Audeze LCD-4 headphones Measurements

Sidebar 3: Measurements

I don't measure headphones' acoustic responses, as this requires a system of dummy head and microphone. (See Keith Howard's article on this subject in the August 2008 issue, footnote 1) In addition, deciding what, precisely, is the optimal frequency response for a pair of headphones is neither obvious nor trivial (footnote 2).

I did use my Audio Precision System One to measure the Audeze LCD-4s' impedance and electrical phase. The solid trace in fig.1 shows the impedance magnitude with the headphones mounted on my head and facing my ears. The impedance is slightly lower than the specified 200 ohms, at 156 ohms across the audioband, and the electrical phase angle is very close to an even 0°.

Fig.1 Audeze LCD-4, electrical impedance (solid) and phase (dashed) when mounted on JA's head and ears (20 ohms/vertical div.).

The LCD-4s are very easy to drive, but the downside of that is a lower-than-usual sensitivity. Measured with a calibrated iTestMic USB microphone mounted in a flat baffle and Studio Six Digital's AudioTools iPad app, the LCD-4s' A-weighted voltage sensitivity was around 15dB less than that of the low-impedance LCD-Xes, and almost 20dB lower than that of the AudioQuest NightHawk and Master & Dynamic MH40 cans.—John Atkinson

Footnote 1: See also the article here.

Footnote 2: See Sean Olive, Todd Welti, and Elisabeth McMullin, "Listener Preferences for Different Headphone Target Response Curves," presented at the May 2013 AES Convention; downloadable here.

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cgh's picture

John, you and Tyll individually carry a ton of weight with me. I couldn't hold a reviewer in much higher regard on both the quant and qual fronts than I do the two of you. Together, ..., well, ..., taken together your two seemingly disparate albeit positive reviews sum less to a meta-review and more into an outright sign from on high. A burning bush or something.

That carbon fiber also matches both my sunglasses and the interior of my car!

I wish I still wasn't so unhappy with all the digital formats... I mostly listen to digital on my (current) Audeze cans.

dalethorn's picture

It would be interesting and useful to read more about the LCD4 mid-treble and top octave as described above, in comparison to, say, the Sennheiser HD800 and Stax SR009. Or any other reference that might be better balanced for a wide range of genres.

tonykaz's picture

It's hard to stay focused on headphones just now, Brexit voting is starting up and I have 5 thou. $ on Remain.

But, Boris is out there making a rather convincing series of points, god bless him, he may cost me a bundle.

So, how are we to think Audio as the Whole of Europe is re-settling it's way of interacting? This might be bigger than Donald vs. Hillary.

Annnnnd, I wonder if the Chord stuff will be less expensive for us Americans, as a result. By the way, these Audeze 4s should hit 112db whilst playing on the little Mojo ( with it's 38milwatts ), won't they?

Anyway, nice review ( as usual ). I wonder if any of SP's review staff are considering doing Tyll style of video reviewing?, all it takes is a little $100 "jiggle" cam.

Best Wishes,

Tony in Michigan

ps. I wonder if Texas will decide to do a Brexit too?, lotsa folks I know would be happy to see em leave. ( just say'n )

naim00's picture will be interesting to read JA impressions on LCD-4s vs similarly priced planars from Stax. Should anyone decide to share his (most probably it will be he, not she) impressions on Sennheiser HE-1, that would be grand also. There is a fine line in such comparisons of not turning "Stereophile" into "What Hi-Fi" but the last note "they're the best-sounding headphones I've heard in the 45 years" begs for such a follow-up, methinks