Review: Audeze LCD-MX4 – The Studio LCD

Design

 

Compared to the other LCD headphones the look is new and at he same time still very recognizable with the iconic Audeze A on the grill. Both the LCD-MX4 as well as the 4Z share this new refreshing design.

Audeze is using softly rounded cast magnesium ear cups and they make the headphone look smoother, lighter and more modern compared to the more bulky looking cup of the other LCD models. The LCD-MX4 also uses the new headband system as the LCD2 Classic does, only this time it’s in carbon fibre to make the MX4 as light as possible.

I really love the new look this headphone has even though the wooden cups are more impressive. The cable connectors now are a part of the earcup as well. While they do look like the new style connectors, they actually are integrated in the cups. It looks nicer but I’m not sure it’s the best idea looking at durability for studio use.

The grill still has the awesome Audeze A, as I said, but instead of a more open grill you now get a metallic mesh kind of grill making the MX4 look like a closed headphone- which it of course isn’t.

You either like or hate the typical Audeze design and probably this new design will please more customers out here, but for me both the old as well as the new absolutely check my boxes. Great design.

Build Quality & Comfort

As said earlier, the MX4 is supposed to be a lightweight design with a durable magnesium housing and with a carbon fiber headband. While it supposedly is 30% lighter than the LCD4 model, the new MX4 still weighs an impressive 575g on my digital scale. The Classic we reviewed just recently weighed 552gr so the MX4 with the magnets and carbon headband, still is a heavy headphone.

At the same time the new carbon headband – available in the shop for $200USD – does a really excellent job in distributing the weight over your head. The new premium leather pads with memory foam also do a great job in spreading the clamping force on the side on your head and they deliver a perfect seal for the best sound quality. All-in-all the weight of the MX4 doesn’t bother me a single bit and I can easily wear it for hours without any discomfort whatsoever. Of course this can be completely different to you but I’m used to wearing a lot of headphones for long periods as well as a 1kg helmet on the bike.

So for me I can absolutely see why Audeze says it is the choice for long mixing sessions and hours of critical listening.

Build quality wise these are as good as it gets and at his price point hey should be as well. I have been intensively using this headphone for almost a year and there are no issues whatsoever. The LCD-MX4 is made in Audeze’s Southern California facility, and they’re doing a great job.




Cable

The LCD-MX4, just like the LCD2 Classic, comes with a shiny, braided, 4 conductor cable with a 6.3mm termination. Unlike with the some of the other models it doesn’t come with a balanced cable or with a 3.5mm terminated cable, and that’s a bit of a bummer at this price.  This is the exact same cable that also comes with the Audeze LCD2 Classic which is selling for under $1K USD.

A lot of brands nowadays use the mini-xlr plugs and so I have a lot of cables to use with this Audeze, but still. The standard cable does work perfectly fine but my favorite cable for the LCD-series still is by Norne/Norse cable I bought together with the LCD2 back in 2010. The other cable I really like with the Audeze headphones is the PlusSound X16.

Sound

Being designed for studio use the MX4 has neutral tuning, with a musical and slightly soft delivery which I’ll get back into in a bit. According to Audeze the LCD-MX4 features a different sound stage presentation than the LCD-X or LCD-4 to help simulate a room’s sound.

In single ended mode you get a more intimate, fuller sound while you in balanced mode get a more spacious sound, with a lighter amount of body and more forward vocals. Both signatures sound good and it depends on your preference of what is important to you.

As Audeze is not supplying a balanced cable and most of the studio use seems to be done in single ended mode, the rest of the description on sound will be in single ended mode but always with the MX4 hooked up to an amplifier.

General Signature

So for sure the MX4 can be labelled as a neutrally tuned headphone. At the same time it is very balanced from bass to treble and marvelously transparent. Your source and amplifier will have a big impact on how you will hear your music in the end. The MX4 is neutral but it does have a slightly smooth delivery which makes it very pleasing to listen to. The Sennheiser HD800 in example is also neutrally tuned but that one goes to the analytical side of things. The HD800 is very wide and deep, has great layering and is super precise. The MX4 isn’t as ide or deep but it has the typical ortho bass and mids with a fuller yet more intimate presentation. They’re both detailed headphones – that can be used in the studio – but they’re both for very different tastes.

The Audeze LCD-MX4 also has great dynamics and a nicely open sound, which is logic seeing it’s an open back headphone. The MX4 is precise, detailed and the separation is really good. In all frequencies the MX4 is fast and it has great prat. The MX4 will never disappoint if you like a tight, fast sound with good precision and impact.

Body-wise the MX4 is how it is supposed to be as a studio headphone: lighter but not too light, yet precise and balanced with correct and -to me – really nice impact. Don’t understand this wrong though, the MX4 is not a light sounding headphone but it doesn’t share the typical presentation and weight in body which most of the other Audeze planar headphones show. Then again choose an amp with good bass body such as the Flux Acoustic Labs Atlas, put on some rap or R&B and be amazed what it can do.

Body-wise you will also hear a difference based on the amplifier you’re using the MX4 with. With my HA2-SE amp you get a fuller sound compared to on the Auris  Headonia, but you get other things in return. More on that later.

So yeah, the MX4 has a balanced, neutral, transparent and dynamic sound which isn’t fatiguing at all. Sound stage width, depth and the layering aren’t the very best on the market as with a lot of other Audeze headphones but it’s one of the best Audeze’s for me in this regard. With the MX4 you get great detail and precision, with an enjoyable, correct spaciousness and top level clarity and cleanness.

The part on sound continues on Page 3, after the CLICK HERE

Review: Audeze LCD-MX4 – The Studio LCD
4.3 (86.06%) 142 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

3 Comments

  • Reply May 2, 2019

    ElCapitan

    Lieven, you say right above that your personal favorite with the MX4 are the Atlas and Headonia. Then you even have a link to the Atlas review, where you say:

    “The Audeze MX4 is more of a neutral studio headphone and so I expected it to sound excellent on the Atlas but it’s not really the case. In single ended mode I just really don’t like the lifeless, veiled sound the combination puts out and I really can’t find any joy in listening to the combo like this. In balanced mode this improves and you get a more enjoyable MX4 with bigger impact but it just can’t convince me. The MX4 sounds a lot better from the Acro L1000, Hugo or any of my tube amps. I then switched to the LCD-XC but that combo didn’t do it for me either. The best Audeze combo in the end was the LCD2.2 aka the 2Classic, but again, I have heard that headphone sound so much better. For me there’s no magic with the Audeze line-up I tried it with. Sorry.”

    What gives?

    • Reply May 2, 2019

      Lieven

      Well spotted, I’m as surprised as you. Thanks for pointing this out to me, I’ve added a remark/edit to the Atlas review and will be further investigating the differences
      Could it be the difference between USB and Aux In is that big? I’ll be running some test with the Atlas (DAC vs Analogue input, streaming vs no streaming, different cable etc) to see if I can pinpoint the origin and difference in performance with the MX4.

  • Reply May 6, 2019

    Kirk

    I am glad to hear the company now has more comfortable headphones. I had the LCD-XC for years and between the heavy weight and clamping force, I could not listen more than a half hour, even with a rag stuffed between my head and the LCD-XC. Now I listen with Focal.

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