Even as it initially appeared as though nothing new was being ushered forward from the Audeze camp, a few subtle changes managed to find their way to the surface at CanJam this year.
Although not its first unveiling, the new Sine planar magnetic on-ear from Audeze sports their lowest price point yet at $449. Buzz for the headphone was very interesting at the event. More than a few voices could be heard endorsing its performance throughout the weekend. Everyone loves to talk about high value propositions in audio. A conversation-worthy product is either the best or its a bargain, everything else is just static on the radar.
Upstairs in the Audeze hospitality suite (for registered LCD owners) Mark Cohen was giving the lowdown on all the new updates currently out and future. Most notable and perhaps most forward-thinking is the inclusion of a Apple-based Lighting connector for both the EL-8 line and now also the Sine. If Apple does indeed ever decide to get rid of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack on their devices in favor of wireless, Audeze will be perfectly poised to cater to the fidelity-concious crowd who prefer the dependability of a wired connection. The Cipher cable includes both its own DAC, headphone amp and proprietary DSP all in-line between the headphone and the lighting connector along with the usual Apple cable controls. As with the Jaybird update we discovered [at CES], any DSP adjustments stay local in the firmware of the cable so your headphone’s sound and EQ is consistent weather it is plugged into the application’s phone or not. The Cipher cable is available for the Sine for an additional $50 ($499 total) and is currently available to order with an expected mid April shipping date.
The EL-8 model that debuted a little over a year ago is now also sold in some Apple stores. If you are interested in picking up the headphone on the brick-and-mortar side of things, the in-store distribution is currently restricted to Apple’s class “A” establishments (their biggest and flagship retail locations). Audeze is clearly making decisive moves with their collaborative partnerships and the development of the new lighting cable a perfect example of this. The Apple version of the headphone is a closed back, silver and black variation called the Titanium edition and includes the Cipher cable for $799. If a click-and-order is more your thing, you can also purchase the headphone direct from Audeze here: https://www.audeze.com/products/el-8-collection/el-8-titanium
The biggest news to my ears however, was a subtle update of the LCD line which nearly flew under my radar at the show. According to Mark, every driver from the LCD collection is receiving an update, including the recently-released LCD-4 ($4k) we reviewed [here]. The overall augmentation is a thinner, more responsive film sandwiched between the magnetic planes. Mark also shared that the biggest shift in voicing will likely belong to the closed-back LCD-XC ($1,799) which now promises a slightly more linear feel via a small adjustment in the frequency response. The rest of the LCD sound signatures should remain relatively close to their respective origins.