Review: Audeze LCD-MX4 – The Studio LCD

Bass

 

Bass is tight and fast at all times and even though it does go low, it’s more about quality than it is about quantity and impact. The MX4 is a neutrally tuned headphone for studio use and as such you can’t expect or don’t want bass to be pounding. No, the MX4 is always perfectly in control of the bass and you get a lighter, yet nice, clean and precise presentation.

If you want more bass you can always use an EQ but that’s something I’m never in favour of. As I mentioned earlier the MX4 is transparent and you can tune the bass body or the body in general by using a different, bass heavier amplifier. Pick your favorite bass heavier amp, turn on De Staat’s Pikachu track and be impressed.

No matter what you do though, the MX4 will never become a crazy bass heavy headphone. The MX4 at all times is in control of the bass with a fast, and tight delivery as is needed in the studio. At the same time it has enough and quality bass to be really pleasing at home or in the office as well.

Mids

The MX4 is nicely balanced and the mid section perfectly connects to and flows from the bass with the same attitude.

The mids logically also have a neutral, transparent presentation with great dynamics but as stated earlier they have a slightly smooth and rich presentation which I absolutely love. The mids are precise, detailed and dynamic and with that tad of smoothness they are always musical, yet precise.

Of course you get great clarity and a really clean sound in the mids. The voices are realistic and maybe a little more forward though that never annoys one bit (it’s more obvious in balanced mode). Throw on a FLAC version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Mid layering to me never was the strongest point of the Audeze’s but the upper mids layering actually is quite good.

Treble

I really like the MX4’s treble presentation and for me it’s one of the best performing Audeze headphones in this area. Treble is fast, every energetic, dynamic and detailed and it never becomes shrill or harsh.

The clarity and cleanness is impressive and the extension is actually nice with great decay. Like with the mids there’s this slightly smooth delivery that makes the upper region very pleasing to the ear. The treble section perfectly connects from the mids and it shows the great linearity of the MX4, a characteristic needed for studio use.

Like with the upper mids the treble layering and decay is actually quite good and I definitely like that in the MX4.

Sources / Amplification

According to Audeze and the specs the MX4 can be driven by anything and while I guess that in theory is true there is a world of difference between the MX4 straight from a DAP and the MX4 from a medium to high end amp.

Without amplifier you get very light body presentation overall without impact and the bass department is, yeah well, where is it? Can you listen to it, sure, you always can. But does it sound good and do I recommend it? Not at all. Use an amp, you’re ears will thank you.

Even though I really wished the result aka sound quality straight from the brand new iBasso DX220 was good, it simply isn’t and there’s absolutely no fun in listening to the MX4 straight from this DAP. It’s very different when you ad in a little (DAC/)AMP like the Mojo and the MX4 will sound full, have impact and deliver bass. In a neutral way, but at least it’s there.

Hook it up to a bigger amp like the HA2-SE, Headonia or Atlas and the MX4 performs best. My personal favorites with the MX4 are the Atlas (where it has great body, bass impact and awesome resolution) and the Headonia tube amp (less bass compared to the Atlas, but a smoother tube presentation).

As said before the MX4 is transparent and the sound characteristics of your amp will immediately be audible, but even more important, the MX4 will sound at its best. Even if it’s a bit different from amp to amp, you’ll always get a very good sound.

Conclusion

Do I like the Audeze LCD-MX4? I do, without any doubt. It’s a great sounding headphone with its own characteristics and positive and negative points but it’s also a headphone that makes all genres sound good. The MX4 is a headphone you can use in the studio but you can also really enjoy it at home and even for non-critical listening.

The MX4 doesn’t only sound great but it looks great as well and it’s build to last for a very long time, in the toughest of conditions. If you have the budget for the headphone of this level and like the typical Audeze sound in a more neutral form for studio use, then the MX4 is absolutely recommended.

Admitted, the price is a little steep looking at some of the competitor’s offerings and also in regard to the accessories bundle the Audeze LCD-MX4 comes with, but at the same time you’ll  be very happy with what you’ll hear. Just use an amp, and enjoy, produce and mix away.

Review: Audeze LCD-MX4 – The Studio LCD
4.3 (86.11%) 131 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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