Audeze LCD-i4 Review

Audeze LCD-i4

Today we feature the Audeze LCD-i4 monitors. A semi-open planar-magnetic IEM with a price of $2,495 USD. Can it compare to full-sized headphones?

 

Disclaimer: Audeze provided the LCD-i4 at no cost. Audeze is not affiliated with Headfonia and not a site advertiser. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity to review the LCD-i4!

 

About Audeze:

I am sure, most of you have heard the name Audeze in the past. Audeze started out as Audez’e (pronounced like Odyssey) in 2009. They have been responsible for many popular products. Headphones like the LCD series, the Sine or the EL-8 have been around our place for a while. Their products have always found a lot of fans.

The LCD-2 was their first big hit, and it was probably the headphone that brought planars back. Since then Audeze has launched a whole lot of products in different price segments. Their main focus was always in the audiophile world, however, in the recent years Audeze has also looked intensively at the gaming and Pro Audio scene.

We have covered almost all of their headphones on this little space on the internet. You can check all our previous Audeze articles here: www.headfonia.com/tag/audeze/

Since 2009 Audeze has constantly tried to improve their products and to optimize technologies. In doing so, they have refined their headphones further and further. Audeze’s popularity went uphill with about every new headphone they released. The enthusiasts loved them, and Audeze kept pushing the limits. The only product that probably was not as well received as the others would be the EL-8. I owned one about four years ago. It needed proper amplification and a better cable to fully uncover its potential.

Unfortunately they also had to face downs. A few years ago there was a big robbery at their warehouses. Many LCD-2 and LCD-3 headphones went missing from their stock. I don’t recall if the thieves were ever caught. I remember the community doing their service though, as many helped track down stolen headphones. Audeze also faced reliability issues of their drivers a couple of years back. Since then not many reports of faulty headphones came out though. So I am sure, they have solved that problem.

If you want to dig a little deeper on their technologies, I suggest you check out their articles here: https://www.audeze.com/blogs/technology-and-innovation

In 2017 Audeze introduced their first planar magnetic IEMs. The iSine 10 and 20 were absolutely unique at the time, and we’ve seen a couple of brands follow Audeze’s lead. With the LCD-i4 Audeze trickled down the driver technology of their flagship headphone into a very small form-factor.

Just a couple of months ago we reviewed their new LCD-i3 monitor, but now it’s time to check out the LCD-i4.

Audeze LCD-i4

Audeze LCD-i4

About LCD-i4:

The LCD-i4 features a semi-open back design with a 30 mm planar-magnetic driver. It sits at the top of their In Ear line-up, which consists of five models in total.

The i4 uses a Fluxor manget array and comes with Audeze’s fazor phase management. The magnets themselves are Neodymium N50 types. The LCD-i4 has a rated impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 110db/mW. This makes them fairly easy to drive to high volumes. Audeze states a frequency response from 10Hz to 50kHz.

The LCD-i4 sells for 2,495$ and can be bought from Audeze’s webstore, or one of their countless retailers worldwide.

Here is a full list of specifications (shamelessly copied from Audeze’s website):

StyleIn-ear, semi open-back
Transducer typePlanar Magnetic
Magnetic structureFluxor™ magnet array
Phase managementFazor
Magnet typeNeodymium N50
Diaphragm typeNano-scale Uniforce™
Transducer size30 mm
Maximum power handling500mW RMS
Maximum SPL>130dB
Frequency response10Hz – 50kHz
THD<0.1% @ 100dB
Impedance32 ohms
Sensitivity110 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
Minimum power requirement>50mW

Package:

Buying customers get a sturdy and robust box. Once you get rid of the white outer part, you’ll see a magnetically closing box. Your new monitors are protected by hard plastic, which at the same time lets you peek at your new toys. Getting that plastic window out can be a bit frustrating if you have clumsy fingers like me. Luckily you are probably only doing that once.

The contents and accessories of the i4 are superb in my opinion. You get a complete set of ear-tips, four pairs of ear-hooks and ear-fins. There are three different cables in the package. A silver plated copper 1.2m mini-jack, a 1.5m lightning and even a Bluetooth (aptX HD) cable. The cables are all 0.78 2-pin, should you want to cable-roll. With this cable-set all your needs should be covered. Although it would be nice to have a USB C cable in there as well, just to take care of the Android users. Also, Apple is slowly but steadily supporting USB C as well. A couple of years back I remember Audeze partnered up with different Apple stores for their EL-8 headphones. So it totally makes sense they’re supplying a lightning cable here. You also get a charging cable for the Bluetooth cable.

Audeze provides a nylon transport case, which can protect the LCD-i4 in your backpack. You get three sets of ribbed and regular silicone ear-tips. Size wise these are S, M and L. There is one set of ear-fins and four pairs of ear-hooks. You also get a shirt-clip, a cleaning tool and certificate of authenticity.

I think it’s hard to argue with an accessory set like that. Sure, the USB C cable would have been nice. On the other hand, show me another manufacturer that provides like Audeze.

More on the next page!

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    5 Comments

    • Reply January 23, 2020

      Adrien

      You barely answered your guiding question: does it compare to full-sized headphones? I would have liked to see a comparison with the LCD3 and the LCD4. Cheers.

      • Reply January 23, 2020

        Linus

        HI Adrien,

        thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
        You’re absolutely right.
        I might have to revisit the LCD-i4 properly and include a comparison to headphones I have at home. Unfortunately the LCD3 and LCD4 aren’t two of those. And any comparison that’s not done in my own apartment with extensive listening isn’t accurate to me, sorry. I’ll see if I find the time to add a proper comparison to the Meze Empyrean (LCD-i4 can compete imo) and other cans.
        Please bear with me and have some patience in the mean-time. I have a full-time job and two kids that I invest most of my time into. 🙂
        Have a great weekend!
        Cheers

    • Reply January 23, 2020

      Adrien

      Fantastic! Looking forward to your updated take on this model. I think a lot of us readers wonder whether the i line could be a suitable replacement for the heavier, clunkier full-sized models. Enjoy the week end, and your family time too 🙂

      • Reply January 23, 2020

        Linus

        I agree with you.
        In my opinion, yes, the i4 and i3 can replace some of the heavy weights. Especially in terms of audio performance and portability. There aren’t many headphones that really run well with portable gear. The only exceptions I know of from experience are the Empyrean and Abyss Diana V2 (review coming very soon). But others don’t play too well with trans/portable gear. Stuff like the HE1000se, Diana Phi and others really need you to be strapped to an amplifier. The beauty of the i3 and i4 is, that they sure do scale with big gear, but they sound bloody fantastic with say a Lotoo PAW Gold and other DAPs already.

        Thanks Adrien! I hope you’ll have a great weekend as well. For me and the kids it’s museum time again. They love it. 🙂

    • Reply March 15, 2020

      Alex

      Hello,
      I’d like to ask how it compares to a18t described here:
      https://www.headfonia.com/review-64-audio-a18t-18-ba-orchestra/5/

      My problem – I am thinking about lcd-i4 and u18t.

      My assumption – since a18t is custom made CIEM and you wrote “The model will not go back.” you still posses this monitor. And lcd-i4 was review 2 months ago so the impression might be fresh enough to compare those.
      My second assumption is a18t is very comparable to u18t – but here I’d need some more research to confirm it. Nevertheless, the comment from your side would be much appreciated.

      Best,
      Alex

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