When starting to get into full-sized planar magnetic headphones, I made the jump and bought the open back LCD-2 headphones from Audeze. It opened up a whole new world of listening to me, and they became my go-to headphones while at work.
When it came time to sell them, it was tough letting them go, a headphone that was a big part of my daily life, they had served me well. Over time I kind of left Audeze by the wayside, dabbling here and there making trades with friends for limited times, and a few weeks ago, one of those guys messages me to see if I would like to try his LCD-2 Closed back. How could I say no?
Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Pricing and Availability
Audeze is a popular audiophile headphone brand and as such specialist Hifi stores may carry some of their product. They are also widely available online through a number of retailers. Please feel free to use the links below to view the current price and availability at respective retailers.
The first impression of the Audeze LCD-2 Closed back.
Disclaimer this review of the Audeze LCD2 Closed-Back headphones was not a retail or new model. It comes to me from a member of one of the discord groups I’m a member of where we loan each other various tech products. As a result, I didn’t receive them in a retail box and can’t comment on anything in the case. The only thing I received was the headphones with the cables and earpads installed.
My first impression, therefore, was untangling the overly gratuitous combination of bubble wrap and packaging tape. Brian didn’t want to see his babies take punishment at the hands of DHL; it was nice to see someone else feels as nervous as I do when posting out my headphones.
Once the tape came off, I told them I fell for them for the first time at first sight. Classic styling with a touch of a modern twist, I thought. It was all there, radio-style headband, leather top pad, very generous earpads, and of course, the heft of them were all cues that it was an Audeze headphone.
The set that I had a white 2 line design on them that looking at Audezes website doesn’t seem to be the current aesthetic. The new one has a prominent Audeze stamped on the side of it with a bold font. I’ll include photos of both so you can get a look at the old and new designs.
Everything else seemed to be the same, though, and they were a hell of an excellent headphone to have in hand. Premium build quality and decent (if not quite luxury) materials. They are a massive set of headphones with many heft to them, which might not be to everyone’s taste.
Detachable cables, of course, my preference, and nice to see the company haven’t cheeped out on it either as it’s a very high-quality cable with excellent connectors and termination with ample strain relief.
Are the Audeze LCD-2 comfortable?
I would say they are a decently comfortable headphone, but two areas detract from me recommending them as very comfortable. First, the weight is definitely on the heavy side. It is common on many the companies headphones, and the tech inside adds many the heft. However, you aren’t exactly going to forget you have them on your head.
The second issue is just a simple comparison of how an open back headphone feels on your head. Closed-back designs are not as breathable as an open back, and although the earcups are generously spacious, that doesn’t do much to keep you cool. Every few hours, I would take a break to let my ears breathe. It is something that plagues most closed-back designs, and you are trading isolation for comfort.
Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Sound Quality Tested
I was a bit skeptical about seeing how they would pull off-putting the LCD-2 into closed-back form. I was never a big fan of the closed EL8 and was worried you’d again lose that balance of openness and musicality that headphones throughout the LCD range.
Thankfully it wasn’t, and while not remaining true to the overall presentation of the open backs, it has beautiful sound in its own right. It’s a musical and fun-sounding headphone that can also deliver a stinging low-end punch.
I went into the review expecting one thing and what I found was that it wasn’t really trying to compete with the open backs. This is its beast, and I think it’s a perfect addition to the range. The reason? Bass, hard-hitting, and voluminous bass while having unique characteristics in the mid and treble.
Yes, these are about as close to a basshead audiophile headphone that you will get, and the amount of impact is probably just a tad under what you can expect from the far more expensive Sony MDR-1ZR. It hits very hard when required and with impact reverberation showing well above average sub-bass performance. The mid-bass is complimentary with good texture and layering, especially on low, not stringed instruments.
EDM performance is excellent with rich, detailed peaky highs that compliment that low end making for a slightly v-shaped sound and a fun overall listen. When things are dialed back, and we move to some vocal jazz like Merlody Gardot’s – From Paris with love, which has a prominent bass line throughout, we find that it might be a touch too much for true versatility.
The low-end dominance is just slightly too forward and stands over the lower midrange. The good thing is that the upper mids and treble from Gardot’s voice stand very clear in the space and are complementary.
The midrange is detailed, but it’s smooth and relaxed. It a smooth headphone when it needs to be, and the speed of the mids is unquestioned, as you would expect from a planar magnetic design.
The soundstage is average for this price in closed back form. You have some sense of openness delivered by the top notes but don’t expect open back performance levels.
Final Verdict: Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Review Conclusion
Do we have a winner on our hands? Absolutely, without a doubt, yes. I need a set of headphones like this to fulfill my bass craving. The way they perform with the low end made them a great list for my EDM and Hip-Hop tracks. Jazz and Classical sounded good, but you should probably dial down the low-end touch with your EQ to bring things a little more in line.
The comfort was reasonably decent, although if you struggle with bulky headphones, these will be a device. I don’t need to be buying another headphone right now, but I’m seriously considering these for casual listening sessions.
A great addition to the lineup that does enough different and the same to be a worthy addition. The price is pretty reasonable, as well. I highly recommended it.