Comparing World-Class Headphones Audez'e LCD-2

Audez'e LCD-2 Late Rev. 1 (old driver, new pads)
Description - This is a full-size, open, planar magnetic headphone. Now flavor of the year among headphone enthusiasts, it's often thought of as a contender for world's best headphone.

Pink Noise - Very even from lowest octaves to low-treble; slightly warm tilt moving higher in frequency with a slight mid-treble peak ("sss").

Bass Texture - Very, very good texture, and extraordinarily good extension ... maybe the best I've ever heard. Slight bloom.

Bass Slam - The LCD-2 has the strongest and best extending bass of the bunch, but the slight bloom makes them a tad wooly relative to the HE-500. Still very, very good.

Midrange - Like a laying in a hammock between two palm trees; sipping milk and honey; a cool ocean breeze swaying me gently; the mid-range here is simply luscious. Just the slightest bloom and lack of electrostatic speed prevents these from delivering the realism of some of the other cans. But man ... you could swim in the voices.

Treble - Slightly lacking in the top octave, these cans sounded slightly hard in the highs, to my ears, relative to the faster cans. It's my experience that if the top octave is missing, highs can seem a little piercing and lacking in air. Nonetheless, cymbals and brushwork are rendered with a strong realism.

Dynamics - These punch like a Louisville slugger. If there's dynamics to be had in a track, the LCD-2 seem very adept at bringing it out. Only the lack of the top octave to give it a bit of breathing room prevents these from being the most satisfactorily dynamic headphone of the bunch.

Imaging - While not as deep and wide as some others, the LCD-2 images quite well and with good separation of voices and instruments. The music is portrayed against a nicely black background, and with enough heft to give weight and body to each.

Measurements

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Frequency response to 4kHz is ideal as far as I'm concerned, but thereafter gets a bit rough with a bit of emphasis at 10kHz, and a bit of a dip between 10kHz and 13kHz. This last dip may be the missing highs I heard.

Bass is ruler flat and off the chart bottomless ... deepest bass evar! The top of the 30Hz square wave is as near as horizontal as it gets, indicating extraordinarily good bass extension.

300Hz square wave has less overshoot then the other HiFiMAN planar magnetic headphones, but does exhibit the second ring; some noise is evident. Likewise the impulse response if very good though a bit noisy.

The good bass performance result is also echoed by the bass THD+noise measurements being substantially lower on the 100dB plot than the 90dB plot. But some noise in the 100dB plot between 300Hz and 600Hz may indicate some power handling issues.

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