The Audeze LCD-4 retails at $3995. Now, I know what you’re thinking. These have to be some freaking amazing headphones, right? And indeed they are! But just what kind of sound does four grand land you? Let’s check it out.
The LCD-4 is magnificently built. Hell, it even comes with a pair of white gloves in the box for handling the thing. In addition to those white gloves, you’ll find the headphones themselves, and a bright blue audio cable – all inside a box that looks like it came straight out of a Bond villain’s wet dream.
Comfort is about what you would expect from a headphone this massive. The genuine leather padding on the earcups offer a decent amount of isolation, as well as comfort, but the weight of the materials used in making this headphone still lead to a heavy experience that may put off some users.
|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|
The specs of the LCD-4 reveal a headphone with a staggering soundstage, a relatively high impedance, a good lack of distortion, and a volume that is pretty much par-for-the-course.
For this review, we paired it with the Hifiman EF100 amp – a $499 hybrid beauty that complements this headphone perfectly.
The LCD-4 has a tight, well-controlled low end characterized by a deep, resounding bass. There’s no bleeding or even a hint of compression here, and frankly, I’m in love.
Midrange only builds on the quality of the low end, with precise vocals and complete tonal accuracy. While I would exhaust my vocabulary and still come up looking like an idiot if I tried to impress upon you just how good it is, I can only say that I’ve never heard audio like this before. Everything is precise, contrasting, and exact – the difference between this headphone and every other headphone is similar to the difference between painting in acrylic and painting in watercolor.
This is usually the part where a half-decent headphone falters and disappoints. But the LCD-4 sticks the landing with a high end that is practically perfection. Accuracy is some next-level stuff, as the headphone nails every note. Violins, high-pitched vocals, trumpets, cymbals – all rendered flawlessly.
AWESOME. Whether I’m listening to Beethoven’s Fifth, Issac Brock’s wacky musical stylings, or the luscious lyricism of Snoop and Dre, there’s a sense of space and placement to anything I play through these cans.
Overall, this headphone offers a night and day difference from other, lesser headphones. Where other headphones are just kind of there and sit on your head and play music reasonably well, the LCD-4 grabs you by the earlobes and confronts you with the totality of your favorite musical artists’ maddening geniuses.
Sure, it’s pricey, but with a headphone this fine, you should be willing to cough up a princely sum for it – because a princely sound deserves a princely sum. Not everyone’s going to be able to afford it, and we here at Audio46 can sympathize. I can honestly admit I envy the folks who can afford to grace their ears with this beast.
If you can’t afford the LCD-4, there are other alternative. The Grado GS2000e, Sennheiser HD800s, AKG K812, and Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation, Hifiman HE560, and the Audeze LCD-3 all offer a fantastic sound below $2000. Of course, none of these can come close to the quality you’ll see in the LCD-4, but that’s just the way the headphone cord tangles.
For those of you who can afford the LCD-4, or for anyone who even pretends to be interested in hifi sound, the LCD-4 isn’t a headphone to consider. It is the headphone you should own. Period.
No hemming and hawing, no BS about this brand versus that brand. Sure, if you can get the Sennheiser Orpheus, do it. But that’s pretty much the only reason I can see for passing up on this immaculate headphone.