Audeze LCD-24 Review

Today, I got my sticky little paws on the new Audeze LCD-24. The sound and physical appearance may be familiar to many LCD owners. What did Audeze have in mind when designing these new cans? And what can you expect in terms of performance? Let’s take a little Audeze adventure on this Audeze LCD-24 Review.

Audeze LCD-24 Review

IN the BOX

  • Leather conditioning cream for the earpads. Also works great on hair and sandwiches.
  • No white gloves, but they never come in my size anyway. And we’re not working with wood.
  • Cloth included
  • Audeze’s oxygen free, silver coated copper cable (1/4 inch termination and mini-XLR 4-pin connectors)
  • Warranty Card and User info.

FIT

Much like the weight and size of the LCD-4Z, the LCD-24 is lighter than other LCD models. The LCD-3, for example, weighs about the same as my plumpish cat.  This doesn’t mean that the LCD-24 is a light headphone. It’s certainly heavier than a Focal. Still, the shedded weight makes these cans easier to wear for long stretches of time.  You’ll notice that, like the LCD-4Z, the earpads are also thinner than the most popular LCD’s. But this in no way detracts for the luxurious and plush feel. I should mention that the earpads sit quite snug around the ears. The clamping force wasn’t too tight for me, but if you prefer a particularly loose fit, it may feel a little suffocating at first.

DESIGN

The first thing to note here is that, like the LCD-4Z, the LCD-24 is easy to drive (15 Ohms, 98dB). But like all planar magnetics, it still takes some more juice to power than a dynamic driver headphone with higher impedance. Still, a portable amp should be more than sufficient to drive it. And for the purposes of this review, I used my ol’ favorite, the iFi Micro Black Label.

Audeze hasn’t released any information about the LCD-24 on their website yet. And we’ll update this article as more information is released. But word on the virtual street is that the company’s intention was to rework the LCD-4 by reducing the heaviness and number of magnets, which subsequently makes more space for the diaphragm area. And in theory, these adjustments should lower distortion, while improving transparency, speed and dynamics. And in terms of tuning, The LCD-24 was intended to mimic the LCD-2. But the Dungeon team has yet to do a thorough AB comparison between these two models. So, more to come soon.

The LCD-24 comes with Audeze’s silver covered copper cable (¼ inch to dual 4-pin mini XLR).

 

SOUND

Lows

As with all LCD’s, you can expect the juicy low end that Audeze is famous for. And like the LCD-4, you’ll get tons of control with respect to bass instruments. That being said, listening to bass on pop tracks, the response may not have been as speedy as I expected. (And maybe I’m expecting too much). But certainly, if you compare the LCD-24 to the much cheaper LCD-X, for instance, you’ll notice much tighter and more separated bass progressions. The intro to The Beatles’ Come Together is a nice example. Using the LCD-X, the fast note sequence almost seems to slide up the cleff as one unit. But listening to the LCD-24, the notes felt more absolute and delineated. Still, a fluidity remains. And if you play a few string tracks in this range, you’ll hear a sweet balance between detail and smoothness. In fact, classical music is one of my favorite genres to listen to on these cans. The richness of the lows combined with that effortless, flowing character makes for a sublime, graceful sound.

Mids

Unsurprisingly, anyone who appreciates a full-bodied midrange will gravitate towards this sound signature. Indeed, the voluptuous mids are what I love so much about the Audeze sound. Tastefully balanced, the upper mids avoid any artificial emphasis, while the low mids are sufficiently revealed to create an expansive feel. And in general, the mix just feels uncontrived.

The level of articulation is fantastic on these cans. And again, the resolve and subtleties picked up by the LCD-24 makes the presentation on lower level LCD’s seem almost heavy handed in comparison. Of course, I never feel this way about the LCD-2 when listening to it on its own. But those who make the upgrade will undoubtedly find the difference quite discernible. If you listen to folk and acoustic rock tracks, you’ll hear that the timbre and nuances of guitar strings feel more absolute in their presentation. And though the profile remains fleshy, the more delicate attributes of acoustic instruments are handled oh so tenderly. 

The layering is also quite impeccable. And even in the heaviest arrangements, no instrument is lost in the mix. So, yes, it’s lush, but still very tidy and clean. And the incredible level of control remains apparent in this range. Listening to Adele’s Make You Feel My Love (well, it’s Bob Dylan’s),  the vocals are so well contained that when you switch to an LCD-X, there almost seems to be a haze surrounding her voice. I’m certainly not poo-pooing the LCD-X. In fact, it’s my favorite planar headphone in its price range. But the LCD-24 is just that good.

Highs

Again, listening to strings in this range, thorough transparency meets a delightful smoothness. Though almost honey-like, violins still retain a high level of detail. Certainly, this isn’t a light an airy sound. There’s some serious velvety weight to female vocals in this range, even though you’ll hear every breath in its entirety. Now, in terms of extension, you may not get the same sparkle or crispness that you would from a Focal headphone. But listening to pop, there was certainly enough snap to lend energy to funky tracks. And on the flip side, the relatively moderate highs make these cans easy to listen to for long stretches of time.

Soundstage

The precision of the imaging is what stood out the most here. Comparing the LCD-24 to the LCD-X in this category (apologies for the repeated comparison, but I had it handy), the smallest gradations in height and depth were so much more apparent that it brought a whole new level of dimension and color to the track. So, the striking degree of control and separation not only increases the sense of spaciousness (and adds richness to the more distant instruments), but the overall listening experience just becomes more holographic.

SUMMARY

If you’re an existing LCD owner looking to upgrade your sound while shedding your weight, the LCD-24 is a great option, though admittedly a pricey one. And as more comparisons with other LCD models come out, we’ll get a better idea of whether the LCD-24 is worth the significant investment. But based on what I heard today – the remarkable amount of control and articulation, along with that splendid coherence and undeniable LCD richness – the LCD-24 is certainly worthy of joining the greats.

4 skulls

You can buy the LCD-24 here:

Audeze LCD-24 at Audio 46

 

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