"Audeze is a leader in planar magnetic (PM) technology and has built some of the best-sounding headphones on the market. It also charges a serious premium for such creations. The flagship LCD-4z runs for nearly $4,000, which is why the company’s newest release, the $399 LCD-1, is considered a shocker. Open-back headphones that deliver high-end audio at an entry-level price point? Believe it."

"These cans are designed for audiophiles to use at home, in the studio or the go, boasting a lightweight frame that houses superior specs, including Audeze’s 90mm PM drivers and an ultrathin diaphragm. Of course, a lower price tag comes with compromises. No special features, no controls, and you’ll also have to do your listening in complete isolation to enjoy peak audio performance. Still, if you want hi-fi headphones that won’t break the bank and are more portable-friendly than some of the category’s steeper selections, the LCD-1 is a hard bargain to pass up."

"Overall comfort on the LCD-1 is a mixed bag. The open-back design allows for airflow, and the earpads feel plush and gentle on the ears. However, the way Audeze designed the earcups results in them compressing hard around the ears and increasing fatigue the longer you wear them. I wore them for an hour before noticing some soreness on the side of my head. Another piece of advice is to adjust the yokes by two or three notches so that your skull receives more breathing room because the clamping force is pretty tight at the lowest setting."

"As for the LCD-1, its sound profile can be best described as borderline neutral with some kick. Recordings sound as close to the originals as possible, which is what musicians and studio engineers desire most. Bass is vibrant as well, though the Deva generates deeper lows."

"Leakage is another major issue. The LCD-1’s open enclosure and grilles let sound bleed outward at a high level. Listening to music at max volume, the missus thought I was blasting music directly from my MacBook Pro’s speakers. Dropping volume to about 20%, she could still hear what I was listening to."

"The Audeze LCD-1 is a superb model for those who value critical listening. It delivers the crisp, detailed, and rich sound that one comes to expect from high-end open-back headphones, but at a more attainable price point. The lightweight and compact design is also a sigh of relief from the heavy and bulky cans best associated with the category. Yes, you’ll have to live with certain exceptions like zero controls, special features, and noise neutralization. Are these dealbreakers? Maybe, but not for audio purists who want hi-fi sound on the cheap, which is what the LCD-1 offers you."