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.
Continued from part 1, Aesthetics.
In October 2012, a study dedicated to finding the optimum spectral characteristic of a headphone, has been presented at the 133rd AES Convention in San Francisco, California. Written by Sean Olive and Todd Welti of Harman International, the research paper involved with an extensive subjective assessment test by utilizing various headphones, including models from AKG, Beats by Dre, Bose, and V-Moda. Audeze's LCD-2 Rev.2 is included among them as well.
And here is the test result: It turns out that LCD-2 Rev.2 beats every single headphones it is compared against, registering it at the very top of the list in terms of sound quality. Surprisingly, this headphone turns out to be subjectively the most linear even in the sub-bass frequency response range, compared to the bass-bloated headphones from Beats by Dre and Bose.
Can Audeze LCD-2 Rev.2 really be a game-changer... a headphone to rule them all?
PRO: LCD-2 Rev.2 not only features a well-extended, very linear frequency response, and a lightning-fast transient characteristic, but it also has virtually no distortion even at -60 dB, which is 0.1% of distortion relative to the fundamental signal. On top of that, LCD-2's impedance is extremely flat, almost purely resistive. No mere moving-coil headphones come even close to such electroacoustic performance.
CON: The weight of this headphone is almost half a kilogram, which is roughly equivalent to a pound, suggesting that the headphone is most likely not for a simple portable use.
ON SECOND THOUGHT #1: By blocking the rear vents air-tight, air compliance in the rear chamber decreases, radically changing LCD-2 Rev.2's tonal quality especially in the mid-frequency range. The resulting harshness is due to the reflection within the housing, and can be damped effectively once a proper modification scheme is carried out. The sound quality will further be improved by such modification for sure. Is it a game changer, as claimed by the manufacturer? You bet it is, and on top of that, there's a lot more to it.
ON SECOND THOUGHT #3: A free-air analysis, along with an infra-sound analysis will be discussed in the upcoming part 3, in-depth analysis for further assessment of the headphone's electroacoustic performance. In addition, Audeze's calibration chart will be compared against my own data for a peer-review.
Continued to part 3, in-depth analysis.
S. Olive and T. Welti, "The Relationship between Perception and Measurement of Headphone Sound Quality," presented at the 133rd Audio Eng. Soc. Convention, preprint 8744 (October 2012).
S. Olive, T. Welti, and M. Elisabeth, "Listener Preferences for Different Headphone Target Response Curves," presented at the 134th Audio Eng. Soc. Convention, preprint 8867 (May 2013).