CanJam at RMAF2017: Audeze LCD-MX4 Open Planar Magnetic Headphones

The one complaint constant over the entire lifetime of the Audeze LCD products is too much weight. As much as you or I or any enthusiast listener might whinge about it, we can always just take them off for a break. That's not so true with the pro audio folks whose work may require continuous wear...and Audeze sells a lot of their cans to pros.

Enter the LCD-MX4, a close cousin to the LCD-4 but a molded magnesium housing makes them a whopping 30% lighter. That'll make the pros happy. Thing is, pros use headphones as a personal reference tool, and they've got a lot of gadgets they need to monitor in their work. They need a headphone thay can plug into anything and still reach a solid listening level. The LCD-4 isn't quite efficient enough to pull that off. The LCD-MX4 uses a dual sided Fluxor magnet array delivering 1.5 Tesla magnetic field in which the slightly thicker diaphragm with a Uniforce circuit trace yields an impressive 105dB/mW efficiency—that's a pretty big efficiency improvement over the 97dB/mW of the LCD-4.

Lastly, no matter how hard any manufacturer tries, you can't perfectly tune a headphone by acoustics only—there comes a pont where tweaking one thing for the better will throw off something else for the worse. The answer is a little EQ—which we all know is a bit tricky to do by ear alone. Audeze has taken the guess work out of the process for the pros by producing the soon to be available REVEAL plug-in compatible with most popular digital audio workstations. It will be available in VST/AU/AAX formats for PC and Mac. The software allows you to select compensating filters for any of the Audeze headphones to do a known-good tweak to the sound of your cans.

"Hey! What about us audiophiles!?"

Worry not, Audeze has also produced a similar chunk of software for your Roon based listening. The best thing of all? They're both free!

Sankar tells us all about the LCD-MX4 and plug-ins in the video.

View on YouTube.

Mookid's picture

LCD dsp team effort happened with Roon, have a look at their announcement here

Roon describes their software as a vastly larger solution than a simple audiophile music player:

Roon looks at your music and finds photos, bios, reviews, lyrics, and concert dates, and makes connections between artists, composers, performers, conductors, and producers.
What you get is a searchable, surfable magazine about your music.

Hifihedgehog's picture

Anxiously awaiting your HD 660 S impressions and review, Tyll!

BrooklynNick's picture

Firstly, I congratulate and thank Audeze for providing EQ filters. I hope all headphone manufactures follow their lead. However, what I personally want is for my next headphone purchase to come with an EQ filter, based on measurements of that exact headphone, on a USB memory stick. Also, as an LCD 2.1 owner, I find it a bit confusing that Audeze offers a single EQ for the LCD 2 in Roon. By my count, there are at least six revisions of the LCD 2 plus numerous undocumented running changes.

detlev24's picture

Hopefully, through improved quality control, Audeze manages to build their new cans within certain very tight margins - otherwise the DSP will be useless for audio professionals. That would be similar to Sonarwork's free average calibration; which might or might not work on a specific headphone.

As of today, only individual calibration can deliver satisfying results. Maybe one day we can download the specific file by entering the headphone's serial number on an extra download space? Similar to how some measurement microphones are sold. Of course, headphones would need to be shipped "burned-in" - IF needed - so no mechanical change of the drivers could affect sound quality over time.

Jurgen's picture

If you want neutral EQ, might wanna check out SonarWorks Reference 4 software (DAW plugin). They've done their own measurements to include EQ's for A LOT of headphones incl. the LCD-2 and LCD-X that basically neutralizes the stock EQ, to create a flat curve.

There's also a stripped down version called True-Fi which basically creates a virtual audio device. Great for Spotify, Tidal, Youtube, etc...

I did some tests with the LCD-2 and concluded that it has a positive impact, especially on the bass performance. Something I was never impressed with, with the stock EQ (using Dragonfly Red + O2 Amp). I also tested the HD598 and the HD650.
Please be aware at the time of this review the software was still in beta. With the official version, they've removed the option to choose between multiple predefined curves, which I find regrettable.

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