Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Audeze LCD-2 Review: A Deep Dive Into Audiophile Excellence

Audeze LCD-2 Review: A Deep Dive Into Audiophile Excellence

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

The Audeze LCD-2 is a prominent name in the world of high-end planar magnetic headphones.

Launched by Audeze, a renowned audio equipment manufacturer, the LCD-2 represents a flagship product that is celebrated for its exceptional sound quality and engineering.

In this review, we will explore various aspects of the Audeze LCD-2, covering key elements such as build quality, comfort, sound, amplification requirements, imaging capabilities, and its compatibility with various music genres, providing you with a comprehensive overview of what this headphone has to offer audio enthusiasts and professionals.

Introduction

This headphone was the first in the LCD line and is the headphone that put the company on the map back when they started in 2008.

Since then, there have been a plethora of headphones arriving on the scene.

The LCD-3 is still considered one of the best in the world, but Audeze has since come out with the LCD-4, and LCD-5 among many others. Check out their LCD line!

With that, let’s get into the specifications of the LCD-2.

Audeze LCD-2

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Audeze! | Check eBay!

Specifications

Build

The Audeze LCD-2 is renowned for its durability and robust construction.

Crafted with precision and high-quality materials, they are built to withstand the test of time and rigorous use.

Whether it’s the handcrafted Bamboo Wood or the darker Rosewood, both are an elegant touch to a gorgeous set of headphones.

However, it’s worth noting that the LCD-2 is indeed on the bulkier side and can be quite heavy, which might be a concern for some users in terms of portability and extended listening comfort.

I was kind of expecting more headband padding given how freakishly heavy it is, but I digress.

The headband adjustment mechanism reminds me of a Grado and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you may be a bit puzzled as to why such a large and in-charge headphone has such seemingly tiny adjustments.

The cable terminates in a Mini-XLR going into the ear cups, with a 1/4″ jack at the business end.

This 1/4″ jack is beefier than a Wendy’s Baconator, but I find that it’s okay given the actual cable isn’t equally as ginormous.

Audeze’s got their signature grilles on each side, and I think it rounds out the look quite nicely.

The aesthetic is very pleasing to the eye, and for whatever reason makes me feel like I’ve invested in something entirely worthwhile.

As far as the earcups themselves, they are deep, spacious, and made of real leather which is a nice bonus – especially given the rather steep price tag.

Given that the LCD-2 I demoed has been through hundreds (if not thousands) of hands since its inception, the leather is still completely intact with no signs of wear.

It still looks pretty fresh as well!

BUILD SCORE: A+

Comfort

This is where things go south, unfortunately. As you may or may not know, Audeze’s LCD line of headphones are some of the bulkiest and heaviest around.

The original LCD-2 is no exception.

Even if you don’t have any neck or upper back issues, you’ll still likely feel them quite considerably after around 45 minutes to an hour.

In fact,

I tend to take a break around 30-45 minutes, although it’s time well spent considering the sound. We’ll get into that in a bit.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who actually enjoys the comfort of an Audeze, but there is good news:

They’ve since come out with the LCD-2C (Classic Version) which is a throwback to this original model.

This time around it’s more affordable and also lighter on your head. You may opt for the Classic instead.

More on that in a bit as well.

As far as the clamping force and spaciousness in the ear cups, the LCD-2 is great!

It’s just that the heaviness of the headphones will really start to “weigh” on you after a while.

Overall, the comfort here is below average I’m afraid to say.

COMFORT SCORE: C

Sound

Audeze LCD-2 Review

Bass

Out of every headphone I’ve ever heard, I think the way Audeze handles the bass is absolutely remarkable in every aspect.

It’s neither rolled off nor boosted and comes across as so wonderfully detailed that it’s hard not to adore.

You’re getting a low-end that works for pretty much everyone: Bass heads, casual bass lovers, audiophiles, and everyone in between.

A bass head will appreciate the thump, while the casual listener/audiophile will appreciate the texture and detail.

It strikes an perfect balance, without being anemic but also not resembling something too obnoxious or overdone – like your mom’s meatloaf.

Mid-Range

The mid-range is equally as stunning, with a rise in the presence regions that makes vocals and instruments sound sublime.

There’s no shout, it’s not irritating, there’s no overly flamboyant spikes, nothing. You’re getting an pure sound absent any fluff or recession.

A good mid-range is a staple of any good audiophile headphone, and the LCD-2 understands this well.

Treble

The treble here is definitely dark-ish.

There are a couple of rises at 4 and 7k, but the air region around 9-10k is more subdued which may cause a lack of air.

In the case of the LCD-2, it works very well considering there’s no listening fatigue but the treble also doesn’t come across as completely lifeless.

Audeze LCD-2 ReviewWe’re all familiar with bright treble.

It comes standard with most entry-level headphones and it’s something we’ve all come to expect on some level.

It seems on every graph I’ve ever looked at, there’s some sort of spike at around 9-10k, but sometimes a bit lower than that.

Grado’s are famous for that unnatural 2k mid-range spike, and both the DT880 and SRH440 have rather bright treble regions.

The list goes on, but Audeze headphones are indeed different as they present the treble more naturally.

In other words, there’s still plenty of detail but it doesn’t come across as overly “hot” or anywhere close to Sibilant.

However, it’s important to note that not everyone may prefer this, as some listeners may have a preference for a brighter and more pronounced treble character.

In such cases, they might opt for headphones with a more pronounced high-frequency response to suit their specific sonic preferences.

Audeze’s approach caters to those who value a more balanced and refined audio experience.

SOUND SCORE: A+

Imaging & Soundstage

Not only is the sound mostly perfect, but the placement/imaging of the sound is as well.

The image itself is very spacious and open, contributing to an above-average Soundstage leading to plenty of excitement and even some subtle unease.

What I mean is that the LCD-2 is the type of headphones that will make you think someone is in the room with you.

I kept turning my head thinking I was hearing something very subtle happening in my immediate vicinity.

It was a bit unnerving considering I live alone in a 1 bedroom apartment!

Periodically I would look around to make sure I wasn’t about to get obliterated by Jason Voorhees.

All of these things mentioned come together in a very organic and natural way.

Resolution

In other words, the resolution is some of the absolute best you’ll hear in any headphones, and I don’t say that lightly.

Perhaps the LCD-2’s best quality is its overall resolution and Timbre, as tonality is nearly perfect and you’re getting loads of micro detail.

This is, in my opinion, what separates an Audeze from a lot of other headphones.

They’re both incredibly smooth but also super revealing.

It’s hard to explain, but they have this effortless rhythm that’s unmistakable when you hear it. It sounds like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

I believe an Audeze is very very close to what would be the equivalent of a theater-like presentation; though this effect is still a bit subtle – especially when, at the end of the day, we’re still listening to headphones.

In any event, it very closely mimics that type of experience and makes you excited about music again.

IMAGING SCORE: A+

Genre Pairing

The LCD-2 is truly a headphone capable of multiple genres, and the type of headphone that makes familiar albums sound fresh and new.

You can enjoy them with anything bass-heavy like Rap, Hip-Hop, and R&B.

I believe their true bread and butter is Rock, as well as anything with any kind of subtle instrumentation going on. Think Folk, Acoustic, Country, etc.

They will also do extremely well with Jazz and Classical given their fantastic Imaging and Soundstage.

Overall, pair them with just about any genre and be taken away by their incredibly rich, detailed, and lifelike sound.

Amplification

The LCD-2 is a bit of an anomaly as far as the LCD line is concerned.

At 70 Ohms Impedance, it will resist power a bit but doesn’t need a whole lot from an amp to reach acceptable levels.

Given its 101dB Sensitivity, you’ll have a fairly easy time driving these as they’re super efficient.

With headphones like the LCD-3 and LCD-4, the opposite is true.

Those headphones are very inefficient at around 91dB and require a lot of power from the amp to get pumping.

I find that out of the ifi micro iDSD Black Label paired with an LCD-2, I don’t need to use Normal or even Turbo settings. Eco will do just fine.

Because the 1/4″ jack on this beast is so beefy, I’d recommend an amp with a 1/4″ input.

You can use a 3.5mm adapter with other amps, but it may prove cumbersome.

Video Review

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Closing Thoughts

The Audeze LCD-2 headphones offer an impressive audio experience that’s characterized by a perfect bass response, a great mid-range, impeccable resolution, excellent imaging and timbre, and an above-average soundstage.

The headphones are exceptionally well-built, showcasing Audeze’s commitment to quality and durability.

However, it’s important to consider some potential caveats.

The LCD-2 is notably heavy, which can lead to discomfort during extended listening sessions, particularly for individuals with neck or disc-related issues.

This weight may not be suitable for all users, and comfort can be a subjective aspect when it comes to headphones.

For those who are intrigued by the sound signature of the LCD-2 but find its weight and price point to be potential obstacles, it’s worth exploring Audeze’s more lightweight and affordable offerings.

The Audeze LCD-2 Classic, for example, offers a compelling alternative that retains much of the LCD-2’s sonic excellence while addressing the concerns of weight and cost, making it an attractive option for those seeking a balanced listening experience without the heft of the original LCD-2.

Learn More:

 

If the heaviness factor is still too much, my other go-to recommendation above mid-fi is most certainly the HIFIMAN Edition XS.

Learn More:

NEXT: HIFIMAN EDITION XS REVIEW

 

Well that’s about it for today my friend. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this Audeze LCD-2 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!!

So would you consider investing in a headphone like the updated LCD-2C? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out our Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Back To Top

Audeze LCD-2

4.4

Sound

5.0/5

Build & Aesthetic

4.7/5

Comfort/Fit

3.0/5

Soundstage

4.9/5

Pros

  • Smooth, Detailed Sound
  • Great Soundstage
  • Good Build

Cons

  • Too Heavy and Uncomfortable

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22 comments

rupert wills August 7, 2022 - 12:45 pm

Hi
Not sure if I’m sending message to the reviewer of the lcd 2 but here goes. Thanks for great review. I would love to buy a pair of the lcd2 (not classic version) but am put off by all the talk saying that these headphones HAVE to be EQd. I only have a Marantz CD player and integrated amp (which give a great sound) to use the headphones on so are they ok to use without EQ. Reading your review you say that 99% of people would be happy with the headphones. Hope this makes sense . Your help would be much appreciated… many thanks and greetings from Ireland.. rupert

Reply
Stuart Charles Black August 8, 2022 - 3:27 pm

Rupert,

Thank you for the comment and my pleasure!

I think the issue you’re alluding to is the dark treble and roll-off after 1kHz. This can make the LCD-2 (and most LCDs actually) sound a bit dull and almost too laid back. In other words, this sound signature isn’t for everyone and I should probably go back and clarify that.

I do think most people will enjoy it, but maybe 99% was a bit generous, yeah?

Reply
Doug Stott November 25, 2022 - 10:07 pm

Having had a pair of LCD-2’s since soon after they came out, I am still more than happy with their natural sound and open nature. A lot of headphone manufactures boast certain frequencies which may appear exciting at first, however, it can become fatiguing; there are no such worries with these headphones as the sound is very natural when compared to a good sounding pair of speakers.

Having auditioned various top of the range Sennheiser, Grado and Stax, the Audeze LCD-2 won me over. Sorry to repeat, but, to get the best out of the headphones you really do need a decent headphone amplifier. My headphone set up uses an old Denon CD-Receiver to optically feed a DAC with a built equaliser and headphone amplifier (RME ADI-2-PRO)

Trying different integrated headphone sockets with the LCD-2, including a Marantz CD Receiver M-CR610 and a large Denon AV receiver, gave sufficient volumes, however, you end up with the soundstage being less open and less separation between the instruments and voices. Trying the headphones on an Audiolab 8200CDQ headphone output gave improvements, as did directly connecting the speaker outputs from another CD-Receiver to feed into a headphone socket. If heard in isolation the above results would impress many.

It is only when you try the LCD-2 with a DAC/Headphone Amp like the RME, that you realise the capabilities of the LCD-2, wow… the openness and clarity goes into another level and the sound never ceases to amaze me. Good Luck

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 26, 2022 - 4:39 pm

Thank you for your opinions, Doug!

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Neil Mitchell November 27, 2022 - 10:54 pm

Stu that review was totally wicked, not just as far as potatoes go but reviews too. Your assessment of the LCD2 is as accurate as I have ever seen, and I agree totally with all of it!! I actually have a 2020 2C which evidently has the same drivers as the 2 but no fazors, so I added some fazors and the headphone sounds great. No fazors meant no treble, plus it always sounded like the vocalist was standing behind the band. Fazors bring everything up front plus I’ve realized the treble actually IS pretty darn great, always clear and never harsh just as you have said. It’s a very pleasurable headphone to listen to, especially after I get an industrial crane to support my neck. Thanks for the great review Stu, hope all is well with you!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 28, 2022 - 2:42 pm

Thanks for the love man! Haha we is bringing back Wicked Potatoes! As far as cranes go, I have one of these to help support mine: https://tinyurl.com/27hydr5m xD xD

Reply
Neil Mitchell November 29, 2022 - 3:29 pm

HA HA HA!!!
I laughed pretty darn hard at that crane Stu, thx brother!!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black November 30, 2022 - 6:17 pm

LOL. So you’re saying I’m funny?

Reply
Neil Mitchell December 1, 2022 - 4:25 pm

No doubt about it, Stu!! I totally expected a picture of a construction crane and got a real from the wild crane instead. Now THAT’s some quality humour right there!! All the best my friend keep it going, your site looks better than ever and I always check it out to see what you’re up to!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 1, 2022 - 4:58 pm

Haha, thanks man! I always try to keep people on their toes LOL.

But as far as me being funny:

“Let me understand this because maybe it’s me I’m a little f’d up maybe, but I’m funny how? I mean funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to f’in amuse you? What do you mean funny? Funny how, how am I funny?

xD

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL9rSwrsMHw

Reply
Neil Mitchell December 6, 2022 - 11:16 pm

HA HA HA definitely a true classic, Stu!!!! One of my favorite scenes!!!
Hey last time I talked to you you were thinking of growing potatoes in your apartment or something, hope the crop was a good one!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 7, 2022 - 10:08 pm

LOL. My potato experiment was a partial success and part failure.

They started out like gangbusters with lots of vine-age growth (which indicates potatoes are growing under the soil), but then the stupid bugs took over (I don’t even know what they’re called), but man are they ever a pain in the ass. This was back when it was still warmer out. They basically eat the leaves and ruin my life.

I tried some Diatomaceous earth but I think it was a bit of overkill lol. It kind of kept them away but I must have looked semi-crazy swatting at these things with old shirts on my porch haha. Some other random things that happened:

Dead roach in the pot. Ew. threw him out.
More bugs, this time of a different variety. Super annoying.

To sum up, I finally decided to just flip the pot and see if anything happened. Potatoes did grow, but they weren’t wicked LOLOL. Wickedly disgusting, maybe. They were pruny and gross because of all the stuff that happened.

I’m def going to fine-tune this process for next year and hopefully get some wicked ones. Heheh.

Reply
Neil Mitchell December 7, 2022 - 11:13 pm

Stu, your potato story was extremely funny LOL. It started out reasonably normal and docile like and then got more bizarre and eccentric as it progressed, until it finally reached a state of total bedlam as ONLY you could orchestrate with such skill and finesse. Very hilarious, in the Vegas style you almost remind me of a headphone “Carrot Top”, weaving occasional normalcy in between bouts of well placed insanity. Nicely done!!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 8, 2022 - 3:00 pm

HAHAHA. Now if I could only channel all of my random thoughts and ideas into a movie script. Thanks for the love man!!!

Reply
Neil Mitchell December 11, 2022 - 1:50 am

Any time, man. Trust me, if not a movie script then the “Stu Black Headphone Comedy Hour” would be one MAJOR hit, probably bigger than Sullivan, thank ya, thank ya very much!!!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 13, 2022 - 3:52 pm

LMAO. I think you deserve one of these:

Reply
Neil Mitchell December 15, 2022 - 12:44 am

I think so too!! Thanks for all the great laughs, Stu!!
All the very best!! Nothing but safe and happy travels
to you and your family this Christmas season!!
?????

Reply
Stuart Charles Black December 20, 2022 - 4:37 pm

Thanks man! You as well. It’s always great to chat. Keep me posted on everything!

Reply
Rupert wills March 29, 2023 - 5:02 pm

Hi Stuart,
Greeting from Ireland. I hope this email finds you in good health. I am considering purchasing a pair of Audeze LCD2 rosewood headphones. I am being put off by all the talk about having to EQ them otherwise they don’t sound great. I have no way of EQ ing them so your advice would be appreciated. Manythanks
Rupert wills

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 3, 2023 - 1:01 am

Hey Rupert,

Thank you for the comment! I would say that it really depends on the user. I don’t personally find the need to EQ the LCD-2. Yes, it’s going to be darker in the treble area, but the resolution of the headphone is so good you may not care.

Reply
hojin April 20, 2023 - 11:53 am

Hi Stuart.
Even though I was a beginner, I read your writing very interestingly.
I own LCD-2F.
Although I was listening to it directly with my laptop, I was satisfied.(Of course the volume is the largest!)
I want to add DAC and AMP even now.
Can you recommend whether K5PRO AMP/DAC, ATOM/ANOTHER DAC, IFI Micro IDSD Black Label or other combinations that suit the LCD-2F?
Thank you for good articles~!

Reply
Stuart Charles Black April 22, 2023 - 2:50 pm

My pleasure! So glad you’re enjoying them. I did really love the Black Label with the LCD-2, but I don’t think it’s necessarily something you need to drop a bunch of money on. An ATOM, K5 Pro, or K7 will all do the job fine!!

With the ATOM, just pair it with an ATOM DAC. Let me know if you have any questions!

-Stu

Reply

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