Audez’e LCD-3 Review

| November 27, 2011 | Comments (0)

PROS:

  1. Forgiving and pleasant sound signature (same as LCD-2)
  2. Very smooth treble
  3. Slightly faster sounding, more detailed, and tighter bass than LCD-2.

CONS:

  1. Needs top-shelf headphone amplification and source to bring out its full capabilities
  2. Still heavy
  3. Extremely high price

For those of you who don’t know, the LCD-3 is Audez’e's top of the line headphone priced at $1945. We encourage you to read the review of this headphone’s predecessor the LCD-2 to gain a full understanding of the context of this review.

The LCD-3 represents an incremental upgrade from the LCD-2. However, this incremental upgrade rectifies a major problem of the LCD-2: uneven peaky treble. Despite the Audeze house sound which rolls off after 1kHz, the LCD-2 still sounds rough in that region. The LCD-3 however, at least from my perspective, is baby smooth throughout the entire frequency region. No sharp peaks or treble roughness can be heard.

Fans of the original LCD-2 should know that the LCD-3 is still still adheres to Audeze’s unique voicing. In addition to the smooth treble, there are many other improvements: more air and extended treble, slightly faster and cleaner sound, tighter more controlled bass, and better detail extraction.

The fit of the LCD-3 is vastly improved over the LCD-2. There is a new leather headband and ear cushions. The ear cushions are a delight. They feel like gel or memory foam and are super comfortable. Whereas the LCD-2 felt like they were clamping too much on to the side of one’s head, the LCD-3 feel very well distributed in terms of pressure points and weight.

This headphone is a nice contrast to existing headphones with treble peaks or thin bass.  The LCD-3’s ability to articulate low bass is very impressive. You can actually hear the fundamental bass notes without any distortion. This is something that you need to experience for yourself as words cannot do it any justice. At the same time, the LCD-3 is still able to bring forth a certain level of detail extraction. Not the in your face type of detail, but more of the gentler subdued kind. The clarity and distinctness of sound, particularly with fast percussion, is impressive and probably betters all other dynamic headphones.

My initial opinion of the older generation LCD-2 was mixed – similar to jmac’s. The LCD-3 however, has corrected all the issues of the LCD-2 and provided additional improvements, which is icing on the cake. To me, this is a good headphone despite the price. The LCD-3 provides me with a relaxing experience while still being able to communicate the nuances of music. You can’t ask for more than that.

Category: High-End Headphones
Rating (within Category): Thumbs-Up
MSRP: $1945

Street Price: $1945

FM’s Rating: I prefer a neutral sound signature. The LCD-3 deviates from this too much with its shelved down midrange and treble. Because the harmonics are lacking, the bass is too thick and single note, and details are either masked or not resolved. A lot of richness, ambiance, and texture is missing. Although I can understand people wanting a colored and forgiving sound signature, this is unacceptable for a $2000 TOTL headphone. If you want this kind of sound, you are better off with a Sennheiser HD650.
DM’s Rating: This is a good headphone, but I just can’t wrap my hands around it. I found the headphone to respond very well to EQ which is always a good sign. In some respects, I prefer the second revision of the LCD-2. I have a hard time justifying the cost of the LCD-3.

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Category: Headphones

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