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New LCD Xs or 2nd hand utopias?


Weks
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Hi all,

 

interested to hear your thoughts, experience etc between the Audeze LCD Xs and Focal Utopias.

I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison but a secondhand pair of utopias seems roughly the same $ as a new set of LCD Xs. 
 

I listen to a lot of modern classical, postrock, hip hop, jazz. So I guess I need something that isn’t too genre specific. 
 

any thoughts on the choice between these two. And or cautions around buying secondhand utopias?

 


 

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Second hand Utopia should be ok, generally dynamic driver cans aren't as prone to failures.

 

Anyone selling them in the mid 2s likely bought them for 2999 from A2A, and therefore should still be in warranty period. Though LCD-X is still cheaper than used Utopia....

 

LCD-X are heavy and *need* EQ. Only thing in this comparison LCD-X has going for it is it's new. 

 

Utopia don't need EQ and are comfy for most. They are also a much better headphone.

 

I'd choose Utopia in this comparison.

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14 hours ago, Weks said:

Hi all,

 

interested to hear your thoughts, experience etc between the Audeze LCD Xs and Focal Utopias.

I know it’s not an apples to apples comparison but a secondhand pair of utopias seems roughly the same $ as a new set of LCD Xs. 
 

I listen to a lot of modern classical, postrock, hip hop, jazz. So I guess I need something that isn’t too genre specific. 
 

any thoughts on the choice between these two. And or cautions around buying secondhand utopias?

 


 

Audition them and let your ears decide ?

 

(I did, and I can handle the weight of the X, but it's a deal breaker for many)

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2 hours ago, 11Parsecs said:

Audition them and let your ears decide ?

 

(I did, and I can handle the weight of the X, but it's a deal breaker for many)


indeed that is the best advice but I forgot to mention that I’m in Melbourne with the stage 4 lockdown it will be a few weeks at least until I can audition in person.

I should probably just be patient but...

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6 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Second hand Utopia should be ok, generally dynamic driver cans aren't as prone to failures.

 

Anyone selling them in the mid 2s likely bought them for 2999 from A2A, and therefore should still be in warranty period. Though LCD-X is still cheaper than used Utopia....

 

LCD-X are heavy and *need* EQ. Only thing in this comparison LCD-X has going for it is it's new. 

 

Utopia don't need EQ and are comfy for most. They are also a much better headphone.

 

I'd choose Utopia in this comparison.


thanks for taking the time to comment. 
could you elaborate on what made the utopia a better headphone for you? Was it just the comfort and need for EQ?

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I don't own either. I'm one of the few that don't find the Focal lineup comfortable.

 

The Utopia is just a better headphone. It still one of the absolute best headphones in terms of detail and dynamics, despite being several years old now. The two headphones aren't really ones to normally compare. Utopida usually gets compared to other TOTL models, like the LCD-4.

 

Doesn't mean you'd prefer it more. You may enjoy the LCD-X more, couldn't tell you! I find the Utopia a bit bright for me, but careful pairing I'm sure it would be fine.

 

LCD-X creator package puts it under $2k. Used Utopia at best I'd think mid $2k?

 

Have you considered a new Hifiman Arya too?

 

And what do you currently have?

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7 hours ago, Weks said:


indeed that is the best advice but I forgot to mention that I’m in Melbourne with the stage 4 lockdown it will be a few weeks at least until I can audition in person.

I should probably just be patient but...

I was in the same boat in April - even though we weren't in full-on lockdown, auditioning headphones was forbidden (you could look though).

Anyway, late May that was all lifted, and I tried all the usual suspects - x, clear,  arya, sundara, GX, even a few 'above' those - utopia, final etc. The only one I didn't dare go near was the LCD-4.

Sprinkling of genres's - anything but metal, sorry 571 - and using this as my main (back to back) 'source' file:

Especially from 1:20 onwards, where the sonic layers and intensity towards the crescendo really help to pinpoint where each set of can's distinguishes itself  (well, for me anyway - ymmv)

 


I'm unusual in that i prefer the X's stock sound signature - I mean you're splitting hairs in that upper echelon, they're all great.

I just like the 'meaty' (aural) weight the X brings, and from a logistical and ergonomic perspective - I can move from room to room with, quite a few, PC's and only need a modest usb sound card - My primary computer has a Mayflower Arc, and that's plenty.

Word of warning, and a shock that isn't discussed much by the reviewers - a ton of music is not recorded well enough for your phones to really excel.

Which had me in buyers remorse for a few weeks - this isn't exactly an impulse buy at the supermarket.

Until I discovered - now I'm going to sound like a snob - Tidal.


Ah, much better.

Its like a drug-bubble that I can step out of without any side effects, especially if the children suddenly need my attention. (Though they don't bother Daddy with his 'real' headphones on much)

Anyway, try to wait a few weeks and test them yourself - it's very different from watching The Gang on youtube.

Oh, they DO respond well to EQ - Had a but of fun with that, but not necessary, for my tastes.

Edited by 11Parsecs
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  • 3 months later...
On 24/08/2020 at 9:35 PM, 11Parsecs said:

I just like the 'meaty' (aural) weight the X brings

 

Yup I'm with you on that and I'm getting use to the weight. Strange that after 5 years of my headphone journey, I'm gravitating back to the Audezes - specifically LCD-X and LCD-3f.

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LCD-X is available new under $1900. Stock is an issue. I feel you'll find it hard to find a Utopia that's less than 12-18 mths old for under 2.5K. Audeze do get driver failures, Focals seem pretty good. Focals are way more comfortable and better made but you get used to LCD weight pretty quick or you never will.

Tonality is the same but different(!) between them. Utopias are very fast, detailed, with a narrow soundstage. They are surprisingly picky with amps, considering how easy they are to drive. Good pairings will deliver surprisingly strong and deep bass - who'd have thunk it! LCD-X have some similar aspects in speed, transients and treble extension. Typically planar. The soundstage in LCD-X is much wider and that can bring more relaxing listening. However, vocals are a bit recessed compared to Utopias. I find the LCD-X are a bit more neutral and accurate than the Focals and that is what they were designed for with recording engineers. I heard they are the most popular Audezes. 

In general for these two, I find Focals are better suited to rock or faster paced music. The LCD-X with more folk or vocal based. They both do well with orchestral and jazz but neither would be my first choice for those genres. They're both good headphones and new vs used are good value for money. As always, my ears, my gear and YMMV. Happy hunting!

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8 minutes ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

Who am I kidding? Who has only one headphone?

Me!

Stopped watching headphones reviews for the same reason I stopped buying car magazines after purchasing The Ride ?.

 

Although you rapscallions keep pulling me back in ?

p.s: Just missed out on your LCD-4's back in April.

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Hey all thanks for the input. 

In the end I went with a pair of focal clears that I picked up for a good price (I know, not even one of the two options). This was my first foray into serious money headphones so I thought I’d keep it simple.
EQ’ing the LCDx wasn’t going to be so easy with my current set up and in the end it was still a big price diff from the utopias to clears. 
 

FWIW I absolutely love the clears. 
 

but somehow I feel like I still have a place on the shelf for some LCDx...

 

and maybe my clears are just the gateway into another expensive habit etc

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Whilst not the be all and end all in my listening preferences; before I bought my Clears I was a little concerned reading user reviews of underwhelming bass. However, after the burn-in I think the bass suits me fine.

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Well, right now I'm listening to a brand new pair of LCD-X's being driven from a Quad VA-One EL34 amp; fed by a Topping E30 playing Tidal from my PC.....................all I can say is this combo is simply awesome. The synergy is great and I'm not feeling a need to EQ at all.  I love these.....compares very well indeed to my Stax L700/SRM 353X.....

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