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Article: Audeze LCD-4z Review

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6 hours ago, Sonis said:

There is a simple solution to your “dilemma”. If you don’t like it here,  just don’t read this forum or post to it. Since it is a free forum, there is really no need for you to formally quit. 

People who send me emails that they want their account deleted are usually just making a statement. It's obviously not a big deal for people who dislike AS to walk away, but some feel the need to make this statement. 

 

Others want their accounts removed for privacy concerns. Given that privacy died long ago, I don't fully understand this given the nature of AS, but I comply anyway. 


Founder of Audiophile Style

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11 hours ago, rossb said:

I really don't mind that Sonis didn't like the the LCD4z. That is his prerogative. My objection is not to his dislike of the headphones, but to this travesty of a review.  The conclusion that these headphones sound "wretched" and worse than cheap, entry level headphones is beyond ridiculous and calls into question the credibility of the reviewer and the venue hosting the review.

Hi Ross - Thanks for the honest opinion. I believe you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. You vehemently disagree with this review, yet you call the entire site into question. Certainly your call to make, but I think it's a bit over the top. We've been publishing reviews for nearly 12 years. Sure there have been some controversial ones, but such is life. We can't please everyone all the time and I'm OK with that. Some people really liked this review, some people hated it. That's OK. I just don't think it's indicative of the entire site. 

 

No worries though. We all have opinions. It's only audio.


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36 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

No worries though. We all have opinions. It's only audio.

For a manufacturer, it's not "only audio", it is a business and a livelihood. If the 4Z is truly wretched, then Sonis should be commended, and Audeze deserves the burn.

 

My first thought on reading this controversial review was that a second independent opinion should have been included. I am very pleased that this will now be implemented.

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56 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

As noted by others via email and PM, Sonis is a pseudonym used by George when he writes reviews for us. I would never reveal the identity of a writer that asks to remain anonymous. In this case George did it himself and I was notified that this was the case (LINK). 

 

In the interest of making sure people have facts and don't mistake one person's opinion for two separate opinions, I needed to make sure everyone else understood the details here, not just those who sent me emails and PMs. 

 

 

Ah.  Now I get why the usual suspects rushed to defending his misrepresentations.

 

Weird thing though is that George and Sonis reported hearing things differently with respect to these headphones.

 

George thought that the "highs were severely attenuated" while Sonis thought that the top end sounded "shrill and distorted".  I guess they can be both, but in his initial remarks there was no mention of them being shrill.

 

Also George thought that the mids were "very forward" while Sonis thought they were "veiled and muffled".  Very forward seems to contradict veiled, but I could be wrong.

 

And as far as the bass, George thought it was "severely attenuated" while Sonis thought that there was "plenty of it". Again these two observations seem to contradict either other, but again I could be wrong.

 

George hadn't had a replacement set returned to him when he posted his remarks.  I can't imagine that would have mattered as Sonis had reported that he "heard no difference at all" from the "newly rebuilt phones".  

 

Just another reminder that different people do hear things differently.   LOL


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26 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

For a manufacturer, it's not "only audio", it is a business and a livelihood. If the 4Z is truly wretched, then Sonis should be commended, and Audeze deserves the burn.

 

My first thought on reading this controversial review was that a second independent opinion should have been included. I am very pleased that this will now be implemented.

 

Do they “deserve a burn” or should it be done in a more gracious way?  For example, might the reviewer have not gone for the burn but just said that “these headphones just really didn’t work for me... I would strongly encourage an audition before buying”?  As you mentioned, for Audeze this is a business and a livelihood.

 

I fully agree though that a second opinion from another reviewer should have been sought before torching the product as Sonis had done here.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

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6 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

 

Do they “deserve a burn” or should it be done in a more gracious way?

Grace is always a desirable quality IMO, but these are $4000 headphones. If they are as bad as the review says, a burn is justified. I am skeptical about the level of wretchedness though.

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56 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Or that the same person hears things differently 😁

 

I think Sonis should explain the seemingly different sonic impressions. 

 

Or maybe he was relaying his friend’s observations the first time?  Tough to know whether what appear as first person observations are really his own.


Digital:  Innuos Zenith Std Mk2 > Shunyata Alpha USB > Chord Hugo M-Scaler > Shunyata Alpha S/PDIF > Chord Hugo TT2 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha power cords, Shunyata Anaconda interconnect, MIT Oracle speaker cables, GIK bass traps

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27 minutes ago, rossb said:

Well, I'm sure your first thought is that Stereophile would never publish such a review, and you would be right. Because to do so would carry their endorsement, and putting their reputation on the line. A very negative review would only be published after it had been carefully peer reviewed by others on the  editorial staff, discussed directly with the manufacturer, compared against other review samples (again, obtained directly from the manufacturer) and subject to detailed measurement, with the entire process published along with the review. To do otherwise would lead to readers questioning the credibility of the magazine.

 

I was not aware that Stereophile would not publish a negative review without taking the steps you mention. How do you know this to be true?


- Mark

 

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Was it ever confirmed that Audeze actually changed the drivers or are we going on Audeze's (customer service) word?  Did Audeze, when they had the set in their hands, actually check them over for other defects?  If they sounded the same after the change, and Audeze admitted defective sound prior to the "repair", was no QC performed?

 

For me, the interesting issue going forward is if the "review" set sounds like the set sent out by Audeze for review....or not.

 

Caveat: I have no stake...no way I am buying, in this lifetime, $4K headphones nor do I know of anyone that works for Audeze.   But I am puzzled by the criticism of the review so have taken an interest in the outcome.


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19 hours ago, kennyb123 said:

 

It was brought to my attention that there was another write-up where Audeze LCD-4 headphones were said to sound “wretched”.  Weird how closely George’s narrative tracks with what Sonis conveyed in his review.  

 

 

Easy peasy, nothing sinister going on here. At the time I posted this, I was evaluating a bunch of headphones at once. The Audeze LCD-4z had been returned to Audeze to be “repaired” and I had listened to two different headphones at that time for which I did not care. The other were a pair of AR  model AR-H1 planar magnetic headphones which I had recently returned to AR’s PR firm. When I posted that opinion in mid-June, I merely confused the sonic signatures of two phones that I found wanting. I couldn’t check to confirm which was which because I had neither in my possession at the time (and I had been “evaluating” 4 or 5 other phones along with the AR and the Audeze LCD-4z).

BTW, I post here under my own name but I review under a nom de plume for a reason that has nothing to do with Audiophile Style, per se.

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George

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45 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Easy peasy, nothing sinister going on here. At the time I posted this, I was evaluating a bunch of headphones at once. The Audeze LCD-4z had been returned to Audeze to be “repaired” and I had listened to two different headphones at that time for which I did not care. The other were a pair of AR  model AR-H1 planar magnetic headphones which I had recently returned to AR’s PR firm. When I posted that opinion in mid-June, I merely confused the sonic signatures of two phones that I found wanting. I couldn’t check to confirm which was which because I had neither in my possession at the time (and I had been “evaluating” 4 or 5 other phones along with the AR and the Audeze LCD-4z).

BTW, I post here under my own name but I review under a nom de plume for a reason that has nothing to do with Audiophile Style, per se.

B5BE1FB8-5969-4098-B145-25BD56C3FD5C.thumb.jpeg.febf2d8c53818f42a6f6e48fd6fa9d91.jpeg

Do you still have the AR-H1 headphones?


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39 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

Do you still have the AR-H1 headphones?

Like I said, Chris:

“The other were a pair of AR model AR-H1 planar magnetic headphones which I had recently returned toAR’s PR firm.”

So, no. Haven’t had them since early June.


George

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7 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Like I said, Chris:

“The other were a pair of AR model AR-H1 planar magnetic headphones which I had recently returned toAR’s PR firm.”

So, no. Haven’t had them since early June.

George - Something isn't adding up for me on this. You sent the AR headphones back in June, but you took a photo of them today from what appears to be your place (given the GPS coordinates included in the EXIF data.)

 

Can you help me understand what's up here?

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 9.01.21 PM.png

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 9.00.58 PM.png


Founder of Audiophile Style

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5 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I'm sitting next to the review pair of headphones now and received Chord Hugo 2 from Audeze today, with a benchmark DAC3 and HPA4 coming on Wednesday. Mitch receives an LCD-4z for measurements today. 

What a load of great news! I'm assuming the DAC3 will be formally reviewed? It's near the top of my list right now, second only to the Alchemy DDP-2. The Lakewest Audio L2 is the third under consideration, but it's still vapourware and looking like it will not make my deadline of October 2019.

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1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

Easy peasy, nothing sinister going on here. At the time I posted this, I was evaluating a bunch of headphones at once.

I've been wondering why you chose to review the headphones you did not like, as opposed to the ones you did like?

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1 hour ago, audiobomber said:

I've been wondering why you chose to review the headphones you did not like, as opposed to the ones you did like?

That’s easy. These phones cost $4000. I figure that people ought to know that they aren’t (in my opinion) worth 1/10th of that. My friend bought his sound unheard. (As ma y of us are forced to buy our audio gear these days of diminishing brick and mortar stores.) and I thought that was worth relating to the group. Caveat Emptor, as they say. And informed buyer is a wise buyer and all that!

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

The DDP-2 review should be published tomorrow. The DAC3 and HPA4 are mainly for testing the headphones. The shipment was setup between Audeze and Benchmark to make sure I had known and good measuring equipment. 

Hey, Chris. Have you listened to the LCD-4zs that the owner of the review sample sent you? If so what are your thoughts?

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3 minutes ago, Sonis said:

Hey, Chris. Have you listened to the LCD-4zs that the owner of the review sample sent you? If so what are your thoughts?

I gave them a cursory listen this evening with the newly arrived Hugo 2. I need to spend some time with the Benchmark and the HD800 before commenting.


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35 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I gave them a cursory listen this evening with the newly arrived Hugo 2. I need to spend some time with the Benchmark and the HD800 before commenting.

Fair enough!

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On 9/16/2019 at 11:28 AM, rossb said:

this contradicts the overwhelming majority of user experience and reviews. In other words, it is just wrong. 

 

Don't forget Tyll's review of the LCD-4... My own impressions of the LCD-4 matched his. In fact I was really worried there was something wrong with my own hearing/unit but when I read Tyll's review later, it matched very closely.

 

https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/technologically-impressive-lcd-4-planar-magnetic-headphone-page-2

 

image.png.4cb2fdc41282db453c048b5134d5dad7.png

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54 minutes ago, asdf1000 said:

 

Don't forget Tyll's review of the LCD-4... My own impressions of the LCD-4 matched his. In fact I was really worried there was something wrong with my own hearing/unit but when I read Tyll's review later, it matched very closely.

 

 

The headphones in that review were the LCD4, not the 4z. Also, a reminder that that there was a problem with that initial sample of the LCD4, and Tyll adjusted his views in a subsequent review.

 

And even in that initial review, Tyll did not trash the headphones. He pointed out a slight treble imbalance - supported by measurements - and noted that Audeze fans would like them. In his follow up he did add the LCD4 to the Wall of Fame, and his remaining reservations about the LCD4 were in the context of a discussion of other high end headphones, all of which had (in his view) issues of one sort or another. And all of his comments, again, were backed by measurements and were balanced in their approach. 

 

This is not to say that Tyll was either right or wrong about the LCD4, but that his methodology was sound. He listened, he measured, he drew meaningful comparisons, and noted what would work for which types of listeners. That is very different from what we are dealing with here. 

 

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