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Monday, July 1, 2013

Audeze LCD-2 Rev.2 part 1: Aesthetics

Disclaimer: This review is made possible with the support from Audeze, the manufacturer of LCD-2 Rev.2. I sincerely appreciate them for loaning me a demo sample.


“Somehow, even in the worst of times, the tiniest fragments of good survive. It was the grip in which one held those fragments that counted.” 
― Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock
The history of orthodynamic headphones goes all the way back to early 1970's, when the Warfedale ID1 from the UK appeared on the market. The technology had flourished for over 10 years until it gradually faded out from as headphone manufacturers realized the cost effectiveness & simplicity of design of moving-coil transducer technology. Eventually, by the beginning of the new millennium, Fostex of Japan remained as the sole manufacturer of orthodynamic headphones.

Of course, Alex Rosson and Sankar Thiagasamudram, co-founders of Audeze, had not given up hope, believing in orthodynamic headphones' technical superiority.  To them, the second coming of orthodynamics was very near. And in 2009, Audeze introduced the LCD-1 to the market with their new proprietary orthodynamic technology implemented.

Well here comes Audeze LCD-2 Rev.2, featuring the industry's most advanced orthodynamic technology yet.


By default, the LCD-2 Rev.2 comes with a detachable single-ended TRS to mini XLR cable, along with a wood care kit in order to protect the varnish of the wooden housing rim. This is certainly a nice gesture from the manufacturer, as enthusiasts, who gladly pay a grand for a pair of their headphones, like myself, would love to keep their headphones neat for as long as possible.

And most importantly, a calibration chart is provided for quality assurance. AUDEZE utilizes Neumann KU-100 dummy head, which is precisely diffuse-field equalized, for calibration. As Neumann's dummy head design is based on the research of Dr. Günther Theile of Institut für Rundfunktechnik of Germany, who is the mastermind behind the idea of diffuse-field reference in headphone acoustics, so the accuracy of AUDEZE's calibration method is pretty much guaranteed.

Housing design

The built quality of LCD-2 is top-notch. All the joints are tightly connected together, not to mention its well-polished wooden finish, which reminds me of a sleek boutique furniture. The headphone itself is quite bulk to be honest, but that is only to keep the surface area of the driver as large as possible, in order to radiate the sound wave uniformly into the users' pinna structure.

Ear pads

LCD-2's thick angled ear pads allow sound waves to evenly disperse onto listener's pinna in parallel, yielding a natural localization property within the entire frequency spectrum.

Fitting mechanism

The fitting mechanism is rather classical, reminding me of Grado headphones. Height can be adjusted in seven steps, but users with bigger heads may separately purchase longer adjusting rods for a better fit.

Detachable cable


If a cable is not detachable, what good is a high-end headphone? LCD-2 is very versatile in this respect, as users have numerous possibilities when it comes to cable choices. Not only it solves any kind of durability issue that may arise from the built quality of a stock cable, but also grants authority to users, leaving them the decision of whether to believe in cable acoustics or not.

Continued to Part 2, General analysis.

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