Audeze x RhythmDevils LCD-X Definitive Edition Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Jun 20, 2022.

  1. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    I do own the Verum's and since i absolutely love them (despite everything that have happened and i usually don't mention them) i thought maybe an upgrade would be something that i would appreciate.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  2. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I have the Verums, the LCD-x, and listened to the RD LCD-x DE prior to @purr1n getting them in his hands (thoughts here). I consider the RD version a definite upgrade for verum lovers and I am first in the queue to send my LCD-x for the mods (whenever RD gets a reliable supply of parts - the "straws" are holding things up).

    FWIW, the stock LCD-x are an upgrade to the Verums in the technicalities, but to my ears the verums are superior in both tonality and timbre to the stock. I'm holding onto my verums until I can get the modded LCD-x in my hands.
     
  3. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    @purr1n not sure if there's anything to be gleaned here, but I thought I'd take a look at what happens if you gang up all of the attack charts and all of the decay charts on the same grid.*

    * I traced your charts in Adobe Illustrator, so my plots are not 100% accurate but close enough for playing around with this.

    Notes on the visual below
    • Top row for each headphone are all of the frequency bursts overlaid on top of eachother
    • Bottom row for each headphone is visualizing the amount of divergence amongst the burst plots by shading in the area between the minimums and maximums over time (magenta)
    • Looking at the magenta shaded area, notice that the degree of burst divergence is greater for the stock LCD-X than in the RD-modded LCD-X.
    Questions:
    • Is it a good thing if the attack and/or decay bursts follow more similar slopes/paths (almost like channel matching)?
    • If the bursts do follow more similar slopes/paths and there is less divergence between min/max values over time, does this correlate to better sound?
    • Does less burst divergence correspond to better reproduction of a particular sound characteristic? Maybe micro/plankton/resolution is better on headphones with less burst divergence?

    sbaf-attack-decay-gang-ups-r01-01.png
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    To be honest, I've never thought about looking at it this way! Divergence of burst response throughout the audio band from lows to highs.

    I honestly cannot answer you question other than I've always valued "coherence" from lows to highs. For example, how I've disliked most hybrid driver IEMs and the small Martin Logan e-stats with woofers at the bottom.

    You could be on to something here...

    To do this correctly, I'd have to rejigger the process to take several samples and average them for each attack and decay envelope. From what I've seen, these measurement are more or less consistent, but there is minor variance, so more samples is always good. This is easy enough to do in software. I need to redo the code for this anyway, maybe hit more frequencies in between.
     
  5. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    it would be interesting to see plots like these for a bunch of different headphones to see if there is a correlation between what is generally considered good technicalities and those that may be lacking
     
  6. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: E.T.A Headphones

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    The more headphone designs I've measured and iterated, the more I have veered towards the idea that frequency response is actually a poor indicator of my own preference (aside from the presence of intolerable narrow peaks), and it's rather how transients are expressed across the tonal response that makes things 'click' for me in terms of cohesiveness. This is an novel way to visualize things and it seems this headphone is exceptionally well controlled in that regard.

    BTW props to RD for having the guts to tune things by ear - this takes an immense amount of confidence. Measurements lie (or at least, hold limited scope in terms of subjective evaluation if we only look at FR, distortion, CSD), but a well trained ear is king. These seem amazing!
     
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  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Not at all actually. I have a set of mods specifically for the LCD-4z which I believe are finished. I can't open up the back of the magnesium housed LCD's' as much as the LCD-X or LCD-4 so they're not as open sounding, but more resolving than my LCD-X. But I definitely wasn't trying to turn the stock LCD=X into a stock LCD-4z. I don't like the LCD-4z stock. All my modded Audeze's bend their sound to my own sonic vision and aren't like any stock Audeze. My mods are all faster, more resolving, more open and more neutral than stock Audeze's.

    There's a lot I could say about this as I have owned the Verum. But I don't know if it's appropriate for me to compare my modded LCD-X to another commercial ortho headphone. It's too bad because most of what I would say is just technical and not really subjective.

    Suffice it to say I like the tone and timbre and FR of the Verums but dislike many other aspects about them to the extent they are unlistenable to me as someone who mods orthos and understands at least intuitively how they are functioning.


    Thanks! In over 10 years modding orthos I've never owned any measurement gear, and beyond that I also don't use any test tones or sweeps or anything like that. All my mods are done using nothing but music and my ears. I just think this is the best way. If it sounds good, it is good. I do have a variety of test tracks that are good at picking up various problems, but I also just listen to different music with them to try to catch problems and improve them.

    @purr1n you should listen to this song with my modded LCD-X! They do all genres well to my ears, but there is something special about how they render jazz.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Will get back to this tonight...
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    You mean like this?
    DSCF0165 (Large).JPG

    BTW, this was a great selection. Thank you and thanks to SBAF! I haven't gone through the box yet, but I did see Korean "Advanced tangy-as F Hi-Chews". I often say that I don't like jazz. But this is not true. I'm simply extremely selective of jazz (as I am of country). This is an excellent choice and I am glad I have this on vinyl.

    P.S. The Audeze x Rhythmdevils LCD-X Definitive Edition headphones sounds fantastic from the custom 45 Studio - neutral across with great bite and on scooped mids (it's a 45 amp, it's not laid back.). The Studio B with the WE 300Bs worked well too, but with more warmth and body. The LG and Super 7 would have made these headphones more laid back. Part of the reason is how these amps are voiced. The other part is that the LCD-X have very low impedance, lower impedance than most other orthos, but still a bit higher than most speaker loads. Although fairly efficient, the LCD-X do like current. (The Super 7 does horrible as a speaker amp).

    That's 20-ohms.

    Audeze x Rhythmdevils LCD-X Definitive Edition
    Impedance and Electrical Phase
    YEL= free air
    GRN= on head
    upload_2022-6-22_22-13-49.png
     
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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    This method was intended to glean a bit more about transient response behavior, so as such it's less about good or bad. At least that's how I see it. I don't necessarily see "fast" sounding headphones as good nor "slow" sounding headphones as bad. It's more different. For example, we've already discussed how a little overshoot on the first sine wave for the 500Hz and 1500Hz burst series may result in better articulation of the lows. The HD800's don't have these characteristic on its burst envelopes, and subjectively they are considered on the average or even a bit slow side, so there's some correlation there. I'm not certain which one is better than the other. It's different for sure.

    Now having said all this, I have seen a few things that I know will bug me with high correlation to subjective experience of sound phenomena.

    "Limpdick" gooey and overly smooth bass
    The limp attack that never quite gets to steady state even after 10 cycles and the decay that never ends.
    upload_2022-6-22_22-28-50.png

    Indistinct blurry bass
    We'd think this would be a good, nice bass attack. But it doesn't work that way. Fast bass exists higher in the spectrum. Sometimes stuff is counter-intuitive.
    upload_2022-6-22_22-31-15.png

    Grainy, prickly, sandy highs, or fake "fast"
    It's that broad bump across the first cycle and second cycles that really does it. I've never liked the highs of headphones with this characteristic. A bump after the second by itself doesn't sound as bad and to be easily corrected with upstream components. Also a narrow localized peak right on the first line I don't find bothersome unless it's super high.
    upload_2022-6-22_22-34-42.png
    upload_2022-6-22_22-43-38.png

    Now with the "good", the transients attacks that I really happen to like, and still like to this day are with the SR1a. They are consistent through the frequencies and almost perfect with not much overshoot or undershoot in the bursts until they reach steady state. But this doesn't mean if the attack envelope isn't "perfect" that it doesn't also sound good.
    upload_2022-6-22_22-47-22.png

    Finally, there is still much to learn, especially with these measurements. Taking one set of simplistic measurements, of which there are millions, looking at them, and then deciding good or bad with a Pink Panther is not science. It's religious extremism.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2022
  11. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Agreed... but what I was wondering was if we took a number of headphones that everyone considered as having great technicalities and compared to some that most consider poor in this area... would the overlaid graph that @Boops did show us anything of interest? Or would they all pretty much look the same with nothing to be gleaned?

    I'm just reaching for additional understanding of what we hear...
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    That's the ongoing process. Getting more data on more headphones and seeing more of the graphs. Think about how long it took people to understand basic frequency response. Another part of it could be a data presentation / visualization issue, not making things which are sonically relevant pop up. Visualization is hard because we don't want to get too loose (not see things that we can hear) or get too tight (make a big deal about stuff that doesn't matter - cough, cough ASR). On the other hand, there's not much difference between the transient response of an HD650 and anHD800, or an HD800 and an ZMF Atrium.

    However there is quite a bit of difference between the HD650 (damped housing) and the this headphone here! See below. From a frequency response perspective, the HD650 has localized peak around 5-6k, is one needs to not be careful at all with respect to upstream components. The HD650 can get away with delta-sigma DACs and very "solid-state" sounding amps. The modded LCD-X cannot. I think the 4.8k and to a lesser extent the 1.5k envelope explains this. The 500Hz and 1.5kHz may also point to the stronger edge articulation of the modded LCD-X.

    [​IMG]

    B1696 HD650 (dampened housing).wav_burst.jpg
     
  13. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

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    @purr1n @CEE TEE: Could you provide a link to some introductory reading about how these wave burst attack and decay data are generated and how to read and interpret them? I am keen on understanding these graphs but need some help to get started.
     
  14. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE MOT: NITSCH

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    They evolved and you can see the journey here:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/burst-response-hd800-sr-207-hd650.3688/

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...se-hd800-sr-207-hd650.3688/page-4#post-128324

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...e-hd800-sr-207-hd650.3688/page-10#post-296356

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...e-hd800-sr-207-hd650.3688/page-12#post-297311
     
  15. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    Are those measurements sensitive enough to show differences in amps and dacs? Since amps and dacs usually affect the tonality through transients, those measurements maybe helpful for knowing how electronics sound like.

    I think we need to rely less on AP gear and measure where it's most useful for us, out of the transducers! Your recent SINAD graphs are huge step forward.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  16. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Copied from other thread by request
    ----------------
    Modded Audeze LCD-X (take 2)

    @rhythmdevils updated his mods (with the white straws/different grille materail) and asked me to re-listen before sending to @purr1n. So... please read my review of the OG Modded Audeze LCD-X for proper context... because this review will be very short. The setup and playlist was identical this time around

    Conclusion
    Sonically, RD nailed it and these are the mash-up of the OG mod and stock that I was looking for, while sounding even more open than I remember the OG mod. Bass quantity is 98% of the stock and 100% of the speed from the OG mod. Mids seem to reach that mash-up of OG vs stock that I was looking for - keeping the best qualities of both. Treble was dialed back slightly from the OG mod... perfect. I simply have no sonic nits to pick.

    From an ergo standpoint, I still prefer the deeper angled pads of the stock, because the shallower pads put the fazor/resonance strip smack against my ears. RD indicated that he can eliminate that problem by relocating the resonance strips to the back of the driver. If so, then this hits total win category for me... sign me up!

    -----edit-----
    added link to other thread
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2022
  17. Soups

    Soups Sadomasochistic cat

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    Copied from other thread by request
    ---
    RD Modded Audeze LCD-X

    Chain: USBridge Signature > Yggdrasil A2 (Unison USB) > Liquid Gold X (Bal) || Phonitor X (Bal)

    Big thank you to @rhythmdevils for the opportunity to listen to his modded LCD-X and LauX via loaner. This modded version is my first time listening to an LCD-X, and the only other Audeze I've heard is the LCD-2C, which I bought and promptly returned for its dark stool inspired tonality, which I refer to as the Audeze "OutHouse" Sound.

    But with these - I'm going to start by sounding a bit gushy - because I really enjoyed their excellent tonality. It sounded so well balanced across the whole spectrum, while completely avoiding the mistake of being neutral-boring. They seem to tilt slightly warm via the LauX but not in an overly-smoothed way. In fact, "neutral" is mostly a good thing to my ears and doesn't veer into "boring" until it neuters the mids - reducing them too much. And although I don't have a ton of experience with planars, these are the best planar mids I've heard, reminding me of the HD650's, especially listening to female vocals, but with better extension in both highs and lows. I was second guessing myself on this, but it seems like I'm not the only one hearing some similarities between these two?

    Now the only thing that I wish was different tonally was MOAR of that planar low-end... both slam and rumble. Could be this bass-head is asking for something that will throw off the delicate perceptual balance, but the bass was my favorite feature of the stock LCD-2C, which I admit, wasn't enough to win me over.

    As far as technicalities - resolution wise, these seemed really comparable to my Focal Clears. In fact, RD's LCD-X seems to best them in terms of clarity, with both a better sense of layering and separation. The Audeze's also sounded a tad faster to me as well. The stage still felt wider with the Clears, which is not what they're known for. But even then I was pleasantly surprised with how open & wide the LCD-X sounded, even with everything feeling a bit closer to the front rows.

    One final note is that the Phonitor X is really NOT the best pairing with these. The Phonitor very much out resolves the LauX adding even more air, reverb decay, layering/separation - but at the expense of making these headphones sound a tad bit shouty in the lower treble and leaner in the bass. Which is also one good reason to at least hear these with the LauX as a baseline before trying other amps.

    All that said, I wish I had more time with these and was sad to ship them off. I'm really tempted now to save up for a pair of Audezes for rhythmdevils to mod.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2022
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    Possibly. Just haven't had time to explore. I suspect we would have to look closer in to visualize the differences.
     
  19. CaptainCope

    CaptainCope Almost "Made"

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    -- Copied from other thread --

    Modded Audeze LCD-X


    Had these on my desk for a number of days and here is a phone picture -- with the left and right cables inverted (sigh). A shitty picture but a wonderful headphone. View attachment 31604

    Thanks so much for sending this out on a loaner and for allowing me to listen !

    Chain
    Qobuz -> Bifrost 2 -> (Jot2, LauX, SW51) -> (Modded LCD-X, Auteur, Modhouse Argon v2)

    Comparison to Auteur (eikon pads)
    • Similar frequency response -- neutral and even
    • Modded LCD-X sounds wider and airer
    • Auteur stronger slam
    • Modded LCD-X has more details in busy passages
    Comparison to Modhouse Argon v2
    Wasn't originally going to use this headphone for a comparison because it is just "wonky" frequency response but I was using these cans when the LCD-X arrived and contrasts really well
    • LCD-X crisper bass
    • Argon's bass emphasis sounds farty
    • LCD-X vocals are considerably more forward -- Argon's weird tuning shows here.
    LauX vs Jot2
    Having the LauX on my desk for quiet awhile I had formed a pretty meh impression of it. Comparing the LauX and Jot 2 with my pair of T50 mods (modhouse argon and mr. speakers alpha dog pros), the LauX flatten the sound out. Jot 2 gave a larger wall of sound -- missing nuances and placement details but larger. This effect was not noticeable with the Modded LCD-X and I imagine it is because the LCD-X is just a larger and better driver.

    • Jot 2 has more macro dynamics
    • LauX wider stage
    LauX vs SW51
    Shortest Way is a linear tube amp and I have been enjoying it with the T50 headphones. With the Modded LCD-X, transients felt blunted and sound wasn't as crisp. I didn't feel like it was a good pairing and I believe that I don't experience the same with T50 mods because they aren't capable of the same level of detail.

    Summary
    Thank you for sharing your creation with me and allowing me to sit with the LauX for so long. These headphones surprised me in two ways:
    1. Audeze House Sound -- What is described as the Audeze House Sound to my ears isn't present. If you were looking to turn your Audeze headphone into a neutral sound this mod feels like the ticket
    2. Open and wide -- my stable of headphones are all semi-closed and this was my first real listen to a open back. From my reading, headphones cannot match the width of a 2 channel setup but this was surely wide enough for every day listening
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Burned out

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    PXL_20220708_041727668.jpg
    This be gud with the Audeze. Or Audeze be gud with this. Will post about the turnable tonight.
     

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