Without a doubt, the sweetest, most neutral, immersive headphone in my collection is Audeze’s LCD-2 Planar Magnetic Headphone. I haven’t, unfortunately, heard the company’s flagship LCD-3, but I have it on good authority (from my buddy Steve) that its performance is mind-blowing. You wouldn’t think that would leave the company much breathing room in terms of improvement, but Audeze has just announced two new models, set to debut at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest later this week, that take the company in a couple of new directions. In addition to a new open-backed model, the LCD-X, the company is introducing its first enclosed headphone, the LCD-XC.
And perhaps a bit of explanation is in order if you didn’t click on the reviews linked above. The Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-3 are both open-backed designs. While that’s a great match for the planar magnetic technology employed by Audeze (and also to good effect by HiFiMan), it does make for a headphone that doesn’t work well in noisy environments. The open-backed design also means that anyone in the room with you can hear what you’re listening to. So at the request of customers, the company put the time and money into designing a fully enclosed model that still delivers that inimitable Audeze sound. And also that inimitable Audeze look. The LCD-XC features a wood enclosure cap that blends beautifully with the wood enclosures of the existing models.
Both the LCD-XC and LCD-X feature a fully redesigned planar magnetic driver. Interestingly, both models also eschew the wood enclosures of the LCD-2 and LCD-3 in favor of new hard-anodized aluminum enclosures, which the company says makes them more durable, and better suited to travel and studio use.
In terms of pricing, the LCD-XC and LCD-X fall between the existing $1,145 LCD-2 and $1,945 LCD-3. The open-backed LCD-X will retail for $1,699, with the enclosed LCD-XC selling for $1,799.