Audeze LCD-4Z Headphone Review
Audeze keeps going from strength to strength (the strength of our bank managers, that is). Ever more glitzy offerings are produced which are sure to exceed the last model at least in terms of price, but does the performance match up? We’re sure the folks at Audeze HQ realise that expectations go up along with the levels of cash we’re asked to part with, so they’d better have the trousers to go along with the proverbial mouth they’re exhibiting..
- Sturdy construction
- Great looks
- Smooth sound for those who want it
- Sub bass is impressive
- Single-ended cable only
- Some may require greater treble presence
Durability and Build Quality
The LCD-4z is built to last, with an all-metal construction. It’s weighty, coming in at 610 grams without the cable attached; so along with your brass, it demands a good neck. The cable itself is strong and well constructed. It’s a single-ended design ; it would have been good to see a balanced option in there too.
The carry case is quite large; much bigger, and we’d have been looking for wheels and a slide out handle for lugging it around. However it’s fitting for such a premium model and offers adequate protection should you wish to take it anywhere.
As mentioned above, some may be affected by the weight of the LCD-4z during longer listening sessions. Clamping pressure is fairly high, but mitigated by the leather earpads which are soft and comfortable.
The Audeze LCD-4z was tested with a Chord Hugo mk.1 as DAC and amp; it’s ironic that this is far cheaper than the headphones themselves! A more substantial setup may affect the LCD4z’s response somewhat.
Overall the LCD-4z has a warm feel to its output, with a sound which is comfortable and luxurious.
Low extension is very good which is well voiced and natural-sounding. If a particular track means to hit us with sub-bass, be sure to have your fillings certified by a qualified mouth doctor prior to listening.
Further up, bass presence may be a little too much for some in relation to mids and treble. This may be a nod toward those who are demanding more in the way of bass presence these days. Definition is very good; there’s a certain rounded quality to it which feels like it’s impinging on the midrange but it doesn’t get in the way of midrange detail.
Vocals are rich and very detailed; it feels like we’re peering into the singers’ throats with a broad wooden spatula. Backing vocals are very seductive, with some nice separation giving the impression of singers standing about the listener.
With tracks which generally push the limits of comfort in terms of midrange presence (such as with the upper registers of the clarinet), the LCD4z does rein it in a little, so if fatigue is an issue for you the LCD-4z is an option. Overall it’s a gooey, fun midrange and a very alluring one.
Treble presence is ideal for this self-confessed Sennheiser HD650 fan; some may find it a bit muted for their tastes but it allows the music to ooze out without the feeling that it’s being forced. It continues on from the midrange in a natural and pleasing way.
Fine details are well rendered with subtle harmonics present; trumpets and other brass instruments are really quite enjoyable.
- Soundstage and Separation
Soundstage is about average for an open-back model, with imaging and separation doing a decent job whilst maintaining a natural feel.
Music genres good for and why
The warm nature of the LCD-4z complements modern, studio-produced genres such as pop and rock. If you like sub-bass laden offerings such as with rap or drum and bass, then the LCD4z is a sure winner. However those who favour classical, opera or live recordings may require a little more bite where it comes to treble.
Audeze’s new LCD-4z hits us hard; both with sub-bass and credit card bills. However, relaxing with a set of these in place will certainly mask the insistent knocks on the door from bailiffs.