Audeze LCD-5 Review. Corgi's take.

I personally loved every full size Audeze headphone I’ve had the chance to check out. I got to listen to the LCD-4 a bit back and I liked it for the short time I got to use it. I was excited to check out the LCD-5 when offered to be apart of a LCD-5 and the Weiss DAC tour. The new LCD-5 comes in a little smaller and lighter than other Audeze headphones.

Looks and fit

These look fantastic. The dark tortoise color scheme really catches my eyes and I liked the way it looks. The black grill gives it a more professional look and I like it over the silver grill from the LCD-4. The headband and new sliders look really good as well. The fit on other Audeze products for me personally is fantastic(though heavy). The LCD-5 is smaller with new pads that use a different shape. That’s the biggest issue I ran into. The pads are too small for my somewhat small ears and they end up touching the bottom of the pads. I can adjust it fit via the slider but then the top of my ears get pushed down and it just doesn’t work for me. I would have liked to see the standard sized housing with maybe the new pads. After a few min the irritation goes away and I don’t notice it though.

Packaging and accessories

The LCD-5 comes inside a nice looking black metal travel case that has locks on the outside. Inside we get the cable, headphones and warranty card. All pretty straightforward accessories for a full size open back headphone. 


These final impressions were done off a mix of the Weiss DAC, iFi GO blu and the SMSL SU-9 connected to the SMSL SP400. These are what the LCD-5 sounded like to my ears. Things like DAC/amp selection or pad swapping will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

I’ve heard a few Audeze sets over the years and I’ve owned the GX, older LCD-2, 2C and I’m picking up a new set of the LCD-2 Closed to review soon. All the sets I heard I really enjoyed, except for the LCD-5. I’m not sure why I have a hard time connecting with the LCD-5 but let's get into my impressions. The set is warm sounding overall with a huge focus on mids. I personally don’t like mid-focused IEMs for all the reasons I’m about to get into but these LCD-5 remind me of some Sennheiser HD series headphones with less treble. The lows do have good extension down low but they lack any real impact when I expect to hear some thumps on certain tracks. It isn’t boosted in any way so we get no bleed into mids which is fantastic. The mids are overly boosted to me. It wasn’t bad on the first day of listening but after a few days I wasn’t impressed. Mids that are boosted tend to sound hollow to my ears and that's what I get here. They feel hollow and lifeless at times, other times it's fatiguing. The vocals do come through fairly well but the rest of the mids just don’t mix well with me. The Treble pulls in good details when the mids aren’t getting in the way. Things are still too relaxed and almost dark. I had to struggle to really listen for details up top. There is a decent amount of air when listening though. This could all be easily solved with some EQ, but I don’t like EQ and outside of iFi hardware xBASS/xSPACE. I simply don’t use software EQ. I got the best initial results sound tuning wise off the iFi GO blu using it’s bass/treble booster  which made me realize these headphones could be solved with EQ if some effort was put in by the owner. I did play with a little EQ thanks to Resolve's EQ profile from the team via the Weiss DAC. I got really good results and the set did end up sounding way better over stock tuning but since normally I review headphones with no EQ, that's how this set is gonna be rated overall.


Staging was weird for me. It felt a little closed in for an open back that leaks so much sound. It was on par with the Meze Elite which I thought was also small in terms of soundstage. I did notice that cleaning up the tuning with EQ did help with staging width but it might be a byproduct of less mid fatigue for me personally. Imagining was really good without the need for EQ. One of the better open back imaging sets I’ve heard recently.

Stock cable

The stock cable included with the LCD-5 is really nice. I like the braid and color scheme they went with. I also like that they give you the option to go with single ended or 4pin XLR balanced for the cable when you purchase the headphone. The cable is on the longer side but I think it's a good compromise for those that use a setup not near their amp. 100 percent of my headphones usage is usually within 3 feet of my desk or my source gear on my nightstand next to my bed.

Full size headphone comparisons

Meze Elite

I don’t really do full sized headphone reviews often so I don’t have any sets on hand usually to compare(working on this for future reviews) but I had the Meze Elite in at the same time as the LCD-5.  The Meze Elite and LCD-5 have polar opposite tuning. The Elite has a more lows and highs focused tuning but both headphones lack any real sparkle up top. The Elite has a slightly elevated bass but it's very balanced and detailed. It also has good slam/impact over the LCD-5 which goes for a neutral tuning in the lows. The mids are way better balanced and slightly relaxed on the Elite vs the LCD-5. Vocals come through better on the LCD-5 but the mids are simply more enjoyable to my ears on the Elite. The treble is a little clearer and has a little more energy on the Elite as well. The LCD-5 feels tamed and goes for that “neutral” sound up top which I personally don’t like. I liked the design of the LCD-5 over the Elite but the comfort and sound tuning goes to the Elite for me. If I had to choose which headphone to get without ever using EQ, it would hands down be the Meze Elite.

Amping Combinations

iFi GO Blu

I love the GO blu and of course I wanted to see what it would do with the LCD-5. The little GO blu managed to get the LCD-5 to good volume via balanced but the real magic came from using the xBASS and xSPACE. I had both features turned on and that really brought the tuning to a more enjoyable sound with a little more life. This is when I realized EQ might be the thing to turn these headphones into something I like. While the GO blu did the job, I didn’t quite get the same detail that I did with the desktop amps and I felt the stage was a little too closed in on the GO blu.


My go to desktop DAC/amp did well with the LCD-5. I was able to achieve a decent sound with the pairing. The lows still were a little too relaxed in terms of impact but the details in the bass were still really good. The mids were still too rough for my tastes but the ESS sharpness helped with the treble in my listening with the LCD-5. Staging was a little wider and deeper vs the GO blu and I was fairly happy with the pairing. I would still EQ the LCD-5 if I was gonna keep the headphones personally though.

Weiss DAC

The Weiss DAC has been a really great experience with everything I paired it too. It still wasn’t able to bring the LCD-5 to my preferences stock but it has so many EQ options built in, that after playing around I got probably the best results from the LCD-5. With the little EQ I did, I was able to get a more lifelike presentation from the pairing. Width and depth were fantastic as well and I was very impressed and I can see why Todd(the owner) likes the pairing so much. I think the SMSL stack I use was totally fine but if you have endless money, the LCD-5 does scale a little.

Overall thoughts

I mentioned having a hard time connecting with the LCD-5 in my review and I still stand by that after finishing up this review. Playing around with EQ made a big difference for my thoughts on the LCD-5. I loved all the Audeze headphones up till this point. For those who don’t software EQ headphones and like to use headphones with the stock tuning like me, I can’t recommend the LCD-5 unless you like a warmer mid-heavy sound. If you absolutely love to EQ headphones and don’t mind fine tuning the LCD-5, I think you will be well rewarded and I can give the LCD-5 a recommendation for those users. The LCD-5 is a pass for me personally but one headphone I don’t like from Audeze won't stop me from absolutely loving the brand and their other offerings.