I have a 27" 1440p iMac. It has an i7 @ 2.93 Ghz, 4 gb RAM, 1 TB HD, and a Radeon 5750. This is a mid 2010 model and tbh for $1800 at the time I'm sure that wasn't that bad of a deal considering 1440p monitors are now $550 about, themselves.
First off, lets talk about build quality & build "luxury" so to speak: Everything feels insanely high quality, (and is for that matter) it's sturdy, elegant looking, feels great on your head, and even looks great on the desk beside you if you're crazy enough to take them off.
The headband is metal inside, wrapped by lambskin leather with memory foam padding underneath, and then attached by metal rods with notches cut into it for adjusting the head-size. Those metal rods then attach with a locking screw to 2 "yolks" that screw into each bamboo wood ear cup, each cup has metal grills on both sides to protect the drivers. The ear pads themselves are lambskin leather, with the softest foam I've ever felt inside. When you put them on, it's so soft & cushion-y that you feel as if there's pillows holding the headphones on your head.
Alright, now lets talk about comfort. With the LCD-2 Revision 1, I saw a few videos and read a few posts about comfort problems that people were having. In the revision 2, and later-revisions they changed around the headband, adding more padding to it & wrapping the entire headband in lambskin leather, making them much more comfortable in lots of peoples experiences. They weigh about a pound, but you honestly don't notice it with the soft and cushy-ness on the pads, it really does feel like the pads are almost filled with air, they're insanely squishy, but still provide the right amount of padding. Something I noticed right away with them, the lambskin leather doesn't get hot on your ears, the pleather ear-pads for my HE-500's got extremely gross and warm after about 20-30 minutes, I've been wearing my LCD-2's for around.. 4 hours now and they are warm, but no warmer than cloth ear-pads would be. +1 for this.
Something I really love, they angled the connectors on the ear cups for the cables AWAY from you, so the cable doesn't rub on your shoulder when you turn your head. (I had this issue with my 900X's and HE-500, bugged me to death)
The case they come in if ordered with the travel case is absolutely superb. The build quality is something you'd see in a high-quality gun case, waterproof and so well built.
I'm powering them off an o2+ODAC that I purchased from @MayflowerElectronics (extremely nice guy & very helpful, hi Tyler) it sounds like a great pair so far. One thing that is so great about the o2+odac is they're both VERY neutral, and won't add any extra things that shouldn't be there in the music. They let the music and the headphones do the talking essentially. Great product.
Just an extra add in, I got a Schiit Lyr amplifier awhile back, and I really like it. (Pic above in the pictures part) it's a solid state hybrid tube amplifier that can put some serious juice into the LCD-2's, turning it all the way up the music can literally be heard through a closed door 20 feet away! No distortion at all at max volume either, it's WAY to loud to listen to, but fun knowing that the amp can really put some serious umph into the headphones. (Something like 4 watts )
I have tried tube "rolling" (the changing of tubes in the amp) and actually came to a neat conclusion, the rumours of tubes sounding slightly different from one another is true so far from what I've seen. The stock tubes are quite neutral sounding, and a set I got the other day seem to bring out the treble a bit more. I'll post more findings about this later.
The LCD-2 has a very similar sound signature to my previous HE-500, but with less harshness in the treble. I find a lot more detail in my music with the LCD-2 though, I'm noticing quite a few things in music I didn't notice before. (The he-500 are detailed as is, just these are a bit more detailed)
Compared to my 900X's, it has the great sounding treble of them, but doesn't sound overpowering in the treble region like the 900X's did.
The bass is wonderful, it has such impact and control that you feel as if there's an extremely nice sub-woofer in the room with you, but it doesn't cover up anything in the music, it almost prepares the rest of the music in a way that feels so immensely natural sounding. My favorite part about the bass is, it doesn't always have impact & vibration, it has it when the song intends it to be there. I really like how it doesn't cover up anything, but rather transition into other frequencies. Wonderful for bass-heads if you enjoy hearing the rest of your music, and not just the wub-wubs.
When the bass starts to transition into the mid-range, it compliments male voices and makes them sound so much more realistic. The same thing can be said about the mids, it's almost as if every frequency range on this headphone works together in tandem. The mids remain so immensely clear, and I think the most amount of detail is here. You hear the breaths artists take, you hear the artists speaking with their band when the song is fading out. I truly think the mids on these headphones are the best part about them, so smooth, so great sounding.
The highs are something else. I've never heard detail in a headphone's high-end range, without it bugging my ears from being to "treble-heavy / sparkly / bright". This is the first time I've been delighted for high notes, they sound so smooth, and bright when they need to be, but not over-whelming and painful to listen to. I have grown to love piano songs now because of these headphones, and it's so relaxing to listen to the piano IMO. I had a lot of issues listening to my HE-500 at times they were just a tiny bit to much treble, it hurt my ears at times.
The sound-stage is quite interesting, it's not very wide, but the detail in it is extremely strange. It seals to your head similar to a closed headphone, despite being open, yet everything is placed around the sound-stage perfectly. I believe the correct term for this is "Imaging". When noises in your music are coming from different angles, and different distances it sounds like it's actually happening around you. I've had previous headphones that were decent at this, but nothing compared to these. It's much better at "imaging" than my previous AD900X, and HE-500, despite the sound stage being more narrow. When you listen to songs with a lot of instruments, you can clearly tell that each instrument "has it's own seat" in the music. I believe this is a combination of "imaging" and "separation".
With my previous HE-500 and AD900X, when tons of things were happening at once in the song, it sometimes sounded as if it was all crunched together, rather than clearly separated.
Experiences over the last few days:
It's currently 1 AM on the first night of listening while typing this (6/17), and man oh man, I feel as if I've died and gone to heaven. I have yet to listen to a song that hasn't made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Even genre's I've never even heard of or listened to before, these headphones are truly amazing.
I've been hunting down songs via other sites, just to see what other Audeze owners listen to music wise, here's a few songs I've listened to from my own library & from others:
Money for Nothing - Dire Straits
When the intro starts, you feel the music immediately surround you, at 1:13 the drum comes in. The drum has impact, thump, detail, and really makes you feel as if you're listening to it in person.
At 1:26 the guitar starts in the left ear, and sounds as if it's in the distance, then the drums start to pick up, and you feel every little note and impact from them while clearly hearing the guitar notes that come in from further away than the drums. (Great imaging IMO)
As the guitar moves into the "center stage" at 1:37 you can hear the guitar being played, and not just the notes, the thump from him plucking the strings.
Lost Cause - Beck
This song is wonderful for demonstrating the sound-stage and separation of instruments. Throughout the entire song, there's multiple guitar notes being played simultaneously, and each one sounds completely separated without clogging up the music, his voice remains remarkably detailed, while you hear the guitar notes as if they're surrounding his voice.
Hotel California - Eagles
I've always loved this song, when I was younger my mom and I used to sing it in the car. (Hell, we still do)
This is another song that shows off the separation so well, you truly do feel surrounded by the instruments as if you're sitting right there in the room with them.
The guitar sounds about 2 feet to each side of you, and his voice feels right outside your ears. The drums have a satisfying thump you'd get from really nice speakers & a sub-woofer, at 3:14 the drums make a "thump-tha-tha-thump" noise, and you can track the movement of where the drums are as he plays them from right to left.
If you'd like me to describe more songs, PM me if you'd like and make a request. I'll do my best to help.
They don't have a crazy insanely wide sound-stage like something like the AD900X, or HD800, or even some of AKG's lineup. But I stand by the fact that the directions the sound "appears" to be coming from is extremely accurate to games.
I played a bit of COD BO2 and BF4 with these, you really feel inside the game and it's truly a great experience. Because on top of having good placement of sounds, you get wonderful depth in the sound quality as well. Explosions rock your ears, gunshots sound real, everything is great and exciting.
One thing these headphones amaze me with is placement of sounds above / below you, I was playing a bit of CS:GO and continuously could tell people were below me, or above me. A little bit of Bo2 the other day I actually shot a guy through the floor and got called a hacker! Pleased to say it was the headphones doing their job .
If you ever have the chance to listen to these, don't hesitate. They have such a natural sound that I think everyone should have a chance to listen to for awhile in their life. It really is an "experience" in my opinion. I honestly think there's no way to completely understand high-end audio until you've sat down and spent a good amount of time with it. I used to think a lot of it was a waste of money, but once you get a taste, you don't really want to stop.
These suckers cost $995 and even more for the rosewood version, are they worth it? It depends on how strapped you are for cash. If money isn't a problem, hell yes. Buy them and enjoy audio bliss & superb build quality. If money is tight, stop on by the audio sub-forum & ask for help.
PS: Thanks to @ShearMe you've taught me quite a bit of things to be weary of (despite me not always listening), as well as all of the other things you've explained to me over the past few months. Hopefully we can trade cans someday and you can try these puppies. :wub:
If I made any mistakes, or worded anything wrong, please let me know so I can fix my mistakes.