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Audeze LCD-4

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by matias, Sep 28, 2015.
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  1. Torq
    The fact that planar headphones have, essentially, flat impedance means that the damping factor is less of (or not) a concern - and that's what you seem to be talking about.
    The effect of impedance on amplifier output power is unchanged regardless of the driver technology.  Double your impedance and, generally, you're halving your realized output power (or worse, depending on your power-supply design etc.).
    Then there's a 3dB drop in sensitivity ... which means you're going to need more power to get to the same SPL ... a bit of a double whammy.  Couple these effects, and an amplifier that had sufficient grunt to do a good job, with useful headroom, with the "old" LCD-4 may struggle or have insufficient headroom with the "new" driver.  I wouldn't see it being an issue with my Ragnarok, but it might well be for my WA6.
    I'm an Audeze fan.  I'm in favor of continuous development.  I still think this is a pretty big change for a $4,000 headphone, particularly so early on.  At that price I want to know what I am buying is properly sorted.  Unless Audeze are going down the Ferrari FXX route here that is ...
  2. MisterMoJo
    There is an ancient american saying: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Honestly I would not suggest sending your working headphones in to get them fixed just in case they might break later.  Makes very little sense to me to do so.  I would hold onto them and take care of them and if they fail, THEN send them back to be fixed.  Just my opinion.
  3. schugh
    I just checked my serial #. Looks like I have the updated version.
  4. mlxx
    There is no point sending them back now for the updated ones now. Who knows if the updated ones are any better in terms of reliability at this stage anyway. I would wait at least 6 months to see how the new model goes first and to also get some impressions of how they sound. It worries me that the updated ones won't sound as good, the old LCD4 I heard sounded awesome, if they can improve on that further that would be pretty amazing. So just be patient and enjoy your current LCD4 in the meantime.
    It doesn't matter to planars but it matters to the amplifier. It will depend on the amplifier how it is affected. Some lower powered amplifiers will become borderline now for sure, others will have plenty of power so won't make much difference to them. The LCDX is way more sensitive so not a good comparison anyway.
    Any impressions?
  5. Trogdor
    I have been following this thread religiously for sometime now (I'm prepping a HE1K vs LCD-4 review sometime next month).

    I'd like to make a few comments:

    I am an owner of a non-fazor LCD-3. I bought it used. It had a driver failure. Audeze fixed it no questions asked, didn't charge me a dime. They were courteous, responsive, and kept me informed throughout the process. That was 2 years ago. I've never had a problem since.

    But here's the thing: let's say tomorrow they do fail again for whatever reason. I have extremely high confidence that they would fix it again no questions asked. Perhaps I'm just lucky or have a really great telephone voice, but from reading reports of driver failures, when they do happen, Audeze makes it right. Every single time. I don't think I have ever read a report where Audeze just outright refused to fix it. This seems like a company that stands by all of its customers no matter how you obtained their product. Food for thought.

    There are posts in this thread of people however who seem to have this incorrect belief that because a headphone is expensive, it should therefore be more reliable. Actually, quite the opposite is true. Every high-end headphone I suspect has a higher in the field failure rate then their more mundane, mass manufactured counterparts. I absolutely expect my KSC-75s to last a lot longer than my HE-1Ks. Just like I would expect a Toyota Corolla to last longer than some hand-built exotic sports car. In the hand-built exotic sports car case, their will be more variation during the manufacturing process and thus, a higher chance of failure. High-end exotic headphones are really no different.

    Also, speaking of failures. You have to understand that ALL headphone manufacturers source in parts from third-party suppliers. All of them. Whether it's the enclosure or the raw materials they use to make the diaphragm etc. Again, parts suppliers have variations during production runs which is why occasionally you see slight differences on how a headphone "breaks-in" and in the worse case scenario, slightly different sound signatures (rare but it does happen). QA can only prevent DOA type scenarios, but it can't test whether or not your headphone diaphragm is going to last in the next 10-20 years. You are talking about a mechanical part under load in various different environments (amps, temperature, usage patterns, etc.). Do I think that most speaker designs last decades? Absolutely. But do I also understand that there could be a batch of raw materials that are used to make those speakers cause one run to last longer than the other? Absolutely. Again, cars are no different.

    Most of the failure reports I've read so far are fairly normal and I don't see any real pattern to cause alarm. YMMV.
    Audio-Phile likes this.
  6. nam3less
    Sorry for the delayed response. I'm guessing I got in really early when they stopped orders. I'd trust the vendor unless proven otherwise.
  7. Rico613

    I ordered mine in November two weeks ago my vendor said it would ship in 10 days . . .  [​IMG]
  8. Torq
    While the realities of boutique manufacturing are what they are, there's a gulf of difference between making minor running product changes and completely revising the spec on what is arguably the single most critical part of the product.  As a retroactive free upgrade offer, that's pretty cool; as a "this is what you'll get if you ever have a warranty issue" situation it is markedly less so.  It's doubtful that everyone will agree that this new driver "sounds better" (even if it measures better), and it's potential for causing amplifier inadequacy issues are pretty obvious.
    If we were talking about where they sourced the leather for the headphone band, or what brand of connector was on the cable, that would be one thing.  We're not.  It's a significant change to the driver that may, or may not, be to existing customer's liking and/or compatibility with the equipment they bought the headphones to operate with.
    This isn't even directly comparable to the Fazor running-change - that only affected the signature, not electrical spec/amplifier compatibility - and even that hasn't been to everyone's liking (I don't like what it did to the LCD-2, for example).
    Regardless, I don't think anyone is questioning whether Audeze would repair their product under warranty (or otherwise for used/out of warranty units).  And them standing behind their product should be expected - you don't get bonus points for simply honoring your warranty.  But, regardless, warranty claims are a pain in the arse, cost the customer more money and take the units out of their hands - typically for a couple of weeks at a time - no one wants to buy a product EXPECTING to have to go through that.
    Rightly or wrongly, that's the position more than one potential purchaser is finding themselves in.  Who's fault is that?  Not the customer's.
    (And I still want to upgrade my LCD-2.2c with a new Audeze headphone.  I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone and just go for the LCD-4.  I cancelled that order and will look at HiFiMan and JPS Labs for my immediate upgrade.  However, my next Audeze might be an LCD-X - unless the 4 proves to be a stable product in terms of spec more than reliability).
    potkettleblack likes this.
  9. Torq
    I should also say this ...
    I think it's highly laudable, praiseworthy, and possibly an industry first, to offer no-cost retro-active upgrades to a flagship product as they further refine the LCD-4 as Audeze have said they would do earlier in this thread.  That part is very, very cool and a significant incentive for cutting-edge types to jump in.
    For me it is just unsettling that the first such change is so soon and is as big as it is.  Hence my concerns about changes in the nature of what I would get today vs. after a warranty claim.
  10. Trogdor

    I respond here since you made an addendum:

    Products are "revised" all the time. Even after they are initially released. This is more true in some industries than others but pretty prevalent across the board. The fact that Audeze is giving this improvement retroactively is to use your words, very cool, and to use my words, shows what kind of company they are.

    Whether you or existing customers think this improvement sounds better is completely immaterial. The fact is Audeze thinks it sounds better and this is their flagship product. By choosing a LCD-4, you are trusting their engineering department and their decisions with respect to sound quality.

    I do agree that the impedance change is non-trivial but given the target demographic of this headphone, I severely doubt people are using it for their portable setups. The overwhelming majority of LCD-4 customers I'll surmise have dedicated systems that can easily accommodate the change.

    No one in this thread has proven that there is some kind of statistically proven higher than normal failure rate yet. All I read is war stories about the LCD-3 release and correlating their experience with the current LCD-4 roll out. That's about it.
  11. Torq
    Absolutely products are revised, after release, all the time.  Such revisions do not usually constitute such a significant change in fundamental technical specifications, however.  Changes of that magnitude are usually reserved for new models.  If Audeze are going to be an exception fine - but that won't change how it is perceived by some (how ever few).
    And it might be legally immaterial whether I, or another customer, thinks the change is for the better, but you can be sure that it is absolutely material when it comes to where they choose to spend their money in the future.
    If you repair/replace a customer's headphones with something they don't like as much (or don't work as well - even if that's a corner-case), then they're far less likely to buy from you in the future.  First, because they failed at all and second because they didn't like how the failure was resolved.  And on top of that you'll get noise from that - in places like this.
    Proof of anything here is largely irrelevant.  Selling a luxury product, at a premium price, in a market that is massively taste-driven has special challenges.  One of those is dealing with the very high degree of subjectivity in play when a potential customer is considering your product.  How any vendor chooses to deal with that is up to them, but pretending there are no consequences to their approach indicates not much more than a fundamental failure to understand business.
    I don't think I mentioned failure rates, but again you don't need fire where there's smoke to form an opinion.  It may be nothing.  It may be everything.  Since the data isn't public, what's left is speculation.  I think it's very obvious as to the effect that situation is having.  It's much easier to lose a customer, or potential customer, than it is to win one back.
    And, for me, I'd rather like Audeze to stay in business.
  12. Hifi59
    While I appreciate Audezes attempt to put us at ease with their statement about the revision a few pages back, it has actually done the opposite for me. They said it doesn't quite have as much midrange. Isn't the delicious Audeze midrange one of the major reasons people buy them? The other statement said that they are even more accurate. Who's buying Audezes for accuracy?
    We want that Audeze house sound in all its glory! Not more accuracy and less midrange. Quite the opposite. Having said that, they will likely still sound awesome, but maybe not as much as the early releases.
  13. johnzz4
     It seems they're being transparent with us about the changes in sound, specs, etc. They're also making it clear that they're making the update 'available', not mandatory. If you love the sound of the LCD-4s as they are, I'd just be happy I got them when I did - plus they'll potentially be coveted one day. Just wait a while until there's more feedback on the new vs. old LCD-4s. I don't think this is a now or never update in a couple weeks... I don't see how this isn't a win for the early adopters. We now have choices.

    For me, I have the LCD-X which seems to have a mid-range that is more tonally 'accurate'. I personally appreciate the timbre and accuracy of the X more than the 4, but I like everything else about the 4 (resolving power,imaging, soundstage, etc.). This change sounds like it's going to be the best of both worlds.
  14. DoctaCosmos
    Well I knew I had to come to my senses and know I wouldn't be able to afford a 4 any time soon so I bought a 3 year old prefazor lcd3 today. All these years and finally have amazing sound that I enjoy every second of
    RCBinTN likes this.
  15. bosiemoncrieff
    could someone link in the first post to any reviews in the thread? I've spent an hour looking through it and I see mostly speculation and chatter—one linked review and one headfi impression.
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