Audeze LCD-MX4

Discussion in 'Sponsor Announcements and Deals' started by Audeze, Oct 7, 2017.
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  1. Danz03
    You are right, my iSine 20 didn't sound right using the 3.5mm jack, but with careful EQing with the Audeze app, they sound great, especially the bass, which is deep and lower than most of my other headphones or IEMs. Now with my iPhone X, I don't have much choice but to use the lightning connector anyway. I didn't think it was a good idea at the beginning but come to think of it, since all our ears are of different shapes and sizes, if we need to have very accurate sounding IEMs or headphones, maybe it's the only way to do it, like how the Smyth Realiser system works.
  2. SomeGuyDude
    Perhaps I wasn't clear. The Reveal plugin gives me pause for future products. Not currently existing ones. Similar to the iSines which seem to have been reviewed universally as sounding significantly better with the cipher cable, I fear that future models will fall down a similar path.

    Why do head-fi'ers roll components? Well, we're not the ones building headphones (generally). I can promise you if I had the capability to build a headphone from the ground up to my liking I would, though odds are good it would sound pretty much like the LCD-X. I do understand the flexibility, and hell I appreciate it, but I start to shy away from any situations where I feel as if the product needs more than just what's in the box to sound "like it should."

    This is doubly so in the case of things that cannot be used across all devices. IEMs with filters may give me a similar pause, but they aren't exclusive to iDevices or require a PC. I couldn't make use of the Cipher cable because I don't have an iPhone and the Reveal plugin means you can't use it with non-computer sources. I find this a strange path to start going down when they're both advertised as greatly enhancing the experience, since it means there will be a chunk of the customer base that literally can't make use of it.

    As I've said elsewhere, I might be the most shameless Audeze fanboy on here, the only reason I'd consider selling my LCD-X would be to help fund getting an MX4 or an LCD-4, and I'll defend the Deckard to the death, but as much as I do appreciate the concept of personalizing things, I find myself a bit less than enthused when it leaves me feeling as if I, without them, am losing some essential portion of the experience.

    EDIT: To add a final point, I think my main concern is this. I fear that, with things like the Cipher cable or the plugin being on the table now, in the creation of these products, the answer to "well what about this issue" becomes "that's what the cable/plugin is for" rather than "yes let's remedy that." A product I need to EQ and tweak in order to sound right is not one I find myself likely to buy, and that may be my personal flaw but that's all I can present is my own opinion.

    I like my headphones to have as few "moving parts" as possible, as it were. Some may like doing tons of rolling and swapping and EQ'ing, but not me, because there are always factors that can get in the way of that and I really don't want to be somewhere finding myself going "ugh this doesn't sound right I wish I could use this cable/plugin."

    When these things come from third-party companies like Sonarworks, then the original manufacturer isn't going to either rely on customers having them or have any incentive to get customers to purchase them and the products have to be made assuming that said extra products won't be used. When there's an assumption or a desire for them to be used... I sense problems.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  3. KMann
    You can rest assured that product development both past and future happened independent of the availability of the plugin or accessories such as the Cipher cable. We add the presets only after we have enough in production already. This is not very different from other companies such as Sonarworks making a preset available for our products (and other headphones).

    Regarding iSines, the same is true. iSine sound the way they do due to their form factor(a semi-open single driver planar iem) and if you will find it hard to purchase a better tuned planar iem in the market from a different manufacturer. The iSines sound the way they do due to their form factor, similar to how a closed full sized headphone will sound different from a full sized open headphone.
  4. SomeGuyDude
    I'm glad to hear this, but I'm not feeling like you're talking about the same thing I am regarding the iSines. They sound markedly different with the 3.5mm cable versus the Cipher cable. I noticed it, every review I've seen has noted this, and they've all also agreed that the Cipher cable is significantly better sounding, which tells me that the Cipher cable is tuning them, which is my qualm here. For someone who does not have an iDevice (and who will be using multiple devices), this is a serious issue. For the product to be inferior without buying the additional element sets a worrying precedent.

    As long as this trend doesn't continue, then I won't complain, but products from Sennheiser and Parrot have both laid down the foundation of headphones that are intended to be paired with software and sound fairly weak without it. As good as it may be together, that's a dangerous road to go down.
  5. UELong
    It sounds like the case of those old Bose speakers, wherein you had to drive them with a specially built Bose amp to get the properly EQ'ed response; they didn't sound good on their own. I haven't tried the Isine 10/20s, but the reviews I read imply that they don't sound as good with a straight wire, as with the cypher cable with the built-in EQ.
  6. SomeGuyDude
    Yep. From a consumer standpoint that's worrisome. It doesn't exactly lead to brand confidence if there's a feeling that they're going to be making products that are specifically built toward certain devices. I can definitely vouch that the iSines do not sound right without the Cipher. The low end is seriously lacking just out of an Android device, for example.

    The Sonarworks analogy rings hollow because that's someone else taking a product and doing what they can to tweak it to their preferences. A headphone coming out of Audeze shouldn't need a second piece of hardware or software to tune it in any way, it should be perfectly tuned right out of the box and any amp/cable preferences are simply coloring it.

    The fact that the Reveal plugin has presets (as opposed to just being an Audeze-branded EQ) means that they took their own products and then gave them each a customized tuning. Okay... so what sound are they going for with the Reveal presets? More importantly, why don't the Audeze headphones sound like that to begin with? I can understand it with Sonorworks because Audeze and SW can have differing opinions on what the optimal output is, and that's why I tend to like brands like Audeze who have a "house sound."

    That's why this is all really rubbing me the wrong way. When you buy a headphone, there's an understanding that the company who made it had a clear idea of what it should sound like. If that same company makes a cable or a VST plugin that alters the sound, it makes me think that it's "incomplete" on its own.

    I'm writing all this crap because I'm a huge Audeze fan and I'm not exactly stoked about the idea of having to pass on products because I'm not able to use what appears to be a fairly necessary element.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  7. Danz03
    I was a huge Audeze fan too, been so since they first released the LCD-2 and owned all their products up till they released the god awful EL-8. I got the iSine 20 because there were no demoing available, maybe I wouldn’t have bought them if there were. Still, since I have the iPhone X now with no mini jack out, the lightning connector seems like a useful option.

    The problem I think is, when Audeze realeased sonething as perfect as the LCD-X, it’s a hard act to follow, to me, even the ridiculously expensive LCD-4 cannot better in terms of sonic accuracy. It’s like they just release something and make them ridiculously expensive to lure ppl to buy them (like all the JH Audio and other so-called flag ship IEMs and headphones).

    The EL-8 were just totally repulsive to me, they just sounded so wrong, unlike any of the other Audeze products, as if they have turned their backs on their aim they originally had for making accurate sounding headphones for sound engineers and producers. I have lost all respects for Audeze since.

    I’ve always been on the look out for accurate sounding headphones and IEMs but for a long while, I haven’t encountered anything better than my LCD-X and the old black Noble Kaiser 10U. Now I’ve more or less replaced my LCD-X with MrSpeakers Ether and the 10U with Kaiser Encore. Ether has very similar sound signature as LCD-X but weight much less and a lot more comfortable to wear, so it enables me to work much longer wearing them.

    IMO, no headphones will ever sound like speakers and no speakers will ever sound like headphones. The closest I can get my headphones to sound like speakers is using the Symth A8 Realiser, SubPac with the LCD-X or Ether. All the $3k+ so-called flag-ship headphones/IEMs/amps don’t even come close.

    The software modeling technology has been very popular nowadays, The Sonarworks Reference system is a similar concept as the Slate virtual microphone or Focusrite Liquid Channel amp simulation, except Slate would use a specific reference microphone for simulating and mimicking microphones whereas Sonarworks (unless maybe if one gets the premium bundle with the pre-calibrated HD 650) is supposed turn any old headphones into another pair of headphones sonically. Which to me is a bit far-fetched, if your headphones cannot produce low frequencies lower than 100Hz, they can never sound even remotely like say an LCD-X, maybe Sonarworks should use the LCD-X as their reference headphones. The Realiser goes one better than the Sonarworks system by taking sonic measurements from inside the ear canal so taking the shapes and sizes of the ears into the equation and make the calibration much more accurate.

    To be honest, I’m quite happy with my LCD-X and more so with the Ether now, but I’d be interested to demo the LCD-MX4. I really don’t have high hopes in Audeze after the awful sounding EL-8 and the not so great but incredibly expensive LCD-4, still I hope I’ll be presently surprised by the LCD-MX4.
  8. groovyd
    I love my X and XC but no longer have a need for closed reference grade headphones since I work from home and would much rather exchange the both for the mx4 assuming it is indeed lighter weight and equal or better sound to the X. By that I mean same overall response balance or technically flatter (since I target a calibrated flat response using sonarworks) and with an extension in the response for the high highs and low lows. The X misses a tinge of twinkle way up top and a smidgen of ultra deep clarity and presence. But before getting rid of the X which I love dearly it would have to be pretty much a universal opinion that it did score higher, which might be a very challenging task considering how great the X sounds.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  9. UELong
    Yeah, they'll pry them from my dead hands. I started out as a Grado man. But, I'll sell my PS1KE before my Xs.
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  10. groovyd
    Are they offering a trial period or something? I might need to actually listen to them alongside my X/XC just to be sure it is a win-win.
  11. SomeGuyDude
    It would have to be significantly better than the X to secure my purchase. Just being better wouldn't be enough. Like, it would have to be enough that going back to the X is disappointing.
  12. TSAVAlan
    Audeze offers a 30 day trial on their site for direct sales.
    The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

  13. groovyd
    Might take them up on it soon... my bad neck encourages the comfort improvements even if the sound is mostly comparable. If their correction toward flat is less of a correction then the X that would also be nice. Gotta also consider another round of shipping them off for calibration. That's always fun :wink:
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
  14. heliosphann
    Currently listening to the loaner pair provided bay @TSAVAlan @TSAVJason. Thanks guys! Really appreciate the opportunity.

    Initial impressions are very positive. They sound like a much more refined and balanced LCD-X. Comfort is also finally up to snuff for the LCD line with the new lightened cups/frame.

    I'll give some more impressions through the week and some final thoughts over the weekend.
  15. SomeGuyDude
    Definitely curious what they may have done for "balance" on these. The Audeze warmth is important to me.
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