Today I got the rare chance to audition a brand-new, never-before-seen headphone from Audeze – the LCD-2 Classic Closed-Back. I’ve been a sucker for the Audeze sound for a few years now, ever since I heard the LCD-4. But with an arresting look and some novelty design, does this headphone deliver the kind of sound that warrants an $899 price tag? Or is this puppy all bark and no bite?
Like the Creator Package, Audeze skips including the heavy-duty James Bond case with the LCD-2 Classic Closed (or CC for short). But I’m cool with that, because the case seems a little extraneous, anyway. Just give me more awesome headphones, Audeze. Stop trying to protect stuff.
A standard removable cable comes in the box, featuring a mini-xlr connection and measuring 6 ft (1.9 m).
There’s also the usual Audeze USB stick and some warranty cards.
Holding this baby in my hands, it’s clear Audeze hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to the design of the CC. Like other current LCD models, this one features the comfier updated leather headband. The cups are of an equally deep and forgiving leather, and the sides of the cups sport a solid matte black plastic face with a stylish, angular “Audeze A” in bold white.
Comfort is decent, though the weight is just as real as on any other Audeze model – neck braces sold separately, folks.
Frequency Range: 10-50,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 70 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 130 dB
As you can see from these specifications, the CC is rocking a pretty wide frequency range. That nominal impedance of 70 ohms might seem low, but this baby loves some juice, and an amplifier should round out any listener’s kit. Finally, SPL weighs in at a slamning dB – more than enough for adequate volume.
In the low end, the LCD-2 Classic Closed-Back offers a natural, detailed sound with a great sense of fidelity. While the cclosed -back design does add some emphasis to the lows, this part of the frequency range never seems too overpowered or unbalaced. Bass impact is deep and resounding, though at times it might seem to encroach on the lower mids.
Accurate with good tonal precision, the mids are neither too forward nor too recessed, though they do seem a little overshadowed by that intense low end. Here plenty of separation and overall clarity lead to a rich and heady listening experience easily complimenting vocals or instrumentation.
Sparkling with detail, the highs on the CC are bright enough to nail the highest notes but never seem too piercing or uncomfortable. This level of finely-tempered precision falls nothing short of impressive, though fans of an overall warmer sound signature may still balk at this LCD’s high end.
With fantastic depth and surprisingly good placement, the soundstage on the LCD-2 CC sounds rich and full. Punching above the belt, this kind of headroom sounds more on par with what you would expect from a mid-range open-back. Compared to the original LCD-2 open-back, it might pale somewhat, but for a closed-back design, performance remains intoxicating and enveloping.
If you’re a Sennheiser fanboy, no doubt you’re currently drooling over the new HD 820. But if you’re in the market for a closed-back headphone with excellent detail and a warm sound profile that lends soul and life to any track, this LCD-2 variant is a perfect match.
While fans of soundstage might do well to consider the open-back LCD-2, those needing isolation are still better off with the Classic Closed – even if they might listen to classical or acoustic tunes where bass seems less important.
The only real competition here lies with the Campfire Cascade at $799 and the Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Closed. However, the Cascade is bloated in the low end, while the Aeon Flow Closed might seem less energetic or emotive when compared to this LCD-2.
When it comes to closed-back, high-end headphones below $1000, the LCD-2 Classic Closed back dominates its competition and offers a staggering level of bang for your buck Sure, you could opt for some nonsense from Campfire or Mr Speakers, or you could hold out and pay Sennheiser a ton of money for the HD 820 and get nearly the same sound. Or you could save yourself all that time and all that pain and treat yourself to the awesomeness that is the Audeze LCD-2 Classic Closed Back. ‘Cause at a modest $899, this is baby is pure win, and deserves a place in any headphone collection.