LCD-4

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.

sound descriptions mine

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Audeze LCD-4
LCD-4_web_productshot_1

The Audeze LCD-4 is an open orthodynamic headphone.  It is fitted with Fazors.
It has a 4-pin mini XLR connector on each cup and thus has a cable with a Y-splitter in the middle. These are easy to source unlike the connectors on the EL-8 and headphones like the HD800 for instance.
This headphone is quite heavy in weight which may put some people off.
It is intended for home usage. The headband and pads are soft and made of real leather or micro-suede (your choice).
The cups are made of real solid wood and is available in a few different wood types.
It really should be driven from better DAP’s or from decent headphone amplifiers etc.
A phone or tablet will not cut it.
The price is around $ 4000.- which cannot be called cheap by a long shot.
It is of coarse the Audeze flagship and luxury materials are used throughout.

Note that this headphone was measured at ears-unlimited-logo where unavoidable background noises were present in the demo room. Distortion levels and spectrum plot performance may thus be better in reality than shown on the plots.

specifications:

Type: Over ear, open
Usage: Home.
Driver type: orthodynamic with Fazors
Pads: Lambskin leather or micro-suede
Foldable: No
Headphone connector: 4-pin mini XLR
Cable entry: dual
Cable: 2.5m with 6.3mm TRS plug
Driver size: 106mm
Max power rating: 15W (< 200ms)
Max voltage: 55Vrms
Max. S.P.L. > 130dB
Impedance: 200 Ω
Efficiency: 97dB / 1mW ( 104dB / 1V)
Weight: 600 g.
Clamping force: Medium
Accessories: 1/4″ (6.35 mm) to Dual 4-Pin Mini XLR Cable , ruggedized travel case

Sound description:

Will be added later on

Measurements:

Below the frequency response of the LCD-4 (Left, Right)

FR LCD4

The frequency response shows a neutral tonal response till almost 2kHz. Bass as well as sub-bas is there and of high quality.
The actual measurement is perfectly flat from 10Hz to 1.5kHz. It appears as though the bass area is reduced but this is caused by the compensation used. A horizontal line shows a perceived ‘flat’ response, not a measured flat response.
While the mids are quite neutral it does (very slightly) lack some ultimate ‘clarity/presence’.  The dip around 4kHz is responsible for this. That dip is smaller in reality than it measures because the so-called Concha-gain will make this measured dip smaller than it looks. It is still there though, just not audibly as deep as the plots suggest. Treble extension of these Fazor versions is quite good and exceeds 20kHz.

The LCD-4 is more expensive than the LCD-3 but you get slightly more ‘laid-back’ sound and somewhat less distortion for that.
Below a plot that compares the LCD-4 to the LCD-3.LCD4 vs LCD3

As can be seen the differences in tonal balance are not very big between 10Hz and 4kHz. Most differences can be found in the area between 4.kHz and 7kHz. Also the LCD-3 has a few dB more upper treble.

Below the LCD-4 versus the LCD-X.
LCD4 vs LCD X

Below the LCD-4 versus the the cheapest version in the LCD-line the LCD-2.
LCD4 vs LCD2

Below an overlay of 5 of the LCD-line, heavily smoothed (1/3 octave) to better show the differences in tonal differences.
LCD-XC, LCD-X, LCD2, LCD3, LCD-4
tonal bal all LCD

Below the distortion plots of the LCD-4: (only left channel shown)
The distortion products are shown in dB.

Dist LCD4R

Please forget the spikes in the lowest frequencies. These are actually mains hum present in the portable measurement set-up. These spikes are NOT there in reality.

The distortion is impressively low.
Below the same plot except shown in percentages.Dist LCD4R percent

 

Below the CSD of the LCD-4 (Left and Right channel are superimposed)

CSD LCD4

There is very little to worry about here. There are no deal breaking resonances here. The driver seems to be well damped.

Below the spectrum plot of the LCD-4 (Right channel).

Spectr LCD4 R

This plot too shows little issues.
The small signals around 1.5kHz are not coming from the headphone but are background sounds present in the demo room it was measured in.

By lack of oscilloscope shots (not enough time to measure that) below a step response plot of the LCD-3. (Right channel)Step LCD4R

Very little and  short lived ringing and a fairly flat response. The fact that the rising edge does not reach the 0dB line also is evidence of the slightly ‘dark’ sound signature.

 

summary

The LCD-4 is a headphone that sounds and measures quite well. Excellent in the distortion department, especially in the lows. Good in tonal accuracy but somewhat lacking in clarity/presence and upper treble level. An advantage of this aspect is that it is easier to listen to higher SPL this way. At lower listening levels it has a warmish and soft character to it.
Recommended for home usage only, needs a decent headphone amp or power amplifier. Some people may not like the rather high weight. Comfort on the ears is good though. The pads do seal quite good which some find uncomfortable as it kind of ‘sucks’ to your head when you pull the headphones from your head.

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