Audeze LCD-1 Headphones Lab Report

Lab Report

There's not much point making a foldable planar magnetic headphone for use in a wide range of applications if it has low sensitivity, so it's little surprise to find that the LCD-1 is not only the most sensitive Audeze model we've tested thus far, but also the most sensitive circumaural PM headphone from any manufacturer. Our measured 118.1dB SPL at 1kHz, averaged for the two capsules, is almost 3dB higher than we recorded from the EL-8 open-back [HFN Oct '15], so there's no question of any worthy headphone output providing sufficient voltage to drive the LCD-1 to high SPLs. But to achieve this Audeze has had to resort to unusually low impedance. It specifies a nominal 16ohm figure but we measured almost 3ohm lower, ranging from 13.1 to 13.3ohm across the audible frequency range.

While this very uniform impedance ensures that its frequency response will be virtually unaffected by the range of (headphone amp) source impedances the LCD-1 is likely to encounter, the low overall figure means high current draw and therefore reduced battery life for portable music sources. Audeze headphones have always provided extended bass response and the LCD-1 is no different, as shown in the uncorrected responses [see Graph 1, below], although this depends on achieving a good earpad seal. Audeze headphones traditionally also have less peaking at around 3kHz than is usually deemed necessary for neutral tonal balance, and with the LCD-1 this is compounded by a broad and deep dip in output centred on 6.5kHz.

The result on the corrected responses [see Graph 2, below] is predictable: perceived output begins to fall above 1kHz, with low overall treble energy until a sharp recovery at 10kHz. This suggests that the LCD-1 will have a neutral bass and lower midband but lack presence and sparkle. The CSD waterfall (not shown) reveals a succession of high-Q diaphragm resonances above 1kHz. KH


The LCD-1's unequalised responses (L/R, grey/red; averaged 3rd-octave, black) show an extended bass but a lack of presence band reinforcement


Third-octave freq. resp. (red = Harman corrected; cyan = FF corrected; green = DF corrected)

Sensitivity (SPL at 1kHz for 1Vrms input) 118.1dB
Impedance modulus min/max (20Hz-20kHz) 13.1ohm @ 4.4kHz, 13.3ohm @ 9.9kHz
Capsule matching (40Hz-10kHz) ±3.3dB
LF extension (–6dB ref. 200Hz) <20Hz
Distortion 100Hz/1kHz (for 90dB SPL) <0.1% / <0.1%
Weight (headset only) 253g
Price £399

Audeze LLC
California, USA
Supplied by: Exertis UK, Essex
01279 822822