Michael Mercer – Product of the Year: Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor

My Favorite Insomnia-inducing Headphones…

I feel lucky. Lucky in that I can point-out, quite singularly, the pair of headphones that sealed my migration over to high end personal audio: the original Audeze LCD-3. It’s an awesome feeling as I’ve watched a friend – Alex Rossen, CEO of Audeze – and his team continue to develop and improve their product line over the years with hard work and dedication. And regardless of my relationship with the company, Audeze are in-fact my favorite headphones (and if that is a problem for you – I can understand). But all I can do is give you my word: If something else comes along that connects me to the music as deeply as Audeze does – or deeper – I’ll evangelize for those cans all day long. That said: If I didn’t like a product from Audeze, I would definitely make it known. For me, right now, when I want to have the ultimate listening experience – spiritually, musically, sonically – I reach for my Audeze at home. And this year, I’ve been reaching for the LCD-2 with Fazor upgrade more than any other headphone.

I enjoyed the original LCD-2, but it didn’t hit me like so many on Head-Fi.org (I believe the LCD-2 has the longest running thread there – amazing). Although, when I got to live with the LCD-2 for an extended time, I ended up enjoying all sorts of music through them. The LCD-2 had this luscious midrange, deep, drivy low-end, and wonderfully dimensional highs that felt and sounded natural. There wasn’t a hint of brightness to me, especially when the right configuration of gear was drivin’ them, especially when I found the right kinda’ synergy. The LCD-2 captured and reproduced the whole audio spectrum beautifully, and, pardon my French: Fuckin’ hell, they didn’t sound like Hi-fi, the sound of the LCD-2 flowed like music. However difficult to beat, the Audeze LCD-3 was on a whole other level when it came to overall fidelity – spatial placement, imaging, soundstage, almost everything was improved. There was still something, a glitter of magic perhaps, about the seductive midrange of the LCD-2 that always grabbed my attention and focus (not an easy feat, especially in this never-ending, never un-plugged world of non-stop media streams). I can’t peg it from a technical standpoint, but man: The midrange! That’s where most of music lives after all and it was something I wished I could pancake into my LCD-3s.

Basically, before the new Fazor technology, I always preferred the LCD-3 emotively, and I also found its dynamics, three-dimensional soundstaging and insane bass response completely gripping (have I said that already?). They were capable of transporting me to another time and space where I’m seriously deep in listening mode. With the new LCD-2 with Fazor, I feel like I’m getting all that and more. It’s like having an original LCD-3, with that magical midrange I spoke of, along with the incredible spatial qualities. Right now as I rock Recondite’s “Garbo” off their new record Iffy on my LCD-2 w/ Fazor: When I close my eyes I feel like I’m back at Club Twilo in the early ‘90’s. The hovering synth lines, movin’ like audible waves over a pond, slow and steady. There’s this constant low-end hum, silky and textural, that flows forward and then to the back of the soundstage. By the time the kick-drum drops I’m completely lost init’. The music, while repetitive and somewhat slow moving, grabs me by the chest. Iffy is a new record (I reviewed it for Positive Feedback HERE) that I can’t turn off if I hear it on a good system. It’s a fantastic sonic voyage, and the LCD-2 w/ Fazor just provides a smooth and engaging ride…

Associated Equipment while listening to Recondite:

  • Amarra Symphony as source (on MacBook Pro SSD)
  • soon-to-be-announced limited edition USB cable
  • McIntosh D100 DAC
  • Nordost Heimdall 2 signal and power cables
  • Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold balanced amplifier
  • Double Helix Cables Comp4 (dual-XLR balanced cables)
  • Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor (obviously)

Last year, with the introduction of Audezes Fazor technology into their new LCD-X and LCD-XC (their closed-back planar magnetic model), I just knew they were going to apply the Fazor technology into the two headphones that built the company: The LCD-2 & LCD-3. And I was drooling like a sonic junkie for some time, aching for that audible fix. I’ve been living with the new LCD-2 and LCD-3 w/ Fazor for over a year now. Next to my LCD-XC (again – the Audeze closed-backs) I listen to my LCD-2 w/ Fazor more than any other headphone in my vast (eh, lets face it: downright gluttonous) collection. So, naturally, when I considered outstanding components for Product of the Year here at Guru, I thought about the gear I used the most – personally and professionally. Firstly, the headphones I choose, more than any others, for my listening sessions. And when my only objective is to get high on music, the choice happens to be the LCD-2 w/ Fazor. I use the LCD-XCs (Audezes closed-back) often as well. However musically pleasing they may be, and they are – they are usually chosen for me, by my wife Alexandra! “Put on your closed-backs, it’s starting to drive me mad”. But, in her defense – my second headphone listening station is in our front room, which acts a living room, with our two-channel system, and her art/jewelry desk up there as well. It’s basically the common area, so obviously not a great spot for open-back headphone sessions.

However, that desk is just a small arm of the main Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab – my pride and joy, my office and playroom. It’s been in that room where I’ve had listening sessions with my Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor that have left an indelible mark on my wondrous memories when it comes to experiencing music, live or reproduced. That may sound overblown to you, but it’s no bullshit. The Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor, when accompanied with a proper system (from power to headphone) delivers the emotive charge of my music and the sonics that draw me in, deeply. So deeply in fact, I’ve had so many all-night listening sessions with the LCD-2Fs (Fazor). My wifey calls them my “insomniac cans”!

Yet the headphones aren’t putting me to sleep; quite the contrary: I try to stay up and listen to music with em’ until I’m literally face-planting into my MacBook Pro as the sun warms the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab. That’s a serious challenge, trying to describe the sensation of experiencing music that touches your soul so deeply you just don’t want it to end. The sound somehow seems to connect precisely with your mood, and the song ends up owning you emotionally. You can’t help but cry or get pissed, elated, whatever it’s inspiring in you. That’s a big part of the music for me. I sincerely hope you feel it that deeply too. Right now for example, as I sit here and listen to Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come”, off Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend 1951-1964 via my Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor, I can’t help but think of things that happened early in my life, things beyond my control that left those scars that don’t heal. The song is so hauntingly gorgeous, I could connect emotionally to that song through an awful-tone (a.k.a Auratone).

However, when I’m listening to that song through my LCD-2s and a decent system, it becomes an almost visual experience. The music has more life, more space, impact, everything. I feel a part of the whole. That’s another new sensation from my days in two-channel in-room systems. Top-of-their-class headphones like Audeze don’t merely paint a small musical image inside your head. The LCD-2 w/ Fazor actually throws a three-dimensional soundstage that’s almost holographic. It’s difficult to imagine, that I realize. So imagine trying to explain a pair of in-ear-monitors that do that too! Technology is a crazy thing.

Audeze introduced Fazor in order to broaden the sonic experience of Audeze headphones. Basically, Fazor is like a sort-of wave-guide (no, not in the Bose sense) for the frequencies in relation to the magnets in the structure of the driver. The best technical breakdown of the Fazor technology – accompanied by a great visual layout – was written by Tyll Hertsens over at Inner Fidelity. Tyll’s a measurement King, so you can check out his Fazor breakdown right HERE. Now, straight up: I could care less what Fazor actually does. I heard a difference in the soundstage immediately when I tried a pair of Audeze with it installed, but it’s the sound of music that I care about the most. Since Fazor has in fact given the LCD-2 a larger image, I’ve also noticed a significant upgrade in detail retrieval compared to the original. I’m not sure if Fazor alone is responsible for this edge in performance, but it’s splendid. A great example is Damien Rices’ “9 Crimes” off 9. This is one of my favorite stripped-down singer/songwriter tunes. Despite it’s bare-bones musical elements, the sound is actually huge. Microphone placement is really close to everything and they happened to properly capture the space itself. Within the second verse I could hear this faint echo that I never heard before. The piano was also arranged spatially in a way that made it sound bigger, like an actual piano. And the vocals were so powerful in their nuances. Every time I listen to this track I hit repeat, especially since I started using the LCD-2 w/ Fazor to hear it! I’m actually rockin’ my pair right now with the PS Audio Sprout! There’s a wonderfully fluid synergy between the two. That’s another characteristic of the LCD-2 I enjoy: It plays well with a wide range of gear.

When I listen via my Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor and a great rig (like the associated gear above) I honestly feel like I’m listening to, for example, the ground-breaking Genesis One Loudspeaker system designed by Arnie Nudell (also a big fan of Audeze) But you know what? That speaker system had four eight-foot towers and cost around $200k! Hmmmm… Sounds insane. Comparing listening to planar magnetic headphones, an amp (tube or solid-state) and source vs. a giant audiophiles wet dream of a sound-system! Hey, the truth is, some people in the audiophile hobby seem more concerned with sound than getting closer to the music. Hence the “Audiophile-Approved” playlist that hasn’t changed at trade shows for decades. But I love music first and foremost – so whatever sound system tears away more crap between me and the transducer: I’m on it! After all, as I’ve stated in previous articles: The ultimate goal for me with regard to my music and playback systems are to break down as much bullshit between me and the signal as possible. With cans, and, especially with my trusty Audeze – I can remove the room acoustics factor from my list of concerns when it comes to critical listening. That’s huge.

So, with all that said: My migration to high end personal audio has been the greatest experience in my twenty-plus years in Hi-fi! So this year I’m giving the Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor its well-deserved Product of the Year Award. I can’t stress it enough: The LCD-2 (or 3) does not actually sound like “headphones” to me at all. When I’m rockin’ a pair of Audezes, it sounds like a terrific two-channel system. And I bet I can get louder than you in the next apartment a 3AM. Bottom line: The LCD-2 w/ Fazor is wickedly fast, transparent, musically rich, and seductive. If I start an album while listening to the LCD-2s, I never walk away before the album is finished. Maybe that’s the best compliment I can give any headphone.

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REPLY
  • Michael Mercer
  • 2016-06-13 01:13:00
  • hey! SO psyched I just saw this response :-)
  • Reply


  • westermac
  • 2015-11-29 21:12:00
  • Michael, I realize you wrote this up awhile ago but I just wanted to thank you. I've been interested in the LCD-2F for quite some time and just came across a price I couldn't pass up so I ordered them on the spot! Naturally, along comes a LCD-X sale that has me second-guessing my decision. I do some audio work and own a pair of HD600's which have served me very well, so I'm really just looking for an incredible musical experience, not another critical listening tool. Your writeup has put my mind at ease and I am now even more excited for the LCD-2 to arrive! Wish you all the best :)
  • Reply


  • Mohamed Sheir
  • 2015-08-20 07:04:00
  • How would this compare to HE-560 ? Regardless of price
  • Reply


  • Riley
  • 2015-06-28 10:57:46
  • That's what I'm looking for! Have you found other headphones that more effectively capture the Maggie house sound than the LCD-2(F)?
  • Reply


  • Paul S
  • 2015-03-11 00:24:40
  • I can answer this - no, it's not twice as good. A lot of people who've had the opportunity to own both talk about a 15% increase in sound quality with the LCD-3. I owned both for a short time (they were loaners) and ending up buying the LCD-2. It had better bass and a less in your face treble. Your mileage may vary.
  • Reply


  • Matt Cave
  • 2015-03-04 19:24:58
  • Hi Michael, I'm sorry to hear about your wife though, hope she is feeling better soon. This review was a great read. I started off my hunt for a headphone setup with the HD650 but am now considering upping the budget & tossing up between the LCD 2, EL8 open, & HE560 - I listen mostly to classical. So I was wondering what desktop amp in medium budget range you would recommend for driving the current LCD 2 ? I had the Schiit Audio Lyr 2 or Mjolnir recommended to me, any thoughts? Also if my headphone listening will be mostly at home would you recommend the LCD 2 above the EL8 open? Thanks
  • Reply


  • Mel
  • 2015-02-15 06:58:43
  • Hey Mike! LCD-3 with fazor is twice the price of LCD-2 with fazor. Is it twice as good? If not, how would you quantify it?
  • Reply


  • Chad king
  • 2015-02-14 23:39:19
  • Great review Michael! I am having a hard time deciding on these or the EL-8s for primary desktop use. I purchased a Lambert PIBE based off your recommendations but know that you have spent some time with the production EL-8 which way would you go? Ps: did you pull the trigger on the TH-600s? Once they burn in...they are beasts!!
  • Reply


  • Joe T
  • 2015-02-14 08:44:25
  • Yes Sir, it does help. By the way, I just pulled the trigger on a brand new pair of LCD XC. They should pair well with my LCD2.2s. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question. I really appreciate all that you do.
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-02-08 17:09:34
  • Hey DANIEL! WOW!! I'm honored, and excited for you!! That fills me w/ joy just knowing I could help you along - and I think you're goin' to have a blast with that system!!!! PLS get back to me here and lemme how it goes!
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-02-08 17:07:23
  • Hey STEVE! Thanks for reading! Having heard that amazing Viva Egoista you've got (GREAT choice BTW) - I think the LCD-3 w/ Fazor would actually be the best pairing for you. As a matter of fact - THAT would be a KILLER combo!!
  • Reply


  • Steve Boddy
  • 2015-02-08 07:54:20
  • I have a Viva Egoista headphone amp. Based on the characteristics of using a SET tube amp with 845 as a driver, which do you believe would be the better pairing: LCD-2f or the LCD-3f for listening? Very eclectic music collection ranging from choral and soloist to Björk.
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-02-06 15:23:23
  • Hey JOET! Thanks so much for the kind words on the article. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! That is a fantastic question - because, my original LCD-3s (non-Fazor of course) were literally THE headphones that sealed my transition over from high-end two-channel in-room to high-end personal audio! I still love my original 3s. I say this is a great question because I think part of the reason I discovered a new-found love for the new LCD-2 w/ Fazor is because they remind me so much of the original LCD-3s! By that I mean - I enjoyed the original LCD-2 - but not nearly as much as the 3 - the new LCD-2 (because of Fazor, IMHO) gives me that magnificent dimensional and extended sound-staging that the original 3s do. Plus - and I'm not sure why this is the case: The frequency spectrum - from top to bottom, on the new LCD-2s, has this special sparkle to it. The sound is excitable, dynamic, and so engaging - just like the OG 3s! I think they are very close - and, if I was going to make a buying choice now - meaning if I knew somebody with an original pair of LCD-3s, or I could choose the new LCD-2s - I'd buy the new 2s no question. Also I think the midrange on the new 2s is even a bit more present, more lush, than the original 3s. So I'd go for those. That help at all??
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-02-06 14:34:23
  • Hey ALL new commenters!! Wil be responding ASAP! Thanks for reading!!!! Yours in Sound, Michael Mercer
  • Reply


  • Daniel
  • 2015-02-05 11:10:50
  • I thought you'd like to know I'll be picking up a LCD-2f today thanks to your review. It will be running through a Schiit Modi2 Dac into a Little Dot MKiii, which is not the most ideal setup, but my extra spending money was dead sest for the LCD-2, we'll see how it turns out tonight.
  • Reply


  • Ken
  • 2015-02-04 17:21:10
  • Thanks Michael, I do some music producing as well. Trying to figure out the best headphones for that along with just enjoying the listening. LCD-X, EL-8, LCD-3, HD-800? Do you have a quick gut opinion about the EL-8 that you can share? How does it compare to the LCD-X.
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-02-04 08:01:08
  • Hey Ken! Oops! Will respond in-detail soon - but, in the meantime: Sorry for the bad typing - I meant to say - I do not believe the LCD-2 w/ Fazor is superior to the LCD-3 w/ Fazor! Technically, sonically, emotively - I still consider my LCD-3 as my current TOP reference cans! I just happen to also fall in love w/ the LCD-2 this year! And, because I dug em' before, but wasn't as gaga as so many when it came out (the original LCD-3 literally sealed my migration over to high end personal audio). But I got a feel for that magic, for whatever reason - with the latest LCD-2! So I've been using that most for recreational listening at home, purely outta taste right now. BUT: The open-back Audeze EL-8s TODAY! And I'm deep in listening sessions w/ em! Get back to you more in-depth ASAP
  • Reply


  • JoeT
  • 2015-02-02 21:20:59
  • Hey Mike! Great article indeed. If you could, please share your thoughts with regard to the LCD 2 Fazor vs the LCD 3 pre Fazor? Are they close?
  • Reply


  • Ken
  • 2015-01-29 14:09:46
  • Michael, Take care of your wife. Very little in life is more important than a great wife. I'm sorry to hear that she's not well. I can wait. When you get back and take a look, here are some points. I'm confused with your use of double negatives. You wrote... " I don't think the LCD-2 w/Fazor is NOT a better headphone, technically or musically, than the LCD-3 w/ Fazor!" So are you saying that you think the LCD-2 w/fazor is a better headphone than the LCD-3? Or are you saying the LCD-3 Is the better headphone. And how would you say the stack up against the Alpha Prime by MrSpeaker? I'm debating whether to upgrade from Mad Dog Pro by buying Alpha Prime, or going to something different like the Audeze or even the Stax 007mkll. The Stax is within reach money wise, but don't relish spending that much. I'm very interested in an open headphone this go around if I don't get the Alpha Prime. Maybe the HD800 - but fear the hype would not be lived up to and the bass would be lacking. Really wish I could hear all this first - but unfortunately it's not possible. So the Stax, Audeze, HD800, Alpha Prime? Any help would be great. I really want a big sound stage, non cluttered, good accurate bass, 3d - listening to EDM, Rock, Pop and some film scores/new age music.
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-01-27 09:41:12
  • Ken, I will respond in-depth ASAP! But, in the meantime, just know that I DON'T think the LCD-2 w/ Fazor is NOT a better headphone, technically or musically, than the LCD-3 w/ Fazor! I just happen to love the LCD-2 - the latest version, and it's been a great surprise for me, as it was ALWAYS the LCD-3 in my eyes (and it still is the ultimate reference for me) this was hyper-focused on the LCD-2 w/ Fazor. Will write more SOON- gotta take care of the wifey (her health isn't good) Be back ASAP...
  • Reply


  • Ken
  • 2015-01-25 21:21:55
  • Hi Michael, I really appreciate your reviews. My current headphones are the Mad Dog Pro's and I really like them. And I want to take a step up and so am thinking to make an Audeze purchase. I'm a bit confused. You like the lcd-2 more than the lcd-3? Really? Unfortunately, like one of the posters above, I'm unable to listen prior to purchase due to where I live. The music I listen to is mainly EDM, hard rock and new age. If the lcd-3 is the way to go, I can do it. But it would be a big cost savings to go with the lcd-2. So just want to be sure you really like the 2 more than the 3. If you have said why, could you give me a link to where I can read about it? If not, would you mind saying a few words about why the 2/fazor vs the 3? I assume the 2 with fazor is what I'd be getting if I bought the 2 now. Thanks again for all you do.
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-01-22 01:56:33
  • SORRY: Forget to hit reply and just reply to a couple at once – but you’ll never know that unless you look: COLGIN: The answer, IMO, completely depends on your primary intended use for your first pair of Audeze cans! You see, before the EL-8 (when it arrives – soon Thank God :)) the only Audeze headphones were of the LCD-series. So, they were designed for serious music lovers/professionals/audiophiles/head-Fiers! We already had the headphone amps/DACs/sources/systems, etc. to drive them, and we could give a SH__ bout portability! To me, and many friends and fellow users I know, we think of our LCDs like we do our Maggies (Magnepan planar loudspeakers) or Genesis loudspeakers, etc. The LCD-series is for the ultimate listening experience, period. Now, that means you sacrifice some things like portability, a smaller-scale, tighter design. They needed to be what they were! It’s ALL about (well, mostly) sacrifices depending on the purpose. So, if you want, again, IMO, simply the best headphone listening experience at-home, or, using its road-case (which CRAZY headphone geeks like me do) where-ever you land (work, studio) then the LCD-series is for you. If, you’d like to have more portable, comfortable, lighter, state-of-the-art headphones for anywhere you go, that require a helluva lot less amp juice to drive – wait for the EL-8! I think the EL-8 will elevate headphone culture, period. I believe that, if Audeze can position them correctly. As a fan, and being a dear friend of the CEO, I hope they achieve that – because it’s possible. Everybody’s got an opinion, but I’m just gonna reach a level of honesty here that may border on stupidity: After 20 years in the high-fidelity and music industries, and being a former common-high end stereo guy – the EL-8 will grant you listening experiences that would cost you thousands of dollars in stereo gear. And, do that on the go and with style! I mean: Industrial design by BMW Works USA – cans made by Audeze. 700 bucks? I own Every LCD and I’m selling sh__ to own a pair of both the closed and open-back versions of the EL-8 – AND, I haven’t reviewed a final-production pair YET! I vote, depending on which fights your lifestyle… Also REALLY hope that helps!!
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-01-22 01:55:22
  • SORRY: Forget to hit reply and just reply to a couple at once - but you'll never know that unless you look: PADDY: Thanks!! W/ regard to the bass weight and impact on LCD-2F vs/ LCD-2: I think the LCD-2 w/ Fazors bass is more rounded, textural; detailed. Therefore, that seems to translate to better overall bass slam and weight. It’s tighter, because the soundstaging advantages bleed into other sonic aspects as well! -
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-01-22 01:45:58
  • BOB: WOW: I'm honored! Now - IF you're an mix engineer or a mastering engineer the X would be, IMO (hate to say this now, but I gotta cuz it's the truth, IMO) the better cans. But, for musical enjoyment - SO psyched you pulled the trigger!!
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2015-01-22 01:37:31
  • Hey Everybody! SO sorry for the delayed responses - post-CES flu, TONS of life gettin' in the way lately! So... PADDY: Thanks!! W/ regard to the bass weight and impact on LCD-2F vs/ LCD-2: I think the LCD-2 w/ Fazors bass is more rounded, textural; detailed. Therefore, that seems to translate to better overall bass slam and weight. It's tighter, because the soundstaging advantages bleed into other sonic aspects as well! COLGIN: The answer, IMO, completely depends on your primary intended use for your first pair of Audeze cans! You see, before the EL-8 (when it arrives - soon Thank God :)) the only Audeze headphones were of the LCD-series. So, they were designed for serious music lovers/professionals/audiophiles/head-Fiers! We already had the headphone amps/DACs/sources/systems, etc. to drive them, and we could give a SH__ bout portability! To me, and many friends and fellow users I know, we think of our LCDs like we do our Maggies (Magnepan planar loudspeakers) or Genesis loudspeakers, etc. The LCD-series is for the ultimate listening experience, period. Now, that means you sacrifice some things like portability, a smaller-scale, tighter design. They needed to be what they were! It's ALL about (well, mostly) sacrifices depending on the purpose. So, if you want, again, IMO, simply the best headphone listening experience at-home, or, using its road-case (which CRAZY headphone geeks like me do) where-ever you land (work, studio) then the LCD-series is for you. If, you'd like to have more portable, comfortable, lighter, state-of-the-art headphones for anywhere you go, that require a helluva lot less amp juice to drive - wait for the EL-8! I think the EL-8 will elevate headphone culture, period. I believe that, if Audeze can position them correctly. As a fan, and being a dear friend of the CEO, I hope they achieve that - because it's possible. Everybody's got an opinion, but I'm just gonna reach a level of honesty here that may border on stupidity: After 20 years in the high-fidelity and music industries, and being a former common-high end stereo guy - the EL-8 will grant you listening experiences that would cost you thousands of dollars in stereo gear. And, do that on the go and with style! I mean: Industrial design by BMW Works USA - cans made by Audeze. 700 bucks? I own Every LCD and I'm selling sh__ to own a pair of both the closed and open-back versions of the EL-8 - AND, I haven't reviewed a final-production pair YET! I vote, depending on which fights your lifestyle... :) Also REALLY hope that helps!!
  • Reply


  • Bob
  • 2015-01-10 19:28:57
  • I was trying to decide between the LCD-3 and LCD-X. After reading this, I went with the LCD-2. I don't have the luxury of listening to headphones prior to purchasing, so I have to rely on others' opinions. And this review sealed the deal.
  • Reply


  • Colgin
  • 2015-01-07 13:31:19
  • Mike - how do you feel about the LCD-2F in comparison to the EL-8. Obviously, the new phones aren't going to lessen the quality of the existing LCD-2F. But for those who don't already own an Audeze, is there any reason to choose the LCD-2F over the EL-8 when it becomes available. Some early reports from CES peg the EL-8 as having a sound signature between the LCD-2F and LCD-X, but in a more comfortable package and at a cheaper price. Do you think the LCD-2F is still a good buy or should nonowners like myself who were thinking about an imminent purchase of the LCD-2F just wait for the EL-8.
  • Reply


  • paddy
  • 2015-01-05 14:20:07
  • Just finished there. Great write up. What is the bass weight and impact on the LCD2/F compared to the LCD2. Would you say more or less impact?
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2014-12-31 05:54:10
  • Scott: I think you'll be pleased - and, I don't usually make reco's to change cans for someone who's already happy with their current performers (especially Audezes!!) but considering what you love about your Audezes - I just don't see (or hear, most importantly) anything you would be unhappy with!! PLEASE keep in touch to lemme know how the new pair works out!! and thanks for all the wonderful compliments. I don't take them for granted!
  • Reply


  • Scott Wajda
  • 2014-12-25 13:33:52
  • Mike, Outstanding comments, thank you. You may have just sold me on getting a new set of the LCD2F's. Even if the bass on the fazor'd version is slightly less than on the standards, it was the sound/head stage that led me to sell my old pair. And to boot, I don't think the LCD-X would really be up my alley, so is get to save $600! Again, thanks so much and keep up the great postings!
  • Reply


  • Michael Mercer
  • 2014-12-24 04:42:56
  • Daniel: I think you'll be presently surprised! As I came from the high-end two-channel world as well! Be SURE, when-ever you demo the Audezes - you also try the LCD-3 and, be sure whomever is giving you the audition provides you with a headphone amp with AT LEAST a clean watt of power (or more)!! And thanks for reading! Scott: Your question on the original LCD-2 (lets say final version prior to Fazor, or, as you said ver.2.2) vs LCD-2F with regard to staging and continuity: Personally, I must admit that I didn't hear what I would call discontinuity in the original LCD-2 (final version) but - I can picture what you're describing in terms of the sound-space across the front/in-between the pads/transducers now that I have the LCD-2F. IMO: Sound-staging in general, and also stereo imaging is where Fazor transformed the LCD-2 experience for me. I believe this bled down to better detail as well (as described in the review). I think, if you can get a chance to audition the two side-by-side (or have a good image in your mind of the original 2, and hear an LCD-2F) you'll find the overall sonic staging far deeper, wider, and more continuous than the original. It's like going from a great set of desktop Maggies to a set of floorstanders (with the right synergy of gear behind them). I'm NOT implying the staging of the original 2 to be small or insufficient (as those desktop Maggies create a huge stage - when you consider their physical size) - it's just that with Fazor - your sense of spaciousness and depth is greatly magnified, and that renders better micro and macro-dynamic detail retrieval - Hence - better continuity! I believe so anyway. The gestalt of the music with the LCD-2F is more grand, and because the quality remains top-notch, both dynamic contrasts, smoothness, and transient speed are all enhanced: Giving you a larger, more vivid image, like upping your Hi-Def screen! And, as you mention the "head-stage" (like that BTW) - wait til you hear the Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor - you'll imagine your heads grown in size! Again thanks for the very kind words and ALL the support!!
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  • Daniel
  • 2014-12-23 16:02:08
  • As a longtime audiophile, I've tried near the top tier of most every brand trying to find the headphones that would satisfy my personal taste in sound quality, and I have still yet to find it. After reading this review, I think the new LCD-2 might be what I'm looking for, thanks for steering me in the (hopefully) right direction.
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  • Michael Mercer
  • 2014-12-22 20:36:00
  • Thanks Frank!! Love you bro. and thanks for the correction PAVLO SCOTT: Thanks for the kind words! I'll respond in detail when I'm home tonight! and thanks SO very much for the continued support!! More on that excellent question... ASAP
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  • Scott Wajda
  • 2014-12-22 20:25:32
  • Mike, Love your reviews, and am super envious of your gear! Have to ask, what are your impressions of the differences between the LCD-2r2 vs LCD-2F, especially in terms of imaging, soundstage, and the continuity across the head stage? In my experience, the LCD-2r2 had a bit of discontinuity between the ear cups and the center image. Thanks!
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  • Pavlo Vovk
  • 2014-12-22 17:19:07
  • It's not the longest running thread :) HD650 impressions thread is dated back to 2006.
  • Reply


  • Frank Iacone
  • 2014-12-22 10:35:46
  • Great writeup Michael The Audeze LCD2 was one of the first headphones that remind me of my Maggie speakers.
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