The parting clouds pour rays of angelic light upon the headphones on my review desk. They shine in the light and are beckoning me to listen. Upon my desk sit the Audeze LCD-4. It is a top-of-the-line headphone, coming in at just under $4 grand. Could they possibly sound good enough to warrant such a price? Today, let’s take a closer look with this Audeze LCD-4 review.
Soundstage of the Gods – Audeze LCD-4 Review
In the Box – Audeze LCD-4 Review
-braided cable with ¼’’ connector
-big, hard shell, protective carrying case
Design – Audeze LCD-4 Review
The headband of the Audeze LCD-4 has a two-tiered design, sporting a strip of leather underneath an LCD steel band. This headband is extremely flexible, yet maintains a solid clamping force. The earcups do weigh quite a bit but the headband does a great job of maintaining balance to avoid areas of pointed stress.
The earcups of the Audeze LCD-4 are large and circular. They have a beautiful look, sporting glossy, 30-year-old Macassar Ebony wood rings. These rings contrast beautifully with a shiny aluminum grill. They have a look of class, but also scream “expensive!”. The earcups are heavy, so these headphones won’t be for those sensitive to such weight or those who frequently enjoy long listening sessions. However, for those that can handle it, your ears will be in for a treat.
The earpads of the Audeze LCD-4 contribute to its allure. The pads are made of soft memory foam and are coated in leather. They have an asymmetric shape as they are thicker in the back and become thinner toward the front. And although they have a circular shape to follow the shape of the earcups, the hole in the center of the earpad has more of an oval shape to it.
The cable that comes with the Audeze LCD-4 is Audeze’s premium cable. While the cable has a fair amount of length to it, it is super malleable, and therefore, manageable. Inside the four braided conductors is silver-coated, single-crystal OCC copper. The crystals within are set and positioned in a specific pattern that supplies the best possible signal transmission.
The drivers of the Audeze LCD-4 are made with quickness in mind. As a result, they greatly contribute to the soundstage of the headphones and the clarity and accuracy of the low-end pitch response. The drivers are able to do this because they have extremely thin, nano-scale thick diaphragms. These diaphragms are powered by Audeze’s Double Fluxor Magnets, which are arranged to optimize the amount of power they can deliver (and actually double the amount of power they’d be able to deliver otherwise). Lastly, inside the earcups are Audeze’s Fazor elements. These help to guide the soundwaves in an optimal way to avoid resonances.
Sound – Audeze LCD-4 Review
The low frequencies of the Audeze LCD-4 sound clear, natural and have great detail. The come through with a sense of quickness that contributes wonderfully to the emotional impact of songs if they use low end as a tool for it. It has a little bit of a sub frequency boost but is able to maintain its clarity and detail.
For example, when I was listening to the song Short Eyes by Camp Lo, the kick drum sounded quick and punchy. I could hear the full sustain of it, which contributed to its grooviness with the bass guitar. While the kick drum had a good sense of subbiness to it, it wasn’t particularly louder in the mix. Rather, it sat at an appropriate level.
The middle frequencies of the Audeze LCD-4 have character, following a little bit of a smiley face curve. However, that is not to imply that they don’t feel full. In fact, the headphones do a superb job of maintaining harmonic complexity while leaning both toward a boost in the low mids and a boost in the upper area of the high-mids. The middle part of the midrange up through the lower part of the high-mids has slight broad cut. As a result, midrange rich instruments, while still harmonically complex, sit slightly quieter in the mix. Addtionally, vocals feel a little bit further back in space. However, because of the high-mid boost, they maintain their articulation and detail.
For example, when I was listening to the song Thanks for Nothing by Middle Brother, the bass guitar sat a bit more forward in space than usual. Additionally, the bodies of the acoustic guitar and electric guitar felt slightly ducked in the mix, although they maintained their detail and richness. The acoustic had a sense of quick snappiness that contributed to the groove of the song. Lastly, Taylor Goldsmith’s vocal leaned more toward the mouth than the chest.
The high frequencies of the Audeze LCD-4 have emphasis in the lower treble and the lowest part of the upper octave. As a result, high-frequency rich instruments have a little bit of character. They are both articulate and airy, but lack a little bit of textural presence.
For example, when I was listening to the song Fever by Ray Charles featuring Natalie Cole, the vocals came through with strong and clear consonants, as well as a sense of pretty airiness. The cymbals felt a little bit thinner than normal, but somehow still upheld their sense of complexity. They just seemed to lean more toward the upper octave.
The soundstage of the Audeze LCD-4 is remarkably expansive. It almost seems to give the headphones a feeling like speakers. Both the width and the depth have great nuance and create dimension where there would otherwise be none. These qualities give the headphones a greater-than-life feeling and give music and space a new sense of life. Additionally, the sense of height is tall and has great contrast. The subbiness of the lows contrasts beautifully with the airiness of the highs, and this comes through the vertical representation of those frequencies.
For example, when I was listening to the song Price Johnny by St. Vincent, I could hear the subtle swing in the high hat pattern. Normally it is totally inaudible without such a nuanced dynamic response. -the width of the synths, guitars, and background vocals are remarkably expansive. The sense of depth was extremely “3D” feeling and noticeable in the difference between the lead vocal and the reverby background vocals and synths. The synths and wide-panned guitars seemed to shoot outward!
Overview – Audeze LCD-4 Review
Overall, the Audeze LCD-4 is a gorgeous set of headphones. It has an amazing soundstage that breathes new life into whatever you play through the headphones. Additionally, it has a wonderfully quick dynamic response that contributes to the emotional impact of music and games.
The Audeze LCD-4 is available at the best price here: