Reviewed on Oct 11, 2018

Audeze LCD 2 Classic/LC2C HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
5.4
Mixed Usage
7.8
Neutral Listening
4.5
Commute/Travel
5.5
Sports/Fitness
4.9
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
6.5
Wired Gaming
1.6
Phone Call
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 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.

Test Results
Design 6.6
Isolation 1.2
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
Pros
  • Comfortable.
  • Durable design.
  • Open sound quality.
Cons
  • Poor isolation by design.
  • Bulky and heavy headphones.
  1. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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6.6

Design

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.

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.

7.5 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 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have any controls.

6.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.2 C

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 Portability
L : 7.2 "
W : 6 "
H : 4 "
Volume : 173 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

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 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 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 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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

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.

Sound Profile
Neutral
:
7.0
Bass-Heavy
:
3.9
Warm
:
8.2
Bright
:
3.8
8.1 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.01 db
Dips
:
1.77 db
7.9 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.41 dB

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.

9.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.08
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.15
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.39
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
6.64

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.

8.6 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 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.

8.0 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.277
WHD @ 100
:
0.089
1.2

Isolation

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.

1.1 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 only about 7dB of isolation in the treble range which is quite poor.

1.5 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 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.

0

Microphone

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The Audeze LCD 2 Classic do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

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

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

0

Active Features

The LCD2-Classic are passive headphones with no battery or app support.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

These headphones do not have any active components and do not require a battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

3.8

Connectivity

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.

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) 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.

The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 6.2 ft
Connection : 1/4" TRS
Wired 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.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

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.

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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.

HiFiMan Sundara
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

HiFiMan Ananda
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

Sennheiser HD 800 S
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

Focal Elear
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

Stax SR-L300
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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.

+ Show more
5.4 Mixed Usage

Below average for mixed usage. The Audeze LCD 2 Classic are critical listening headphones, not intended for other use cases except maybe home theater. They're comfortable, they have a great build quality and deliver a decent sound but their poor isolation and a bulky, cumbersome design won't be versatile enough for other use cases. They are best used at home and in isolation where you can appreciate their sound quality without distracting those around you or being bothered by ambient noise.

7.8 Neutral Listening

Excellent for neutral listening. The LCD 2 Classic are comfortable, have a great bass range, a decently balanced mid-range that's little forward on instruments and vocals but sounds balanced enough for most and an above average treble. Their treble lacks a bit of detail on lead instruments but does not sound sharp like some of the other neutral listening headphones we've tested overall they have a good sound, a decent soundstage, great imaging distortion, and consistency. They're a good choice for more neutral listeners and they're comfortable to wear for hours even if they are a little heavy on the head.

4.5 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.

5.5 Sports/Fitness

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

4.9 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.

4.7 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.

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