Audeze LCD2C Great Expectations

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

  1. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    Nice detailed impressions.

    On a side note, is it just me or does 10,000 Days not seem to be as well mastered as Lateralus?
     
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  2. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Yeah, it's not that good. Way hotter & more compressed, I'm remembering hearing some distortions too. Lateralus is a very good mix & master, but the cymbals are pretty loud with most headphones.
     
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  3. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Agreed - I did listen to 10kd a bit throughout the audition, but didn't include it because it doesn't do any favors, i.e., listening to some "bad" recordings and some "good" recordings across different gear can really tell you a lot. 10kd is merely mediocre, from both a recording quality and engagement perspective imho. That Justice album is my go to LP for an over-compressed mess that can still be a very compelling listen.
     
  4. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Friend

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    I've got these on the loaner tour and damn I feel like I might be listening to a different headphone here.
    (EDIT: Of course it should be noted that I am approaching 51 and my hearing is less than perfect)

    Could be just preferences & gear I guess, but here goes.

    My chain is JRiver from my PC>Gungnir D/S (USB)> ifi Pro iCAN or MCTH

    1st thing that strikes me is that the pressure doesn't bother me in the least. There's crinkling if I move them around, but once they're on my ears there's no real issue other than occasional over ear hotness. (for the record, my head is not shaved, but I do have a growing bald spot). Maybe the hair does make a difference.

    Comfort is much improved for me over my 2F as well...and I like that cord...might be short for some setups, but works fine for me.

    Moving into the sound, the bass is really great...classic planar bass...solid, slightly one note on certain tracks...less texture? A touch north of neutral, which is my preference. An improvement over my 2F (IMO...YMMV etc).

    Mids are where I hear the biggest difference from the 2F...smoother overall. They don't sound shouty to me, whereas the 2F does...I've been playing with dampening for the 2F, and don't feel the need with the 2C. I had to go back to 'Go Your Own Way' to check, and it sounded...normal to me. I'm kinda digging the mids. Sure the 650 has it beat for my tastes, but not bad at all.

    Treble sounds like Audeze through & through... laid back, with just enough air not to sound too boring. A little bit peaky, the splash cymbal is slightly recessed on a few tracks, but mostly unoffensive unless you crave treble. Similar enough to the 2F not to really have a preference.

    Headstage is nothing special, but possibly improved over the 2F. Maybe a little more of the 'air around the notes', but still intimate. Narrow, OK height, not that deep.

    Still overall an enjoyable listen, and an improvement over my 2F for my tastes. I wouldn't rush to sell the 2F to buy them (but I'll be selling them anyway). I would do an even trade in a heartbeat. I can understand slapping the Mid-Fi label on them for sure, but it is some of the better Mid-Fi out there, again for my tastes.

    I wouldn't throw them outta bed for playing Justin Bieber (if that's the sonic equivalent of eating crackers).
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  5. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    LCD-2C to me is like junk food. Not healthy, but delicious as hell. We all need it every once in a while to celebrate life.
     
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  6. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    After owning them for over a half a year (since I purchased them new from Moon Audio for $599), I think it is time for me to talk a little more about my impressions.

    I'm going to say this: If you love music that are poorly produced, have tons of music that could benefit from sub-bass response, or you just want to listen to music while you are chillin, I can highly recommend the LCD2C if you can understand its faults.

    My gear is listed in my profile, but I did recently updated to the Jot that I also made an impressions post not too long ago.

    Background: The only other Audeze headphone that I heard was the original LCD2 when it came out in I think 2009/2010 (before the fazors). I loved what I heard, but I hated the weight. That cause me to stay in Grado-Land for seven years. Lately I wanted something that is good for poorly produced modern music. So the stuff that's on the electronic music section on Bandcamp, video game soundtracks, poorly produced albums like Grace Jones - Hurricane (as of today my avatar is the artwork for that album), and stuff that could benefit from that sub-bass.

    Soundstage: Yeah, there's some soundstage on the them. However, it isn't much. I feel that listening to classical music can make the experience a little too claustrophobic at times. Then again, I wouldn't listen to a lot of classical or jazz recordings on these, because......

    Highs: IT'S DARK! The Highs being dark to my ears make listen to jazz and classical on the boring side for me (classical CDs from the Mercury Living Presence and the Blue Note CD releases of the late 80s). But that's fine, for those records that could benefit from air (which the LCD2C has almost none to me) I could just use the Focal Clear. The LCD2C is a life saver for really bright recordings that's a little too much for me on the Clear. In matter of fact, I'm becoming addicted to the dark signature in the Highs. I love this a lot, but I wouldn't use it for like live recordings or recordings that have a "live studio" feel, if that make sense.

    Midrange: I don't think these are the most forward or the most engaging midrange that I heard, but it has a quite non-annoying thing that I like about them. I don't find it "in your face," but it is on the chill side to me. More than acceptable to my ears, but it won't win on details. Micro--dynamics, nah the LCD2C for me won't win on those either. However, it will win by helping you deal with poorly produced tracks that sounds utter garbage on a pure neutral setup. I really do find the midrane to be on the warm side. Steely Dan albums (reference albums Aja, Gaucho and The Royal Scam) brings out the voice of Donald Fagen before he became an old New Yorker. While those albums sound more than good on the LCD2C, the lack of air of the highs and the warmer midrange felt to me I was missing some details and it was not aggressive enough. I put on some Judas Priest - Stained Class and the midrange was still on the warm side, but it wasn't aggressive for me when listening to Rob Halford's voice. Instead, the album was aggressive to me (and grab my attention) with....

    Lows: Da Sub-Bass is unreal. Rock music with heavy hitting bass will be epic on this. Stained Class album sounded great only because the Sub-Bass was like a drug and there's plenty to go around with it. This is not even close to being accurate, but my god it is fun. I was getting guilty pleasure like I went to Whataburger twice in one day when I was playing tons of electronic music and video game music. Crappy produced music sounds great here (the dark highs won't make it sound too bright, the warmer midrange is more on the chill side, and tons of sub-bass to make it fun). Regular bass area I feel like there's a lot to go around. However, it isn't accurate and listening to bass guitar on my jazz albums felt wrong here (like there's too much focus on that region). Heavy Metal and Rock Music sounds good in the lows if the recording hits hard in that region. Could help if the Rock Music record is crap.

    Other Points: Da comfort is the best that I heard from a headphone. The hairband system that Audeze uses is great. Focal, make something similar like the Audeze LCD2C for the headband, because I think it your headband sucks. I can listen to this for hours without worry (while the Clear will drive me nuts after like three hours). Also, since it is a planar headphone it does love power. While the power requirements isn't that high, I did experience that with a more powerful amp that it will bring out more of the sub-bass. I plugged them in the Balance Headphone Amp of the Ayre Codex, and while the Codex drives them fine, it doesn't provide enough sub-bass for fun. Just using the Codex as a Balance DAC and using the Jot as a headphone amp did bring out the sub-bass that I wanted.


    I thought getting them for $599 was a steal. I'm glad I gotten them since it helped me listen to more music that were on the crappy produced side of things. It also make me like darker headphones, since I'm very treble sensitive.

    Because of that, I'm very curious of the ZMF Eikon headphone. I never had a Closed Headphone that sounded really good, and these from listeners believed they are quite good. I don't need another fun headphone in my can stash.
     
  7. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Banned per own request

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    Someone at Massdrop has said, in the comments of the Koss e-stat drop, that the LCD2C was the result of a collaboration with Massdrop that was supposed to be sold on there, but Audeze ditched them after the development process and marketed and sold it on their own instead. As is their right, though it's kind of a rotten move if that's the truth. I suspect there's a more rotten story once you know the whole situation

    Edit: by which I mean that Massdrop aren't squeaky clean either, and there may have been red flags for Audeze that made them decide not to go ahead.
     
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  8. Lyer25

    Lyer25 Too sensitive for SBAF

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    I don't think this is necessarily the best place for rumour mongering, interesting as that story is.
     
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  9. Ash1412

    Ash1412 Friend

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    It's probably not rumour mongering if it's the Head of Collaborations at Massdrop saying it. I'm just surprised they waited this long to reclaim the credit for whats possibly Audeze's best product for the money. At this point I'm not even surprised.
     
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  10. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Banned per own request

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    I'm just saying what Massdrop themselves said, but keeping an open mind about there being more than one side to the story.
     
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  11. wnmnkh

    wnmnkh Friend

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    If I say I am surprised, I would be lying.

    Will probably only spoiled this story now because they would not want to completely burn a bridge with Audeze until they get a confirmation on the collboration going with Koss.

    Now with Koss e-stat going on, I guess it is safe to set a fire on the bridge now.
     
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  12. Lyer25

    Lyer25 Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Fair point. I missed that it was someone working at Massdrop who'd brought it up in the comments. The way I read @MF_Kitten's post was that it was just someone in the comments on the ESP95X drop talking out of a random orifice. My bad!

    That said, the timing is definitely odd. One wonders why it took them this many months to bring this up. Loss of profit aside (because hell you know this was bound to sell), there's still the matter of MD having invested work in this as well. To my knowledge the way this usually works is that someone at Massdrop contacts a manufacturer and pitches an idea for a product, determining direction for things like tuning and appearance, but leaving the bulk of design and prototyping to the manufacturer, e.g. the Fostex collabs. If that same model holds true then Audeze did most of the work, albeit under the auspices of Massdrop.

    The question then would be whether Audeze is in any way beholden to Massdrop, the product being borne of a collaboration between the two only to later be presented as the exclusive effort of the one. Another good question would be what information people not directly involved in the matter should be privy to, since if this is true there almost has to be a storm brewing, and if history has taught us anything it's that releasing and publicly discussing information as it comes to light may cause unwanted consequences (see: Quirino Grandstand hostage taking incident).
     
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  13. MF_Kitten

    MF_Kitten Banned per own request

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    It's entirely Audeze's right to take suggestions and run with them. I don't believe any contracts are drawn up before the discussions take place.
     
  14. Will

    Will Massdrop

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    Hey Friends,

    This is the post you're discussing.

    Why'd I bring this up now? Because my experience with the project was relevant in the response to slappy (Massdrop user I'm responding to). I brought it up offhandedly because it's not a big deal. This kind of thing happens to us regularly in one form or another and it's an innate risk in the way we approach our business. Per my later responses in the thread the community still gets a better product when this happens, so at least the community wins even if we don't get compensated for our work.

    What did Massdrop do in the LCD2C project? Here's a high level overview of our collaboration process to better frame the conversation:

    Genesis of Collaborations

    Our collaborations can stem from a few sets of circumstances, in this case with Audeze, a product manager at Massdrop (CEETEE, me previously, etc) studies the Audiophile community at large, and reaches a concept based on what the community feels about a given product or brand (this is a combination of manual research, and high level insights from the discussions and polls on Massdrop). This initial research step takes about 40 man hours. Once we have some confident conclusions, we define a group of community members for validation, and reach out to validate our conclusions, this takes about 20 man hours.

    On this project, I was the PM, and the conclusion of my research was that the community needed a lighter weight, pre-fazor, LCD2, priced at $599.99 (with $699.99 as a less exciting but still worthwhile back-up if we couldn't reach $599.99 for whatever reason). Validated that concept with the group of community members I defined for this project, and now it's time to pitch our potential partner.

    Pitch Construction

    Broadly speaking, when you present something new or ambitious, you'll have the highest rate of success by presenting something that allows your potential partner to say "yes", and that's all. Seems like an obvious thing to say, but it's the difference between "hey do you want dinner?" and "Hey do you want to go to Chef Chu's at 7pm on Thursday? I've got a reservation". Makes it as little work as possible for the other party, and you're going to have a higher success rate.

    As such, our pitches are as detailed as possible down to volume estimates and proposed order schedules.

    If the partner says yes to the pitch, we bring in our Project Managers and work with our partner to breakdown the deliverables for the project. Every project has a different volume and combination of deliverable, but we break them up the same way every time. We do what we're best positioned to do, and our partners do what they're best positioned to do. Again, seems obvious, but it produces a different outcome every time. It took us about 100 man hours to create the designs, plans, photography, and misc items that represented our deliverables.

    So all in, we had about 160 man hours into the project before Audeze decided to change their approach and release the work on their own site last November.

    I'm explaining all of this because I think it provides useful context around our process and projects. This situation doesn't matter, nobody should really care, this happens all the time in every industry, and I think the community would be better served focusing on the products, instead of running with the incomplete pieces of context available.

    The LC2C is a great product and I'm glad the community finally got what they wanted from Audeze. For every collaboration we release, there are three that never make it to launch, some die mid-process (can't hit the targets, can't hit the costs, brand is concerned about the implications, w/e) and some make it into the world without credit or compensation for our work. If I could snap my fingers and make every mid-process death into a release without credit or comp to us, I would, because at least we're still pushing the industry to make better products for the community.

    Afaik, this thread is for discussing the LCD2C, sorry to the mods if this post derails the thread further, feel free to move to a separate thread or PM me if folks want to discuss this old news further.
     
  15. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    fucking lol. Now available at Audeze for $799! Great headphone @ $500. Complete waste of money @ $800.

    Why does it take more than a decade for anybody to make a $500 headphone that beats a stock HD650, hands down?
     
  16. gLer

    gLer Rando

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    The Elear does that already. As does the LCD2C. Both can be had for ~$500 mint. YMMV.
     
  17. jerg

    jerg Friend

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    Wow, thanks a lot for this overview Will. That was an eye-opening read.

     
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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Sorry, nope. HD650 regular street price for a new unit is $320-$350 depending on time of year/discounts. Elear new street (or, cheapest I've seen without special discounts) is $749. LCD2C, cheapest without special discounts is $699.
     
  19. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    I must say this was one of the most valuable posts I saw on SBAF in a while. Thank you for that!
     
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  20. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    [​IMG]
    LCD-2 Classic - Impressively disappointing
    Cons: Unnatural timbre, ethereal laid back presentation, upper mid suck out, lacking in micro-dynamics, marshmallow soft treble, gets congested, lacks some punch. EQing the upper mid suckout can exacerbate the timbre issue.

    Pros: Lovely tight clean bass, somewhat clear, not too bad on plankton, does well with guitars and coarse vocals, unconstrained soundstage.

    Great for EDM, and maybe some metal. Otherwise you’re better off buying a HD650 and modding it, or better yet an Elex/Eclair.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019

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