Audeze LCD-2 (Fazor 2016)
The LCD-2F (post-2016 model) is still available and is a high-end planar headphone made by Audeze since 2010. Since late 2013, all LCDs headphones use Fazor elements (sharp material in front of the magnet structure helping with imaging / treble retrieval).
Previous revisions are commonly called pre-fazor LCD2s.Comfort is not the great point of the LCD2 (although all LCDs since 2018 come with suspension strap headband, more comfortable), but build is top notch : shedua wood, sheepskin leather and metal yokes.
The LCD-2 is quite expensive, coming at $1000 new, and mostly competing with the Hifiman Ananda, Borealis, Focal Clear, ZMF Aeolus and Sennheiser HD800S.
○ Release : 2010
○ Current status : In Production
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 580g
○ Impedance : 70 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~97.3 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $500-600
The LCD2-F 2016 has the Audeze house sound : warm, relaxing, with no sharp FR peaks or fatigue issues.
Bass has endless extension and decent amount of quantity, though I’m still looking for 1-2 dB more impact. Just like with most planars, bass decay is a bit too quick, taking away a minimal touch of naturalness.
Bass to mids transition is perfect, and midrange is nice except a major dip in the upper registers, around 2-4 khz. This is my main complaint with Audeze headphones in general : upper-midrange / lower-treble are too dipped, as a result the presence region is not totally natural for me.
In return, no sign of edginess or shoutiness in the sound. Any recording will sound smooth and inoffensive. Treble has honest mid-treble presence and fine extension, but not quite to the level of the HD800.
I find myself wanting more technicalities for the price ; build quality and premium tag branding play a role for the high pricing but I honestly put the LCD2-F slightly above the mid-fi segment in resolution, dynamics and openness. When comparing them to the HD600, I just found the LCD2-F to have more extended and higher quality bass, and that was all. No big improvement in clarity and transients. Better bass dynamics, for sure, though.
The LCD2-F is a good buy, but around $500-600, not at MSRP price. Looking for a warm open-back ? The HD6XX/HD650 is the best option under $500, the LCD-2F is worth it if you need exceptional sub-bass, smoother upper-mids and care about looks or build quality.
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