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.
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…