In this article we look at the Audeze LCD-5 reference headphone, selling for $4.500 USD.
Disclaimer: The Audeze LCD-5 was sent to us by Audeze directly, in exchange for our honest review. Audeze is not related to Headfonia in any way.
If you’ve been following the personal audio world for the last 10+ years, then Audeze will ring many bells. The California, USA based company completely changed and upped the headphone game to new levels. Bio from the Audeze site:
Audeze’s origins go back to 2008 when founders Sankar Thiagasamudram and Alexander Rosson met engineer Pete Uka who developed specialized flexible circuit materials for NASA. They quickly realized the material might be perfect for headphones. And the rest is history.
Since then Audeze has launched many successful audiophile headphones and IEMs and lately they were focusing a lot on their gaming headphones. Then when we least expected it, Audeze launched two brand new audiophile models: the CRBN electrostat headphone and the new flagship orthodynamic headphone, the LCD-5. The latter which this review is all about.
We’ve reviewed almost all of the Audeze products here on Headfonia, the latest ones being the LCD-1, the Penrose and the Euclid IEM. If you’re not familiar with Audeze and the LCD-2, then I strongly suggest to read up on that headphone first, as that was a huge game changer for the headphone world. The LCD-2 was the headphone that made the market what it is today, and we have Audeze to thank for that.
Planar Magnetic Technology
As the LCD-5 is a planar magnetic technology headphone, we’re giving a very short summary of the tech for those not familiar with it.
Audeze feature proprietary planar magnetic designs with extremely thin-film driver materials and powerful custom magnets. Planars overcome many limitations inherent in typical cone drivers; our lightweight diaphragms are, for example, faster and more responsive than heavier moving-coil or dome drivers. Planar magnetic diaphragm also have a voice-coil circuit spread across the diaphragm surface. The diaphragm’s voice-coil circuit interacts with the magnetic field to produce an electromagnetic force that moves the diaphragm back and forth creating the sound you hear when energized by an audio signal.
If you want to read more about the technology, you can do this here:
With the LCD-5, everything has been improved: drivers (1), earpads (2) the frame design (3) and a new cable (4). So basically everything was changed or developed to make the LCD-5 what it is today. In this section we’ll go over these main features. The full feature list can be found on the next page, so jump there if you want the full detail.
One of the main features Audeze is putting upfront is the fact that the new LCD-5 weighs “only” 1/3rd of the LCD-4’s weight. I have never had any issues myself with heavy headphones but 420g for a headphone is still heavy. That being said, it all depends on the headband and weight distribution, and Audeze got that part spot on. More on that later in the “Comfort” section.
- The LCD-5 sports a new planar driver (90mm) and magnet structure, which are supposed to extend frequency response. The new Parallel UniforceTM diaphragms and FluxorTM Magnets according to Audeze, “provide powerful sound, unparalleled sonic detail, and incredible accuracy without increasing the impedance”. The newly designed Fazors are also optimized to reduce diffractions.
- Audeze also developed new sloped earpads, which – according to Audeze – improve the upper midrange response by reducing unwanted resonances and interior reflections.
- Frame-wise, they improved the structural head band design, incorporating magnesium, acetate and carbon-fiber for weight reduction and comfort. The acetate rings offer just the right touch of Richness, though that’s ore a personal preference. More on that later.
- A brand new cable, which is specially tuned with directional OCC high-purity copper strands “that provide a low capacitance and low resistance path to maintain unsurpassed clarity and precision”.
Of course you can find out all about the new Audeze LCD-5 on its dedicated webpage here: https://www.audeze.com/products/lcd-5
There’s also a nice video over at Head-Fi where Jude talks to Sankar. Head over there to get some more insights on the LCD-5 and how/why Audeze developed it this way.
The LCD-5 article continues on the next page with the full feature list. Click here or use the jumps below. You can also directly go to the next content part on Page 3, by using the links below.