The Audeze LCD-2 Revisited

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The first time I heard the Audeze LCD-2 headphones was more than two years ago, and I hated them. The pair I had was from the first production run, and while they sounded OK, albeit slightly over-rich and dark, they were among the most uncomfortable headphones I'd ever tried to use. I'd put them right up there with the Jecklin Float electrostatics in the pantheon of almost unwearable cans.

Two weeks ago I received the latest version of the Audeze LCD-2 that uses bamboo instead of rosewood for its enclosure material. Currently at version 2.2, these LCD-2s produced a radically different experience for me. Not only did they fit much better, they also felt lighter and less oppressive. Add to this a more neutral and seemingly more transparent sonic presentation, and you have a recipe for turning what was IMHO a sow's ear, into a trendy designer silk purse.

What else about the LCD-2 has changed from the earlier version? The earpads look slightly thicker, feel softer, breathe better, and are much more comfortable. I also noticed less pressure from the headband. The first version felt as if someone was not-so-gently squeezing my head in. I was sure that after an hour I could fit into hats two sizes smaller than usual. The latest version still has some pretty serious clamping action, but at least I don't feel like I've been installed in a mechanical head-shrinker.

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Audeze has also introduced a third version of the LCD-2, called "Leather free" aimed at customers who are either allergic to leather or strongly vegan in outlook. I haven't tried this version, but some feedback from users seems to indicate that the pads are slightly bigger than the leather ones and softer as well. Also the leather on the headband has been replaced on the "leather free" version with man-made material that has more foam padding. For some audiophiles this might be just the right combination for ultimate LCD-2 comfort.

So, if like me you tried the LCD-2s when they first hit the market and hated them, you might want to try the most current version. For me, Audeze's most recent LCD-2 is as much of a winner as the original one was a non-starter. You may well come to the same conclusion...

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