Audeze LCD2C Measurements and Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    Depends. Are you looking for a more neutral tonality? If yeah, then it could be worth using the Dekoni velours (which I think are really microfiber, but others can correct me if I gave incorrect information).

    You could try the Dekoni Hybrid. Not sure of its exact effects on FR on a LCD2C though.
     
  2. rendyG

    rendyG Rando

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    Yes I´m looking for a neutral tonality. I enjoy LCD2C with fazors (I´m sucker for tight bottomless bass), but electric guitars and higher pitched vocals sounds bit off compared to my HD580. Looks like I´m gonna try the Dekoni velours, because vegan pads are much more expensive and hard to get.. I just hope they wont hurt the bass extension too much.
    Will report back when they arrive.
     
  3. psuKinger

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    I'm not very skilled in the art of crafting PEQ settings, so apologies for what is probably a dumb question, because I sure am interested in learning... I *really* like Roon's default LCD-2C settings, and find it be a very enjoyable improvement over not using any DSP at all.

    Probably an obvious/stupid question to someone more knowledgable... but are your settings applied to "Band 1" (Greenish/Blue dot)?
     
  4. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Has anyone had a chance to try the Dekoni Hybrid pads? The benefits of the velours sound right up my alley but I don't want to dull the bass at all which is my favorite aspect of this headphone.
     
  5. ShoobdaLoob

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    I'm just going to come in on this thread and say that I just replaced my LCD2 Rev2 Fazor Sheepskin pads with dekoni elite velour pads.

    They are microfiber.
    They do make the sound more balanced and smooths out the weird scooping at the upper end.

    Unfortunately, they do get rid of the sub-bass extension and bass linearity that makes this headphone superb. The one thing it excels at has been removed.

    Things I learned: time to buy a pair of LCD-X or LCD-3.
     
  6. rendyG

    rendyG Rando

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    I also changed the pads to Dekoni velours recently and I was happy with the change. Highs became smoother and less grainy (maybe because the 7k peak dropped?). The biggest improvement was in upper mids, the dip is gone, but the overall tonality remains laid back. Also the 1k rise was smoothed, so voices were not pushed forward anymore (it didn't bother me personally).

    I also experimented with 3D printed fazors on both sides. At first I really liked the results of putting fazors on (mainly on earside) - more microdetail and better imaging I think, but it wasn't easy to judge as I couldn't A/B it against another unit and I don't want to rely just on memory.. However I removed the fazor on ear side, because I missed the soundstage. With fazors everything was more focused, lets say closer to HD600..

    Even though I think LCD2C with velour are more neutral and natural sounding with velours, I have to agree with the post above. The thing which makes LCD2C exciting (for me) is the extended and textured bass, but when you swap to velours, the extension suffers a bit. Tough choice, depends on personal preference ofc.
    Its a shame that LCD2C doesn't have the magnetic earpads like Verum has. It would make the life with LCD much easier (maybe its possible, but didn't try it).

    Btw, if anyone in EU would like to try the LCD2C with dekonis/pleathers, let me know. I'll probably be selling my pair and saving for Ananda.
     
  7. robot zombie

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    Really need to do a write-up on these at some point. I've had them for a few months and I do like em.

    But right now I wanna talk about pads. I thought all that could be said about pads for the LCD2C had already been said, until I started messing with them.

    Did you know that Audeze is doing a soft revision on their pads for LCD models? That's just what their rep said. I don't know what pads other models had before, but the 2C's were memory foam with the murder-free leather - that's what my pair had. Apparently those pads are no more.

    I learned this the hard way when I started rolling them. See, I wanted to retain the original ones for comparison, or in case those ended up being the favorite. But I ripped one and needed to grab a replacement pair.

    The pair I got kinda shocked me. They looked the same as the non-leather memory foam ones I had, but they were so much lighter. "And what's this? No memory foam?" Nope. They've replaced that with what feels more like regular open cell. Otherwise, it almost looks identical. All of the other materials, shape, and everything are the same. The only visible difference is that it is thinner/shorter on the low side, where the seam is. You only know when you squeeze them that they're different pads.

    Not gonna lie, I was legitimately kinda mad about that! I thought they were ripping me off with $80 'replacements' that were a downgrade. I might not have rolled them if I knew.

    So I asked Audeze about it and they said that no, these are the better pads and they're switching all of their LCD models over to them. They also said that it was a recent switch, and had only just sold down their own stock of old memory foam pads. I managed to snag a pair by going through their official sellers, who will probably still have some left for a while. Moon Audio still has some, not that anybody else wants them.


    I still think that's a crazy switch, but I decided to try them, thinking that there might actually be some sonic benefit... or more knowing that memory foam is fucky sometimes.

    Comfort-wise, it's hard to say. That was arguably the best part about the OGs. They could be firm, yet also supple. I love the way the memory foam sets. Like having two fake tits pressed just a little too affectionately across the sides of your head and face. Only a little... like they've been missing you a little extra. But the regular foam is cooler and also reduces the clamp noticeably. They're not bad. They don't feel cheap. The synth outer is still soft and comfortable. They do bring the cups a little closer. Doesn't hit my ear but on their fazor models? Ehhh....

    Sound-wise, I'm not sure how I feel about them. I'm going to live with them for a bit before going to v1 for a while.

    Coming from the Dekoni Velours, these are closer to what I remember from the v1's. But not quite the same. The extension lost to the Dekoni's came back. It's got that bass texture, too. I wasn't sure before, now I know that's what those velours are missing for me. Those Dekoni's just don't have that slap, that meaty chonk that the stock pads had. What the Dekoni's did to the fun factor of these bummed me out and that's why I'm still playing with stock pads. To me the Dekoni's make them sound like dried-out HD650s... just flat and boring... too polite. That's being harsh - they're actually great pads and I can see why they make this headphone for some people. Just SO close! The tonal balance is night and day better on the Dekoni's, vocals sit a lot better and you can really make out more treble detail due to it being more refined but the bass turns all shy and papery! These aren't my serious, neutral cans. I want them to sound a little ridiculous. They're good at that. And while the Dekoni's really do A LOT to fix problems with the sound, it also loses the things that most make the headphone stand out. That fluidity and dynamism that really makes them special. IMO and IME.

    The v2 treble seems unchanged from original but I DID notice that the presence dip isn't as bad. Vocals sound a little less nasally, guitars less underwater... and really everything is just more open. The treble IS different - it sounds more expanded laterally. Still not very refined. But it's all in all a little crisper, a little less constrained. They really do sound a little more balanced overall. The Dekoni's were arguably more neutral, but again they don't preserve the low-end fun factor nearly as well. These are at least close. They're a tad bit lighter on their feet. Less warm. Definitely not quite as lush. But only by a little. Just enough to notice it.

    So I think maybe it might've addressed the midrange bump a little bit. You also lose a little bit of seal - the pull-out 'thonk' isn't as thonky, I think the extension is far above what the velours pack but the overall presence isn't quiiiite like the originals. It loses a bit of that bass and low-mid tautness that I originally loved them for. Those are the main differences. It seems small but it definitely changes the overall presentation of the sound. I think most people would prefer them over the memory foam they used to use. For sure more balanced, though the Dekoni's are still more so, have better treble, as well as the comfier memory foam AND fine velour. You just lose that house sound with the Dekoni's, whereas these just tweak that sound a little.

    Maybe this little tweak was for the better. I still need to go back and run some comparisons between v2 and v1. I feel like they're still noooot quite there. There's something going on with the transients on the originals that I don't think I'm fully getting with these and I KNOW the Dekoni's lost. It's hard to pin down. But I think I would rather EQ with stock pads to save that than smooth the rest of the issues over with pads and lose it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
  8. robot zombie

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    I ended up swapping back to the original memory foam pads early, due to having the Jot 2 loaner on hand. There is a definite difference!

    First thing, before playing any music. The seal is massively different with v1. The v2 pads let in a lot more outside noise. It becomes more obvious when you pull the cups back from your ears and drop them. There's a dull thud inside of your head and underneath that are the membranes shifting. Tap on a pad and hear a rumbling 'bummm bum bummm.' There's actual resonance. Or you can pinch the sides of one with it on your head and feel the corresponding pressure exerting on your ear. Not so much a thing with the plain foam. I don't ever remember hearing that crackle, or feeling the vague pressure between my ears and the drivers. The seal on the v2's is barely detectable by comparison.

    So it seems the memory foam has a rather large impact on the seal. I mean, you can really feel it on your head with these. The pads really feel like they want to stay put... unlike the v2 foam pads, which can slide freely enough that if you spin your head side to side, they'll lift off of your head a little. The clamp difference isn't enough to make that happen. It's all how they seat.

    How does this affect the sound?

    I'll go down the list of things different from the v2. Soundstage is narrower, and voices especially sit front and center. Not surprising, midrange hump. Slight bass extension advantage. Full bass presence seems to reach down another octave... I'm talking about the threshold in bass between 'it's there' and 'it's hitting'. Darker tonal profile. Honestly, the treble peak is less audible with these than with the new pads, even though it's also less refined and detailed overall. I find this preferable to the new pads, which offered a more balanced, but drier treble presentation. It's the difference between high-volume listening and not for me. I can almost say for certain the presence dip is significantly worse with v1... so you get a bit of that congested feel and certain instruments almost sound like they have too much fundamental... or they're all overtones.

    But what I find most interesting is this magical dynamic quality I'm getting with these memory foam pads. There really is just something about them. There's a fluidity in the low end up to the mids where everything just congeals perfectly. This actually goes all the way up the FR, but it's more obvious the lower you go. I have a sense of this rhythmic superstructure between different sounds in different frequency bands... such as the way a hi-hat interlocks with a kick or bass guitar. The sound is like a monolith constructed of differently-shaped bricks that somehow always fit perfectly. Every sound just falls into place, like you're getting a whole package, not to be disassembled.

    It's just one of those visceral things - you know when you're hearing it and when you aren't. Percussion sounds are almost perfectly locked-in and quick, yet just slightly rounded while the bassline hangs-on like peanut butter and the sweeter accompaniments in the treble jelly seep right into it all. There's a texture and fullness to everything with decent energy down there. There's this emergence and bounce that only seems to come out when you get that seal. Just this very tight and lively bass and mid presentation. It has SCALE too. The bass has scale - it makes the entire sound field seem orders of magnitude taller and wider. Every pad I've tried without that seal has almost completely lost all of that.

    Separation is also weirdly better. I suspect this is mostly blackground. It's something I especially notice with modern metal where there is a lot going on and many fast changes in momentum. These headphones, with these pads, have been the only ones to allow me to discreetly hear 4 electric guitars, a synthesizer, full drum kit in full use, a vocal soaring along, and clean bass... as in, to where I can isolate any one of those instruments. With these pads, and only these pads, do you hear just how smooth and clean the transients are on the LCD2Cs. You give up on the tonality in order to get at rhythmic qualities that other headphones, least of all dynamics, portray well, if at all. It confused me at first because it doesn't sound like it has that going for it at first, the FR gives it this haze. But when you get going, it's like a vacuum chamber for fast, substantial sounds. I missed this so much with other pads.

    I'm beginning to understand, this just is a "for better or worse" headphone. Try to clean the treble, smudge out the bass. Clean up the bass, smudge out the treble. And of course the midrange is always unnatural. That said, I prefer Audeze's original approach with the memory foam pads. You get something that's flawed, but very interesting. The OG's still win the day for me, just on the unique technicalities they seem to facilitate, that every other pad loses fixing just about anything else.

    Also gotta add, I think these memory foam pads are among my favorite pads to ship on any headphone. They're so nice and comfortable to me. If only they could've gotten these cans to play nice with the tone. The new pads strike me as a case of 'different, not better.' IDK. I'm getting some alcantara suede mock-ups from Vesper, so at some point I'll try those. But at this point, I'm pretty convinced a lot of the magic I'm hearing is due entirely to the seal created by the memory foam on smooth, flat material. Without that, it's like these headphones lose their mojo. Just IMO and IME, of course.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021
  9. donunus

    donunus Friend

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    Can anyone else weigh in with their experience with the latest pads on these? I wonder if anyone has measured the difference yet.
     
  10. Philimon

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    This site has an interesting review and measurements of LCD2C (2021) and LCDX (2021).:
    https://www.techpowerup.com/review/audeze-lcd-x-2021-and-reveal-plug-in/5.html
    - His description of ear gain / HRTF is interesting. Photo based pinna EQ application.
    - LCD2C now comes with the nice econo travel case and updated pads.

    Reviewer liked LCD2C’s warmer frequency response but wasnt clear which he preferred overall in terms of tone. He notes LCDX is far more technically capable. Im guessing the reviewer was being coy for diplomatic reasons.

    I took advantage of the B-stock sale and ordered both LCD2C and LCDX with the goal of comparing then returning one. I wonder if Ill struggle to choose when price is a factor. How crazy would it be if I preferred LCD2C regardless of price? Im guessing a modicum of EQ could make any tonal difference trivial so then would be no reason to choose LCD2C exept price.

    B-stock prices:
    - LCD2C (2022) $450
    - LCDX (2022) $700
     
  11. donunus

    donunus Friend

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    I would be interested to know your thoughts once you get them. How they compare in tone and enjoyment factor
     
  12. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    [​IMG]
    - Nice “econo” travel case confirmed for 2022 LCD2C.
    - Compared to LCDX (2022) pads appear to be same dimension and of same foam, but LCD2C pad material feels cheaper and thinner (possibly pleather). Same difference in headband supports as well. Without close inspection both headphones and packaging look identical.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
  13. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    First Impressions

    I listened to half a song* on LCDX before wanting to try LCD2C instead:
    - mid-forward, slight peak in highs
    - was expecting obvious new levels of resolution but not on this song apparently
    - ergonomics way more comfortable than expected

    Halfway through same song on LCD2C:
    - immediately sounds more balanced (ime)
    - id like a smidge more bass and smidge less highs, but its not displeasing (unlike LCDX)
    ...
    - Ive now completed my test track playlist with LCD2C and did not feel perturbed or disturbed. Good!

    *Beck - Guess Im Doing Fine - Sea Change (Mofi)

    ---------------------------

    Without A/B and probably only a half dozen listening sessions with HE500 (I own), a comparison vs LCD2C:
    - I feel HE500 has a little more (preferable) bass in comparison to LCD2C
    - HE500 soundstage narrower
    - in terms of resolution I get the impression vocals and electric guitar are a little more detailed with LCD2C

    -------------------------

    Later and with more clear description:
    - A/B the two Audeze
    - A/B vs HE500
    Sooner:
    - measure and check L/R balance
     
  14. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    EARS
    LCD2C 2022.jpg
    LCDX 2022.jpg
    LCDX (2022) VS LCD2C (2022).jpg
    LCD2C (2022) VS HE500 (dekvel t50rp).jpg
    ^ HE500 using Dekoni T50RP velour pads
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
  15. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    LCD2C (2022) channel balance on flat plate coupler. Looks good!
    LCD2C channel balance.jpg
    ^ Uses a different compensation curve than EARS. I tend to think FPC measured bass is more accurate but Im basshead.

    10+ year old HE500 channel balance for comparison:
    HE500 channel balance.jpg
     
  16. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    CSD, grain of salt fwiw, flat-plate coupler:
    LCD2C CSD.jpg
    LCDX CSD.jpg
     
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Thanks for sharing measurements and your thoughts. Nice job!, @Philimon

    I somehow forgot the back damping material changed in 2022. Very likely it does change tonal balance particularly in top ends. I'm guessing the old foam disc lifts whole treble by a few decibels, which also affects energy around 8.5khz by comparison (2022 vs 2021).

    I still think 2022-x might be a bit better balanced to my taste than 2022-2c in measurements (2c's 3khz looks less cohesive to its surroundings + Almost 10db lower sound pressure level in presence and brilliance regions). But of course I don't know how they both actually sound to my ears -- I didn't hear 2022 audeze at all (except for totally differently voiced lcd-5). Anyway I'm motivated to stop recommending lcdx when I'm asked to advise headphone purchases lol.
     
  18. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    I think the 3kHz blip is what mightve given me the impression of more detailed vocal and electric guitar. As you know more technical analysis is much more difficult especially with my ears but I hope to add some to my Final Impressions later.

    Im guessing the LCDX (2022) driver is over damped which would explain the weird elongated bass roll off (starting at like 100Hz) as well as the perception that it had less bass (less dynamic) despite little difference in freq response measures. But it was a very short demo AND I was coming from listening to T50RP for the past few weeks which are transformed to bass cannon mode so there may have been some conditioning that led to initial shock when first trying LCDX.

    Based on first impressions I would definitely take LCD2C over LCDX. But due to LCDX’s fancier driver tech I wonder how padrolling might improve LCDX to my preference. If overdamped then porous pad like Dekoni velour might help. I need to check if Audeze’s return policy is voided by padrolling.

    At $450 I am impressed with LCD2C 2022. Agreeable tuning, fantastic build quality and comfort, USA made, sweet travel case, and 3year warranty.

    LCDX has two more cons in comparison not mentioned yet, weighs a little more and is more sensitive (more troublesome with high gain amps). It took extra care to measure LCDX on FPC lastnight because the little extra weight was just enough to cause the headphone to slide down a bit from center position on the coupler.

    edit: LCDX with porous pads measurements, the playing field has been leveled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2022
  19. Philimon

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    [​IMG]
    On some recordings (eg Kyuss - Blues for the Red Sun), LCD2C (2022) highs can be a little too forward and piercing. EQ or felt front filter helps.

    FPC:
    LCD2C.jpg
    LCD2C felt filter.jpg
    EARS:
    LCD2C m1 VS LCD2C (2022).jpg
    I wondered if felt would have a stronger effect upon possible resonance issues than EQ but its not so apparent. FPC, and limits pulled out for effect.:
    LCD2C CSD (2).jpg
    LCD2C Loki+ 8k@10.5 CSD.jpg
    LCD2C felt filter CSD.jpg
    Reminder, LCD2C does not use Fazor. My CSD of LCDX (2022) had little better resonance characteristics. I believe Audeze does not mention resonance as a reason for Fazor. LCDX looks a bit neater than LCD2C but different drivers anyway so not really comparable. FPC, and limits pulled out for effect...:
    LCDX CSD (2).jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2022
  20. Philimon

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    HE500 vs LCD2C vs LCDX

    Respective price points: $250 (fixer upper with no warranty), $450 (b-stock), $650 (b-stock)
    - in terms of value Id consider these competitive price points relative to each other

    HE500 (Dekoni T50RP velour pads)

    - Preferred tonal balance of all three but only by a small margin, mainly because the highs were the least distracting.
    - slightly more treble presence which is preferable for rock music, however the bass is a little less impactful compared to Audeze which negates the idea that HE500 might be overall preferable for rock music. ymmv as my HE500 is using velour pads.
    - Soundstage is squashed on the z-axis, and the x-axis is on the small side. Good Z-axis soundstage is a challenge for any headphone ime but HE500 is particularly flat here.
    - While not in any single way more resolving than Audeze LCD2C it is pretty comparable, and it’s overall smoother tone and strong center image made it easy to not get distracted and just listen calmly. Good and bad. Good because I usually listen as a secondary focus to some other activity (aka background music). Bad because its not as resolving as others.
    - Good all around headphone. Cant recommend because does not come with a warranty.

    LCD2C (2022)
    - Not far off in tone from HE500, the major problem is a bit of brightness. I am sensitive to 8kHz peaks and LCD2C has such a peak with some resonance. HE500 has a peak and some resonance around 10KHz but those don’t bother me.
    - Bass has a bit more definition and weight compared to HE500. Again could be a velour vs leather pad thing with HE500. IME all the leather pads I tried on HE500 came with unacceptable trade offs. I wish both headphones had a bit more bass.
    - Soundstage: LCD2C has z-axis! There is more clear space between instruments and they aren’t emanating from a single-plane. LCD2C is not superb in imaging depth, (from memory) 6XX or BP800 would win here. HE500 is just weak here.
    - LCD2C is a tiny bit more resolving than HE500 from bottom to top.
    - The slight brightness of 8KHz is a bit of a sore thumb and is more of a hurdle than HE500’s flat soundstage. I don’t feel a desire to exchange HE500 for LCD2C.
    - 3 year warranty and made locally in USA! Recommended! if you can handle the small highs peak or are willing to mod or EQ.

    LCDX (2022)
    - Not as mid-forward as I felt in first impressions. I was coming from weeks of listening to bass cannon mod T50RP so most things would sound bass-lite in comparison.
    - A little warmer than LCD2C: Less upper mids which gives LCDX a little better balance.
    - LCDX is quite a bit more resolving than LCD2C and HE500. While LCDX may have peakier highs than LCD2C it is actually less distracting because its sounds like less of a mess due to the higher resolution. Cymbals resemble cymbals instead of a splash of brightness… LCDX brightness is preferable to LCD2C brightness.
    - Improved resolution and transients throughout. Could hear more nuance, harmonics, and deeper into just about every instrument.
    - Sweeter due to less grain while still dynamic.
    - Image depth is holographic in comparison to LCD2C, its a clear tier above.
    - Worth the $200 premium over LCD2C.
    - Recommended! if you can handle the small highs peak or are willing to mod or EQ.
     

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