New Toys: Audeze LCD-XC Studio Closed-Back Headphones

The Audeze LCD-XC is the closed-back version of the (open-back) LCD-X headphones. Both headphones use planar magnetic technology that incorporates a 100-mm thin polymer film diaphragm rather than the paper cones of regular dynamic headphone drivers.

Both the circumaural design LCD-X and LCD-XC models now use better ear pad material to provide an improved, tighter seal around your ears. The ear pads conform better to anybody’s head—now there is more consistent performance along with better sound isolation crucial for studio work—so important for the new Audeze LCD-XC Studio Closed-back models.

Another update is an improved, thinner film used for the diaphragms and a new economy carry case at no additional charge with the LCD-X and LCD-XC Creator packages. The Premium LCD-X or XC packages include the 4 pin balanced XLR cable and a (¼-inch) 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter cable in addition to the standard 6.3mm cable.

I have the luxury of comparing these closed-back XCs quickly with the open-back LCD-Xs using my musicians’ cue system with a Simon Systems CB-4 Cue Box powered by a 100-watts/channel Hafler amp.

Some of the differences I heard are inherent when comparing closed-back with open-back headphones. The LCD-Xs are slightly more efficient than the XCs—louder sound for the same audio input level. The XCs don’t seem to have the bass extension of the LCD-Xs, but the XCs sealed out external noises in the room much better. I also notice the new XCs are a little less forgiving when detecting problems with the recordings I used for this test. Over-compression, clip distortion or peaky EQs seem to be heard more instantly on the XCs—a great thing to know when using these for critical listening in the studio. 

The Audeze LCD-XC Studio Closed-Back headphones sell for $1,299 MSRP. These are awesome closed-back headphones.