Finding the right pair of headphones can be surprisingly difficult. There are countless companies built around weird gimmicks, broad functionality, and more that might give you a versatile product that is simply okay across the board. This has been a criticism of gaming headphones for years. With things like the SoloCast or ModMic giving players affordable mics of surprising quality, it’s easy to see the case, even if it is often all about having a simple solution. However, for those willing to take the plunge, something like Audeze LCD-1 headphones is certainly something to consider. With a strong focus on audio quality and Audeze’s signature planar magnetic technology, are they worth the investment or do they fall short of similar products?
From the second you look at the packaging for LCD-1, it’s clear Audeze put a lot of thought, effort, and love into this product. After removing the simple slipcover, one that simply has the companies name, logo, and a couple of words, there is an equally nondescript box. With the Audeze logo on the front and a simple statement on the back, it speaks volumes about what these headphones are about. Inside is a folder with your warranty information and a single document thanking you for the purchase, with the headphones waiting inside a rather simple case held in place by some foam.
At first glance, the case is surprisingly small. There is a strap to hold it, a quilted look, with the Audeze name on top. After opening, you’re greeted to the headphones on one side and a small mesh pocket on the other. There you’ll find your wires and a hook and loop fastener to hold it in place. It’s all nice enough to make it easy to bring it on the go or keep them safe, especially compared to similar, yet far more bulky units.
Much to my surprise, the LCD-1 doesn’t immediately invoke the premium experience you’d expect from a $400 pair of headphones. With much of the product being plastic, it’s the finer points that suggest more of them. These would be the genuine lambskin leather earpads and headband, inner metal frame and accents. Regardless of how you feel about that, they have an interesting look. The outer earpads look interesting and stand out and it feels surprisingly durable given the headband looks like it would easily break if you spread it too far.
Regardless of that, it’s clear Audeze wanted the LCD-1 to be about bringing amazing sound to an affordable price and there is no question they accomplished that. Contrary to most of the headphones we test, LCD-1 did perform surprisingly well for both gaming and music alike.
While playing Mad Rat Dead, it was shocking how different the songs sounded between LCD-1 and other headphones we’ve reviewed. Here you have these nice highs and clean lows that are being presented in a soundstage that seems infinite. More complicated songs actually benefited from the performance of the headphones, allowing every instrument and its player space without anything really overwhelming things. There wasn’t a genre or song type that failed to impress, leaving a strong impact.
Rhythm games aside, LCD-1 also tackled more cinematic experiences with ease. Doom Eternal managed to weave mayhem and impressive metal beats together in a delightfully bloody symphony. Watch Dogs: Legion did a good job of bringing out my inner hacker with great acoustic awareness, with my time exploring the city feeling like the city was present. Even Ghostrunner added another level through subtle, yet important, background noises.
When I wasn’t gaming, I experimented with a wide variety of songs and genres. The reproduction was impressive, with a strong focus on vocals and highs. I actually couldn’t find a song that failed to impress. If anything, they’re best used on songs with a diverse range of sounds so you can fully immerse yourself in everything that is going on. But, even without that, they should be able to breathe life into your favorite song(s).
Audeze LCD-1 Headphone Review – Verdict
There is no denying Audeze did a fantastic job with their LCD-1 headphones. They’re comfortable, lightweight, extremely portable, and do an amazing job at reproducing sounds. Given similarly priced items, these are an easy choice for anyone who prioritizes sound quality above all else. Because, regardless of it being gaming, music, or movies, these headphones are up for the challenge.
[Editor’s Note: Audeze LCD-1 was provided to us for review purposes.]