With the LCDi3 In-Ears, the American manufacturer Audeze promises a great sound and an equally large set of accessories. We’re going to test how the planar magnetic transducer technology of these headphones affects their sound.
Audezes in-ears are delivered in an elaborately crafted box with a transparent presentation panel in an artfully printed cardboard sleeve. The package, consisting of in-ears and a transport bag, is well protected. The bag turns out to be soft, made of genuine black leather and hard-wearing nylon fabric.
A total of four different cables are included with the LCDi3. In addition to an audio cable with mini jacks and a cable with a Lightning connection, a cable with Bluetooth transmitter and remote as well as a USB charging cable are also included. Interchangeable ear-hooks in four different sizes and rubber pads in six different sizes ensure an optimal fit. So-called “Ear Fins“ as well as a cleaning brush and a cable clip complete the setup.
In addition to the Quickstart-Guide and a small guide for the Bluetooth unit in print form, there are two credit card-sized guides included and one contains the corresponding download links. The other card offers warranty information that gives the impression of real craftsmanship, care and attention. It not only contains the individual serial number of the in-ear pair, but also the signature of the employee who carried out the final inspection before the device was delivered. Hats off!
Design and fit
The workmanship of these headphones is flawless, but their design seems a little out of date to me. But that’s a matter of taste. The admittedly giant looking in-ears have an ergonomically shaped, fixed ear tip that can be inserted deep into the ear canal with the pads attached. Once the matching ear-hooks have been selected and attached and their position has been optimised, these big babies fit surprisingly securely for their size and do not slip out even with medium head movements. This makes them absolutely suitable for everyday use. The good fit is also due to the fact that the ear-hooks are not flat, but nestle behind your ear following the direction of your head. Only the Ear Fins didn’t really help to provide a grip on my auricle, but that was a personal thing.
The LCDi3 bridges the gap between Audeze’s new in-ears iSine and the high-end models of the LCD-4 series. This is evident in their design as well as in their technology and features. Compared to the iSine headphones, the LCDi3 should offer a much finer resolution. Their cast magnesium housings are light and durable at the same time. The large back of the in-ears is half-open with its grill and underlying metal grid. This should allow deeper and clearer basses.
The headphones have a low impedance of only 20 Ohm and their patented design ensures distortion-free reproduction even at high volumes. The built-in drivers – 30-millimetre pressure transducers, which operate planar-magnetically and use strong neodymium magnets – provide a convincing argument for these features. And the audio transmission range specified by the manufacturer actually ranges from 10 Hz up to dizzying 50 kHz.
The Bluetooth unit is the CIPHER module which is also built into other Audeze headphones, its low-latency in-house DSP works with 24-bit converters and Bluetooth 5.0 support. The sound quality of the wireless transmission is technically at the highest level due to aptX and aptX HD codecs.
When listening with the LCDi3 for the first time, it is noticeable that the sound is characterised by concise mids. Speech and vocal signals are therefore very easy to understand, without the reproduction tending to hiss. All in all, the midrange seems very differentiated to me. Here numerous details become audible, which other in-ears might conceal or blur. The very open treble of these headphones also contributes to the high subjective signal resolution. They convey transparency and openness right into the super-high frequency range. Both the stereo stage and the excellent bass separation of these Audezes benefit from this. At no time does the sound appear high or even sharp. However, noise components contained in audio productions are mercilessly revealed by these in-ears. The basses are rich, dynamic and the transient reproduction strong.
In plain English: Those who listen to current pop music with these headphones will feel a lot of power from kick drums and percussion. Low basses of hip-hop and urban music are no problem for the LCDi3. Even at relatively high playback volumes, they are still distortion-free. Due to their low ohmic value, these in-ears are definitely among the “louder” exponents, and they can also be fed with audio by less powerful preamps. As to be expected with this design (half-open), neither the attenuation of external noise nor the acoustic isolation of the outside is too pronounced in this model. What I particularly like about the LCDi3 is that they have no problems with musical genres. With these in-ears, you can listen to everything from pop, jazz and metal to classical music and speech productions with pleasure.
With the included Lightning cable, the LCDi3 are immediately ready for use on iOS devices. An integrated remote control enables volume control, pause/play and call acceptance. The Bluetooth cable also offers an integrated remote. There is hardly any difference in sound over Bluetooth, but it is noticeable that the playback volume is significantly higher when using the Lightning cable than when the headphones are fed via the other connection types.
With the LCDi3, Audeze has made premium planar magnetic in-ears to add to their range of products. As a bridge between the entry-level and high-end models from this American manufacturer, these headphones bring the sound quality of the top products from Audeze’s in-ear range into affordable realms without making major compromises. If you don’t mind the size of these in-ears, you will not only receive a lavishly presented product with extensive extras but also workmanship, technology, fit and sound that will simply delight you. Rich bass, airy treble and a very differentiated mid-range make listening to all music styles with these headphones a real pleasure. iOS and Bluetooth cables with remote control promise uncomplicated use on the go. The Audeze LCDi3 headphones are unquestionably worth every penny that you spend.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principleplanar magnetic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 50.000 Hz
- Impedance20 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)>130 dB dB
- Weight without cablebut with earhooks: 26 g
- Cable length145 cm
What's in the box
- 6 pairs of earpieces
- 4 pairs of earhooks
- 1 pair of ear fins
- Storage box
- Carrying pouch
- Bluetooth cable
- iOS cable
- USB charging cable
- Cleaning sticks
- Cable clip
- BT version: 5.0
- BT codecs: SBC, aptX, aptX HD