California based manufacturer Audeze are able to almost perfectly maintain a balance between usability and sound quality. It is no secret that miniaturization and simplification of the design of full-size headphones are possible only up to a certain limit, after which the creators already have to make some compromises. If you pick up the Audeze LCD-1, you will be immediately surprised, because these high-end isodynamic headphones weigh only 250 grams! However, whether it affected the sound, we check in this review.
LCD-1 has the famous branded diaphragms with a Uniforce coil printed on them, having a thickness less than a human hair and instantly responding to an impulse. The diameter of the membranes installed in the LCD-1 is 90mm. They are driven by the Fluxor magnetic system with the patented Fazor grill profile. By the way, it is made of neodymium alloy, exactly the same brand as in the more expensive models – N50. The specified lattice profile helps to radically improve the phase response of the reproduced signal.
Earbuds are massive and soft, filled with memory foam and trimmed with the finest natural lamb skin. Extraordinary comfort! Typically, these “pillows” are found in models that cost much more.
Due to which it was possible to radically reduce the total weight, this is the material of the cups and headband. There is no solid metal – only guides are made of it – and natural wood, to which the manufacturer accustomed us in his classic models. But there is a very high-quality plastic, which, combined with an extra pillow, also trimmed with leather, made it possible to make an extremely convenient folding headband. A hackneyed comparison with comfortable home slippers perfectly characterizes the impression of operating the Audeze LCD-1. Perhaps this is one of the most comfortable magneto-planar headphones.
The portable nature of the model is emphasized not only by its light weight and comfortable fit, but also by its electrical characteristics. The 16 Ohm resistance and 99 dB sensitivity promise good compatibility with both specialized stationary amplifiers and portable players, including possibly some smartphones.
The kit includes a removable cable 2 meters long with a 3.5 plug and adapters for connectors 2.5mm and 6.3mm. An interesting feature is that it can be connected to the ear cups without paying attention to observing the marking of the right and left channels. In any case, the signal will play correctly. For transportation, a hard case with a zipper and a strap for carrying on your wrist is provided.
Audeze positions this model as a universal solution for sound engineers who need to have headphones with Studio sound quality at hand when traveling. Of course, audiophiles can also use this unique product to feel like real professionals. The headphones are assembled at the company’s own factory in orange County, California, USA.
In order to fully unleash the potential of Audeze LCD-1 headphones in a wide variety of operating scenarios, we alternately connected them to a wide variety of signal sources and amplifiers, stationary and portable. We connected them to the proven Astell & Kern A & Futura SE100 portable audio player, and even the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone – the last of the Mohicans with a 3.5mm jack. The signal source for the headphone amplifier was the VPI Scout vinyl player with the Ortofon 2M Black pickup head, as well as the Bryston BCD-1 CD player.
Despite the fact that the model does not really impose excessive requirements on the amplifier, the best result was obtained, of course, paired with a specialized stationary device. All the usual attributes of Audeze’s signature style were in place – excellent formation of a three-dimensional scene, the highest resolution and the almost complete absence of the “music in my head” effect.
At the same time, there is not that sensation of a certain ephemeral sound that sometimes arises when listening to music in open-type headphones, and in which musical images are surrounded by each with their own aura, but at the same time they do not want to gather in a single picture. Performed by Audeze LCD-1, the music always has a clear rhythmic structure, the bass attack is excellent, and the general transparency allows you to track all individual parts of instruments that do not lose their emotional component. A very good balance of qualities, equally well suited to both audiophiles and people who work professionally with sound.
An example is the famous record such as Jacques Loussier Plays Bach Part 1 on Decca, or the excellent SACD reissue of Peter Gabriel’s hit album “So”. Headphones perfectly make out the components of all parts of the piano and contrabass in the famous jazz versions of Bach’s works, but they do not emasculate them and incendiary music does not turn into an object for distant contemplation. Bass hammer on the complex polyphonic Sledgehammer and Big Time of Peter Gabriel, always remaining clockwork and fast, is listened to the very last note. Great serve!
As for the operation of headphones with portable equipment, it is not only possible, but also recommended. Of course, LCD-1 headphones will not show their full potential in this scenario, but there will be no problems with the maximum volume level, so owners of specialized players and portable amplifiers can safely consider this model for purchase.
As already noted above LCD-1 extremely comfortable and at the same time reliable. It is enough to note that continuous listening to the test program for several hours passed almost imperceptibly. A really good model for acceptable money with an incredible sound delivery, its soul and authenticity in everything from design, approach to production and of course unforgettable sound picture.
- Specifications Style Over-ear, open-circumaural
- Transducer type Planar Magnetic
- Magnetic structure Single-sided Fluxor™ magnet array
- Phase management Fazor
- Magnet type Neodymium N50
- Diaphragm type Ultra-thin Uniforce™
- Transducer size 90 mm
- Maximum power handling 5W RMS
- Maximum SPL >120dB
- Frequency response 10Hz – 50KHz
- THD <0.1% @ 100dB
- Impedance 16 ohms
- Sensitivity 99 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
- Ear Pads Memory foam, genuine lambskin leather
- Weight 250g