LCM BD4.2 Hybrid Ciem
LCM BD4.2 is equipped with a 4 BA and 2 Dynamic drivers.
Impactful, full-souding, thunderous. It has all the juice you want, all the juice you need. No matter the genre, the pot enables it to be the jack of all trades.
A little laid back througout the spectrum. They are not as detailed and articulate as highs frequencies. They are thin sounding. They need more weight down there!
Vocals are clear, sometimes prone to sibilance. Female vocals especially. Although the micro details and resolution is top-notch.
Sparky, energetic, crisp. Yes! They are everything you want highs to be. Resolution is again, top notch. They are very coherent and blissful.
How deep is your love? Well this mate's headstage is huge. Every instrument is distinctive, well-placed and well-layered.
Well here it comes. BD4.2 is NOT a particularly fast monitor. In fact, I am surprised to see it struggle with genres like speedmetal.
I am not happy with this section. Other than that, it is a great monitor.
Somewhat neutral - analytic. (bass dialed %50) Overall it is a bright earphone. If you like sparkly highs, you'll love Lear.
I found LCM BD4.2 exceptionally great with classical music. Bach, Chopin, Frederic never sounded this good before.
If you are a detail freak, resolutionist, airyness junkie, this monitor is for you. If you want to listen black metal, this monitor is not for you and you'll have to look elsewhere.
Pros: Resolution, Neutral air between instruments, Natural presentation, Bass tuning
Cons: Some may find its notes a bit thin, Cable, Large shell
A while ago, Lear from Hong Kong, a Head-Fi sponsor, launched BD4.2 in both universal and custom shell. Tatco, the CEO of Lear, decided to organize an Australian tour for LUF-BD4.2 and a few listeners didn’t leave positive feedbacks as well as people who tried demos in some audio shops.
Honestly, I had some questions and doubts before getting it. BD4.2 comes in two versions. LCM (Lear Custom Monitor) is custom fit; LUF is a universal monitor. I went for the custom version. The result was very different from impressions about demo-universal version. I have been using it for a few months and it now has more than 150 hours burn-in.
The earphone is called as LCM in this review.
Picture from Lear
When I contacted to Lear, Tatco replied in 24 hours. Due to time difference between our countries, that may be seen as a very fast replying time. Customer service gets back to you in 48 hours at most. Tatco is very comprehensive, helpful and patient. It is very easy to do some transaction with him.
If you don’t use a private shipping company while sending your ear impressions to Lear, it might take a while if your country is far from Hong Kong. I wouldn’t say that Hong Kong Post is very fast.
The turn around time is approx. 21 days. It is less than the average turn around time in the industry. Tatco offers some different and colorful custom designs with wooden faceplate option. Honestly, Lear does a good job here, no complaints.
Tatco also has an audio shop and we can get many famous brands’ products from him as well as Lear’s own products.
Built Quality, Cable, Accessories and Internals:
LCM has a large shell due to big dual bass drivers and vent hole; and it sticks out from the ear. For some, it may cause a disturbance, but I have no complaints about the big size of LCM.
The built quality is decent. It is made from acrylic and there are some minor bulges on the corner of the faceplate. I haven’t seen a significant bubble here. However, the fit and the comfort are good and didn’t send it back for a refit. I don’t lose seal, but the isolation is average due to vent hole for dynamic drivers.
LCM comes with an Otterbox hard case, a soft carrying case, a cleaning tool, a bass tuning tool, a microfiber cloth, a user manual and surely a Lear stock cable. The accessories are presented in an outer box on which Lear’s marks are printed. In sum, the richness and the packaging of accessories is quite good for a TOTL CIEM.
The Lear stock cable sounds good, but the built quality is not like Westone or UM stock cable. Looking is better than UM, Westone and Custom Art’s stocks, but built quality stays a bit behind them. The stock cable uses an old type Westone 2 pin. Lear also offers MMCX type connectors.
The socket of LCM was too much tight at the very beginning. I was afraid of breaking the shell while removing the cable. For now, it seems okay; but I am not sure about the socket’s durability and life due to too much tightness.
Bass-tuning potentiometer is located just on top the earphone and works very well. It is neither too tight nor too loose. It is not a gradual one and that makes critical tuning possible.
LCM is a hybrid earphone, which consists of two dynamic and four balanced armature drivers in 3-way configuration. It utilizes the smallest diameters of acoustic tubes that I have ever seen on a CIEM. Dynamic drivers use silicon tubes, while armatures use metal-silicon combined ones. Each dynamic driver has its own acoustic tube; in total there are 4 tubes in LCM. Due the diameters of the tubes, it seems difficult to clean them easily. The cleaning tool is a bit too thick and we sometimes need a needle to clean the tubes.
Lear LCM-BD4.2 is on a bit warm side of the neutral; and sounds a bit laid back, quite natural and very spacious. With a bass tuning opportunity, listener can change the bass presentation. However, we have to take that the bass presentation changes the note recreation and color of the entire spectrum into consideration.
In general, LCM’s lows sound with a sweet-emotional tone, which comes from the nature of dynamic drivers. Overall, sub-bass has a smooth punch with enough rumble and dynamic drivers creates a feel of air. The depth of the bass presentation is good and it utilizes the low frequency dimensions on the stage very well.
There is a headphone-like presentation when the bass setting is minimum. The stage is airiest and the most spacious here. At the half and first quarter bass settings, already a bit warmish note neutrality doesn’t change much and there is an acceptable quantity increase in both sub and mid-bass region; but the stage is still spacious.
Beyond the half bass setting, especially at the 3rd quarter, the midrange presentation becomes a bit colored due to the tone of the mid bass. Also, increased mid bass quantity makes lower midrange’s note recreation a bit thicker than the LCM’s average.
At the 3rd quarter setting, the mid bass becomes quite prominent and sub bass’ punch becomes a bit more powerful. Even with the 3rd quarter setting, the stage stays quite spacious, surely not as it is below the halfway. Until that setting, mid bass is also controlled and doesn’t tighten the stage; and including 3rd quarter, the resolution and the texturing of both mid and sub bass are very good.
At the max setting, there is an unbelievable much bass quantity, and it is almost impossible to listen to it more than 15 minutes. In my opinion, this kind of quantity is too much for even bass-heads and the spaciousness gets lost.
At 3rd setting, the low frequency speed is not much with fast tracks and it may miss some notes. However, below the halfway the speed is good, especially at min setting. Honestly, turning the bass knob to min, in order to listen to fast tracks, is a must.
In general, midrange has a bit laid back and very resolving presentation. I wouldn’t call it bright, but we can say that it is ‘’open’’. Depending on bass setting, midrange becomes a bit colored, but nothing major about to complain. Thanks to the sweet tone of the lows, lower mids have exceptional timbre with very natural and realistic touches.
The midrange does have neither thick nor very thin note recreation. Honestly, it may closer to a bit thinner side for some listeners, but I call it a bit less weighty rather than thin and would say that it has a very natural tone with a non-piercing sound. Even if the overall mid presentation isn’t so weighty, it is very clear, clean and quite transparent with a true tone overall.
Upper mids are quite controlled. LCM doesn’t over brighten upper mids, but gives an extra openness to them. However, upper mids are not smooth enough to completely eliminate sibilance due to the extra openness. Of course, it isn’t piercing. Additionally, with coloration, increasing bass quantity gives a smoothness to upper-mids, but not much.
I wouldn’t say LCM’s mids too laid back. It has a U shape presentation rather than having V shape. The listener is not very intimate with musicians, but there is a very enveloping sound. LCM locates the stage a bit far from the musicians, and listener sits away from the stage. Even if the stage isn’t located close to musicians, the transparency and resolution is top notch; and the presentation is not veiled.
Even if they aren’t full bodied much, the highs have one of the most natural and alive presentation that I have ever heard. They are forgiving but also open and airy. The treble extension is very good and detail level is quite high; transparency and resolution is great. The treble is neither piercing nor bright; and there is no hormonal effect like coloration. The treble quantity is a bit more than the midrange quantity.
The highs are not so fast. Some notes may be missed in fast tracks. It is good with Dream Theater-like speed, but it isn’t enough for very fast metal tracks.
Soundstage and Instrument Separation:
LCM has a very spacious and airy soundstage with fairly effectual distances. The instruments are not located too far away from each other, but there is enough space between them to create a very spacious presentation. However, to make stage spacious, LCM reduces the instruments’ area on the stage. This, unfortunately, sometimes makes the notes recreation a bit thinner than realistic. The depth and the width of the stage are also very good and help recreation of a good and enveloping 3D presentation.
Until the halfway of the bass setting, there is a neutral air between instruments; but beyond this setting, the air becomes a bit warm. The instrument positioning and coherence is fairly good, since there aren’t too long distances between musicians. The instrument separation is quite good, but the blackness isn’t the blacker one.
Lear LCM-BD4.2 seems to be the top performer among my CIEMs in many categories. Spaciousness, naturalness, transparency and resolution are the top abilities of LCM. Surely the note recreation isn’t the best, and some would find it a bit thin. However, LCM outperforms all other hybrid earphones that I’ve tried including Tralucent 1p2. Thus, I think that custom version would be dramatically better than universal version of BD4.2. With LCM-BD4.2, we can get both ‘’AKG’’ and ‘’Hifiman’’ like sounding in the same earphone.