The Government of Quebec is shutting down non-essential businesses till April 13. Therefore, our lab is temporarily closed and we can't test new products. In the meantime, we will continue to update articles from home.

Audeze LCD-1 Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Dec 19, 2019 at 10:23 am
Audeze LCD-1 Picture
Test Methodology v1.4
5.1
Mixed Usage
7.7
Neutral Sound
3.8
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
4.4
Office
4.4
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.6
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Planar Magnetic

The Audeze LCD-1 are open-back planar magnetic over-ear headphones with a sleek design that's more reminiscent of casual headphones than most other typical audiophile-centric over-ears. Their sound profile is well-balanced and they look and feel quite premium thanks to their mix of good quality plastic, metal, and faux-leather. They're one of Audeze's least expensive pairs of headphones, making them a great option for someone who wants to try a pair of open-back reference-grade headphones while maintaining a casual look, and without breaking the bank.

Our Verdict

5.1 Mixed Usage

The Audeze LCD-1 aren't recommended for mixed usage, as they're designed for use at home. Their sound profile is very well-balanced, making them suitable for a wide range of genres and content. Due to their wired-only and open-back design, they aren't the best choice for commuting or use at the office, as they block no ambient noise, and people around you will be able to hear what you're listening to. They also aren't the most stable, making them a poor choice for taking to the gym.

7.7 Neutral Sound

The Audeze LCD-1 are designed for a well-balanced and neutral listening experience while at home, and they excel in this regard. They're very well-balanced, with only a minor recess in low-bass that likely shouldn't be too audible to most people. They're among the most consistent over-ears we've tested, meaning everyone should experience their sound profile the same way. Due to their open-back design, their soundstage sounds very open and spacious, though it still appears to be inside the listener's head.

See our Neutral Sound recommendations
3.8 Commute/Travel

The Audeze LCD-1 may not be the best choice for commuting or traveling, as they're are designed for listening to music at home. Due to their open-back design, they block no ambient noise, meaning you'll clearly hear the rumble of engines or chatter of people around you. They also leak quite a bit of audio, and people sitting next to you on a plane will likely be able to clearly hear your music. On the upside, they're smaller than most other headphones of this type and are comfortable and breathable enough to be able to wear for an entire flight without getting too warm or uncomfortable on the ears.

See our Commute/Travel recommendations
5.6 Sports/Fitness

The Audeze LCD-1 aren't designed for working out and aren't recommended for this use. Their over-ear fit isn't the most stable, and their wire is likely to get in the way at the gym. On the upside, their open-back design means you can still clearly hear your surroundings unless listening to music at very loud volumes. This means they may be a good choice if you want to have music while running outdoors but still be aware of your surroundings.

See our Sports/Fitness recommendations
4.4 Office

The Audeze LCD-1 are open-back headphones, and therefore leak a lot of audio, by design. This means that they aren't recommended for use in the office, as people around you will likely be able to hear what you're listening to, even at moderate volumes. They also block almost no background noise, so they wouldn't help block out chatty coworkers to keep you concentrated at work.

See our Office recommendations
4.4 Wireless Gaming

The Audeze LCD-1 are wired-only headphones that can't be used wireless.

See our Wireless Gaming recommendations
6.5 Wired Gaming

The Audeze LCD-1 don't have a microphone, and therefore likely aren't the best option to use for gaming. That being said, if you don't play online games, and only want to be able to hear your game's audio, they should work well when plugged into the controller of a PS4 or Xbox One. Their open-back design means that they breathe fairly well, so your ears shouldn't get too sweaty during longer gaming sessions, though they're best for gaming alone, as they leak a lot of audio, and don't block out any ambient noise.

1.6 Phone Calls

The Audeze LCD-1 don't have a microphone and can't be used for phone calls.

  • 5.1 Mixed Usage
  • 7.7 Neutral Sound
  • 3.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.4 Office
  • 4.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.5 Wired Gaming
  • 1.6 Phone Calls
Pros
  • Well-balanced sound profile.
  • Premium and well-built design.
  • Casual and sleek look for open-back headphones.
  • Consistent listening experience among various users.
Cons
  • Heavy audio leakage, by design.
  • Poor noise isolation, by design.
  1. Update 2/11/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Audeze LCD-1 are a sleek and modern-looking pair of over-ear reference headphones. They're quite small and stylish compared to most open-back reference headphones and are composed of dense matte-black plastic with faux-leather ear cups and headband. Their ear cups swivel so the headphones lay flat, or you can also fold them in for transport.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.55 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

These headphones are lightweight and quite comfortable. They clamp fairly well, but don't feel too tight on the head, and should be comfortable enough for long listening sessions. While their ear cups are smaller than many other audiophile-oriented headphones, they should fit around most ears without any problems.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

These headphones don't have any controls.

7.2
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 3.7 C

The Audeze LCD-1 are decently breathable thanks to their open-back design. The grills on the rear of the ear cups allow for decent airflow, but their over-ear design won't be as breathable as in-ears.

6.0
Design
Portability
L 5.1 "
W 6 "
H 3.4 "
Volume 104 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

While the Audeze LCD-1 aren't the most portable, they're still less bulky than most open-back reference headphones. The ear cups fold in to allow them to fit into their included hard case, making them easy to stow in a bag or purse.

7.5
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 8.2 "
W 6.3 "
H 4 "
Volume 207.6 Cu. Inches

The Audeze LCD-1 come with a hard case for transporting them that feels well-made and should provide good protection against light drops and minor water exposure.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of these headphones is very good. Despite their lightweight build, they feel quite sturdy and their dense plastic and metal construction should be able to withstand some small accidental bumps or drops. Their weakest point is where each ear cups swivel, but even that still feels quite solid.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Audeze LCD-1 are decently stable on the head, and only move slightly around the ears when you shake your head. While they're unlikely to fall off during light movement, they may not be the best for more strenuous workouts. Overall, however, these headphones are designed for use around the house, where their stability shouldn't be an issue.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Audeze LCD-1 headphones
  • 7-foot Audio cable.
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter
  • Case
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-3.87 db
Treble Amount
-2.52 db

The Audeze LCD-1 have a fairly well-balanced sound profile. While unfortunately their low-bass is recessed, this is common with open-back headphones. On the bright side, the accuracy of the mid and treble ranges are excellent, with only some minor dips in mid-treble, though they shouldn't be audible to most.

9.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.1 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Audeze LCD-1 is excellent. This means that you should experience the same sound reproduction every time that you use the headphones, and different people will experience the sound the same way as well.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.46 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
70.25 Hz
Low-Bass
-8.54 dB
Mid-Bass
-3.31 dB
High-Bass
-0.35 dB

The bass accuracy of the Audeze LCD-1 is great. Like most open-back headphones, they're lacking in low-bass but are very accurate for the rest of the ranges. While our unit had a slight mismatch in the bass range, it's in a low enough range that it likely wouldn't be noticeable during regular listening sessions. It's also worth noting that L/R imaging is specific to individual units, so your unit may not have this same issue.

8.4
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.14 dB
Low-Mid
0.01 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.13 dB
High-Mid
-3.06 dB

The mid-range accuracy of these headphones is great. They follow the neutral target curve almost perfectly and are only slightly overemphasized in the low-mid range, though this likely won't be enough to make an audible difference to most people.

6.3
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.88 dB
Low-Treble
-2.6 dB
Mid-Treble
-5.41 dB
High-Treble
-7.63 dB

The treble accuracy of the Audeze LCD-1 is great with most of their peaks and dips in high enough frequencies that likely won't be too audible to most people. However, their mid-treble range is recessed for most of the range, which may make some leads and vocals sound slightly dull and lacking in brightness.

8.0
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.25 db
Dips
1.02 db

The peaks and dips performance of the Audeze LCD-1 is very good. Most of the peaks and dips are in higher frequency ranges, which shouldn't be audible to most people. Unfortunately, most of the mid-treble range is recessed, which may make leads and vocals lack in brightness.

9.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.2
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.1
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.42
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.09

The stereo imaging of these headphones is excellent. The GD graph is below the audibility threshold for almost the entire frequency range, except for in low-bass where our unit had a slight L/R driver mismatch. However, this mismatch was in a low enough range where it's likely to be less noticeable to most people. It's also worth noting that these measurements are valid for our unit only and yours may perform differently.

7.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.04 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
7.08 dB
PRTF Distance
5.05 dB
Openness
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.6

These headphones have decent soundstage performance. The PRTF graph shows a good amount of pinna interaction so the soundstage will sound quite large. Unfortunately, the PRTF distance is quite low, which means that although these are open-back headphones and may feel more spacious sounding than closed-back headphones, their soundstage won't be perceived to be located outside of the listener's head to create a speaker-like experience.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.232
WHD @ 100
0.183

The weighted harmonic distortion of the Audeze LCD-1 is good. It's within good limits throughout the entire range, and while the treble frequencies are a bit higher, this shouldn't be audible to most people, and audio should still sound clear and pure. There's also no big jump under heavier loads, which is good.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone
Isolation
1.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-1.91 dB
Bass
-0.38 dB
Mid
1.05 dB
Treble
-6.13 dB

Like all open-back headphones, the Audeze LCD-1 have bad noise isolation by design. They're open on the back so they let in all outside sounds, and you'll be able to hear everything around you unless you turn the volume of your music up. This is great if you want to be able to stay aware of your surroundings, or want an open listening experience.

1.6
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
63.74 dB

The leakage performance of these headphones is bad, but this is by design. Their open-back design means that audio leaks right out, and people close to you will likely hear what you're listening to, even at moderate volumes.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise N/A
Speech + Subway Noise N/A
SpNR
N/A

These headphones don't have a microphone.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None

The Audeze LCD-1 are passive, wired-only headphones that don't require a battery.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones don't have a dedicated companion app.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A

The Audeze LCD-1 are wired-only headphones that can't be used with Bluetooth.

The wired connection of these headphones means they don’t have latency issues. This means you won’t have any delay between audio and the image from when watching video content or gaming.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are wired-only.

9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 7 ft
Connection 1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

The Audeze LCD-1 come with a 7-foot cable that plugs into each ear cup, and ends in a standard 1/8" plug. The cable itself is braided and feels well made.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can be plugged into the controller of a PS4, but due to their lack of a microphone, will be audio-only. They can also be plugged into a computer, but again will be audio-only.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Wireless
No

These headphones can be plugged into the controller of an Xbox One, but due to their lack of a microphone, will be audio-only.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

These headphones don't have a dock.

Compared to other headphones

Comparison picture

The Audeze LCD-1 are well-balanced open-back headphones with a very stylish design that looks much more like an everyday pair of casual headphones than most audiophile-centric over-ears. They look and feel quite premium, and offer good value for their price. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best audiophile headphones, and the best open-back headphones.

HiFiMan Sundara
SEE PRICE
Newegg.com

The HiFiMan Sundara are slightly better open-back, planar magnetic headphones than the Audeze LCD-1 for neutral sound listening. Their sound profile is more accurate in all ranges, and they have a larger sounding soundstage. On the other hand, the LCD-1 have a much sleeker and smaller design, and their frequency response is more consistent among different users.

Sennheiser HD 600
SEE PRICE
B&H

The Audeze LCD-1 are slightly better open-back headphones for neutral sound listening than the Sennheiser HD 600. They have a much sleeker and more premium-looking design, are more comfortable, and have a slightly better-balanced sound profile that's much more consistent among different users. On the other hand, the HD 600 are much more stable-feeling on the head.

Oppo PM-3
Unavailable
B&H

The Audeze LCD-1 are better headphones than the Oppo PM-3 for a neutral sound listening experience. They both have fairly well-balanced sound profiles, but the LCD-1 are much more accurate in the treble range. They also produce a much more consistent frequency response amongst users, so different people are more likely to hear them similarly. On the other hand, the closed-back design of the Oppo means they isolate a lot more background noise and leak much less audio.

Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C
Unavailable
B&H

The Audeze LCD-1 are very similarly performing headphones as the Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C. They both have well-balanced sound profiles, though the LCD-1's treble and mid-range are both more accuracy. The LCD-1 also have a much sleeker and more premium look, with smaller ear cups that are just as comfortable. The LCD 2 do feel better built, however, as they have more metal in their build.

Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Unavailable
B&H

The Audeze LCD-1 and the Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are similarly performing open-back over-ear headphones. They both have very accurate sound reproduction, but the Audeze are more comfortable and feel better built. On the other hand, the Sennheiser feel more stable on the head.

+ Show more

Audeze LCD-1 Price

Recommended Articles

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider

Unlimited access to full product reviews, test measurements and scores

test table UI

Product prices across the site on reviews, tables and tools

product prices UI

Additional votes for our
next reviews

Additional votes UI

Early Access
to our reviews and test measurements

Early Access UI

Create Discussion