Audeze has long been known for high-quality headphones that offer the finest sound and workmanship. The closed-back version of the LCD-2 Classic is squarely in line with this, and as an extension of the LCD-2 aims to inspire us with a contemporary tool for music enjoyment with all the warm sound and great dynamics of classic Audeze models.
The high quality essentials
The handmade LCD-2 Classic Closed Back are delivered in a foam-lined cardboard box. However, the matching transport case for these headphones is only available as an option. A 1.90 m long coiled cable is, however, included. Mini-XLR plugs with retention fuse are provided for connecting the cable to the ear cups at both ends. The other end of the cable has a gold-plated 6.35 mm jack plug. Also included as proof of authenticity is a hand-signed credit-card-sized card with the unit’s serial number. Another card contains information on how to download the manual and drivers. Thus, the package is reduced to the essentials.
Typical Audeze design
These headphones, designed and manufactured in the USA, are almost entirely black. The look of the LCD-2 Closed Back picks up all aspects of a typical Audeze design. The device has a correspondingly solid and high-quality appearance. The interchangeable ear pads are made of protein leather and are held in place on the ear cups by Velcro. Inside the ear cushions, memory foam ensures that they fit comfortably and snugly against the head. The covers of the closed ear cups are screwed on for easy servicing. The cups themselves are held in place by metal brackets that swivel and tilt. Two ribbed metal struts are used to adjust the size of the headphones. The thin metal head brace is lined with a screwed leather headband. The workmanship is outstanding, which is typical of Audeze – these headphones are as robust as a tank.
Slim yet expansive
Technically speaking, these are closed headphones with wafer-thin diaphragms in the ear cups that are planar magnetically driven. The manufacturer has developed its own 106 mm drivers with powerful neodymium magnets. Compared to the LCD-2, Audeze has dispensed with the use of their Fazor system in the Classic Closed Back (as was already the case with the LCD-2 Classic), which is supposed to provide super-precise timing in other models but can also bring with it a certain tonal coldness.
At just under 93 dB SPL, which we measured, the LCD-2 Classic Closed Back is not exactly one of the loudest units in terms of maximum sound pressure level. In terms of frequency, however, it covers an immense range from 10 Hz to 50 kHz. In terms of the typical human hearing range, these headphones offer far more than is required and have plenty of reserves. However, the average impedance of 64.3 ohms is not as low as some other current headphones, but who would buy such a high-end device to listen to music on a Smartphone?
Freedom of movement for hi-fi enjoyment
When I first put on the LCD-2 Closed Back, I had the same problem as with other Audeze models. The size adjustment catch is convenient but also quite stiff, as it grips quite forcefully. Therefore, it is necessary to adjust it by hand on both sides. Once this is done, the headphones fit wonderfully comfortably. Their contact pressure is relatively high on paper, but you don’t notice this when wearing them because they don’t press too hard on your head. However, the weight of the headphones and their restrained contact pressure is not optimally balanced as soon as moderately strong head movements are made; in this case, when the device starts to wobble on the head, the good fit is lost.
1.90 m cable length provides sufficient freedom of movement. The fact that the interchangeable cable with these headphones does not come with an adapter to a small jack is, in my view, a clear indication of use by the manufacturer: the headphones should ideally be operated with a high-quality unbalanced headphone amplifier.
Detailed and vivid
The closed design is well realised. Outside noises only reach the ear at a very low level. Isolation is also successful in the other direction. With the closed ear cups, comparatively little sound penetrates to the outside.
The impression that the LCD-2 Classic Closed Back’s sound made on me was on the whole transparent and rich in detail. Although they are closed-back headphones, the bass is reproduced rather discreetly, but all the way into the sub-bass range. I did not notice any compression of the sound image, which can sometimes occur with closed headphones. In the midrange, the test unit was wonderfully rich in detail and allowed for a very well defined perception of even the finest nuances. This also applied to the presence of voices. It was pronounced, but fortunately not exuberant. In modern pop productions with vocals, voices seem close and direct. These headphones rarely have problems with sibilance.
The balance of the LCD-2 Classic Closed Back’s sound is shown in their performance with guitar music. Electric guitars are perceptible in detail without ever sounding sharp. The highs of these headphones are brilliant. In the super high frequencies, the sound is open and almost unlimited upwards. The closed Audeze product also handles transients with aplomb – the overall signal is lively and dynamic. The stereo image seems wide to me and the spatial impression wonderfully three-dimensional. This is especially true for productions that offer many sonic subtleties, such as classical music. Due to their good external attenuation, however, the headphones are not only suitable for hi-fi fans who want to enjoy their favourite recordings in peace and quiet, but also for professional use, for example for vocalists who like to focus on the finest nuances of their voice during recordings.
The handcrafted Audeze LCD-2 Classic Closed Back bring the familiar Audeze quality and the now-classic sound of the LCD-2 to the world of circumaural closed-back headphones. Although the package includes “only” the essentials, it is of high quality and below the one thousand Euro sound barrier. Unfortunately, a transport case must be purchased separately. The pleasant wearing comfort is an advantage of these headphones, but they do not fit securely in every situation due to their heavy weight. Also, their size adjustment is stiff.
The planar-magnetic drive without Audeze’s Fazor technology delivers a sound that is equally transparent and rich in detail, relatively discreet for a closed headphone but fully comprehensive in the bass. However, well-differentiated mids and detailed highs are what characterise the sound of this model the most. The attenuation of external noise is good; no compression or annoying resonances are noticeable at any time. Hi-fi fans who want to enjoy their favourite productions undisturbed with high playback quality will find the Audeze LCD-2 Classic Closed Back a superior, timeless tool for music enjoyment.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principleplanar magnetic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 50.000 Hz
- Impedance64,3 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)92,87 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head885,5 g
- Weight with cable878 g
- Weight without cable613 g
- Cable length190 cm
What's in the box
- Cable with mini XLR plugs