Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back ReviewIt's been a while since Audeze released a closed-back model in their LCD range; the XC model was (and is) beautiful but it is a little treble-heavy for this particular listener. So it's great news that we now have an alternative LCD to play around with!
Design and appearanceThe Audeze LCD-2 closed-back takes a slight departure from the XC model in terms of looks; gone is the polished wood, and instead we have black earcups with white chevrons painted on. It's not unattractive, and gives the headphones a nice update for 2018. The cable is a black and white braided affair, and matches the look of the headphones well. We're well used to Audeze treating us with extras such as a carry case and 3.5mm adapter, but this is not how the closed back LCD-2 comes. All we get are the headphones themselves and 3m cable (with 6.35mm jack). To be fair, this could just be a way for Audeze to offer better headphones for less money, and there is always the option to purchase a carry case later if needed.
Durability & build qualityThe closed back LCD-2 is pretty rock solid. There are no obvious weak points and with care, these headphones should last a lifetime. The cable is similarly well constructed with strain reliefs at the top and bottom, and Rean connectors for attaching to the headphones.
ComfortWith a weight of 646g, the LCD-2 is not for those with delicate necks. This reviewer is feeling the weight a little bit after 30 minutes, but it's not a problem. A longer listening session might change this however!
Suitability for intended applicationThe closed back design may lend itself well to outdoor pursuits, but most smartphones would have difficulty running the LCD-2 closed back. With a 70 ohm impedance and a relatively low sensitivity of 97dB, these headphones are better suited to devices with greater powers of amplification. Having said that, the LG V20 does a fairly good job but the headphones could be powered a lot better with proper gear such as a dedicated headphone amp.
Sound characteristics:When compared to the open back version, the closed back LCD-2 does of course have the advantage of much greater isolation but there is of course some compromise due to the need to deal with internal sound reflections and resonances. Bass is more present, but with slightly less detail. Midrange is full and syrupy, and high frequency detail takes a slight hit too. For this review, the closed LCD-2 is powered by the Questyle CMA600i, which provides some very clean audio and won't make the headphones any warmer-sounding than they already are.
BassSub bass is indeed impressive on the closed LCD-2; it's very well rendered and has a very wide and deep feeling to it. Bass presence is enough to make its mark, but without causing many problems for higher frequencies. There however the feeling at times that it affects an otherwise spacious feeling within the midrange.
MidsGenerally the midrange has a good speed about it, with a quality which is neither too dry nor too lush. It sits well between the bass and high frequency ranges, making a cohesive sound which is very slightly recessed when compared to the bass level. Vocals are comfortable within the mix and are rich and detailed.
TreblePerhaps comparison with an open-back LCD-2 is unfair here, but the open back does do better in terms of the high frequency detail. However, the closed back version still has a lot to offer with genres such as classical, with still a good sense of space in the recording. Presence is about as much as it can be, whilst still feeling like a warm headphone. This reviewer is a fan of warm headphones such as the Sennheiser HD650 and Oppo PM-2, and the closed LCD-2 would serve as a good closed-back alternative for those who want a similar sound.
Soundstage & SeparationThis LCD-2 is surprisingly good for a closed back model; soundstage is impressive although there's not so much of an 'airy' feeling here. Separation is very good too, with instruments giving a good impression of sitting in their own spaces within recordings.
Music genres good for and whyGiven the slightly bass-centric tuning, the closed LCD-2 is well suited for studio genres such as dance, pop and rock. However, it can give a good rendition of a classical or acoustic performance if you're more fond of a weighty feel within the music as opposed to a light and airy one.
- There's now a choice of LCD closed backs (along with LCD-XC)
- Good isolation
- Great soundstage for a closed back model
- More utilitarian looking than most designs
- Accessories are spartan
- Can be heavy for some