It’s tough to think of $3,000 headphones that engulf your head as a “lightweight” or more affordable option, but that’s exactly what Audeze’s new LCD-MX4 cans are supposed to be. Priced a thousand dollars south of the company’s flagship LCD-4, the MX4 are essentially an LCD-4 “lite”: they are 30 percent lighter than any other model in Audeze’s LCD range, but they still offer most of the same performance as the top pair.
Looking at the spec differences between the LCD-4 and LCD-MX4, the newer variant doesn’t have the Fazor elements that Audeze uses to more precisely channel sound and eliminate tiny distortions, but otherwise it’s mostly a direct match. The MX4s also lose out on the wood exterior and they don’t carry the “handcrafted in USA” badge of pride, however if their sound really lives up to the LCD-4’s quality, it’s doubtful anyone would miss those things too much.
Like the majority of Audeze’s other headphones, the MX4 are open-back, meaning they’re best suited for use in a quiet listening environment, such as a studio or a home without a half dozen screaming kids disturbing your zen. Most of your music will be heard by people near you and you’ll be able to hear most external noise too. That’s one of the things that’s put off most mainstream music lovers from diving in at the deep end of audiophile headphones, and the other two major reasons are price (which Audeze isn’t altering much with the pricey MX4) and the need for a powerful amplifier.
Audeze claims that the MX4, with an impedance of 20 Ohm, can be powered by something as basic as a laptop, no heavy-duty amp required. I would beg to differ on that point, because I think spending $3,000 on headphones and not investing a little more to get the best possible digital-to-analog converter and amplification for it is a suboptimal way to spend your money. But hey, in urgent music-listening situations, you can at least get something decent out of your laptop with the MX4, which wasn’t really the case with the power-hungry LCD-4.
The LCD-MX4 are available to buy now, exclusively from audeze.com.