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Audeze LCD-3


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Wow. First off, thanks for reminding me that Debbie Harry was/is a major babe. Who can sing. I'll have to dig out an old LP or two. I liked her back in the day. Half a dozen pages ago, Grawk said t

Al, that one sentence posted on HeadFi would serve as both conclusive evidence and an act of war. Have (moar) fun!

Why are you dissing my wonderful collection of polka and 70's German porn music tracks? You are such a snob... We can at least agree that my 007's are a bit special given my OCD need to set them

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I guess it all comes down to whether you think it is worth $1000 to go from damn-near-perfect to damn-nearer-perfect. And you can also color me skeptical at this point.

Edited by morphsci
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My take is that Audeze was making less money with the LCD-2 than they expected, or they just used it to show they can do it. After all a new company cannot sell their new TOL product at 2K bucks and selling it like hot cakes. It's also possible that it's more expensive to produce than they had calculated. Solution? Tweak it, make it to sound a bit different, change a couple of cosmetic features, and put it a price which really allows the company to make money. Then the LCD-3 comes out.

I'm afraid that their maths may fail when calculating the potential market and how many they'll sell compared to what they're selling of the LCD-2.

Edited by Torpedo
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Close-up view.

0b23f719_330134_10150852439365507_729935506_20619550_1669657178_o.jpeg

Interesting. It was not apparent before but from this angle it's clear that the brown pads and leather headband are new designs. Gotta say I like the classy champagne brown though it's a shame that ergonomics-wise, they seem to be more or less the same as the LCD2.

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I've tried the more recent revision (2) of the LCD-2, and the headband is much more flexible, and the padding in the leather headband is nice, with it's Sennheiser HD650-like padding bumps.

Even with my huge noggin, it was pretty comfortable. Not quite as comfortable as the HE-6, but if/when Aude'ze makes velour pads, they will be pretty close.

Leather looks great. And feels great for about 5 minutes, until I start getting all sweaty.

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My take is that Audeze was making less money with the LCD-2 than they expected, or they just used it to show they can do it. After all a new company cannot sell their new TOL product at 2K bucks and selling it like hot cakes. It's also possible that it's more expensive to produce than they had calculated. Solution? Tweak it, make it to sound a bit different, change a couple of cosmetic features, and put it a price which really allows the company to make money. Then the LCD-3 comes out.

I'm afraid that their maths may fail when calculating the potential market and how many they'll sell compared to what they're selling of the LCD-2.

LCD-2 was selling like hot cakes, because there was literally only one other product that could compete in a similar price range.

If the LCD-3 is not a significant improvement in sound quality over the LCD-2, it will be pricing itself in a territory where they will have much tougher time selling as a "no-brainer" purchase. As soon as headphones get into the 4 digits, people hesitate to open their wallets a LOT more.

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Too bad they also kept the same mechanism for the size adjustment. That block with the grooved metal pin is quite horrible.

Comfort is the biggest issue with the LCD design. They always feel like a burden, they never disappear on your head. I find the SR-009 to be so comfortable that I sometimes don't feel them on my head.

Still, if they sound significantly better than the LCD-2r2, and different-enough than the SR-009 (less harsh, better bass), then I may be tempted to get them at some point.

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Those pads look almost certainly to be STAX O2 pads. If so, I wonder how they would feel about other major headphone competitors cleaning out their supply .

They could be cloned. It would be very expensive to use NOS brown Stax earpads.

One way to tell- see if there is a horizontal seam between the pad closest to the ear and the part distal from it when looking at the headphones from the front. Also the foam in the Stax pads is soft, if the pads stay stiff when the headphones are on the head they aren't Stax.

See pics: (this is wrong on so many levels Stax pads on cheap ATs :'( )

earstaxo2.jpg

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Just got back from RMAF. I hesitate to give detailed / definitive impressions given the fact that it was meet conditions (and there was a lot of background noise in the room), but I will say the following...

-I found them really comfortable (the earpads feel absolutely amazing) and noticeably more luxuriant on the head than the LCD-2, BUT for those who have a big problem with the weight and clamping, I don't think the LCD-3 is going to be of much help. I also really liked the angled cable at the front - it feels like it's tugging less and isn't in the way as much.

-If you're looking for sufficiently different from the SR-009 to justify a supplemental purchase, then you won't be disappointed. They sound very, very different from the SR-009. The Stax is incredibly neutral, airy and transparent; the LCD-3 sounds like the LCD-2 - thick, lush and musical, with the best bass I've ever heard on a headphone. Going from the Stax to the SR-009 was a huge change - I traded breathtaking transparency for the realization that there is an incredible amount of low-end information and richness that the Stax can't quite convey.

-I didn't get a chance to A/B the LCD-3 with the LCD-2 while I was there, so I unfortunately don't have a strong opinion about whether it's worth a $1,000 upgrade. They certainly share a house sound, and there is a little more refinement apparent in the LCD-3 sound, but I can't give more definitive impressions than that without hearing them side by side in a quieter place.

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-If you're looking for sufficiently different from the SR-009 to justify a supplemental purchase, then you won't be disappointed. They sound very, very different from the SR-009. The Stax is incredibly neutral, airy and transparent; the LCD-3 sounds like the LCD-2 - thick, lush and musical, with the best bass I've ever heard on a headphone. Going from the Stax to the SR-009 was a huge change - I traded breathtaking transparency for the realization that there is an incredible amount of low-end information and richness that the Stax can't quite convey.

Thanks for that impression. To me, the SR-009 is absolutely neutral. If the 009 doesn't covey bass, that means there is no bass to convey in the recording. It can reproduce very low bass IF the recording contains it. That's what I would pay more $$$ for - neutrality. To me, neutrality is more difficult to achieve than coloration. If I want musical or moar bass, I have the FA-011, which isn't expensive either. To me, and this is just me....this is like paying money for this, instead of paying money for this. I'm sure both can tell time but one does it more accurately than the other.

Wait...that was a bad example on this forum....it's like the LCD-2 is this but the SR-009 is this.

Just my 2 cents though.

Edited by LFF
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I couldn't post on HC while at RMAF as my phone wouldn't let me sign in?

This is probably going to ruffle feathers, roll eyes etc but I do think the LCD3 is significantly different from the LCD2. I really liked the LCD2 too, but comparative to the 3 it is quite dark. I used the same pieces of music to listen to the headphones and although this is instant impression show circumstances , I feel the LCD3 moves the game beyond the previous HE6 vs LCD2 debate. I also think the 009 sounded everybit as meaty - had them running off the same source with the same music , 009 soundstage is wider but both conveyed music with similar control. If someone wants to send me both for an extended listen, I would be more than happy to oblige ;-)

..dB

Edited by dBel84
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the pads did look like the ones from the Stax O2 but the stax pads have the thick part in the back and the ones on the Audeze looked more uniform.

one of the co-founders of Audeze has his own "vegan" pair made with microfiber fabric.

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I was telling people at RMAF that I thought the LCD-3 combined the best features of the LCD-2 and HE-6 into one phone, and that the SR-009 combined the sound signature of the 007 and the HE-60 into one phone. If someone bought these two new phones they might not need to consider the other four. I was happy that the LCD-3 didn't clamp my head like a vise, but thought the pads may be a tad too soft and thick, and the phones were not as stable on my head as a result (kept wanting to swivel to the front or rear as I moved my head around).

I did think the LCD-3 and SR-009 sounded a bit different, with the LCD-3 being a bit more organic and warm and punchy, but with added ambience, air and space over my LCD-2. The SR-009 were like a fulller and weightier sounding HE-60 to me, which means that they bordered on being fatiguing with poor recordings and high volumes when I tried them. The BHSE seemed just a little bright with the 009 and was better suited for the 007 in my opinion, but I liked the mids on the Cavalli amp a little better (regardless of phone). It had more than enough power to drive the 007 to high volumes without breakup, distortion or fatigue (claimed 1300-1400v peak to peak on 400v rails).

Anyway, back on topic I'd say that I'm most likely to sell the LCD-2 and HD800 at some point to buy the LCD-3, and then after that sell the WES for a Cavalli amp but keep the 007 and HE-60. I just thought the 009 was a little too close to my pair of HE-60 to justify buying them sooner than later.

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It had more than enough power to drive the 007 to high volumes without breakup, distortion or fatigue (claimed 1300-1400v peak to peak on 400v rails).

That's probably wrong since +/-400V should give more voltage swing then that. The Exstata V2 (KG edition) certainly does.

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Thanks for that impression. To me, the SR-009 is absolutely neutral. If the 009 doesn't covey bass, that means there is no bass to convey in the recording. It can reproduce very low bass IF the recording contains it. That's what I would pay more $$$ for - neutrality. To me, neutrality is more difficult to achieve than coloration. If I want musical or moar bass, I have the FA-011, which isn't expensive either. To me, and this is just me....this is like paying money for this, instead of paying money for this. I'm sure both can tell time but one does it more accurately than the other.

Wait...that was a bad example on this forum....it's like the LCD-2 is this but the SR-009 is this.

Just my 2 cents though.

The SR009 and LCD3 are two extremely excellent listening experiences. For me, the SR009 is a concert hall, the LCD3 is a club. The tradeoff is openness and air versus a more physical, speaker-like bass. The LCD3 is a more "fun" headphone, but strikes a better balance between bass/fun and detail than its' predecessor.

The effortlessly smooth detail and incredibly open sound of the SR009 is quite striking. Given well recorded material, it amazes.

They are two different, but every enjoyable headphones, and I could absolutely see a use for both.

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Thanks for that impression. To me, the SR-009 is absolutely neutral. If the 009 doesn't covey bass, that means there is no bass to convey in the recording. It can reproduce very low bass IF the recording contains it. That's what I would pay more $$$ for - neutrality. To me, neutrality is more difficult to achieve than coloration. If I want musical or moar bass, I have the FA-011, which isn't expensive either. To me, and this is just me....this is like paying money for this, instead of paying money for this. I'm sure both can tell time but one does it more accurately than the other.

Wait...that was a bad example on this forum....it's like the LCD-2 is this but the SR-009 is this.

Just my 2 cents though.

I agree that the Stax is incredibly neutral (probably the closest thing to the definition of neutral that I can think of). That said, the bass reproduction of the LCD-3 is, in my mind, not just a question of exaggeration. While it's certainly on the warm side of neutral, there is bass and low bass information that is clearly present on the recording that is presented with an incredible amount of texture and detail that was (in my opinion, under show conditions, etc.) unmatched by the SR-009.
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