Audeze LCD-4

The LCD-4 is the current flagship from Audeze, retailing at $4000. It’s a very expensive and premium headphone, and is at the top of the LCD line, with the LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X and other variants.

Like most LCD headphones, it’s quite heavy, and well above 700g. The only other headphone in the 700g range is the HEDDphone. The comfort can’t be excellent because of the weight alone ; however I still find the LCD-4 decently comfortable, as the leather ear pads breath well and the suspension strap isn’t putting lot of pressure on the head.

The LCD-4 is a bit power demanding and need a good amp. Build quality is great : chrome grills, wood cups, metal yokes and carbon fiber headband. Which is to be expected considering its price.

○ Release : 2015
○ Current status : In production
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 735g
○ Impedance : 200 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~97 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $1900-2400

The LCD-4 is certainly not a balanced sounding headphone, but it is for sure impressive, and I personally love it. As usual with the LCD line, it follows a special target with a focus on a recessed presence region around 4-8 khz. The sound is somewhat a bit on the dark side and certainly not harsh or sibilant.

The bass response is outstanding. It extends perfectly to 10 Hz, well below my hearing limits (around 18-20 hz). The bass is extremely tight and has solid impact, but it’s not elevated, like most planars. It can be EQ-ed to bass-head levels without issues. The bass texture is excellent.

The mids are also pretty solid. They are thick and forward from 200 to 2 khz, but recessed above that. Maybe not the most ideal response for many string instruments or high pitched voices. The upper-mids to treble transition is quite recessed, which is great for many bright recordings or harsh genres. It works well for many of my songs that can be bothersome on brighter headphones. But I will agree that the recession is too extreme, and  I would have liked 3-4 dB more between 4 and 7 khz.

The treble, except for that low-treble canyon, is excellent. Very refined and in another league compared to the three LCD-2 I have previously owned. The upper-treble actually sounds a bit boosted in my unit, around 12-14 khz. It’s not the most natural treble behavior combined with the low-treble dip. Treble isn’t “crunchy” or full sounding.

The overall tonality is on the warm side, and may not appeal to many people looking for more linear tunings – I’m part of these people but the technicalities of the LCD-4 make me forgive that slightly dark tone. The resolution is amazing – I would say the LCD-4 is a hair more resolving than the Utopia I recently had at home. The Utopia has more attack and overall better sense of punch, but the LCD-4 extracts better details and nuances in any recording.

When it comes to dynamics, the LCD-4 does not deceive. It’s a very impactful headphone, from the great bass to the clear treble. It’s also pretty fast sounding. And on top of that, the staging is a considerable improvement over the other LCDs. Not as wide as an HD800 or tall like an HE-1000, but very pleasant although the separation isn’t as great as the Utopia.

The LCD-4 is the absolute endgame headphone for people liking warm tonalities. The Stax SR-007 would be another contender – probably similar in resolution, but lacking in dynamics and punch. The Verité is another competitor but I did not have the occasion to hear it.

Measurements & Resources

Wonderfully flat from 10 to 1khz. Depression in the upper-mids with the biggest dip at 4khz (LCD house sound). The treble gains some energy back around 6-10khz. Still pretty warm overall, since the highs aren’t near bass and lower mids level. Solid amount of air past 10 khz, might vary from unit to unit.

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