Audeze: Announcing the LCD-GX

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by InsanityOne, May 10, 2019.

  1. InsanityOne

    InsanityOne Acquaintance

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    I haven't seen a thread on this particular headphone yet. Audeze's past quality control issues aside, this model appears to use a "new" single-sided magnet array and has an impedance of only 20 ohms; meaning it could be easily driven from pretty much any device. Right now all we can do is speculate, but I will be very curious to see what the measurements for this headphone look like. As someone who identifies with the "audiophile gamer" market, I am having a very hard time seeing the value here at $899 MSRP. I will be curious to hear what everyone else thinks about this though.

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    Source: https://www.audeze.com/products/lcd-collection/lcd-gx
     
  2. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Is it stupid this 899$ headphone looks identical from afar to the 3995$ LCD-4Z? What if people will pick up chicks saying they have the 4Z when they have a watered down version of it.
     
  3. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    No. In general, it's the opposite. Needs much more careful amp choice, and mostly can't go well with OPTs.

    Why do stupid audio companies repeat this BS over and over for years?
     
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  4. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Because people who know better are not their target audience, which means /r/headphones should be going apeshit to buy this in 3... 2... 1...
     
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  5. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    So tempted to dislike for reminding me that sub exists. All the bullshit on there...

    That said, speaking as someone whose main cans are 25 ohm and doesn't listen at loud volumes: fuck low impedance headphones. @Vtory has it right in that you need to take extra caution selecting an amplifier— the notion that just because something can get decent volume out of a smartphone means it's passable is tantamount to thinking better amplifiers = louder ones. If anything, it's a pain finding an (affordable) amplifier that has a low enough OI to get sufficient dampening and that sounds great at the same time.

    All that said, curious how these stack up to the 2C and similar models. I kinda like Audeze's gear going back, but not enough to give them benefit of the doubt.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  6. InsanityOne

    InsanityOne Acquaintance

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    Thank you both for the reminder on this, I needed that. I will definitely be keeping an eye on what gear people are pairing this headphone with when it gets out into the wild. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that the only people buying this headphone will be the same type of people who run banged up HD800's they got for $600 on reddit straight out of their PC's on-board audio.

    Although seeing as the LCD-GX is going to sit right between the LCD2C ($799) and LCD-2 ($995), if it out performs either of those headphones it could actually be an interesting proposition because the only other way to get that magnesium frame is to pay $2995 for an LCD-MX4. Which now that I look at it, I would bet money on the fact that the LCD-GX is literally an LCD-MX4 with a single-sided array and no fazor technology. Other than that, the specifications of both the MX4 and the GX are remarkably similar.
     
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  7. bilboda

    bilboda Florida boomer

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    I don't think they were referring to headphone amps when they stated any device, more like PS4 and others, phone and my Roku remote
     
  8. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    What I'm wondering is who their target audience is. As someone who used to play video games [way too much], I would balk at a headset that costs $800 and doesn't have the "buzzword" features of even the Mobius (especially since most gamers care more abiut hearing footsteps and ambient cues vs sound quality). As an audiophile who uses a PC transport, why would I buy a gaming headset at all when I have good headphones laying around? A mic costs less and I have the option of choosing different kinds.

    I surmise that their target audience is audiophiles who play games, but have a system that is completely separate from their PC/console. Not really certain how much sales this niche would drive; I think @bilboda's point really strikes home here. But again, I wonder how many people who are both audiophiles and gamers have their system completely separate from their video games, or at the very least, don't have their gaming system plugged into any sort of audio system.

    All this could be forgiven if it indeed sounds awesome (and for the love of music I hope it does).
     
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  9. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Audeze is targeting the gamer market hard it seems. All I’d need from them is a comfortably portable over-ear model.
     
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  10. Sherm

    Sherm Acquaintance

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    It seems like Audeze is starting to have quite a few headphones that are very close to each other in their LCD line. Reminds me of Jason's comments in Chapter 14 of Schiit Happened from 2016 regarding too many choices.

    Not sure what they're trying to accomplish with this new headphone, especially given the feature set and price. Do they even list the weight on the site anywhere at all? I can't seem to find it. With the single sided array and the added premium of the magnesium housing you'd think they would be pushing the weight as a selling point. It would make more sense if they just released the new cable with the mic for the rest of the LCD headphones.
     
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  11. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    So, $300 too much and has none of the features that makes the Mobius a good option?

    Not to mention, a few years ago, MrSpeakers did something similar to this with the Ether C and Sound Blaster X7 combo.
     
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  12. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    Despite the fact that I like Audeze and I love my 2016 LCD-3 (it appears that they've finally gotten some of their shit together in terms of manufacturing consistency starting 2016, which is commendable if true), I don't think I could, in good conscience, recommend these solely for their intended audience. Thinking about it, the $900 would get you a Mobius, a Verum 1, and some change. On top of this, something tells me that Audeze isn't above intentionally gimping the sound to "ensure" the LCD-2 is a "better sounding" headphone, just because the LCD-2 is an "audiophile" headphone and the LCD-GX is for "gaming."

    Now that I think about it, if it turns out to be a really awesome headphone and Audeze really has gotten their QC together, it would end up as a headphone marketed to gamers that audiophiles would buy to listen to music. Which kind of ruins the point of making a gaming version of a LCD.

    Note: I'm kind of in a pissy and pessimistic mood nowadays because I'm stressed for finals. Perhaps a more positive perspective here is needed to help balance things out.
     
  13. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    They definitely see it as one of their core areas along with the audiophile and pro audio markets. The Audeze CEO discussed it a year ago along with many other topics in an interview with tech industry blogger Om Malik:
    https://om.co/2018/03/19/podcast-audeze-ceo-sankar-thiagasamudram/
     
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  14. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I wouldn't really put too much into the "gamer" marketing. As is this is a 900$ Audeze. Planar driver, slightly lighter weight than the others, but single sided magnets.
    Honesty I thought it sounded pretty good. Smoother treble than the 2C, but also a bit warmer. Possibly a bit more closed in sounding than the LCD2C. Midrange tone was a bit too warm for me, but it's not too far off from the 2C. Bass is still Audeze and it sounds neutral and has good impact unlike the LCD4. Overall not too bad compared to the other Audezes, not sure why it's marketed at gamers. A lot of folks at r/battlestations are rocking Audezes already and I think that's the market they want to capture. I just wish it didn't have the red grilles.
     
  15. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    I think that from my previous thoughts on this topic, it's clear that I'm not sure who this product was targeted at. I reached out to Audeze, and Dr. Karthick Manivannan responded back with this:

    "One could say that any headphone that has good resolution, low distortion, well balanced frequency response and a well extended low end could be used for gaming. Many of our headphones already fit that requirement. Even before the Mobius was released, there were (are) several gamers who use them for Gaming. You can even see them once in a while in the Twitch Streams. Also we expect several Audiophile companies to enter the gaming market with specific products designed/adapted for Gaming. EVGA Nu Audio sound card, Burson Playmate, Schiit HEL etc. These will offer Mic input in addition to headphone output.

    After the release of Mobius, we have had numerous requests for a no-frills open-back headphone that is lighter than our current models and comfortable to use for extended periods, easy to drive, retains our signature sound and provides the freedom of paring with DAC/Amp or processor or mixer of one's choosing.

    LCD-GX was designed to fit these needs. LCD-GX is the lightest in the LCD series as it is a single sided magnetic design which helped us reduce weight, yet retains efficiency and control by using fluxor magnets and uni-force variable trace width design. It also losses the fazors to further reduce weight, similar to the well received LCD2 classic. LCD-GX includes the magnesium housing, suspension head-bands and memory foam ear pads for long term comfort. We also designed a cable with inbuilt mic for LCD-GX to enable in-game chat. The high voltage efficiency due to the low 20 ohm impedance and efficient (100dB/mW) drivers would provide ample headroom on most amps or other output devices gamers may already own. Of course DAC/AMP synergy is still important to get the best out any headphone, but headroom will not be an issue for those who are not planning to change their DAC/Amp or processor."

    It's a little wordy, and honestly I'm still having a little trouble why someone who was simply gaming would pick this over the Mobius, or any other gaming headset really (and if you are an audiophile who games, don't you already have a rig?). Nevertheless, it's an interesting niche if it exists.

    I'm going to admit firsthand that seeing the LCD-GX in person, it looks a little....cheap. The cups and gimbal design don't really exude class or confidence, and personally the black and red aesthetic doesn't do it for me. However, picking it up, it at least feels reasonably solid and not like it's going to fall apart at any second.

    Funny enough, it does seem to have the little felt rings around the pads as the LCD-4 and 4z. However, I'm really not sure why they keep sticking with the pad system of using tape; after using the Verum 1, or heck, even the HE-560, I really expect more from Audeze. This seems like it would be such an easy fix, and I'd much rather have the extra heft on the head in exchange for the convenience.

    Speaking of heft, it's still not that lightweight. The LCD-GX seems to weigh perhaps just a touch less than my ZMF Auteur, aka pretty hefty. The suspension band does help, but I can't imagine someone who would buy this for games would be particularly pleased with the weight. However, it is reasonably comfortable, and the little felt rings to space the pads do seem to help a tiny bit with breathability; it certainly doesn't seem to trap as much heat as something like the LCD-3 I had in the past.

    Plugging it in, it's very, VERY apparent that this is a much more efficient headphone than the HE-560 I have. The HE-560 seems to be underpowered out of the Liquid Carbon, but is happy with the Lyr 3. In direct contrast, the LCD-GX is not easy to use with the high gain setting on either the Carbon or the Lyr (of course, this is a little exacerbated by the fact that my DAC is a little hot at the outputs; DACs with less hot outputs may present less of an issue). While I haven't gone as far as to plug the headphones into my phone or another mobile source, it seemed okay being driven out of my desktop's outputs directly, although improvements in the amp department did make an audible difference.

    Sound-wise, it's not bad. Very much recognizably an Audeze, so if you're alright with that signature you'll be alright with this. Comparing the LCD-3 from memory, the LCD-GX has slightly worse bass texture (but has roughly the same pitch differentiation), a smooth midrange (perhaps overly so to the point of being plasticky), and less treble energy.

    Where the LCD-GX really sounds different from the other LCDs I've heard is in its tone and timbre. It does seem to have more second order distortion, to the point where the mids sound almost tube-like, especially in comparison to the HE-560 and the LCD-3. However, this does seem to come at the expense of its ability to layer sounds and have sonic texture; it's a bit too smooth. Perhaps this is a consequence of having a single-sided magnet structure and having less control over the diaphragm.

    The treble, while inoffensive in both timbre and seemingly FR, does seem to display the LCD-GX's lack of control the most. Cymbals and metallic percussion sound kind of like what I imagine a Minecraft block to sound like; it starts and ends super abruptly, and in between there's not much in the way of decay. The GX also lacks the last bit of air, so it's essentially bass and mid-centric.

    Dynamic ability is not this headphone's strong suite. While it does sound punchy and athletic, it does so in a way that seems flat. This is because the microdynamics just aren't there in comparison; as I alluded to before, the little inflections in the music are lost and you end up with this sort of "wall of sound" that might sound impressive in the beginning, but after spending most of my time with good dynamic driver headphones, I find this extremely boring.

    Staging seems to share the same characteristics as every planar magnetic I've heard; kind of sounds like there's a massive hole in the middle of the stage to the point where it almost sounds like there's a left stage and a right stage. This disappears to an extent after some brain burn-in, as with every other planar magnetic.

    In comparison to the LCD-3 I owned before, the GX actually seems overall better in the bass (I think I might have had a lemon), has slightly plasticky mids, and has less offensive treble, but less overall dynamic ability. It's actually really not bad (it's actually better than the LCD-3 I had in the past) and I did enjoy it occasionally; just didn't engage me as much as my Auteur. However, this might not be the headphone's fault; I've recently began to dislike planars in general. If you like the planar presentation, this headphone might be worth the try. If you're interested, this headphone will go on loaner.

    Footnote: Now, I'm empathetically not really a gamer (filthy casual here), so I lent this to a friend who is a gamer to see what he thought. Now, he's a budding audiophile, so he games with a Wyrd + SDAC, a Magni 3, and a Sennheiser HD 650. He didn't like the GX too much; he couldn't get over the weird stage. In Overwatch, he said that the footsteps all kind of sound the same and it wasn't easy to tell where everyone was. Ouch.
     
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  16. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Stream of Consciousness Impressions (Part 1)

    Primarily using an RME ADI-2 Pro FS going to an SPL Phonitor XE but I'll throw a couple others in there at some point.
    • I appreciate that these come with two cables, including a standard audiophile style LCD cable. It's a little on the short side (around 5 feet) and I'd prefer something like an HD650 cable length so I can sit in my recliner and listen.
    • While light for an Audeze headphone, they're not light by headphone standards. I'm not a pencil neck though.
    • First track was an acoustic guitar song. Not as good as the Sennheiser HD650 here.
    • Second was an electronic bass-heavy song. Mmmmmmmmm. That planar bass.
    • Game time.
    • Overwatch: These are horrible for localization. Don't even bother playing a competitive shooter with them.
    • Dirt Rally 2.0: This is more like it. Really fun headphone for non-competitive gaming.
    • Stevie Ray Vaughan... neh. My IEMs do it much better.
    • Mids are a little recessed somewhere in the guitar region. Males voices too.
    • Treble is a touch grainy.
    • Overall frequency response okay. It's recessed in some places that I'm not used to, so everything sounds a bit wrong. I haven't found any bad treble peaks yet.
    • Not smooth.
    • Headstage is a little weird. Sounds almost layered on flat planes. Some mids are in your head, some treble is up and forward. Benefits a fair amount from the Phonitor's crossfeed/matrix.
    • Cymbals sound wrong. Hash browns.
    • There is a peak somewhere in the highs. Not sure where yet. It's encouraging me to turn some songs down.
    Gonna try to burn them in a bit and pop them on again later tonight.

    Minor Update: I doubt burning them in for 2 hours did anything, but it's sounding more cohesive as I listen now. Perhaps I need to listen a few times and take breaks to let my brain acclimate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  17. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Night 2. I had them burning all night and day in case that matters.
    • Switching to a Garage1217 Project Sunrise III (with @atomicbob Noise Nuke) helps the frequency response out. Mids come up some, highs get a little smoother.
    • Overall a good deal better with this than the SPL Phonitor XE.
    • Still some splashy cymbals.
    • Definitely a peak or two that can be slightly bothersome/shouty. Nothing wildly out of whack and most people wouldn't be bothered by it.
    • Not sluggish. Reasonably tight and quick across the spectrum (with the possible exception of some treble decay roughness).
    • Bass doesn't seem very boosted. Thought I saw some people saying the bass was elevated but I'm not really getting that.
    • Why can a tiny manufacturer like MrSpeakers make a super light planar when Audeze can't? Really just a random thought, because I find these quite comfortable, but they're way heavier than the Ether 2.
    • I wish I still had the LCD2 Classics. Memory says they sound very similar to one another. Less bass bump, a bit more treble.
    • Timbre sounds slightly off. I think this is just true of all planars at this point, as I've never heard one that I felt had proper timbre.
    • No Reveal setting for GX as far as I can tell
    • Tried them again in Overwatch. They're honestly quite horrible for that purpose. It sucks because they're marketed as having this super accurate soundstage, and I can't frickin' tell where anyone is. Tried with the Dolby setting on and off in-game. Compared to the Sennheiser HD598, G4ME Zero (closed back!), or G4ME One--all three do a much better job of localizing footsteps in particular.
    • I wanted to like these more. Swapped them out for my IEMs for the rest of the night.
     
  18. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Final night with them last night.

    Call of Duty beta! These are certainly fun headphones to game with. The localization issue is helped a bit by the settings in the CoD Options menu. They have several EQ and volume balance presets you can choose from, and Headphones 1 and Headphones 3 helped with localization.

    I'm still better off using my Sennheisers for localization, but Call of Duty works better with the LCD-GX than Overwatch does.

    I tried the mic out briefly and it seems pretty solid. No big gripes. It was clear and didn't pick up much background noise.

    The LCD-GX are super chain dependant. I used them from 5 different chains and they sound notably different from each one. They were best from a tube hybrid for music.

    I suspect feedback will be all over the place. People with a Topping DAC and THX amp will think they're sterile, peaky, and rough. The Airist and Cavalli faction will find them liquid and perhaps dull. RME + SPL will only sound good with them if you work out a solid EQ and use the Phonitor Matrix. True tube amps might be troublesome with 20 Ohm planars.

    There is likely a synergy somewhere that would make these sound great.

    Why would I buy them? Music, movies, and cinematic games that don't need localization (God of War, Dirt Rally, WoW, etc.). I find them very comfortable as well.

    Why wouldn't I buy them? Competitive gaming. They're not cheap. There are enough caveats that they're not worth the asking price to me.
     
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  19. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Frequency response.
    • Bass: Pretty flat, neutral. Maybe some sub-bass rolloff 40Hz and down.
    • Small peak in the 4.5kHz region
    • Slightly ascending treble from around 6kHz. Peak around 7kHz. Peak/plateau at 9.5-10.5kHz, slopes up again until almost 13kHz, falls off from 14kHz on.
    • Not noticing any major dips. Probably some of the minor peaks are accentuated by minor dips.
    Frequency response is overall pretty neutral. I find the bass level lower than I'd like from an Audeze and the treble can be a little bothersome to me.

    Edit: Note that I still have these. I feel bad, but I'm getting more time to listen over the weekend because crap hit the fan and I got super busy at work, so I never had time to leave my desk and drop them off at shipping. I'm liking them more as I spend more time with them, though.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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  20. StandUp713

    StandUp713 Acquaintance

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    My Loaner post for the Audeze LCD-GX.
    - I approached this from a gammer perspective and not an audiophile perspective due to the intended target audience. Now I know the average gammer is not going to, in any way shape or form, spend this much for a headset. I also doubt the console market would take advantage of this level of headset. The GX costs twice as much as a Xbox or PS4. My guess is the PC gamer crowd would take advantage of this.

    The build of the GX is similar to the 4z. Instead of a carbon band, it has a steal one. The GX is lighter, but I assume it is due to only having one sided magnet structure. The noticeable difference is in the pads. It seams the GX has a pleather type material, where the 4z has real leather made from unicorn cows. I have no complainants of the pleather. The GX has a bit more clamping, but not much. The only uniqe thing i could talk about is haveing a headset microphone on mini XRL cable.

    I used 2 system i used to evaluate the GX.
    The first was my PC set up: PC<Gungnir<Jot
    I did use a separate microphone interface for the PC: The Yamaha AG06

    The Second was my Nintendo Switch Set up: Switch< IArkPower (pulls out digital audio signal from HDMI then SPDIF)< Modi<Loki<Magni2U. I only play single player games on the switch, so a microphone is pointless.

    For comparisons, I am using what is in my current inventory. Focal Clear and Audeze 4z. I for gaming, I usually use the Clears while using the 4z's for music. The 4z's do not fit video games in my opinion, they over emphasize sounds that do not add to the game play. The Clears work well for both games and music.

    For the PC I played two games that are first person shooters. Overwatch and Apex Legends. On the Switch, I was playing the latest Zelda. Links Awakening.

    The Audeze GX were fairly balanced tonally, and did not overemphasize sounds like the 4z. They did give a positional advantage, but no where near the quality of the Clears. It seamed that the top end and bottom end were a tad rolled off and fairly flat in terms of dynamics. I believe the GX is better than most of the gamer focused headsets sold to gamers. I did listen to some music... meh. No planer base, rolled off top end, un-inspiring dynamics. On the switch, it worked fine but I think a set of Mass Drop 58x or 6xx would work just as well.

    I like the boom mic functionality, it did a decent job. I did not do a in-depth test of the mic quality. But the gamers I talked to online said the mic did sound articulate(even when I was being toxic). It would be cool of Audeze to sell that boom mic with the mini XLR as an accessory to the other folks who already have a LCD pair for some light gaming duty.

    If the the GX is geared for the already audio enthusiast gamer, then a better cable set up to go with the boom mic could help the cause. I had to break out a bunch of separate adapter cables for the microphone input, and also have my separate amp chain. For example a 4 pin connector with an attached mic xlr/single end.

    I would have a hard time recommending the GX at full price. My Focal Clears will remain my goto headphones... for now. The Audeze Mobius would be a much better option than the GX in my humble opinion.

    Pics with my award winning cable management.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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