The Audeze LCD 2 Classic are well-built and great-sounding planar magnetic critical listening headphones. They have a high-end and sturdy open-back design, they're comfortable despite being one of the heaviest headphones we've tested and they deliver a well-balanced sound that's a bit forward with instruments and vocals but should please most listeners. However, their bulky and heavy build quality won't be for everyone and like most open-back headphones they are not designed to isolate or to be used outdoors.
The Audeze LCD2 Classic are well built, premium-looking headphones, but like most open-back models, they won't be versatile for any other use case except critical listening. They have big circular earcups that are exceedingly well-padded and a unique headband design that feels sturdy but is also somewhat difficult to adjust. Unfortunately, they're one of the heaviest headphones we've tested so far, and they're also quite tight on the head, but you do not feel it as much thanks to the plush and very soft ear cup pads. Also, as expected for open-back critical listening headphones, they do not have any control schemes, they're big, bulky and cumbersome to carry around and aren't designed to be used outdoors or while doing any physical activities.
The LCD 2 Classic are premium looking audiophile grade headphones with large circular earcups and a strap headband design. They look and feel solid, and the heavily braided XLR cable and metal yokes further emphasize their high-end build quality. They have a unique adjusting mechanism for the headband which looks great but is quite difficult to use, especially when they are already on your head and the back of the open earcups have a cool built-in Audeze logo, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, like most open critical listening, they're not designed to be used outdoors. They're big, bulky and are quite cumbersome to carry around.
The Audeze LCD 2 Classic are decently comfortable thanks to their exceedingly well-padded earcups. They are one of the heaviest headphones that we've tested so far. They're also quite tight on the head. However, since they have massive ear cups pads that are soft and coated in a nice pleather fabric that feels good on your skin, you do not notice as much the weight of the clamping pressure. They won't be ideal open back headphones for all listeners since the large ear cups, and the dense, heavy build quality, get a bit tiresome over long listening sessions. They're also a pain to adjust especially once already on your head, but overall they provide enough comfort for most critical listeners.
The Audeze LCD2C, like some of the other planar magnetic headphones, are not the most breathable despite being open back. The larger PM drivers obstruct a good amount of airflow, so even with the open design, they will still make your ears fairly warm after a couple of hours of continuous listening. They are not much worse than typical closed-back over-ear headphones, but they won't be as breathable as the Sennheiser HD 800 S.
The LCD2-Classic are big, bulky headphones, too cumbersome to comfortably carry on your person. Their earcups are a bit smaller than the HiFiMan Ananda and Sennheiser HD 800 S but they're one of the larger headphones we've tested and you will still need a backpack or a large bag to transport these headphones. Also, they don't come with a protective case or pouch.
The LCD 2 Classic have a great build quality that feels premium and well made. They have dense ear cups with a sturdy metal grill that feels a lot more durable than some of the other open headphones we've tested. They also have metal yokes and a durable metal headband. The cables are heavily braided, and the rest of the build quality is mostly metal which should be sturdy enough to handle a couple of accidental drops without getting damaged. As long as the planar magnetic drivers do not falter, the LCD2-Classic are on of better designed open back critical listening headphones we've tested so far.
These are not sports headphones and are not designed for physical activity. They're bulky and heavy and will easily slip off your ears if you tilt your head too far back. On the upside, their tight fit and limited range of motion for their swiveling hinges do keep them in place during casual and critical listening sessions.
The Audeze LCD 2 Classic is a very good sounding pair of open-back over-ear headphones. They have a consistent and relatively deep bass, an even and flat mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. However, they are a little bit short on sub-bass, and their treble lacks a bit of detail and brightness. Overall, they have an accurate but warm sound profile and this makes them a good choice for a wide variety of genres, especially vocals-centric and classical music. However, they may not be the ideal headphones for fans of heavy bass.
The bass of the LCD2C is great. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Low-bass, which is responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music and sound effects is within 2dB of our neutral target, which is great. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums is flat and balanced. High-bass, responsible for warmth is overemphasized by 2dB, adding a bit of muddiness to the overall sound on some tracks.
The mid-range is good. The response throughout the range is quite even and flat, which is important for producing clear and well-balanced vocals and instruments. However, the response is consistently overemphasized by about 3dB. This makes the overall sound of these headphones a bit mid-rangy.
The treble performance of the Audeze LCD2C is above-average. The overall response is relatively well-balanced and even, which is important for producing accurate vocals and lead instruments. However, the dip around 4KHz will have a small but negative effect on the brightness and detail of the vocals and instruments.
The frequency response consistency is great. In the bass range, we measured only about 2dB of deviation in delivery across our human subjects, including our subject who wears glasses, which is great. In the treble range, there's barely any deviation in their response below 10KHz, which is excellent.
The Audeze LCD 2 Classic have excellent imaging performance. Weighted group delay is at 0.08, which is excellent. Also, the GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, which results in an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.
The soundstage performance is very good. These headphones show a high amount of interaction with the pinna, but the accuracy is not as very high. Also, there doesn't seem to be notch present at 10KHz, which means their soundstage may not be externalized as much as some other large open-back headphones we've measured. Additionally, the open-back design of these headphones contributes to them having a more open-sounding soundstage compared to closed-back headphones.
The harmonic distortion performance of the LCD2C is great. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within very good limits at 90dB SPL, throughout the range. At 100dB SPL the THD is actually lower than 90dB SPL. This is most likely due to the increased flexibility of the driver under heavier loads.
The Audeze LCD 2 Classic have a poor isolation performance, which is to be expected for an open-back critical listening headphone. The open ear cups help create a spacious soundstage but also let noise seep into your audio and leak a lot. This means the LCD 2C are not designed to block ambient noise and therefore are not suitable to use in loud environments, outdoors or while commuting. They also purposely leak quite a bit so they will be distracting to the people around you even at low volumes.
The noise isolation of the LCD 2 Classic is poor. These headphones have very little isolation and will let in almost all of the noises around you, which is expected and part of their open-back design. They don't provide any isolation in the bass and mid ranges and achieve only about 7dB of isolation in the treble range which is quite poor.
The leakage performance of the LCD 2 Classic is poor. This is expected of open-back planar magnetic headphones and part of their design. Similar to the Ananda and Sundara, the drivers of LCD2C perform more like bi-directional speakers and leak sound at a high intensity even up to 20KHz. The significant portion of their leakage, therefore, is spread between 300Hz and 20KHz, which is a very broad range. The overall level of their leakage is quite loud too. With the music at 100dB SPL, their leakage at 1 foot away averages at 64dB SPL and peaks at 83dB SPL, which makes their leakage quite loud and sharp.
The LCD2-Classic are passive headphones with no battery or app support.
The Audeze LCD 2 Classic have an XLR to 1/4"TRS audio cable with no in-line remote. They will only provide audio when connected to your console or PC and have practically no latency since they are wired. However, this also means that they will not have the range and convenience of wireless headphones.
The LCD2-Classic have a simple 1/4''TRS audio cable with no in-line remote/microphone, so they will only provide audio when connected to your PS4, Xbox One or PC.
The Audeze LCD2C do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.
The Audeze LCD 2C are good-sounding headphones with a comfortable but heavy and slightly tight fit. They're a great choice for critical listening, thanks to their open design and planar magnetic drivers that help deliver a good soundstage, imaging and frequency response. They're also better built than some of the other open over-ears that we've tested. They can sound a bit too forward with instruments and vocals and may not be an as good a value as some of the models compared below. However, for listening, they're a great option that should satisfy most audiophiles and critical listeners. See our recommendations for the best studio headphones, the best DJ headphones, and the best headphones for music.
The Audeze LCD2-Classic are slightly better critical listening headphones than the HiFiMan Sundara. The Sundara are a bit more compact and have a more balanced mid-range. They also pack a bit more bass, but not by much. On the other hand, the LCD2 have a bit more soundstage. They also have a slightly better build quality, but this mostly due to HiFiMan somewhat lacking quality control.
The HiFiMan Ananda are better critical listening headphones than the Audeze LCD2-Classic. The Audeze look and feel more durable than the HiFiMan. They're a bit more compact, with thicker, softer pads, and are more forward on instruments and vocals. This is something some may prefer, although it may get a bit fatiguing during longer listening sessions. The HiFiMan, on the other hand, have slightly better bass, a more neutral mid-range, and a better Soundstage. They're also slightly lighter despite their bulkier design.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Audeze LCD2-Classic. The Sennheisers are more comfortable and lighter than the Audeze LCD2-Classics. They also have a more neutral sound, a larger soundstage, and a slightly better easier to use design overall. The LCD2-Classic, on the other hand, have slightly better build quality. They also pack a bit more bass with their planar magnetic drivers. They also do not sound as bright as the HD800s, which may be a negative for some but also makes them a good choice for audiophiles a bit more sensitive to high frequencies.
The Audeze LCD2-Classic are better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The LCD2 deliver a much more immersive soundstage thanks to their planar magnetic drivers. They also deliver a slightly more balanced frequency response throughout, which will not sound as sharp on S and T sounds as the Beyerdynamic DT 1990. On the upside, the DT 1990 have a more compact and better-designed build quality that feels premium, and come with more extra accessories. They also have a bit more bass overall and sound more neutral in the mid-range.
The Focal Elear and the Audeze LCD2-Classic are very similar headphones, but the Focals might be slightly better thanks to a more comfortable fit and a slightly better build quality. Both headphones have very similar frequency responses and should sound practically the same way, but the soundstage of the LCD2-Classic is better.
The Audeze LCD2-Classic are better critical listening open-back headphones than the Stax SR-L300. They have a very solid build, and their 1/4” connection is more versatile. They deliver more accurate bass and don’t lack low-bass like the Stax, but their mid-range is slightly overemphasized, and their sibilants might lack a bit of brightness when compared to the Stax. They are also quite tight on the head and are heavy headphones. If you’re looking for critical listening headphones for music that don’t have any low-bass like classical music, the Stax might be a better option; just be careful with them, as they feel very flimsy.