Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by mrweirdude, Sep 1, 2016.
I have to strongly disagree with them. I feel a good seal is needed, just like every other iem.
At first I thought I could not get a good seal, but then I used the ear clips. I think those are mandatory for the these in/on ear monitors.
They sound a bit sibilant, decent bass, and congested mids compared to my full sized cans. Initial impressions are that I'm not all that impressed.
They certainly are more open and airy than my much warmer IE80 IEMs. I am not getting who the market for the are. For $600 once get bette full size cans or pretty damn nice IEMs. The Astell & Kern Michelle comes to mind ($499) or the JH Harvey version of them (can't remember their name. There are too many other IEMs in the $600 price range too.
It's quite unfortunate the SBAF loaner no longer has the original accessories. Maybe SBAF should splurge and pay the $25 for a replacement set.
I've been using the iSine 10's for about a week now, mostly at work straight out of my LG V20 (did also try them with a Vali 2 at home). Fit is definitely finicky. The included tips aren't good. I think I've settled on a pair of dual-flange tips and the clear earhooks, but I might pick up some spiral dots to try them out. I'm also using a light insert pressure but I think the seal is good enough
Sound is well balanced. Bass seems to go fairly deep with a decent seal, very nice, smooth mids, and there's good detail up high but it's definitely relaxed. Staging and imaging are good. Overall a very clean, detailed but maybe a little dark listening experience. It's hard to compare them to IEMs because they really do sound like a small pair of open headphones much more than they sound like IEMs.
You're gonna need a specific use for this design to make sense. I needed something more discreet than full-size headphones for work, but I also didn't want isolation or the closed-in feeling of IEMs, which can be fatiguing for me, so these work perfectly now that I've found some comfort with them. If you need isolation these obviously won't work, and if you can just use full-size headphones you can obviously get better sound for the same price.
Seems like the joke in the initial post of the LCD-i3 for $2500 is remarkably accurate.
It was never a joke. It was announced, Audeze just never showed the final product
At the Denver meet, the general consensus is that the iSine 20 sounds pretty good for a $150 set of IEMs. All we had are the Noble tips sent with the loaner, and I understand there are much better tips recently available from Audeze. We all hope the better tips make a huge difference.
Well, after the review on inner fidelity, it all makes sense. The lighting cable is needed for the isine 20 or it sounds...not good.
I'm apologize for resurrecting this somewhat ancient thread. But I just picked up the isine 20 and wanted to chime in. Here a few thoughts in bullet point form:
*BY FAR the most comfortable and easy to fit iem, custom or universal that I've ever encountered. Granted I'm not a big iem guy. I spent a lot of time with the vsonic line, a little with the Senn ie80 and now I own the jh audio jh13 pro v2. All I had to do was pop on the clips/hooks and slide them on....done. These are shallow fit and intended that way. They just bump up against the rim of the ear canal, that's it. There is no discomfort for me even after more than an hour. Given all the problems I've had with tips, fit and seal, this is truly a revelatory experience for me. I've got the new tips and hooks coming in but doubt that I'll need them.
*I listened to these for about a half hour when I first got them. I use Android phone and an ak120 player (no cipher cable). After that period I thought that the isine 20 was pretty damn neutral, in a good way. Yes, with the non cipher setup its pretty lean/neutral depending on the source material. But overall I felt that were voiced nicely and that I could live with them even if they weren't anything truly special like I was hoping for with an iem retailing at $600.
*Then I started messing around with EQ for them. Hot damn! Now we've got something here. I guess my EQ is similar to what you get with the Cipher cable. When EQ'ed these can punch like a good full sized headphone, give you gorgeous lush mids and natural treble. It's too bad that I can't use the same EQ with my mobile setup. Right now the results that I'm getting are from my desktop setup.
Hey @Ice-man , do you normally like the audeze house sig? I tried for a fairly long time to get the SBAF iSine20 to sound good to me using EQ, and could not. I could certainly hear the potential, but the treble was always rolled off or just sounded wrong. I listened the iSine i4 -whatever the hell it's called at RMAF, and I felt it resolved way better, but also was way rolled off on the treble. I listened to the LCD-4, and was impressed (might have to get one, damnit). But ug, I could not get into the iSine. Do you just prefer lower than average treble, or did you stumble on the perfect EQ?
Well, it seems I've been living in a cave or just an idiot (probably both). Audeze announced recently a windows plugin for the majority of their line, including the isine 20, that makes EQ dead simple. I installed the pluggin with jriver and I was up and running in about 10 minutes.
While I was able to get the insine 20 to a good place using a manual parmetric EQ, the plugin in much better than what I was able to accomplish.
So @AllanMarcus please give the plugin a try and let me know if you get similar results.
Too late for that. I returned it to vansen, and he sold it (I think). Good to know about the plug in, though. Thanks.
Yep, he sold it to me. Until you've heard these properly EQ, you have no idea just how good they are.
I’m looking to pick up a pair of the iSine 20’s and looking forward to reading your impressions Iceman!
The Cipher V2 Lightning cable for iSINE 10 & iSine 20.
What’s new in V2?
1) It is almost 50% lighter and about 20% smaller than the previous version, making it more comfortable. This change was made based on user feedback from the Head-fi community.
2) Fully balanced headphone amplifier! - The new Cipher V2 has been designed to operate in fully balanced mode. This means that the cipher V2 delivers double the voltage swing for greater output levels.
3) Improved DAC and DSP sections - Improves on the already good Amp and DAC for a more transparent sound and adds an even more powerful DSP. Sample rate and bit rate support remains the same.
4) New Apple LAM2 chip platform - It also uses the new Apple LAM2 platform for better efficiency and lower power consumption.
5) Dual microphones -- It has two input microphones for clearer voice calls. And the iSINEs were already recognized has having the best call quality of ANY made-for-Apple headset.
6) Four buttons - A fourth button allows you to mute/un-mute the microphone during conference calls. This is also programmable for additional functions in the future.
7) A new App to go with it - A new app called “Audeze HQ” accompanies the new Cipher cable and can be downloaded from the App Store.
Any registered iSINE 10 or 20 with Cipher V1 Lightning cable owner can readily purchase the Cipher V2 cable for $60. You do not have to trade-in or return your original Cipher cable – keep it as a spare. Contact support@audeze for more information.
Coupon code for 50% off is CIPHER if you have your product registered.
Done a search but didn't come up with much. Has anyone here heard the LCD-i4's? Thoughts?
if you like the audeze sound, the lcd-i4 is truly wonderful. i've used mine with the yggdrasil-ragnarok, and with a wm1z, and the sound is pretty amazing. it's an lcd-4 in miniature, for the most part.
the price tag ... there's the rub.
I am not familiar what the rule is regarding linking HF reviews on this forum. Let me copy and paste the important part from my review:
If you have read that the i4 doesn’t sound like an IEM, you’ve read it right. It does not fit into the traditional IEM category, as it borrows some design cues and features of full size headphones, such as; the large planar-magnetic driver and the open-back grill design. For these reasons, i4’s presentation actually bears resemblance to that of full-size headphones. For starters, the stage and the presentation of the i4 is very grander and airier than what is found on IEMs. In addition, it is able to adjust its presentation that ranges anywhere between intimate and super spacious. And so, its presentation feels more natural.
The imaging is another specialty of the i4. Making use of a 3D and open-back space, i4 is able to locate instruments at various depths and heights within the stage, giving the impression of unexplored layers in stage (especially for someone coming from IEMs). Separation is done very effortless in the abundant space and leaves no possibility for congestion. But still it maintains a very coherent and focused presentation as the size of the instrument images it presents are quite large.
It is important to know that i4’s stock tuning is not the final intended tuning of Audeze. I will explain why in the next section. But for this section, I will describe the stock tuning. i4's stock tuning can be described as balanced, except for a dip in the upper-midrange. While the lower-treble is not a victim of this dip, it is a touch subdued than neutral. As a result, i4’s overall tone is warm in nature and its sound has a certain organic quality to it. Despite the upper-midrange dip, what helps set the balance is the good treble extension and a tiny peak in the mid-treble.
Bass is one of the areas where planar drivers shine and i4 doesn’t shy away to display its talents here. Its a powerful and dynamic bass despite having only a neutral quantity. What helps the i4 achieve this is its 30mm driver, that extends well into the sub-bass frequencies without roll-off. The bass is linear throughout and so it doesn’t tilt towards excess warmth or darkness. The balance in the bass tuning yields a very accurate tone and timbre in the bass. Typically a warm bass gives the impression of slowing down the speed of the phone. But this another area where the planar driver on the i4 really shines. Despite the warm tuning, the i4 doesn't sound slow because the planar driver is very agile.
The bass also makes sure it supports the full bodied mid-range that the i4 presents. The mid-range doesn’t sound thick, but the dip in the upper-midrange results in the earphone sound a little dull and lacking in transparency. The dullness is not present in the case of male vocals or instruments in the lower-midrange. Its the female vocals and instruments that lie in the upper midrange that lack a bit of energy and sound delicate or distant. This also affects the articulation. Because of the sufficient bass and lower-midrange, the vocals and instruments retain the wamrth and size of the images. But the upper-midrange dip results in lack of density for these instrument images and makes the images flat.
i4 has a very interesting treble because, it is not an accurate. But the tone of the treble is very pleasant even on the stock tuning. Although the treble lacks a touch of presence in the lower treble region, it is quite linear and extends all the way into the upper treble, resulting in very good extension. This extension and a tiny peak around 10kHz make up a tiny bit for restoring articulation that is otherwise lost in the dip. It is not a very sparkly or a bright treble. And so the i4 is quite forgiving of poor recordings. But if it is paired with a DAP or cable that have a prominent upper-treble, i4 starts to become bright.
While I cover why DSP/EQ is needed for the i4 in the next section, here is how it sounds upon engaging Audeze's Reveal Plugins or Roon Presets or HF members' recommended EQ settings: i4 immediately starts to sound beautifully balanced. The upper-midrange is restored which improves a lot of aspects in the presentation. The vocals and instruments gain density and no longer have flat images. Mid-range sounds more clear and is better articulated. The treble becomes more linear without any sacrifice to the extension. So the overall resolution is retained while the overall treble is a touch smoother. Bass gets a tiny boost and that results in a tiny bit of wamrth that is necessary to counter the brightness added by restoring the upper-midrange.
REVEAL PLUGINS, ROON PRESENT AND EQ:
As stated in the previous section, the stock tuning of the i4 is not Audeze's final intended tuning for the i4. This is because, i4’s physical design doesn’t allow Audeze to quite achieve a perfect headphone-target-curve. A headphone-target-curve is a frequency response corresponding to how the frequency response of a flat sounding speaker will be perceived at the eardrum. While there are different philosophies and approaches to arriving at a headphone-target-curve, it is essential for a headphone to follow this tuning for it to sound correct.
Besides the design constraints, Audeze managed to get close as possible to a headphone-target-curve. This allows users to enjoy the i4 even without the DSP or EQ. However, the DSP built into the Reveal Plug-Ins and Roon Presets for LCD i4, applies a EQ to the digital signal that it essentially corrects the tuning of the i4 and gets its frequency response to Audeze's version of headphone-target-curve.
The EQ recommendations from KMann at Audeze and other members on the i4 thread, basically tries to mimic the EQ in the DSPs within the Reveal Pug-In and Roon Preset. While a manual EQ doesn't quite yield the same result as the DSP, it gets close enough. Next best thing to the DSP is using a Parametric EQ. With a 10-Band Graphical EQ, it doesn't give you the necessary bands to Frequency bands to make the adjustment. But increasing the 4kHz band by +4 or +5 on the graphic EQ will help a little bit.
To read further on this subject, please read page #2 of Tyll’s iSine 20 review on Innerfidelity. Although Tyll is referring to the iSine 20, i4 shares the same philosophy as the iSine 20. Audeze has confirmed that i4’s and iSine20’s tuning are not exactly the same but have some similarities.
CIPHER V2 CABLE for LCD i4:
The cipher V2 cable for the i4 is purposed to be used with iOS devices only (iPhone, iPod and iPad). It tends to tangle a little bit but not much. It is terminated with the lightning connector to be connected to the devices. The cable has a console at the Y split which houses a DAC/Amp. The DAC/Amp console also has 4 buttons: 1) Volume Up, 2) Play/Pause/Answer/Decline, 3) Volume Down and 4) Mute/UnMute.
The purposes of the DAC/Amp in the cipher cable are 2 fold. 1) The DAC applies an EQ correction (similar to the Reveal Plugin and Roon preset) prior to the digital to analog conversion. 2) The amp gives a slight boost to the analog signal which should solve the problem that some people have mentioned regarding that iOS devices do not having sufficient power to drive the i4.
While the DAC in the cipher cable may not be as good as devices such as Mojo or a iDSD, the fact that it helps the i4 achieve a balanced tuning, which helps the i4 achieve accurate timbre makes the cable a very compelling accessory, especially if you are someone who values timbre.
POWER REQUIREMENT & SOURCE PAIRING:
One of the wrong message that seems to have been perpetuated in the forums is, that i4 requires a powerful source to sound good. While the i4 could totally take advantage of high-end desktop amp's performance, it really doesn’t require a lot of power to be driven well. Rather, what it needs is a, transparent source. With the iPhone or Macbook/PC, you get what you would expect. A decent sound quality that is neither top notch nor too bad.
I mostly used the i4 with my Lotoo Paw Gold and a Sony WM1Z. I engaged High Gain on both devices so that it gave me enough headroom for volume adjustment and also to eliminate any chance of i4 lacking required power in Low Gain. Between the 2 DAPs, I preferred the pairing with the 1Z as it presented a more pleasing tone with some warmth and smoothness. 1Z also helped the stage of the i4 to really shine. 1Z only has a 10-Band EQ, so I couldn't do an extensive EQ correction. I applied the EQ setting that I have shared in the previous section and it did the job quite well. It wasn't necessarily accurate in tone or realistic in timbre, but it was a more pleasing experience.
The pairing with the Lotoo Paw Gold can be a matter of taste. On the one hand it provides PMEQ with which one could arrive at a better EQ correction for i4. Also, the device by default has a very realistic timbre and is very dynamic. On the other hand, LPG's tone is quite bright and the upper mid-range is slightly stressed. So it affects the effortless presentation of the i4 a tiny bit. Because i4 has a space spacious stage, LPG's aggressive presentation doesn't affect the i4's overall presentation like it affects my Zeus. So the i4 doesn't necessarily become aggressive, but does feel a little stressed.
Because of i4’s neutral warm tone and the fact that it doesn't need a whole lot of power to be driven well, the earphone is not picky when it comes to source pairing. But if you are a desktop user, a music application supporting Audeze’s Reveal plug-in or using Roon and using a good DAC in the chain would yield best results, as you would get the benefit of the fidelity of a good DAC, while at the same time, the EQ in the DSP helps achieve a balanced tuning. The most popular DAC pairing for the i4 seems to be the Hugo 2. While I did not have a chance to test the i4 extensively on the Hugo 2, I did try it briefly at a friend's house and reviewed the Hugo 2 back in August. Given Hugo 2's accurate timbre and presentation, it should be a great pairing with the i4.
Please note that, with DSP/EQ, i4’s tuning is more balanced, that it sounds more accurate in tone and timbre than either Zeus or HD800S. The note structure is also generally better on the i4 with good weight and body than the other 2 phones. The following comparisons are to provide an idea on how the stock tuning and the general presentation of the i4, compares with the Zeus and the HD800S.
i4 vs Zeus-XIV-ADEL:
While it is not fair to compare the Zeus to the i4, this comparison is just to give an idea on how the i4 differs from IEMs. i4 sounds considerably large in its soundstage and presentation than the Zeus. The spatial separation of instruments is better on the i4 in accordance to its spacious stage and airiness. Regarding the presentation, i4 sounds more natural than the Zeus. i4’s overall tone is warm while Zeus’ follows a neutral tone with a touch of brightness.
The bass department is i4’s strength while it is Zeus’ weakness. Zeus’ BA bass is technical in nature but it doesn’t stand a chance against the powerful and dynamic bass of the i4. The bass tone is accurate on both while the bass instruments on the i4 have a more natural sense. Zeus’ places the midrange forward, while i4’s is neutral in placement. Zeus’ midrange comes across a bit thin in comparison to the full bodied midrange of the i4.
Zeus’ upper midrange has better clarity and transparency than the withdrawn upper midrange of the i4. One of Zeus’ strengths is its vocals as it presents very powerful vocals. On the i4, while the male vocals sound really good, its female vocals lack some melody in the overtones. Lower treble is sparkly on the Zeus, while it is slightly smoother on the i4 due to its slight lack of presence. While the i4’s treble extension is better, Zeus displays better resolution and detail retrieval in the treble region because of better isolation. While Zeus’ treble is not too bright or harsh, it is not quite as forgiving as the i4.
i4 vs HD800S:
In this comparison, the places have shifted. This time around, it is unfair for the i4 as the HD800S presents a larger and a more natural presentation than the i4. Some members had stated that i4’s stage rivals some of the full size headphones. But 800S certainly does not belong to that list. 800S has a tendency to sound withdrawn on certain tracks as it could pull the presentation all the way back to the rear. But the i4 manages to maintain the required forwardness in the presentation.
Although 800S's tuning is much more complete than the i4’s tuning, the 800S is generally more bright in tone. While i4’s default tuning may not be perfect, its overall tone is more natural because of its warmth. The midrange body is also fuller and natural on the i4 compared to the thinner midrange on the HD800S. Similar to the Zeus, HD800S upper midrange is clearer with better density in the vocals, than the vocals on the i4.
HD800S’s bass sounds equally authoritative due to its larger driver size. But i4’s bass is more cleaner and is free of distortion compared to the slightly mushy bass on the 800S. The 800S bass is not generally wooly but it feels so when in comparison with the i4. In the treble, 800S is considerably brighter and thinner. It is also over-articulated and is not accurate or natural. i4’s treble is more linear and is more natural although it is still not accurate.
This comment is particularly amusing now.
All they have to do now is add the bluetooth.
PS: Just got my pair of Black Friday 20s a couple weeks back and I like them a lot. Living in a country where the average temperature is probably 25c these are going to come in extremely handy more often than not both at home and at work, regular IEM isolation always bothers me more than it ever helps (since I never actually need it) and these fixed that thankfully.
I have owned all three now...isine 10/20 and i4. They way that I like to them into perspective is that the isine 10 sounds comparable to lcd-2 pre fazor or lcd-2c. The isine 20 is somewhere between lcd-2 fazor and lcd-x. And the i4 has a similar presentation to the lcd-3 fazor.
This is probably over simplification and the differences are likely WAY smaller than you'd think based on the pricing scale. Originally I had the isine 20 (bought here from the loaner tour). Once the EQ plugin is applied they impressed in every way. Then the dog ate them...seriously.
So I decided to go all in on a pair of the i4's. The i4 is good...better than the isine 20 for sure but only marginally so. The price hike on the i4 is beyond absurd. The difference between the two is somewhere between 5-7%, truly.
I sold the i4 after coming to appreciate the very very small upgrade that it was from the isine 20 and planned to grab a pair of 20's again when a used pair popped up for sale.
Well, as it happened a pair of isine 10 popped up instead and for $150. I couldn't resist. In the end I actually preferred the 10 to the 20. The added clarity of the 20 had a little too much bite, whereas the 10 was smooth and effortless. Think hd650 to hd600.
Now I'm settled in with my 10's and couldn't be happier. And if the dog eats them because I forget and leave them on my desk, it only cost me $150 instead of $2k!
I always loved the lcd-2 pre fazor but hated the weight and lack of comfort. Now I have that signature with invisible comfort with the 10"s.
So. Today I bought a pair of the LCDi4 from Audeze.
They are an open back……$2500(USD) dollar……in ear headphone…
The fuck? Really? What a waste of money at $100 dollars let alone $2500!
Or so I thought. I was baffled by the iSines when they were released, I thought they were useless. However, my needs have changed over time, and I started to consider a move to using in ears more often. I knew I would miss the sound signature of my LCD-4’s, so I figured why not give their little, in ear, brothers a shot. To be honest, they didn’t disappoint.
Lets get a few things out of the way. They don’t isolate, at all really. These can’t really be used on the subway, or bus, or a plane. It just isn’t really feasible. Yes, they are retarded expensive, so make sure you know what you are looking for before giving these a try. They aren’t for every situation, but boy, for the ones they work for, they are killer!
I think these are more for taking with you on a journey, than using during the journey. They can also be used at home if you want a lighter alternative to the full size LCD-4 (or other heavy headphones.)
The fit is actually pretty standard in terms of IEM’s tip wise. Experiment, find a size that works for your ears. I have only experimented with the ear hooks so far, but to be honest, the i4’s don’t fall out of my ears without the hooks, which I didn’t expect. I don’t notice the hooks once I have had them on for a few seconds, I guess they are there just incase you move your head too much or something.
Now to the important part, how they sound. All in all, very impressive. Definitely the best IEM’s I have heard. However, it is important to note (again) that they are open. Perhaps it isn’t really the fairest comparison against other more traditional IEM’s. The bass is typical audeze. Very good. Fast, percussive, fairly hard hitting. Extends low and rumbles nicely. The mids are a little bit too present in the upper midrange IMO, but I will come back to that in a second. The treble is fine for me, but some may find it a bit…tizzy(?)…at high volumes. I haven’t noticed any sibilance yet. I reckon this would be a fine choice for someone who is treble sensitive.
Now, the upper mids. Too present, just a little bit. However, these headphones take EQ very well. If you are an Audeze headphone owner you owe it to yourself to check out the “Reveal” DSP app. EQ for Audeze cans made simple. Using the LCDi4 setting removes too much of the mids for my taste, so I’m running it at 55% currently. That might change, but for my ears, it was a good place to start.
IMO, these don’t sound wonky without the Cipher cable, which imparts the same DSP as the “Reveal” plug in. Tyll felt the iSine20’s weren’t great without the Cipher cable, but the LCDi4 is better than the iSine20 without the Cipher cable. I would rather have a non Cipher LCDi4 than a Cipher iSine20, if that makes sense.
Technicalities are super. Lots of detail, very revealing, very transparent. The soundstage is similar to the LCD-3. It’s not as big as the LCD-4, but still impressive for an IEM. I would assume that the open back nature helps them achieve this.
All in all, these are super cool. Would they be my first recommendation for someone looking for a high end headphone? No. Would they be my first recommendation for a general IEM? Probably not no, due to the open back nature. However, if they fit your needs, I think they would be pretty damn hard to beat. Definitely worth a try if you get a chance
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