The Headphone Market
We got to play with a lot of cool head-fi gear in the headphone market of Audio Advice LIVE 2022 — but not as much as we’d like. Admittedly we thought there would be more of everything to play with. Though we did get to hear several new headphones from Audeze, and some cute electronics from Chord Electronics UK.
Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook
Let’s run through some snapshots from our playtime and I’ll give you a little context along the way.
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Jameson Mourafetis and Luke Wagoner took playing the XBOX and enjoying the Audeze Penrose ($299 USD) gaming headphones like millennials take to craft beer and enjoy avocado milk.
- Audeze 100mm planar magnetic drivers
- Lossless 2.4GHz low-latency wireless connection
- Bluetooth and wired analog connection options
- Detachable broadcast quality microphone
- Comfortable memory foam padding
I don’t remember his name, but he was really digging the Audeze LCD-3 headphones on the Chord Dave. He also agreed that Sanford, North Carolina has way more
good fast food than it should.
Jameson is finishing up his review of the LCD-5 ($4.5K USD) for us, and we’ll publish it as soon as he turns it in, hint-hint. Until then here’s some juicy LCD-5 specs to enjoy.
- New planar driver and magnet structure extends frequency response
- 1/3 less weight than the LCD-4!
- New sculpted earpad design improves upper midrange response
- Improved structural design incorporating magnesium, acetate and carbon-fiber
- Each LCD-5 comes with a balanced 4-pin XLR cable with single-ended adapter.
The Spawn vs Audeze LCD-2 Close Back
This $899 USD pair of closed back headphones did impress my hypercritical son Jonah who had previously planned on roasting the entire headphone event, but decided to “take mercy on them” as there weren’t enough people to merit a full-on roast. So he says.
His worthwhile remarks on the LCD-2 Closed Back were that they didn’t lose imaging or bass extension due to their sealed design. He’s a noted Audeze open-back fanboy, so I’m not completely sure if he was just being a bit brand loyal, or was actually impressed by the LCD-2’s closed-back performance.
Considering he’s a bit of an amateur music producer and composer, I’ll have to see about sourcing him a pair of LCD-X headphones. Closed or Open?
Anni was looking the Qutest
The new Anni from Chord was on display, and we all had a go with her. Specs below.
Jameson was a bit perturbed as he didn’t expect the output on the Dave and TT2 to be as different sounding than the Anni. He thought there was going to be a tighter grouping of tuning between the three. The Anni being the outlier.
As a group consensus, from Jameson, Luke, Jonah, and myself — the Anni and Qutest combo made heaps of sonic sense. That’s high praise considering we all adore the Qutest.
- Next-generation Dual Feed Forward amp topology
- Powerful headphone amp with 3.5 mm and 6.35 mm outputs
- 4 mm (banana) loudspeaker outputs
- Gain control
- Two line inputs