Audeze LCD-XC Measurements and Quick Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Sep 18, 2021.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    The official subjective review and many others' impressions can be found in this thread. Any subjective impressions here will be brief and are mostly consistent with what some others have already observed. I passed around the headphone at work among non-audiophiles or entry level audiophiles. The comments were "slightly thin or bright" with respect to tonal signature. Depending upon the recording, I did feel the XC retained a bit of that upper-mid "honk" (more precisely a peak around 2kHz) from similar type of closed Audeze I heard many years ago. Or another way to look at this is thin - a lack of body - often the result of slightly recessed lower mids or lows. All these impressions BTW were gathered before I took a single measurement. The "technicalities" of the XC are excellent.

    One thing which I have been curious about are the EQ profiles which Audeze provides for their high tier headphones at a modest fee. Roon actually includes these profiles; so naturally, this was the first thing I wanted to test.
    upload_2021-9-18_15-18-23.png

    Audeze LCD-XC
    Frequency Response
    (FPC compensated)
    GRN = no EQ, YEL = Audeze LCD-XC DSP preset on
    upload_2021-9-18_15-7-41.png

    The LCD-XC DSP profile isn't an extreme EQ profile which tries to surgically correct everything (this is a bad idea for reasons that can be discussed elsewhere). As a result, the DSP profile corrected the board 2kHz bump, but it also pushed down the 5kHz dip. I would say however that the resultant sound with the DSP profile is much closer to the Audeze house sound that we call expect from the open LCD* series.

    Not to harp on this more, but I felt that Audeze didn't need to print the big "Audeze" letters on the cups. The carbon fiber pattern is beautiful and otherwise ruined by the lettering. A tastefully small Audeze A logo (it's a nice logo) on the cups would have done the cosmetics more justice. I'm not the type of person who wears the real SUPREME gear with the hidden tag, not the obviously fake SUPREME with the letters loudly printed over shirts or shorts.
     
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  2. purr1n

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    Audeze LCD-XC
    Frequency Response
    (FPC compensated, no DSP)
    upload_2021-9-18_15-37-47.png

    Audeze LCD-XC
    CSDs
    FPC LCD-XC L.jpg
    FPC LCD-XC R.jpg

    I like to run CSDs to confirm FR measurements. It's not uncommon for deep dips in FR measurements to actually be narrow spikes in disguise. Conversely, sometimes depressions are not so bad as indicated in the FR - this can be verified in the later time slices (about a half dozen down from the 0ms) to see if the dips as indicated in the FR level or even out. Finally, CSDs are also useful for assessing the real extent of treble peaks. Headphone acoustics are weird and since FR calculations are performed over an extended period of time with all the sounds bouncing around, they may not totally reflect what we hear.

    First of all, the depression at 5kHz as indicated in the FR is definitely there. Maybe not as deep, but we can expect laid-back mids from 3-6kHz. There's well defined ridge around 8kHz which matches some impressions of the LCD-XC being bright at times with some recordings, bright but not overdone, or etched timbre. Otherwise, the CSD is very clean.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    With respect to closed headphone internal reverb (cupped hands) with the LCD-XC, it's rather muted, but still there. I use overhead CSDs extended to 5ms or longer to verify this.

    Audeze LCD-XC
    CSD Lch (overhead)
    Floor set to -36db
    FPC LCD-XC L.jpg

    The above is set to the usual floor of -36db. Under most listening conditions we don't really evidence of internal reverb. However, when we push the floor down to -48db, we can see it. Bottom line is that thing is something that we really need to hunt for to hear it.

    Audeze LCD-XC
    CSD Lch (overhead)
    Floor set to -48db
    FPC LCD-XC L.jpg

    Note the well defined "fingers" that go across from left to right. These are an indicator of a well refined reverb or cupped hands effect.

    P.S. Note that the LCD-XC doesn't suffer from underdamped, loosey goosey, bouncy bouncy issues like this below. Some people are more sensitive to this than others.
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. purr1n

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    Saving the best for last... This is where the LCD-XC gives the middle finger to most other headphones.

    Audeze LCD-XC
    Harmonic Distortions
    upload_2021-9-18_16-50-28.png

    Someone asked me in another thread: what typically are good distortion headphones? Well, here is one right here. These results are utterly fantastic. @rhythmdevils I'm sure noticed this. I heard some gripes about tonality and timbre, but no gripes about lack of bass texture, resolution, cloudiness, veil, etc. (Every time I see a bump in the mids, which seems to happen with the odd ortho here or there, I'm always thinking: oh @rhythmdevils is gonna notice this!)
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Given how fantastic the distortion results came out to be (really didn't even need to measure this because it's very evident from listening), why not take a shot using other methods to tweak the FR to one's desire?

    The Loki IMO does a gooder job with respect to EQ IMO. It's a broad brush approach, but it does the job in way where we can get a good compromise. I left some vestiges of that 2kHz bump to not have so deep a recession at 5kHz. The high knob can be left up to your discretion (didn't show it here, but I usually have it dialed back a bit which are sizzly up top).

    upload_2021-9-18_17-9-49.png

    Audeze LCD-XC
    Frequency Response
    YEL = EQ per above diagram; GRN = no EQ
    upload_2021-9-18_17-5-24.png
     
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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
  6. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    That's crazy simple! Just imagine the new platform that is hopefully/probably more comfortable.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Cups are bit lighter than in the past and the suspension headband is a huge welcome for those have Klingon ridges on top of their skulls like myself. The cups are still heavy though.

    headband.jpg

    I'm really digging them right now. The sound is super clean, articulate, and crisp from lows to highs. The frequency response can be tweaked to one's desire with basic cheap EQ. Subjectively, the technicalities exceed the LCD-X from years ago when they first came out. A good rung or two up the ladder.

    P.S. These are my final EQ settings - done by ear.
    upload_2021-9-18_17-35-8.png

    P.S.S. Yeah, they are kinda heavy.
     
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  8. purr1n

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    Audeze LCD-XC
    Attack and Decay Envelope for 10-cycle Bursts
    upload_2021-9-24_20-54-34.png

    Audeze's seem to have a sharp initial burst with the 4.8kHz. The LCD2C shares this characteristic. It's a defining trait of their sound, a good edge, a nice attack. Subjectively, I wouldn't worry about it. The scale with the attack is linear, not in decibels, to exaggerate the differences. Also the overshoot on the first burst wave I've never had a subjective issue with this. Generally, I've found overshoot in the second and third bursts more problematic when it comes to the rendering of the highs. When we see a bump on the second and third bursts, it can translate into glare or sandy highs. We don't have this here.

    Otherwise, we are seeing some exceptional decay characteristics here. Decay of the mids bursts drop down to -30db after one cycle. The decays at most of the frequencies tested hit near -40db by the third cycle after the burst is stopped. This normally doesn't happen with the 150Hz, 1.5kHz, and 4.8kHz decays, where with many headphones, they continue on near -30db by the fifth cycle.
     
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  9. purr1n

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    In a nutshell:
    • Exceptional distortion characteristics. Unfortunately I don't have this level of detail for distortion for many other headphones yet, but the LCD-XC is the leader here. Based on other more simplistic distoriton measurements of other Audeze headphones, I've done in the past, I am not surprised. I suspect the higher-end HFMs may compete for the crown.
    • Still a bit heavy. People who are not traditional audiophiles in the personal audio space who I let try out these headphones felt they were on the heavy side.
    • Thin (opposite of full-bodied) tonal signature with a well controlled internal cup reflections for a closed headphone. However the voicing is a departure from the Audeze house sound. Fortunately, Audeze offers DSP profiles for Roon users or one can easily EQ to their taste.
    • Extremely amenable to simple EQ. Some headphones because of their design do not take well to EQ. The Audeze LCD-XC changes dramatically to EQ. Surgical EQ is not required.
     
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  10. ushanka

    ushanka Acquaintance

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    I really find the leading edge in the upper mids interesting. When I listened I found the sound to be really textured in harmonics for higher notes on guitar/piano, thinking 3rd / 4th harmonic region for A5 and up (similar effect with synths also). I wonder if this leading edge accounts for that, or I was just hearing the treble spike around 8k. I didn't have enough time to try equalizing them extensively during the loaner, but this is something that I am keen to test out.

    In comparison, I run HD650 equalized (I use a slightly modified version of oratory1990 harman target preset without the bass shelf because for some reason that gives me nearly flat response when tested with a sine sweep). HD650 is not nearly as textured in this configuration.
     
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