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AudezeLLC

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  1. @JoshM Thanks very much for the balanced review with meaningful comparisons. Such reviews are hard to come by. I also agree with your assessment that some initial impressions (though not the fault of the reviewer(s)) were enthusiastic and may have came off as hype and we don't have any control over the review process. This was in part because LCD-1 was a surprise that no one was expecting. We managed to reduce the price point and also the weight while not sacrificing on tonality much and something that has been requested by many reviewers.
  2. I will try to keep this simple. Unlike speaker measurements, headphones do not measure flat as you cannot point a microphone at the ear cups to make a measurement. So either DIY rigs or standardized rigs are used. However when measurements are made using these rigs, the response will not be flat. So compensation curves are used to make the measured response flat if the 'ideal headphone' is measured on the rig. however choosing this compensation curve is a subject of heated debate and on going research and is also subjective. Here is a light-hearted attempt to explain this: https://www.audeze.com/blogs/technology-and-innovation/the-problem-with-frequency-graphs-and-eq-compensation
  3. @mitchco We use in ear probes (Etymotic Research ER-7C Probe Mic System, series B) to get a sense of the frequency response at ear drum and it also turns out to be the best way to capture one's HRTF. We also use customized plugged ear probes. But as you have said, these are not standardized, yet it gives us some idea how our headphones measure relative to one another. We also have access to and use Artificial head: GRAS KEMAR RA0045 Ear Simulator, KB0066 and KB0065 Pinnae in IEC 60318-4 (previously 60711) configuration. Ear and Cheek Simulator: GRAS 43AG in IEC 60318-4 configuration. Headphone test fixture: GRAS 45CA, KB0071 pinnae, IEC 60711 Ear Simulator. (This setup is similar to the one used in this paper on Listener Preferences for Different Headphone Target Response Curves by Sean Olive et al. It will be very difficult to force every manufacturer to use the same measurement rig but we do comparative measurements on multiple rigs and real ears with ear probes. Establishing a defacto standard for headphone measurements would have to go beyond agreeing to a specific rig and compensation curve. When we measure two headphones on a rig A, then measure the same headphones on rig B, the relative difference between the two headphones do not always stay the same (especially beyond 3kHz). They are pretty close when the two headphones use the same ear pads but if different earpads are used, all bets are off. We do not have any objections to your measuring the sample we send, it is up to @The Computer Audiophile
  4. @mitchcoLooking up the DIY Audio Heaven, they state that they use a 'flat bed' DIY rig with no pinna. So, the measurements are likely not going to match a HATS system. But my guess is you may be able to compare headphones measured on the same rig relative to each other (with some exceptions, especially with pinna interaction when different ear-pads and positioning are involved). To give some perspective, since you already have the measurement of the NAD VISO HP50, here is their measurement of the NAD VISIO HP50: (https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/nad-viso-hp50/)
  5. We accept that Sonis had no ill intent, as he had stated in the last post and are ready to move on. We do not want to waste anymore ether, cloud space and contribute to melting ice. We do not want to waste any more of AS readers time either. We are a relatively small company and not a multi million dollar corporation. The core engineering team has been with Audeze since its inception. We are a passionate bunch and the products we create represent lives work for some of us. We put forth our honest grievance as we saw it and @The Computer Audiophile published it. As I have repeatedly stated, we had no intent to discredit the subjective opinion of the reviewer. If I had appeared emotional at any point, it was out of passion and not out of ill will and I apologize to the readers if it came out that way. As requested by quite a few, I will try to address the core complaint, i.e sound. A person's perception of sound signature is true to that person and is subjective. It is shaped by the person's preferences, experience, the type of music, age, ear geometry (to a lesser extent but applicable to headphones), the shape of the head and whether or not one wears glasses (as it affects the seal). It does not universally translate from one person to another but the hope is that it would appeal to the majority. I know I am preaching to the choir here, but want to state that any way. In the following discussion, when I say bass it is the frequencies 250Hz and lower, mids is the frequency range between 250Hz and 3kHz and treble is 3kHz and over. I want to avoid any ambiguity in terminology (mids, treble etc can mean different things to different people). I will outline our design philosophy to educate readers on what to expect from our headphones. Our Design Philosophy We design headphones to sound as natural and as close to the original performance as possible. We always strive to accurately reproduce instruments and vocals, each in their own space. Our goal is to make them sound like a good pair of speakers in a well treated room. This is easier said than done especially when the headphone drivers are on axis, an inch away from the ear vs speakers that are several feet away at at an angle. It is possible to partially accomplish this by making the headphone response imitate HRTF measurements made with speakers placed 30, 45 or 60 degree angle to the listener. This typically results in an elevated treble response beyond 3kHz. The headphone would provide a wide sound-stage but not sound natural and may sound sibilant. Without room reflections and cross-feed, our brain is not easily fooled. Instead we use angled ear pads to direct the sound from the drivers at an angle that our brain perceives in a more natural fashion. We also use earpads that are deep to put some distance between the outer ear drum and the driver. When measured using a dummy head, our open back LCD series of headphones (including LCD-4/4z) stay flat in their frequency response starting at 10Hz -20Hz upto about 300Hz (let us set a rference at 0dB). From here, the frequency response gradually raises till it hits 10dB at 2.7-3kHz, this can be seen in measurements. Our headphone response follows tha Harman preferred headphone response closely starting from the bass all the way through the mids and are easily verifiable through measurements. Our experience has been that beyond 3kHz, measurements become unreliable and we rely more on listening tests and sine sweeps to judge the perceived response. Beyond 3kHz, we find that the Harman curve does not sound natural as we find the treble to be more elevated than we like. So our target response gradually slopes down from 3kHz (at 10dB) hitting 0dB at around 9kHz and continues to slope downwards till it hits about -6dB around 20kHz. We find this target response more natural sounding for a headphone and mimic speakers in a well treated room providing a perceived response that is flat through the mids and then gradually slopes down from there. No headphone is perfect, laws of physics will simply not allow a design to perfectly follow the target response or a HRTF based on speakers in a room unless DSP is used. We make sure our designs stay very close to our preferred target response. Our Design Choices Our headphones use planar magnetic drivers. For those who may not be familiar with what planar magnetic headphones are, we have written an in depth article about the technology and its advantages here. Great bass requires a large flexible diaphragm and a good seal. Our Our large ultra-thin and flexible diaphragms are tensioned just the right way to keep the resonant frequency very low and allow a controlled and tight bass down to 10Hz. The mids is all about exerting fine control over the diaphragm and moving air. In a planar magnetic design, the driving force is provided by an array of magnets and the force they exert on the current carrying traces (voice coil) present on the diaphragm. However just having the voice coil and the magnets does not guarantee a uniform force on the diaphragm. It is important that the whole diaphragm moves in unison. If the force is not uniform, some parts of the diaphragm would accelerate differently and would lead to breakup modes and distortion. Through magnetic simulation and evolutionary optimization algorithms, we design voice coils with varying trace width to uniformly distribute the force acting on the diaphragm. Ont top of this, LCD-4 and LCD-4z use fluxor magnets to achieve the highest efficiency in the industry. The treble is all about inertia and how fast the diaphragm can accelerate to follow the music and maintain the timing resolution. The nano-scale diaphragm and the ultra thin voice coils makes for one of the lightest diaphragms available in a planar magnetic design and orders of magnitude lighter than the lightest dynamic driver. The low inertia of our diaphragms ensure a treble extension upt to beyond 20Khz. Our fast drivers also allow transparent reproduction of music while preserving depth and layering. We use Fazor elements that reduce diffraction to improve clarity and imaging focus. When measuring drivers just by themselves in an IEC baffle, both LCD-4 and LCD-4Z provide a textbook/theoretical response. This forms the basic foundation. We shape this response to our desired target response through the design of the housing and earpads. After the transducers, the earpads have the largest influence on the sound signature. LCD-4 vs LCD-4Z Both LCD-4 and LCD-4z use the same magnetic structure and use the same earpads and use the same fazor elements. The only difference is the number of traces used. LCD-4z uses lesser number of traces to decrease the impedance and to increase voltage sensitivity. This should have no significant impact on sound signature and and our measurements show the same. This is because the sound waves from the diaphragm travel through the same magnetic array and ear pads in both cases. The reason I bring this up is because the reviewer mentioned in his post that he has listened to LCD-4 and found them satisfactory and so were the LCD-2 and LCD-3 he has heard. There is nothing special about the LCD-4Z he received. They went through the same QC process. We measure all headphones before we ship them. We measure the drivers in an IEC baffle to make sure they are within spec. We have specialized algorithms to match left and right drivers. We put all drivers through a burn-in process because some of us like to burn-in and also because we want to detect failures. Our technicians measures them to confirm if they are within spec before shipping them out. Thanks for listening. -Karthick
  6. We will be shipping a LCD-4z to @The Computer Audiophile. We are open to the idea of LCD-4Z be sent on a tour to get a diverse opinion if Chris so chooses. I have intently followed the long thread 'A novel way to massively improve...' thread and made many tweaks myself based on Rajiv's input, so I would very much like his thoughts too if he so desires.
  7. Yes 30 day no hassle trial period. We ship free within US. Here is our return policy
  8. Explaining how everyone perceive's sound and explaining sound preferences and also explaining how our headphones sound would have taken more than a short response. I would love to write a detailed technical article and publish it here with permission of @The Computer Audiophile, explaining our design approach and how we tune our headphones and how the different design choices we made affect the sound.
  9. I have already told that we stand behind our product and pride in creating neutral sounding headphones. That includes bass extension down to 10Hz through mid-range to treble extension by virtue of the control we have on our drivers and the low inertia of our ultra thin diaphragm. Explaining at length would have made it look like marketing material. The best way to judge if one likes them are by listening to them in a setup they are comfortable with. There is a reason we provide a generous return policy as this hobby is all about preferences. I have also stated that it is your preference and you did not like the signature and I respect that, we cannot change your preference. I also pointed to other reviewers having a different opinion rather than saying it myself. I do not wish to harp on this any more than you do.
  10. Thanks again for asking. If we were reached before publishing, we would have requested the following: Thanked him for reviewing, and told him we are sorry that it did not meet his expectation. I would have talked to him about our design philosophy and sound signature and what to expect from LCD-4z in terms of sound signature. I would have asked him about other Audezes he has listened to and why he liked or disliked them. As a fellow Electrical Engineer, I would have liked to also discuss the design elements and design choices. I am an audiophile myself and addicted to this hobby as much as many here and would have discussed about his work being Jazz fan myself. Ask that he mentions it was his friend's pair and and all interactions were through his friend to avoid confusions Told him that we were in Anta Ana. Explained the reason for the low impedance design and discussed possible AMP/DAC pairings. Told him that there was no Technical director at Audeze and request that he remove that reference. Point him to few other sources that had a diverging opinion and try to understand what he disliked and why. And that would have been the end of it. There would have been no reason for us to respond. I do not have any ill feelings toward Sonis. If there were no mention of 'Technical Director' we would not have contacted Chris as we feel that statements undermines what we stand for. How can a company do what it does and make many audiophiles happy if the 'Technical Director' does not believe in what or she is creating? We do request @The Computer Audiophile and @Sonis remove mention of statements about 'Technical Director' as Sonis has confirmed that was not true.
  11. This is what you say in the review. There is a huge difference ins saying 'The customer service representative handling the case'said to my friend... ' and 'Technical director called' . And no the Customer service person who was handling the case made no such remark, then changing it to 'some technical guy ' does not instill any confidence. Based on what you said, there were many readers of your review who believed it was 'The technical Director'. Then in one of your comments go go on to say the following including details as So we ask the readers of this forum, does the above look like 'some a customer support guy at Audeze talked to a friend of the reviewer'? Why misrepresent and make false statements, then conveniently wave a hand at it as you do below? I do not think it is professional or responsible on the part of a reviewer to do so. And finally you say First, if the support staff receive a call, they are polite in their response I do not think anyone responded as stated above. Making an anonymous call would not be the best way to get a response if you really wanted us to respond. If you had contacted us directly before the review was up as a courtesy to the manufacturer whose product you are reviewing, or as soon as the review was up with the link to the review to our support team or the customer support person your friend was in contact with, much of this could have been avoided. We are not disappointed because the review was negative. We are disappointed because of the way it was handled with many factual errors that paints a very different picture than the truth.
  12. So who was the 'Technical Director' who called you if your only contact was an anonymous phone call?
  13. @DuckToller I am Karthick Manivannan, Director R&D at Audeze. I am responding on behalf of Audeze. Thanks for your response and you raise valid points. We do not typically respond to critical reviews. Audio preferences is personal, and negative reviews are inevitable and also good. Don't we all read negative reviews on Amazon when we wish to buy something? When I am researching a product I am interested in, I look for both positive and negative reviews and make my own decision and I am sure that is true with most in this community too. As you say a good product should stand on its own merit. That said, the reason we were forced to respond was to set the facts straight. So the readers understand what happened and draw their own conclusions. Sonis did not request a review pair from us. He had borrowed a pair that his friend purchased. Both the original pair and the pair with replaced drivers on his friend's request were returned to us by his friend. Sonis did not interact with anyone at Audeze nor post questions to us at any point during the review process. Audeze does not have a 'Technical director' so why make up a phone call with a technical director that does not exist? and why will the 'Technical director' make said 'confession'? We were not contacted tor a response by Sonis, so why say that we refused to respond? At the end of all of this, the bottom-line is Sonis did not like the sound of LCD-4z, that is his prerogative and we respect that. We just take exception the all the drama around it and putting words into the mouth of a non existent 'Technical director' We have already offered to make a LCD-4z available to @The Computer Audiophile for review. -Karthick
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