Climbing higher up the sonic ladder, the LCD-3 Fazor had less grain, better timbral accuracy, superior separation of instruments, and rendered vocals clearer than the Classic. The LCD-3F also created a larger soundstage and a more articulate sound. The LCD-3F’s deeper resolution and smoother sonics do, of course, come with a higher $1,945 USD price tag.
Overall, the new LCD2C has a remarkably similar sonic signature to the original LCD-2. With Audio Sensibility’s Statement OCC Silver HP cable installed, beneath the $1,500 USD mark, the Classic’s soundstage width and depth is the best I’ve yet heard. The LCD2C also has an exceptionally low distortion. Less distortion inherently means that more sonic detail can be heard. Even though they have a bit of grain in the treble, if you like Audeze’s “house sound”, you’ll certainly appreciate the stellar sonics that the Classic delivers for its reasonable asking price.
Released in 1996, the Tragically Hip’s Trouble at the Henhouse is a fascinating collection of songs that sound like the band was painting with sonic textures.
Listening through the LCD2Cs, I clearly heard the way that the Hip layered the haunting timbral shades of their instruments on top of one another. With tracks like “Gift Shop”, “Don’t Wake Daddy”, “700ft Ceiling”, and “Let’s Stay Engaged”, Gord Downie’s eccentric vocal intonations were easier to understand than I’ve ever heard them before. In particular, the Classic let me hear the subtle sonic nuances buried deep within the song “Sherpa”. The way that the individual piano notes are struck, hang, and then float across the soundstage in lingering echoes sent shivers down my spine.
Showcasing 15 heavy songs played at neck-snapping speeds with a white-knuckle death grip aggression, Sepultura’s landmark 1998 album Against mixes a plethora of different instruments into a peppered sonic goulash of simmering rage. Exploding with such riveting tracks as “Against”, “Choke”, “Old Earth”, “Common Bonds”, “Floaters in Mud”, “Hatred Aside”, and “Reza”, Against is a blisteringly heavy record that assaults listeners harder than a Liberal government tax increase. In particular, the Classic let the airy flute solo captured on the track “Kamatachi” soar over top of the atmospheric drum and percussive instruments layered underneath it with a haunting resonance.
Faced with the daunting challenge of reproducing the spine shaking low-end slam of this sonic masterpiece, the LCD2C created a warm and organic sound that was fast enough — and went deep enough — to capture the essence of Sepultura’s late-1990’s thrash sound. The Classic’s ability to accurately resolve complex instrumental timbres in the lower midrange, upper bass, and mid bass registers was close to the best I’ve ever heard; and that’s in comparison to headphones with retail price tags that are 4 and even 5 times as expensive.
In releasing a 3rd generation version of their LCD-2 headphones, Audeze’s goals of cutting the Classic’s weight, dropping its price, and returning to the warmer sound of the original pre-Fazor LCD-2 headphones have all been achieved.
With a price of $799 USD, Audeze’s LCD2 Classic is — by far — the best sounding sub-$1,500 USD pair of planar magnetic headphones that I’ve yet heard. Upgrade the stock OFC cable to an after-market OCC Silver (Ag) headphone cord and you’ll hear audiophile calibre sound at, by high end audio standards, a bargain price.
How good is the LCD2 Classic? Well… I bought the review pair. No stronger statement about the stellar sound quality of any audio product can be made than when a reviewer ponies up his (or her) own cash to buy it.
Distributed in Canada by Erikson Consumer
Audeze LCD2 Classic Headphones
Price: $799 US