Back in 2010, Hi-Fi audio and Audeze become synonymous with each other, a hand in hand and a brothers in arms sort of thing. Funny now that I think back on it, Audeze is the only company that I’ve ever known to have it’s manufacturing name often used as a noun to describe other headphones.

Audeze did something very right, but still has a great deal to learn about design and implementation. To be honest, I never really understood their appeal until a long while after the upgrade to the LCD-3 model( $1945 ) was released. I am sad to see that Audeze is sticking to their guns when it comes to the physical attributes of their headphones. I have a lot of gripes, but generally the LCD-3 Planar Magnetic headphones grant me more sonic bliss than some of those hyper expensive Electrostatic headphones out there. I really disliked the LCD-2 and each revision that was released to the masses, it just never clicked with me and when I’d heard the LCD-3 model was audibly superior, I wasn’t even remotely interested…that is until I hopped a plane to Japan to visit some of my friends.

Alone, unable to speak Japanese and sweating profusely in a meeting room filled with elderly, stern faced and stone silent men all staring at me for almost an hour, a good friend of mine finally made it out of his extended meeting to greet me. After shaking hands and a brisk walk to Tokyo’s version of a pub for a bite to eat, he’d pulled out a few of his toys for me to listen to after a long time of getting reacquainted. The place was located in one of those horrifying dark alley ways, complete with steam vents and boxes littering the ground and useen voices in the distance yelling at each other

Naturally, I’d felt absolutely terrified once I saw what was in his bag, I just knew someone was going to throw a knife into my chest or try to steal those Audeze LCD-3’s before he could hand them to me. Thankfully, the pub was extremely friendly and clearly a place for business people to wind down after work. I’d listened to his LCD-3 on his portable rig and was hooked. This model was a lot more to my liking than the LCD-2. From there, I’d saved up for an entire year to try to buy my own LCD-3.

Click on next page for build and fit impressions…

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About The Author

Senior Reviewer

Self Proclaimed Musicality Guru, Photographer, Audiophile and part time Ninja. I started my audio journey back in 96' and haven't looked back. My ultimate goal in this life is to experience as many Hifi rigs as possible...because I am an audio addict.

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  • Matti

    Finally someone who tells it like it is. I’m sick and tired of all the Head-Fi hype on Audeze, and I say this as a former LCD-2 owner.

  • Weston3

    Incredible images. Wow.

  • monkeysuncle

    a bit late on the draw for an lcd-3 review but still appreciated, nicely written, and easily the best snaps of the headphone ive ever seen. damn even audeze professions images aren’t that good

    • headfonics

      Credit to Michael for showing us what Micro 4/3’s can really do.

      • Andromeda844

        You ain’t kidding. Have you seen his HD800 images that are up on deviant art? Holy smokes is 24 bit going to review the HD800 as well or something? I do have a question about the cracking issue that seems common place with the Audeze headphones, do either of you or anyone else here think this is a serious issue? I am not sure if the cracking problems affect the headphone sound after they take damage, idk how the headphones are designed. Are the woody rings for pure looks or do they hold any value to the sound qualities of the headphone, would it ruin the quality if there is a big crack?

        • headfonics

          I really need to up my game on my own pics now haha.. oh well 🙂

        • 24bit

          Thanks for the kind words. Check this image out of my LCD-3. I’ve had a the evil and dreaded frame crack for some time it and it does not alter the sound. It could increase vibration issues, I can’t really be sure and don’t want to speak on Audeze’s behalf…but I think the rings are purely for aesthetics. No plans to review the Sennheiser HD800’s, I just recently finally purchased myself a pair so I’m in the process of taking snapshots of it for my albums on other art sites. Tired of the loaner HD800s. Had to get myself one to stop the madness.

  • DoF

    Those pix got me pregnant. I expect child support. Also, I checked your art site profile and Sennheiser needs to pay you for those images against the brick wall. Jesus Christ, the detail on those are absolutely the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen. I expect all the failures at HeadFi to copy your work very soon if they haven’t already.

    • 24bit

      I’m gonna be a daddy everyone! LoL!!! I’m going to name him Dre of course hahahaha.

  • Raptor Jesus

    So the end end isn’t so good and the imaging leaves something to be desired and they are super uncomfortable.

    But hey, they’re only two thousand dollars.

    Thanks, but I’ll keep my super-comfortable, amazing imaging HD800’s.

    • 24bit

      I’m with you, but the LCD3 is a step more clear than the HD800 on every rig I tested on.

    • Black Adder

      Loser.

  • Sky_Blue20xx

    Thanks for the review Michael, might be a late review but timely one to me. It was a nice read and I’ve just ordered my LCD-3 :-).
    Your approach of including your niece reactions was amazing…”A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words”… wondering whether her dad bought her a pair, or, nearly fell off his chair :-P.
    Cheers
    Sky

    • 24bit

      Glad you enjoyed it. I wish I could have snapped a picture of his face when I told him how expensive it was…

      • Sky_Blue20xx

        Yeah… the picture would have been priceless.

        Well… at least, she can borrow it from uncle Michael… 🙂

        Cheers

  • Sky_Blue20xx

    Michael, as you mentioned the sound stage of the LCD-3 is not that wide.
    Unfortunately, I am not able to ask my friend to bring back for me a DAC/AMP together with the LCD-3 (luggage space constraint). I am thinking of the alternative below.
    Do you think an aftermarket cable like Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 or Cardas Clear, can help open up the sound on the LCD-3?
    If so, which one would you recommend.
    Thanks

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