Audeze unveils their latest models with the LCD-X and the LCD-XC, both part of their Creator Edition series.
Audeze has opted not to include a travel case with the new version of the Creator Edition. This is only the case with so-called full versions of the LCD-X and LCD-XC, however. As such, the scope of delivery is made clear, but the ultimate package is no less extraordinary.
Many headphones come complete with a plug adapter for mini jack to large jack connections. With Audeze, things are somewhat different. In addition to the headphones themselves, you’ll find a 23 cm adapter included. This adapter allows you to change from 6.3 cm connections to mini jack connections. The enclosed cable certainly convinces with its gold-plated plug contact, while there are individually sheathed strands interwoven together for enhanced durability. At the other end of the cable, there are mini XLR plugs with a restraint device that allows you to attach the lead securely to the earpieces of the headphones. You can expect top-tier gold plating with the XLR plugs as well, preventing corrosion and extending the operational lifespan of your headphones. A particularly unusual feature of these headphones is that instructions and warranty information are supplied on a USB stick rather than printed documents. Additionally, a small card is included with the package that boasts a signature from an Audeze employee that confirms the device has been passed through quality assurance processes and tested before delivery.
However, that’s not all. On its website, the manufacturer also provides a plugin for Audeze Reveal for Windows (version 7 onwards) and macOS (version 10.10 onwards) for free download. This software is designed to support mixing and mastering with Audeze headphones. It uses filters that introduce the experience of spatial sound to your listening. The plugin is additionally loaded with sound studio software and also offers predefined sound presets for each Audeze model. The software extension also works with other programs such as Windows Media Player and Jriver Media for macOS.
Innovative Driver Technology and Phase Control
Audeze headphones are renowned for the fact they do not rely on dynamic or balanced armature drivers. Instead, they utilise orthodynamic drivers instead. These drivers are also known as planar magnetic drivers and are utilised to provide a more consistent frequency response, while also reducing overall distortion. To best achieve these functions, conductor paths have been etched onto an extremely thin membrane, with the membrane placed in the middle of two permanent magnetic layers. This process also counteracts resonance vibrations caused by the diaphragm. Unlike orthodynamic offerings from other manufacturers, Audeze further enriches.The LCD-X and LCD-XC with a component called the FAZOR, which serves to minimise phasing issues that usually occur as a result of design-related interference. The rather oversized drivers measure a considerable 10.6 cm, while delivering sound in the frequency range of 10 to 50,000 Hz. This upper limit is far beyond the hearing capabilities of the human ear when it comes to the bass and treble ranges. A low impedance of little more than 20 ohms makes these headphones particularly appealing for use with smartphones, laptops and lower power preamps.
Premium Quality Materials and First-Rate Workmanship
The exterior aesthetic of the headphones ensures they make a seamless addition to the existing Audeze model range. The closed LCD-X is similar in appearance to the LCD-3 and LCD-4, with the exception being that some material choices have been pared-back here and there. The LCD-X doesn’t feature materials like luxurious wood housing or gleaming metal accents, however, the LCD-XC does indeed boast carbon as an encasement for the earpieces. The headphones are not only robust in a practical sense, but they also give an instant impression of being built to last.
Handling with Minimal Room for Improvement
Due to the choice of heavier materials used in the construction of these headphones, there’s a considerable carrying weight to consider here. Both the LCD-X and LCD-XC are considerably heavy, weighing 687 grams and 807 grams respectively. That’s not including the additional weight of cables, either. Thanks to high contact pressure, the LCD-X offers a particularly secure fit around the head, even with its heavy build. However, the extra 40 grams of the LCD-XC can definitely be felt, with the headphones struggling to deliver a secure fit for the wearer when the head moves.
Both of these Audeze headphone models are incredibly comfortable to wear, which is no small part thanks to the cushioned ears. Handmade in the USA, these quality headphone elements are covered with premium leather and boast memory foam cushioning. What’s more, the headband also features cushioned sections and leather coverings. The cable length, standing at 2.5 metres in total, makes these headphones an ideal pick for studio use. Those wanting to chance taking these headphones on the go with them will find things less convenient, with the lengthy cable proving a slight nuisance when connected to smartphones.
Purity is one word to describe the sound profile of the Audeze LCD-X. Treble is reproduced with clarity, delivering crisp results right up to the super-high range. Mids are incredibly detailed and beautifully balanced at the same time, with neither human voices or distorted guitars finding their way into the foreground when listening. From static sub-bass to exhilarating 100 Hz bass output, the LCD-X turns out some truly terrific sound. The LCD-XC is equally impressive in this respect.
The external noise cancellation of the LCD-XC is definitely worth a special mention. In my opinion, with noise suppression activated, the upper mids can appear slightly sharp. However, take this is a minor gripe and should in no way sour your opinion of these top-quality headphones. Even with the companion model, the mid-range sound is balanced and seamlessly tied to the bass and treble. Overall, the bass range of the LCD-XC seems a little tighter and more powerful. In my opinion, this could possibly be due to the discreet positioning of the mid-range at around 600 Hz. On another positive note, the closed-back headphones don’t carry any annoying disturbance resonances down to the deepest bass levels. When you consider this, it’s obvious that some first-rate tuning and adjustments of components have been a keen focus of the manufacturer.
These Audeze models are some of the only headphones I’ve ever encountered where I can hear transients, not just because of frequency elements the upper mid-range and treble ranges, but because I can physically feel them in my ears during listening. This is due to the impressive dynamics and signal resolution they deliver as standard. What’s more, the richness of detail in sound reproduction brings with it a first-rate depth gradation. This also benefits stereo sound specs. The overall sound delivered by these two Audeze headphone models might be characteristically neutral, but that’s something to be excited about.
Areas of Application
Due to the neutrality of sound and lack of significant boost at 7 kHz which are synonymous with so many headphones on the market today, vocals in rock productions seem somewhat unrepresented with the LCD-X. If you’re looking to use these headphones for mixing and mastering tasks with pop and rock genres, you’ll almost certainly want to try them first to see if they are fit for purpose. The LCD-X really demonstrates its incredible depth of detail when listening to rich audio recordings, with jazz fans in particular sure to find the LCD-XC an ideal pairing for their smartphone for music playback on the go.
The Audeze LCD-X and LCD-XC are instant eye-catchers from the Creative Edition line-up. Audiophiles and sound engineers alike can enjoy the combination of high-quality and impressive playback potential of these headphones, even if the price tag at first seems a little eye-watering. However, the asking price is entirely justified. These headphones are manufactured with the utmost care and attention when it comes to workmanship, with everything in place to guarantee years of premium listening pleasure.
The headphones are suitable for audio lovers with big demands when it comes to detailed music reproduction and clarity of sound, while those looking to mix and master in the studio are also well provided for. For the latter application, however, buyers will want to look into the exact delivery of these headphones to ensure vocal components are reproduced to the right specification for their requirement.
The bottom line here is that both headphone models score highly when it comes to value for money, thanks to impeccable standards in manufacturing, an incredibly robust build and construction, high-quality elements and beautifully detailed, super-rich sound.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principleorthodynamic; planar magnetic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 50.000 Hz
- Impedance20,3 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)95,66 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head974 g
- Weight with cable807 g
- Weight without cable727 g
- Cable length215 cm
What's in the box
- Mini jack adapter (23 cm)
- USB stick