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Audeze LCD-MX4

Discussion in 'Sponsor Announcements and Deals' started by Audeze, Oct 7, 2017.
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  1. thebkt
    I currently own both the X and MX4. I fell in love with the X when I originally bought them, then swooped on the MX4 over Christmas at 50% off. For MSRP there's no way I could justify replacing the X with the MX4. In Canada however, where the cheapest I could find the X was with the creator's package at $1600CAD, then $2200 to my door for the MX4 + Woo Audio stand was a fantastic deal.

    Regarding sound, they are incredibly close. I find the MX4 noticeably easier to listen to without correction, whereas I'd highly recommend the X be used along side an EQ or Sonarworks. Beyond that, they're so similar that on sound alone, I sometimes find myself slightly preferring the X. I'll be selling the X though. Why? Because to me at least, the X with less compromise. Lighter, sturdier build, premium feel, sleeker visual design, pelican case, etc.

    I love both, even the X had a few minor annoyances that I was happy to live with, they're all missing with the MX4. As such, I rarely find myself reaching for the X, simply because the MX4 is the same but comfier :)

    nb. Had I not scored such a deal on the MX4, I'd have zero desire to part with my X.
    sahmen, mixman, phthora and 1 other person like this.
  2. Hifiearspeakers
    I’ve heard the MX4 has a much more forward midrange, less treble, and a slightly larger soundstage compared to the X? Is that accurate to your ears?
  3. cmrodman
    For everyone critiquing the soundstage on the MX4 - a complaint I also levied against them - if you're listening to digital music, I can strongly recommend the iFi iGalvanic 3.0.

    The soundstage opens up pretty immensely. Depending on which tubes I'm rolling at the moment it can actually get to a point of feeling "airy." The line from Audeze that the MX4 are meant to reflect the dynamics of a room suddenly make a lot more sense, but still not really because - given they're headphones - you have a circumaural experience. In that sense, the iGalvanic added a fair amount of width and depth, but the biggest difference (again, tube dependent) has been the increase in height. This was never so much an aspect of headphone reviews I could connect with well until trying the iGalvanic+MX-4 with the Genelex Gold Lion tubes in my Lyr 2.

    An aside on tubes with this setup (at the moment Tidal --> iGalvanic --> Jitterbug --> NuForce DAC 80 (which despite lacking MQA decoding actually sounds better than the Pre-Box S2 to my ears) --> Schiit Lyr2 --> MX4)...

    The Genelex have never been my favorite tubes. Even though they're known for adding bass, and the MX4 is light on bass (deliberately) compared to the Audeze house sound, I never felt they showcased these headphones very well. Or at least did not match especially well in my full stack. Having only had about 6 or so hours of listening with my system including the iGalvanic, I can't say for sure what I think the best pairing is. But so far the Genelex provide the warmest, "realest" sound with the most three-dimensional and most open soundstage. It feels more like being present with the music than listening to music. They are not as detailed as some of the others, but still have plenty of detail and good separation... a pair of vintage Amperex Bugle Boys and a pair of vintage Sylvanias I inherited from my Dad seem to bring more detail, clarity, but lose some really pleasant richness. They're perhaps a little more sterile (especially the Amperex) and sharp by comparison. Surely a tradeoff some will make for the increased clarity, but it brings it closer to an expected solid state sound in my mind. The Schiit LISST, which actually convert the amp to full solid state sound utterly dull and lifeless. I had a hard time listening for more than a few minutes. I was bored by what I was hearing. Similarly a pair of Cryo treated Reflector 6N23P-EV Military are surprisingly uninteresting. Neither especially clear nor rich.
  4. Sonic Defender Contributor
    How can tubes change something like soundstage? The recording engineers have the biggest influence as they can control the soundstage presentation while mastering the music for final production. I am not saying that there isn't some influence on soundstage from other factors, but I am very unclear how the tubes can make such a big impact (if any) on soundstage.
  5. mixman
    Exactly how I felt. I felt that while it may have been a smidge clearer, the MX4 didn’t sound like a large enough improvement over the X to justify, what, over twice as much to replace it. When I tried the LCD 4 on I did say....Ahhhh, now that’s a big improvement.
    Hifiearspeakers likes this.
  6. Hifiearspeakers
    Did you feel like the MX4 had a larger soundstage than your X? Because Audeze says that the MX4 was tuned to have a wider/larger soundstage than the X but neither would have as large of a soundstage as the 4/4Z.
  7. cmrodman
    I'd love to know the same. I'm in no way an audio engineer or functional expert in how these things work. Hell, I'm pretty novice in this hobby overall. So if anyone has an answer, I'd love to learn too. But my experience with these experiments definitely suggests it's happening (at least for me). Some are clearly much more in/out of my head in their presentation.
  8. TSAVAlan
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    Hifiearspeakers likes this.
  9. KMann
    Soundstage is affected by a lot of factors, the recording itself being one of them. If the recording was close miked in an acoustically dead space, you can't expect much. Other factors include the frequency response of the headphone, how true your DAC and Amp are at preserving the original signal/music you are playing and how much noise your chain adds to it.

    Tubes on some chains do tend to enhance the sound stage (though I won't make a generalization about it) and I believe the reason is the euphonioc distortion introduced by the tubes tend to smoothen the background noise causing our brain to perceive a larger sound stage without being distracted by the low level noise. An analogy would be how in photography depending on the lens a nice smooth bokeh can make the pictures stand out from the background. Disclaimer - I am stating this as a possible explanation rather than a fact based on scientific evidence.
  10. thebkt
    Nah not really. There are differences, but they're not dramatic in any sense. The overall sound signature is very comparable.Take this comparison from DYI Audio Heaven


    Overall, very, very similar, but not identical. To me the same magic present in the X and the MX4, so despite noticing slightly less treble on the MX4, I still enjoy them fully.
  11. Hifiearspeakers
    Thanks for that!
  12. CaptainFantastic
    Good graph to see. However, I would add that the magnet technology in the X and MX4 is different (as I understand it). So even if the frequency graph shows much similarity, my view is that at each frequency the sound can have different properties. Here the superior MX4 technology makes it a more enjoyable experience.
    Hifiearspeakers likes this.
  13. Hifiearspeakers
    Sorry, one last question. You don’t find the MX4 to sound very forward in the mids? Like the singers are almost in your face?
  14. CaptainFantastic
    I would really have to listen to the LCD-X again to respond on that. To me it sounds good, certainly not "very" forward. The vocals are well articulated, clear.

    I just took the time and tested this (very superficially over the course of 15 minutes) versus my other headphones. The vocals do sound closer than on the NightOwl (which is NOT tuned like the controversial NightHawk) or the HD-600, just so. And I prefer them that way. I tested it however with only one track just now, John Hiatt - Cry Love.

    But I did something really bad today. I will most likely end up selling my MX4 and I absolutely, completely love them. I have two units, one used since September and another brand new - with this I think we can agree that I truly do like them. So what did I do today? Well, I received my iSine20 a few days ago. I decided not to open them and just put them for sale. I decided that these are not the IEMs for me and in fact I decided not to go the IEM route at all, even while travelling. Then I wavered and thought, you know, they would be great for listening to while laying down, relaxing. Then I said, well, before I open the box and slash x% off their resale value, let me just type into Google - "planar IEMs, health considerations" or something like that. So I went down a bit of a rabbit hole and found out that the jury is still very much out on these powerful magnets, even in headphones, let alone IEMs. Long story short, the WHO says that levels of 300-400 nT magnetic field has been linked to childhood leukemia. I am not a child, but that's kind of enough for me to think that something could be less than safe. I know myself on these things and I will likely put them up for sale soon. I think it is more than likely that my health is not being affected, but you know... listening to music on the headphones is all about enjoying the whole experience, not worrying even a tiny bit.

    On HeadFi this older thread pretty much mocks the idea: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/planar-magnetic-headphone-safety-concern.626336/

    This one is more serious about it: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/magnetic-fields-influence-the-brain.698290/

    See table 3 here - https://cds.cern.ch/record/1246526/files/p375.pdf

    [edited to remove nT readings because I see now that they are not reliable - it does appear that the MX4 is double than the HD-600 or NightOwl on these, but exactly at what figures I can't say]

    Please don't respond to this if you're only going to have a laugh.
    Last edited: May 15, 2019
  15. mixman
    I didn’t say to myself wow that sounds like a better soundstage on the MX4. So I didn’t really notice a change. With The LCD’s I don’t think the soundstage changes are as drastic as the imaging changes as you go up the line. The imaging gets more 3D.
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