High-performance in-ear planar magnetic headphones
Our take on the Audeze LCDi4 by Crutchfield's Jeff Miller
Breakthrough design, superior sound
You might think the most obvious comparison for the Audeze LCDi4 in-ear headphones would be the company's iSINE line of headphones. Well, you're right in terms of the look and innovative planar-magnetic design. But sonically, the better comparison might actually be Audeze's top-of-the-line OVER-the-ear headphones, the LCD-4.
They share the same nanometer grade (rough translation: extra-extra-extra-thin) diaphragm, shrunken in diameter. You get a portable pair of headphones with a spaciousness that rivals Audeze's large over-ears, plus an incredibly natural, uncolored sound signature.
Headphone expert Steve Guttenberg on the Audeze LCDi4 in-ear headphones:
"I'm going to come right out and say it: The Audeze LCDi4 are hands down the best-sounding in-ear headphones I've heard. They're the most transparent and open, have the flattest tonal balance, and the bass—OMG—is deeper and faster than any other in-ears on the planet! ”
— Read the full review from the February 2018 issue of Sound & Vision
Planar-magnetic drivers: the basics
So how do planar magnetic headphones usually work? A large yet thin diaphragm is suspended within a magnetic field. It is covered with a flexible circuit. When the circuit receives an audio signal, the diaphragm moves back and forth to create sound. It starts and stops rapidly for clean and accurate sound across a wide frequency range.
You place the LCDi4's earbuds inside your ear, while the planar drivers sit outside.
How did Audeze fit that technology into an earbud?
A special, super-powerful Fluxor magnet array. Audeze laid out the magnets in an asymmetrical pattern, so that they attract to each other at an angle. This results in a magnetic field that is nearly double the power of a traditional one, so those thin LCDi4 drivers can move and perform extra-efficiently.
And just how thin is the LCi4's nanometer grade diaphragm? It's 200 times thinner than a single strand of human hair. 200 times thinner.
More power = better performance
While these headphones are way more efficient than Audeze's large over-ear LCD models, they still require more power than most in-ears. After all, you purchase headphones like these to reveal nuances and dynamics in your favorite songs — without effort or distortion.
The braided, silver-plated cable will indeed connect to the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack found on many smartphones. But you'll get the best results using a separate headphone amp/DAC or portable high-res music player.
Hand-built and tested in California
Audeze visited us earlier this year to give an in-depth training and they showed a video of their headphone creation process. The level of care was impressive. Every single LCDi4 driver is hand-assembled at their Southern California headquarters — and goes through a battery of tests along the way.
It's a laborious process that involves great attention to detail, and ends with a series of measurements inside a sound-proof chamber. Audeze won't let a pair of LCDi4 headphones leave the building without a proper match between the left and right driver. How committed are they to delivering the goods? They keep measurement records for every individual LCDi4 that they ship.
- in-ear planar magnetic in-ear headphones
- open-back design for spacious soundstage
- nanometer grade diaphragm (less than 0.0005mm thick) for wide dynamic range
- ultra-thin design originally developed for Audeze's flagship LCD-4 over-ear headphones
- tuned for precision and accuracy
- 30mm planar magnetic driver in each earpiece
- ultra-thin diaphragm starts, stops, and moves swiftly within a powerful magnetic field
- offers enhanced dynamics and detailed sound
- Fluxor™ magnetic technology increases efficiency to keep headphones smaller and lighter
- Uniforce™ diaphragm technology greatly reduces distortion
- voice-coil etched across entire diaphragm to eliminate movement variations within the magnetic field
- tested inside a sound-proof enclosure to ensure the drivers are accurately matched
General Info and Specs:
- ear hooks keep headphones stable and comfortable
- silicone ear tips included
- 47-inch OCC silver-plated cable with 3.5mm connector
- storage wallet included
- hand-made in Audeze's Southern California headquarters
- designed by BMW DesignWorks USA
- frequency response: 5-50,000 Hz
- impedance: 35 ohms
- weight: 0.85 ounces (without cable)
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- 2 Ear buds (black)
- 50" Braided cable (3.5mm plug)
- 3 Pairs of silicone ear tips
- 3 Pairs of Groovy Spiral silicone ear tips
- 2 Pairs of ear hooks
- Clothing clips
- Cleaning tool
- Hook-and-loop cable tie
- Leather case
- USB thumb drive with Owner's Manual and Warranty
- Certificate of Authenticity
Features and Specs
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Frequency Response||5-50k Hz|
|1/4-inch Adapter Included||No|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year (3 Yrs drivers)|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year (3 Yrs drivers)|
Overview: The Audeze LCDi4 in-ear headphone delivers the amazing sound of the LCD-4 planar magnetic over-ear headphones in a more personal and portable form factor. The LCDi4 comes with a premium braided cable with a 3.5mm plug. The headphones come with two pairs of ear hooks, an assortment of rubber ear tips, and a luxurious stitched leather storage case. With the cable, ear hooks, and ear tips, the LCDi4 weighs 1.6 ounces.
Planar Magnetic Technology: The LCDi4 headphones are a miniaturized, in-ear version of Audeze's flagship LCD collection of planar magnetic over-ear headphones. The LCDi4 features large (30mm) ultra-thin planar magnetic diaphragms (0.5 microns thin) with the patented Nano-scale Uniforce voice-coil technology and a single-sided Fluxor magnetic array for greater accuracy and clarity. Each unit is hand assembled in California, and the drivers are matched to within +/- 1dB of each other. The headphones deliver a wide, accurate soundstage and superior transient response. The bass response is flat from 900Hz down to 5Hz.
Cable: The LCDi4 comes with a 50" custom silver-plated OCC premium cable with a straight 3.5mm plug. Kevlar threads woven into the cable give it additional strength.
Fit: The LCDi4 is designed to fit into the ear canal. It comes with three pairs (small, medium, large) of silicone ear tips, and three pairs of Groovy Spiral Eartips made of silicone. There are also two pairs of ear hooks that go behind the ear to hold the headphones in place. To keep the headphone cable in place, a clothing clip is included.
- Frequency Response: 5Hz to 50kHz
- Type: Semi-open-back planar magnetic headphones
- Magnetic Structure: Fluxor magnetic array
- Magnet Type: Neodymium N50
- Diaphragm Type: Nano-scale Uniforce
- Transducer Size: 30mm
- Maximum Power Handling: 3 watts
- Maximum SPL: >120dB
- Sensitivity: 105dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
- Total Harmonic Distortion: < 0.2%, full spectrum, @ 100dB
- Impedance: 35 ohms
- Dimensions: Width 1.298", Height 1.6", Depth 1.318"
- Weight: 1.6 ounces (including cable)
Our Product Research Team
At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.