Audeze LCD-1 Review: Lightweight and Portable


The Audeze LCD-1 is a set of headphones made for kicking back and listening to music.

With a foldable design and planar magnetic drivers, the headphones deliver a high-quality listening experience but with a few major drawbacks.

Let’s take a look at these headphones and see how well it performs.

The Verdict

The Audeze LCD-1 brings an excellent listening experience to the table, especially in certain genres.

  • Foldable design
  • Great for vocalist heavy music
  • Stylish look
  • Light and portable
  • Poor soundstage
  • Bass not very punchy
  • Plastic build

Rating: 3 out of 5.

After a few days listening to several different types of music, I can say the Audeze headphones really excels in certain areas such as portability and specific music types.

But the headphones definitely come with a few drawbacks, such as a poor bass output and a limited soundstage.

Not to mention, the majority plastic build makes the headphones feel fragile, especially for the price.

The downsides could be overlooked for one of the best open-backed listening experiences when it comes to vocalist heavy music.

The highs sound especially good. It’s like listening to your favorite songs for the first time again.

If you’re interesting in checking out the Audeze LCD-1, you can find it on Amazon through this link.

Or on the official Audeze website here.


The Unboxing Experience

Headphones in this price range typically come with an enjoyable unboxing experience and the Audeze LCD-1’s do not disappoint.

The box is encased in a plastic sleeve that keeps the main container from scratching. Once removing the outer layer, you can open the box.

The case itself has a nice weight to it and is lined with a thick protective foam to keep the contents inside from getting damaged.

You are presented with an Audeze folder with the certificate of authenticity located inside. You are getting the real deal.

The colors are black-on-black with white text in a minimalist style design.

After removing the folder, you get the hard carrying case with a soft mess outside.

Upon unzipping the carrying case, you find the Audeze LCD-1 tucked away quietly, folded into their compact form. In the side of the case you get the auxiliary cable along with an adaptor.

The entire unboxing is incredibility satisfying, and the contents in the case seem great so far.

It’s time to put the headphones to the test.

How Comfortable Is The Audeze LCD-1?

In order to get an idea of how comfortable the Audeze LCD-1 is, we tried the headphones of a variety of head sizes.

On Smaller Heads:

The headphones produced a snug fit, with the only downside being the fit around the ears. The headband and earcups all produced a nice seal around the head, the earpads just felt too small.

Even with a smaller head and ears, the headphones felt a little tight, which is quite strange. The feel of the leather is nice, but at the end of the day, it’s not an optimal fit.

On Larger Heads:

The headphones offer a standard experience when it comes to comfort.

The headband can be elongated/shortened and the earcups can twist and tilt. Nothing to crazy here.

Once placed on your head, the headphones feel well fitted around your head, although the earcups feel a bit small.

Not to mention, the drivers also feel very close to the ears.

Considering the open-back design, it would be nice if this area was a bit larger.

But since Audeze was clearly going for the portable design, it makes sense why the headphones lack in this department.

While the leather material feels nice to the touch, after a long listening session (2+ hours), your ears feel irritated.

The space starts to feel cramped after a while. The ear pads could use some help.

Overall, the comfort is not the best, although the improved portability is most likely the reason for this design decision.

The Comfort During Long Listening Sessions

When it comes to headphones, comfort is king.

You want to be throw them on your head and forget they are there for a few hours while you work. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that experience with the LCD-1.

After 15 minutes (or as soon as you put them on) your ears start to feel compressed from the tight ear pads and the drivers feel close to your ears. This results in some mild discomfort.

After about an hour, the issue starts to feel worse, I found myself constantly readjusting and taking small breaks to let my ears breathe.

Three hours later, I can barely stand to wear them anymore. I really just wanted to go back to my daily drivers and put the Audeze’s back in the box.

Overall, they’re not bad for short listening sessions, but for the longer sessions, I would stay away.

How Does The Audeze LCD-1 Feel with Glasses?

When it comes to wearing glasses, you barely notice any discomfort.

There is a little extra pressure placed on the frames next to your ears, but that is normal from headphones.

During long listening sessions, you’ll probably need to take a break, but not before the earcups themselves start to feel uncomfortable.

While there is a small amount of irritation from wearing glasses, the issue is barely noticeable when compared to the rest of the comfort from the headphones.

Glasses wearers shouldn’t be too concerned.

The Sound Quality

When it comes to studio headphones, accurate and high-quality sound are very important.

The Audeze LCD-1 don’t underwhelm and with planar-magnetic 90mm drivers, you can expect a dynamic range.

Let’s take a look at the dirty details and pick apart the frequency response and isolation of the headphones.

Frequency Response and Profile

The sound profile is quite unique and offers an excellent niche sound experience.

Although the frequency response graph shows a very neutral sound profile, I personally found the vocalist heavy music to really shine. Classical music also excels.

If you want a pair of headphones specifically for listening to Whitney Houston or Adele, look no further.

The highs sound more alive than ever.

The biggest drawback is the poor bass. Any song that has a strong bass profile will feel lacking. Definitely not the headphones for bass heads.

Audeze LCD-1 Isolation

Being open-backed, the isolation is not the best.

The upside of open-backed headphones is a wider soundstage, but that comes at the cost of poor isolation.

You can expect to hear a lot of background noise, such as my wife typing in the background all day or the neighbor mowing their lawn (working from home can be rough sometimes).

But if you need a nice pair headphones for listening to a specific type of music, these are a great choice.

They excel in certain areas, but definitely lack in others.

Build Quality

The build quality is a mixed bag.

With a super portable design, you can expect the durability of the build to suffer.

Coming in a majority plastic build with a few hints of metal, you get headphones that feel easily breakable but light to carry.

Not to mention the foldable ears make it easy to stuff in the carrying case and take it on the go.

If you twist the earcups too much or bend the band, I could definitely see the LCD-1’s snap under pressure.

Not great for those who are rough with their audio equipment.

That being said the genuine lambskin leather feels soft and durable. It also adds a higher-end element to the design instead of the typical leather build.

I enjoy this aspect of the design for sure.

The Twist and Pull Test

In order to get a true idea of the build quality, I conducted a quick twist and pull test. Like the name sounds, I twist/pull the headphones right up the point where it feels like they are about to break.

Here are the results:

The pull test was not the best. They allow you to pull them wide enough to fit around your head, but not much further.

An inflexible design means that the headphones can break easily if one side is caught in a couch cushion when you pick them up. With the pull test, I usually like to see the headphones go almost completely horizontal, but as you can see from the image, the Audeze’s did not go that far.

The twist test was much better. You can fully bend the headband and loop the earcups around each other. The headband is definitely more flexible in this direction.

This test is better indication of the headphones will fare if dropped or sat on. Pretty good in this department.

The Style

The review wouldn’t feel complete if I didn’t talk about the style of the headphones.

With a silver and black aesthetic, the colors look stylish and high-end.

The Audeze branding is strong. The back of the earcups have a black plastic grill that for the shape of an ‘A’ to tie everything together.

The cable also has hints of silver on a majority black design making everything look cohesive.

The lambskin leather has a satisfying look when the light reflects off of the surface.

The headphones definitely do not lack when it comes to the style.

Technical Details

Now that we’ve covered all of the major aspects of the design, let’s talk about the technical nerdy aspects of the headphones.

Impedence: 16 Ohms
Frequency Response: 10 Hz-50kHz
Drivers: 90mm Planar magnetic

The components inside the headphones are pretty top-notch. With a wide frequency response range, you are not limited like you would be with a normal pair of headphones.

The LCD-1’s will work just fine without an amp, but could definitely benefit from a DAC/Amp combo for a better listening experience. You could use them with a cell phone or your desktop without any issues.

The planar magnetic drivers are also a selling point as they tend to offer a unique listening experience.


Conclusion

  • Foldable design
  • Great for vocalist heavy music
  • Stylish look
  • Light and portable
  • Poor soundstage
  • Bass not very punchy
  • Plastic build

Rating: 3 out of 5.


The Audeze LCD-1’s can be an excellent pick for the right people.

Before ordering these headphones, I would consider what sort of music you listen to and how portable you want your headphones to be.

If you’re into bass heavy music these might not be a good choice for you.

Otherwise, they can make a solid pick if your willing to shell out the dough. Especially if you’re leaning on the portability aspect of the headphones.

The biggest downside in my opinion is how fragile the headphones feel at this price point. I would expect them to feel much sturdier and longer-lasting.

But who knows, these could be exactly what your looking for in headphones.

Good luck!

Jake Harrington

Jake has been an avid mechanical keyboard user for the past six years. He has a background in Mechanical Engineering and wants to apply his expertise to break down how mechanical keyboards and other tech work to show the world all of the cool aspects of the hobby.

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