Audeze LCD-4

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by matias, Sep 28, 2015.
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  1. johnzz4
    I keep doin upgrades to my system and the LCD4s just keep scaling. Switching back and forth with the X now shows how much of an improvement the 4 really is. I just get lost in the 3D space and all the effortless detail.

    When I bought them, my system was more modest, and I questioned keeping them. I’m glad I did. Enjoy...
     
    RCBinTN likes this.
  2. RCBinTN
    Hello -
    Please don't go away mad. Let me offer a couple ideas first...
    The LCD-4 are so amazingly resolving, you owe it to yourself (and to the headphones) to further explore upstream gear.

    The best ways I know to do that are:
    1) Go to a headphone meet or a CanJam. Bring your headphones. You can listen, for free, to different DACs and amps. Test your rig against others.
    2) Go to a local equipment vendor, who will be happy to let you test their gear, probably with your own music.
    3) Ask people on Head-Fi, who have been on the journey for sometimes years to find the best combination.

    I have been lucky enough to participate in #1 and especially #3.
    Yes, I did buy equipment without listening to it first. That's a risk. Several times, I failed.

    But, I didn't buy the LCD-4 that way. It was too big a decision.
    I had to hear them on my own equipment. This was after owning the LCD-X and XC. And hearing the LCD-3f at a meet.
    Only a local headphone meet could enable that experience, for me.

    So now, I'm a very satisfied LCD-4 owner. The level of musical detail, and enjoyment, is just amazing.

    It was worth the work, at least for me. YMMV.
    All the Best -
    RCB
     
    Wildcatsare1 and Audio-Phile like this.
  3. miko64
    LCD4 competition!

    Quick feed-back re Final D8000. I own both Audeze LCD-4 and Final Audio D8000 and wanted to provide a quick resume. I think it is fair to say that I love Audeze and hence might be biased. Long story short: Bought Final Audio because it sounded really good and because the build quality was spotless. It shared most of the strengths of LCD4 but is better, because it (slightly) resolves better complex orchestra and sound the digitally pimped LCD-4 w/o EQ. So I am deeply impressed. The build quality is better, in particular the head-band of LCD4 out of carbon is annoying.
    I will provide a more formal analysis later, suggest to everyone to listen to it. Happy New Year Michael
     
  4. Room Tone
    Since we are talking about monster amps for these beautiful monster Audeze cans, I can report that the Mjölnir Audio Pure BiPolar absolutely adores the LCD-4. It pairs nicely with the MrSpeakers Aeon Flow Closed, as well.

    I read Bob's post "Icelandic Wonder" over at Katz' Corner (Inner Fidelity) about this very pairing. Bob doesn't mince words when it comes to his professional opinion as a mastering engineer. I can report that his recommendation is spot-on. The Pure BiPolar's designer, spritzer has a sterling reputation as a high-current amp whisperer. His designs are well regarded around the web.

    The skinny on the Pure BiPolar is this: If you feed it from a truly balanced (differential) DAC that puts out a studio +4V signal via XLR, this amp will love you. It will blow magic out of your balanced headphones. The amp's input stage will convert a single-ended signal to balanced, but when I tested it with the single-ended RCA (consumer level) output on my DAC using an RCA-to-XLR ground lift cable, it lost a significant portion of its mojo. Which is to say, it sounded normal instead of like pure magic as it does with the balanced connection.

    What is so amazing to me is that the sound stage doesn't scale with volume. You turn it up, you turn it down, the things on the soundstage get louder or quieter, but as objects in a sound field, they never get closer or further away. People talk about "a wire with gain" and I never really understood that until now.

    The headphone port on the Pure BiPolar is a 4-pin Balanced XLR only. Not that you would want to, but I don't think you can even convert that to a common ground TRS... (linking the two grounds might short the amp?) I am fully sold on the benefits of an end-to-end DAC-to-amp-to-headphones dual mono differential signal. It's so wonderfully resolving. This is the amp I would partner with a Chord Dave, Hugo TT 2 (holding my breath), Denefrips Terminator, or a Bricasti M1 SE. I think it's a bargain for the money.

    For comparison, gain-wise the Aeon Flow Closed wants between 25-35% full scale from the Pure BiPolar. The LCD-4 wants about 50-65%.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  5. ajreynol
    Hey guys, any recommendations for an *affordable* (< $200) balanced 4-pin cable? I was looking at one off Etsy from AmplifierSurgery and one off of eBay from LQi Cables, but don't have a real point of reference to gauge any of them...so I thought I'd ask. I know Audeze has their own standard looking $150 cable. Just wondering if there are any out there that beat its build/performance quality for around that price or less.

    Also, does copper vs silver plated copper matter much?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  6. Room Tone
    Doesn't the LCD-4 ship with the braided Kimber-cable style Audeze cable now? That's what mine came with. I had my local electronics repair guy* splice in a male-female pair of 4-pin balanced Neutrik connectors about a foot from the end. That way, I have the balanced cable and an 8-inch long 4-pin Female XLR to TRS adapter. All I had to do was supply him with the pin-out for the 4-pin XLR.

    The connectors cost me roughly $10 for the pair, with shipping from MarkerTek. If you go this route, you'll want the Neutrik NC4MXX-BAG male on the headphone side of the cable and the Neutrik NC4FXX-BAG female on the short adapter end. The BAG connectors are the higher quality ones without gold solder contacts. The B connectors are the lower quality ones with gold pins. (Gold is great for solderless contact fittings, but gets squirrelly when you have to solder it. Not recommended if you want your cable to last more than a year or three.)

    * He's the authorized service tech for most of the high end audio brands in my area, so I trust him.
     
  7. ajreynol
    Yea, they do. Maybe I could ask Audeze if they can just convert the cable? I'll give them a call, though having a second cable still feels more appealing.

    Having to find an audio guy locally to do that kind of splice work just doesn't excite me at all.
     
  8. Room Tone
    It wasn't so bad. I basically walked into the store, showed him my cable and the pin out diagram. He gawped and made the O_o face because, as it turns out, he's a big headphone audiophile, too. He charged me twenty bucks and used silver eutectic solder. This is his handiwork:

    IMG_4802.JPG

    Also, note that the Neutrik MXX-series connectors are a dead match for the TRS that's already on the cable end. I wish Audeze had gone with a silver end, personally, but I understand that people want gold.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    RCBinTN and Slim1970 like this.
  9. Slim1970
    That actually looks very professional. He did a good job on your cable.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Room Tone likes this.
  10. ajreynol
    yea that's a really nice job there. If you don't mind, could you link me the pin out diagram in the event that I can find a guy that I can trust to do that work?
     
  11. Slim1970
    I wouldn't mind it either. Thanks in advance!
     
  12. Room Tone
    I just did an image search for Audeze Balanced Diagram. I gave him the image below because everyone has standardized on the "HiFiMAN" pin-out for balanced amplifier connections. It is worth reiterating that the MALE connector terminates the headphone side of the cable and the FEMALE connector (as in the diagram below) terminates the short adapter. PS: Yes, I verified using some old Stereophile calibration CD tracks that this pin-out produces the correct phase!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Roybenz
    Audeze swapped mine 1/4 for a xlr. Really Nice service and they shipped with Express also :) just ask them for a swap and youre good.
     
    Room Tone likes this.
  14. Room Tone
    Ha! Good to know. So, ajreynol & Slim1970, it looks like you have a couple options.

    Being in engineering myself, it wasn't such a big deal to get it worked on by someone I trust. I also specifically wanted a splice, rather than an out-and-out swap, because although all of my gear is fully-balanced, many of my friends' amps are not. Sure, there is an extra contact fitting in the signal path, but I just want the short TRS connector for one-off situations. It cost me roughly the same as shipping and I had it back a day later.

    Having said that, I would be surprised if Audeze didn't bend over backwards when it comes to customer support. While equipment performance is obviously a requirement at this price range, a large part of what you pay for with a high-end luxury product is world-class, zero frustration customer service. I wouldn't expect anything less from Sankar & Co.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  15. ajreynol
    Thanks, room! I very much like the idea of splicing it. I guess I'd just need to find someone local that could do it.

    edit: i did buy the 2 pieces in the event that I can find someone to do the splice work.

    Was the cable they sent you the same quality braided cable and not the cheaper flat cable that I see on their accessories page?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
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