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

Nicely done!

Pictures are really nice too!

Now you should give the Ether 2 a listen, while you still have the LCD-X around to compare to directly.

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Great review! I’d like to hear these and the LCD-3 against the Ether 2 as well. The Clears were really close to perfect for me, but they had some kind of metallic nature that induced fatigue and the ear openings made them uncomfortable for me.

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I felt that if these weren’t so heavy, I would prefer them to the Clears…but they also were lacking “something” when I a/b tested them against the Clears… maybe detail, or micro-dynamics? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

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I would love very much so to try the Ether 2, I’ve never heard a Mr.Speakers set…at least that I can recall at this moment…:thinking:

I tried to make that top picture fit the banner spec but it was late and I might have messed it up. I’ll take some more tonight :grin: I actually enjoy taking the photos, I’m looking forward to learning more about the hobby of cameras lol.

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Thanks Darth. Great review–as good as anything I’ve seen here.

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@Torq I added a couple of new pictures to the review/impression. I replaced the Banner picture with what I feel is a better banner picture, it should be in the correct format now. Thank you for the help with these things. Cheers!

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Hi and thanks for your review. Q: In your review you mention that LCD-X is boring in its presentation for you. Is this compared to Focal Clear as well? I haven’t auditioned either yet but these two are on my list to consider, “budget” $1-2K. I own Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, Hifiman 400i, and Grado in-ear GR10e and use a Plenue hq DAP w/2Vrms most of the time. Are Clears the more dynamic and interesting hp signature? Thanks, -Mark

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Boring may be to strong of a word. I was using it more on my personal feeling for the LCD-X in that it doesn’t, for me, have any standout sound signature. It basically gets everything right, it is a little on the bass lite side of things, but that bass is accurate.

The LCD-X and clear are damned close in sound, tone and Dynamics. I think you could go either way and be very happy, I prefer the Focals due to the form factor, comfort and for me they have something that I can’t quite put my finger on that just edges them out ahead of the LCD-X.

That being said I could interchange between the two and be content. So for you I would take into consideration form, weight, and basically which one you like aesthetically more.

Another thing to note Focal gives you way more in the box, you get a very nice carry case and extra cables with different terminations. Depending on the options you go for with the LCD-X, you get the headphones and a cable, or the same but with a nice pelican style case.

Let me know if you have other more specific questions.

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Thank you, sir. There’s much helpful info for me in your reply. Which other planar besides LCD-X stands out to you for my major criteria in your experience? A second dynamic I should also consider and try? $1-2K -Mark

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Also, I live Snowmass, CO, and plan to attend the annual Rocky Mountain show in Denver this autumn before I spend this amount to move into the most value for sound range. This is assuming a base level of hq hardware and media, not TOTL. This doesn’t mean I won’t climb higher up the hp ladder for a flagship at some point. Before I go there I want to get a great one in this price range and improve it thru hardware tweeks to max its synergy.

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Well based on what you already have, you might look at the HD800s or non-s but with SDR mod on the used market or brand new I think they both fall in your budget range. It is an apples to oranges comparison, but from my understanding it would be a logical upgrade from your DT1990, and 400i.

The HD800 is a great option for a headphone that you can make hardware tweaks to get more out of it plus they go for a fairly easier to consume price on the used market, but like I said above the brand new ones aren’t too expensive either. I currently use one with the SDR mod and I put Dekoni Hybrid pads on it, but I might go back to the stock ones…not sure…but I have the option.

If you are set on getting a Planar you could always look at the LCD-3, or some of the Hifiman higher ends in your price range, I can’t comment on these though as I’ve had limited time with them.

Honestly the LCD-X or Clears would pretty much be all you would need and are both upgrades from what you have currently, how much of an upgrade is dependent on you though, as we are all unique in how we hear things.

You could save some of that budget to put towards other gear that way, or put it back in savings if you went with either HD800, LCD-X or Clears :wink: or in the case of the LCD-X put some towards alternate cables for balanced or portable.

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Thank you again for helping me focus on my core sound preferences in an hp. It’s not that I’m stuck or am decided on a planar at all. I know what a few sound like and I like that sound. I’ve never listened to a $1500-2K one tho. Re: HD800S. I’m sure I would always be in search of the “best” amplifier for this one and I like generous soundstage but I don’t need a king of soundstage. After reading your thoughts I return to Clear and keep it on short-list must audition. LCD-X, maybe not. I read that since X Audeze has several other refinements along. So I want to hear one of their latest in my range, your recommendation, LCD3. I don’t know if their Classic is going to be enough of a step and LCD2 is maybe a gen back too, so LCD3. And your comments regarding my form preferences is spot-on. Clear is more elegant vs X is retro-futuristic cool but elegant doesn’t come to my mind. And weight consideration, etc. So LCD3 and Clear in a top 3 for me to try. I need a third. ?

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As someone who owns both the DT 1990 and the LCD2C, I would say that the LCD2C is not an upgrade from the DT 1990, but it is quite different. Bigger, more spacious sounding, way more laid back but still reasonably detailed. It’s more ethereal sounding and not as dynamic. It’s a little cliche, but the DT 1990 is basically my daytime headphone and the LCD2C my evening headphone.

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Thank you for your input. I think if I go with a planar it needs to be an overachiever, but not at a flagship level yet. I’d like a pretty refined example, I think. That’s why LCD-3 is in mix, not because i want to max my 2k limit lol. There are more dynamics I probably should consider 1-2k. I’m passing on HD800 versions because, altho I’m sure I would like many things about it much has been written that to get all smiles from audiophiles it requires $$$…$ amp lol. But I haven’t heard it either. The needing a top-shelf amp runs HD800 out of my budget, for now anyway.

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Based on your more recent comments I would look rather heavily at the LCD-X as it does not take much to power it properly. Also, your current DAP would be able to work with it nicely, you would just need to get a different cable for it.

Then later as you upgrade your amp and DAC it would scale with it.

Just so that I’m not assuming, is the DAP your only amp/DAC?

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Thanks I see wisdom it that. No not only Plenue DAP also Beyerdynamic A20 to go with 1990s which is really like with Schiit Modi Multibit. So when I mentioned someplace back that loosely discussing hps and stepping into 1-2k land assume I’m coming from high quality hardware, but not TOTL I’m trying to be fine to ~2, and not have to go up in amp hq right away. And I don’t always like to stay near hardware so DAP is nice. It sounds really good, too. With my Grado GR10e it rivals my setup with overears and its eq is nice to get my 1990s sounding like A20 makes them sound which is to say pretty great. So I get what you’re saying about X with cable upgrade as I’m sure it would sound great with my Plenue but I don’t know about A20

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I keep leaving out info sorry. My DAP is Plenue 1, single-ended. And my hardware is also SE. As I understand it tho, a cable upgrade isn’t always about going balanced so LCD-X could still be mined for enhanced performance with premium wire metals, increased wire strands, connectors. I read from Audeze that they upgraded drivers in X 1.5 years ago along with a couple other LCDs. Still, I’m open to Clear which, setting aside HD800, seems to be you all’s recommendation for a great dynamic $1-2k. As far as Clear’s design goes, I used to think I would’ve liked it better in black until I saw Elex version which I didn’t care for so now silver has grown on me lol. LCD X is the bad boy serious look. I like both. I could choose either solely in which sound I prefer. I look forward to hearing both soon!

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This, go with the one you hear and like the best… always the right answer :wink:

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In the last picture of my review, I wanted to point out that I purposely got the shadow of the yoke to highlight/underline the LCD-X words on the cup.

Just wanted to point it out, because vanity? Hmm that is not right, I’m going to go with pride in my work to get that detail :grin: lol :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Great write-up!

I’m actually curious, now that you have the MrSpeakers Ether 2 if their sound is a little more of what you were expecting from the LCD-X as the Ether 2 has a darker sound signature.

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