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Audeze LCD-X Over Ear Open Back Headphone Review

CREMA

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Most headphone reviewers had little or no experience with speakers, so they had very little reliability for sound evaluation. There were quite a few people who gave good reviews, but when I heard about it, the Audeze Headphones didn't have a good midrange. But the low frequency was good.

Nevertheless, it was not a good low frequency compared to speakers. If you've ever used a speaker, you'd feel that extremely low-pitched 5-10 dB boost and medium-pitched EQ are essential.

Due to the high max spl, it can use with Impulcifier and Smyth realiser.
 

bobbooo

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Did anyone else gasp at the 5% HD650 dynamics distortion vs. the 0.1% LCD-X planar distortion? While we might fix fr with EQ, once distorted - remains distorted. Right to focus on.

Note the LCD-X have a distortion minimum right around the frequency tested here, 40 Hz, so this result may be under-representative of their average distortion across the rest of the frequency range. See Innerfidelity's distortion measurements of them here:

Screenshot_20201016-064651_Acrobat for Samsung.png


Conversely, the HD650's distortion is highest in the bass, so its distortion may be over-represented by these results. Again see Innerfidelity's measurements:

Screenshot_20201016-064734_Acrobat for Samsung.png


(I think I read the spikes at 200 Hz and 2 kHz in Innerfidelity's graphs are just artefacts of the measurement process, so can be ignored.)

And then there's the fact that we are are least sensitive to distortion in the bass frequencies. Headphones need a full-frequency distortion sweep really to determine if there is significantly audible distortion in areas our hearing is more sensitive like the mids and treble.
 
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bequietjk

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If only the headphones measured as well as those apples look delicious!
 

jae

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Would be great to use the suggested autoeq (usually oratory) eq for future headphone reviews as a baseline comparison
 

Cahudson42

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@bobbooo Inner fidelity Distortion goes down as SPL goes up?? (above 200Hz) Seems counterintuitive...Reason? Noise floor?
 
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AndrewDavis

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My experience with this headphone is that EQ completely changes this headphone. First with Audeze Reveal and then Sonarworks- this suddenly became a Super detailed, balanced and near flagship level headphone.

Without EQ, warm and weird.
 

phoenixdogfan

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yikes, after so many glowing reviews online (both youtubers and forumers on stuff like head-fi) I've always been tempted with trying these out. turns out so many of those reviews are just turds.

any reviewers that came out to you as being particularly honest with their stuff? which ones identified the mid range issues? curious to know who are the ones who actually know their stuff.
Think there was a guy with the handle of Metal571 who gave a balanced review on these.
 

bobbooo

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@bobbooo Inner fidelity Distortion goes down as SPL goes up?? Seems counterintuitive...Reason? Noise floor?

Steve Temme and Dr Sean Olive observed similar oddities in this study on distortion in headphones. Here's what they said:
At first, it was suspected that this was an indication of poor signal to noise ratio at low test levels but the validity of the measurements was confirmed by repeating the test several times and confirming the measurement noise floor was well below the measured headphone distortion.

It is suspected that the driver’s compliance decreases at low levels and this causes the added distortion. As the test level goes up, the diaphragm warms up and has to move more thus becoming more compliant.
 

pavuol

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Sucked out midrange, sucked out panther's head? :rolleyes::)
I would not expect award this harsch for such a reputable brand and this price range.. The beginning looked so promising.. :)
 

phoenixdogfan

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My experience with this headphone is that EQ completely changes this headphone. First with Audeze Reveal and then Sonarworks- this suddenly became a Super detailed, balanced and near flagship level headphone.

Without EQ, warm and weird.
I sent my pair to Riga, Latvia in 2015 and had them do a custom eq. They came back sounding great. Cost around $150, but it was an off the shelf solution that worked for me when I was a complete newbie to the headphone game.
 

bobbooo

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Would be great to use the suggested autoeq (usually oratory) eq for future headphone reviews as a baseline comparison

Note AutoEQ does not exactly follow the Harman target - its EQ settings have 2 dB less bass than Harman for over-ear headphones, and 3 dB less bass for in-ears. Oratory's own EQ settings in his pdfs will be more accurate, as well as being tested by him for the introduction of any audible issues caused by the EQ, instead of just being auto-generated.
 
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xykreinov

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Hahaaa! I thought these cans sounded just... silly, when I heard them. Glad to see this verification of my ears.
As for speed, it seems people confuse lack of bass with speed. Yes, if you take away the bass notes, the sound is flatter and seems to linger less. But that is just a frequency response error, not any kind of speed thing. The base notes all have the same frequency and move very slow anyway. If you sped them up, they would change their sound! Anyway, we digress. Kudos to a few reviewers who noted the errors in mid-range.
/
Aahhh, the fast bass question.
People tend to make this way too confusing, understandably. Someone needs to come up with a better term than "fast bass" because, as you pointed out, "speeding up bass notes" would just change their sound. The slower the drivers are moving, the lower the frequency.
What fast bass really refers to is the speed at which a driver resets. A simple example is this: given level matched volume, a little 3" driver will have less space in between consecutive 50Hz beats than a 8" driver, because the 3" is simply working harder. This decay is measurable and can partially be the culprit of muddy-sounding bass. The faster the BPM of the beats, the more noticeable this lack of space is in the 3".
Servo subwoofers address this problem by actually having sensors that analyze this "decay" live, and then feed that data to servos which try to compensate (definitely using less technical jargon than I should).

Nonetheless, most people don't even understand what they're saying when they say headphones/speakers have fast bass, let alone exaggerations. They do indeed somehow not understand that vibration speed decreases in tandem with frequency. Reset speed is separate from this, but most who applaud something for its swift bass never mention it.

So, I guess a better term would be "reset speed", but it's just a weird phrase to use in discussing bass, I suppose.
 

pavuol

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They look beautiful on the outside but unfortunately, many have worm holes in them. It is quite time consuming to cut those sections out.
Delicious organic apples with a "worm of proof", flawless! Amir seems to be a notorious grumpy tomcat ;)
 

Cahudson42

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"It is suspected that the driver’s compliance decreases at low levels and this causes the added distortion. As the test level goes up, the diaphragm warms up and has to move more thus becoming more compliant."

Hmmm... 'diaphram' -Dynamics HP surround/spider(?) compliance? So...if not yet patented, we suspend the planar membrane in our planar by 4 carbon fiber linear spring coiled hairs at each corner for 'zero stiffness'/compliance - and get a distortion SPL independent HP?

With all due respect, sounds a bit contrived/wishfull thinking - without supporting temperature measurements..

Time for bed..:)
 
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Degru

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I am not saying that 100% of the time anything is a fact, however often I find that light bass can be confused with "speed" or that folks thin

I am not saying that it is always the case that "fast" or "tight" or accurate bass is actually thin bass in disguise, I am saying this does happen often IMHO and I have even been confused by it myself from time to time.
I am glad Amir mentioned this and am glad when from time to time it gets attention. This is something to take note of and think about.

I don't have an electrostatic headphone here and I don't doubt that they may have some sweet capabilities, my question how do you know that the "fast" bass of the estat headphone you like is not actually thin bass? Have you measured them in a comparative way?
Well, the 404LE measures flat to 20hz and below with a proper seal, and has extremely good bass texture subjectively, so I really doubt that is the case. Tracks like this rumble in an extremely convincing way with it, feels like I'm listening to an earthquake. It simply lacks any distortion and resonance/coloration that many headphones have.

I will say that lower end stax I've tried don't quite achieve that level of bass quality even though they extend just as far, and are also extremely fast sounding. So the "quality" of the bass is a separate property from the "speed" and relies on more factors than just the FR and distortion. I've found amplifier quality in particular significantly affects the perceived amount and quality of bass on Stax even tho FR and distortion are unchanged.

I'd also like to point out that the cleaner the driver, the less perceptual non-FR difference there is when EQing bass. My current reference DD's while having pretty clean bass on their own, sound a lot slower when EQ boosted up. My planars have less of this effect, and with my estats it is essentially pointless to EQ the bass up because it does not make it sound "thicker" or "meatier" at all, merely louder.

EDIT: I'll also second @xykreinov 's explanation of driver reset speed, since it definitely plays a part in the above comparison. I like to put "audiophile" subjective terms in quotes when possible until I can find something that directly relates to the physical behavior of the driver, and here I've found it.
 
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PeteL

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I went back to single tone then but instead of using 1 kHz as we do in electronic testing, I chose 40 Hz. Based on a survey of library, this is the frequency with the highest amplitude so makes for a good test of bass distortion. To have a reference, here is the dashboard for Sennheiser HD-650:
May you help me, and us, understand what this mean?
Now, about the 650, do we have an understanding of what's happening there? which such crazy high distortion, are we in a territory where we can't even talk distortion in the classic sense, but simply a driver that just can't reproduce 40 Hz, resonating if we want. Or like, being right in the roll off of it's frequency response, about 8 dBs down i believe, a result like this would tell me it's not even an option to boost it up by shelving there, that would just generate garbage?. Sorry my knowledge of transducer acoustic behavior is limited, learning process, curiosity here.
 
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JohnYang1997

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I used to be a beta tester for Oppo and used the LCD-2 as a benchmark for comparison with at least three different iterations a piece of the Oppo PM-1 and PM-3. I also used an AKG 701 (from one of the last Austrian production runs). I preferred both of the Oppo’s and the AKG to the LCD-2. I like the Audeze Sine DX as much as the PM-3 although I prefer the PM-1 a smidge better. Also beta tested the HA-1 and HA-2, a pair of Sonica speakers, and a Sonica DAC, all in three to four different iterations.
I don't think pm1 or pm2 are better. But I definitely, definitely love pm3. One of the best headphones in terms of frequency response ever.
 

pavuol

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Btw., reading its product page:
"The LCD-X was the first Audeze headphone designed specifically with the needs of music creators in mind. Boasting our most neutral drivers, the LCD-X reveals even minute details with crystal-clear transparency to ensure that your mix translates seamlessly across any speaker system. "

Raises philosophical reflection in me, if their "most neutral driver" gets headless panther, does this implicitly mean the whole Audeze range is suitable for it as well? :)
 
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