Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread

I’d like to take this chance and tell you about an amazing experience I had with guys from a company called Audeze
I lost a very expensive pair of headphones among other stuff when hurricane Ian hit Florida not too long ago. Due to the nature of my work, I was absent when that happened, but, with the help of friend, I managed to retrieve my stuff, and then we put enormous effort into desperately trying to revive the equipment by rinsing it in distilled water, and what not… Of course, having been exposed to saltwater for two days – there wasn’t much we could do.
Then came in the guys from Audeze. I addressed them by email seeking counsel and asking them to take the headphones in for inspection. I just wanted to know if there is any hope… But the guys went above and beyond. They offered to replace them with a brand-new pair. I was: “like, what? Are your for real? Someone please pinch me, am I tripping or dreaming!”, but the guy on the other side replied: “You’re cool… Live long and prosper. ”… I honestly wasn’t sure if it is going to happen, but then, one day, my friend texted me I got a package, and it says Audeze on the box!
I mean, c’mon, who does that? Who replaces 5K$ pair of cans for you just because: "We have no problem taking care of few of our customers. "?
Sincerely, it is not like I am buying gear from them every month, so they are looking to keep my cash flowing in. I just bought something that should last me a 10+ years and most likely I will not buy anything else in a while, if ever… Look, those guys spitted out that kind of money on me (me=nobody), clearly without any reasonable expectation that it is going to bring them profit in the long run. They just did it because they care. Like, there is someone over there that genuinely cares. I mean, c’mon, how often do you stumble upon a company that cares? No profit is involved!
If you want a good pair of headphones, a truly blissful experience that is going to give you many, many hours of unique sensation by reproducing music in a way that you couldn’t imagine before. It will take away stress after a long day, and if you incorporate music listening into your daily routine, you will be a happier person. Buy from these guys! Buy from someone that treats clients with respect and cares about them these guys will have you covered. They will be there for you when the need arises.

Thank you Audeze, you made my year!

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Thanks for much for sharing and welcome to the community! Audeze customer service is second to none.

Welcome to the Headphone community!

I have daily driven the LCD-5 for the past 9 months and it’s entered the pantheon of headphones you’ll have to bury me with (HD660s are also in that group). And I’m very happy to hear that Audeze is a standup company and were able to help you out. I hope your life is recovering as well as it can after Ian.

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Thank you very much.

Can you share your experience with LCD-5 with me, please? What software are you using for EQ, if any? What genres of music you find them the best suited for? What DAC and amp are you using and what is the amp strength you’d recommend? Do you have any EQ preset to recommend?

Sorry for barrage of question. I wish to learn as much as I can about them.

Thank you for welcoming me. I thought it could only be beneficial to someone thinking about purchasing headphones.

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Hey not a problem-

So to begin this is my general review of it after 6 months that I’m copying and pasting from a Reddit post I made a while ago:


It is worth mentioning how I weigh aspects to sound. (Note this is my modified order of importance from Resolves ranking- just want to cite him at this link: Resolve's Headphone Ranking List)

  1. Tonal Balance - deficiencies in a headphones stock tonal balance can be righted by EQ for free so this factor is mostly a wash. I’m going to EQ every single headphone that comes my way.
  2. Imaging and Separation - Being able to isolate individual instruments in the mix
  3. Detail/Resolution - The headphone is incisive, well-controlled during busy passages, and retains good clarity for the finer nuances in the music.
  4. Contrast/Punch - The headphone has good contrast for large volume swings, the opposite being a compressed kind of sound.
  5. Soundstage - Kind of meaningless to me. It’s a headphone not a stereo. If I want soundstage I’ll listen to my stereo (which I do :D)
  6. Timbre - The headphone sounds sufficiently ‘natural’, whatever that means. I played saxophone for 3 years, what a saxophone should sound like will be different to me than what it will be for you. So saying a headphone has more timbre is just a product of the tonal balance matching how instruments should sound based on your personal experience.

First impression: I chose the LCD-5 after auditioning them at a hifi store against my pair of Verite Opens I had at the time, my HD660s, DCA Stealth, and Meze Elite. They were the only headphones of the bunch that gave me that out of body audio experience that we chase after. The level of clarity they delivered to my ears over the other cans is comparable to the time I first got glasses as a kid and being able to see individual leaves on trees for the first time. I am cognizant that some might label this as hyperbole but this is what the experience was like. And I hope everyone can experience it.

Note: I haven’t heard any electrostats, but no other headphone I’ve heard has replicated what the 5 does to my ear. Also I haven’t heard Abyss headphones but they’re never going to get my money.

My comparison of aspects of sound will be done in comparison to the HD660, the only other overear headphone I still listen to. In general, the LCD-5 sounds clearer and cleaner. For a visual analogy, it’s like the difference between a LCD TV and an OLED. Like a dirty window vs a clean one.

LCD-5 has an absurd razor sharp imaging capability. This razor sharp imaging also improves the resolution and tactile feel of music as it hits my ear. Example, Vicarious by Tool in the first 40ish seconds before the drop. On the 660, the electric guitar in both the channels comes from one blob in each side and pushes sound over the entire ear. On the LCD-5, the guitar notes are swirling clockwise in each channel. So it’s actually 6 or 7 spatially different sources of sound. Because of how pinpoint accurate this is, music is more tactile and resolved. Extrapolate this capability to every other piece of music and you can imagine how addicting it is.

(Also to note, my friend has a Magnepan 30.7 stereo setup that I’ve spent hours with. This $30k pair of speakers can’t image Vicarious this well. I’ve tried to hear it in more than a dozen listens but I simply can’t.)

Now onto Hardwired by Mitch Murder. The intense portions of the song beginning at 2:10 and 4:44 sound compressed on the 660. There’s no contrast in the cacophony of the synthesizer and the notes bleed together. On the LCD-5, each note has a distinct end and there’s a perceivable background between notes. Worth noting that a pair of Harbeth 30.2 monitors ($7k/pair) also sound compressed to my ear on this song.

Is the detail and technicalities that the LCD-5 achieves worth it to most people? Probably not. But I’m a detail oriented person to the max and the 5 has been my favorite headphone I’ve heard.

In the process of writing this and reading impressions on the subreddit, I firmly believe the perception of technicalities (aspects other than tonal balance) is subjective like everything else in this hobby. If you can’t hear it or don’t care about technicalities, there are far cheaper headphones that can accomplish what you’re looking for. But also don’t denigrate people’s subjective impressions involving these aspects.


  • What software are you using for EQ, if any?

Roon

  • What genres of music you find them the best suited for?

All the genres I normally listen to: prog, prog metal, electronic (think James Blake and synthwave style electronic), R&B, and rock. These are the best headphones I’ve heard for metal.

Worth mentioning that I do not listen to K-pop or pop music in general as I find it too energetic (it sounds like sugar covered cereal tastes). Just me and I tend to enjoy broodier music haha. Oh I also don’t listen to classical because I live near the National Symphony Orchestra and I just opt to go see it live

  • What DAC and amp are you using and what is the amp strength you’d recommend?

Schiit Bifrost 2/64 and a Ferrum Oor/Hypsos & Benchmark HPA4. At the minimum I recommend a Topping A90. I’ve heard the LCD-5 out that, the Soloist 3XP, and the two amps I have at the moment. Oor is my favorite pairing so far because it adds a little bit of tube like distortion.

  • Do you have any EQ preset to recommend?

Start with Resolve’s EQ: Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread - #574 by Resolve. But you will need to adjust and just play around with EQ. It’s highly personal and I can’t speak for what for work with your ears. I actually use a couple different EQ’s depending on my mood. I also use Audeze’s presets they make available in Roon, and I also listen to stock sometimes.

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I was lucky enough to get these. I don’t think I would have ever afforded them otherwise. Thanks @MRHifiReviews!

My 3 day notes:
Day 1:
[me] Were they worth it?
[also me] How much would you pay for the comfort and staging of your Sennheiser HD 800 S together with the slam and bass of your Hifiman HE6se V2?

Day 2:
[me] Were they worth it?
[also me] How much would you pay for hearing new details in music you’ve listen to for years?

Day 3:
[me] Were they worth it?
[also me] How much would you pay for a religious experience?

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I am glad you are enjoying them @AudioTool, and they went to a loving home!!

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I should also mention that I am currently enamored with the Audeze Roon EQ preset together with 1db of tilt.

Second is Resolve’s preset with 1-2db of tilt. Third is oratory1990’s preset (no tilt needed). But it is early days and I haven’t decided much other than for me, it definitely needs some. < insert subtle hint that a headphones.com 5128 preset is eagerly awaited >

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Congrats!

Very nice reporting with questions for questions.

If you enjoy those, I recommend you try chargedcap’s convolutions he made recently too or if you are brave enough Mitch Barnett’s got a free trial of his which I use.

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I’m not familiar with Mitch Barnett. Where can I find more info?

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May I ask what Bryston amp it was?

I am not sure; it was quite a while back at CanJam.

I even like the stock tuning, but for sitting back and enjoying music I’ve recently been enjoying the Summer '23 update to the Oratory1990 EQ preset.

Detailed, spacious, engaging and fun!

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I stopped by the Audeze booth at CanJam and (politely) complained that I couldn’t have the EQ preset Audeze developed outside of Roon. Long story short, Audeze emailed me this:

If I understand it correctly, this is:

HPF 14hz 1.01Q 18db slope
PK 25.9hz 0.43db 1.18Q
PK 86.7hz 1.68db 0.33Q
PK 309.1hz 0.38db 0.61Q
PK 4845hz -0.11db 1.93Q
HS 18326hz 5.34db 0.27Q

I punched these into a PEQ in Roon (or as close as I could get) and did some quick A/B against the Audeze preset and it does seem the same so far. I’m kind of surprised there isn’t any boost in the 8k region. In fact, none of the adjustments are very strong. And the numbers are so specific. Not sure how it was created other than Audeze said it was developed in collaboration with Bob Katz.

Also I developed my own EQ preset, somewhat based on the Harman 2013 target:

LS 80hz 6db Q 0.71
PK 8000hz 6db Q 1.0

I’m not saying I prefer mine over anything else, but it does sound quite good IMHO.

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They also published that profile as convolution filters on Head-Fi before they were added to Roon (Roon uses the convolution filters, not the PEQ settings).

You can use them in any player/processor than can deal with standard convolution (there are lots, Roon is one), and you’ll get options for low-latency OR IIR (about 256K sample latency).

Read this article; talks about the CRBN rather than the LCD-5, but the same process/approach was use to develop the filters for the LCD-5.

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Cool! It’s good to have options but I specifically asked for the PEQ preset so that I can see it, play with it, and use it in EQuick, EQMac, or my Qudelix-5k. I actually wasn’t sure there was a PEQ version as I suspected there was more going on than PEQ could do.

Although I know what IIR is, I don’t know what you mean by low-latency OR IIR. What is that and why would I want it?

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Long-tap IIR filters are linear-phase but introduce latency (a delay of about 0.4s in this case). Usually doesn’t bother people for music, but if you ever tried to use it with video the audio would be out of sync.

FIR filters are minimum-phase, but have much lower latency and work fine with video.

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Just out of curiosity, has anyone used different cables with the LCD-5? What was the result? Just got my LCD-5s delivered this week. I have no opinion as my gear Schiit mjolnir 3 and Bifrost 2/64 wont be shipped till the end of the month (fingers crossed). Now I am just using the headphone jack on my
Oppo 205.

Haeloh.

The usual descriptors apply ime. Copper tilts warm or silver tilts bright in my system. Not that one is better than the other. Just a tool one can use in the arsenal.

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