Audeze LCD-X Open-Back Planar Headphone - Official Thread

Any info on LCD-2 serials/dates?

I heard from support that the 2F got the new pads (the whole full sized LCD line did), starting with serial number 5430238

Ok, mine has 5430262 so new pads I guess :ok_hand:

Based on what people are saying, you’d know if your pads were different because they are no longer memory foam. This thread has a lot of good information on the pad differences.

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Well this is my first LCD, so I was guessing it. I’ll check the thread you linked. Thx.

For anyone wanting the measurements and EQ in one spot, I figured I’d post it all here.

I’m currently working on a review of both the 2021 LCD-X and XC, but here are the results for now:

The bass response is actually not as low as that, it seems to be some interaction with the ear and cheek sim as mentioned earlier. Here’s the on-head bass response:

So it still dips down a bit at 30hz.

Here are two EQ presets for the LCD-X:

V1: more fine-grained
image

V2: fewer filters
image

I’m curious which one you guys like better.

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Send me a new LCD-X and I’d be happy to tell you! :joy:

Seriously though, thanks for creating the EQ profiles and for all that you do.

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I can only test the latter as I use the RME-ADI-2 DAC. I don’t use the 12k dip, to me this sound a little better. I use the bass boost depending on the music style. But it is not always necessary imho.

Source: Modius Dac > Lakepeople G111 amp

Listening to “We’ve Just Begun” by Sinne Eeg. (Prefer V1)
Vocals don’t seem as forward. Instrument separation seems a bit better as well. It also seems as if there is more width with the sound stage with V1 to me.

Listening to “Under Pressure” by Leslie Odom Jr. (Prefer V2)
So maybe V2 is better here… I think maybe the 12 band filter is removing bit too much from his vocals. It has more energy with the V2 verus the V1.

Listening to “Long After You’re Gone” by Chris Jones (Prefer V2)
V1 looses a bit of the room reflection in the song. V2 is like you are sitting in the front row and then switch over to V1 and its like you moved to the the middle of the room, maybe a bit further back. Kinda makes it maybe sound smaller? (Maybe more artificial sounding, less natural)

Listening to “Check Point Charlie” by David Chesky (Prefer V2)
Instrument sounds were a bit off for V1 to my ears. Also shifting a bit? More energy with V2.

I think overall I prefer V2. The V1 might be removing a bit too much for me personally. It is almost like it is compressing the sound a bit?

Thanks for posting both versions to test. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for this, Resolve (&, in extension, all the worthwhile fruits of your labor). Quick question: are these measurements with the new leather pads or the new leather-free ones?

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Just regular leather. I’d love to try the leather-free pads.

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Gotcha. Thank you! Yeah, I read that Grover enjoys the leather-free pads. Too bad the Audeze ‘mechanism’ of securing pad to baffle/mount (i.e. a ring of adhesive) doesn’t encourage quick & easy pad rolling.

Hi all,

This shares my LCD-X journey and how I have learnt to be true to what I enjoy listening to.

In early 2020 I decided that my B&W P7 (2nd gen) are still awesome all around for the price tag on uDac3, but I deserved something more as I had claimed to respect true sound and nothing less. I listen a lot to music and do that at home to really be present and eliminate disturbance of traffic, wind, you name it. My education is in mechanical engineering and I have been interested in the technicalities around headphones for many years. However, I consider myself more an enthusiast than technically competent in this area. After intense search of an optimal solution for my budget and taste, which is detail, transparency, instrument separation and mid range punch, while low and high frequencies are still in abundance, LCD-X landed as my choice in June. Yeah, it took a while and I learnt new things in the process. Initially I picked LCD-2C, but cancelled when I slept over it and ordered LCD-X. I wanted to go with one of the pairs and money was my constraint. It was only after I heard them, it was clear how different they were. 2C blended the music in an unknown to me way and missed the detail level I needed. To be honest, I ordered much more expensive set than my B&W P7, while I found the latter to be better for my taste, but could not waste the time already spent and give away the opportunity to be part if the high-end HP community. Slept over it and changed to LCD-X, which I have been very happy about. Meanwhile, a few DACs and AMPs passed through my hands. I settled for some time with the single-end Audio-GD NFB11.28 and was very happy. Plenty of details - what a joy! Later on I could not resist and purchased Audio-GD D28.38, the pinnacle of not cheap, but not absurdly expensive gear, based on all reviews and my previous experience. After direct advice from Kingwa, I got a custom made balanced cable for the optimal squuze from the setup.

Last but not least EQ came to the picture to fix that drop… by the way, model variations are still present, so I had even more desire to fix stuff.

I ended with Oratory1990’s EQ, where filter 5 is 1db higher and filter 9 is 2db higher. This made me hear clearly the swing of shimmering sound moving between my ears on Korn’s Can U Hear Me to the same transparency as before the EQ. The bass was more present and I liked it. Any trade-offs? Yes - without any EQ, the vocals were more prominent and intimate. The snare punch was also more emphasized, so when EQ decreased its impact I started feeling uncomfortable to compromise 1 important thing for me (mid punch), even though several other were obtained along the way. The punch was there with EQ and pretty good. It was just ever so slightly but clearly more impactful out of the box.

As conclusion, I would honestly answer a few questions I asked myself and hope this will be helpful for the community to make wiser choices and value more what truly matters to you as an individual. It is according to my perception, so I hope you consider the approach and not whether my answers agree with your perception. Because we are different, our understanding and experience will vary and there is beauty in this.

  1. Do I prefer EQ vs non-EQ.
    Both, depending on the song, genre and its recording quality. No EQ for higher quality recording.

  2. Is the EQ vs non-EQ hearing experience very different?
    It is quite distinguishable so that I can hear it, but in the bigger picture, it changes no more that 5% of the overall experience, as the hardware performance is so much dominating in so many aspects. Example: I can hear and feel very emotionally the wind made by the string vibrations on Down in a Hole (Unplugged), while the vocals go through “fly, but my wings…”. This is due to the headphone performance and EQ does not change anything.

  3. Am I concerned of being away from the target curve?
    I used to be. Not any more. It is a preference curve and while I enjoy it, other curves like the original HP are very enjoyable to me. I hear Ladder R2R DACs do that as opposed to discrete ones and sound very good in their “non-precise” way.

  4. Do I still like my B&W?
    Yes. They sound muddy and less staging when I put them after LCD-X, but do a fantastic job, my hearing normalizes after some time and the pair has higher value per dollar.

  5. So, LCD-X or B&W?
    LCD-X. It has capabilities beyond the frequency curves, which are of my interest.

  6. Favorite thing about LCD-X?
    The ability to produce sounds in a very clear, detailed and present way that makes my jaw drop and immerse into the music like if I was on the stage.

  7. Do I find them beautiful?
    I do, but this does not matter to me, as I use them because of their sound and that is only indoors.

  8. Is this my end game?
    I spent more than twice of my initial budget to get the setup. I hope to use it for a long time. All advancements are however appreciated and I would love to try new things coming over time. I will buy only if the pricing is reasonable and I can clearly hear significant improvements towards my interest over the current setup.

  9. Did I hear any improvement in sound on a +5k USD streaming DAC in the shop, compared to my D28.38?
    Nothing that I can point at.

  10. Is D28.38 better than nfb11.28?
    Yes. The former gives more details in the lower range, slightly more space in all dimensions and overall more present. It also comes balanced and is designed to perform better this way, with many more inputs and outputs and crazy stuff like hardware relay volume control (you can actually hear) to eliminate potentiometer knob influence on sound. When it comes to sound quality alone, the differences are present, but not significant. Most can be captured only by a trained ear. I prefer D28.38, but the sound quality is not x3 as the price is, so you better fancy and use the other features, if you have it. I rarely do.

  11. What about uDac3?
    I could not value it when I bought it as my first DAC/AMP. My first impression was that it reduces the bass and nothing else happens. It took a while until my hearing became trained to look for the new things I could hear and appreciate more neutrality, that also in the bass. It does the job for its price range, but cannot compete with the detail and clarity of the Audio-GD products for the LCD-X.

  12. Does the balance cable add value?
    I like the esthetics and the fact that somebody tailor made it as I wanted. It enables the better version of my AMP as it is designed to be used as balanced. If this was not the case, there would have not been detectable listening difference to the quarter inch. The price was similar to what Audeze asks, but with element of hand-made individuality and better wire material.

  13. What is most important in my setup?
    By far - the headphones and their hardware capabilities. I did spent quite some time on the DAC/AMP but that is part of being an audiophile and it was important to me to squeeze more sound quality and flexibility but not for any price tag, as at some point what you look for might not really improve any further. Always go see and hear before you buy if possible.
    As long as you avoid mp3 and other audibly mediocre formats, you are good to go. Value gain in 192k compared to 44,1k is more on the theoretical side. 16 to 24 bit is audibly different to me. Not so sure about 24 to 32 bit.

  14. Do I regret that 2021 LCD-X has FRC closer to the target curve than 2020?
    I look forward to hearing it and I do not regret. I would not be surprised if I prefer version 2020, based on my comments above.

  15. Should Audeze freeze their design and instead of continuous improvements on existing models come with new ones?
    There is value in being focused, which I prefer from an audiophile perspective, so I endorse it. It would be great to have better performing products at more affordable price, so the look and title are less important from that perspective. Car manufacturers keep model names and improve them every few years. Same here. I hope though that Audeze keeps focus on audiophile customers and do not completely change course to wider commercial
    customer base as Sankar indicates in the stream with @Resolve .

  16. So, is the money worth it?
    I believe so, as the setup makes me happy and I do not intend to change it any time soon. With that said, there are cheaper configurations, close enough to the point where cost goes higher, but the additional gain of what matters to you as an individual diminishes. Would have been perfectly fine with LCD-X & ngb11.28 as well.

  17. Is unit variation acceptable?
    Yes to the extent of the hand-made process and the beauty of owning a bit of unique LCD-X. No if the difference is significant and the product ends up delivering distinctly different performance capabilities.

  18. Do I recommend LCD-X?
    If your preferences are similar to mine, go audition it and decide for yourself.

I hope this is helpful.

Use your ears and focus on what you like.
Do not spend more money than what makes sense, unless this is what you like.
Hear the headphones to conclude own impressions and respect your own taste. One does not fit all.

Cheers
Staticosaur

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How’s that review coming along Andrew? I’m hanging out for it :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve narrowed my next purchase down to either an LCD-2 or the revised LCD-X but I’d like to see your thoughts on the LCD-X as part of my decision making process on which one to get.

I EQ all my headphones so any decision will be based on “after EQ” sound.

Hey there -

Popping over to this thread while I have all my tools open… figured I’d do LCD-X 2021, also -

Based on the measurements you did above for 2021 version (Your base measurement combined with your on-head bass response measurement), below is what I ran through against my preference curve, and filters. Hope it helps \ offers someone another option.

Preamp: -6.5 dB
Filter 1: Peak- Fc 19 Hz Gain 6.3 dB Q 0.63
Filter 2: Peak- Fc 250 Hz Gain -3.8 dB Q 0.75
Filter 3: Peak- Fc 808 Hz Gain -3.0 dB Q 1.81
Filter 4: Peak- Fc 878 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 1.30
Filter 5: Peak- Fc 2757 Hz Gain -3.3 dB Q 4.10
Filter 6: Peak- Fc 3279 Hz Gain 1.6 dB Q 2.21
Filter 7: Peak- Fc 3939 Hz Gain 5.7 dB Q 1.01

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New user here with the 2021 revision. Thanks to everyone for eq suggestions and for their hard work–this community is really wonderful. It’s interesting: I think I’m in the minority, but so far, using the Roon parametric eq, I’ve preferred the LCD-X without eq. Something gets lost for me when using the suggested values, especially in the lows and upper mids, where pushing those (approx. 3800hz) tends to also rob some energy and detail, whcih for me means losing some of the emotion in the music. No eq has me getting goosebumps. EQ has me warm and fuzzy but somewhat joyless. With eq the “thrill is gone.” Going to keep fuzt-ing and playing with what folks have put out there, but so far going naked remains king. Not sure how many others are having similar experiences.

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Keep in mind that it’s really hard to tell when your volume isn’t identical. Typically, a higher volume will give the perception of enhanced engagement/details, and so it’s tough to compare directly. I suggest going lower on digital volume in your player to avoid clipping - at least while testing the EQ. And once you’re satisfied, then add the pre-gain.

Ah, that’s an excellent point. I will definitely try that. There’s no doubt that absolutely nothing that I’m doing is in any way scientific or meant to highlight any objective difference in quality. By digital volume do you mean the headroom adjustment that Roon offers? Cheers!

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Well, I always use EQ apo to get the profile right. I’m not sure it’s something you can do in Roon, because of exclusive mode, but it’s worth a try (if you hear clipping, then yeah… it’s not doable).

Could we figure out at this point if audeze have updated their Roon presets for some/all of their headphones? cheers