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Audeze LCD-XC Review - Take a Shine to Closed Backs!

"The Audeze LCD-XC is definitely one of the top-tier headphones available now, and is a worthy stablemate to the similarly closed-back but smoother Fostex TH900."

audeze lcd-xcVerdict

The Audeze LCD-XC is definitely one of the top-tier headphones available now, and is a worthy stablemate to the similarly closed-back but smoother Fostex TH900.

Pros

  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Sumptuous build quality
  • Amazing detail
  • Well balanced
  • Separation and imaging fully immersive
  • Sturdy travel case

Cons

  • May be too heavy for some
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In the world of headphones we get the odd celebrity now and again; the flagships sail in and are esteemed due to their value if nothing else. But as with everything, a high price needn't necessarily equate with a good product. Is this particualr celebrity just famous for being famous, or do they actually have some talent?

audeze lcd-xc

Key Features

Those shiny wooden earcups are a treat for the eyes, and the build quality is exceptional. Solid is definitely the word, but this may count against the Audeze LCD-XC as some necks may suffer under the 650g/1.4lb weight; those with the fortitude to 'press a head' should be well rewarded though. The tough carry case protects them in transit, and the supplied ribbon-type cable is 'tangle free'. Also in the case is a little bottle of wax for keeping the shine on the earcups.

First Impressions

Having tried Audeze's offerings before, my appetite was suitably whetted and it was not disappointed. By now the obvious build quality and good looks are meeting with blasé reactions - we all know what to expect from Audeze! The weight issue was in my mind, but since I've been enjoying the HifiMAN HE-400 for some time now with no issues I was not worried, and indeed the LDC-XC's weight did not bother me.

audeze lcd-xc

Sound Quality

I first tried the Audeze LCD-XC with a Chord Hugo; both to feed as good a signal in as possible, and to try the Hugo's resolution with the LCD-XC. The presentation was very accurate and crisp; I found it just a little too far into bright territory for my tastes. Then I tried the LCD-XC with my humble Fiio X3; the X3's output is a little warmer than that of the Chord Hugo, and this was reflected within the sound of the headphones. Where before it was a little cold and uncompromising with the K120, it came to life and into colour for me with the X3. The LCD-XC is like a mirror for the amp; it brings out the best traits of the available equipment.

The closed-back nature of this model is possibly a down side, if only because so many great headphones in this price range are open and so have an advantage in terms of soundstage. As we all know however, isolation is often necessary if we aren't to be distracted (and don't want to disturb others), and the LCD-XC does not sound like a closed headphone. The soundstage is appreciably wider than the physical limits of the headphones, and the closed nature of them does not remain so obvious when in use.

Summary

With the asking price in mind, it's no surprise to learn that this is an exceptionally competent headphone which can hold its own among some cutting-edge competition. If you are considering a highend closed-back model and you find the Fostex TH900 a little smooth, the Audeze LCD-XC may be just for you.

Score: 9.5/10

audeze lcd-xc

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
Follow Shaun on Google+
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