Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Audeze LCD-1 Review: Studio Quality Sound With A Catch?

Audeze LCD-1 Review: Studio Quality Sound With A Catch?

by Stuart Charles Black
Published: Last Updated on
Audeze LCD-1 Review

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Greetings mate and welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Audeze LCD-1

Price: Check Audeze! | Check B&H!

In The Box

Audeze LCD-1 Open-Back Reference Headphones

3.5mm to Dual 3.5mm Cable

3.5mm to 1/4″ Adapter

Zippered Travel Case

Certificate of Authenticity

Limited 3-Year Warranty on Drivers

Limited 1-Year Warranty on Parts

Specifications

  • Sensitivity: Approximately 99 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 16 ohms
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 50kHz
  • Transducer Type: Planar Magnetic
  • Driver Size: 90mm
  • Weight: 250g (8.8 oz)
  • Cable: Detachable 2m (6.6ft) cable with 3.5mm termination
  • Cable Connectors: 3.5mm to dual 3.5mm

Introduction

The Audeze LCD-1 is a headphone that ventures into the realm of neutrality and precision, promising an audio experience characterized by remarkable resolution and a lightweight, comfortable design.

In this review, we’ll delve into the various facets of this headphone, from its solid construction and ergonomic fit to its nuanced sound signature that aims to strike a balance between analytical precision and musical engagement.

As we explore its build, comfort, sound characteristics, amplification requirements, genre compatibility, and overall impressions, we’ll uncover the LCD-1’s strengths and areas where it might leave listeners craving more.

Join me on this journey as we dissect the essence of the LCD-1 and offer insights into its performance in the realm of audio fidelity.

Let’s begin with build!

Build

The LCD-1 exhibits a pretty good build quality that strikes a balance between durability and lightweight design.

Its construction doesn’t feel cheap despite its featherweight profile.

Still, to some extent, you will probably be taken aback by its weight.

I’ve also read some people having issues with the plastic breaking, (4th comment down) and I wouldn’t at all doubt it.

I didn’t have any issues, but then again, I have never owned one of these.

Even so, the combination of a metal headband and plastic materials ensures some level of sturdiness, and the rotating cups contribute to its utilitarian profile, allowing for easy storage and adjustment.

The headphones feature a detachable cable design that adds versatility to their usage.

The standard 3.5mm headphone jack ensures compatibility with a wide range of audio sources, from portable devices to dedicated headphone amplifiers.

This flexibility allows users to choose their preferred cable length or even upgrade to aftermarket cables for enhanced audio quality or personalization.

Comfort

Comfort is a strong suit of the LCD-1.

The lightweight build doesn’t put excessive strain on the head during extended listening sessions.

The plush ear pads and headband padding add to the comfort factor, as it’s a headphone that can be worn for hours without causing discomfort.

The clamping force is just right, and it doesn’t really dig into the top of your head.

While the featherweight profile may become a detriment to its long-term durability, it’s certainly an asset in the comfort department as they almost disappear when you’re wearing them.

Sound

Audeze LCD-1 Review

The LCD-1 is recognized for its neutral sound signature and impressive resolution, providing a clear and detailed listening experience.

However, this neutrality can sometimes veer toward a slightly dry or lifeless presentation. More on that in a bit.

Bass

Beginning with the bass, we have a well-executed response that doesn’t really add any unnecessary weight, but it also doesn’t sound anemic.

This contributes to an enjoyable and accurate low-end presentation.

It rolls off slightly, but by and large, you’re not going to really feel like you need more, unless of course, you’re an out-of-control Beats By Dre homie who wears cotton candy-colored clothing.

No, this is basically a flat-line bass which is pretty standard for the Audeze lineup.

Great articulation, with a response that enables you actually hear individual bass notes rather than feel them vibrating your face off.

Mid-Range

The mid-range is handled very well from 300Hz onwards (low mids), but the dip after 1kHz can result in a somewhat “relaxed” vibe – very similar to the HIFIMAN house sound in this general area.

While this can offer a smoother listening experience, it might lack a bit of the engaging liveliness that some listeners seek.

Like HIFIMAN, it does come back up around the presence regions of approximately 2-3kHz, so overall, not too much to complain about.

Let’s get into the treble.

Treble

The Audeze LCD-1’s sound signature is marked by its commitment to neutrality and detail.

In the treble range, the headphone continues this pursuit by delivering a clear and well-extended high-frequency response.

The treble presentation on the LCD-1 is notable for its accuracy, enabling the reproduction of intricate details and nuances within the music.

The treble’s portrayal is also articulate, making it suitable for genres that emphasize crispness and precision, such as classical and acoustic music.

It shines when reproducing instruments like cymbals, triangles, and strings, where the subtle shimmer and transient characteristics are crucial for an authentic listening experience.

The headphone’s resolution in the treble range helps it uncover minute details in recordings, allowing audiophiles and music enthusiasts to truly dissect the layers of a composition.

However, within this precise treble presentation lies an aspect that can polarize listeners: the headphone’s overall tonal balance tends to lean slightly dark.

While this darkness can lend a warm and comforting quality to the sound, it might not resonate with listeners seeking a brighter, more energetic rendition of the music.

Additionally, the treble’s neutrality might result in a sense of “dryness” or “anemia” in the overall sound presentation, which can impact the headphone’s perceived liveliness, especially in genres that rely heavily on energy and excitement.

In other words, this isn’t a headphone I’d look to first for Metal, as Metal is already kind of dry on its own and known for being poorly mastered.

The treble’s balance also intersects with the mid-range response, contributing to the headphone’s perceived character.

The mid-range dip after 1kHz can lead to a more laid-back and relaxed presentation, which, while providing a smoother listening experience, might not be suitable for those who crave a more engaging and dynamic sound.

To recap, the Audeze LCD-1’s treble performance shines with its accurate reproduction of details and nuances, particularly suited for genres that thrive on precision.

However, the headphone’s dark-leaning tonal balance, in conjunction with the mid-range dip, can contribute to a less energetic presentation that might not align with certain listeners’ preferences.

Amplification Needs

JDS ATOM HEVI Review

The Audeze LCD-1 features a sensitivity of approximately 99 dB/mW and an impedance of 16 ohms.

These specifications make the headphones well-suited for use with a wide range of devices, including mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops, without necessitating an external amplifier.

However, for users seeking an amplifier, the JDS Labs ATOM is a popular choice that can potentially provide an additional power boost and further enhance the listening experience, though it’s not mandatory for enjoyable use.

In other words, don’t go crazy trying to find the “perfect” amp (it doesn’t exist) because you’ll just be lighting money on fire.

Genre Pairing

The LCD-1’s neutral sound profile makes it versatile across various genres.

It excels in delivering intricate details, which can be especially appreciated in genres like classical, jazz, and acoustic.

The well-defined bass response also makes it suitable for genres like electronic and some rock – though less so in my opinion.

However, the mid-range dip might make it less ideal for vocal-focused music, even despite the fact that the mids are mostly handled very well outside of the 1kHz area.

I also probably wouldn’t recommend these for bass heads or those looking for that ultra slam factor, because you will likely be disappointed.

That said, if you listen to hip-hop but don’t need a weighty low-end, these will do just fine.

Again, just keep in mind they can sound pretty dry.

Good For Mixing?

Despite its mentioned drawbacks, the Audeze LCD-1 is purposefully designed with a specific audience in mind: studio professionals.

In fact, I probably need to add these to the list:

For beatmakers, producers, and audio engineers, the LCD-1 offers a distinct advantage due to its flat and neutral sound profile.

This neutrality provides an accurate representation of the audio being produced, making it an invaluable tool for tasks like mixing and mastering.

The LCD-1’s tonal balance, albeit leaning slightly dark, can be seen as an asset in the studio context.

The absence of exaggerated bass or overly bright treble ensures that the headphones offer a “blank slate” upon which audio professionals can make critical decisions about EQ, balance, and overall sound presentation.

This neutrality aids in detecting imperfections, identifying subtle nuances, and achieving a balanced mix that translates well across different listening environments.

The headphone’s well-defined bass response and detailed treble, combined with its mostly good mids, contribute to a transparent and uncolored audio experience.

This transparency allows studio personnel to discern even the slightest variations in sound, leading to more accurate decisions during the creative and post-production phases.

Despite any potential drawbacks, the Audeze LCD-1 serves as a viable option for studio professionals.

Put another way, if I were to buy these, 95% of the time I’d likely only be using them for mixing beats.

The other 5% of the time I’d probably be listening to Acoustic, Jazz, Classical, or other similar lighter genres.

For me, they’re a bit too dull for casual listening when it comes to other stuff, but your mileage may vary.

Closing Thoughts

AKG K702 vs. Sennheiser HD560S

The Audeze LCD-1 is a headphone with an emphasis on neutrality and resolution.

Its solid build, combined with its lightweight and comfortable design, makes it a great choice for prolonged listening sessions.

While its sound signature may lean slightly dark and its mid-range dip might not appeal to everyone, the LCD-1’s well-executed bass response and overall versatility across genres make it a strong contender in its class.

Whether you’re an audiophile seeking a detailed listening experience or a casual listener appreciating its comfort, the LCD-1 offers a well-rounded package.

Even with all that said, the Audeze LCD-1 has been discontinued – at least for the foreseeable future.

A comparable alternative in terms of sound signature and performance is the AKG K702 (pictured above).

The AKG K702 is an open-back headphone renowned for its detailed and transparent sound reproduction, which can offer a similar experience to the LCD-1’s neutral and analytical sound profile.

The K702 is well-regarded for its accurate imaging and spacious soundstage, making it an attractive option for critical listening, mixing, and studio work.

While it might not be an exact substitute, it aligns with the LCD-1’s focus on delivering a clear and uncolored audio representation.

It also happens to be my go-to headphone for just about everything: Gaming, film, music, mixing, etc.

The K702 features a lightweight and comfortable design, which allows for extended sessions without fatigue.

Its open-back design contributes to an airy soundstage and a sense of openness in the audio presentation.

While individual preferences can vary, the AKG K702 is worth considering for those who enjoyed the neutral and detailed sound of the Audeze LCD-1.

Learn More:

 

Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Audeze LCD-1 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

What are your thoughts on the LCD-1? Should they bring it back? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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