Best Open Back Studio Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review

A Modern Classic – Audeze LCD-X Review

I remember the first time I heard an Audeze headphone. I was new to the Headphone Dungeon. A colleague excitedly set up a line of Audeze’s and an amp. I began listening through them, but my heart fell quickly for the LCD-X. Warm and smooth, it’s soundstage felt like speakers on my head. And from that moment on, my auditory memory of the cans remained with a strong sense of affection for them. But now with more developed ears and having had exposure to a wider range of headphones, does the LCD-X still hold up? Let’s take a closer look with this Audeze LCD-X Review.

A Modern Classic – Audeze LCD-X Review

In the Box

-this is the creator package, so it is sort of a stripped down version of what would come with it if you got the full package with the case and everything

-LCD-X headphones

-braided cable with 6.35 mm connector

-documentation

Design

Headband

Best Audiophile Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review

The headband of the Audeze LCD-X has a two-tiered design, sporting a layer of perforated leather underneath a thin frame of steel. They both attach to a steel extender, which connects to a steel yolk on both sides of the earcups. Here, the earcups can rock modestly forward and backward and back and forth. The weighty feel of the headphones feels distributed evenly across my head. Additionally, the headband has a solid, yet comfortable clamping force. It works together with the thickness of the earpads. As a result, it feels sturdy without clamping too tightly.  Lastly, the headband is flexible and will work well with a wide variety of head shapes and sizes.

Earcups

Best Open Back Audiophile Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review
Best Open Back Audiophile Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review

The earcups of the Audeze LCD-X are large and circular. Underneath the attractive, matte black steel grill is black felt which protects the drivers from dust. Compared to other headphones, the earcups are heavy, and thus won’t be a great fit for all listeners. However, they have a simple, clean look, with a masculine, mechanical vibe.

Earpads

Audeze LCD-X Review Best Open Back Audiophile headphones
Audeze LCD-X Review Best Open Back Audiophile headphones

The earpads of the Audeze LCD-X are made of memory foam and are coated in leather. They follow the large circular shape of the earcup, but have an oval hole in the middle. This hole is wide and tall enough to fit a wide variety of ear shapes and sizes. Additionally, the earpads have a nice sense of thickness, which helps keep the ear off the earcup. However, its thickness is not symmetrical, and thus holds the headphones on the head at a slight angle. Compared to the pad thickness at the front of the head, the pads at the back of the head are thicker.

Cable

Best Open Back Headphones Audeze LCD-X
Best Open Back Headphones Audeze LCD-X

The stock cable of the Audeze LCD-X has individually insulated conductors which are braided together. It is malleable and easy to coil. While there isn’t much information on the makeup of the cable, it is a solid length and is easy to manage.

Drivers

The Audeze LCD-X, like the other headphones in the LCD series, are planar magnetic drivers. These drivers have a double layer of magnets, which helps to avoid distortion because they help evenly distribute the signal across the entire, extremely thin diaphragm. Additionally, the drivers work together with the Audeze patented Fazor elements, which help guide the waveforms in the earcup in order to avoid resonances.

Sound

Audeze LCD-X Best Open Back Headphones
Audeze LCD-X Best Open Back Headphones

Low Frequencies

The low frequencies of the Audeze LCD-X have a wonderful sense of extension. With a bit of emphasis in the sub region around what sounded like 40 Hz, a wonderful sense of power and feeling comes through with subby instruments like sub synths, 808s, and kick drums. Additionally, there is another boost around what sounds like the fundamental of many kick drums, around what sounded like 80 Hz. As a result, instruments here sound full and punchy. That said, the most impressive part of the lows for me was their combination of quickness, clarity, and warmth. This helped give them super accurate pitch and punch, while also making them feel aesthetically pleasing to my ear.

For example, when I was listening to the song Desperado by Rihanna, the sub synth felt solid and sturdy. It didn’t feel particularly louder in the mix than usual, but it had a feeling of extension and sub to it which gave it lots of power. Through that sub-synth, the kick drum poked its head through with a feeling of punchiness, quickness, and drive. However, it still maintained an aesthetic sense of warmth and smoothness.

Middle Frequencies

Audeze LCD-X Best Audiophile Headphones
Audeze LCD-X Best Audiophile Headphones

The middle frequencies of the Audeze LCD-X have a thick, warm, yet detailed low-mid response. I felt emphasis around what sounded like around 200 Hz. As a result, the headphones give great weight, power, and body to bass guitars, synths, strings, electric guitars, and even vocals! The middle part of the midrange felt full and even, with a feeling of harmonic complexity. Spaciousness between the middle part of the midrange and the high-mids came by a light cut at the base of the high-mids, around what sounded like 2 or 3 kHz. This created a wonderful sense of separation between midrange instruments with and without high-mid info, while maintaining the sense of thickness in the cans. Additionally, a boost at the top part of the high mids, closer to what sounded like 5 kHz, provided a feeling of presence and articulation.

For example, when I was listening to the song Carolina in My Mind by James Taylor, the pluck of the acoustic had a little bit of extra emphasis do the the high-mid boost. The headphones sounded absolutely beautiful with James’s vocal, because it gave it proper articulation and intimacy, while maintaining its fullness and body. Additionally, the bass guitar in the song had a bit of extra body and sounded louder in the mix than usual. It’s pitch remained accurate and even, and the quickness of its response gave it a full feeling of sustain. Lastly, the middle midrange provided a feeling weight and complexity to the piano, slide guitar, violin and snare drum.

High Frequencies

Best Planar Magnetic Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review
Best Planar Magnetic Headphones Audeze LCD-X Review

The high frequencies of the Audeze LCD-X had a nice feeling of extension, although this extension felt quieter in comparison to the extension in the subs. I heard some emphasis in the lower treble around 6 kHz, as well as emphasis in the upper octave around what sounded like 10 or 11 kHz. As a result, the headphones had both a feeling of articulation, specificity, and snappiness, as well as audible airiness(and a feeling of airiness too).

For example, when I was listening to the song Stuff by Miles Davis, the attack on the bell of ride, along with the open and closed high-hat pattern had articulation, precision and fullness. The attack on the bells seemed to have emphasis. The cut in the upper treble made for a nice feeling of separation between the cymbals, horns, and drums.

Soundstage

Audeze LCD-X Best Open Back Studio Headphones
Audeze LCD-X Best Open Back Studio Headphones

The soundstage of the Audeze LCD-X had remarkable extension in all three dimensions. The sub frequencies and ultra high frequencies gave a wonderful sense of tallness, although the height felt a bit quieter in the mix than the sub length. The sense of width had a great phantom center, with an anchor of low and low mid information which contrasted well with instruments panned out wide and in between it. Lastly, the feeling of depth and wonderful separation between intimate instruments and those placed further back in space. Additionally, the depth relationship seemed to have emphasis beyond the mixer’s intentions, providing depth to mixes that didn’t outright emphasize it themselves.

For example, when I was listening to the song Quizas Quizas Quizas by Pink Martini, the guiro, shaker, and breath of the vocal sat nice and high above the classical guitar and pizz strings which sat below them. Sitting then, below them, was the anchoring upright bass, which had lows that extended down below the chest. Next, ther solid center of the vocal and upright bass contrasted in a profound way with the width in the strings, shaker and guiro. In between those extremes, the nuance of the placement of the classical guitar, horns, and pizz strings felt specific and accurate. Lastly, the intimacy of the vocal contrasted strongly with the extremely far-off classical guitar. In between those two extremes, the strings and horns sat with nuance, separation, and spaciousness.

Overview

Overall, the high quality of the Audeze LCD-X has withstood the test of time and my experience as a reviewer. It has warmth, detail, and a soundstage to die for! It works well with a wide variety of genres, and has an aesthetically pleasing sound. So long as you don’t have weak neck, the LCD-X is an incredible option for the price point.

The Audeze LCD-X is available for the best price here:

Audeze LCD-X at Audio46

Audeze LCD-X on Amazon

 

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