by Dan Browdy
Whether they are bucking the current trends of modern headphone design or trying to create one all their own, no one can deny that Audeze has their own style. Through all renditions of their LCD line of headphones, they’ve kept a distinctive look and sound. As they developed new tech, they always updated their older models with it. With the release of the EL line of headphones earlier this year, they took a bold step away from their usual style, both visually and sonically. More important, they introduced the new Fluxor tech. People have been asking when it will be brought to the LCD headphones and everyone was expecting to hear something at RMAF.
Audeze surprised us all by announcing not an upgrade to the previous LCD headphones, but the all new LCD-4! This is the new flagship in Audeze’s headphone line. Not only does it have two of the new Fluxor drivers, but also a nano-scale thickness diaphragm. The combination of the ultra strong Fluxor magnet arrays with the ultra light diaphragm should make for a very controlled and detailed sound. It retains the distinctive large ear cups and adds a new suspension-style carbon fiber and leather headband as well as chrome grills; the combination with the wood is reminiscent of a luxury European sports car. For better or worse, it also retains the distinctive weight of the LCD line.
Also announced at the show is their new headphone amplifier dubbed “The King”. It was designed for Audeze by Bascom King, who has designed amps for many popular manufacturers over the years. This hybrid tube/solid-state amplifier puts out 6 watts into 20 ohms and features a custom SPL meter on the front that will be calibrated specifically to your Audeze headphone.
I listened to these two new products together and the combination was wonderful. The LCD-4 has treble extension that’s unlike any other Audeze headphone, with the same rich mids and impactful bass you’ve come to expect. The combination with The King amp made even the Grateful Dead sound surprisingly powerful. The overall tonality of the headphone is still that lush Audeze warmth, but the added treble extension means it never feels dark and it has wonderful imaging.
All that technology and sound doesn’t come cheap. The LCD-4 is selling for $3995, which is twice the price of their previous flagship. The King amplifier will sell for $3,995 as well, but it’s currently on IndieGoGo [https://www.indiegogo.com/] where it can be had for 25% cheaper for the next few weeks.