SOULSIK APPROVED :
AUDEZE LCD-4 AWARDED AS THE BEST PLANAR MAGNETIC HEADPHONE
I have been listening to all of the Audeze headphones. Now I have a real good impression on the potential of each of these headphones. LCD 4 was introduced this year and I was full of expectations as it was their newest top of the line headphone. Audeze’s headphones have been very impressive these past years but I did have a problem with the comfort level. So, coming into this I expected some significant comfort improvements but was not too sure what to expect in terms of sound, as their headphones already sounded outstanding, I was terribly wrong as this review changed my perception of “perfect”
From their website:
Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. That’s when Dragoslav Colich, who has 30+ years’ experience in designing planar drivers, joined the team as CTO to create the LCD-1 headphone.
Then we created the legendary, award-winning LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones, and the higher-efficiency LCD-X and XC models. More recently, we made planar magnetic technology accessible to a wider audience with the EL-8 and SINE series headphones. Audeze turned to their strategic partner Designworks, a BMW Group Subsidiary, for the cutting-edge industrial design for the new headphones as well as the Deckard DAC/Amplifier.
Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.
This review unit was lent to me by Bay Bloor Radio, for a review. Nevertheless, my review will contain no bias
|Transducer type||Planar magnetic|
|Magnetic arrays||Double Fluxor™ magnets|
|Transducer size||106 mm|
|Maximum power handling||15W (for 200ms)|
|Sound pressure level||>130dB with 15W|
|Frequency response||5Hz – 20kHz extended out to 50kHz|
|Total harmonic distortion||<1% through entire frequency range|
|Efficiency||97dB / 1mW|
|Optimal power requirement||1 – 4W|
I would like to mention that, LCD 4 is compatible and sounds incredible out of tube amps as well. This allows for more flexibility.
Lower Frequencies: The bass is grand and extends quite low however it is never too “in your face” or fatiguing in any way. Clean, presented in a fashion that is much like a concert experience. You can hear the drums smacking in, you can almost hear and feel the drummer hitting the drums. The drum presentation before and after in coordination with the decay factor can be heard precisely whether you like it or not !
Mid Frequencies: Micro details in the LCD 2 and LCD 3 is still presented in the LCD 4 but the vocal presence is pulled back a notch as it was before. The biggest improvement is that these headphones really bring out that natural sound in instruments. Guitars, pianos, violins… you name it, it all sounds so very natural. I have a piano, guitar and saxophone in my house and when I compare the actual sound of these instruments to the headphones, I honestly cannot tell the difference. This is a headphone I would classify as the most musical and natural sounding headphone
High Frequencies: this is where audeze headphones have struggled in the past. Although it still does in these sets of headphones, it does present it in the most realistic way I have heard before in a set of headphones. incredible… I would not say this range fulls short in comparison to the rest of the totl headphones out there. Just that it falls short in comparison to how well it presents itself in other ranges.
Soundstage/imaging: The imaging is accurate but not as accurate and the HD800, still very good. The soundstage is the biggest I have ever heard before. Bigger than the HD800. The soundstage seems to be coming outside my room for the most part… which gives me goose bumps and when I close my eyes, I feel like I am in a larger room.
I will be giving this headphone the 2017 soulsik reviews award…. no doubt, one of the best out there.