Home Open Back Headphone Reviews Audeze LCD-4 Review: Unveiling Audiophile Excellence With A Surprising Catch

Audeze LCD-4 Review: Unveiling Audiophile Excellence With A Surprising Catch

by Stuart Charles Black
>AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.<

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Please note that despite demoing the LCD-4 on several occasions, I only have a few pictures.

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

Audeze LCD-4

For more info check here

In The Box

Specifications

  • Driver Type: Planar Magnetic
  • Transducer Size: 106 mm
  • Magnet Type: Neodymium N50
  • Diaphragm Type: Nano-Scale Uniforce
  • Transducer Active Area: 6.17 sq in (39.8 sq cm)
  • Maximum Power Handling: 15W (for 200ms)
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 20kHz, usable high-frequency extension to 50kHz
  • THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): <0.1% (100Hz – 20kHz)
  • Impedance: 200 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 97 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
  • Maximum SPL (Sound Pressure Level): >130dB
  • Ear Pads: Genuine lambskin leather
  • Headband: Carbon fiber and leather suspension headband
  • Weight: 735g (1.62 lbs)
  • Cable: 1.9m (6.17ft) 1/4” to dual 4-pin mini-XLR cable

Introduction

In the realm of high-end audiophile headphones, the Audeze LCD-4 was a standout option known for its craftsmanship and sound quality.

Today, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the LCD-4, highlighting its strengths while also addressing one distinctive aspect that may not be to everyone’s taste.

As we journey through this review, I encourage you to stay tuned for an interesting observation that sets the LCD-4 apart from its Audeze counterparts.

Build

The Audeze LCD-4 showcased a level of craftsmanship that reflected its premium status in the world of headphones.

These over-ear headphones were built with meticulous attention to detail, featuring real wood earcups that not only contribute to their visual elegance but also add to the overall durability.

The use of high-quality leather for the headband and ear cushions added a luxurious touch to the design.

The LCD-4’s build quality was undeniably robust, and the materials used are of the highest caliber, ensuring that these headphones were built to last.

You felt quality in every component, from the sturdy metal frame to the precisely crafted connectors.

Weight and Comfort

Audeze LCD-4 Review

LCD-4 pictured left.

While the build quality was impressive, it’s important to note that the LCD-4 was on the heavier side compared to many other headphones in its class.

This can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the substantial build contributed to its durability and premium feel.

On the other hand, the weight was a concern for some users, especially during long listening sessions.

If you’ve ever worn a bowling ball on your head, that’s kind of what the LCD-4 feels like. It’s heavy. Very heavy.

735 grams heavy. That’s like, a LOT of weed.

And believe you me, you needed some to relax those neck muscles after this gargantuan super mutant behemoth headphone finally came off.

Even so, the headband was well-padded, and the ear cushions were plush, which helped distribute the weight more evenly across your head and ears.

Audeze has made efforts to mitigate the discomfort that can arise from the headphones’ weight.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that these headphones weren’t the best choice for those who prioritize feather-light comfort, as extended use typically lead to fatigue – especially if your spinal column was about to shatter already.

Users with a preference for lightweight headphones might find the LCD-4 somewhat cumbersome, and it’s worth considering this factor when deciding if any Audeze headphones fit your specific needs and comfort preferences.

Sound Quality

Now, let’s delve into the heart of the matter – the sound quality of the LCD-4.

The LCD-4 delivered an immersive and rich sonic experience with its planar magnetic drivers.

It boasted an expansive Soundstage that engulfed you in a world of audio bliss.

Before we get into the mids and treble, let’s discuss the bass.

Kenneth Rockwell (NOT Ken Kaniff from Connecticut) once called Audeze bass bottomless, and that’s probably one of, if not the best, description of it that I’ve ever heard.

Bass Response

The Audeze LCD-4 was renowned for its exceptional bass response, and it’s often considered one of the standout features of these headphones.

The bass produced by the LCD-4 is characterized by its depth, impact, and overall quality over quantity.

Imagine hearing every single bass note in its fullest detail, as if it were under a microscope.

That’s what it’s like to listen to Audeze bass. It’s truly delightful like Grandma’s baked cookies.

Sub-Bass Extension

The LCD-4’s sub-bass extension is particularly noteworthy.

It delves into the lower frequencies with precision and authority, reproducing the deepest notes in music with incredible clarity and power.

This extended sub-bass capability can make genres like electronic, hip-hop and orchestral music come alive, allowing you to feel the rumble and resonance of low-frequency instruments.

Mid-Bass Punch

Audeze LCD-4 Review

In addition to sub-bass extension, the LCD-4 also delivers a satisfying mid-bass punch without the bloat associated with the vast majority of shitty consumer-grade headphones.

This ensures that not only the deepest bass notes are well-represented but also that instruments like bass guitars and kick drums have a palpable presence in the soundstage.

The mid-bass provides a sense of weight and impact to the music without overwhelming the overall balance.

Control and Detail

Audeze’s planar magnetic technology plays a significant role in the bass performance of the LCD-4.

The planar magnetic drivers are known for their ability to provide precise control over diaphragm movement, resulting in tight, well-defined bass.

The bass notes are articulate, allowing you to discern individual bass guitar plucks or the nuances of a double bass performance.

Balance and Integration

Notably, the LCD-4 manages to maintain a balanced presentation even with its robust bass capabilities.

The bass doesn’t overpower the mids or treble, ensuring that the overall sound remains cohesive and harmonious.

This balance is crucial for enjoying a wide range of music genres with these headphones.

Amplification

It’s worth noting that while the LCD-4 can deliver impressive bass response, it benefits from a high-quality headphone amplifier to reach its full potential.

These headphones have a relatively high impedance (200 ohms), and a powerful amplifier can ensure that you’re getting the best bass performance possible.

We’ll touch on that more in a bit.

In summary, the Audeze LCD-4 headphones offer a bass experience that is characterized by its sub-bass extension, mid-bass punch, control, and overall balance.

The bass is powerful and precise, making these headphones an excellent choice for bass enthusiasts and audiophiles who appreciate a high level of detail and impact in the low-frequency regions of their music.

Mid-Range Performance

The mid-range is a crucial aspect of any headphone’s sound signature, as it encompasses the frequencies where most of the musical content, including vocals and instruments like guitars and pianos, resides.

In the case of the Audeze LCD-4, there’s an intriguing and somewhat unconventional aspect to their mid-range: a slow decline in response starting around 1kHz and moving into 4.

Unconventional Decline

Typically, in most headphones, a decline in the mid-range frequencies, especially around these areas, can result in a less-than-desirable sound profile.

This is because these regions are responsible for the presence and clarity of many instruments and vocals.

A significant dip or decline in this area can make music sound muffled or distant, often leading to a lack of detail and an unsatisfactory listening experience.

Resolution and the Audeze Advantage

What sets the Audeze LCD-4 apart and allows it to get away with this unconventional mid-range characteristic is the exceptional resolution and detail retrieval capabilities of its planar magnetic drivers.

Audeze’s planar magnetic technology excels at reproducing even the finest nuances in the music, capturing subtle harmonics and textures that might be lost on lesser headphones.

As a result, despite the gradual decline in the mid-range frequencies, the LCD-4 can maintain remarkable clarity and precision in the reproduction of vocals and instruments.

The headphone’s ability to resolve intricate details compensates for the unique mid-range response, allowing listeners to still hear and appreciate the subtleties in the music.

In essence, the Audeze LCD-4’s exceptional resolution and detail retrieval make it an outlier among headphones when it comes to handling a gradual mid-range decline.

While this characteristic might be problematic for many other headphones, the LCD-4 leverages its technical prowess to deliver a listening experience that remains engaging and captivating, showcasing the benefits of Audeze’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of headphone technology.

Treble

The treble performance of the Audeze LCD-4 headphones is a distinctive aspect of their sound signature, with some unique characteristics that set them apart from other headphones.

Firstly, it’s known for its darker and smoother presentation – even more so than any other Audeze I’ve tried.

Unlike many headphones that emphasize high-frequency sparkle, the LCD-4 takes a different approach.

It offers a more relaxed and laid-back vibe, which can be described as warm and velvety.

Smooth and Non-Fatiguing

The LCD-4’s treble is characterized by its smoothness, which prevents any harshness or piercing highs that can cause listening fatigue, especially during extended listening sessions.

This treble tuning can be appreciated by those who prefer a more relaxed and fatigue-free treble presentation.

Details and Resolution

Despite the subdued treble, the LCD-4 maintains impressive levels of detail and resolution in the high-frequency range.

Audeze’s planar magnetic technology excels at rendering the subtle nuances, harmonics, and textures present in treble-heavy instruments like cymbals, strings, and percussion.

This level of detail allows for a nuanced and textured representation of music.

Not for everyone

It’s important to understand that this may not be compatible with all listeners’ tastes.

While some appreciate its non-fatiguing and gentle treble presentation, others may prefer a more pronounced or lively treble.

This subjective aspect of audio can significantly influence one’s enjoyment, and it’s essential to consider personal preferences and the genres of music you enjoy when evaluating the LCD-4’s treble performance.

Comparison with Utopia (w/NAIM DAC V-1):

Focal Utopia Review

Some noteworthy distinctions come to light when comparing the LCD-4 to the Focal Utopia, especially when driven by a NAIM DAC V-1.

The LCD-4 is undoubtedly harder to drive, demanding more power from your amplifier.

On the other hand, the Utopia tends to sound livelier and sparklier, with a more pronounced sense of energy in the mid and treble regions.

This liveliness can be particularly appealing for genres that benefit from the extra sparkle, such as Classical music and Jazz.

Where the Utopia truly shines is in its treble and mid-range performance.

The treble is brilliant and articulated, delivering an airiness and shimmer that can make instruments like cymbals and violins come to life with exceptional realism.

The mid-range is rich and engaging, ensuring that vocals and instruments are rendered with lifelike dynamics.

Choosing Between the Two

The choice between the Audeze LCD-4 and the Focal Utopia largely hinges on your personal preferences and the genres of music you enjoy.

If you favor a darker treble and a robust low-end, the LCD-4 may be your preferred option, especially for genres like EDM and cinematic music. That’s not to say that the Utopia’s bass is worse.

They’re very close in terms of sonic superiority. 

The Utopia rolls off every so slightly more, but it’s almost a wash.

However, if you prioritize a sparkling treble, lively mid-range, and an overall sense of energy in your music, the Utopia with the NAIM DAC V-1 may be the better fit.

Ultimately, both headphones offer exceptional qualities and can deliver an audiophile-level experience.

Your decision should align with your specific listening preferences and the type of music you most frequently enjoy.

As for me personally? I feel my money is better spent on a Utopia, but I did enjoy the LCD-4. I just think it’s tuned a bit too dark for my tastes.

Closing Thoughts

The Best Headphone Amps & DACS

The Audeze LCD-4 is a high-end headphone that excels in build quality, comfort, and offers a unique, darker treble response.

Its sound signature may not suit everyone’s preferences, especially those who crave a brighter presentation.

That said, it’s a solid headphone.

When compared to the Utopia with a NAIM DAC V-1, it becomes evident that the LCD-4 requires more power to drive and leans towards a more laid-back sound, while the Utopia delivers a livelier and more energetic listening experience.

Important Note: The Audeze LCD-4, while a remarkable headphone, is no longer available on the market.

If after this review you’re leaning toward Audeze, I’d look into the LCD-2.

If the Utopia,

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Audeze LCD-4 Review and came away with some valuable insight.

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Agree with my assessment of the LCD-4? Disagree? I would love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like

Leave a Comment