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Sonis

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  1. Oh, yeah. I have quirky hearing, all right. I have 8 pairs of high-end headphones in my possession or at my disposal, all of which have decent bass, excellent midrange and clean highs. Some are isoplanar like the Audeze LCD-4z, some are electrostatic, and the Sennheiser HD-800 and the Koss Pro4AA are classic, apex driven designs. None of them sound as unacceptably bad as the Audeze LCD-4z. Not even the Koss (which are nothing to write home about, but come-in handy when I’m recording due to their closed-back, gel-filled ear pad design which is highly isolatory.). I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. When eight high-end headphones all sound decent using the same sources and the same ancillary equipment and one sounds badly designed or defective, or is it logical to assume that the one “odd man out” is likely the poorly designed or defective phone here? Is it likely that the listener’s hearing is bad, or quirky, so that he selectively hears eight other phones as being decent, and this one phone from Audeze as being very poor sounding? The phone’s owner and myself both assumed that any headphone costing $4000 and sounding as bad as these did simply must be defective. We both agreed that the owner should send them back to Audeze to get them checked out and repaired. Imagine our collective chagrin, when the repaired headphones were returned to the owner and they still sounded EXACTLY like they did before they were sent back to the manufacturer! Yeah, I have quirky hearing.
  2. NSX, the owner of the Audeze LCD-4z review pair will be sending that pair, along with his Sennheiser HD-800’s toChris for his unbiased evaluation and comparison to the pair being sent to him by Audeze. Unless Audeze decides to send Chris a “lab queen” pair (which I trust that they won’t), that ought to put this debate right to bed.
  3. Thank you Chris, you’ve hit the nail on the head. On the other hand, everyone here has the right to take me to task for any breach of etiquette or wrong-doing whether real or imagined!
  4. Kind of looks that way, doesn’t it? One would think that everyone would just say, “thank you for the heads-up” (weather the reader decides to listen for themselves - which I encourage - or not) and move on.
  5. I don’t see that it is an issue. I’ve explained that my decision to focus the side issues of the ‘phone’s review to one point (just me, rather than me and the unit’s owner) was to avoid reader confusion. That this ploy was less than successful on all fronts, and as a journalistic experiment on my part, an abject failure, is beside the point of the review. That point was that the LCD-4z headphones sounded terrible, and they sounded just as terrible when returned from Audeze’s factory with two new, matched drivers. While I certainly won’t purposely meld multiple person’s experiences into a first person monologue again because it just doesn’t work, I take great exception to many people here, including you, accusing me of using this literary device to purposely deceive. What reason could anyone purposely have for deceiving the readership for dishonest purposes? What could those purposes conceivably be? I certainly have no Idea. The sequence of events that I relayed were certainly factual, as Audeze themselves have acknowledged. The fact that the interaction with Audeze was done by a third person in no way altered. my conclusions about the performance of the LCD-4z’s which were certainly not altered by any of these side issues. And the confusion about the title of the technical person who handled the owner’s complaint about his ‘phones is, in the final analysis, a tempest in a teapot for which I have apologized. Finally, hate the messenger if you must, not the message! Caveat Emptor!
  6. I’m sorry, Raff11, I don’t understand your question. As I have said, the phones aren’t mine, they belong to buddy of mine who posted here as NSX. So, as to whether he had a trial period and free return from the vendor (Assuming that’s what you’re asking) you had best ask him. I don’t know those details.
  7. I have to wonder why Mr. AudezeLLC is so hung up on this “Technical Director” gaff of mine and not really concerned that his product sounds so disappointing. To me, this speaks volumes. Gotta say, this has become extremely boring for me, and it must be tiring to other readers as well. OK! alright already, Audeze has no “Technical Director”! Now can we move on?
  8. Don’t worry. I intend to continue to “call ‘em as I see (hear?) ‘em” as they say. I don’t like to write negative reviews, but I certainly wouldn’t be doing this readership (or the audio community at large) any good service by writing good reviews to poor performing products just to avoid the wrath of the manufacturer coming down on me. I don’t mind the wrath, even though, as in this case, it can be a bit wearying. Often that wrath says more about the company and the spokesman responding than it does about either my review or the product itself.
  9. Too bad. I really have to say that not only was I disappointed in the sound of your $4000 phones, but in the character assassination that you employ here to try to deflect your product’s poor performance away from the product and on to the reviewer. In my opinion, your character assassination attempt has failed (it certainly has failed to move me). I stand by my review, and while I agree that some errors did creep-in, which I regret and fully apologize for, none of them, in any way, alter my impression of these phones, or the conclusions I have made about them. My review conclusions are accurate to that pair of LCD-4z’s, and stand until I hear another pair that don’t sound that wretched. I’d like to close by noticing that in all your criticisms of me, you mention my characterization of the ‘phone’s only in passing. You mention you low distortion and your deep bass, but don’t take any issue at all with my characterization of the midrange. Mr AudezeLLC, has no one told you that the midrange is where the bulk of the music lies? This is my final response to Audeze on this issue. To further “discuss” it would be an empty, circular procedure, sure to give no results.
  10. Nobody from Audeze called ME at anytime, they called the owner of the phones as I have mentioned before. He is the person who characterized the caller as “The Technical Director”. But what’s The difference? It’s just a title. Obviously the ‘phone’s owner meant “Some technical guy who had the power and the responsibility to handle problems of this sort.” I don’t see any reason to make a federal case out of this.
  11. I would like to rebut Audeze's corporate response to my review: First of all, I welcome Audeze' s participation in this process and in fact I annonymously called them last week and told them about the review in an effort to get them to participate with a "cross examination" of my findings. I do not know to whom the switchboard put me through, but I asked for someone technical. When I mentioned the review was somewhat negative (I REALLY WANTED Audeze to respond to the forum) I was told that they didn’t care, and that they built products for people who liked the sound of their equipment, and since tastes vary, they weren’t really interested in a bad review. I did mention this in response on this forum to a post about letting Audeze know so that they could comment. Nowhere In my review did I say or intimate in any way that I was the one who returned the phones for diagnosis (and if necessary) repair. My friend, who purchased the phones and brought them to me to “review” did not want to be involved with his name known, etc. So, I kept him out of it except to acknowledge that the phones weren’t mine. I have copies of all the E-mail exchanges between him and Audeze and followed the events as closely as possible. 1) They are right, they have no record of speaking to me, because, except for the aforementioned anonymous phone call on Wednesday, I never personally called them. 2) Yes, I was wrong about Audeze being in San Diego, I don’t know where I got that from, it was an error, Mea Culpa, and I apologize to Audeze for that error. 3) No, I did not make it appear that it was I who was the person purchasing/returning/communicating with Audeze, when I clearly was not. That is Audeze's take on this matter. My job is to clearly communicate the series of events and impressions on any product I review. I made a call here not to muddy the waters on this review with “I said, he said”. Keep the action focused on a single point of contact and avoid confusion. The owner of these phones was trying desperately to fix a problem with a very expensive product that he purchased and I was only reporting about it. 4) Already covered. 5) I have not intimated that Audeze did not replace the drivers. What I said is that when the ‘phones came back from the factory with the new drivers, the sound was unchanged from the original drivers almost as though the factory did nothing. The owner was clearly told by someone Audeze with whom he spoke that the LCD-4zs were certainly defective and the owner rightly expected that the repaired phones would fix the problems that both he and I were able to hear. This led to the inescapable conclusion by both of us that this must be the way the ‘phones are supposed to sound. And I reported that as my conclusion. 6) I understand very well the math behind the Audeze specs. My point, which I succinctly stated, was not that I had any issue with Audeze design choices for these ‘phones, I just wanted to show that the suitability for portable use (as intimated by other reviews I’ve read) is not served by the design of these phones, and I wanted to set the record straight, that even Audeze, in their on-line literature, does not mention portable operation as the design goal for these phones. The math was to show how impedance affects current draw, and nothing more. This is not an indictment of either Audeze or their design criteria, merely an exercise which backs up the design decisions that Audeze themselves made. 7) My characterization of the LCD-4z’s sound is not exaggerated in the least. I have at my disposal many different headphones, ranging from inexpensive in ear monitors through standard magnetic phones and several planar type phones from different manufacturers all the way to several electrostatic designs. Of all the “high-end” phones at my disposal (including a pair of Sennheiser HD-800s, though, not mine are available to me anytime I wish to listen to them), the LCD-4z are by far the worst. Audeze can brag about their distortion figures all they want, but when I listen to the LCD-4z’s top end, and then listen to the same material on other phones, the unpleasant shrillness in the treble region (akin to a mis-tracking phono cartridge, but not as pronounced) with the Audeze phones is gone with any of my magnetic or isoplanar examples and with my electrostatics. With what other conclusion, could I come, based on that? My conclusions have been confirmed by others who have heard the same comparison, not the least was the owner, who first brought this disappointing performance to my attention. Whle I acknowledged in the review that the bass is deep and prodigious in level. I never found it to be as tight with as good transient response as other isoplanar phones that I own. Irrespective of what others might think of the bass performance of the LCD-4z’s, to me it is second rate. In conclusion, I’d like to say that I went out of my way to get the LCD-4zs, both before and after the drivers were replaced to sound as good as their $4000 price tag would indicate that they should sound. I used multiple devices from the Hugo-2 to the Schiit Asgard 2, to the preamp level headphone amp in my studio DAT recorder and my microphone mixer as well as my 150 W/C dual mono power amplifier. Ted even tried them on his over-the-top AudioGD Master 9 headphone amp that can source 9 watts into a 40 Ω headphone load. Nothing we tried made these phones sound anything like even a decent $200 pair of phones (including my ancient Koss Pro 4AAs that I use for recording because they’re closed back and the oil-filled ear pads offer a high degree of isolation from the surrounding environment). Even they sound better in the midrange and highs! I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I have heard a number of Audeze’s products. I found their LCD-2s and LCD-3s to be among the best magnetic phones of their day. I briefly heard the LCD-4 (without the z) at a hi-fi show a while back, and even though no one would characterize a show as the ideal place to seriously audition anything, I heard nothing that I would characterize as being untoward in that short listening session. I am not at war with Audeze, and I certainly do not wish to make an enemy of them. I applaud their build quality and the fact that they are an American company. I wish them well, and I look forward to continue hearing great things from them in the future. Unfortunately, the LCD-4zs that I auditioned do not, in my estimation, live up to Audeze’s well deserved reputation. Call them an anomaly, someone’s personal idea of what sounds good on a certain genre of music, I don’t know. What I do know is that I gave a thorough, and honest evaluation of the LCD-4z’s with an eclectic variety of music. I wouldn’t expect Audeze to like my conclusions, but I do stand by them, and except for getting their address wrong, I stand by my review as written, as well and I don’t think that any of my words were misleading or inaccurate in any important or substantial way.
  12. Absolutely. He's the person who first brought my attention to how lousy these things sounded. He was upset because they cost him a lot of money and were, in his opinion, useless. He just brought them over one day and left them without comment. He just said: "give these a lesson, will you and let me know what you think. Several days later when we compared notes, we found that we heard exactly the same thing and both of us agree that to sound that bad, they almost had to be defective.
  13. The review samples WERE the property of the Hugo 2 owner. They were one and the same. We all know that most headphones need some running-in before they sound their best, but the owner let these run at a good volume for about a week, as I understand it , before bringing them to me to see what I thought. Headphone cables, like speaker cables, can have an eff ct, but I don’t think a cable could have wrought this much damage to the sound. Besides, the cable was that supplied by the manufacturer. I too have heard the LCD-3s and thought them excellent. I’ve heard the plain LCD-4, only briefly at a hi-Fi show, and they sounded fine to me, but, that’s at a show with a high background noise, so I can’t really comment on those.
  14. I would like very much for Audeze to respond, but they declined to do so and their technical director said on the phone (after a bit of hemming and hawing) that there is no way that the Audeze LCD-4z would sound as good as a pair of Sennheiser HD-800s phones, which I found to be an incredible confession. IE that they cannot build a pair of phones costing $4000 that’s as good as a competitor’s offering costing less than half as much! I popped the ear pads off and saw no way of getting the ear cup apart without voiding the warranty, and I saw no serial numbers that I could access without taking each cup apart. Not my phones, didn’t want to do that...
  15. But that “wrinkle” is good. Bad components should be discussed just as openly and often as good components. Chris seems to agree. Anyway, I would not have liked for him to change the review with editing. editing fixes spelling and grammatical errors as well as technical and informational errors, not review conclusions.
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