Audeze LCD-1 headphones review: Amazing clarity with reference sound [Video]

Audeze LCD-1 sitting on desk

For those who like simplicity and top-tier sound, look no further than the Audeze LCD-1. While they aren’t wireless and don’t have ANC, the LCD-1 headphones pack planar magnetic technology in a portable package. Sound from this pair of cans is highly detailed and accurate for critical reference listening and audio engineers. Check out the video below for more.

Out of the box

With its over-ear, open-back, and wired design, the LCD-1 is simple and sticks to the basics of a great sounding pair of headphones.

One neat feature that gives a premium feel to the LCD-1 is the inclusion of a certificate of authenticity card that also shows the serial number for the headphones.

With the headphones out of the box, the LCD-1 comes packed in its protective carry case. Removable cables and the folding design of the headphones make it easy to pack along and take with you. Open-back headphones generally aren’t the top choice for listening while on the go since they let in a lot of audio from your environment, but if you’re taking these with you to a studio or work, the carry case is a welcome addition.

Light and comfortable

At 250g, the LCD-1 headphones are light and easy to wear for long listening sessions. The soft cushioned headband is smaller than I’ve seen on some other high-end headphones, but because they don’t weigh much, that’s not an issue.

Size can be adjusted in the headband and the memory foam earpads provide a soft cup around your ear. From my first time using them, they felt soft like they were almost broken in already. I found them to be plenty big for my ears. Overall, the LCD-1 is a very comfortable headset that would be an easy choice for extended listening.

Audeze LCD-1: video

How’s the sound?

At $399, the LCD-1 is the entry point into Audeze’s reference line. With a frequency response from 10-50,000hz and an emphasis on clarity, the headphones are a dream come true for critical listeners. Listening to the Alabama Shakes’ “Sounds & Color” renders all of the beautiful little details like the pedals squeaking and gives a soft touch to the hi-hat without any harshness.

Bass response is clear and hits low, but as a reference pair, it isn’t accentuated at all. The bass notes on Solar Sailer from the Tron legacy soundtrack are deep and full without damaging any higher frequencies or overpowering the song.

Thanks to the open-back design, the soundstage and stereo positioning are both exceptional on the LCD-1. It’s easy to pick out instruments in cluttered tracks. Back to Sound and Color, you can easily pick out all of the different strings, their positions, and the grit as the bows hit and vibrate on the strings.

Listening to David Guetta’s “Titanium,” there’s an interesting emphasis on the back-up vocals during the buildup to the chorus, with Sia’s highest line taking more of a backseat than I’m used to hearing from other cans.

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones with an emphasis on clarity and neutrality, you need to seriously consider the LCD-1.

Other Audeze products

Because of the open-back design, the LCD-1 headphones might not be the best choice for gaming, unless you are in a pretty quiet area. There will be a lot of background noise coming through.

But, Audeze does have a closed-back gaming headset that has earned plenty of critical acclaims. The Mobius headset is a great choice if you want something that’s going to keep the room audio out.

Audeze also just recently announced the Penrose wireless gaming headset which comes in two different variants to work with PC/PS4 or Xbox, with a host of other devices. It will be expensive at $300, but I’m excited to check out a wireless planar magnetic headset on Xbox.

Wrapping up

Overall, the LCD-1 from Audeze offers incredible clarity. Using these for editing videos is a joy. The open-back nature is great for a wide soundstage, but definitely needs to be taken into consideration for where and when you will be doing most of your listening.

If hi-fi headphones are your thing, be sure to check out our hands-on video with the full line-up from Focal.

Buy Audeze LCD-1

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