LCD-2 Classic

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.

sound descriptions mine

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Audeze LCD-2 Classic

LCD2C

The Audeze LCD-2 Classic is an open orthodynamic headphone. It retails for around $ 800.-
The original LCD-2 had wooden cups. This LCD-2C has plastic cups. This is done to reduce costs and weight. The headband is made of powder coated steel. The headband and pads are made of pleather.
The LCD-2C has a 4-pin mini XLR connector on each cup and thus has a braided supple cable with a Y-splitter in the middle terminated in a 6.3mm TRS jack. The cable is low in microphonics.

This headphone is designed to be driven from desktop sources.  It is intended for home usage because of the open nature of the headphone.
Just like the original LCD-2 this headphone doesn’t come with the Fazors.

specifications:

Type: over ear, open
Usage: home usage
Driver type: orthodynamic
Pads: replaceable, slanted soft pleather pads
Inner pad dimensions: depth: 35mm rear, 25mm front side, H: 65mm, W: 50mm
Collapsable: No.
Headphone connector: 4-pin Mini XLR (marked with colour code ring)
Cable entry: dual sided
Cable: replaceable,  1.6m. 6.3mm TRS jack
Driver size: 80mm diameter, active area 65mm x 50mm
Nom. power rating:  5W (15W peak power)
Nom. voltage: 18 Vrms (32V peak power)
Nom. current:  250 mA (0.45A peak power)
Max. S.P.L.  137 dB (at 18V)
Impedance: 70 Ω
Efficiency: 101 dB/1mW  (112 dB/1V)
Weight: 600 g.
Clamping force: low/medium
Accessories: 1.6m. cable with 6.3mm TRS jack.

Sound description:

Will be added later on

Measurements:

Below the frequency response of the LCD-2C (Left, Right)FR LCD2 ClChannel matching is excellent.
The frequency response shows a neutral-ish tonal response from 10Hz to 1kHz with a small ‘forward/clear’ tilt to it. There is a mild mid-range emphasis which adds to the ‘forward’ sound signature.
Bass as well as sub-bas is there and of high quality. This is not basshead type of bass but works well with well made recordings. Older rock and pop records may sound a little too bass shy.
While the mids are quite neutral, forward and ‘open’ it does lack ‘clarity/presence’. The dive towards 5kHz is responsible for this. That dip is somewhat smaller in reality than how it measures because the so-called Concha-gain. This will make this measured dip smaller than it looks. It is still there though, just not as deep as the plots suggest.
Treble extension of the LCD-2C is good but is on a too low level when one is looking for your typical detailed ‘high-end’ sound with clear cymbals. The treble is clearly soft and reduced in level but of good quality.
These headphones really need some EQ for me and it looks like Audeze agrees as they supply their own EQ program. The darker tonal balance is something many early LCD-2 owners liked about it but others complained about. You can’t win them all with one headphone. Or can you ? Well…. yes you can, as these headphones react well to EQ.

Seal

Seal can be an issue with closed-back headphones but is usually less of a problem for open headphoones. Breaking the seal (improper fit on the head, glasses, hairs) usually means a loss of (sub)bass. The LCD-2C is not different than most other open headphones in this aspect. Perfect seal, with thin armed glasses on and with thick armed glasses.sealThere is a slight loss of subbass below 20Hz which IMO is not audible. Lowest bass frequencies do not suffer at all and in fact even slightly increase in amplitude.
A perfect seal thus is not essential for these headphones.

output resistance / damping-factor

As this is an orthodynamic headphone its impedance is as good as ruler flat so a higher output resistance amplifier will have no consequences for the frequency response/tonal balance/damping. Driven with an amplifier with (0.2Ω) and (120Ω) output resistance.
Of course the levels are compensated as through a high output resistance the level will be 6.5dB lower.R120The good news here is that the output impedance of the music source is completely irrelevant. No tonal balance changes.

The Audeze line-up has quite a few models that differ somewhat in tonal balance and nuances. Below a plot with the open versions in the Audeze line-up.
LCD-2 F, LCD-2 Classic, LCD-3 F, LCD-X, LCD-4 and LCD-MX4tonal balance all LCD openAs can be seen the differences in tonal balance are not very big between all models but definitely are there.

To make the differences between the LCD-2 Fazor and LCD-2 Classic a little easier to spot below the comparison plot.LCD2F vs LCD2ClassicThese headphones are indeed closely related. What is obvious though is the emphasis between 600Hz and 1.2kHz which makes the LCD-2C a bit more ‘forward’ sounding. Voices and certain instruments will stand out a bit more on the LCD-2C. The wish of those that wanted a less ‘trebly’ LCD-2 has been granted and the treble seems a bit more even in the LCD-2C and is somewhat lower in amplitude/level as well. Treble extension beyond 20kHz in the LCD-2C also seems ‘better’.
This all makes the LCD Classic a somewhat more ‘forward’ and a bit darker/subdued in the treble.

Below an interesting comparison between the LCD-2 Classic and the LCD-MX4.LCD MX4 vs LCD2 ClassicThat’s quite a surprise. These 2 won’t sound that different in overall tonal balance. Above 10kHz there are differences though which indicate the treble response isn’t entirely the same. The LCD-2 Classic has about 5dB more presence around 13kHz but the LCD-MX4 has 5 dB more presence from 13kHz to 20kHz. As the ‘air’ is in the highest frequencies one could conclude that the more expensive LCD-MX4 has more ‘air’.

Note that this headphone was measured at ears-unlimited-logo where unavoidable background noises were present in the demo room. Distortion levels and spectrum plot performance may thus be better in reality than shown on the plots.

Below the distortion plots of the LCD-2C. (Right channel shown)
The distortion products are shown in dB.dist LCD2 cl RThe distortion is impressively low and are below the capabilities of my test rig.
The 2nd harmonic distortion is most likely lower than the 0.2% shown in the plots. This is due to the limit of the measurement rig which is reached.

Below the same plot except shown in percentages.dist LCD2 cl R percentNo negative remarks here. Exceptionally low distortion

Below the CSD of the LCD-2C (Left and Right channel are superimposed)CSD LCD2 ClThe driver seems to be pretty well damped. Not as well as the LCD-MX4 nor as the LCD-2 Fazor but  is not showing all kinds of resonances above 4kHz that are seen as severe as in Hifiman headphones. Still some resonances are visible above 6kHz.

Below the spectrum plot of the LCD-2C (Left channel).spectr LCD2 cl RThis plot too shows no deal breaking issues at all. Bass and mids are quite clean. The 600Hz to 1.2kHz region appears to to linger on a bit longer but this is (mostly ?) caused by the amplitude being higher there. Very short lived resonances are seen here and there above 5kHz.
The small signals around 1.5kHz may well not be coming from the headphone but are most likely sounds present in the demo room it was measured in.

By lack of oscilloscope shots (not enough time to measure that) below a step response plot of the LCD-2C. (Left channel)step LCD2 L
The initial rise doesn’t reach the 0dB line at all. It remains about 7.5dB below the mids (the peak around 0.4ms). Bass extension is very good as indicated by the just slightly downwards sloping horizontal trace. The midrange emphasis (the ‘hump’ around 0.4ms) is clearly visible which will make voices and certain instruments stand out yet lack in clarity.

summary

The LCD-2C has very low amounts of distortion. Tonal balance is a bit coloured. A bit too ‘forward’ in the mids and lacking in clarity and presence. Forward and ‘laid back’ at the same time. Treble is present and well extended but on the subdued side. I am sure there are buyers that will be very glad with this tonal character.
Those who want a bit more clarity and bass should reach for tone controls / EQ and get a nicely made headphone that reacts well to EQ.
Recommended for indoor usage because of it’s open nature. Just like the original LCD-2 this headphone needs to be driven by a decent amplifier. Not really suited to be driven directly from Phones/laptops/tablets but Digital Audio Players with a decemt output power should be able to drive this headphone to decent levels.
Some people may not like the, still rather high, weight others won’t mind.
Comfort on the head is very good though.
The comfortable pleather pads do seal quite good, which some may find uncomfortable as it kind of ‘sucks’ to your head when you pull the headphones from your head.

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