AUDEZE LCD i4 REVIEW – End game for Jay?

Video review here

INTRODUCTION

In ear monitors have been popular as of lately with new companies bringing out their new top of the line in ear monitors. In ear monitors usually use dynamic or armature drivers. However, planar magnetic drivers commonly used in higher end audiophile grade headphones is not something you’ve seen before in an in ear. Audeze being one of the innovators and leaders of this kind of technology decided to make one. As of today, they have three in total. The isine 10, 20 and LCDi4. Today, we are reviewing their top of the line in ear headphone.

DISCLAIMER

This unit was sent to me by Audeze for the purpose of this review. My reviews will always be unbiased

ABOUT Audeze

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.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL DETAILS

  • Specifications

    Style In-ear, universal fit
    Transducer type Planar magnetic, semi-open
    Magnetic structure Fluxor™ magnetic array
    Magnet type Neodymium N50
    Diaphragm type Nano-scale Uniforce™
    Transducer size 30mm
    Sensitivity 105dB/1mW
    Maximum power handling 3W
    Maximum SPL >120dB
    Frequency response 5Hz – 50kHz
    THD <0.2%, full spectrum @ 100dB
    Impedance 35 Ohms +/-10%
    Cable 1.2m OCC silver-plated premium braided cable
    Cable connectors 3.5mm stereo plug input, 2-pin plug outputs
    Weight 12g (per side)

WHERE DO I BUY IT?

Bay bloor radio in you are in Canada.

Here internationally

BUILD QUALITY

20170901_010109

First off, I would say the build quality is as expected at this price range, excellent.

It is made of high quality magnesium, light, and just gorgeous. the drivers are gold plated as you can see.

For those who found Audeze headphones really good sounding but just way too heavy to wear, this may just be something that may float your boat.

Cabling is simple with 2 pin connectors and this does mean you can use third party cables, if that is your thing.

But the stock cable is a beautiful silver plated copper that just screams “I am the best”

PRACTICALLITY

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THE FIT: Fit is everything with the LCDI4, you will love it if you can or you will hate it if you cannot. It is a big hit or a miss type of scenario. I would imagine Audeze will improve this in their future line ups.

SOUND ISOLATION: These are semi open back and does leak, despite what others say about these not leaking… which I found odd unless you listen to your music really quietly. These do leak and it was proved in my tests. You can do this easily… you can just turn your music off and talk to other without taking the LCDi4s off your ears, you will be able to hear everything perfectly fine. Try asking at least 10 individuals if they can hear your music.

PAIRING: These are not the hardest to drive but they are still planar magnetic and need some good sources and amps to really shine. For the best performance, these really need to be powered by a good amplifier. check out my amplifier suggestions.

SUGGESTED USE: Probably around the house or in the office where it doesn’t matter if a little bit of music leaks out. If you are the type of person that is not keen to share your music taste, this may not be the right choice.

SOUND QUALITY

review without EQ

LOWS – incredible rumble, incredible punchy bass with great extension and air added to the whole mix. It feels realistic and dynamic. I have not heard a better low end in such an in ear design. although this may be incomparable to some closed designs, it exceeds all expectations in its own way.

MIDS –  focus is great. the mid is very engaging and fun to listen to. little nuances can all be heard with ease. very realistic representation of string instruments. its specialty is making you feel you are inside a small hall with the artist you love, all by yourself.

HIGHS – well extended, great representation, great tonality. never heard better in a planar.

SOUNDSTAGE/IMAGING/SEPARATION: 

  • biggest I have heard in a set on in ears. as wide or wider than most headphones out there.
  • Imaging was spot on and dead accurate
  • Separation was incredible. I could hear the instrumental positions clearly and with confidence.

FINAL THOUGHTS

One of the best headphone out there. do not underestimate these just because they are small !

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