Audeze LCD2C Great Expectations

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Scubadude, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    @Blixy I think you need to understand what a good reviewer is supposed to do.

    To give an example, I couldn't care less if Tyll or Abraham Lincoln opinions on X headphones align with mine, but what I want is a reference point (what he likes, and why, what he doesn't like, and why)...Tyll is really helpful because he is consistent with what type of sound he likes and what type of colorations bother him, not because me or you share the same opinion or not.

    What he did with the WoF will be beneficial in the long run, because that will force manufacturers to release new flagships with a better, more correct tonal balance. Don't know about you, but I couldn't care less for detail and soundstage if the headphone has a 10db 6khz peak and 5% distortion below 200hz.

    You like the LCD-4, Abyss, SR-009? Fine! Buy them and be happy, you don't need the approval of someone else to enjoy something you bought with your hard earned money.
     
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  2. Scubadude

    Scubadude Almost "Made"

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    The Innerfidelity Wall of Fame is no different to the Top Gear Cool Wall. This car is cool 'cause Jeremy says so. This headphone is cool 'cause Tyll says so. Same same. Nothing wrong with that ... their walls to do with as they please. Do agree however the Wall of Fame name is extremely misleading. If it truly was a wall of fame I would expect to see K1000, MDR-R10 and similarly great headphones from the past on there.
     
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  3. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Friend

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    The WOF is a tool really, and it is totally fair to keep it current, otherwise what's the point? If something is better to his ears, it should be there. He always puts it in perspective, gives his reasons clearly.

    Another point to keep in mind is, because there are new headphones on the WOF, that doesn't make any of the other headphones ant less enjoyable. Every headphone that I've heard that was on the WOF, I have an appreciation for. It might nor be my sonic cup O tea, but I can understand it.

    Of course you have every right to get annoyed by it, but don't trash it. It gets kinda annoying for me every time someone brings this up, it puts Tyll (or any reviewer with a similar 'grading system') on a pedestal, when they are, like us, only humans expressing their opinion. Take it or don't.
     
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  4. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Almost "Made"

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    Why is detail retrieval the main criteria for determining how good a headphone is? I find that just one of many features that define a headphone's character. You are missing the point of LCD-2. It is nothing like HD800 and isn't trying to compete against HD800. It is a complement to HD800. LCD-2 is just a relaxing, laid back, pleasant sounding headphone. It really shouldn't be used for analytical critical listening. But there's plenty of room in this hobby for those types of cans too, and I don't think that makes 1 inherently better than the other. I actually have LCD2C and I've never been a huge fan of Audeze myself. I also wouldn't put LCD2C on my own personal WoF, but I do respect the product as it is looks great, feels premium, is comfortable, sound very nice all around, has solid customer service, and has a good warranty. So considering all those things together at the price point it is at, I can see why Tyll would give it WoF status and I don't think he is wrong in doing so.

    I'm not absolutely sure, but I don't think Tyll is using his WoF in that manner. I believe the WoF is targeted at consumers and therefore he tries to keep it current. I think a lot of people that are looking for upgrades will goto his WoF and see what is on there, so in that case it is helpful if the options are products that are readily available to get a hold of. I understand how you view WoF as well, but I don't think that is necessarily how Tyll is framing it.
     
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  5. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    His wall of fame is the headphones he deems as the current benchmarks per their price brackets that other, newer headphones he reviews can be compared to. They're also a reference point for buyers as well.
     
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  6. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    We sure are a neurotic bunch, aren't we?

    When people are upset about the WoF, it's typically because they want their headphone to be on it as validation that they own the best. When their headphone shows up, all is well. When their headphone is taken off, they begin to doubt their purchase and that nagging doubt/upgrade-itis sets in.

    I have some issues with how he runs the WoF as well, because I think it's often subject to FOTM biases, but who cares? If it was really a big deal, I'd start my own. It's not a big deal. So, I won't.

    Anyway, let's get back to discussing the topic of this thread, eh?
     
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  7. Vorlon

    Vorlon self-important, pompous ass

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    Just got my LCD-2C yesterday... Going to be posting a review here after a week or two, this time with everything in one post to minimize the new toy syndrome/confirmation bias.

    One quick question though: are all the yoke rod steps supposed to require the same amount of force to move? Mine are very loose on the lowest setting, but all others are the same (= quite stiff to move, which is optimal). Just wondering if this is a small manufacturing defect or normal behavior. If it's a defect I should be able to get new yokes quickly from the distributor.
     
  8. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    So far, the only thing that I truly dislike about LCD2C are those yokes - excessively stiff. That being said, it is a setup-and-forget thing fortunately.

    To your question - On my personal pair, a significant amount of force required to move between steps. That applies also for the lowest setting.
     
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  9. Vorlon

    Vorlon self-important, pompous ass

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    I was originally planning to do a comprehensive review of these, but it turns out there was a comfort related deal breaker that lead me to sell these on today… Still had a decent amount of time to listen to them* though so I’ll do a stream of consciousness style impressions post instead, first build quality/ergonomics and then sound quality:

    - They look very industrial, almost indestructible. I much prefer this design to their other models that use wooden rings. Finish is quite good, but the Focals are a significant step up in build quality (as expected, they are likely the current market leader in this). There’s just a slight (high end) DIY feel to them, for example in how the screws are all visible. This is obviously a matter of taste though, so there’s no right or wrong here.

    - Mine did not have the cable connector attachment issues that some have reported on Head-Fi, but the headband arch was not 100% identical to the one in the store. Nothing significant, but noticeable. It seems there’s a little individual variance going on there.

    - They have a suction effect when you put them on, but the pressure is quickly relieved and this did not prove to be an issue for me. Time will tell if the drivers hold up, but one would imagine Audeze has done a lot of QA in this department before launching these (especially since they have had so many issues before).

    - The new pads are really comfortable and I much prefer them to the standard leather ones. They are also fantastic with glasses on, no loss of bass at all. Unfortunately they seem to be glued on, but apparently Audeze sells some kind of pad swap kit so it’s no big deal. The earpads were symmetrical on mine, no matching issues.

    - The entire headphone is a modular design, which is really awesome as new headbands for example can easily be swapped. If only the pads were easier to replace then it would be perfect.

    - Compared to previous models the new headband is a major improvement for most people. These are still very heavy headphones, so this part is critical to get right. Unfortunately while initially the headband seemed to have a few millimetres of headroom, in prolonged listening sessions it starts weighing down on my head from the front side only. It would be better if it did that on both sides, but in my case only the front metal part started creating a hotspot. This for me was a complete deal breaker as these were supposed to be my comfortable second headphone (Clears grab your attention and hold it, so they really benefit from having a complementary headphone). I tried to fix this by putting some foam/padding on the metal part, but nothing really worked so in the end I decided to let these go and sold them on.

    - If you are considering these and have a small head, I would recommend avoiding these if you only have a little bit of headroom with the metal band. It might feel ok for 10 minutes at the store, but a couple of hours later your experience might be completely different. A bit of a sloppy design as this is something Audeze could easily have fixed by just having the headband metal part have more headroom by default. This should have been caught in the focus group testing phase. The HIFIMAN headband doesn’t have this issue at all for example.

    - There’s a lot of space in the cups. Just perfect. Not too much like in the HD 800 for a lot of people and not too little like on the HD 600 series.

    - The forward angled cable connectors can be a bit distracting as you can see the cables drop down compared to how they usually disappear from sight on most headphones.

    - These are sold in a simple cardboard box, but then again I’ve never used any of the included cases etc. anyway.

    And most importantly, sound quality:

    - The bass is possibly the best I’ve ever heard. Great impact, clean and extremely extended. Not a surprise considering how well these measure in the bass range. You can also EQ in extra bass and it will stay clean (good luck trying that with the HD 600 series). As many have already mentioned, the fantastic bass response makes these awesome for metal/rock/EDM/hip-hop in particular.

    - Soundstage is better than I expected, although not really reference quality. Still a far cry from the original first generation LCD-2 I owned back in the day that did not seem to have much treble at all. Treble extension is still rolled off, but nowhere near as much as before.

    - Overall frequency response is a bit odd/uneven after lower midrange. I’m not at all used to the Audeze tuning though. Instrument timbre did not sound right and I could easily hear that the vocals range was not very flat, making some lyrics hard to understand sometimes. That being said…

    - The Audeze Reveal plugin improves the tuning significantly to the point where I preferred to always keep it on. My guess: the Reveal tuning is what they would wanted, but could not achieve through mechanical design alone. The frequency response is much more balanced with the plugin and no longer sounds “off” to me. The improvement is the most striking in the midrange. These headphones also take EQ extremely well in general due to their ultra low distortion, so these are in many ways the ultimate headphones for EQ enthusiasts.

    - Midrange is a bit uninvolving/boring both stock and with the plugin, but from what I’ve read this is the Audeze house sound that also on the other hand makes them so easy to listen to. And easy listening they indeed are: if it were not for the comfort issues, I could easily listen to these 5+ hours in a row no problem.

    - Treble is a bit rough and uneven, but this is usually where planars just fall short compared to dynamic drivers. Can likely be much improved through EQ.

    - Imaging is not very precise. This is very apparent when gaming. I was playing PUBG with these and you don’t really get that pin point precision of where the shots are coming from/enemy footsteps. With the Clears imaging is really sharp and you can usually tell where shots are coming from for example with extreme accuracy.

    - They sound very clean, but are also simply not as resolving as top of the line dynamic headphones. When compared to the Clears there’s just a lot of microdetail missing. It’s not like the microdetail is hidden behind a haze like on the HD 650, it’s just not there in the first place. Keep in mind though that I don’t generally like planars that much and much prefer dynamics. This lack of microdetail on the other hand is a part of what makes them so easy to listen to, especially with less than perfectly recorded material.

    - If a lot of stuff is going on simultaneously they can get a bit confused compared to the Clears. For example listen to Unspecial Effects by deadmau5. The Clears always stay composed and if you concentrate you can hear every single small detail and everything sounds as if they are coming from separate speakers (in a good way). In comparison the Audeze cans just can’t keep up and have this “wall of sound” presentation where you know everything is coming from one huge driver. The Clears also have better instrument separation. In my experience all planars seem to have this kind of a presentation. Some people love it, it all comes down to what you prefer. To my ears equal price range dynamics just sound more dynamic in general than planars do.

    - They sound quite fast with good transient response, but the Focals are still significantly faster (but then again they are the fastest headphone I’ve ever heard outside of Stax).

    Would I recommend them? It’s a shame they raised the price as these would be easy to recommend at 600 dollars (~700 euros in Europe as Audeze gear is always quite expensive here), but now especially if you need the case these are basically a ~1k item making comparisons to the Clear while not completely fair, but not that far fetched either. It all comes down to:

    - Do you listen to a lot of music where deep and impactful bass is critical?
    - Are you ok with the headphones weighing a lot?
    - Is your head shape cool with the new headband design?
    - Do you want something that’s intentionally a bit more “easy listening” and masks some detail?
    - Are you willing to use EQ/the Reveal plugin? (the stock FR is a bit too uneven for my taste)

    The more you answer “yes” to the above the more these are for you. I’ll also add that personally I think these in particular make a great complementary headphone for enthusiasts with the Utopia/Clear/HD 800 S (or modded) and so on as their main driver. They are all just so revealing that they are not exactly the best out there for easy listening/chilling out.

    Their main competitor for this role is probably the Sennheiser HD 650, which still wins in comfort, value, has a smoother frequency response and if well driven has superior midrange resolution (behind the grain/haze) in particular. Their bass performance is a complete joke compared to these though and nor are they as dynamic or clean sounding. Their presentation styles are also very different (planar "wall of sound" vs. traditional dynamic driver) though so it all comes down to personal preference. I’ll likely be going back to the trusty HD 650 as my complementary can, but this was a very interesting experience nonetheless.

    * Source: Chord Hugo 2 through coaxial via Schiit Eitr (filter: incisive neutral).
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
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  10. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    You have to bend the headband to conform to your head, then the hotspot goes away.

    Seems like many 2Cs have lopsided headbands at any rate #justaudezethings
     
  11. Vorlon

    Vorlon self-important, pompous ass

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    I tried all kinds of remedies like adding some soft padding under the metal, trying to hold the soft headband part on the sides, bending the metal arc (always came back to default shape) and so on, but it was just too much hassle and to be honest I also missed the smoother frequency response of the HD 650* and its much lower weight... I can see why a lot of people love these though, but they just weren't for me in the end.

    * Not sure if there are any headphones out there that can win against the HD 600/650 in this aspect though... Frequency response smoothness is where they rule supreme.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  12. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    I personally think LCD2 Classic with vegan pads gets very close to 'HD650 with proper bass' description. Actually, for me, it is a dream-come-true headphone precisely due to this. (Though something like PMx2 is going to get you closer to the Senns in terms of overall smoothness and coherency.)

    That being said, if you have a clear preference for dynamic driver sound, I do not think any magnetostat would be able to satisfy you fully. Those drivers are always going to sound differently in their core nature.
     
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  13. Vorlon

    Vorlon self-important, pompous ass

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    This is probably it... Definitely do, I'm a huge dynamic driver fan - not only for full size headphones but IEMs too. They both indeed clearly have their own signature sound that is quite distinctive. Much more so than different driver materials in dynamics. The most expensive planar that I have heard so far is the HE-1000 and they didn't impress me much (at ~1,5k I would have liked them if only the build quality was a little better). Still willing to try cheaper planars again someday though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  14. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Yeah no there's no "gently" with the arch, I grabbed each end around where I wanted it to bend and *flexed* full upper body Charles Atlas style.

    It's spring steel, properly heat treated, and I'm saying this as a hammer & anvil bladesmith, you need pretty major force to deform it, which makes me think of comes out of the factory the wrong shape.

    It's not taking that sideways lope in the box, the box would deform first, this thing is basically a leaf spring from a truck, thinned out; it was *made* lopsided, before they quenched it probably.
     
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  15. TheBarnard

    TheBarnard Friend

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    Is their a general consensus on the variation of the LCD2Cs? After owning numerous LCD2Fs and LCD3Fs and hearing muItiple LCDXs and 4s, it's a big problem. I want to pull the trigger on a pair after hearing my friend's pair, and reading the reviews, but this is my only concern
     
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  16. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Have been experimenting vegan and reveal(-ish)ed lcd2c for one month (roughly two weeks for each). I originally thought lcd2c could not be the main hp at least for me. But now very convinced that either lcd2c-v or lcd2c-r may do.

    Interestingly, these two sound quite different to me.
    • Vegan pads (lcd2c-v) massively changed traits of stock lcd2c. Warmer and softer bass. More neutral-ish tonality. Righter timber. A little forwarding but somewhat relaxed presentation.
    • Reveal-ish eq (main difference from Reveal was no bass-boost) aka lcd2c-r maintained most of good traits of stock - more engagement, hard hitting bass, fast transience, good level of clarity/cleanness/blackness - just abnormalities got pinpoint corrections. Unlike lcd2c-v Idiosyncrasies were not fully eliminated but not bothering any more.
    Honestly I like both. I am seriously considering to grab another lcd2c if holiday discount re-appears.

    Another consideration: vegan pads seem to require way more careful management. and way less friendly to hot weather and sweat (sadly I am living in Texas.. already too warm or little hot now.)


    PS. Heard lcd4 today. Damn. Revealed lcd4 feeding from LG was holy fantastic.. Pure upgrade from lcd2c-r in every aspect. If it was sold at lcd3 price, I would definitely buy one for myself.
     
  17. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    I'm out of audeze products due their drive failures in the past. Any friend that its more up to date can chime in if their resolved those problems in their new line, like the classic?
     
  18. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    IMO Audeze had at least three critical problems as deal-breakers in the past
    1. Driver failure
    2. Between-product variation
    3. LR channel matching failure
    And I guess they intensively (not fully though) resolved those:

    1) I've not seen driver failure issues in any lcd2c report in any community.
    2) Even though there still exists some product variation, the degree of variation is much smaller than the past. And I've not seen any serious LR imbalance issues for lcd2c, either.

    Of course I might be biased (very likely), because I was quite amazed by my lcd2c and recent audition of lcd4.
     
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  19. Ox Cart

    Ox Cart Rando

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    I've been enjoying the sound of my LCD2C. I give my detailed impressions in this review I wrote on Reddit. The comfort issue I mentioned has improved somewhat since then by setting the yokes to a slightly longer size and wearing the headband further back on my head, but comfort-wise they're still my least favorite cans in the stable.

    I find I can enjoy most genres with them (Jazz, pop, blues, rock, EDM), though symphonic and metal music leave me wanting something more. Hence, I've gotten myself some Beyerdynamic DT 1990s. Right now, what I enjoy most on them is classical and pre-classical choral music. I think something about their smooth, slightly reverby sound with good bass extension makes me feel like I'm actually in a cathedral listening to a choir. It's something special indeed!

    The thickness of my pads was slightly mismatched. Audeze took care of the issue promptly and sent me a new pair. The new pair was mismatched too, but between the two pairs I was able to find one pair with fairly equivalent levels of padding. I honestly don't think it made an audible difference to me, but with as much money as I paid for these the cosmetics of it got under my skin and I'm glad to have it resolved.
     
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  20. TheBarnard

    TheBarnard Friend

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    Decided to buy a pair about a week ago and I've had them for a few days.

    My early impression is I immediately enjoy them off the bat more than any LCD2F from early to 2016, and mostly better than lcd3f and lcd-x.

    They sound more of like a mythical LCD2.3/ 2.4. From my only impressions of a 2.2, these seem to have the same bass character, but not as dense, and a little less prominent. Idk how to describe the character I'm referring to, but LCD2 pf, LCD 3 pf, and Hifiman HE500 all share it. It seems much less restrained than the latest LCD2F, even if it doesn't have more or less bass.

    The main win over the 2F is that it has that bass, and ditches the darkbright sig, with steep valley at 4k, no treble, and a big spike at 10k. Everything from the pair I've heard, and pair I bought sound tonally more correct to me, leading me to impossibly try to find a volume level that doesn't sound wrong. It was a serious flaw- the already quiet 2-5k region was overshadowed by a giant spike that I couldn't get over.

    With the 2C, like any other solid headphone I can pick a volume and feel content with everything coming through. It has a slightly more aggressive midrange which I think the 2F really needed. The treble isn't amazing, but its relative evenness makes it perfectly acceptable if I'm in the mood to relax. The experience ends up being a properly thick bass and midrange oriented signature. The 2C can convey all the juicy 2.1-2.2 adjectives the 2F never could, or did, for long.

    Audeze pretty much completely solved the driver failure 2 years ago (specifically late October) with what they've called the 2016 revisions. Classic is almost guaranteed to implement the changes they made
     
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