Fresh from the good folks/mad scientists at Audeze, the LCD-X landed on the desk and silently screamed “Review Me!” At this price, it won’t be for everyone, but for those who can swing the admission fee, is it worth the clams?
Audeze LCD-X Review
Unboxing the Audeze LCD-X is like falling down a rabbit hole – a very well-packaged rabbit hole made from top-shelf materials. There some cardboard surrounding a case that looks like it belongs to a Bond villain. Inside the box is the headphone, as well as a mini-xlr to 1/4” stereo cable, a mini-xlr to xlr cable, and a 1/4” to 3.5mm stereo adapter. There’s also fancy-looking litereature in there – in the form of a user manual and a warranty card.
Once you break the LCD-X out of its case, you are confronted with the weight and the size of this headphone – telltale signs of a quality product. Everything appears to be impeccably machined and assembled. This headphone feels solid.
There are two massive, genuine leather earcups that feel like heaven. A rugged band and some serious extenders complete the headphone proper. Each earpiece features an mini-XLR connection.
Putting it on your head is a revelation.
Comfort wise, the Audeze LCD-X is that headphone you love and hate. On one hand, those leather earcups are AMAZING. On the other hand, the materials used in rest of the headphone translate to more weight, and it can wobble on your head and strain your neck. Even though I’m a big guy, with a thick neck, I still found these headphones a bit uncomfortable for longer listening sessions. Would I let this stop me? Probably not. Instead, I’d just keep listening until my nerves stopped sending signals to my brain. These headphones are worth that.
Sound wise, the LCD-X is like LSD and X. It’s a tour de force of deep, full, articulate bass notes segueing into a good mid range, and rounded out by perfect highs that never present themselves as piercing or sibilant. Yowch.
Where the sound may suffer (“may”) would be in the mids and lower mids. On tracks with a deep male vocals (specifically, Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon”), I got the impression of some bleeding, turning Drake’s voice and that of other low-frequency sounds into a kind of soup.
On the plus side, most tracks don’t seem to suffer this problem, so it seems like more of an exception than the rule. Indeed, separation and clarity are pretty good on this headphone, leading to an articulate and detailed sound. Some dampening and muffling seems to take the edge off of what might have been harsher detail, leading to a somewhat “relaxed” sound that doesn’t skimp on the fine points in a recording.
The frequency range is 5-50,000 hertz, with an impedance of 20 ohms. You don’t have to pair it with an amp, but it does sound much better with a little juice flowing through it. And little is the keyword here; higher output devices aren’t just unnecessary, but they also might damage the headphones themselves. For my review I paired it with the Hifiman EF100 – a decent-enough hybrid amp that paired well with these headphones, provided I didn’t crank the volume too high.
Compared to other high-end headphones, how did these $1699 headphones sound? The closest comparison might be the HiFiMan Edition X, which would give you a lighter headphone with a bassier sound at about the same price. For those seeking a more neutral sound, the Sennheiser HD800 or the Grado PS1000e might be a better option. That being said, if dynamic sound is your bag, the LCD-X will be a hard headphone to beat.