Review A To Z: Audeze LCD-GX Headphone

There is a preconceived notion that gamers don’t value audio. It’s not the gamers, it’s the gaming, which isn’t entirely accurate but also not entirely true either. Gaming doesn’t care about audio, at least not in the same sense that audiophiles who enjoy critical listening do.

The basic goal of game audio is immersion (opens in new tab). Immersive audio is made up of a variety of components, including sensitive auditory signals and feedback, a deliberately designed spatial context, and realistic sound reproduction. Audio quality is a factor, but it’s not the main one.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for an incredibly pricey, high-end gaming headset like Audeze’s LCD-GX.

Design and Comfort of the Audeze LCD-GX

A wired, over-the-ear, open-back gaming headset is the Audeze LCD-GX. It has broad, spherical earcups that are connected to an adjustable headband in the form of a suspension. The headset can be a little challenging to set, particularly while you’re wearing it, but once set, it stays in place. Each yoke rod extends around 1.75 inches (44.5 mm), giving it a rather large range of adjustment between 9.5 inches (241.3 mm) and 13 inches (330.2mm).

The earcups are cushioned with plush, memory foam earpads and feature the Audeze emblem in black metal above a red grille. The headband and earpads are both composed of high-quality imitation leather.

High-end gaming headsets contain drivers that range in size from 40mm (1.57 inches) to 50mm (1.97 inches), as the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro and the Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT. Planar magnetic drivers, also known as transducers, are larger than twice as big as the LCD-GX, measuring 106mm (4.17 inches). It goes without saying that this headgear is enormous. Without cables, it weighs about one pound (454g), which is also fairly substantial.

Unbelievably, the LCD-GX has a magnesium frame and is one of Audeze’s LCD collection’s lighter headsets; it weighs 14.82 ounces (420g) less than the LCD-5, which has a carbon-fiber, magnesium, and acetate frame.

Although the LCD-GX is heavy, it is a rather comfortable headset if you get used to the earcups practically swallowing half of your head. To prevent it from flying off your head if you turn too quickly, the headset’s overall clamping force is slightly higher. I have a medium-sized head (22.25 inches/565 mm in diameter) and am rather sensitive to strong clamping forces, but after wearing the LCD-GX for several hours, I found it to be completely pleasant, if constantly apparent.

The headset boasts broad, thickly cushioned earpads that are curved to accommodate your skull’s curvature. Although the LCD-GX is objectively enormous, the contouring makes for a snug fit and more even weight distribution, which undoubtedly helps make it comfortable. The broad, perforated faux-leather strap on the suspension-style headband is another feature intended to help distribute the weight of the headset more evenly.

A heavy-duty, locking travel case that is lined with foam and properly sized for the headset and its accessories is included with the LCD-GX along with a number of other accessories.

Two cables are also included: a 6.2-foot braided normal cable and an 8-foot boom microphone cable with a directional, noise-cancelling boom mic on the left side. A 6.2-foot braided cable and the LCD-GX directional, noise-attenuating external boom mic are connected by both cables. The cables’ two 4-pin micro XLR headphone connections are used to attach them to the LCD-GX.

The regular cable has a 6.35mm (1/4-inch) connector, whereas the boom mic cable has a 3.5mm (1/8-inch) headset plug. DACs (digital-to-analog converters), amps, and audio interfaces all use this connector as an audio output. The OMTP to CTIA audio adapter and a 3.5mm TRS splitter, which allow you to plug the boom mic cable into other headphone and microphone connectors, are also included by Audeze (reverses the mic and ground connection). A regular (mic-free) cable with a 3.5mm plug or a 6.35mm to 3.5mm adaptor would be excellent to have as this headset is supposed to be targeted at gamers who may or may not be audiophiles.


Audio Performance of the Audeze LCD-GX

Dynamic drivers are present in the majority of the finest gaming headsets as well as the majority of gaming headsets in general. Dynamic drivers, commonly referred to as “moving coil” drivers, are made up of a fixed magnet (typically neodymium) and a voice coil made of a thin metal (typically copper or aluminum) that is fastened to a diaphragm that is frequently cone-shaped. The voice coil produces sound when an electric audio signal goes through it. The voice coil (and the associated diaphragm) move as a result of the interaction between the current and the static magnetic field of the magnet. By far, the most popular headset/headphone driver is this one.

Yet, Audeze focuses on a distinct class of driver. Electromagnetic fields are used by planar magnetic drivers to create sound. Nevertheless, the conductor is embedded within the diaphragm, which is positioned between two magnetic arrays, as opposed to being a coil. This enables the diaphragm to move precisely and subtly, all at once (as opposed to the dynamic driver’s diaphragm, which moves from the point at where the coil is joined to it). Hence, even at higher volume levels, planar magnetic speakers can provide precise, clear sound with very minimal distortion (something dynamic drivers often have trouble with).

The LCD-GX is a planar magnetic headset made by Audeze that combines ultra-thin Uniforce diaphragms with a patented array of single-sided Fluxor N50 neodymium magnets. The headset’s frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to 50 kHz, and its total harmonic distortion (THD) is less than 0.1% at 100 dB. In order to draw a specified level of power, planar magnetic headsets frequently need to be paired with an amplifier or a digital to analog converter (DAC).

The bulk of the best gaming headsets, as well as most gaming headsets in general, have dynamic drivers. A fixed magnet (usually neodymium) and a voice coil comprised of a thin metal (often copper or aluminum) are what make up dynamic drivers, also known as “moving coil” drivers. The voice coil is attached to a diaphragm, which is generally cone-shaped. An electric audio signal that passes through the voice coil causes it to make sound. The interaction between the current and the static magnetic field of the magnet causes the voice coil (and the corresponding diaphragm) to move. This is by far the most widely used headset/headphone driver.

However, Audeze concentrates on a particular group of drivers. Planar magnetic drivers generate sound using electromagnetic fields. But, instead of being a coil, the conductor is incorporated within the diaphragm, which is positioned between two magnetic arrays. Unlike the dynamic driver’s diaphragm, which travels from the place where the coil is attached to it, this permits the diaphragm to move precisely and gently, all at once. Thus, planar magnetic speakers can produce precise, clear sound with very little distortion even at greater volume levels (something dynamic drivers often have trouble with).

A unique array of single-sided Fluxor N50 neodymium magnets and ultra-thin Uniforce diaphragms are used in the LCD-GX planar magnetic headset by Audeze. The headset’s total harmonic distortion (THD) is less than 0.1% at 100 dB, and its frequency response spans 10 Hz to 50 kHz. Planar magnetic headsets usually require pairing with an amplifier or a digital to analog converter in order to consume a specific amount of power (DAC).

The LCD-GX is a planar magnetic headset made by Audeze that combines ultra-thin Uniforce diaphragms with a patented array of single-sided Fluxor N50 neodymium magnets. The headset’s frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to 50 kHz, and its total harmonic distortion (THD) is less than 0.1% at 100 dB. In order to draw a specified level of power, planar magnetic headsets frequently need to be paired with an amplifier or a digital to analog converter (DAC).

Testing this headset against the incredibly flat Sennheiser HD 800 headphones proved that the LCD-GX leans warm as well. Audeze’s LCD range generally has a warm tendency. I could be a little prejudiced because I really like this audio profile, but my husband, who is the genuine owner of the Sennheisers, said the LCD-dynamics GX’s made for an unexpectedly delightful listening experience.

Even though the LCD-GX is advertised as a gaming headset, I didn’t have very high expectations for it. The truth is that amazing audio isn’t particularly important for gaming. Before you start brandishing your pitchforks, let me clarify that I’m not saying that gamers can’t or won’t appreciate amazing audio; I’m just saying that games are typically not designed to take advantage of audiophile equipment, which is why gaming headsets frequently place an equal emphasis on gamer-friendly features and software-side audio processing as they do on audio quality.

I was pleasantly surprised by this headset’s great performance because I was a little worried that the LCD-solely GX’s analog design may result in a lackluster gaming experience. The LCD-detailed GX’s and accurate multi-layered source representation, along with the open-back design’s expansive, lush soundstage, create a highly immersive in-game audio experience. Sincere to say, this stereo setup’s depth was likely as immersive as many virtual surround attempts.

Microphone of the Audeze LCD-GX

The LCD-GX comes with Audeze’s LCD boom microphone cable, which features an inbuilt mute switch and a directional, non-attenuating boom mic that attaches to the left earcup. The microphone has a detachable foam pop filter and is mounted on a 4-inch (101mm) flexible gooseneck arm. There is no software-side processing for noise isolation/cancellation or other adjustments because this is an entirely analog headset.

Yet, the mic doesn’t require any processing expertise because it sounds great: full, round, warm-sounding vocals with no loss of clarity, as is frequently the case with headset mics. My coworkers in an editorial meeting at Tom’s Hardware described my voice as “slightly more broadcast-y” (This is more significant than it seems! People can usually tell that I’ve switched headphones even if I frequently do so because premium headset mics typically have the same ‘decent but not great,

Bottom Line

Although the Audeze LCD-GX is a superb headset, not everyone should use it (or even most). The sound quality of this gaming headset is unquestionably the greatest of those that we have heard, and it sounds exceptionally nice when playing music. Its presentation isn’t completely flat and neutral, but it does feature a warm, deep bass response, a large soundstage, and a dynamic kick that provide for an excellent listening experience right out of the box with no EQ required (which is just as well, since the headset does not come with software). Notwithstanding of its lack of gamer status, the LCD-GX is a fantastic entry-level choice in Audeze’s lineup.

In spite of this, the LCD-GX does a great job with gaming. It has a wide range of cables and ports, it can connect to a variety of devices without the need for an amp or DAC, and its external boom-mic is virtually broadcast-quality. It also sounds fantastic, but many high-end gaming headsets do as well. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless and the LCD-GX, for instance, have similar levels of gaming audio quality, despite the latter’s inclusion of features like ChatMix, multi-source input, and wireless freedom that are likely more appealing to the average gamer than pure, distortion-free clarity.

Instead of the reverse, the LCD-GX is a headset for audiophiles who also happen to be gamers. The open-back design of this headset means that there is a lot of noise leakage for the listener as well as anyone nearby, so it is definitely a commitment to use it at home in a peaceful environment.


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