Audeze LCD-1 Review

Audeze LCD-1 Review

The US-American manufacturer Audeze is bringing a lightweight on the market with the Audeze LCD-1 headphones manufactured in an open design. It is In the category of expensive headphones, tough battles are already being fought for the favor of customers. Nevertheless, the headphones, specially designed for musicians, sound engineers, and pro audio creators, should assert themselves.

PROS:

  • Affordable for planar magnetic headphones
  • Accurate sound signature ideal for reference listening
  • Comfortable
  • Removable cable

CONS:

  • Cable lacks inline remote or mic
  • Headphones bleed audio
  • Not for those seeking big bass

Headphones as a studio reference

I didn’t have the best room acoustics in my studio for a long time and wanted to compensate for that with very good headphones. Of course, many years of experience and sound knowledge of your equipment play a key role in mixing and mastering, but if the studio room is not properly measured, reverberation times and frequency curves, paired with an unfavorable arrangement of one or the other furniture, create a wrong picture of what is being mixed target. The headphones themselves offer a good solution, as an over-ear construction completely encloses the ears, and the sound hits the ears directly without the studio space adding anything or sealing it away.

A distinction must be made between the construction of the headphones. Open, half-open, and closed are offered in specialist shops. The hearing perception is quite different in the systems mentioned since external noises pass through the auricles with different intensities. With closed systems, some people feel a certain cramped feeling. I know some singers or speakers who can’t stand it at all. Body heat also plays a role in closed systems because, figuratively speaking, the ear can breathe less due to the strong material-related shielding.

I’ve been using the Beyerdynamic T1 1st generation for about 6-7 years, and I’m still very satisfied with it. In the meantime, my studio has long been optimized with Helmholtz resonators, diffusers, absorbers, and official monitoring. Therefore, I would like to describe the test of the Audeze LCD-1 compared to the studio’s room sound.

My first conclusion: headphones as a studio reference are ok, but a signal heard in a good room is preferable.

Construction and technical facts

The Audeze branding adorns most of the Audeze headphones. The stylized A can also be seen on the LCD-1. Due to the mobile needs for on-the-go, the Audeze LCD-1 headphones can be quickly folded or folded and fit comfortably into the box supplied. This principle is not new, but Audeze intended the heavier headphones with a corresponding weight for the spoiled high-end group in the past. Wrinkling wasn’t an option.

The open design of the Audeze LCD-1 creates a very airy sound from the start. Depending on the requirements, you can also hear the outside noises quite well, which can be annoying or not be a nuisance. This has a disadvantageous effect on vocal recordings that are recorded in a noisy environment, for example, when recording the entire band in the same room. The signal has to be sent quite loudly to the headphones. You may then hear a high-frequency whisper during the recording. Furthermore, due to the construction, the basses are not so powerful. Everything is felt more permeable.

The Audeze LCD-1 scores with the memory foam auricle. The wearing comfort is excellent. Real lamb leather reinforces the pleasant wearing comfort. But, of course, sustainability and materials have to be discussed these days. I wouldn’t say I like artificial leather. Fabric, velvet, or even real leather have the edge with me.

The frequency response is specified from 10 Hz to 50,000 Hz. Magnetostatic converters, planar drivers, and Fluxor magnets form the technical core of the Audeze LCD-1 headphones.

Audeze has legally protected the terms Fluxor and the membrane known as “ultra-thin Uniforce.”

If necessary, please look at my other test for more details and technical insight into the Audeze manufacturing process.

16-ohm impedance makes the headphones interesting on the go because low resistances deliver a decent volume even with levels emitted by the smartphone or tablet. The headphones can achieve a maximum level of 120 dB (specified at 5 W). That is enough.

At 252 g, the LCD-1 weighs practically nothing. The cables are not included in the weight. Speaking of cables: Here, the manufacturer has decided to add a reversible cable harness almost 2 m long. This makes a lot of sense because it doesn’t matter whether the left or right side is swapped. The correct left/right information is always guaranteed by reversible technology. The LCD-1 headphones are delivered from the factory with a mini-jack, an adapter for a large jack is included, which can be plugged in if necessary.

Sound behavior of the studio headphones

In everyday studio life, I have a lot to do with language and music and their recording and mixing ratios. Therefore, the LCD-1 has to endure an endurance test. I used it for almost a week for all audio productions. I explain the overall impression in conclusion, first of all, the songs with detailed explanations.

As with the test of other headphones, I loaded six different songs of various genres into the computer for testing, CD standard 44.1 kHz, 16 bit, stereo.

Impression LCD-1: The reverberation room of the orchestra is depicted in an imaginary triangle nose upper auricle, the panorama drawing of the half-oval is thus reproduced in the upper half of the head, highs are a bit pale compared to the spatial impression and lows run into the room, that is certainly the one owed to open design. Dynamic factors such as sheet metal tips are embedded in the room and do not stand out unpleasantly. The centers are overemphasized towards the room. The track is almost as airy as it can be heard in the room.

Impression in the room: The sound experience in the room is, of course, different because the sound is also perceived from behind. You feel more embedded in the concert.

Jazz, Fusion: Marcus Miller, Panther, CD The Sun don’t lie

Impression LCD-1: very good localization and perception of reverb and delay affiliations. Full, fast bass, I miss the lively highs a bit. Still, very direct mids, the compression of the bass drum is very grippy but sticky, and the synth bass elements are separated from the clear bass, the shaker can be heard percussively, all panorama parameters are well separated very finely graduated. The snare, as it is in the middle, is a bit far ahead. If you listen louder, the center of the track is a bit tiring. Deep bass is at chin height, does not offer a broad stereo feeling. It is just there but does not play around the head.

Impression in the room: The track flows around the sweet spot at the listening position. What happens in the wider panorama and especially in the deep bass cannot be reproduced by the headphones opposite the room.

Pop: Seal, Crazy, CD 1991

LCD-1 impression: Although analog and synthetic drums can be distinguished from one another, they mix at the midnight position. Sequencer and moving signals from the keys and the guitars are perceptible. The vocal peaks are no problem for the LCD-1. The polyphony used, which makes the song so appealing, is experienced in a balanced way. Reverberation rooms and individual modulation effects, for example, the guitars, are shown very wide, warm, and easy to grip. Good, albeit strong, panorama, the room mixes the song more homogeneously compared to the headphones. Strangely, the deep bass is very close to the spatial impression here. I didn’t have that feeling on the other tracks.

Impression in the room: Seals Pop Masterpiece fills the whole room even more around you. The S-sounds disappear in the reverb component or merge with the entire production.

Note for singers: The open-plan LCD-1 is great for practicing second voices because you can hear your singing along with the track.

Funk, Fusion, Soul, Pop: Earth, Wind and Fire, September, CD Greatest Hits 1978

Impression LCD-1: a full band with all the extensions that one can have. Precisely played and extremely tidy mixed, but still in the style of the time or better said timeless because the song still works today without remix & Co. The headphones locate everything extra wide on an imaginary line from ear center to ear center. The singing comes towards the forehead. I miss the 10 and 2 o’clock positions on the headphones. Overall, the number is shown very centrally but still makes a warm and tidy impression.

Impression in the room: The production sounds typical at the end of the 70s. The LCD-1 does not make this impression more modern. The room with the reverberation component is more subtle and diffuse in the room.

Prog Rock: Yes, State of Play, CD Talk 1994

LCD-1 impression: Beautiful, powerful, stereo-perceived low-bass component for open headphones. The snare and the vocals are at the front, but the mid-frequencies transport the snare directly in front of the face, which strains when listening louder. Here I miss the liveliness of the track.

Impression in the room: The spatial experience of the deep bass can be felt more voluminously in the stomach. The production is not so central and direct. As a result, the room sounds more open, warmer, and livelier.

Metal: Slayer, Disciple 2001

Impressions: The LCD-1 makes this track a lot of work for the ears, as guitars, vocals, and drums, especially the snare, are quite aggressive and mixed in the middle. The LCD-1 emphasizes that too. The consequence of this is that your ears droop more easily, and you don’t want to hear the volume that the song seduces you to. However, all components of the drums can be located. Slayer modern drummer Paul Bostaph drums his soul out of his rump and before die-hard fans start drummer personal discussions, Dave and Paul both know how to do it. Heard in the room puts more pressure on the number and has more eggs. The headphones score with their beautiful compactness. The song comes across like a wall and is perfectly distributed in the panorama.

The Audeze LCD-1 cuts a fine figure when it comes to voice recordings. Male sonorous synchronized voices do not have that rich bass, of course, but present mids. Exact mixing ratios between speech and background music can be mixed without any problems, reverberation spaces and effects are displayed. Only the representation, which is a bit too central for me, tires my ears in the long run. The headphone set at a lower level can help.

CONCLUSION

The open, circumaural Audeze LCD-1 headphones can score points in many ways. The lightweight construction with 252 g, foldable and easy to transport, all of this speaks for the LCD-1. But for me, there are a little too many mids and a little too pale highs in the sound image. For my taste, this is at the expense of the liveliness.

The question is whether the manufacturer wanted to be balanced with the LCD-1 developed for the pro-audio sector. At this point, I like to use the Yamaha NS10 for comparison. Unfortunately, they are also a bit flat, at least for my sound experience. And yet, they are in countless studios and are set there.

Everyone may perceive the sound. Differently, I compare the sound in the studio to the sound of the headphones. We’ll talk about nuances because otherwise, the Audeze LCD-1 is good at what it does and will be popular with customers. The LCD-1 has earned grade 2, in my eyes and ears no more, but no less either.

Audeze LCD-1 Review
Audeze LCD-1 Review

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