Audeze LCD-5 - Official Thread

Got a chance to listen to the LCD-5 yesterday - I was blown away…I went in skeptical but I am planning on selling some lesser used sets to fund part of the run towards my LCD-5

@Resolve I was wondering if you had come to any conclusions around amps for them yet?

I was eyeing up pairing the HPA V550 with my existing ADI-2 DAC so I maintain my EQ ability from the DAC itself but am very much interested in your over all thoughts so far :slight_smile:

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I was mainly using the HPA V550 for the LCD-5 and thought it sounded pretty darn good. But… you can also get similar performance for less money if you don’t need all the outputs. I don’t have a definitive conclusion on which amp I liked best with it, but anything that’s typically good with planars will be good on the 5 as well. High current and whatnot. Check the Ferrum Oor as well.

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Thanks! Much appreciated

I am currently using my LCD-5 with a few amps.
2021 A&S Mogwai SE(with jupiter caps)
Cayin IHA-6 (USING BALANCED XLR OUT ONLY & HIGH CURRENT MODE)
Rebelamp
SMSL SH-9

All using SMSL SU-9 and topping D90 for dac.

Sounds amazing on all amps my prefered amps are rebelamp at low volume as its a bit more punchy BUT at higher volumes it sound better to my ears, more detailed and transparent and bass sounds more textured on the CAYIN IHA-6.

I got to say the Mogwai takes AWAY some of the great texture and detail this headphone has specialy in the bass that is a big surprise.
I say a big surprise because Mogwai seems to do the oposite on my other headphones. Specialy dynamic driver headphones I own like Focal Radiance, HD600. Even on planars like LCD XC 2021 and hifiman ARYA seem to gain some punch on the mogwai.
When I listen to Focal Radiance on the Mogwai it is clear it gives more detail, slam and texture and these are atributes I enjoy the most in a headphone. Makes the Radiance sound like a more expensive headphone.

I find the mogwai does the oposite on the LCD-5.

I purchased Cayin IHA-6 secound hand(like new condition) for £400 here in the UK. Can’t recommend enough.

Anyway my conclusion is the Cayin IHA-6 is a OUTSTANDING Amp to pair with the LCD-5 due to the LCD-5 already having great texture, details and slam.

Maybe a more expensive amp will be better but I will have to save up for that one to find out.

Hopes this all makes sense and was not to painfull to read my writing/spelling skills arent the best.

PS: Selling LCD XC 2021 and HIFIMAN ARYA (both listed on here)because I dont see myself listening to them now I have the LCD-5. Going to keep Radiance for a dynamic closed back and LCD-5 for open back planar.
Only selling as wife not happy with my Headphone collection going up.
As they say happy wife happy life.

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Interesting, and curious if you have tube rolled the Mogwai, to try and get better resluts with the 5’s?

Yes I have tried tube rolling. Maybe should have made that clear.
I havent experimented that much with LCD-5 and Mogwai SE as not long had the LCD-5 but I have tried a couple of combination.
Tried stock tubes (Tungsol 6L6GC STR, 6SL7, Stock rectifier cant remember the name ) and KT88 with 5AR4 rectifier and 6SL7 but didnt sound great with either pairing.

To my ear from other headphones KT88 seem to give more punch and stock 6l6gc str seem to have more texture.
But the LCD-5 has such amazing texture specially in the bass and this is the frequency I tone in to the most(bit of a bass head me) that pluging in to the mogwai doenst do it justice as like mentioned before the
LCD-5 bass texture is outstanding I would even go to say its adictive.

On other headphone I have tried, specifically dynamic driver with ok/good bass texture the mogwai se just gives it that added texture and slam that I love.

I do have a 6SN7 that I should try as this reduces the gain and ‘in theory’ gives more current that is generally better for planars so may sound better.

Only reason I havent tried 6SN7 yet as I didnt think reducing the gain was going to work well as volume already needs to be cranked high for LCD-5 but will give it shot soon.

Also I should mention I do EQ all my headphones. Currently using Resolve EQ with my own bass shelf for the LCD-5.

Got ya, and thanks for the reply. I am interested in both those products, so thanks. As for tube rolling, I get that rolling different types can yield different results, but you can also get different results by rolling different brands of tubes within the same family, so perhaps there is a tube combo that could work well. . .

You are right and maybe so.

I have bought and sold and experienced a lot of headphones as I have been in to headphones since a very young age and made my way up the lader as I got older and the 2 best headphone experiences I have ever had in my life are:

Radiance+Mogwai

LCD-5+Cayin IHA-6

I also feel very lucky being able to experience and afford this two outstanding headphones.
I know not everyone can afford this sort of quality sound and If anyone local would ever want to audition this I would gladly invite them round for a cup of tea(or coffee) :slightly_smiling_face:

Hopefully more people will give there experiences on the results they have had.

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This is a long post, but I’ve got a plan, and will bring it together by the end.

Background: Here are my coarse PERCEPTIONS, impressions, and rules of thumb regarding amplifiers. There are many exceptions and I’m thereby avoiding absolutes and technical claims. Always remember that measurements have an unclear relation to perceptions.

Transformers:

  • Amps with small or cheap transformers tend to make music sound mid-focused and have limited channel separation.
  • There are many different transformer designs (e.g., toroidal/circular, conventional/square, exotic windings, exotic metals, etc.). The specific design matters a lot.
  • Traditional and/or retro designs often color the sound and this can be mistaken for tube character. The transformer can add an airy or thick tone that’s unrelated to tubes and cannot be modified by tube choice.

Amp architecture:

  • Class A: Always on, very inefficient, and generates a lot of heat. Fairly common with headphone amps but way too big, hot, and costly for many speaker setups. Some perceive them as smoother, more full-bodied, and superior to other types. This may follow from extremely simplicity and the inherent speed of being always on.

  • Class AB: Common among speaker amps and a way to improve efficiency over Class A. Often very refined and capable, as they blend Class A with switching for greater power.

  • Chip amps/Op-amps: Compact, cool, and versatile, but range in quality from abysmal $1 or $5 give-away items up to very nice audiophile products. The bad ones sound flat per no headroom and generate sharp, edgy treble.

  • Class D: Rapid switching makes them very efficient and they’ve come to dominate the discount speaker amp market. I perceive bad ones as having mid-high glare and a sawtooth treble character (not unlike 1980s to 1990s CD players and DACs), but there are elite Class D products too.

Tube Impact: To my ears tubes mainly change either (1) the bass, mid, or treble emphasis, and (2) the character and presence of harmonics, resonances, and reverberations. Tubes are inherently limited and colored by the transformers, hence the OTL amp design to eliminate output transformers. Tube potential by frequency range:

  • Very high frequencies: Increase perceived soundstage, 3D depth, and sense of space. Not possible with some transformers and vintage/retro tube amps.

  • Vocals and upper mid frequencies: Increased ringing, chiming, and sustain. This can be very obvious with female vocals.

  • Lower mid frequencies: Reverb, shaky, and echoing character. This can resemble 1950s style vibrato.

  • Bass frequencies: Random rumble and atmosphere synchronized with the music. Compare a tube amp to a clean solid state and phantom tube notes will disappear.

Impact of Recordings: Many, many, many recordings were produced through tube amps and with other intentional distortion effects. They explicitly attempt to capture and reproduce the flaws and quirks described above, and this is sometimes wrongly attributed to the amp or transducers.

Mogwai SE: This amp has a reputation for being warm and retro. As such, its transformers may well cut off or color the high frequency sounds you hear versus other amps. Tube rolling can only go so far, as the circuit and components set the basic character and limit the potential of the amp. It can also interact with the electrical and physical characteristics of each set of headphones. This may be the split between increased versus decreased perceived detail (i.e., as emphasized, cancelled, or fabricated/phantom).

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Got the LCD-5 in a few weeks ago and I’m very content with this as my endgame setup (hah).

Also, I love how the tortiose shell on the LCD-5 doesn’t draw attention in normal lighting - it’s much darker in person.

I’ve ran it stock without EQ for a couple weeks and then tried to play with EQ. I’m actually very content with no EQ! That’s pretty nuts for an Audeze in my experience :slight_smile:

Running them off the Flux FA-10 + Yggy A2.

I’ve always said that once Audeze releases a lighter-weight LCD I’d be buying that on release and so I did.

The -GX was so close to that and I’m glad I found a worthy successor to it (-GX didn’t require EQ + the magnesium chassis was welcomed from the heavy woodring LCDs)

Happy Friday all and hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving

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I’m a bit put off Ferrum brand due to the Hypsos. Seems a bit snake oily. Do you think that kind of thing has any impact?

I’d have to try it. Haven’t had the chance yet.

Fair, but power conditioners and such? (For sound not preventing power surges)

They make an audible difference, and every amp I’ve listened to with an optional power supply, sounds better with it, in some cases much better.
Haven’t heard the Oor, but I know people who have, one of them went as far as to say it wasn’t worth it without the Hypsos.

Whether you choose to believe a power supply can make a difference is up to you.

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Or perhaps I can ask the for the opinion of others whom I respect because that’s the whole point of forums

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Nice. Sounds like you’re liking it off the FA10

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I think that may refer to something different (power supply vs power conditioner), but I’m not the person to ask about that stuff since I’m generally more focused on the headphones aspects. I’m sure there are also multiple excellent pairings for these that you could find. Audeze had the WeissDAC502 at their booth at CanJam and it sounded pretty crazy off of that… but it also sounds great off of much more modest sources. You don’t need any of the expensive sources to have the headphones sound great.

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I also agree you don’t need anything to crazy for the LCD-5 to sound amazing.
I noticed on your LCD-5 review you made a comment about you recommended running of a solid state more than a tube amp.
Have you tried it on the forge? Only asking as this would be similar to my experience on the Mogwai SE.

Ah, I only tried that combo briefly when at Taron’s desk to steal the LCD-5 out of his hands ;). It’s not that I think you shouldn’t pair it with tubes - I think there are some that would be great with it, but mainly that tube amps have a tendency to roll the treble and sub bass a bit, and that’s something the LCD-5 doesn’t benefit from at all. But yeah, I’m sure some of Justin’s amps - especially the more powerful ones like the Forge will be fine.

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Could really use some thoughts/advice.

I have a very nice collection - VC, Utopia, HD800S and Aeolus - and I have the Chord Hugo TT2/MScaler and A&S Kenzie to drive my collection.

I’m trying to determine from reviews and impressions whether the LCD-5s will bring a different flavor than what I have, or simply provide marginal improvements over these wonderful headphones. I’ve never heard Audeze so don’t have that frame of reference.

If the Audeze provides a different take, a different sound, I’m all in. I’d be less excited if it were in the same neighborhood of what I have.

I can purchase with a return policy but would rather know if this is a fool’s errand before I even start. Thanks for any advice/impressions.

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