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Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Oct 11, 2018 at 11:36 am
Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C Picture
7.8
Neutral Sound
3.7
Commute/Travel
5.2
Sports/Fitness
4.3
Office
4.4
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.5
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No
Transducer Planar Magnetic

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 somewhat heavy and they deliver a warm 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 aren't designed to isolate or to be used outdoors.

Our Verdict

7.8 Neutral Sound

Good for neutral sound. The LCD 2 Classic are comfortable, have a decent soundstage, great imaging distortion, and consistency. That said, they have a warm sound profile that lacks thump and rumble, which is expected from open-back headphones. They also have a recessed treble range, so vocals and lead instruments sound veiled, while sibilants like cymbals are dull. On the upside, their mid range is very flat and neutral, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and accurate.

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
3.7 Commute/Travel

Not designed for commuting. The open-back ear cups do not block any ambient noise and leak a lot. Also, they're not portable and do not have a control scheme for mobile devices.

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
5.2 Sports/Fitness

Not meant for sports. The Audeze LCD2C are bulky, unstable and not suitable for sports or to use outdoors.

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
4.3 Office

Sub-par for office use. Unless you work alone or in an isolated office, the leakage level will be too bothersome for those around you. Also, the open back design does not block any noise so you will hear your environment fairly easily even when listening to music at higher-than-average volumes.

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
4.4 Wireless Gaming

Mediocre for gaming. They're comfortable with an above-average sound and a low latency wired design. However, they do not have a microphone for voice chat and no customization options which are typical for most gaming headsets. Also, they do not have the convenience of wireless design or multiple connection options for an optimized experience on Xbox One or PS4.

6.5 Wired Gaming

Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
1.5 Phone Calls
  • 7.8 Neutral Sound
  • 3.7 Commute/Travel
  • 5.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.3 Office
  • 4.4 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.5 Wired Gaming
  • 1.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated May 04, 2022: When these headphones were converted from a previous testbench to TB 1.5, their graph results changed and the text no longer matched it. We updated the sound-related text of our review.
  2. Updated Nov 19, 2021: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  3. Updated Feb 11, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  4. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  5. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  6. Updated Oct 11, 2018: Review published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

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. For something a bit on the sleeker-side and more casual, check out the Audeze LCD-1.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 1.2 lbs
Clamping Force
1.4 lbs

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.

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 do not have any controls.

6.3
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 6.2 ยฐC

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.

5.5
Design
Portability
L 7.2" (18.3 cm)
W 6.0" (15.2 cm)
H 4.0" (10.2 cm)
Volume 173.00 inยณ (2,834.95 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

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.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A

These headphones do not come with a carrying case.

8.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

6.0
Design
Stability

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.

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

  • Audeze LCD2 Classic Headphones
  • USB flash drive
  • Audio cable
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-2.72 dB
Treble Amount
-3.9 dB
7.9
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.41 dB

The frequency response consistency is very good. There's some deviation in the treble range, and you may experience some inconsistencies due to fit and positioning. However, once you get a good fit on your head, you should achieve more consistent audio delivery.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
7.1
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.59 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
97.92 Hz
Low-Bass
-6.34 dB
Mid-Bass
-3.61 dB
High-Bass
-0.27 dB

The bass accuracy of the LCD 2 Classic is satisfactory. The range is mostly underemphasized, resulting in mixes that lack thump, rumble, and punch. While this may make genres like EDM and hip-hop sound a little shallow, their sound is still suitable for genres like classical and podcasts, thanks to their adequate warmth in the high-bass.

9.0
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.36 dB
Low-Mid
0.02 dB
Mid-Mid
0.81 dB
High-Mid
-0.56 dB

The mid accuracy is outstanding. The response throughout the range is quite even and flat, which is important for producing clear and well-balanced vocals and instruments.

5.5
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.38 dB
Low-Treble
-6.56 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.25 dB
High-Treble
-10.14 dB

The treble accuracy of the Audeze LCD2C is sub-par. The response is underemphasized across the range, resulting in veiled vocals and lead instruments. Sibilants like S and T sounds are also dulled.

7.6
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.48 dB
Dips
1.39 dB
9.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.08
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.6
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.15
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.3

The Audeze LCD 2 Classic have excellent imaging performance. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting 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.

8.6
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.61 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
4.1 dB
PRTF Distance
15.9 dB
Openness
9.6
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.7

The soundstage performance is excellent. These headphones show a high amount of interaction with the pinna. As a result, their soundstage feels wide and as if sound is coming from speakers placed in the room around you, rather than from inside your head. Additionally, their open-back design contributes to a more open-sounding soundstage compared to closed-back headphones, which helps immerse you in your audio.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.277
WHD @ 100
0.089
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
-2.17 dB
Bass
-0.32 dB
Mid
0.66 dB
Treble
-6.61 dB

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 a low amount of isolation in the treble range which is quite poor.

1.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
64.02 dB

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 HiFiMan Ananda and HiFMan Sundara 2018, the drivers of LCD2C perform more like bi-directional speakers and leak sound at a high intensity even up to the high-treble. The significant portion of their leakage, therefore, is spread between the mid to treble range, which is very broad. The overall level of their leakage is quite loud too. At high volumes, they leak a lot of audio, and even if you work in a moderately noisy environment, others around you can hear it.

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 do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A

The LCD2C does not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

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

These headphones do not have any active components and do not 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 do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

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

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 6.20 ft (1.89 m)
Connection
1/4" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No
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

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.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Audeze LCD 2C are good-sounding headphones with a comfortable but heavy and slightly tight fit. They're a good 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 warm rather than neutral though, 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.

HiFiMan Ananda

The HiFiMan Ananda are better critical listening headphones than the Audeze LCD2-Classic/LC2C. 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.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are slightly better critical listening headphones than the Audeze LCD2-Classic. The Sennheiser are more comfortable and lighter than the Audeze. They also have a more neutral sound, a larger soundstage, and a slightly better easier to use design overall. The Audeze, on the other hand, have a slightly better build quality and pack a bit more bass with their planar magnetic drivers. They also do not sound as bright as the Sennheiser, which may be a negative for some but also makes them a good choice for audiophiles a bit more sensitive to high frequencies.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO

The Audeze LCD2-Classic/LC2C are better critical listening headphones than the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. The Audeze 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. On the upside, the Beyerdynamic 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.

Audeze LCD-1

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 accurate. 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.

Focal Elear

The Focal Elear and the Audeze LCD2-Classic/LC2C are very similar headphones, but the Focal 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 Audeze is better.

HiFiMan Sundara 2018

The HiFiMan Sundara 2018 are better headphones than the Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C. They don't lack as much bass as the Audeze do, and their treble range is much more accurate. On the other hand, the Audeze feel much more durable and premium, especially since there are multiple reports of quality control issues with the HiFiMan.

Stax SR-L300

The Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C are better critical listening open-back headphones than the Stax SR-L300. The Audeze have a very solid build, and their 1/4” connection is more versatile. They deliver more accurate bass and don’t lack low-bass  as much as the Stax, but their mid-range is slightly overemphasized, and their sibilants might lack a bit of brightness. The Audeze 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.

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