Audeze LCD-X 2020 vs Monoprice M1570 SHOWDOWN

@ericrosenfield Thank you for your original thread that set my thinking and exploration into motion.
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After reading ericrosenfield’s thread that he created “Sennheiser HD 6XX vs. Hifiman Sundara SHOWDOWN REVIEW,” I was having so much fun that I found my conversation with others flooding his thread with my comparison of two other headphones. I felt that I was derailing the thread so I deleted my final comments from his thread and thought it more appropriate to make my own thread here to continue my thoughts on the Audeze LCD-X vs Monoprice M1570. So, …

The brand name Monoprice contains the word price because they believe that they can outperform the competition at a lower price. However, this is not the case as the Monoprice M1570 is poorly constructed with a headband consisting of low quality metal that bends just by looking at it. As a result, it is difficult to take this headphone seriously. Also, the weight of the headphone is too heavy and many would get a neck ache just by the sheer weight placed upon your head and neck.

So why am I discussing such a horrible headphone? Because some are willing to live with the poor quality and discomfort due to the amazing sound quality that it can produce. I chose to Frankenfy mine using an Audeze headband and rods. I also created my own yokes to hold the Monoprice M1570 cups. If anyone else wants to modify a pair and purchase the parts from Audeze, the cost breakdown is $125 for the headband, $20 for the yoke rods, and $20 for the yokes for a total of $165 for Audeze parts. On top of this you will need to purchase tools, solder (in case you pull the wires) and of course your precious time. $450 for the headphones plus $165 parts equals $615 plus time to convert it to an acceptable headphone.
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I took quite a long time listening to hundreds of tracks to determine the best amp/headphone combination from my collection of headphone amplifiers to find which paired the best with each headphone.
What I ended up with was the Schiit Jotunheim that can be found used for $300 paired with the Audeze LCD-X. The Singxer SA-1 $540 which paired best with the Monoprice M1570. As a side note, I NO LONGER RECOMMEND ANY of Schiit’s amps due to questionable quality. I am going to sell off all of my six Schiit headphone amplifiers as I have lost all confidence in Schiit. The Singxer SA-1 would be a much better purchase and also pairs well with the Audeze LCD-X.
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I have been listening to my Audeze LCD-X 2020 this morning and going back and forth with my Monoprice M1570. The LCD-X has had some burn in and the Monoprice M1570 has always been burned in as they now get the most use out of all my headphones.

I used HeSuVi on my Windows PC to equalize the LCD-X. Otherwise, they sounded horrible. When describing the sound, someone questioned my use of the word dark with the Audeze LCD-X. I don’t mean to say that the Audeze LCD-X is dark, but that it is darker than the Monoprice M1570. The weightiness of male voices is one area that the LCD-X surpasses the realism of the Monoprice M1570 where I almost feel the texture of a male’s grainy voice. I also think that besides the drivers of the LCD-X beginning to be burned in, my brain burn in is starting to take effect. I am starting to appreciate some of the good qualities of the LCD-X. The soundstage is narrower than the Monoprice M1570, but the narrower soundstage is not a bad thing. It is an intimate experience of the music being closer to me but retaining the spatial realism of the performance. It still feels three dimensional but at a closer, warmer, mellower, presentation than the Monoprice M1570. A reassuring comforting relaxed sound that was pre recorded.
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The Monoprice M1570 on the other hand creates a wide open presence. The direction is more towards a live performance. The instruments are more spread out and I feel like I am not confined to a small space. There is much more air to performances. So much more clarity than the LCD-X. But yes, missing that heavy textured male voice.
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Ultimately, I do have growing appreciation and love for the Audeze LCD-X. It sounds good. I definitely prefer the Monoprice M1570 more, but I will be keeping the Audeze LCD-X in my forever stable just as I shall with my Hifiman Sundara. I may however one day sell the Sennheiser Massdrop HD6XX but that is another story for another thread.

Highly recommended tracks to listen to amazing male vocalists:

Chris Cornell, You Never Knew My Mind
Stephen Bishop, On And On
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Into My Arms

Nick cave

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I do not like the lcd-x at all. But it was early enough in my journey that I don’t know why I didn’t like it. I just didn’t. It was the pre-2021 version.

It kept me from trying the lcd-xc at that point. Ironically, that headphone is now in my top 3. (2021 version I think).

I do not EQ. Natural or not at all. That’s my rule.

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For the past twenty years it has also been my EQ rule as well. However, when Andrew used it in his video two months ago I thought I would give it a shot because I hated the unEqualized LCD-X. And, I could not believe my freaking ears.

Resolve converted me to EQ!
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My LCD-X is 2020. You have peeked my interest in the LCD-XC.

I put an EQ profile on it, but there is something about EQ that makes me feel like the sound has become plasticy. Particularly on planars.

And, until I found the qudelix, I didn’t have a way to EQ while mobile. So the lcd-x was out even if I liked the results of EQ.

I actually really want to try the schiit loki+. I suspect some of my dislike of eq is how the eq is crafted. For example, I genuinely enjoy some qudelix presets in some scenarios. But when I try and do a simpler version, it sounds like garbage.

The qudelix presets all use a series of bumps or cuts that overlap strategically. If I try and emulate the same thing with a corresponding Q value that produces a similar curve, it sounds… incomplete.

Anyway, I don’t EQ. And it is because I haven’t enjoyed the results very much yet.

I was not aware of that little device.
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Andrew always brings up Harman curve this and Harman curve that. And, I could never really understand what he was going on about. Apparently, there is an averaged frequency curve that is pleasant to the majority of people with ears. So, I followed the directions of just one paragraph on the HeSuVi page entitled “Installation” and ignored the rest of the page. HeSuVi / Wiki / Help
That was it! Except downloading new EQ presets for the headphones that I own. Now they all have the Harman curve applied to them and I can decide if they sound better or worse with EQ. (Spoiler alert) They sound better. And some headphones like the LCD-X sound drastically better.
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So, now yes I do equalize to the Harman curve and now I understand what Andrew is talking about when he says Harman curve yada yada.

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Indeed. I used oratory’s eq profiles to do the same. Unfortunately, I didn’t like the results. It kind of sounded like you were making the driver do things it didn’t want to do.

I have also discovered I have a fair amount of tolerance for tonal variation except in a few key places. Basically, nothing super boosted or super recessed. If anything gets harsh when loud, I am out. The lcd-x has huge recession. Although the 2021 version may have addressed that enough such that I would like it.

I keep trying stuff though. Loki is on my list.

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Oh, the he6se was one that did sound better with the eq profile. Problem is, it cut back the main volume so much I needed even more power to drive it. It just got silly. :wink:

I plan on trying to craft an eq profile to make my dunu zen a bit closer to my hp-2. That would be quite nice.

Oratory1990’s presets are what I started with. Most of them were excellent. However, it was so time consuming entering each parameter manually. The benefit of adding them manually is that I could also tweak each setting for multiple custom EQ presets. So for example, I would have “Beyerdynamic DT880 Harman” and then “Beyerdynamic DT880 just bass EQ” and then “Beyerdynamic DT880 just highs EQ” etc… Also the Equalizer APO installs on my Woin32 laptop but HeSuVi only installs on Win64 so the laptop still is using Oratory1990’s presets.

There is an autoeq thing that just lets me pick one and turn it on. (I actually ended up on sound source for mac). But, yeah, if I did it manually, it would suck.

For me, I tried to equalize the Hifiman HE350 because they are treble cannons and can’t really be used at all. After Equalization, using Oratory1990’s settings, they absolutely sounded fantastic! I was shocked that such a cheap dynamic driver headphone could sound very good.

Sounds like EQ done wrong.

EQ done right, can really transform a headphone and still retain its strong points, its timbre, its charactor.

All of those Oratory presets sound like arse to me. They aren’t there to take each headphone to the best it can be, only there to push the FR graph into the Harman Curve. At best you can use parts of them with restraint to nudge around some areas that annoy you.

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I don’t disagree. But any attempt to EQ either from almost any preset (except possibly the qudelix ones) or following a guide for whatever headphone I have ended up with the same result.

I don’t even like a simple bass shelf added to most planars. It just sounds… wrong. The qudelix “bass booster” profile does sound much better to me.

I would love to try the schiit loki so I can just easily move stuff around rapidly. But thus far, very little has worked well.

Yeah. Try not do presets. Just your own values. Not many presets are good. Audeze Reveal plugin is ok, its fairly tame but does just enough to stop them sounding weird.

For example, the D8000. All I do is a small boost at the 3000hz range, with a Q value quite high so it doesn’t affect too much outside of where I want it. The effect is subtle but noticeable when A/B. Then I forget about it, its just always on.

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The only thing I wanted to change on any of these planars (outside of the lcd-x which was fundamentally a useless headphone to me) is add bass. And, it doesn’t really add much bass impact, just sonic bass, which is not what I want. And, it still sounds weird to me on top of not doing what I actually want.

I will keep experimenting. ON the hp-2 I actually use the bass reducer profile to make pentatonix sound better. And that is absolutely awesome.

On the zen, I have been trying to get some shoutyness to go away when I play vocals (particularly female) very loud. I haven’t been able to figure out the right cut to do that, that doesn’t make it sound hollow.

To be fair, proper bass impact only exists in a handful of headphones. I have the same issues, so many play flat to 20hz but lack the bass you feel.

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Yep. The lsa hp-2 ultra are literally the first excellent sounding headphones that actually have bass among the ones I have heard. So I kept them. But that is sad given the wide variety of type and price I have tried. I mean, the next thing that actually had bass was the airpods max. So, there’s that.

I did a quick recall of ones I’ve owned or demo’d over the last 18 months. Prob missed a few.

D8000 Pro, Verite, Verite Closed, Empyrean, Utopia, HE1000se, Aeolus, Autuer, MDR-Z1R, TH900mk2, Clear, Clear MG, Radiance, Elegia, LCD3, LCD2C, Arya, HD800, HD800S, HD650, Kennerton, Stax SR009, Stellia, Grado GS1000e, GH4, Beyer T1, T5, Cascade, Abyss 1266, Diana Phi, Aeon C, Aeon 2C, Aeon Noire

Of all of those. D8000 (which I now own), D8000 Pro (with +8db bass EQ), Abyss 1266, DIana Phi (lifting pads off ears slightly and EQ) and the Cascade could give proper punch/slam. Everything else just sort of felt like you said, sonic bass. I hear it, don’t feel it.

Anyway. Thread derail!

Yet to hear the 2021 LCD-X. Wouldn’t mind hearing a set though.

Makes me want to try the cascade!

Which kennerton?

And not the stellia? That is interesting to me.

I have had good luck with all of the latest batch of presets downloaded for HeSuVi from AutoEq/hesuvi.zip at master · jaakkopasanen/AutoEq · GitHub

So far I have tried and had great results with presets for Sennheiser Massdrop HD6XX, Monoprice M1570 velour pads, Grado SR225e, Grado Hemp, Beyerdynamic DT880 worn pads. I really haven’t experience anything bad with using presets. I feel like I have upgraded my headphones when using them.