FINALLY, The Much Delayed Review of the LCD-2 Closed Back by @pennstac
Review of Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Headphones (with apologies to Chaucer)
As told by Pennstac, to the spirit of Sir Thopas, taking a break from his Pilgrimmage of 1387, in which he likens his love the Elfin Queene to the quest for a closed back headphone that sounds as the woods she inhabits.
The briddes synge, it is no nay,
The sparhauk and the papejay
That joye it was to heere,
The thrustelcok made eek hir lay,
The wodedowve upon a spray
She sang ful loude and cleere.
1 Sir Thopas hearing the clarion call of the Elf Queene
Pennstac: And so it comes that I have placed upon my hedd the Audeze LCD-2 closed-back headphones once more. To get into the spirit of this review, I’ve gone to ROON and am listening to a selection of Fairport Convention, from a 44.1 16-bit FLAC source, through the Mac Mini, and the iFi xDSD. But more about this later.
The Elders of Headphone Community Reviews have put upon me a geas of disclosure, in which I admit that these headphones were shipped to me as part of the Headphone Community Preview Program, in exchange for a review, not biased, but my personal best, although I am certain that this is not what they expected. I confess to the sins of sloth and laziness, and I have spent my vocabulary elsewhere, having had to wait for a new shipment of vowels before undertaking this task.
Upon completion of this task, I will dutifully and with small regret package the carefully handled LCD-2 closed back headphones and remand them into the hands of the UPS returning them to the community.
Not having purchased these headphones, I betook it upon myself to search upon the Internet, a wonderful series of tubes connecting to information, which informed me that these phones cannot be purchased with mere chicken feede. In fact, 899 Iron Men it takes to pry them loose from their source.
Sir Thopas: (slipping out of personna) Gad, Pennstac, why do you do this? Look, @Resolve has just posted a perfectly fine review of those LCD-2 Closed-Backs, and here you are pharting around with some fake Chaucer references, making a Sophomoric hash of things.
Pennstac: (sipping on a gynne and tonicke) Well, Sir T, I just had to play some kind of game after all this time. If I liked the dammned things more, I could dispense with this and extoll the virtues, as you do with your Elfin Queene. Ll
Sir Thopas: (Back in personna) Mind what you say about my love. For in this world no womman is Worthy to be my make. As no worldly heddphone can sing her voice so clear. Dynamic drivers you may dred, planar-magnetics the chanticleer. Audeze, aww deeze, pfones upon my hedd, a tonne of brickes, a crowne of lead.
Oh, Dag-burn it, this is going nowhere.
I shall make a royal mess of a review. Changing styles as one changes from Texas Two-Step to the Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields.
At last! I have found something that I like to listen to on these weighty beasts. TUBULAR BELLS! Yes, these headphones sound good playing Mike Oldfield’s original TUBULAR BELLS. Lossless stream, Tidal/ROON. MacMini to iFi xDSD in line out mode. Thence to the Schiit Loki, the HeadRoom Standard amp, and the AUDEZE LCD-2 Closed Back. The roomless nature of this album is perfect for these phones. Bass extension is good. Dynamics are excellent. I don’t hear the little echoes that have been plaguing me otherwise. If you are not familiar with this album, you should be. Only part of it was used to creep people out watching the [watch me puke green goo] Exorcist. Headphone enthusiasts will like Vivian Stanshall’s introduction of the instruments that comes in at 20 minutes.
What about the box? (close your eyes and read, I did not take photos)
The box arrived some months ago. I took good care of it, as I have these headphones on loan. It’s a white cardboard box. The box contains grey foam. The foam is grey, did I mention that? It has a cut in space where the headphones rest for travel. A tube of foam, also grey, keeps the earcups somewhat separated. Also cut in the foam is a deep slot, where you have an OK cable with a ¼ inch stereo plug. And an adapter that goes to 3.5mm stereo plug. And a flash drive with a not terribly informative manual.
That’s it! At a list of what, $899 or more, nobody is spending extra money on packaging. Both my Hifiman HE-560s and the $200 Massdrop Sennheiser HD-6XX have nicer packaging.
Did I mention the white cardboard and grey foam theme?
No Really, this can’t be your review. Have you given them a fair trial?
Pennstac: (now on a Brandy mixed with rumme and juice of the farkleberrie) The Elf Queene spins the digitalle philes on the Radio Paradise, (which I have not yette achieved) and many hours have I tried to take my rest listening to same files FLAQUE eschewing favored reproducers of Musicke in favor of the echo-prone Audeze Closed Back LCD-2 Producte.
Interjection! Phase II
Another win for the LCD-2. After reading What music have you been listening to elsewhere here I’m listening to Slint “Spiderland”. It’s the 4th of July, weather is not good. AC is droning in the background. I don’t know what this music is supposed to sound like. Tidal is pumping it through the Mac Mini, to the iFi xDSD, and then out to the LCD-2 Closed Back, which mercifully mask the window unit AC. I can hear the music and it’s good. Just a Redbook FLAC, but the headphones are right for it. Spiderland has aggressive silences and imperative guitar. Drums sound good. I can’t close my eyes and envision the size of the recording studio. But I can get lost in the music. Thanks to @boneburglar for the pointer.
Back to the Narrative
Sir Thopas: (Still in personna) “Now holde youre mouth, par charitee”. How can ye damn these aww deeze with faint praise (methinks a future quote) and still be so unsure? I have no such misgivings about my faerie Queene.
Pennstac: These rhymes are the best I can do. And partial pleazing is the best El CeeDee Too can do. For it, unlike youre Queene is not of a constant, but a variable nature. It expelleth it’s musique from inside a small shell, albeit a heavy one. The magick is imperfect, it sometimes confuseth me, so I know not if I lie in a chest or a cavern, listening to the musics of the spheres, (and tesseracts, and non-Euclidian geometries).
Sir Thopas: That oghte liken yow, as I suppose, Or elles, certes, ye been to daungerous.
Pennstac: That may be true. For unlike you I ne’er was a dognthy swayn, shoon of cordewane, and robe of sylkatoun. An olde man I be, cranky and however you say irascible in middle English. I will be donne with this, and packe up the Aww Deeze into their greysome boxxe and send them home. My jobbe be donne or not.
All fooling aside, I must say that I got more than I bargained for when I decided to do a review of the Audeze LCD-2 closed backs for the community program. Yes, I got to listen to them. It’s been a long time since I listened to closed back headphones. I think I just don’t care for them.
I apologize for taking so long to do a review, but not for the nature of it. I think I make clear some of the strengths and weaknesses of the phones. It is not easy to write about something you are not enthused about. These are not bad headphones, but they are very clearly not to my taste. I started several times and deleted my work. Finally, I decided I’d at least play around a bit to make it somewhat fun for myself, if daunting for my readers.
Chaucer is worth reading, even more so in some of the online versions which do so much more than Cliff’s notes. The Harvard university online version juxtaposes modern and middle English fragments, as do several others. I have used a fair amount of real middle English and a fair amount of “Fake Middle English” in this review. And even more fake early modern English.
The tale of Sir Thopas is particularly appropriate for this review. It is a break in serious narrative, and is assigned not to the other pilgrims, but to Chaucer himself. It is a tale in which Chaucer does an almost modern twist – mocking himself and the sort of tales that he is telling. I hope you all haven’t puked reading my sophomoric scribblings.