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Audeze LCD-XC Review (Closed-back Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 4 2.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 11 6.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 70 41.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 82 49.1%

  • Total voters
    167

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Audeze LCD-XC (late 2021 edition). It was sent to me by the company and costs either US $1,299 or $1,799 depending on accessories.

Audeze LCD-XC Review Closed Back headphone.jpg

The LCD-XC feels quite sturdy and solidly built. Alas, it is also the heavies headphone I have measured:
best closed back headphone reviewed.png

The cups are quite comfortable for me and other than feeling some pressure against the sides of my head, I didn't have any problem wearing it for a while.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

The LCD-X was easy to measure, fitting on my fixture with little adjustment.

Audeze LCD-XC Measurements
Let's start with our usual frequency response measurements:
Audeze LCD-XC Measurements Frequency Response Closed Back headphone.png


I was pleasantly surprised to see good compliance with our target curve for a good part of it. Headphone fixture reliability is low in high frequencies but it is possible that the sound is a bit bright due to peaks above 10 kHz for those of you blessed to still have your full hearing range.

Relative frequency response (to our target) gives an easier view of what needs to be corrected using filters for optimal sound:

Audeze LCD-XC Measurements Relative Frequency Response Closed Back headphone.png


As with some of the other Audeze headphones I have measured, the LCD-X demonstrates stunningly low levels of distortion:

Audeze LCD-XC Measurements Relative distortion Response Closed Back headphone.png


Even at 114 dBSPL (green) we have little to no distortion! At reference measurement of 94 dBSPL (blue), distortion reduces to some -84 dB which is audio electronic domain, not a mechanical transducer! Considering that there is some measurement noise in there as well, the actual distortion may be even lower. If some of that weight has gone toward making less distortion, I say keep on adding weight! :D

In absolute terms, distortion again proves to be incredibly low:
Audeze LCD-XC Measurements THD distortion Response Closed Back headphone.png


I suggest anyone performing audibility of distortion tests to use headphones like the LCD-XC.

Group delay is also very clean showing absence of secondary resonances that combine to create phase non-linearity:
Audeze LCD-XC Measurements Group Delay Closed Back headphone.png


Impedance is low and flat as is typical of this class:
Audeze LCD-XC Measurements Impedance Closed Back headphone.png


I again suspect some of that weight has gone toward making this headphone quite sensitive:
most efficient closed back headphone review.png


Audeze LCD-XC Listening Tests and Equalization
Out of box response was fine. Not annoying but a bit ordinary. I first turned on the LCD-XC correction in my Roon player and it did improve the sound fair bit. I then developed my own:
Audeze LCD-XC Parametric EQ Equalizer Frequency Response Closed Back headphone.png


The response is rather complex and my filters rather simple so a more optimal one may be developed using mathematical means. Comparing mine to the built-in profile, I found that they are two flavors of excellent sound. I have a slight preference for mine though. :)

Post EQ, spatial qualities were excellent with instruments taking up their own spot in 3-D space outside of each ear to the left and right with some depth. On tracks that have such qualities, it is quite a nice experience.

Bass performance with EQ was superb when combined with efficiency of these headphones. With modest power driving them you can still get reference quality bass down to 20 Hz. Turn up the volume some and dynamics become incredible.

Conclusions
Audeze is one of only two companies providing headphones to me for testing. For this alone, they deserve many kudos (as well as waiting some 6 months for me to test this headphone :) ). More importantly, I like how they have gotten closer to our preference curve and with it, provided a nice out of box experience. Given the ultra low distortion, you can easily make corrections to the response to create the sound you want. Efficiency is also high making it easier to drive than many other headphones.

I am going to recommend the Audeze LCD-XC. With EQ, I will up my recommendation to highest level!

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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sweetchaos

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To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:
Preamp: -7.8 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 7.8 dB Q 1.0
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1400 Hz Gain -3.0 dB Q 2.0
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 4100 Hz Gain 3.0 dB Q 4.0
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 7900 Hz Gain -2.0 dB Q 4.0
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 12000 Hz Gain -7.0 dB Q 6.0

Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead:
See my GEQ guide for 10-band, 31-band, and 127-band GEQ profiles.
 

Robbo99999

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Ain't three bad! A little bit of messiness above 5kHz, but tameable. The large measured spike at around 12 or 13kHz looks a bit worrying though, which might not be best fixed by the usual 10000Hz High Shelf, so a peak filter might need to be used on that once a person has identified it's position through listening (sine sweep). It does look like that could be a painful spike.
 

Koeitje

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I'm really impressed with the distortion.

If some of that weight has gone toward making distortion, I say keep on adding weight! :D

I think your forgot a word here @amirm ;)
 

deafenears

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Perfect timing, I have one on the way. Now waiting on the release of the Minidsp Flex Digital so I can play around with EQ.
Audeze is one of only two companies providing headphones to me for testing. For this alone, they deserve many kudos (as well as waiting some 6 months for me to test this headphone :) ).
^ This. Also, one of the best customer service (shout out to Mark E.). Can also request for FR graph of your set, shame not measured with a GRAS 45C though. Can I ask who the other company is (providing HPs for testing)?
 

YSC

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somehow I am more curious about how HP reacts to EQ, I mean just like speaker EQ, the predicted final FR is usually not what we actually get due to reflections etc. maybe if possible after EQ do a re measure and see how well it follows the preference curve?
 

bidn

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I do own one, I like its sound, yet I voted "not terrible", because after a while, when I wear it, the weight and pain (pressure will the carbon headband) becomes unbearable for me = not acceptable IMHO.
It is excellent that Amir put the weight chart on top position, people should not overlook this major issue.
 

Vict0r

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Urgh, I need this one in my life. Only Audeze I had was the original LCD2, but I sold it because it was such an impractical headphone to wear. Bulky, heavy and painful (for me). Visceral bass, though.

Also, it made me look like an idiot :p

3477775-2.jpg
 
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Matias

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I do own one, I like its sound, yet I voted "not terrible", because after a while, when I wear it, the weight and pain (pressure will the carbon headband) becomes unbearable for me = not acceptable IMHO.
It is excellent that Amir put the weight chart on top position, people should not overlook this major issue.
Email their customer support and ask them to sell you their shorter leather band (or DIY). Once the top of the head does not touch the headband anymore, comfort improves a lot.

Again this should have been done factory default. What is the point of a suspension headband if the suspension is not working?

Anyway simple fix for an awesome headphone. I miss mine...
 

mmicko

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somehow I am more curious about how HP reacts to EQ, I mean just like speaker EQ, the predicted final FR is usually not what we actually get due to reflections etc. maybe if possible after EQ do a re measure and see how well it follows the preference curve?
@amirm I also believe, that would be interesting to remeasure some heaphones after EQ and see the difference. Understand, that there can be problem with right/same sealing and pressure on fixture, but anyway it would be usefull.
 

Snoopy

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Interesting, would you pick this up over Aeon2 @amirm?
I'm interested in this as well . (The aeon 2 noire ).

And how much better are the LCD XC are 1500€ where I'm located and I paid 777€ for the noire. So I kinda would hope that the XC are not just a "bit" better.

But the weight would probably bother me after I got used to how light and comfortable the noire are.
 

Snoopy

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Urgh, I need this one in my life. Only Audeze I had was the original LCD2, but I sold it because it was such an impractical headphone to wear. Bulky, heavy and painful (for me). Visceral bass, though.

Also, it made me look like an idiot :p

View attachment 188165
Amirm could post a picture of himself with the headphones in every review
 
Last edited:

deafenears

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Email their customer support and ask them to sell you their shorter leather band (or DIY). Once the top of the head does not touch the headband anymore, comfort improves a lot.

Again this should have been done factory default. What is the point of a suspension headband if the suspension is not working?

Anyway simple fix for an awesome headphone. I miss mine...
Yeah, here's the two side-by-side:

PXL_20220217_053606872.jpg

PXL_20220217_053603454.jpg


Also the leather used is a little thin and lots of reports that it stretches over time. Swapped it out with a thicker piece of leather and that seems to be holding up:

PXL_20220217_053537883.jpg
 

dasdoing

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it's intresting that they provide products to meassure when they clearly target a neutral bass instead of the harman boost one
 
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