Compendium updated February 16th, 2021
The LCD-i4 earphones defy easy categorization. They're not strictly an IEM or an on-ear. They're planar yet portable. They're portable yet open-back. They exist in a liminal space between headphone and earphone, occupying a niche use-case. There's simply nothing quite like them on the market today.
We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in.
From Headphones.com's review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on September 8th, 2020:
“Normally I would have made some comparisons to similar IEMs, but, well, there’s really nothing to my knowledge that’s comparable. To this effect, there’s no question that the Audeze LCDi4 delivers from a pure sonic-quality standpoint. It closes the gap between headphones and IEMs to a startling degree with the technical prowess to go unmatched against nearly any other IEM I’ve heard. And if you’re willing to put in some time to EQ it, or simply run it off of your iPhone, there’s plenty of untapped potential too.
“The better question is, “Who is this for?”. The LCDi4 isn’t ideal in a public setting because there’s zero isolation. Plus trust me, it’s not a pretty look. And if you’re at home, why not consider a headphone instead? This is unmistakably a niche product, and I think its practical application should be the first thing you consider if you’re going to purchase it - even more so because it clocks in at the flagship level of the price spectrum. No doubt this will be the perfect IEM for a select minority, but in my eyes, the LCDi4 is most appreciable as a proof of concept - a major cool one at that.”
From Headfonics' review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on August 5th, 2018:
“Despite the fact this will be filed under earphones/IEMs the LCDi4 is anything but that. Its unique design, presentation, and in-depth DSP pulls it above into some sort of super-tiny headphone category but with a sound quality that is anything but super tiny. Boy, is this open, boy, is this easy to pair with and oh boy, is this a fantastic listening experience.
“I would not get overly analytical about the LCDi4, it is just too involving to get worked up over the very last ounce of detail that engrosses multi-BA IEM users. This is a completely different experience and one where you may end up chucking away your lesser headphones but retaining all that fabulous desktop amping gear to pair it with.”
From Headfonia's rview of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on January 14th, 2020:
“The LCD-i4 has been in the market since May 2017. This review went live almost three years after its introduction, but even after all this time, the LCD-i4 still is a very solid piece of equipment and very relevant in the flagship scene.
“Audeze has created an almost timeless monitor, that redefined the possibilities of what an In Ear Monitor can do. Although I don’t agree on the term IEM for the LCD-i4, it is one of the very best in this category. The i4 presents music like no other monitor I have come across and is probably one of the best I have heard to date.
“The LCD-i4 is a monitor that can absolutely take it up with the big boys with its open, natural and high quality performance. It does sound very good on its own already, but with some EQ-tweaking it can become an absolute beast. Spot on timbre, precision, speed and a natural sound. What more could you want?
“To me, the LCD-i4 is what I bring when I want a headphone performance in an IEM package. Together with the Chord Electronics Hugo2 it is an unbeatable portable combo, that convinced me a lot during many listening sessions. The Audeze LCD-i4 is pure pleasure on many levels and it’s an easy choice for me to add it to our Best UIEM list.
“It is remarkable. Simple as that.”
From Sound and Vision's review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on February 13th, 2018:
“The Audeze LCDi4 sound like no other in-ear or full-size headphones. Audeze has once again radically changed the way we hear music.”
From The Absolute Sound's review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on December 19th, 2017:
“Those who enjoy the advantages typically associated with planar-magnetic technology—a high degree of fine detail and resolution, smooth and effortless openness and realism, and crisp, clean transient response—but who prefer such qualities in a less bulky, more portable package will find much to love about the LCDi4 in-ears. The extra effort put towards offering greater extension at the top and bottom ends of the frequency spectrum is also noticeable, and noteworthy.
“The LCDi4 delivers high-performance audiophile-grade sound you can take anywhere, and with its friendly 105dB sensitivity can be driven (to reasonable levels) by anything from a lowly smartphone on up to a top-tier headphone amp. In short, it’s hard to imagine a more satisfying and habit-forming in-ear experience.”
From Stereophile's review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on November 20th, 2017:
“I was very impressed by Audeze's LCD-4 open-back, circumaural headphones when I reviewed them in July 2016, but was a bit taken aback by their price: $3995. At $2495, Audeze's LCDi4s are also expensive, but excel in their naturally balanced sound, reproduction of recorded detail, top-octave air, and surprisingly extended low-frequency response for earphones that rely on rubber tips to seal the user's ear canals. The LCDi4s' treble balance might be too polite for some tastes, but I prefer aggression that is encoded in the recording rather than added by the playback gear. The LCDi4s played sufficiently loud with my iPhone 6S, but that's a bit of a moot point considering their lack of acoustic isolation.
“I had one quibble: I would have liked a longer cable. Other than that, I have nothing negative to add. I'll miss the LCDi4s when I return them to Audeze; but until I do, I'll continue using them to rediscover forgotten gems in my music library.”
From The PC Enthusiast's review of the Audeze LCD-i4, first published on August 5th, 2019:
“At the end of the day, I leave the price up to you. Some people can easily afford it, and some might find it out of their budget already. Price aside, in my experience with listening to the LCDi4, and based on its audio quality and performance, it really is unlike any other earphones in the market. In my opinion, no matter how an earphone company designs, configure or plays around with dynamic drivers and/or balanced armature drivers, it may be implausible to achieve the flexibility, presentation and tone or audio quality that the LCDi4 can produce. It’s simply planar magic!”
Editor’s note: Emphases ours.