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Audeze LCD-X Over Ear Open Back Headphone Review

tifune

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Oratory calculated a preference rating of 49/100 from his measurements of the Audeze LCD-X by the way, and 82/100 after applying his EQ settings (all displayed in his pdf for it, as he does for all the headphones he's measured).

This is great, thank you for sharing. I knew the ATH-M50x had a good reputation, but I didn't expect to get an EQ'd score of 105 for only $150.

Do you happen to know, what is meant by "Error Curve w/ EQ Histogram" ? Of all 5 headphone PDFs I've downloaded thus far,it averages about 50% at -1,1 . If EQ is meant to fix FR "errors", it's confusing why this score would go up vs. non-EQ curves
 

pozz

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The more I see headphone frequency responses the more they resemble the breakup of 3" dynamic drivers, even if they use different transducers. The diminished bass shelf, the huge cancellation in the lower treble, etc.
Exactly. Headphone design has a ways to go. I don't see how they can get around using metamaterials and new drivers with that very limited enclosure space.
 

pozz

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This review is the reason why I don't listen to Audeze LCD-2 I have. Very muted and distant.
I think a lot of people like them for that exact reason, perhaps not realizing it's due to FR.
 

Veri

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Sorry for the opinion.
But Headphones should be about personal preference you have to hear theme to make your judgement.
I do understand that electronics should be judged by numbers and personal preference. Even that seems wrong from time to time. If you mostly use Flac's from Cd's, you never need 120db, or more.
What? As if Flacs magically change performance or something?
 

MayaTlab

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Every earcanal is diffrent

Nowhere near different enough to justify massive 20 dBs peaks or dips in a narrow band like measured here on the Audeze or here for the PX7 :

https://www.rtings.com/headphones/graph#1619/4012

I'm quite confident that there isn't a single human being on this planet whose own HRTFs will magically correspond to the FR curve above.

That each of us may need headphones that can tailor their FR to our own anatomy is one thing, but that shouldn't be an excuse for ****** engineering.

Regarding the Harman curve, it isn't just a user preference curve, it's based on the assumption that people would prefer a "good set of speakers" (ie ones that measure flat in an anechoic room) in a "good listening room". This leaves a lot of leeway for debate about what the target should look like, but again not enough for excessive peaks and dips that are frequently present in a lot of headphones regardless of price.
 

Saeniv

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What? As if Flacs magically change performance or something?
Sorry that is not what i meant. No Flac does not magically change anything. Just fill in any type of format your prefer. I meant 16bit.
 

Ntrax

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Those hype...hmmm...really? Maybe these set is meant to use with the Reveal plug-in.
 

maverickronin

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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:

I'm not really sure if we can take any one measurement as gospel given the Audeze lottery. Good ones are probably like that across the board.

"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..

The temperature thing doesn't sound right to me either, but the effect is real. You can see the same effect in Tyll's measurements of super efficient BA IEM's as well. Seeing the same effect across such a wide range of efficiencies would seem to rule out noise floor of the equipment.

Also IIRC, Tyll used one of these as the amplifier which was pretty damn good for the pre-THX era.

Would appear so- I am not sure at all this is a good thing, but as long as readers understand that is one of the key deciders for the panther- so be it.

Not a good thing at all.

There's no way I can take it seriously when I already know I don't like it. Etymotic curve FTW.

What I find interesting is that from a technical perspective (distortion etc) its great- but from a stock tuning angle- dud.

Which makes me wonder @amirm, should there be a two tier rating system? Most here know that EQ is pretty essential to get the best out of almost all transducers. A headless panther feels right for the stock performance, but not for what this (or perhaps any) HP can do.

Maybe headless should be reserved for a HP that is neither well made, bad FR as stock and also cant easily be EQ'd to something far closer to target without distorting?

Yeah. It's pretty silly to give it a fail in direct comparison to the HD650 when it's biggest problems are easily fixable with EQ while the HD650 will never play as loud and as cleanly as a good LCD-X. (See Audeze Lottery above...)

OTOH, at least stock with no EQ, the LCD-X is probably my least favorite in their lineup and the HD650 is one of very few headphones I find long-term-listenable in stock form, without mods or EQ.

Also (and not this is a strength with Audezes to begin with...) it completely leaves out soundstage and spatial presentation which is really the only reason besides personal quirks of comfort to go with a circumaural headphone over an IEM.
 

Helicopter

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I have a pair of these. This review might start to explain why I grab my Focal Clear 8 out of 10 times whenever I want to listen to headphones.
I have the same two and grab my Clears about 99% of the time.

Amir, thanks for he review! I guess I will pull these out and try EQ when I have some time to play around.
 

Martin

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:eek: Wow - that's a real surprise. :eek:

I listened to a couple of songs that I know well on Audeze LCD-X at this year's Florida Audio Expo. They sounded so good to me that I decided to buy a pair. I ended up with LCD-3 because I scored a used pair at a price I could not pass up. (Frans' site helped, too.) They've since been completely rebuilt by Audeze (for free under warranty) and I really, really like them.

I also own a pair of Focal Clears that I also first heard at that show. Unequalized, I thought the Clears and the LCD-3 were very close sound wise. In comparison with the Clears the LCD-3 were just missing something that I could not quite put my finger on. Now that I see this measurement I think I know what that may be. :)

I use Oratory1990's EQ settings on the Clears and they sound utterly fantastic. I love the Harman curve - gotta have that bass! I'm just waiting on Oratory's measurements and EQ settings for the LCD-3 to make my final decision on which to keep. As it is now the Oratory1990 EQ'ed Clears are better than the AutoEQ'ed LCD-3.

Martin
 

SuperValue

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I do not as that goes beyond the scope of my testing. It is possible that the driver in 650 is much smaller and goes through much more excursion causing distortion to sharply increase. But I am guessing as the technologies here are very different. As we test more headphones this way, we get more insight.

I'm no expert but far but AFAIK, as a general rule, planars in headphones will distort bass less than dynamic drivers. Though keep in mind the better the dynamic driver, the lower the distortion. Distortion going up as the frequency goes down is true even in speakers, look at distortion in subwoofers for instance. Lowering distortion in lower frequencies has been a staple of dynamic driver R&D since forever.
 

thefsb

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Iiuc, the dashboard is the response given a 40 Hz sine tone at whatever drive level achieves 100 dB SPL. Most of us don't listen to 40 Hz sine tones much. Can we try to relate this SPL to listening to some kind of representative full-spectrum music?

I know this is subjective but just for example: let's say we're listening to the strings of a symphony orchestra including low notes on the bass, or a reggae band (say with Robbie Shakespeare or Bill Laswell on bass), or solo piano. If the low E is coming in at 100 db SPL, is that loud, frighteningly loud, dangerously loud, or some other suitable descriptor?
 

RickSanchez

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So far headphone testing is pretty quick. So I should be able to squeeze them in without a lot of impact on other tests.

Sure, you say that now. Just wait until I send my headphones in for testing and you try to set them up on that tiny test rig ...

8092307761_619585c478.jpg
 

Jimbob54

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Yeah. It's pretty silly to give it a fail in direct comparison to the HD650 when it's biggest problems are easily fixable with EQ while the HD650 will never play as loud and as cleanly as a good LCD-X. (See Audeze Lottery above...)

OTOH, at least stock with no EQ, the LCD-X is probably my least favorite in their lineup and the HD650 is one of very few headphones I find long-term-listenable in stock form, without mods or EQ.

Also (and not this is a strength with Audezes to begin with...) it completely leaves out soundstage and spatial presentation which is really the only reason besides personal quirks of comfort to go with a circumaural headphone over an IEM.

Prefer the X to the LCD2 classic but never gone higher up the range- maybe now I never will.
 

Nathan Raymond

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