Audeze LCD-X (2021) Measurements and Review: Audeze Strikes Back

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Vtory, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Sure will do. I may not compare with as much details as things I have now, but will collect some thoughts.
     
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  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Below are my thoughts on vs HFM planars. Note I owned both before but no longer. Readers should be wary of any kind of memory bias BS.

    To begin with, let me first declare my own HFM hierarchy. Susvara is the best among all HFMs by any means, but I feel resistant as I didn't have many hours with them myself. Then I believe both Arya and HE6SE can present primary axes to span HFM sonic space (HE1k variants could be viewed as better or super Arya). Each of them had pretty interesting contrast with each other.

    Recent HE400SE GE could be interesting in meeting more aggregable tonality, but I excluded it for this comparison as I don't think it didn't stack against either Arya or HE6SE. I will curiously keep my eyes on HFM's future products tho.

    By the way, I believe HFM does much better job in labeling their products. At least they call different products using different names. Some names could sound silly (such as SE, Global Edition, Ver 2020, etc), but at least enable consumers to distinguish well. Audeze please learn from them.

    lcdx2021_vs_arya.jpg

    Ok, let's first look at comparative plot against Arya. Arya's strong points I thought when I had them included delicate and delineating bass, detail retrieval, wide staging, and good layering. I don't think LCD-X critically loses in any of items I mentioned.

    I may think Arya edged out LCD-X in details and layering because Arya's FR is tuned for that direction. 3-6khz fairly boosted with Arya. I remember the focus was too strong and artificial for my taste even though such balance help to pull many things closer and increase perceived details greatly. Also Arya came with plasticky timbre possibly due to side effects from this region.

    Arya's bass presents ups and downs of single sided magnet very well. Bass is very delicate but loses dynamics and speed. Could be good for analytical listening, but I don't think Arya ever gave me very engaging moment in bass-oriented tracks.

    Overall, I don't think Arya stacks up well against LCD-X. Or let me put this way, Clear Mg does everything I wanted from Arya much better and I do like LCD-X and Clear Mg nearly equally.

    lcdx2021_vs_he6.jpg

    Next up is the HE-6SE (version 1). I haven't heard v2 yet.

    3khz upward, my assertions for vs Arya still apply to he6se. But I was less annoyed by the timbre maybe because of smoother highs. It does comes with 10khz peak which creates something I'd relate to 'HFM brightness' though. This part works positively for the first week, but then suddenly turns into annoyance as more time spent with them (both Arya and HE6SE).

    Speaking of bass, Arya's strength and weakness flipped with HE6SE. It can do fantastic macro and transient but delicacy has been somewhat withdrawn (at least to me).

    LCD-X takes the best from both worlds and blend well (closer to HE6SE). Double sided magnet benefits mostly with LCD-X but at the same time it does micro discrimination ridiculously well at least far from what I'd call one-note sounding. Better staging and layering than 6SE but less so than Arya. Mid to high treble pushed back in more pleasing and relaxing ways. LCD-X's darker, smoother, and airier presentations all aligned with my taste.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  3. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    "Creator package", the travel box I got may not be fancy but to me, my first Audeze, it looks ICBM resistant anyway.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Creator package option per se was offered since two years ago. And it came with NO carrying case at first. I heard it was delivered in the white paper box like LCD2C package. Then Audeze started to offer smaller carrying case last year.

    Anyway, attaching some photos. The smaller box was not that small imho.

    IMG_7224.jpg
    IMG_7225.jpg

    The dimension isn't much different from ZMF case.

    IMG_7226.jpg

    Above is what inside looks like.

    Honestly I don't want any bigger case at all. lol
     
  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I just found sweep data I measured for two HFM headphones posted above. Here are CSDs for both. All CSDs plotted with 60db range (40 to 100db spl).

    arya_waterfall.jpg
    he6se_waterfall.jpg

    And.. LCD-X 2021 for the same channel below.

    lcdx2021_waterfall_60db.jpg

    Can you see how impressively Audeze did their homework?

    For HFM's credit, I'd like to say that HFM seems to acknowledge this issue. Their most recent HE400SE Global Edition addressed ortho wall phenomenon greatly (not as much as LCD-X tho). And I believe they will eventually apply that to entire products.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  6. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Comparison with other Audezes I've ever measured. Subjective evaluations all from memory.

    lcdx2021_vs_lcdgx.jpg

    I do believe subjective difference is much larger than FR above suggests. Maybe CSD can tell us some story (attached). FR-wise, GX's low end and presence region withdrawn a bit (less so with the former and more so with the latter to my ears). And small peak around 800hz makes such more obvious. I don't know how newer GX would sound, but I can comfortably recommend not to buy GX used for more than LCD2C.

    lcdx2021_vs_lcd3.jpg

    Now it's a little more interesting. The unit in the plot above was what @ChaChaRealSmooth loaned me in 2019. I remember I said to him it's the best LCD-3 I've heard. I still stand by my assertion that time. At least regarding spectral balance, that LCD unit was very close to what I believed headphones should sound then. Of course, note I didn't hope much for Audeze as an all rounder in 2019.

    That said, the plot indicates X in 2021 has more linear response on upper mids to lower highs. The delta could be only a few decibel difference, but I am hearing larger improvement than mere numbers. I also remember that LCD3 I heard had pretty good resolution and transients, but X's performance is in another league to me.

    Aside: This unit unfortunately got damaged for unknown reasons on its way to Marv later that year.

    CSD-wise both GX and LCD3 present similar patterns (ortho wall, uhf ringing, etc) albeit LCD3 noticeably better. And both a lot dirtier than LCD-X. Interested people click to unfold.

    lcdgx_waterfall.jpg
    lcd3_waterfall.jpg
    lcdx2021_waterfall_60db.jpg
    Within-Audeze comparison particularly motivates me to look at CSD more closely from now on. They only subtly differ in FR unlike what I feel subjectively. I don't think I fully hear what are shown in CSD plots, but there must be some important components to characterize.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 16, 2021
  7. Soliloqueen

    Soliloqueen Friend

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    hmm. this kind of looks like there's a hair on the membrane
     
  8. Ainsworth

    Ainsworth Rando

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    With respect to labeling: I don't think it is reasonable to expect Audeze to change the model # every time they make a change - even if the change is fairly significant. I am a software developer and we use versioning nomenclature that looks something like this: 1.2.3.004

    Where 1 is the major version; 2 is the minor version; 3 is the revision; 004 is the build. That is the default Microsoft versioning. Others use variations. Audeze could adopt a similar system (maybe version.revision.build). On the other hand, they may not want customers always insisting on the latest build, resulting in perfectly fine examples languishing in their warehouse. Having said that, 90% of their customers would probably not pay any attention.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    The thing is that we still don't know if it's process improvements or variability. Many of us have been rooting for Audeze for years, but even as of a few years ago, x2 LCD-3s, purchased separately around the same time by @penguins and @ChaChaRealSmooth sounded different but measured similarly if I remember correctly. I didn't do burst responses or more complex distortion vs SPL measurements back then.

    This box of chocolate thing has gone on way back to OG Changstar 2011 - not to mention sound degradation / eventual death of drivers over time experienced by some owners - basically what I think could have happened when @Vtory said on "Aside: This unit unfortunately got damaged for unknown reasons on its way to Marv later that year." I'm not entirely sure that it got damaged for unknown reasons and am more apt to believe that the unit degraded. The fact that @Vtory's first LCD-X unit that came in had much higher distortion in one channel is disturbing. Everybody here wants to see Audeze get their shit together and wholeheartedly recommend them, but this stuff keeps happening even now.

    On the other hand, the x3 LCD2C units I got in measured similarly and sounded similarly, if I had to grade subjectively: A, A-, B+. Maybe the lower-end models with more primitive less-cutting edge tech is more consistent and robust?

    I would love the hear this LCD-X that @Vtory has. And as I mentioned, an LCD-4 that I heard a few years ago I felt was up there with Utopia, just different approach and voicing. However, again, I heard from the owner that this LCD-4 was cherry picked from 16 pairs or something like that. Ugh.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Follow-up for my post yesterday.

    When I got my first pair (and until I posted yesterday) I thought the fallacy was attributable to Audeze. My additional quick investigations this morning indicated different story. To be specific evidence I got points out it's the amp.

    experiment1.jpg
    experiment2.jpg
    experiment3.jpg

    Indeed I measured my first pair via XLR outs while I have enjoyed the second pair via SE outs until this morning (just wanted to enjoy beautiful stock cable). Today I happened to change cables and identified the same problem relapsed. That's why I did some additional experiments.

    This pattern happened in only one channel (left). And tricky thing is this seems to happen to only low Z load. Also J2's SE out had no problem (all my LCD-X measurements posted earlier were out of J2's SE out).

    With Verite, no such problem. See below.

    experiment4.jpg

    I was measuring at the level of [email protected] by the way.

    And when both channels swapped, I got largely similar distortion results. Below is amp's right out --> headphone's left out --> EARS's left input. Anything else is amp's left out --> hp's left out --> EARS's left input.

    experiment5.jpg

    Now, with all the results I got, I have to say the three LCD-X pairs I heard didn't differ very much. I might have to contact Schiit to troubleshoot, but that's a totally different story.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    • Check cables? Swap channels? Isolate.
    • Set aside one amp/DAC/PC for HP measurements and stick to it for years. Think of it as instrumentation. Something to be constant, not upgraded per audiophile whims.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I tested with two cables (ZMF old stock, ZMF Verite Silver) and the pattern persisted no matter which cable I used.

    And yeah, fully agreed with the second point.
     
  13. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    It would be very interesting how LCD-GX measures with new pads. I got a confirmation from Audeze that it is now coming with new pads.
     
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  14. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Yeah, I'm also thinking similarly.

    As per @netforce , Audeze confirmed new (supposedly the same) pads for the entire LCD products, which I believe play the most crucial role in lifting ear gain region by a few decibels and reducing hf ringing. The LCD-X has been having the weirdest response, so they might put a little bit of additional tweaks to fix the issues to make the new pads work. This is how I view their claims on "new magnetic structure", which may not be as necessary in other LCDs.

    I am pretty curious if higher LCD products could benefit from the newer pads. LCD-4 I heard was really great except .. tonal balance. So, if that part gets better, then it will be a really serious deal if we can ignore the price.
     
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  15. Roderick

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    I would be surprised if other Audeze models would not benefit from new pads also. I tried denon d2000 pads on Sash Tres planars. Stock pads are about the size of Audeze pads and other dimensions are also very close to Audeze. This is what happened.
    [​IMG]
    Denon pads need to be stretched on the mounting ring so there is some loss of seal which causes the bass roll off. Here is the same measurement with hd650 for reference.
    [​IMG]
    Of course one should not jump into conclusions just because Sash Tres happens to do similar things with thinner pads as Audeze does. But it would be interesting to see if more planars have similar reaction to thin earpads.
     
  16. Elmer Danilovich

    Elmer Danilovich MShenay trying to pretend to be an old man

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    Really excited to see these measurements and this response! I know @Hands posted an excellent example of how much pads can improve an Audeze with his LCD 2Classic w/Vegan measurements. Oddly enough some time last November I recall speaking with a contact of mine whose switched over to manufacturing about if/why they didn't offer the old pads on the new models? I even cited Hands measurements, and I imagine I was only one of MANY people to contribute this kind of question and measure improvements.

    So it's great to see Audeze recognized and executed on making a pad swap and improving the headphones overall. @Vtory I have an older LCD X I'd love to have you measure, it sounds quite off to my ears and I'd really enjoy seeing how this older model compares to the newer one as I'm sure others would to!
     
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  17. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    LCD-X 2021 Subjective Evaluation

    Introduction

    My pair of this new Audeze headphones now hits the Week 4 point in my house. Following my recent post on the Clear Mg, I’d also update my current thoughts on LCD-X 2021 (henceforth called merely LCD-X).

    Let me be straight to the point. LCD-X becomes my primary reference headphones for all my sonic evaluation. I’ve never had this clear idea of what good headphones should sound to me. I don’t mean LCD-X by any means is superior to the other collections or things I’ve experienced so far. Nope. Never. However, when I have to think about sounding as a whole and complete package (as opposed to the sum of individual criterion), LCD-X probably is closer to what I’ve sought in this hobby.

    One core keyword making up my audiophilism is “translation to speakers experience”. I am not simply meaning staging and placements (of course they play important roles though). What I try to convey is a more comprehensive and complicated mixture of multiple performance measures together, including how to mimic phase cancelation or modulation in the room.

    Aside: I am not a fan of hardcore convolution to mess with inter-transfer functions (e.g., Smyth research’s Realiser, binauralized stereo recordings, etc) as such approaches often come with annoying room distortion which kills clarity of the headphones reproduction. Maybe something awesome will show up in the future, but I’d rather stay an old-schooled dude until then.

    And on that front, I want to make sure that I am giving zero credit to Audeze. LCD-X doesn’t seem designed to obtain such goals (not absolutely impossible, but I’m doubting). It didn’t explicitly feature anything related to 3D-audio, either. I just found it easier and smoother to transition to what I believe things should sound like with good speakers playback systems.

    Aside: By good speakers systems, I don’t necessarily mean the current open-baffle speakers in my own room. They’re lovely, but in this context, my intention is more like the experience in the reference spaces I’ve experienced. This includes a Harman listening room with JBL Everest DD66k and my pal’s semi-Orfas listening room with higher end Geithain active monitors (RL 922K), which both I dreamed of building a playback system to sound like.

    Before jumping into the sound quality assessments, I have to confess there has been ongoing debate over which of LCD-X or Clear Mg would be a better reference for myself. Really a tough call. Prioritizing the virtue described above, however, LCD-X eventually edged out CMG slightly. I will use both proactively for any future evaluations though.

    In the sound quality evaluation of this post, I want to use my own experimental scoring system. In each criterion, score ranges from 0 to 10 with 10 being the best and the closest to my ideal sounding. I’m also baselining HD650K as a solid 5 performer (i.e., 5 in every criterion). Please note my evaluation is not immune to any kind of subjective biases. And only tailored for my own taste without any guarantee to predictively translate to others’ liking.

    Too long introduction. Time to talk about quality assessments.


    Sound Quality

    Bass: Audeze LCD-X (8.5) > Focal CMG (7)

    I may prefer CMG’s bass tonality and quantity. CMG did the lower bass awesomely for such a small 40mm driver. CMG didn’t show any slight hint of attenuation even in the lowest 20hz where LCD-X had tad recessions around 25hz.

    However, LCD-X does everything else in more convincing ways. Very linear in the mid bass. Greater definitions and punch in the upper bass. Bigger and heavier bass reproduction of LCD-X better suits with modern tracks I used to hear. Bass transients are neither too rounded nor too squared, at least to my liking.

    In Beyonce’s “Partition” in the Beyonce album, I was blown away that LCD-X presented jaw dropping details and delinearation in continuous bass gradation shifting down to 24hz, which I often used to find lacking in classical planars (Old Audeze, Old HFM, and Vintage orthos I am testing). HE1000 and Arya did this track well in articulating details but came with huge loss of impact. LCD-X did both as if there was no tradeoff. CMG and Verite also did this track to the very satisfying degree (each respectively beating other products in each product line), but LCD-X rules by hitting harder and bigger than either.

    Mids: Focal CMG (7) > Audeze LCD-X (6)

    As I posted in the CMG thread, CMG’s midrange resolution is greatly upgraded with magnesium drivers over its previous Al-Mg. Its cleaner and more resolving midrange only bested by Utopia among I can recall.

    On the other hand, LCD-X could present great warmth and spot on midrange tone (which I don’t think CMG quite there at the level of LCD-X). The tone of vocals is well matched with my belief. Very full and lush midrange with proper detail-retrievals make me a little hesitant to score lower than CMG. But after listening to a lot of midrange-focused tracks, I was convinced LCD-X cut between CMG and HD650K in midrange technicality, with healthy margins in both directions.

    Tracks in the “Chet Baker Sings (Complete 1953-62 vocal studio recordings)” album are great songs to test midrange I think as tracks contain simpler information and need proper warmth added on the playback end to sound it pleasing. And for the very reason I was more deeply impressed with LCD-X than with CMG, HD650, or even Verite. I am listening to the track again as I type this review. The reproduction is smooth, mellifluous, and somewhat dreamy, which all perfectly align with the purpose of the album I believe.

    Treble: Audeze LCD-X (7) = Focal CMG (7)

    Those who know me already have seen that I repeatedly praised Focal’s new voicing on highs in multiple threads. I really like how CMG sounds and tunes on lower and mid trebles. And I can equivalently yell loudly that LCD-X is no slouch. Like CMG revolutionizes traditional focal sounding, LCD-X in its 2021 revision makes any other Audezes obsolete to me at least in the treble game. I can wholeheartedly agree with Audeze and Focal’s respective decisions to attenuate specific regions to harmonize everything very cohesively. Both truly great accomplishments.

    That said, it’s been very difficult to pick up one winner. Honestly, if I didn’t have the LCD-X to compare with, I would be quite satisfied with the new Focal and easily call it a day. But LCD-X’s tonal balance (a bit of hype on ear gain region followed by wide-frequency attenuation on upper high) made things a little more dimensional and thus led me to easier transition to speakers.

    The problem is whenever I thought “Ok, LCD-X sounded a little better”, switching to CMG screwed me: “... Maybe not”. I finally gave up and ended up with giving them the same scores in this criterion. Oh well.

    As an aside, I want to point out both headphones gave me the best experience in enjoying the Beatles’ “Come Together” in the “Abbey Road” album. The old recording with Toshiba Black Triangle label had pretty harsh highs around 6khz nearly untreated over almost every track -- this issue got addressed well with the anniversary remasters though. With both Verite and HD650K (and anything else I owned before), I’d rather opt for the remaster version albeit a little compressed in dynamics (very tastefully done btw). On the contrary, I could happily enjoy the beauty of these good oldies with LCD-X and CMG without any annoyance.

    Imaging and Staging: Audeze LCD-X (8.5) > Focal CMG (7.5)

    LCD-X’s ortho nature and new tonal balance combinedly makes the most impressive staging I’ve ever seen in any Audezes, or even any Orthos. Good in both lateral and front to back staging. Spot on image sizes. Good separation and layering. Believable placements. Perfect level of presence. With a little bit of effort in binaulizing, all make me feel like speakers in a large room, which I prioritize over anything else. By comparison, CMG made more open but smaller stages and presentations more in my face as bringing too many instruments forward.

    Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been my favorite track to test all I mentioned above. I found it rather challenging to get everything done right with this track. DAC, Amp, and transducers all matter and play crucial roles. There were some convincing combinations I can recall getting the presentation nearly perfect, including Convert-2 paired with SR1a, Yggdrasil 2 paired with ZDS/HD800, and Bifrost 2 coupled with Ravenswood/Verite. My current combo of 2541 + Erish + LCD-X easily entered the list with the record low total costs. This famous track opens with Gaga’s voice. The sound of drum beats and keyboards followed. Pre-chorus, too. The track gets even more complicated as it progresses. And fully blown with a full-throated chorus and syntheses. With the right gears, every such component is beautifully separated and placed with believable dimension. Quite artificially done by mixing engineers but it’s one of the most (testably) dimensional tracks to me. LCD-X easily circled every box in my checklist.

    Engagement factor: Audeze LCD-X (8) > Focal CMG (7.5)

    Aside: Here I lumped anything else into a single item as there are certain things I can’t quite evaluate independently. For example, microdynamics, microdetails, and plankton always go together in the way I listen (conceptually distinguishable but practically not so much). Macro stuff and transients can be argued similarly. I do also believe micro ability is better evaluated in the context of how it synergizes with macro things.

    I don’t think LCD-X and CMG differ much in various items in this criterion. CMG may a little edge out in detail retrieval in mids and come with more presence. LCD-X, on the hand, presents a greater level of inner details even outperforming many loudspeakers in SPL-restricted environments (e.g., Apartment dweller).

    LCD-X has a fuller and richer representation of most songs I played. CMG occasionally seems to hit hard everything like other Focals, which sometimes make the whole mix a bit less dynamic. I hear LCD-X is more delicate and dynamic in both micro- and macro- scopic ways, particularly in the bass and the lower mid. I also found LCD-X less screwed in taking out true subtlety or inserting false details.

    One of the tracks impressed me particularly was the “∀ (turn A)” track created by Aritomo Hamada in the “Beatmania IIDX 28 Bistrover soundtrack” album. It’s a game song heavily complicated by mixing multiple tracks together to pay homage to highly beloved songs. The result is full of complicated passages with high dynamic compression and dense frequencies (specifically past the half point of the track), which I often view as a challenging audio target. With LCD-X. I could very clearly identify and trail each of “A”, “AA”, and “Shounen A” parts out of the background. Each note heard with good crispness, snappy transients, and distinct volume gradation. Switching to HD650K, umm, big nope.

    Closing thoughts

    Although it’s still too close to call between the new Focal and the new Audeze, I ultimately found LCD-X 2021 a little more suitable for the reliable reference over Clear Mg. LCD-X has a fuller representation of the music. The bass and the lower mid seem more dynamic in comparison to CMG and the response was what I would expect. LCD-X gives the appearance of wider and deeper stages which CMG also did well but was hindered by its brighter presentation (producing a comparative lack of stereo separation in the mids). Going back and forth between one headphone and the other, I wanted to hear more top end detail from LCD-X in some tracks. Once I settle on the (new) Audeze sound, not too much. But maybe enough so to keep CMG around me lol.

    upload_2021-4-23_5-38-9.png
     
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    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Has anyone directly compared LCD2C (preferably with suede pads) to 2021 LCD-X yet? Trying to double-triangulate between Elex/Clear MG impressions and comparisons of Clear MG to LCD-X is stretching the limits of my lizard brain.
     
  19. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I have tried out Vegan pads with LCD2C years ago and honestly thought it a mixed bag. What I liked were more agreeable tonality, more normal staging (Vegan LCD2C fairly closer to HD650), and more natural timbre (over stock). The downsides were more unnatural transients (both lead and decay) and rougher trebles. If you don't agree, please disregard anything below.

    That said, here are my thoughts.
    • Vegan LCD2C might still have more HD650-like (thus more agreeable to many) tonality than LCD-X 2021.
    • LCD-X didn't have transient or smoothness issues. Note I was annoyed with these points to the extent I gave up vegan in the end with LCD2C.
    • In additions, I believe there are driver-level difference in technicality over LCD2C. Could be attributable to magnetic structure (LCD2C/LCD2 had inherently more air flow as per Audeze), fazor, voice coil, or diaphragme. With both stock and vegan pads, I didn't feel like LCD2(C) was good at detail retrievals. With LCD-X, my perception is it's more in line with higher focals in resolution.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  20. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I have been listening at least a couple of hours a day for the last 3 weeks to 2021 LCD-X and would like to post my impressions in two installment the first one with just my broad impressions, and the second one maybe more disciplined based on my notes.
    To compare with my other HPs I needed a balanced cable and today thanks to @Cryptowolf I got a free, very nice and robust looking ZMF cable. What is even better, it is wired exactly the same way as Audeze, pins 1-4 and 2-3 connected in the 4 pin mini XLRs. Prior to that I borrowed a DIY balanced cable to be able to compare LCD-X to my other headphones.
    The signal path is Surface Pro 6-> Roon->PI2AES->AES/EBU>RME Adi-2 PRO, balanced to Bryston BHA-1.
    Roon is upsampling to 24/176.4 and 24/!92.

    The very first impression is that I very seldom heard such a difference between balanced and SE. Maybe it is just more power LCD-X, comparing to all my other HPs have slightly recessed upper mids, and more bass, not more extension in my view that HEKSE but just more pronounced and bit less controlled.
    It was very noticeable to me with SE connection but with balanced there is touch less bas and more effortless retrieval of details without the impression that upper mids are being elevated. I like it a lot more.

    20021 LCD-X is a headphone with its own character, just like HE500 has its own character. Actually after the first day I thought I got better HE500 but no, they both have their own flavor.
    And after some time spent with LCD-X I really did not want to change anything.

    LCD-X responds to EQ very well and with simple EQ settings could make it more neutral, sounding closer to HEKSE:
    2Khz, +2, Q0.5
    3.7kHz +2.5 Q4.1
    7.Khz +1.5 Q0.5

    But one day I just listened to them without EQ for two hours with great pleasure, very engaged, hearing the level of details I wanted to hear, with very nice tonal balance, I did not need anything better or different. As @Vtory put it has full and rich sound and I like them neat.
    If I need something different, between HEKSE and HD800S I can probably find it, so no need for "improving" LCD-X.

    Quick comparison with other headphones:
    1) HE500:
    HE500 has this dreamy, lovely but slightly congested sound , LCD-X sounds more open, clearer and still very engaging.
    HE500 appears slow in comparison.

    2) HD800S
    sounds more open than LCD-X, obviously, a bit better instrument separation. LCD-X has good level of macrodetails with accents in all the right places, all components of the music architecture are present. But comparing to HD800S it sounds like skillfully equalized music vs natural detail retrieval of HD800S. But I am really nitpicking here, and I like the tonality of LCD-X more.

    3) HEKSE
    Not really fair comparison, almost 3 times the price, and I do not know any other headphones that can present acoustic instruments in such a natural way, and with the level of microdetails of HEKSE.
    But it is interesting to compare those three headphones using organ music as an example, ( Brahms 11 organ chorales):
    1. HE800S - sound coming from far and above, and the sense of listening in a large church, irrespective of microdetails behind HEKSE, that's how organs sound in real life
    2. HEKSE: great microdynamic, microdetails, tonal balance, feeling of seating very close to the pipes , that makes it sound less "real"
    3. LCD-X cannot convey the sense of real venue, sounds powerful but one dimensional , macrodetails are still there, but that's not enough to get the right feeling of organ music. HEKSE is just way more resolving.
    And here is a good track to enjoy the LCD-X qualities in full glory.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: May 18, 2021

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