Audeze LCD-XC Review
Audeze LCD-XC Review
Audeze LCD-XC Review

Audeze LCD-XC Review: Planar Perfection

Audeze LCD-XC Review
9.5

Audeze products are meticulously crafted in Orange County. These headphones have been gaining popularity rapidly, attracting a growing number of enthusiasts.

But what do audiophiles prefer – dynamic drivers or planar magnetic drivers?

Packaging and assembly

The so-called LCD-XC 2021 Creator’s-Package does not come in a cardboard box, instead it comes in a hard case with “Audeze” written on it. About this case will be written a little below, because in fact the entire presentation ends on it.

Complete set :

  • Audeze LCD-XC
  • Cable
  • Certificate card
  • Case keys
  • Travel Case

 

Design and materials

Metal, an abundance of metal. Metal cup adjustment, metal cup arches, metal headband, metal cup bodies. The bowls play a crucial role as they determine the acoustic design. In the previous iteration of the LCD-XC, the cup covers were crafted from wood. However, starting from 2021, carbon took its place, bringing along a sophisticated design and the prominent Audeze logo, enhancing the model’s recognition.

Every single element is meticulously crafted with utmost attention to detail. Let’s envision a scenario where you finish a productive work session and remove the headphones from your head, placing them on the table. With the cable connection to the bowls, there is a potential issue where the cable may come into contact with the table surface. However, this problem has been ingeniously addressed by the engineers, ensuring it is effectively avoided. This level of thoughtful design is evident throughout the product.

The headphones possess an astonishingly substantial weight (and it’s worth mentioning that their size is not exactly petite either). One might assume that such characteristics would lead to rapid fatigue, but surprisingly, that is not the case. These headphones are remarkably comfortable. I have worn them for a duration of 5-7 hours without encountering any issues. The ear pads are angled and consist of an incredibly soft foam that perfectly conforms to the contours of your head. Additionally, the headband is lined with leather, ensuring that your head does not directly touch the metal structure.

The lining has a perforated texture, preventing the ears from becoming overheated. It is truly remarkable how the creators have prioritized uncompromising comfort in a device with such impressive specifications. If you happen to be a fan of carbon fiber and desire more, the manufacturer offers a carbon fiber headband for an additional $200.

Cable and case

Version 1:
The cable features a pleasant 4-core weaving that stands out for its rigidity. At the branching point for each channel, there is a clip adorned with the company logo. It is a 1/4″ (6.3mm) stereo cable with 2 x 4-pin mini XLR connectors. Despite an upgrade, many users still express dissatisfaction with the cable (although there were even more complaints before the upgrade). Unfortunately, I cannot compare it to another cable, but I have observed that users often opt for a custom or balanced XLR cable.

Now, let’s discuss the case. Although this “diplomat” predominantly consists of plastic parts, it should not be underestimated. The interior is tightly lined with foam, ensuring the safety of your device during transportation. Additionally, the manufacturer’s name is prominently displayed on the case, allowing everyone to identify what you are carrying. Furthermore, it is equipped with a lock and key to prevent theft of your headphones. Overall, it is a valuable accessory. It can be purchased separately for $120 on the official website.

Planar driver

Planar drivers were invented in the 1920s, but did not become widely used until the 1970s (50 years later, manufacturing technology improved).

There are two main types of planar drivers:

Electrostatic, which use an electric field to vibrate the membrane.

Magneto-planar – use a magnetic field to vibrate the membrane.

Simply put, a planar driver is a type of speaker that uses a flat membrane to generate sound. The driver is based on a powerful magnet that creates a stable magnetic field. In this field is a thin membrane made of aluminum foil or other conductive material. The membrane is corrugated to be more rigid. When an electrical signal is applied to the membrane, it creates an alternating magnetic field. This field interacts with the permanent magnetic field, which causes the membrane to vibrate. The vibration of the membrane generates the sound waves that we hear.

Advantages of planar drivers :

  • Wide frequency range: Planar drivers are able to reproduce a wide range of frequencies, from deep bass to high frequencies, making them ideal for listening to high-definition music.
  • Low Distortion: Due to their design, planar drivers generate less distortion than traditional speakers, providing clear and detailed sound.

Disadvantages include :

  • Cost: Planar drivers are generally more expensive than traditional speakers due to the complexity of their manufacturing.
  • Efficiency: They are not as fuel efficient as traditional speakers and may require more power to power them.
  • Size: Planar drivers are generally larger than traditional speakers, which can make them impractical for some applications.

The natural habitat of planarians is characterized by an open acoustic environment, which makes it intriguing how Audeze managed to create an unparalleled in-ear sound experience. However, one cannot help but wonder about the trade-offs involved. You might be familiar with the collaboration between HyperX and Audeze back in 2018. Specifically, their joint effort resulted in the development of the “HyperX Orbit” gaming headphones. Interestingly, these headphones featured a closed design, which unfortunately led to a multitude of issues. When subjected to high volume levels, the speaker experienced significant pressure, causing the membrane to produce a rustling sound akin to foil. Naturally, the engineers took this setback seriously and diligently redesigned the product, addressing any potential factors that could contribute to such problems.

Sound

I was amazed by the clarity and precision of the sound coming through these headphones! The level of detail and accuracy in the mixes is truly impressive. Audeze offers a product at this price point that requires no calibration – it’s ready to go right out of the box. In comparison, Beyerdynamic 1770/1990 doesn’t offer the same level of versatility. The sound of Audeze LCD-XC can be best described as transparent, clean, and neutral.

Low frequencies . Detailed bass with clear separation. There is not much of it, it has certain limitations. However, it is very saturated and dense.
Medium frequencies . Well balanced, musical, unrestricted, incredibly wide. No comments, it’s great.
High frequencies . Bright, detailed, but without excessive sharpness.

The XC maintains a balanced approach across all frequency ranges without any excessive emphasis. The level of detail and clarity in instrument reproduction is unmatched. Enjoying live recordings or orchestral music becomes a delightful experience. The soundstage depth is truly remarkable, surpassing even some of the best open-back dynamic headphones in terms of volume. The sound itself is invigorating and effortless, ensuring that you won’t experience any fatigue even during extended listening sessions.

Conclusion

Exceptionally precise and intricately detailed, these planar headphones are a must-have for every audiophile. Opting for this choice will undoubtedly leave you with no regrets. Comparing them to LCD-2 would be inadequate as X/XC undeniably outshine them. In any scenario, this audio experience will evoke fresh emotions and sensations.

Audeze LCD-XC Review
Audeze LCD-XC
9.5
Resurface CMP