Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back
Headfonics 2021

Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back Review



The LCD-2 Closed Back is rated at 70Ω and 101dB which is pretty much the go-to rating for their origins series and based on this particular driver series. Both this, the Classic, and the current LCD-2 all share the same rating. 

Based on our testing, there may be some slight variation in efficiency between the original LCD-2 using the Rev 2 driver. Despite both having the same specs on paper I found myself upping the volume of the LCD-2 Rev 2 by 1-2dB over the LCD-2 Closed Back.

I cannot discount the relatively superior levels of isolation and the more vibrant tuning on the newer version for creating an impression of it sounding louder, however. 

Compared to competing modern planars such as the Dan Clarke Audio AEON 2 you will not need quite as much current, the LCD-2 Closed back is slightly more efficient there.

Our other tested headphone was a dynamic closed-back, the new HE-R10D from Hifiman which is rated at 32Ω and 105dB SPL and it is a lot easier to drive in comparison. 

DAP Pairings

Should you use a DAP rather than a desktop amplifier. In short, yes you can but it’s better you go balanced rather than use the supplied SE cable unless you have a mobile source with around 700mW to 1W into a 32Ω load rating.

Greater than 250mW is the official power rating but this headphone sings properly with good dynamic range and decent voltage.  The good news is that modern quality DAPs have a lot more than that on tap these days from their balanced outputs than from the time I used the LCD-2 Rev 2 in 2010.

Ibasso DX300

For example, the iBasso DX300 can pump out over 1W into a 32Ω load so you are getting perhaps 500mW with the LCD-2 Closed Back at 70Ω and it sounds dynamic, spacious, and very resolving. I am particularly impressed with the smooth and expansive sound signature from the DX300 and gels well with the LCD-2 Closed Back’s more energetic tuning. 

Luxury & Precision P6

If it is within your budget or you already have it then the LP P6 is a bit of a step up from the DX300 in terms of realism and textural detail. It is not quite as expansive as the DX300 and offers slightly less power at around 320mW into 70Ω but the LCD-2 Closed Back still has some excellent snap and clarity to its performance.

Like the DX300 the P6 has a bias more to the smooth and relaxing than analytical which is my preferred source coloration with the LCD-2 Closed back. However, rather than lush or overly euphonic it just sounds very natural with an almost analog-like tone with superb bass detail. 

HiBy R8 & FiiO M15

I was less fussed with the HiBy R8 and FiiO M15 pairings. The M15 was a little too thin in the mids for my liking though no issues on dynamic range or resolution. The R8 was the weightier of the two with more body in the mids but had a little dissonance on the treble with some unexpected sibilance on vocals compared to the DX300 and P6. 

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

I didn’t find any sibilance or sharpness from the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch pairing and despite it being a fairly natural pairing it delivered a very nice harmonic balance and a decent kick on the LCD-2 Closed Back low-end. 

Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back

Amplifier Pairings

Like most LCD headphones, the LCD-2 Closed Back can scale quite well with some additional power though it is not necessary to plow in a ton of cash and get something like the dCS Bartok or the Hugo TT2. The key is getting the harmonic balance just right and enough power to retain as open a sound as possible.

These amps do sound fabulous by the way with my preference for the Bartok with its weightier more natural-sounding synergy. The TT2 will sound a little more neutral on the low end but offer a lot more vibrancy in the midrange. 

Drop down to something more modest like the Rupert Neve Designs RNHP which is right on the borderline 250mW RMS recommended output rating and you still get a satisfactory level of synergy with a good harmonic balance.

My only critique of this pairing is the slightly inferior level of separation compared to more powerful amplifiers. For example, go back up to around 1W at 50Ω and slip the LCD-2 Closed Back into the current mode output of the Bakoon HPA-01 and you get a far more holographic presentation with better separation over the RHNP.

I have always found planar headphones to sound incredibly good but a little more neutral in tone with current-mode amplifiers such as the Bakoon HPA-01 and even its portable sibling, the now-discontinued HPA-01M.

My preference here for neutral amps is to pair with a very natural analog-like source such as an R2R DAC or an LP P6 on LO to get the best balance. For example, the Musician Audio Pegasus took the edge of any potential sharpness on the LCD-2 Closed Back top-end and delivered a very inviting tonal balance, especially on female vocals. 

Select Comparisons

Audeze LCD-2 ‘Rev 2’

Street price $799 for the Classic Edition


This is the original LCD-2 that came with the Rev 2 driver from 2011. Some will say the first real production line was a little darker in tonality but my memory is very hazy. Certainly, that was the inference from Audeze when they launched this version.

The guts of the original are more or less the same as the LCD-2 Closed-Back configuration. It has the same 106mm planar driver size though Audeze has been keen to note that the driver they use today as opposed to the 2011 driver has some tweaks here and there but it is not exactly clear what they may be. 

The Rev 2 driver uses a thinner raw material to produce a more reliable diaphragm with a lower mass compared to the original production version. This primarily offered a tighter sound signature and a better top-end extension than the original. 

The LCD-2 Closed Back is similarly a dual-sided magnet design but it does use a lot of the modern LCD line technology that may not have been available back then such as the Ultra-thin Uniforce™ diaphragm design as well as the newer Neodymium N50 Fluxor™ Magnets.

In terms of efficiency, both offer the exact same performance at 70Ω and 101dB SPL which is unsurprising given they are virtually the same driver configuration. However, in our real-world testing with a dCS Bartok SE output, we did find ourselves pushing up the current output a bit more on the older version. Not by much though, maybe 1-2dB at the most.

Audeze Lcd 2
Audeze Lcd 2


Of course, the other huge change is the closed acoustical environment offered by the LCD-2 Closed Back design as opposed to the open grills of the Classic LCD-2. This creates a fairly different aesthetic although in terms of materials, there have also been some changes.

Gone are the wood rings, and in comes the matte black injection-molded polymer called Noryl which is less expensive but might just be more durable. I actually believe the gimbal material on the original LCD-2 is made from the same Noryl material so that might have been the inspiration for the expanded use on the new Classic and LCD-2 Closed Back designs.

Both of these have the angled connector ports built right into their respective rings, something which Audeze did away with in their later Fazor models. 

The other important design change is the headband. The new powder-coated split spring steel arch and pressure strap design of the LCD-2 Closed back is so much comfier than the original thinner leather-wrapped or foam-supported band (1st production run), of the original LCD-2.

The wedged pads on the LCD-2 Closed-back are now protein leather and a bit softer and thicker compared to the original LCD-2’s shallower leather pads. Overall, the LCD-2 Closed Back is a comfier fit despite weighing around 65g more. 


It is quite interesting to see how far the Audeze sound has come since the Rev 2, even if we are talking closed versus open. For instance, the staging quality of both is not as far apart as I initially imagined them to be with the LCD-2 Closed Back perhaps offering a perception of greater physical slam and depth as well as a more forward treble.


They do have different imaging properties though given the difference in tuning emphasis. The LCD-2 Closed back is much more mids forward. In fact, from 100Hz its low-end is a gradual upward curve to around 3k whereas the LCD-2 Rev 2 is much flatter and more linear to 1k.

That is where that perception of greater physicality in the LCD-2 Closed Back comes from. Quite apart from a little closed-back reverb as you would expect, the rising curve introduces a bit more warmth and body from the mid-bass into the mids giving instruments a bit more presence and weight to show off that excellent sub-bass response.

The LCD-2 Rev 2 sub-bass response is a little tighter for me with more separation but it is not as weighted and less suitable for modern R’n’B mixes or EDM which the Closed-Back seems made for. 


At its peak around 1-3k, those LCD-2 Closed Back vocals have a strong presence but also a slightly cleaner timbre. The Rev 2 open back actually dips right where the LCD-2 Closed Back peaks around 1-3k so vocals are more neutral in their positioning and sound more relaxed in their delivery.

I actually prefer the harmonic balance of the LCD-2 Closed Back female vocals, they sound a little more vibrant without any unwanted dissonance creeping in. That’s me as a vocal lover though, you may prefer the more even and balanced midrange approach of the original open back. 

Percussion and treble are more relaxed on the Rev 2 compared to the LCD-2 Closed Back with that upper mids dip whereas the Closed Back has only a narrow band dip and plenty of energy from 6-8k. The more prominent mids capture more of that treble energy in LCD-2 Closed Back instrumental and percussion timbre hence a cleaner more vibrant sound. 

Dan Clark Audio AEON 2



This could be target no1 for the LCD-2 Closed Back but I actually find these two closed-back planars to be very different propositions rather than outright competitors for a few reasons. 

Inside, the AEON 2 driver is the latest and the greatest from DCA rather than hark back to golden times. Much of what goes into the AEON 2 is drawn from the process of building the Ether 2 which we reviewed in early 2020.

The single-construction driver structure is flipped 180 degrees from the original with the magnet and the new machined FLOW structures are now out of the direct signal path of the ear. This is combined with a new damping driver design to optimize resolution.

This is a smaller driver than the 106mm version found inside the LCD-2 Closed-back at 62mm and also has a single-sided magnet design as opposed to dual-sided.

And yet, the efficiency of the driver is actually a bit lower at 13Ω and just 92dB SPL compared to 100dB SPL of the LCD-2 Closed Back. The gotcha is the 70Ω of the LCD-2 Closed Back which will need more source voltage compared to the AEON 2 on paper. 

Dan Clark Audio AEON 2


This is where that different proposition is, the one I mentioned at the start. Despite both being classed as circumaural which is technically accurate, the AEON 2 is much more portable than the LCD-2 Closed Back. It is also smaller and a lot lighter at 327g compared to 661g with that featherweight NiTinol headband, carbon fiber cups, and half gimbals.

The new folding mechanism of the AEON 2 also gives it a tiny form factor which, combined with a tiny case, makes this very baggable. The LCD-2 Closed Back is still very much a desktop headphone in weight and size and I doubt Audeze would really pitch this as anything else but.

The other design difference is the cup shape. On the LCD-2 Classic, it’s a big traditional round shape which is understandable as the driver inside is quite a bit bigger. The AEON 2 goes for an elongated oval design with a pad opening to match.

That elongation allows it to be quite a bit smaller in terms of cup size but still meets the circumaural requirement as it clears your ear in a very comfortable manner. The padding is nowhere near as thick but the elongation does shape and isolation a bit better than the LCD-2 Closed back. 

In terms of comfort and balance at half the weight with the elongated cups, the AEON 2 has an advantage. Both have a great balance to be fair but with half the weight the AEON 2 has more long-term comfort.


The LCD-2 Closed Back does sound the bigger of the two headphones in terms of the sheer scale. That is not really a shocker with that bigger driver and sizeable cups for them to breathe in compared to the smaller more compact design of the AEON 2. 

You do get more depth and treble presence on the LCD-2 Closed Back whereas the AEON 2 has a smoother, more intimate tone but with a richer timbre. Actually, the imaging of the AEON 2 within the space afforded is excellent and nothing ever really feels out of whack, but rather it just up closer and more center-focused.

Interestingly, vocals on the FR are more neutral on the AEON 2 in terms of imaging compared to the more mid-forward shaping of the LCD-2 Closed Back but both actually sound mid-focused. The LCD-2 Closed Back seems to do this via specific FR shaping and so vocals stand well-spaced out from instruments with plenty of comparative air and separation. 

The AEON 2 does this by bringing everything right up close to you so you feel you are amongst the band itself despite vocals not being pushed as forward. In fact, the low-end is a little more dominant on the AEON 2 closed with energy in the mids peaking more to the upper mids and lower treble up to 6k. 

The instrumental timbre on the LCD-2 Closed Back is a little cleaner and has more of a contrast between bass and treble whereas the AEON 2 is a little warmer sounding. The AEON 2 does seem to pull a little more mid and upper bass warmth upwards than the LCD-2 Closed Back hence that broader more euphonic mids tone.

Hifiman HE-R10D



Our final comparison is something new, the HE-R10 which recently launched with much debate. This is a closed-back headphone also with a price not that far from the LCD-2 Closed Back but this time we have a 50mm topology dynamic driver as opposed to planar magnetic. 

The driver is the largest driver Hifiman has ever applied its Topology technology to but still had the size of the 106mm planar inside the LCD-2 Closed Back. Previously, it was on the smaller IEM drivers with a max size of approximately 9mm.

Topology is a nanoparticle coating applied to the diaphragm surface. The reasoning for this nanotechnology is that by using distinct geometric patterns in the nanocoating they can control the final sound signature with far more finesse than with traditional dynamic drivers.

It is also pitched as being able to eradicate or at least substantially reduce typical diaphragm distortions which could again alter the signature necessarily and hinder its operational performance.

That is one of the key differences normally between a dynamic driver and a planar, the level of distortion is normally a lot lower on a planar driver such as the one inside the LCD-2 Closed Back. 

In terms of specifications, the HE-R10D is rated at 32Ω and 103dB which is a little more efficient or easier to drive on paper compared to the 70Ω and 101dB of the LCD-2 Closed Back. The HE-R10D can also go wireless with Hifiman’s balanced amp Bluemini module. 

Hifiman HE-R10D


The only similarity is that they are closed back and are big headphones, everything else in terms of aesthetics is quite different between these two.

No doubt the talking point is the homage to the Sony R10 in the way Hifiman has contoured those HE-R10D cups. I guess in an ironic manner, the LCD-2 Closed Back is also an homage to Audeze’s original LCD-2 and not another company’s headphones. 

Still, the light grain and tan-colored wooden cups are striking and create a nice contrast to the wide arch matte black aluminum gimbals screw fixed into the similarly colored plastic frame mounting the wooden cups. 

The LCD-2 Closed back on the other hand feels more premium in its build quality though a much heavier headphone at 661g compared to just 337g for the HE-R10D.

I presume the HE-R10D also uses spring steel under its synthetic leather headband but the plastic materials for the pivot block and rings do not feel as durable as the alloy adjusters and molded Noryl rings of the LCD-2 Closed back.

Comfort & Isolation

In terms of comfort, it’s a bit of a mixed bag for both. The HE-R10P design on paper should not be as comfortable and secure as the LCD-2 design but the weight is a factor here and you will notice that quickly when comparing the two.

The LCD-2 Closed Backs is not as comfortable but the design mitigates a lot of unnecessary pressure to bring it closer to the HE-R10D comfort level that I thought it would. Still, in black and white terms the HE-R10P is comfier.

On the other hand, the LCD-2 Closed Back design isolates a lot better than the HE-R10D and I put that down to a bit more lateral pressure combined with pads that seal better and are less porous than the hybrid polyester and pleather pads on the HE-R10D. 


The HE-R10D has more typical dynamic driver traits compared to the LCD-2 Closed Back planar driver. Overall, I find the Audeze tuning to offer a bit more grit and solidity through the mids and a more flexible genre synergy. 

No question the HE-R10 dynamic driver has more sub-bass elevation and an enhanced mid-bass punch in those closed cups. If you want some excellent low-end body then this is the better headphone out of the two to deliver it. The LCD-2 Closed back is flatter on the low end but a bit tighter and slightly more articulate with shorter decay. 

However, the FR shaping on the LCD-2 low-end up to the mids is more seamless and more coherent sounding. The HE-R10P drops post-100Hz to the lower-mids around 500Hz then starts climbing to 1k but that bump is very much secondary to 2-3k bump and lower treble peak. 

This is where my description of grit and solidity comes in for the timbral contrast and presence of the LCD-2 Closed Back comes in. The Audeze has a stronger lower-mid presence up to 1k and a peak around 2k which fills out the instrumental and the vocal body.

The fundamental might not have the same bounce as the Hifiman but the texture and sustain are better. This means better physicality, more presence, and more detail compared to the hollower more wispy note on the HE-R10P mids. 

Neither are overly bright though with the HE-R10D fading post 7k to prevent too much shimmer and upper-order dominance. The LCD-2 Closed Back displays a bit more sparkle for me and you can hear that in a comparatively more metallic high pitching percussion tone.

Our Verdict

The Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back is an excellent value offering and performs well above my expectations for a closed-back planar at this price range.

It is not the king, the $6k HE-R10P offers a substantial upgrade in dynamic range and staging but heck that’s a big price tag and simply not affordable to the vast majority. For everyone else, this is one that would be on my shopping list with a $1k budget. 

The staging is excellent, much more open than I expected with a neutral to natural vibrant quality to its tonality but still retaining all the traditional hallmarks of typical Audeze planar bass response. The design is vastly more mature than my original LCD-2 Rev 2 with a very comfortable support system and thicker pads to mitigate lateral pressure and that above-average weight. 

I do advise grabbing a balanced 4.4mm cable though if you want to go portable or have a mobile source. Whilst I have no issue at all with a good desktop setup on the SE, a 4.4mm will unlock DAPs with good output power from their balanced outputs. 

It looks great with a solid performance to match so you but buy a case, this headphone deserves some protection from the elements because it’s a keeper. 

Audzee LCD-2 Closed Back Technical Specifications

  • Style Over-ear, closed-back
  • Transducer type: Planar Magnetic
  • Magnetic structure Proprietary magnet array
  • Phase management Non-Fazor
  • Magnet type Neodymium N50
  • Diaphragm type Ultra-thin
  • Transducer size 106 mm
  • Maximum power handling 5W RMS
  • Maximum SPL >130dB
  • Frequency response 10Hz – 50kHz
  • THD <0.1% @ 100dB
  • Impedance 70 ohms
  • Sensitivity 101 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
  • Minimum power requirement >100mW
  • Recommended power level >250mW
  • Weight 661g

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