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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

deafenears

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My set, with the carbon fiber headbands, comes out at 666g.

PXL_20220312_011643260.jpg


Each of the closed cups are 50g.
PXL_20220312_012751312.jpg
 

m8o

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On a purely subjective basis, I had a little head-to-head between LCD-XC and the LCD-2 Closed at CanJam NYC a few weeks sgo. I actually preferred the 2 Closed over the XC for its elevated bass and a bit of elevation (yes, I know, uneveness) in its treble response. I didn't really have the time to compare every aspect or nuance of the full audio spectrum. Those were just the two biggest differences that stood out to me over a few identical songs from which I formed an immediate preference.

Preferred over both of them was the LCD-X. Give it a listen if you consider the XC and a open hp is okay. When I said so to the Audeze staff there attending to our listening needs, he said "Ya, there's a reason it's our best selling headphone". Happy to learn that.
 

staticV3

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The LCD-XC and LCD-2 Closed are surprisingly similar in frequency response:
Screenshot_20220312-210054_Chrome.jpg
If anything jumps out, then it's the less severe 4.5k dip of the LCD-2
 

m8o

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The LCD-XC and LCD-2 Closed are surprisingly similar in frequency response:
View attachment 191889
If anything jumps out, then it's the less severe 4.5k dip of the LCD-2
Crinacle's measurements show [much] more variance. At the conference I only had time for quick analysis. After listening I pulled up the tests by crinacle w/the gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018 for both.

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/Audeze LCD-XC

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back

In this comparison i think the elevated midbass of the XC, the deeper dip in lower midrange, and elevated 1-2K was heard that I was responding to. And the sharp rolloff of lowest bass vs the more subtle rolloff and higher shelf level of the 2 Closed may also have been what I was responding to (possibly a thicker slower bass with more ringing too in the 2 Closed? which I like). And the greater differential and peaks the comparo of these tests in the treble vs Oratory's better llustrates what my ears heard.

I listened and compared back and forth twice and formed a judgement of what I heard, before I pulled up these plots, so wasn't influenced by what I thought I should be hearing before actually hearing it.
 
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Jmm22

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I returned by LCD-X after a day because I thought they were too hot. Well, after trying a few other $1000-ish headphones, nothing came close IMO and for what I like (hip hop, classical, ambient, movie scores).

So I ordered them again. The clamp is a little bit much, but I wore them for 9 hours yesterday and love them. Does the XC offer anything additional if I’m EQ’ing both, beside noise isolation to those around me? I use my Qudelix 5K or android tablet EQ > ifi Black Label Micro.
 

odyo

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asd.png

LCD 2CB looks more even in the mids on Crinacle's rig. Unit variation is probably wild. There are also silent revisions. I don't think anyone measured the latest LCD 2CB.
I hope Amir can measure them. I'm curious how Edition XS and LCD 2CB will perform on Amir's rig.
 

04gto

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May 20, 2020
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My set, with the carbon fiber headbands, comes out at 666g.

View attachment 191796

Each of the closed cups are 50g.
View attachment 191797
Mine also weighs 666 grams with the carbon fiber headband. Weight with the standard steel headband was 685 grams. I did not buy the headband to save weight though (good thing because I would have been very disappointed with saving 19 grams) I just wanted the more cohesive look of the matching CF headband. An extra 1.5 lbs on my large head is no big deal for me. Even my carbon fiber full face Bell motorcycle helmet weighs 1450 grams, so I barely notice the LCD-XC on my head. If the weight does not bother you, they are supremely comfortable.
 

04gto

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Crinacle's measurements show [much] more variance. At the conference I only had time for quick analysis. After listening I pulled up the tests by crinacle w/the gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018 for both.

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/Audeze LCD-XC

https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back

In this comparison i think the elevated midbass of the XC, the deeper dip in lower midrange, and elevated 1-2K was heard that I was responding to. And the sharp rolloff of lowest bass vs the more subtle rolloff and higher shelf level of the 2 Closed may also have been what I was responding to (possibly a thicker slower bass with more ringing too in the 2 Closed? which I like). And the greater differential and peaks the comparo of these tests in the treble vs Oratory's better llustrates what my ears heard.

I listened and compared back and forth twice and formed a judgement of what I heard, before I pulled up these plots, so wasn't influenced by what I thought I should be hearing before actually hearing it.
Neither one of those measurements you posted are applicable to the current models. The 2021 versions of both models wear the updated (and better measuring) pads. Also with the LCD-XC there are additional changes to the magnet (fazor) structure as well. Over on head-fi there is an extensive post/thread about the magnet and pad changes, as well as the serial numbers that indicate weather you have a 2021 X/XC or previous model.

For those who may be curious, here are the start dates and serials for the new configuration:

11/23/20 LCD-X Leather-Free 7527615

11/9/20 LCD-XC Leather 8523700

11/23/20 LCD-X Leather 7527600

11/23/20 LCD-XC Leather-Free 8523710
 

sprellemannen

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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 :) ).
They absolutely deserve kudos for providing headphones to you for testing. Great Audeze!
I was listening to the these headphones this week, and AB-compared them with Sennheiser HD 820. I found the sound of the LCD-XC to be much better, but the comfort of the HD 820 is much better. Knowing this, it is (in my opinion) a little bit hard to buy any of them.
 

Peterinvan

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They absolutely deserve kudos for providing headphones to you for testing. Great Audeze!
I was listening to the these headphones this week, and AB-compared them with Sennheiser HD 820. I found the sound of the LCD-XC to be much better, but the comfort of the HD 820 is much better. Knowing this, it is (in my opinion) a little bit hard to buy any of them.
I did a comparison for Sennheiser HD820 Tour 2022

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/sennheiser-hd-820.22850/reviews
 

Peterinvan

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LCD-XC (2019) Steel & Burbinga wood:

1650476731010.png
 

odyo

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The weight is probably one of the reasons why Audeze headphones have so good bass distortion performance. Hifiman's starts to shake it's light housing pretty quick and distort.
 

Jonne Haven

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Hey HP lovers,

I am a most satisfied LCD-X 2021 owner and use those cans for both studio work/play and personal leisure for hours each day. However I can't track with them obviously being open backed. So the next logical move for me was the LCD-XC 2021 which I have just pulled the trigger on! I'm chomping at the bit to say the least!

I was wondering if anyone else has used these for tracking and can speak on that? I'm finding surprisingly little input about that type of usage in various forums.

Anyway I'll be wanting to try out EQ profiles if anyone would like to share theirs, it would be much appreciated. Also appreciated would be FR measurements. I already have ASR's and have inputted them into REW to try to get a Harman curve compensated graph to chart my EQ from. I'm new to that process and could use the help anyone would want to give me as I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.

I'll be breaking my teeth on this bit I'm chomping on!

Blessings,
-J
 

04gto

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May 20, 2020
Messages
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Hey HP lovers,

I am a most satisfied LCD-X 2021 owner and use those cans for both studio work/play and personal leisure for hours each day. However I can't track with them obviously being open backed. So the next logical move for me was the LCD-XC 2021 which I have just pulled the trigger on! I'm chomping at the bit to say the least!

I was wondering if anyone else has used these for tracking and can speak on that? I'm finding surprisingly little input about that type of usage in various forums.

Anyway I'll be wanting to try out EQ profiles if anyone would like to share theirs, it would be much appreciated. Also appreciated would be FR measurements. I already have ASR's and have inputted them into REW to try to get a Harman curve compensated graph to chart my EQ from. I'm new to that process and could use the help anyone would want to give me as I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.

I'll be breaking my teeth on this bit I'm chomping on!

Blessings,
-J
I responded to you over on Head-fi with this message below. Some people over there get their panties all bunched up when EQ is mentioned, so I like to poke them a little. ;) Almost forgot, if you email Audeze with your serial number, they will send you the individual measurements for your LCD-XC or any other models they sell above the X/XC. I have had the measurements for each of my Audeze LCD headphones.

"Well first, I must say you have excellent taste in headphones! As you may already know, for most people, the older LCD-XC required a lot more EQ help. At least I know for me they did. I pretty much love everything about the 2021 XC, except the bass is a bit lacking. On my 2021 XC I always use a bass boost, but if I want it to sound good with most everything, I use the five PEQ filters below. To my ears this is about perfect. For you it might be a good starting point. Let me know if you try it. Have fun."
11773042.jpg
 

carlcamper

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Aug 1, 2020
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Location
Cavite, Philippines
Hey HP lovers,

I am a most satisfied LCD-X 2021 owner and use those cans for both studio work/play and personal leisure for hours each day. However I can't track with them obviously being open backed. So the next logical move for me was the LCD-XC 2021 which I have just pulled the trigger on! I'm chomping at the bit to say the least!

I was wondering if anyone else has used these for tracking and can speak on that? I'm finding surprisingly little input about that type of usage in various forums.

Anyway I'll be wanting to try out EQ profiles if anyone would like to share theirs, it would be much appreciated. Also appreciated would be FR measurements. I already have ASR's and have inputted them into REW to try to get a Harman curve compensated graph to chart my EQ from. I'm new to that process and could use the help anyone would want to give me as I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.

I'll be breaking my teeth on this bit I'm chomping on!

Blessings,
-J
I'm pretty happy with the mids and treble, and just add a bass shelf:

Preamp: -6.1 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 100 Hz Gain 6.0 dB Q 0.8
 
Last edited:

carlcamper

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Aug 1, 2020
Messages
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146
Location
Cavite, Philippines
Hey HP lovers,

I am a most satisfied LCD-X 2021 owner and use those cans for both studio work/play and personal leisure for hours each day. However I can't track with them obviously being open backed. So the next logical move for me was the LCD-XC 2021 which I have just pulled the trigger on! I'm chomping at the bit to say the least!

I was wondering if anyone else has used these for tracking and can speak on that? I'm finding surprisingly little input about that type of usage in various forums.

Anyway I'll be wanting to try out EQ profiles if anyone would like to share theirs, it would be much appreciated. Also appreciated would be FR measurements. I already have ASR's and have inputted them into REW to try to get a Harman curve compensated graph to chart my EQ from. I'm new to that process and could use the help anyone would want to give me as I'm not sure if I'm doing it right.

I'll be breaking my teeth on this bit I'm chomping on!

Blessings,
-J
Here is my LCD-XC 2021 FR Graph from Audeze:
8525640.png
 

headwhacker

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I went out to demo the DCA Aeon 2 Noire today. I like the tuning out of the box. Unlike my original Aeon closed, which I had to EQ so i can enjoy listening to a variety of genres in my collection of Music. Unfortunately, there is no stock available and pre-order will take weeks. The guy in the shop(in Singapore) suggested I try the XC. It was not my intention because 1.) it's heavy, 2.) bulky and 3.)more expensive than the Aeon 2 Noire. I have not even consider it on my want list. (Would have love to demo the Stealth. However, the only headphone shop that carries DCA headphones don't have a demo unit of Stealth)

However, I have read this review and aware that it's very close to Harman curve and has a stunningly low distortion. Having a lot of time on hand while waiting for my wife to finish shopping I gave it a listen. I was using my old AK240SS player as source. Soon as i played the first track on my play list, it immediately put a smile on my face. I was not expecting it.

Everything is crystal clear, but what got me is the depth it presented the music compared to Aeon 2 Noire. It's like Aeon 2 Noire reveals all details in 2D when the XC shows everything in 3D. Also the deepness in bass is strikingly different. In short XC is fuller makes me think of HE-6 on a closed-back. I had to listen to my playlist of 9 - 10 songs twice. I was enjoying listening especially on the 2nd pass of the playlist that I just stop listening critically while each track is playing and just let it play from start to finish.

As I finished the demo for XC, I checked the clock, it took me almost 40 minutes with the headphone on my head. Then, I realized I never had any hotspot nor any part of my head touching the padding felt discomfort despite the weight. On my Aeon closed, I will feel a slight discomfort in about 10 minutes of wearing it especially on the top area of my head where the center of the pad rest. I need to slightly pull the pad upward and release to get instant relief from the pressure/discomfort. I've gotten used to it after years of using Aeon that I liken it to an itch in my head that needs a quick scratch. Same goes with the Aeon 2 Noire. Maybe the XC's pad shape fits perfectly on top of my head that it distribute weight evenly. The extra weight only serves to let me know the XC is heavier than Aeon but not to a point that bothers me nor gives me a neck fatigue.

As you may have guessed by now, I was carrying the XC when i returned home. I appreciate the guy slashing a couple hundred bucks from XC's SRP in Singapore. As I am writing this post I'm listening/enjoying my new XC with Element-I streaming from a Roon Server. Currently using Amir's EQ/correction. Thanks for that @amirm. Just enjoying every song playing now. Even without EQ the sound is still enjoyable.
 

04gto

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I went out to demo the DCA Aeon 2 Noire today. I like the tuning out of the box. Unlike my original Aeon closed, which I had to EQ so i can enjoy listening to a variety of genres in my collection of Music. Unfortunately, there is no stock available and pre-order will take weeks. The guy in the shop(in Singapore) suggested I try the XC. It was not my intention because 1.) it's heavy, 2.) bulky and 3.)more expensive than the Aeon 2 Noire. I have not even consider it on my want list. (Would have love to demo the Stealth. However, the only headphone shop that carries DCA headphones don't have a demo unit of Stealth)

However, I have read this review and aware that it's very close to Harman curve and has a stunningly low distortion. Having a lot of time on hand while waiting for my wife to finish shopping I gave it a listen. I was using my old AK240SS player as source. Soon as i played the first track on my play list, it immediately put a smile on my face. I was not expecting it.

Everything is crystal clear, but what got me is the depth it presented the music compared to Aeon 2 Noire. It's like Aeon 2 Noire reveals all details in 2D when the XC shows everything in 3D. Also the deepness in bass is strikingly different. In short XC is fuller makes me think of HE-6 on a closed-back. I had to listen to my playlist of 9 - 10 songs twice. I was enjoying listening especially on the 2nd pass of the playlist that I just stop listening critically while each track is playing and just let it play from start to finish.

As I finished the demo for XC, I checked the clock, it took me almost 40 minutes with the headphone on my head. Then, I realized I never had any hotspot nor any part of my head touching the padding felt discomfort despite the weight. On my Aeon closed, I will feel a slight discomfort in about 10 minutes of wearing it especially on the top area of my head where the center of the pad rest. I need to slightly pull the pad upward and release to get instant relief from the pressure/discomfort. I've gotten used to it after years of using Aeon that I liken it to an itch in my head that needs a quick scratch. Same goes with the Aeon 2 Noire. Maybe the XC's pad shape fits perfectly on top of my head that it distribute weight evenly. The extra weight only serves to let me know the XC is heavier than Aeon but not to a point that bothers me nor gives me a neck fatigue.

As you may have guessed by now, I was carrying the XC when i returned home. I appreciate the guy slashing a couple hundred bucks from XC's SRP in Singapore. As I am writing this post I'm listening/enjoying my new XC with Element-I streaming from a Roon Server. Currently using Amir's EQ/correction. Thanks for that @amirm. Just enjoying every song playing now. Even without EQ the sound is still enjoyable.
Seems like you were 'lucky' they were out of stock on the DCA Aeon 2 Noire. The Audeze sound and DCA are so very different for sure. The LCD-XC is so much more dynamic, with a good amount of weight to the notes, yet still delicate enough to convey as much detail as required by the recording. While the LCD-XC is my favorite headphone (full stop) at any price, I am not trying to talk trash about DCA. To my ears though, side by side all the DCA headphones sound compressed ,relatively speaking, but if someone likes it they like it. To my ears, the LCD-XC is better than anything that DCA makes, including the Stealth (yes I have tried it). I gotta say though, as nice as the LCD-XC is, that DCA Stealth is the most beautiful, comfortable, well constructed, headphone on the planet to my eyes.
 

headwhacker

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Seems like you were 'lucky' they were out of stock on the DCA Aeon 2 Noire. The Audeze sound and DCA are so very different for sure. The LCD-XC is so much more dynamic, with a good amount of weight to the notes, yet still delicate enough to convey as much detail as required by the recording. While the LCD-XC is my favorite headphone (full stop) at any price, I am not trying to talk trash about DCA. To my ears though, side by side all the DCA headphones sound compressed ,relatively speaking, but if someone likes it they like it. To my ears, the LCD-XC is better than anything that DCA makes, including the Stealth (yes I have tried it). I gotta say though, as nice as the LCD-XC is, that DCA Stealth is the most beautiful, comfortable, well constructed, headphone on the planet to my eyes.
I always like how Audeze headphones sound fuller compared to most headphones especially on the bass. My experience on their headphones (mostly the old models) is that there is always something missing on the upper mids to treble due to dips on that region which is common on their tuning. Combined their house tuning, prize, bulk and weight kept me away from their full-sized headphones all these years.

However, I have The original audeze sine, isine10/20. In my experience, these headphones respond very well with EQ. When EQed, IMO, these headphones can rival any headphones regardless of price/make in terms of SQ. However, they have very limited use case for me due to quirks with their respective form factors.

In my experience, I could not use any on-ear headphones due to comfort and inconsistencies in SQ due to fit. As much as i like the Sine (and Campfire Audio cascade), I could not enjoy them long enough that I stop using all my on-ears.

The iSine10/20 is also awkward for an in-ear. But it's the best sounding in-ear with EQ. It's open-back so not really ideal while on the go. I also couldn't find the fit which stayed on my ear or comfortable for a long time.

I believe the XC finally solved all the quirks I have with the Audeze's mentioned above. Full-size, over-ear and closed-back is the only form factor that works for me in terms of consistent fit, SQ, comfort and different use-cases. Enjoyable default tuning and EQ friendly ticks almost all the boxes in my end-game headphone.

The things left unticked in my list are minor. The weight is a concern, but I think I can live with it. Of course, if Audeze can made XC lighter and collapseable like the aeon2 I would use this on a commute or walkabout. It's sensitive enough that my old AK240SS is good enough to power it.
 

Jonne Haven

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Seems like you were 'lucky' they were out of stock on the DCA Aeon 2 Noire. The Audeze sound and DCA are so very different for sure. The LCD-XC is so much more dynamic, with a good amount of weight to the notes, yet still delicate enough to convey as much detail as required by the recording. While the LCD-XC is my favorite headphone (full stop) at any price, I am not trying to talk trash about DCA. To my ears though, side by side all the DCA headphones sound compressed ,relatively speaking, but if someone likes it they like it. To my ears, the LCD-XC is better than anything that DCA makes, including the Stealth (yes I have tried it). I gotta say though, as nice as the LCD-XC is, that DCA Stealth is the most beautiful, comfortable, well constructed, headphone on the planet to my eyes.
@04gto Wow, I'm happy to hear someone say that the XC is their favorite headphone. So often it is overshadowed by the X. I have less than a month with my new XC and I love it of course! I know it's not fair to compare open backed vs. closed back but I can't help compare it to the X. They have more differences than one might think before hearing them side by side.

I bought mine for the sole purpose of tracking but I was also secretly hoping I'd enjoy them for leisure and mixing/mastering and so far I am going back and forth between my X and XC. I'm finding the XC to be less forgiving than the X of faulty recordings and so therefore a valuable tool in proofing my own drafts.

I'm eqing almost constantly (I think I stirred up a small hornets nest over on Head-fi, Ooops!...I just HAD to add my two cents on EQ though). I've found @Resolve's EQ to be a GREAT place for me to start from. I find myself using most of his filters in my own profile. It's been strange though not having @oratory1990's measurements and resulting profile to work with. (hint, hint Oratory!) Thank you for sharing yours, @04gto, I found it very helpful! You start your bass shelf a bit higher than others I've seen, interesting!

But I'm curious, what makes the XC preferable to your X (I believe I saw you owned an X in your Head-fi "Hardware Profile") in your opinion? Just interested in how someone other than myself compares them.

Thanks,
-J
 
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