The team at Audeze have recently dropped their latest, and more price point driven, reference headphone called the LCD-1. Don't let the words "price point" fool you in any way, these headphones are not necessarily inexpensive, only when compared to the rest of the Audeze lineup. The LCD-1 is an attainable pair of cans from this premium brand that delivers all the oohs and ahhs that you would expect at $399.00 MSRP, and yes, that's the low end for these guys.
Just like the rest of their headphones, these cans are beautifully engineered and sound brilliant. What the LCD-1 brings to the table aside from the affordability factor is a more compact design that folds for producers/audiophiles on the go. If you are a producer or music fanatic, you should be very excited about these.
Let's start with the features first and then get to the full review.
- Enhanced transparency and sound stage - Open Circumaural Design
- Wide dynamic range - 90mm Over-Ear Planar Drivers
- Unparalleled sonic detail and accuracy - Ultra-thin Uniforce™ Diaphragms
- Powerful sound and efficiency - Fluxor™ Magnets
- Deep rich bass with low audible distortion - Fazor Waveguides
- Lightweight construction with robust memory foam earpads and headband for extended comfort during long listening sessions
- Foldable headphone design-perfect for mixing/listening on the go
- 3.5mm premium cable for tangle-free connection, with reversible headphone connectors for ease of setup
- 1/4'' adapter included
- Travel case included
- Designed and built in the USA with imported and the US made parts
Audeze has gained serious cred in the high-end headphone space with their unique approach to designing and building insanely good planar magnetic headphones.
Build/Design: The typical over-ear audiophile/reference headphone tends to be on the bulky side, making them poor traveling companions. The LCD-1 slims things down quite a bit with a sleek and foldable design that doesn't compromise anything. They are lightweight, extremely durable, and very comfortable for long sessions where ever you may be.
The headband is padded just perfectly with a memory foam type of material that feels almost like it's not even there. The clamping force is also dialed in just right, with just enough to provide a comfortable seal but not squeeze your melon too much. To round off the comfort trifecta, they have designed an ear cup from a memory foam that has about twice the depth/space of your standard headphone. This design gives your ears a bit of space from the speaker and creates an excellent seal, along with fantastic comfort.
The only thing that might be an issue is the size of the ear cups, as they are a bit on the smaller side for an over-ear. So if you have large ears, you might have some issues with these.
Tech/Sound: If you are not familiar with planar magnetic technology vs. traditional dynamic drivers, check the link below for a great explanation.
Planar Magnetic Technology - Here
What's helpful about the planar magnetic design on the LCD-1 is that you don't need an amp to drive them, although they sound GREAT with DAC/AMP combos or HD Players. So if you are using an iPhone, iPad, or laptop, you will still get incredible sound with the accuracy an audiophile/producer craves - make sure to use high-quality files if you can.
The sound of these cans is incredibly accurate and provides a level of detail that you won't get with most headphones at this price point. They are on the flatter side as they are designed to be a reference headphone for producers/engineers, but if you are listening to well-produced music, you will be quite pleased. The balance and response worked well across every genre that we tested, which included: electronic, rock, jazz, classical, folk, and some pop.
What's so electrifying about listening to the Audeze LCD-1 is the level of detail, they almost tickle your ears if that makes any sense. The highs, mids, and lows work in seamless concert and pull you into the music more deeply and profoundly. Even yahoos who like big bass and tweaky highs will be absorbed with this sound as if going from Coors Light to a finely crafted hazy IPA. Dare we say these headphones could be life-changing for some people?
One caveat about the open back design is that you are vulnerable to ambient noise, which means they are just so so in loud environments. So if you are looking to silence that screaming baby on the airplane, you might look to some buds with a closed-back design and tight seal.
Summary: If you are someone that loves listening to music, whether you are an audiophile, a producer, or just a music lover - these are about as good as it gets for $399. The portability is also a big plus if you are a professional on the go and don't want to lug your bigger cans around. So if you are looking to make an investment in your listening pleasure, the LCD-1 should be at the top of your list.
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More info: www.audeze.com