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A mini review on LCD-2 Rev 2 & WA6 SE - Courtesy of D&A International

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Old 29-11-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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A mini review on LCD-2 Rev 2 & WA6 SE - Courtesy of D&A International

Hey guys, I would like to share some feedback on an audition on 2 equipments that I managed to demo at the comfort of my home this morning for 2 hours. The above loaner program is made possible courtesy of David at D&A International, so I would like to express my thanks to him for arranging the demo. In case you guys are interested, the folks at D&A International are the Singapore distributors for Burson's HA-160D & the new HA-160DS, Audez'e LCD-2/3 and also Woo Audio tube amps.

The 2 pieces of equipment that I managed to lay my hands on for the 2 hour loaner program today are Audez'e LCD-2 Rev 2 and Woo Audio 6 Special Edition tube amp. The DAC that I used for the audition is CEntrance DACport and the RCA cable used is TWag V2. Now, I recognize that the DACport is a less than ideal DAC for this audition exercise, but it will have to make do till I get a dedicated DAC for my setup. The below mini review of both LCD-2 and WA6 SE is based on what my ears hear, and I am no golden ears, so please take it with a pinch of salt and cut me some slack if you do not like what you read.
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Old 29-11-2011, 08:02 PM   #2
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The LCD-2 weighs a hefty 500+ grams, and though I felt the weight of this hot babe when it was on my head, it felt relatively comfortable. At no point did it felt like slipping off my head. The clamping force was acceptable and is definitely not as tight as the HD600 that I own. The LCD-2 may not be as sleek or futuristic looking as HD800, but it definitely rocks me the right way through its classic and retro look, and believe me, it is very solidly built. The leather headband completes the look of LCD-2 as a high end headphone; I have always felt that for the price that LCD-2 commanded, the foam headband in Rev 1 was simply unacceptable and a very bad joke. The earpads are thick and extremely comfortable.

I listened to the LCD-2 on both my Burson HA-160 and the loaner WA6 SE amps and the playlist that I played contained male & female Jazz, Pop and R&B alongside instrumental tracks from Yoyo-Ma and Chris Botti. So I guess one can call it a rojak playlist as I wanted to hear how the LCD-2 handles various genres. In short, the LCD-2 is an outstandingly versatile performer capable of handling both vocals and instrumental tracks, though I personally felt that it excelled with vocal tracks.

LCD-2 is not a pair of neutral headphone but it is one of the most natural and organic pair of headphone I have ever heard. T1 and HD800 introduces listening fatigue over long hours of listening through their overly accentuated treble, but with LCD-2, I feel that I could listen to it all day and not feel tired (though I did not have the luxury of 5 hours of it on my head) with its extremely creamy smooth signature.

Its bass is punchy and extends extremely low, yet it is by no mean overly bassy nor dark. Though the bass extends very low, it has got some of the best clarity to accompany it. The combination of clarity and the level that it manages to extend to simply astounds me, and this balance is usually only present in high end headphones and is so difficult to achieve. Not even HD800 manages to hit the low notes as low as LCD-2, though it also has clarity in oodles to compete with LCD-2.

The mids of LCD-2 is the creamiest and lushest I have ever heard, and is only outdone by you guessed it, LCD-3. Though LCD-2 has the best mids I have ever heard, again like its bass, the amount of clarity that accompanies the lush sound is astounding. Now, I have experienced that with Westone ES5 (I compare the 2 because they both have glorious mids to die for), sometimes when the mids are too lush, it adds a thin veil that just covers the clarity and transparency. Not so with LCD-2. Clarity and transparency are ever present and the mids simply does not bleed into the bass or treble. How about that for amazing?

Alas, the treble might be the Achilles heel of LCD-2. Though the treble of Rev 2 is more pronounced and evident than in Rev 1, personally, I could do with a bit more sparkle, but that would be nitpicking. The treble of Rev 2 already extends further and is smoother than Rev 1. Rev 2 is also noticeably brighter than Rev 1.

Soundstage width on LCD-2 is also not particularly wide, though its depth performance is excellent. I could hear the soundstage depth as if it is a layered onion. But, LCD-2 can never hope to match HD800's width in soundstage. Being an open headphone, LCD-2 sounds very open and rather airy. As mentioned earlier, the transparency and clarity of this pair of headphone is also amazing. Next up, the imaging and separation of LCD-2 is also right up there with the best. With my eyes closed and LCD-2 on my head, I could easily pinpoint where the drummer, guitarist, pianist and Chris Botti were on the stage when listening to the album Chris Botti in Boston. Also, I could hear the individual instruments coming together to form a great blend of music.

In conclusion, the LCD-2 Rev 2 is right up there among the current flagships of HD800 and T1 (I have not heard of Ultrasound's headphones, so I am unable to form an opinion on their products). To me, other than the minor annoyance with the treble and not so wide soundstage , both of which I can easily live with in view of how spectacular the rest of LCD-2 Rev 2 is, it takes clarity, transparency, the great bass and simply peerless mids and marries them with musicality to form one of the best sounding headphone I have heard; it is simply balanced and breathtaking.


Synergy rating:
With Burson HA-160: 9/10
With Woo Audio 6 SE: 8.5/10

Last edited by Guan22; 29-11-2011 at 10:11 PM..
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Old 29-11-2011, 08:03 PM   #3
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Along with the LCD-2 Rev 2, John also passed me a Woo Audio 6 Special Edition, which was brand new, for me to audition the LCD-2 with. I listened to this amp on stock tubes, which consist of a 5AR4 rectifier tube and a pair of 6EW7 power tubes. He also had the much recommended Sophia Princess rectifier tube with him, but as it was unopened, I did not ask to audition it. The un-boxing process was quite a special one, and I felt like a kid opening his present on Christmas Day. The amp and the tubes were very well and securely packed by Mr Woo. At no point would this amp be damaged during the shipping process as the amp was packed in very solid Styrofoam.

The actual amp consists of 2 separate units; one is the actual tube amp while the second unit is a separate power supply to the amp. The 2 units would then be connected via a power supply umbilical cord. I have not actually listened to its predecessor, the WA6, before; as such I am not able to comment on the differences in sound signature or power. However, with a separate power supply added in this SE version, it should not be a far stretch to think that the sound produced by WA6SE would be both more powerful and cleaner. The amp looks very handsome and muscular in live. I had the silver set, and it looked a very sophisticated and well crafted piece of machine. The volume pot is very smooth and there are no blemishes on the body. It is indeed very finely crafted by Mr Woo.

I have not heard many tube amps as I am more of a solid state sound signature kind of guy. The general signature of tube amps seems to be warm and mellow. The WA6SE has quite a black background. When I was listening to LCD-2 on it, I did not really pick up much noise or hum in the background. The WA6SE did not sound as warm or mellow as I expected it to be. Sure, it was slightly warm, but it was not to the extent of being very warm, nor was it so mellow that it was only suitable with tracks with low PRaT. If anything is to go, I personally feel that WA6SE is a little bright with a tinge of warmness, which is a funny thing to say about a tube amp.

Soundstage is excellent on WA6SE both on width and depth. It is relatively wide and I could hear staging in layers. Imaging is also very good. Before listening to WA6SE, I expected the transient of tube amps to be rather slow and mellow sounding. The WA6SE changed this notion; in fact, WA6SE is just 2 steps behind the Burson HA-160 that I own in terms of transient. It was quite a funny feeling, and I had to double check just to make sure that the headphone was plugged into WA6SE instead of Burson. WA6SE actually impressed me on the energy that it is able to churn out. The decay of WA6SE sounded like midway point between Burson and a Little Dot MK III I listened to a couple of months.

Clarity is present in abundance and the slight warmth was actually a nice complement. WA6SE also scored quite high in transparency as I expected the warmth to slightly curtail it, but that was not the case. As mentioned earlier, the energy and speed that WA6SE actually made my music sounded crisp and clear, and that was something I clearly had not expected prior to this audition.

Bass on WA6SE extended low, and the bass details is quite detailed. Impact is also quite impressive, yet the decay on the bass is just nice; it did not linger too long as other tube amps nor did it behave like a solid state's short decay. In short, for me, the bass impressed me as I expected it to be slightly loose, but it was clearly not the case.

Mids has always been the stronghold of tube amps and I am very happy to say WA6SE excelled on this front. The timbre and texture is excellent. Vocals sounded natural, full and lush with a tinge of emotions especially on female vocals. If there's one defining feature that I have to comment about WA6SE, it is the mids that I totally enjoyed.

For me, the treble on WA6SE is quite a funny beast. As I mentioned earlier, WA6SE sounds a little brighter than the few tube amps that I have heard. So, treble extension on WA6SE is very good, in fact, it is better than the few tube amps I have heard. However, this also means that music that is a bit "hot" in treble might be more revealing on WA6SE than other tube amps. On the flipside, WA6SE also provides a little sparkle that is missing in most tube amps.

Concluding what I heard on WA6SE, I could be forgiven for mistaking WA6SE to be a hybrid amp. But it is not; it is a tube amp. I am usually a solid state guy but I had a thoroughly enjoyable time with the WA6SE. It has a relatively fast transient, yet has that warmth that is lacking in most solid state amps. I was especially impressed with its mids and soundstage. If I were to consider a tube amp, the WA6SE would be very high on that list at this point. That is how highly I rate this amp.

Last edited by Guan22; 30-11-2011 at 05:31 PM..
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Old 29-11-2011, 08:48 PM   #4
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Yeap, he dropped by my place around 11am

Wats wrong with your LCD-2?
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Old 29-11-2011, 08:56 PM   #5
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Y G P M......
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:00 PM   #6
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Ah guan ish deeply poisoned...
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:05 PM   #7
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Sob sob..
Yesh, penguin master kor kor... I am indeedly very deeply poisoned...

I offered to host a few of u guys at my place when I get the LCD-2, and Jenny jie jie say I can go die alone and not poison her...
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:08 PM   #8
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Sob sob..
Yesh, penguin master kor kor... I am indeedly very deeply poisoned...

I offered to host a few of u guys at my place when I get the LCD-2, and Jenny jie jie say I can go die alone and not poison her...
Hahahahha!!!!

Actually im also kenna poisoned by the LCD2... Heng the price is discouraging for me..
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:13 PM   #9
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LOL... indeed...

U shld try to get the HD800, I tried the other day at Stereo... Sounds amazingly clear...

Keep forgetting, I wanna return u the E10!!!
Super paiseh, take urs for so long!!!
Pls dun put pig head at my door...
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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LOL... indeed...

U shld try to get the HD800, I tried the other day at Stereo... Sounds amazingly clear...

Keep forgetting, I wanna return u the E10!!!
Super paiseh, take urs for so long!!!
Pls dun put pig head at my door...
Since your holding it.. do a review on it too...

Fiio E10 usb DAC/AMP
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Old 29-11-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Your wish ish my command, penguin master...
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Old 29-11-2011, 10:46 PM   #12
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where is the relation between hd800 and lcd-2?

both are very different, unless the HD800 is driven by a very colored tube amp like darkvoice

I have own both for a year, so I know what they are...

I use hd800 with darkvoice 337 which colored it very nicely, more body to it

but if used in a neutral sounding solid state amp HD800 is very analytical and VERY VERY Detaild , which is the reason I sold it off once I dispose my darkvoice, too revealing on solid states amp, enjoying details rather than music

for LCD-2 it has a very nice mid vocal, which HD800 doesn't have at all, of cos the soundstage details separations are not as good as HD800

I do find beyers T1 or T5p closer to LCD-2 in terms of sound signature
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Old 29-11-2011, 11:12 PM   #13
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The reason why I compared LCD-2 to the likes of T1 and HD800 is because they are all flagships within their own brands.

Anyway, Burson with HD800 should be a good combination.
The musicality of Burson should go very well with the clean and neutral sound of HD800.

Just my own 2 cents.
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Old 29-11-2011, 11:24 PM   #14
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different feel la.
LCD orthos very smooth but no texture
HD800 more texture but not sweet as lcd

If wanna compare apple to apple - you do HE6 vs LCD2/3
I like the burson, musical and very powerful.

But the step volume pot abit annoying.. overall not a deal breaker unless you use very sensitive headphones.
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Old 29-11-2011, 11:52 PM   #15
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The rest of the Hifiman cans didn't appeal to me except for HE500 for some reason.

Anyway, the volume pot's not a deal breaker for me as I can manually adjust volume either throughthe software or DAC...
I love the signature of the Burson amp.
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