Audeze LCD-GX Headset Review: Does The Performance Justify The Price?

NOTE: This article is a contribution and do not necessarily represent the views of Player One.
The Audeze LCD-GX may be the best sounding gaming headphones available, but are they worth it?
The Audeze LCD-GX may be the best sounding gaming headphones available, but are they worth it? Audeze

Gaming accessories tend to fall into a few different categories, largely based on an item’s price. There are low-end accessories that generally cost below $50 and mid-tier accessories tend to be between $50 and $100. Finally, there are high-end accessories that typically range from $100 to $200, with some exceptions that push a little beyond that. However, the Audeze LCD-GX has created a category it pretty much resides in alone: the mega ultra high-end accessory.

Let’s start off by addressing the elephant in the room here: the Audeze LCD-GX is a $900 gaming headset. For reference, gamers could buy both the Xbox Series X and the all-digital version of the PS5 for roughly the same price. Heck, you could buy the regular PS5 and the Xbox Series S for $100 less than this headset. The point here is that the LCD-GX is not a headset for the average consumer.

So the LCD-GX is in a league of its own when it comes to price, but does the headset justify this? That’s a complex question, and it really forces you to consider what you, a video gamer, want from your audio equipment.

Let’s start with the features of the LCD-GX. The primary reason to justify the enormous price tag is that the headset features planar magnetic drivers. To keep it simple, this is a different way of producing sound from the typical speaker/headset. We’ll go a little more in-depth on the LCD-GX listening experience in a bit.

Because the headset is made with gaming in mind, the LCD-GX also comes with a built-in microphone. The mic can be easily muted with the in-line control box.

As for features, that’s about it. There are no fancy 3D audio effects, no RGB lighting options, or even any customization options. You can’t swap out parts or anything else, really. Because of the way the headset is wired, the microphone is permanently attached. If you don’t want the microphone on, you can swap to a different set of cables, but these end in a ¼ inch jack instead of a 3.5mm jack. While this is definitely a welcomed feature in the high-end audiophile world, the general gaming population might not be so thrilled.

This really brings up the question I posed earlier of what you may want in a gaming headset. If you want something with bells and whistles, lights and rumble, 3D audio and other trickery, this is not the headset for you. If you want to be able to quickly adjust game volume or make a slight adjustment to the game volume to chat volume audio mix, these are not the headphones for you.

But how do games and music sound when using the LCD-GX? Saying it is a revelation wearing the headset would be an overstatement, but the LCD-GX really does offer the most clean-sounding game audio possible. Because of the open-back design of the headset, audio just seems to float around your head instead of being piped into your ears like with other headsets. There is no distortion, no crackling, no overwhelming bass response. Everything sounds like it has been perfectly balanced.

Bass is phenomenal with the LCD-GX. Many headphones choose to approach bass like a gut punch or a way to shake your brain, while others don’t offer nearly enough of a bass response, leaving you wanting more ‘oomph’ in your sound. The bass with the LCD-GX is more like a blanket, wrapping itself around everything. You aren’t being pummeled by it, but you can feel its presence everywhere.

When listening to music on the LCD-GX, I came up with a strange comparison, so you’re just going to have to bear with me for a second here. Listening to music on the LCD-GX felt like using Photoshop, but with music. There were certain times where it felt like each sonic layer had essentially been separated, and I could bring whichever layer out to the front if I wanted to focus on it. You can really pick up on subtleties in music, or sound in general, when using the LCD-GX that you don’t get with any other headset I have ever used, gaming or otherwise.

The Audeze LCD-GX can really elevate a listening experience.
The Audeze LCD-GX can really elevate a listening experience. Audeze

Let’s also give a quick shout-out to the microphone on the LCD-GX. Granted, because I’m the one using the headset I don’t have the best idea of how I sound when using it, but my friends I play games with noted that I sounded much clearer than when using other options. I have also been told that the background noise in my apartment is less noticeable compared to other microphones as well. The LCD-GX microphone can be easily positioned, and doesn’t really block much line of sight when gaming.

Of course, the open-back design of the headset is also a major detriment, or at least it is to some. I happen to unfortunately live in a fairly loud city apartment. When playing games, I found myself straining to hear the audio over the sounds of everything else around me. If you want to be isolated from the world, these aren’t the headphones for you.

How do the LCD-GX headphones sound when compared to something else? I also happen to be reviewing a different gaming headset right now (the next-gen Astro A20s, expect a full review coming soon), which also offers some high-quality audio as well. While yes, the LCD-GX does make games sound better than the A20s, the A20s are 7.5 times less expensive than the LCD-GX. Does the LCD-GX produce 7.5 times the audio quality? That’s hard to say.

Now for the other major downside: the LCD-GX is incredibly heavy and doesn’t fit on my head all that well. The top headband regularly falls down over my forehead when I do something as simple as look down at my phone. The weight never really felt like it was too cumbersome, but when switching between headsets to compare audio quality, other headsets felt like nothing was even on my head. Despite all the weight, the open back design does help prevent your ears and head from heating up.

So again, what do you want from a $900 gaming headset? Do you exclusively want the best audio possible? Something that no other headset can offer? Then the LCD-GX is the way to go, assuming you really, really , want that audio experience. That said, there are no gaming-specific features, there are no immersion-boosting technologies, and the headset doesn’t even stay on my head easily. If you’re looking for anything beyond just audio, this isn’t the right choice for you.

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