High-performance planar magnetic headphones with low impedance
Audeze LCD-4z - High-performance headphones that require less powerful amplification than most planars
Our take on the Audeze LCD-4z by Crutchfield's Jeff Miller
Audeze's best — now easier to drive
It's a real treat to listen to Audeze's crown jewel, the LCD-4 planar-magnetic headphones. But you do need a robust amplifier — and a strong neck — to enjoy them at their best. The LCD-4z headphones are 15% lighter and much more efficient than the LCD-4 model. You can drive them more easily with a portable music player or smaller headphone amp, yet Audeze explains that they'll deliver the same world-class sound as the LCD-4.
The LCD-4z 'phones feature magnesium earcup rings and a smaller voice coil, but otherwise used the same state-of-the-art driver system. That includes the super-powerful magnet array and extra-thin, nanometer grade diaphragm. But before I get too deep into the "how," I wanted to share some listening impressions from one of our other headphone experts.
Thoughts from Archer — a "seriously into audio" Crutchfield Advisor
"Hotel California (Live)" — The Eagles
Soundstage and clarity were top notch. Imaging was really nice. Could pick out each vocalist. Drums had their own spot on the stage. Bass was punchy and well-articulated. Not too bright or too warm. Great balance.
Little nuances like the echo of the crowd and vocals were perfect. I could even hear the acoustic guitar resonating.
"Born in Winter" — Gojira
Bass intro was subtle — the way it should be. The drums came in just as easy, which a lot of lesser headphones really struggle with. Vocals were crystal clear, both when they were growled and spoken. I was impressed by the way the drums were presented throughout the song — especially at the crescendo. Really got me into the song.
"Preacher Foretold" — Shawn James
The LCD-4zs kept right up on this mostly a cappella tune. Mr. James's small kick drum and hand claps sounded great. The song was recorded in a very acoustic room, and the echoes didn't drown out the originating vocals. Everything sounded nice and clean.
"Edge of Darkness" — Greta Van Fleet
Vocals are high pitched, but the headphones kept right up without being piercing. The guitars sounded nice and crunchy. Having seen Greta live, I can attest that these headphones made this song sound eerily similar to how they sounded then.
"Bass Test" — DJ Ice Man J
Ever wanted to get kicked in the head with bass? Yep, that's what happened. Wonderful reproduction of the lows.
Planar magnetic drivers — the basics
Before I get into what makes the Audeze LCD-4z headphones extra special, let me break down how planar magnetic drivers work. Audeze uses them to create their signature soundstage with a wide-open sense of depth and space. Unlike the dynamic drivers found in most headphones, planar magnetic drivers rely on a really thin diaphragm with a large surface area to generate sound.
A flexible circuit is etched across the entire surface of the diaphragm, which is suspended within a magnetic field. When the circuit receives an audio signal, it causes the diaphragm to move back and forth — moving air and creating sound.
Material science and engineering breakthroughs strengthen the performance
Your Audeze LCD-4z headphones arrive protected in a professional travel case with a heavy-duty, waterproof shell.
For the LCD-4z, Audeze uses their thinnest diaphragm yet. A single strand of human hair is 200 times thicker than the LCD-4z's nanometer grade diaphragm. Take a look at your hair and think about that. (Or if you're in the same boat as me, just imagine what it used to look like.)
Audeze takes that ultra-thin diaphragm and covers it with an aluminum circuit, using a slow and careful process that ensures the light, durable voice coil stays intact through years and years of listening. The voice coil is shorter than the one used in the LCD-4, making this model more effecient. So while these headphones work well with a larger, dedicated amp, you don't necessarily need one.
Extra-strong magnet array
Each driver uses a double Fluxor™ magnet array to move the diaphragm. This is a patent-pending, custom magnet structure that results in an unheard of amount of magnetic flux. The diaphragm starts and stops incredibly quickly, resulting in true-to-the-recording sound across a wide frequency range.
Precious materials and a premium cable
Audeze assembles each pair of LCD-4z headphones in their California headquarters, and the high-grade parts don't stop with the drivers. The headphone frame and yoke are custom-fabricated from aluminum. The over-padded leather earcups help distribute the weight properly to relieve the stress on your head. The headband is made of carbon-fiber and leather, and it features a split-suspension design.
The LCD-4z also comes with a braided high-quality cable to keep every link in the audio chain strong. This four-conductor cable consists of several strands of silver-plated oxygen-free copper and is terminated by a 1/4" plug. Great care has been taken to preserve the signal and minimize interference.
- lighter, easier-to-drive version of Audeze's flagship LCD-4 headphones
- more efficient due to shorter voice coil
- 15% lighter than the LCD-4
- require less powerful amplification than typical planar magnetic headphones
- planar magnetic drivers offer low distortion, enhanced dynamics, and detailed sound
- nanometer grade diaphragm (less than 0.0005mm thick) for wide dynamic range
- double Fluxor™ magnet array for precise and accurate music reproduction
- magnetic flux density of 1.5 Teslas
- Fazor™ driver technology offers improved phase response, three-dimensional imaging, and extended frequency response
Build and Accessories:
- Large, open-back design offers spacious sound
- lightweight magnesium earcup rings with gold screens
- extra-padded leather earpads
- carbon fiber headband with split-band suspension system for easy fit and comfort
- premium braided four-conductor cable with a 1/4" plug
- 1/4"-to-1/8" adapter included
- professional travel case with an ultra-durable, waterproof polypropylene shell and padded interior
General Info and Specs:
- driver size: 106mm
- frequency response: 5-20,000 Hz; usable high-frequency extension to 50,000 Hz
- sensitivity: 98 dB
- impedance: 15 ohms
- warranty: 3 years (planar drivers), 1 year (earpads, enclosure, headband, and cable)
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Over-ear headphones
- 8.25' Braided cable (dual 4-pin plugs on one end and a 1/4" plug on other end)
- 9" Cable adapter (female 1/4" to male 3.5mm plug)
- Professional travel case
- Owner's Manual on USB drive
- Certificate of Authenticity
Features and Specs
|Earcup Width x Height||4.347" x 4.347"|
|Mic For Taking Calls||No|
|Frequency Response||5-20k Hz|
|1/4-inch Adapter Included||No|
|Parts Warranty||1 Yr, 3 Yrs (drivers)|
|Labor Warranty||1 Yr, 3 Yrs (drivers)|
Overview: The Audeze LCD-4z over-ear headphones feature high-performance planar magnetic drivers that provide a spacious, musical sound with improved efficiency, better dynamics, and a wide frequency response. The LCD-4z features a new magnesium housing, and soft black lambskin leather headband and ear pads. The headphones comes with a detachable 8' braided cable with a straight 1/4" plug. The cable attaches to the headphones by dual 4-pin mini-XLR connectors. A 1/4"-to-3.5mm adapter is also included. The LCD-4z headphones are handcrafted in the USA, and come in a rugged, internally padded, professional travel case.
Planar Magnetic Technology: The LCD-4z are acoustically engineered to deliver beautiful, natural sound. The 106mm (4.17") diameter diaphragms are four times larger than the drivers in a typical headphone, and are thinner than a human hair. This nano-scale film delivers an amazingly fast response for near zero distortion, higher resolution, and lifelike imaging. The Double Fluxor Magnet arrays nearly double the magnetic flux across the diaphragm to 1.5 Tesla, giving you improved transient response and higher resolution. The internal sound waves are guided by patented Fazor Elements which eliminate resonance and produce a more accurate waveform. The LCD-4z headphones are sensitive enough to be driven directly by smartphones or tablets, however, for best performance, a high-quality external headphone amplifier or integrated amp is recommended.
Design: The LCD-4z features an open-back design to let you stay in touch with your surroundings. The headphones are engineered and handcrafted in the USA. The planar transducers are closely matched to within +/- 1dB for consistent sound. The LCD-4z feature black magnesium rings with gold accents for a bold new look. The LCD-4z's design is based on the LCD-4, but with a special 15-ohm voice coil, compared to 200-ohms.
- Frequency Response: 5Hz to 20kHz
- Transducer Size: 106mm
- Impedance: 15 ohms
- Sensitivity: 98dB /1mW (at Drum Reference Point)
- Voltage Sensitivity: 107dB /1V (at Drum Reference Point)
- Maximum Power Handling: 15W
- Recommended Power Level: 1-4W
- Minimum Power Requirement: >100mW
- Maximum SPL: >130dB
- THD: <0.1% @100dB
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.
Frequently Compared With
High-performance planar magnetic headphones with low impedance$3,999.99
Sennheiser HD 820
Closed-back audiophile headphones
Open-back over-the-ear headphones
High-performance planar magnetic headphones