When it comes to the Audeze booth Josh and I had a bit of a school boy error. You see when it comes to product premieres it was clear that Audeze were showering their new LCDi4 in-ear into as much limelight as physically possible. What they did not seem to sing and dance about near as much was that they were also auditioning a prototype of their new LCD-Studio model. Due to this and me having already experienced the LCD line of headphones enough times in my life I didn’t even give the headphones in their stand a second glance and therefore missed out on trying something brand spanking new….
So with that mishap out of the way we did at least give the new flagship earphone some of our time. So to give you some backstory, about a year ago Audeze dropped some big news that they would be making some planar magnetic earphones. This led to the launch of the iSine 10 (£349) & 20 (£549, review on the way) which were completely open backed earphones unlike anything else currently on the market. The closest thing to them would perhaps be the old Stax IEMs! These were cool but as their price point suggests they are not made on the same level to the top LCD models from Audeze such as your LCD X (1,499) & 4 (3,299). There was initially another model announced along with the iSines back last year that would retail for $2,495. Back then it was known as the i3 but due to its similarities with the LCD-4, it has become the i4 and it was Munich they were shown it off in its final form. They held off its release a little longer than the iSine because they wanted to make sure it was perfect.
I think this new higher end model really separates itself visually to the iSines even though it shares the form factor. I much prefer the look they went for with the orange glowing through the black housing! They also went to town packing in new technology and making the driver extra special. Here is an excerpt from the site regarding that.
“Utilizing the same ultra-thin diaphragm that is used in the LCD4s and all our patented technologies like the Fluxor magnets and Uniforce voice coil technology, the LCDi4 ushers in a new benchmark for realism in in-ear headphones. The distortion (THD) is less than 0.1% overall even at high volumes, an amazing achievement for in-ear headphone designs. Weighing 12 grams per side the headphones come with a new magnesium top housing and premium, braided cable made of silver-plated OCC copper with Kevlar threads for additional strength.”
On demoing them I did find the plastic wire that goes over your ear to be a bit weird, not wanting to work with mine or Josh’s ears to well but once in and set up the sound was truly delightful. It did not actually give me to many reminiscent factors of the full sized LCD-4 with a much lighter and airy sound, without the usual dark prowess the LCD series are known for! This signature choice actually made it much more up our street in terms of preferences! We were both a little bit smitten actually when it comes to sonics alone. As for the rest of it, we are still working out our feelings. The price tag is big and the whole not isolating concept is a bit foreign to us being seasoned IEM fanatics so I think with some further time with the iSine 20 and hopefully this we will know where we stand a little better!