Audeze LCD-X

The Professional

Pros: Build Quality
Decent Mids
Decent Highs
Bass won’t overwhelm mids

Cons: Sub-par bass
Terrible accessories/cable
Needs balanced cable for best performance

LCD-X Side 2.jpg


Up for review today is the infamous Audeze LCD-X 2020. This is the professional version of the LCD-2/3/4 series and as such costs less. It is also the open-back brother to the LCD-XC – though I prefer the sound of the X to the XC, which I think most people will agree that’s true with most open-backs. Just like the XC, thee come with “Ultra-Thin Uniforce™ diaphragms, Fazor waveguides, and powerful neodymium magnets to deliver extremely accurate and detailed sound. The sophisticated planar magnetic drivers achieve a high efficiency with low impedance.” So…planars. On with the review!

Accessories/Earpads/Eartips (2/10):

Just like with the XC, the accessories are Meh. They came with…nothing really. Literally, there was a cable in the box. The ear pads are pretty nice though – comfy. They CAME with ear pads, but every over-ear should do that. Yes, I’m grasping at straws – I literally cannot give more than 2 points here because all it came with are decent ear pads and a foam-padded cardboard box.

LCD-X Bottom.jpg

Cable (2/10):

The stock cable sucks. I’m just going to be blunt here. The Sennheiser HD600 has a nicer cable and it’s ~$300. The 6.35mm cable included with this is tangly, has memory retention, and feels cheaper than the $20 cable I got off amazon. Also, based upon how much changing the cable from the stock to a 4.4mm balanced improved the sound, I can honestly say this is the first stock cable that I really think made the headphone worse – to the point of wanting to throw it away. At least it came with a cable…that’s the only positive thing I have to say about it. Replace immediately.

Build Quality/Comfort (10/10):

These are great build quality. Very solid, and a little lighter than the XC. No carbon fiber cups like the XC has, but it obviously doesn’t need them with the open back. Keep in mind, the newer version actually removed 2/8 fazors, so the newer version has a different sound, and it’s not necessarily better. Look up comparisons between the two and pick the sound you want.


I am running these off of a Cocktail Audio HA500H DAC/amp on low gain with tubes disabled on an unbalanced 6.35mm. I’m running these at around 40-45/100 volume. I don’t have a balanced cable to use with these, but if the LCD-XC is any indicator, a balanced cable will improve these exponentially.


Lows (8/20):

Starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” These are not basshead headphones and the impact on the intro kick drums has a weird level of reverb – it sounds pretty unnatural. The sub-bass is decent quality, but low quantity. Bass is definitely not the strong suit of the LCD-X. That said, it’s not going to offend anyone I suppose, but it’s definitely not the highlight.

Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the mids. Guess what? You can hear the bass in the background, but it definitely doesn’t overwhelm the mids here. The vocals and mid-strings are definitely the stars of the show here. They sound great, full-bodied, and clean. Great ability to not overwhelm here.

Mids (15/20):

Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is a test song for guitars and vocals. Yeah, this sounds great. The guitars come in really strong and the vocals are super clean and clear. You can easily tell the different layers of this song quite easily. Again, the bass is discernable but doesn’t overwhelm the mids which are the highlight of the song on the LCD-X. If I had any complaints here, it’s that the clean guitars sound a little flat compared to the dirty guitars.

Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has clean electric guitars and wonderful vocals. The LCD-X manages to pull off a good presentation on the vocals here. The clean guitar in the background sounds good as well, but the vocals feel like the highlight of this song. Better yet, you don’t lose out on the bass guitar like you can on some bass-light headphones. Mids are definitely where these headphones are at.

To test classical mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” Each instrument in this song is clearly represented with no bias one way or the other. Pianos, strings, and bass -they all play well together to present a good, if not top-tier, representation of this song.

Highs (16/20):

To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes. The intro trumpets are a bit sharp, which is unusual, but it’s only on higher volumes. There is a tad bit of sibilance, but nothing crazy, definitely towards the lower to mid-end of the spectrum.

The first highs test song I’ll be using is Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” which I use to test and see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music. The highs here are more present than the XTC-O but worse than several lower-end IEMs. You can hear the cymbals, but just barely and there is little to no separation here between strikes with the drumsticks.

Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. There is basically no sharpness in this song. It gets close to the edge occasionally, but there’s nothing bad enough to complain about here. It’s an overall good representation of the highs in this song.

Soundstage/ Instrument Separation (8/10):

Large soundstage – bigger than the XTC-O, good instrument separation – slightly better than the XTC-O, but just barely. The soundstage while playing Hogwarts Legacy was pretty epic on the LCD-X while on the XTC-O it’s more intimate.


The LCD-X has a bigger soundstage than the XTC-O. The XTC-O has significantly more bass and slightly reduced highs. The XTC-O feels a little more ‘full’ sounding than the LCD-X, likely due to the increased low end and smaller soundstage. The XTC-O may actually be a little more difficult to drive since the volume on the 3.5mm with the LCD-X is slightly louder than the volume balanced on the XTC-O. The mids feel a little more pronounced and clear on the LCD-X than on the XTC-O. This comparison is very similar to the XTC-O vs RAD-0 comparison, which shouldn’t be surprising since Audeze and Rosson are related. The Rosson still has near-magical mids which the LCD-X gets close to but doesn’t quite share while the XTC-O still have some of the best lows available.

LCD-X Side.jpg


Whether or not you get the LCD-X really comes down to your preferences. If you want a bigger soundstage and mids and highs are more your focus, then the LCD-X is tough to beat. It is relatively heavy and the cable, while functional, begs to be replaced by a more competent cable. It also pairs better with tube amps to give it a bit more warmth. The XTC-O and LCD-X don’t just share their love of acronyms, they are also very similar in design and performance – it’s up to you to decide what you prefer more.

Headphone Scoring (v3):
Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):2​
Cable (10 pts):2​
Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):10​
Lows (20 pts):8​
Mids (20 pts):15​
Highs (20 pts):16​
Soundstage / Instrument Separation / Imaging (10 pts):8​

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