The Audeze LCD-1 are ideal for mixing audio and for enjoying high-quality or symphonic, spacious audio. Every sound at each frequency is given room to breath and exist within the sound space. Not for club thumbing entertainment, there are plenty of much less accurate cans for that.
Audeze LCD-1 Pros
- Symphonic, spacious audio
- Detailed listening experience
- Ideal for mixing audio
- Comfortable for extended listening sessions
Audeze LCD-1 Cons
- Lean bass response
- Open back leaks a lot of sound
Audeze makes premium audio gear for studio professionals, audiophiles and serious gamers. Based in California, their headphones feature hand-tooled construction and meticulous attention to detail when it comes to tuning their sound reproduction capabilities.
The LCD-1 open-back cans aim to suit studio and home use. Targeting a discerning audiophile who wants headphones that don’t trade on their brand name or marketing, but their quality alone.
Audeze LCD-1 Design
As mentioned in the introduction, the LCD-1’s sport a foldable open-back design. Open back is a typical feature of premium, specialist headphones. This is because they allow air flow through the ear cups, preventing pressure build up that can cause distortions in audio clarity. As a result their sound is more neutral and spacious.
Open-back headphones are ideal for isolated use for two reasons; they leak a lot of sound and there’s no cover to help isolate loud external noises. This means they’re more suitable for home and studio use than for planes, offices or commuting. The open back also leaves their sensitive electronics vulnerable to moisture damage, so definitely not a pair for wearing in the rain.
That said, the cups and headband are cushioned with plush memory foam material, wrapped in soft premium leather. The fit is snug and goes some way to isolating the space directly around your ears, which helps to keep the sound focused in a quiet environment. They’re also lightweight at only 250g. Long sessions of listening proved comfortable with these on and they don’t get too hot around my ears. This is another reason why the LCD-1 is particularly useful for studio use. Anyone familiar with production and mixing will know that some sessions can turn into 15h-18h days.
Audeze LCD-1 Engineering
Each ear cup is powered by 90mm Planar Magnetic drivers which deliver a stated 10Hz-50,000Hz frequency response. For context, sub-bass or rumbling audio inhabits the frequency range of about 16-60Hz, while high string and wind instruments like violins and piccolos range between 4000-6,000Hz. Most music falls between the range of about 60Hz-15,000Hz, which means the Audeze LCD-1 has you more than covered for a highly detailed listening experience, whatever you’re listening to.
Each driver that goes into every single ear cup is crafted, tuned and quality controlled by hand. The same hand that signs the quality assurance certificate (in actual pen) that you’ll find in the box when you pick these up. It’s the little touches that let you know you’re getting your money’s worth and Audeze do not let you down.
Also in the box is a zipped hard cover carry case and a 2m long 3.5mm dual stereo cable, which plugs into both the left and the right ear cup. The reversible nature of the cable inputs means that the LCD-1 will deliver the correct channel information, regardless of which cup you connect them to. There’s also a 3.5mm-6.3mm adapter.
Audeze LCD-1 Sound Quality
After trying various sources of audio I can unequivocally say that these provide among the most accurate listening experiences I’ve ever come across at any price point.
Whether listening to music or editing video with textured soundFX Audeze LCD-1 will give you a spacious soundstage to monitor every frequency within your source. With such high resolution capabilities, the LCD-1 will expose lower quality and compressed audio, so you’ll have to step your game up if you want to make the most of these. They will also lead you to discovering new layers in songs that you thought you knew intimately if this is your first pair of true high fidelity headphones.
To this point, some songs that I love for their pumping bass lacked their intended hit in compressed MP3 format. This is because many consumer focused and often (but not always) cheaper headphones favour bass to give the impression of quality. But at this level, the LCD1 provides balance and neutrality in favour of precision over unrefined power.
Audeze LCD-1 Verdict
By prioritising intricate frequency performance, the LCD-1 is best suited to sound mixing and production. For casual listening, I was most impressed by them when listening to orchestral soundtracks – Back II The Future’s theme blew my mind with these on. But unless you’re willing to feed these high quality audio sources, you’ll find they lack the energy you may find in more consumer focused headphones. That’s because Audeze has tuned these for faithful representation, whereas others artificially boost low and mid tones to impose warmth on songs that may not be in the original mix. While entertaining, this approach can mask a multitude of frequencies embedded within your audio.
But the decision here is not between wanting the most accurate sound or the most entertaining. The Audeze LCD-1 will give you both if you give it a source as high in quality as the headphones themselves.
For more information and full specs: