Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Audeze LCD-X Review: Uncovering Sonic Mastery

Audeze LCD-X Review: Uncovering Sonic Mastery

by Stuart Charles Black
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Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

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

Welcome to a comprehensive review of the Audeze LCD-X headphones, where we’ll delve into all aspects that matter to audio enthusiasts and discerning listeners.

In the course of this review, we’ll be covering various critical elements that define the LCD-X and its overall performance.

We’ll start by examining the build quality and design, assessing its durability and comfort for extended listening sessions.

Moving on, we’ll explore the heart of the matter—sound quality.

We’ll discuss the LCD-X’s sonic signature, its ability to handle different music genres, and whether it meets your preferences.

Amplification needs are a key factor for planar magnetic headphones like the LCD-X, and we’ll provide insights into what type of equipment you might need to make the most of these exceptional headphones.

We’ll delve into its resolution, one of its standout characteristics, and explore how it uncovers intricate musical details that can elevate your listening experience.

The LCD-X’s soundstage will also be examined to see how it immerses you in your music, creating a sense of spaciousness and realism.

Throughout the review, we’ll touch on various other aspects that matter, all to help you determine whether the Audeze LCD-X is the right purchase for your audio needs.

By the end of this review, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what these headphones offer and whether they align with your audio expectations and preferences.

Audeze LCD-X

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Audeze! | Check Apos Audio! | Check B&H!

In The Box

Audeze LCD-X Planar Magnetic Headphones

Travel Case

Limited 3-Year Manufacturer Warranty (For Drivers)

Limited 1-Year Manufacturer Warranty (For All Other Parts)

Specifications

  • Type: Open back, Planar Magnetic.
  • Fit: Circumaural (Around the Ear).
  • Impedance: 20 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 20kHz extended out to 50kHz (per the Audeze website).
  • Sensitivity: 96dB/mW.
  • Material: Metal, lambskin leather.
  • Color: Black.
  • Cable: Detachable mini XLR. What is XLR?
  • Weight: 21.6 oz. (612g)
  • Cable Length: 2.5m.

Introduction

Audeze LCD-XC

I joked at length about the weight of Audeze headphones in my LCD-XC Review, so if you’re craving a laugh or 2, definitely check that article out.

Or you can just stick around and read this one too. xD

To be blunt, putting on the LCD-X is like strapping a bowling ball to your melon.

Don’t make any sudden movements or you’ll find yourself with a face full of hardwood flooring.

They use planar magnetic drivers which are typically (but not always) heavier than your standard dynamic driver.

This was one of the first headphones that really made me understand the importance of Planar Magnetic Drivers in an Open Back and how they actually improve the sound tremendously from a typical dynamic.

It’s also the first in the LCD line to take a departure from the usual Wood finish found on both the LCD-2 and LCD-3.

Maybe it has to do with the “X” part?

I don’t know. Headphone manufacturers are really weird. Whatever.

Instead, we’re getting a Metal finish but with the same leather padding and an all-black physique.

Weight-wise, the LCD-X should probably go on Weight Watchers.

This mammoth elephant-sized headphone is even heavier than the LCD-2 which I didn’t think was possible.

Just for grins, let’s take a look:

  • LCD-2 Classic: 544g
  • LCD-2: 595g (Rosewood), 580g (Shedua/Bamboo)
  • LCD-3: 635g
  • LCD-4: 690g
  • LCD-X: 612g.
  • LCD-XC: 677g.

Wow. I’ll refrain from adding in another joke.

Wait who am I kidding no I won’t.

The X, XC, and LCD-4 are the same headphones as the others, only after stuffing their face with food for 2 months straight without moving.

If the LCD-X were a person, it would be on that show “My 600-lb. life.”

LARGE AND IN CHARGE.

Now that we’re sort of on the subject of obesity, let’s discuss the build.

Build

The build continues the greatness of the LCD line, and by now I feel like I’m beating a dead horse.

The same grilles are present, the same headband adjustments, the same sized ear cups, the same Mini-XLR termination, and the same 1/4″ plug at the business end.

The only real difference is color and weight. This time around instead of an elephant on your head, you’ve got a jetliner.

It’s pretty much Groundhog Day otherwise though.

In all seriousness, I really do enjoy the build of the Audeze line and the LCD-X is no different.

I feel as though they can all withstand abuse and are built extremely well.

The headband adjustments are a bit odd, but they work.

They resemble the Grado adjustments but feel much more robust.

Comfort

Again, unfortunately, this is not a comfortable headphone no matter how you slice it.

The clamping force is good, and the earcups are large enough, but they are just so heavy.

I’d wager that the average listening time you’ll be able to tolerate is about 30-45 minutes.

Maybe an hour if you’re a bit more forgiving.

I have to at least make a few adjustments during my listening session, and often I’ll take them off for a minute or two because of how overwhelming they can be.

Overall, not completely horrible but also not ideal, even in a studio environment.

COMFORT SCORE: C/C-

Sound

Audeze LCD-X Review

Bass

The bass response of the Audeze LCD-X is nothing short of remarkable.

It’s akin to a bottomless well of deep, resonant lows that extends far beyond what you might expect from many other headphones.

What sets the LCD-X apart is its refusal to roll off the bass frequencies, making it a genuine delight for both avid bass enthusiasts and casual listeners alike.

For bass heads, the LCD-X offers an unparalleled experience, providing a level of depth and power that can truly be felt.

The texture of the bass is incredibly rich and nuanced, adding layers of dimension to your music.

Every note, no matter how low, is brought to life with remarkable articulation, making the bass not just a presence but a key player in terms of audio performance.

What’s especially noteworthy is the LCD-X’s ability to portray individual bass notes with ease.

It doesn’t allow the low frequencies to blend into an indistinct rumble, but rather, it presents each bass note with precision and clarity.

This means that you can discern the subtle variations in basslines, enhancing your overall listening experience and making the LCD-X a perfect choice for genres heavily relying on deep and intricate bass, such as electronic, hip-hop, and even orchestral music.

Mid-Range

The mid-range performance of the LCD-X is equally impressive and complements its exceptional bass qualities.

In this critical frequency range, the LCD-X showcases remarkable resolution, allowing guitars, other musical instruments, and vocals to shine with clarity and authenticity.

Instruments

When it comes to guitars, the LCD-X excels at rendering the intricate details of string instruments.

Whether it’s the strumming of an acoustic guitar or the shredding of an electric guitar, the headphones bring out the resonance, timbre, and nuances of each note with exceptional precision, body, and fullness.

The strings come alive, and you can hear the subtle vibrations and harmonics that give the instrument its unique character.

Other musical instruments also benefit from the LCD-X’s mid-range resolution.

The tonal qualities of pianos, brass instruments, and woodwinds are faithfully reproduced, allowing you to appreciate the full range of harmonics and overtones that these instruments produce.

This makes classical music, jazz, and orchestral compositions come to life with a level of realism that’s truly captivating.

Vocals

Audeze LCD-X Review

Vocals, too, receive special attention from the LCD-X.

Whether it’s the sultry tones of a jazz singer, the emotional delivery of a rock vocalist, or the precision of a classical soprano, the headphones render vocals with a level of detail that makes the performance feel intimately close.

Every breath, nuance, and subtle inflection in the singer’s voice is unveiled, enhancing the emotional connection to the music.

In essence, the Audeze LCD-X’s mid-range resolution is a testament to its commitment to high-fidelity audio.

Guitars, instruments, and vocals all benefit from their ability to reproduce fine details and deliver them with a level of authenticity that can make you feel as if you’re in the same room as the musicians.

This quality makes the LCD-X a fantastic choice for those who appreciate and demand a lifelike and immersive listening experience.

Treble

The treble response of the LCD-X (from here on out we’ll refer to it as X), while impressive in many respects, can be a bit of a mixed bag for some users.

One notable characteristic is its reluctance to become sibilant or overly sharp, even at higher volumes.

This means that you won’t be overwhelmed by piercing “s” and “sh” sounds, making it a comfortable listening experience, especially during extended sessions.

However, for some users, the treble might be described as slightly veiled.

This means that it doesn’t have the same bright, sparkling quality that you’d find in headphones with a more pronounced treble emphasis.

The excellent resolution of the X can somewhat compensate for this, as it allows you to perceive the subtle nuances and details in the treble range that might otherwise be masked.

It’s worth noting that the somewhat subdued treble can be a deliberate choice by Audeze to provide a smoother and less fatiguing listening experience.

This approach might be appealing to those who prioritize a more relaxed and balanced sound signature, particularly for genres where a bright treble can be tiring over time.

However, for users who crave that extra “sparkle” in their audio, or for specific genres like classical music or genres that rely heavily on cymbals and high-frequency elements, the X might fall slightly short of their expectations.

It’s a trade-off between a more forgiving treble presentation and the potential lack of that extra brilliance that some listeners crave.

Resolution

The X is well-known for its exceptional resolution, and this characteristic is one of the standout features that sets it apart from other high-end headphones, especially within the planar magnetic headphone category.

Audeze, as a brand, is renowned for its commitment to delivering high-quality audio experiences, and the X is a prime example of their dedication to excellence in sound reproduction.

Planar Magnetic Technology

The LCD-X, like other headphones in the Audeze LCD line, utilizes planar magnetic technology.

Unlike traditional dynamic driver headphones, planar magnetic drivers offer several advantages, one of which is their ability to provide outstanding resolution.

Planar magnetic drivers are known for their precise and controlled movement, resulting in highly accurate sound reproduction.

Clarity and Detail

The LCD-X headphones excel in reproducing the tiniest details in audio tracks.

The exceptional resolution allows you to hear nuances, subtleties, and textures in the music that may go unnoticed with lesser headphones.

This level of clarity and detail is often described as “revealing” because it unveils elements of the music that might otherwise remain hidden.

Spacious Soundstage

The LCD-X also offers a spacious and immersive Soundstage, though you’ll find conflicting points of view here as well.

This feature enhances the overall listening experience by making it feel as if you’re inside the music.

The combination of resolution and soundstage creates a sense of depth and realism that sets Audeze headphones apart.

No, they still aren’t speakers, but the Imaging and Staging are so convincing that it comes darn near close.

In other words,

you will experience those out-of-your-head moments when it feels like stuff is happening around you rather than through the headphones.

A lot of this does depend on the song in question, so be aware of that.

Oftentimes you’ll get those out-of-your-head moments regardless of what headphones you’re listening with simply because the song was engineered in such a way to give off that illusion.

The Timbre is also pretty incredible, as the tonality of instruments is superb and sounds much more realistic than the majority of other headphones out there.

Transparency

The X’s transparency is another aspect of its resolution.

This transparency ensures that the headphones faithfully reproduce the original recording, allowing you to perceive the music exactly as the artist and sound engineer intended.

Wide Genre Versatility

The X’s impressive resolution makes it a versatile choice for various musical genres and audio content.

Whether you’re listening to Classical, Jazz, Rock, Acoustic, Folk, Rap, Hip-Hop, Indie, R&B, or any other genre, the headphones deliver an engaging and authentic listening experience.

Audiophile and Professional Grade

Audeze has gained a strong reputation in both the audiophile and professional audio communities.

The X’s resolution makes it a favored choice for music enthusiasts, producers, and audio engineers who demand precision and accuracy in their work.

Amplification

JDS ATOM HEVI Review

There are subtle differences between the LCD-2, LCD-3, and LCD-X as far as amplification goes.

The LCD-2 at 101dB does not need much power from an amp but still benefits from a good pairing like the ifi micro iDSD Black Label which is what I primarily used it with.

The LCD-3 is not efficient at all and most certainly needs A LOT of power from an amp at 91dB.

The LCD-X is somewhat of an outlier at 20 Ohms Impedance and 103dB Sensitivity.

These can absolutely be driven by a phone and you may not even need an amp.

But…

If it was up to me, and after all that said, I still wouldn’t rely on my phone long-term to drive an LCD-X as these are mostly made for studio-type environments.

In other words, you’re going to want the most from your purchase given that they still hover around $2k.

ATOM

If I had to recommend something amazing to get you started but that won’t destroy your wallet, I’d go with a simple clean combo of JDS ATOM + ATOM DAC.

Why?

Well the LCD-X, while not veiled in my opinion, isn’t going to pair all that well with an amp on the warm-ish side/one that has a higher output impedance.

I like something neutral here as it will help mitigate any issues, and the ATOM is my go-to for that purpose.

Closing Thoughts

Are Audeze Headphones Worth It?

The OG LCD-2.

Well, this is pretty tough so bear with me as I sort it out.

In between mid-fi but below what some people might call “Hi-Fi” lies a very awkward price range that varies between about $600-800-1000. For now, we’ll dub it “Awkward-Fi.”

This is an area in which maybe only a few headphones are actually worth a purchase (in my opinion).

For many years now I’ve recommended around 3: HIFIMAN’s Ananda, Audeze LCD-2, and Dan Clark’s Aeon Flow (For a closed option).

I firmly believe those to be the best (above mid-fi but below hi-fi) out of over 130 demoed units.

Between LCD-2 and Ananda, I’d still probably lean slightly more towards an Ananda because of price and weight, but it’s very close as I really enjoy both headphones.

I may prefer the sound of the LCD-2 to the Ananda ever so slightly.

Still, the Ananda is probably the best money can buy as a step-up from mid-fi and will be more accessible to a wider variety of people.

Update: The Edition XS has a little something to say about that.

You may be asking, well what about the LCD-X?

This is the tough part.

I’m not going to say that all Audeze headphones sound the same (because they don’t), but… they do all share very similar tuning and graphs of all generally follow the same trajectory: flat bottomless bass, a rise at 1kHz, a gentle to somewhat not-so-gentle slope (LCD-3) down into 2/3kHz, and then a relatively darker sounding treble.

My main concern for you is value.

That is if I were to personally purchase an Audeze, which one provides the best value and the lowest weight on my head while also not burning a hole in my pocket?

Nowadays, it’s the Audeze LCD-2C (Classic) that hovers close to the same price as what the Ananda goes for.

Think about it from my perspective for a second; I’ve heard pretty much the entire LCD line and the differences aren’t enough to warrant that I drop over $1000 when I can get the Classic for under that (and a great deal to boot).

You’re probably feeling the same way.

Make sense?

If you’re in the market for this type of headphone, I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

It’s a buttery smooth listen, with near-perfect bass response, mid-range, and treble.

If you think you’ll need more treble and don’t fall into that dark high-end camp (for lack of a better term), The Ananda/Edition XS is definitely the solution.

In other words, I can understand why people may not like the Audeze house sound.

It’s truly not for everyone.

There’s very little about the LCD line that I personally don’t enjoy, and the LCD-X is no exception.

The only problem is comfort.

You’re going to be adjusting these pretty frequently on your head, but I still think the overall sound is worth it.

This headphone is still priced very high, so I would take a look at the LCD-2C first.

It’s a revamp of the original LCD-2 and seems to strike a great price point for what it provides.

It’s a bit lighter than the original, and now more affordable while still retaining that incredible sound.

Learn More:

 

For those who need a crisper treble response,

 

As a final step-up from Awkward-Fi into bonafide actual Hi-Fi territory, it’s the Utopia hands down.

NEXT: FOCAL UTOPIA REVIEW

 


Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Audeze LCD-X Review.

What do you think about them?? What about the LCD-2C? Would you consider investing in those? Let me know!!

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Let me know in the comments below or contact me!! I would love to hear from you.

Until then, 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 my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Audeze LCD-X

4.3

Sound

5.0/5

Build & Aesthetic

4.7/5

Comfort/Fit

3.0/5

Soundstage

4.5/5

Pros

  • Smooth, Detailed Sound
  • Great Soundstage
  • Good Build

Cons

  • Too Heavy and Uncomfortable
  • Mid-Range may sound a bit scooped to some

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