an intimate soundstage and others look for the ‘biggest’ soundstage they can find. The LCD5’s are in the middle.

Imaging: the HE6SE’s have good but not excellent imaging. The standout winner here is the LCD5 for its superb imaging capabilities.

Treble: This is one area that you will know if you are powering the HE6SE correctly, as (in my experience) if underpowered the treble becomes harsh and sibilant, however when powered correctly the harshness and sibilants drastically improves and opens up to a much more enjoyable experience. It still has a bit of a treble push on ‘problem’ tracks, but not to the point of being sibilant. Compared to the LCD5’s the LCD5’s are the stand out winner as there is no issue with fatigue. The LCD5’s are also much more detailed in the treble both with and without EQ.

Midrange: The midrange response on these headphones is somewhat similar to the LCD5’s as they have a slight mid forward push, however they are not as detailed or refined as the LCD5. The LCD5 is the standout winner however the HE6SE still offers an enjoyable experience.

Bass: Bass on the HE6SE is the star of the show, in particular the sub base. The HE6SE do it in a way that adds body, weight, and dimension to the sound. As when properly powered this is one of the best headphones I’ve come across for sub bass impact and slam, it is an incredibly fun experience. Compared to the LCD5’s the HE6SE is more fun. Now with EQ on the LCD5’s you get this much closer, but there is still something that the HE6SE just offers (engagement) that is really unmatched outside of the HE6 family.

Preference (stock)

- LCD5

- [x] HE6SE v2

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- HE6SE v2 (I don’t EQ the HE6SE)

-Vs Raal SR1A

I’ll have to start off by saying the SR1A’s is my favorite Headphone overall. I drive my SR1A off my speaker amp with the interface box and using a Schiit Freya+ as my preamp. in my opinion the SR1A’s beats the LCD5 in every category except base presence and impact. However the LCD5 is a much better all-rounder headphone, as it plays well with all genres.

Detail/Resolution: The detail capability on the SR1A is unmatched (in my opinion) compared to all of the headphones I have heard this far, including surpassing the LCD5

Soundstage: the SR1A have a soundstage that is very impressive, what I mean by that, is the soundstage hits all three axis, it has width, depth and height. Soundstage is something that is very subjective on what people enjoy, some really enjoy an intimate soundstage and others look for the ‘biggest’ soundstage they can find. The SR1A have the most impressive soundstage I have heard thus far. The way the soundstage is presented in the SR1A is very “lifelike” it gives you a sense of being “there”. While the soundstage is good on the LCD5, it can not compare to the SR1A.

Imaging: the SR1A imaging capabilities are the best I have heard, the level of separation and precision of placement of Instruments, vocals etc. is phenomenal. Combined with the above mentioned soundstage, it delivers an amazing listening experience. It adds “life” to your music. Compared to the LCD5 the SR1A is better however this is something the LCD5 is also incredible at, probably one of, if not the best (regular headphone) for imaging.

Treble: the SR1A have great treble extension, with great ‘air’. In comparison to the LCD5, the LCD5 has a treble recession followed by a upper treble spike, it is not sibilant or fatiguing however it is not to my preference, EQ helps this considerably however.

Midrange: the midrange response on the SR1A is simply wonderful, it presents itself very nicely without out being really forward or recessed. It comes across as more flat or linear (to my ear). This can come off as ‘thin’ compared to other headphones, however the way the SR1A presents the midrange is wonderful (can you tell I really like the SR1A…lol). Compared to the LCD5, the LCD5 has a more forward and weighty midrange and is quite good.

Bass: Bass on the SR1A is incredibly detailed throughout the low end. I believe these headphones have some of the most detailed bass I have ever heard. However bass is the achilles’ heel for the SR1A in terms of impact and slam, yes with EQ you can bring this up, but it has limits and the SR1A is not a good match for bass heavy tracks or genres, in my opinion. The bass on the LCD5 has more impact and slam compared to the SR1A. With EQ the LCD5 can become very impactful and full, that can reach very low frequencies. The LCD5 do audibly go down to 20Hz Very impressive. The bass is also very detailed on the LCD5 though not quite to the level of the SR1A.

Preference (stock)

- LCD5

- [x] SR1A

Preference (EQ’ed)

- LCD5

- [x] SR1A

-LCD5 vs LCD2C

I threw in this comparison for fun, as the LCD2C is outmatched in every category by the LCD5 in my opinion, though where it gets interesting is when I EQ’ed each headphone to the same target. The LCD2C gets surprisingly close to the (overall) sound presentation of the LCD5 (again EQ’ed to the same target). The LCD5 still beats out the LCD2C in every category except stage width. But this was definitely an interesting experience/experiment.

Preference (stock)

- [x] LCD5

- LCD2C

Preference (EQ’ed)

- [x] LCD5

- LCD2C

Final Thoughts

With EQ the LCD5’s are probably some of the best (totl) ‘all-rounders’ you can currently buy. For the most part they ‘play’ well with whatever types of recordings you throw at them. They will scale well when you play hi-res files, yet they also play very well with CD quality. Unlike most other high-end or flagship level headphones, the LCD5’s allow multiple genres of music to sound fantastic on them. Thus IMO making them phenomenal ‘all-rounders’. Without EQ they are good but not to my preference.

- Jeremy B. (@jb77)

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20 Likes

Nice review, and thank you for all the photos that I can show my wife how clean, simple and reasonable my listening station is.

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Hi @jb77. I just had had to let you know what a great write up this is. I thank you for for such an intresting read.

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Very good review! I’d like to hear them one day.

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Great review! Now you just need to sell a kidney so you can pit a three way match between the Susvara and the TC.

Jokes aside, I can relate to your feelings that the LCD-5 is just not great sounding headphone (stock) compared to many other high end headphones. With EQ, I could never let them go for anything else on the market. Without EQ, I would prefer just about any other headphone.

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Yes, appreciate your thorough evaluations.

I only ask you go one step further with Mitch’s convolution filter set and reassess.

Another step for which I am happy to have taken.

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And THIS is the problem… A headphone that cost $4500 should NOT need to be EQd to sound good. It should sound excellently perfect box stock period. Nothing against EQing, but if this headphone MUST be EQd to sound acceptable, will have to pass on it. And glued-on pads, no thanks. I think Audeze is going to have to do better than this to retain their market share.

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And that’s 100% your opinion. The LCD-5, regardless of it’s FR, is one of (if not the most) technically proficient planar headphone there is. That’s first and foremost what Audeze designed it to be. According to their lead engineer, they created it this way to maximize technical performance. By using it’s own resonance to amplify/cut frequencies to shape it into a better FR, they would sacrifice the technical performance. Using EQ (properly) has no such downside. So if it takes EQ to make a headphone have overall better performance than most other headphones (even if they too have EQ applied), then isn’t that to be considered an achievement?

So you’ll be passing on everyone headphone in existence then? After all, none of them are perfect out of the box for the masses. You’ve set the bar impossibly high my friend.

Well technical performance is a great thing. So is just pure listenable musicality. I would like to someday in the far future pick up a LCD5 to play with EQ since I have never used it and should learn how I suppose. Next headphone acquisition should likely be a ZMF Atrium. To try a dynamic driver. Good that yall are liking your 5s. Still wish Audeze would secure pads on some other way than gluing them on.

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Do you consider amps and DACs and tubes to be “EQ”? They all change the character of headphones and can for me eliminate the need for knobs and sliders EQs. What about pad swaps?

All headphones follow from arbitrary design and production decisions, and each user’s tastes vary. That’s why what’s good for you may be terrible for another. Always try for yourself.

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Nah. This is misguided.

They have said before, and its been this way for a while, they won’t go dampening a headphone until its tonality is more acceptable to more people. The reason is each time you add more dampening, you take away for technical prowess. Everything a bit softer, bit more veiled.

And Audeze won’t be losing any market share here. The “sHoUldNt nEeD EQ, nOt GeTtiNg mY mOneY” crowd is fairly small. I’m running my LCD5 with a convolution filter and it smokes every other headphone I’ve heard for technical prowess bar maybe 2, which are roughly equal and cost more.

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Maybe those who spend that kind of money also know what they’re getting into, and have the product well-researched. I never know how it goes with the larger public, but I certainly know with high-priced stuff I’m very careful to know everything I can about it before taking the plunge.

The other thing with the tuning, just in general, I think they’re going after a ‘studio environment’ kind of sound, and really aiming hard for that pro audience. With that in mind, my misgivings about their tuning choices based on my preferences aside, they very well could’ve achieved the right tonal balance to match their studio reference point. So, even if we EQ it, there’s quite a bit of consideration given to the results they went for.

3 Likes

Yep. We are well aware of what we are buying at this level

EQ on these was good. I didn’t mind your presets for example

Mitch Barnett’s convolution filter, however, completely transforms them. There isn’t a headphone south of the HE1 that I would pick over these currently.

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Good presumption on stock tuning; from reading all the reviews it did seem Audeze was really aiming the 5 for the professional segment of the market i.e. engineers and mixers etc. Still really happy with my 4z, and want to try a dynamic driver for a change.

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