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Audeze’s LCD-i3 arrive fully loaded for the future

  • “Have you see this?” – the WhatsApp messenger was Andreas (nd_) Baumecker, Berghain DJ and Audeze enthusiast. He was linking yours truly to a new planar-magnetic earphone model from his favourite (Californian) headphone company. So quick off the mark was Baumecker that he beat the press release by a full 24 hours.

    That new planar IEM is the LCD-i3: an iSINE 20 (review here) successor (read: replacement) that borrows its tech and styling from the considerably more costly LCD-i4 (review here).

    Quoth the press release: “By using the magnesium housing and grill design of the LCD-i4, the LCD-i3 reduces unwanted resonance and offers improved resolution over the iSINE 20.” And like its two forerunners, the LCD-i3 is an open-back design. A strict no-go for public transport or quiet, open-plan offices.

    It seems Audeze has also been busy improving their earphones’ fit: “The brand new Ear Fins are ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable and secure fit within the concha bowl of the ear. For those that prefer the traditional iSINE fit, the redesigned [over-ear] Ear Hooks now curve inward along the back of the ear to ensure a superior fit for ears of all shapes and sizes.”

    The interesting part of this story is the trio of cables that ship with the LCD-i3. Audeze has moved with the times:

    1) A 3.5mm cable for those with a higher-quality third-party DAP and/or portable amplifier.

    For those unwilling to carry a second or third device we net two further possibilities:

    2) iPhone users can avail themselves of Audeze’s CIPHER Lightning cable that features in-line DAC and amplifier.


    3) for Android users preferring a wireless solution, the around-neck CIPHER Bluetooth module offers in-line DAC and amplifier with support for aptX and aptX HD codecs. Alas, no word on AAC support for iPhones. AAC support is now confirmed.

    Both CIPHER modules feature DSP-powered SQ optimisation circuitry with listening profiles none too dissimilar to those found in the back-end of Roon.

    Shipping on the LCD-i3 begins August 23rd. Price? US$899. Not a bad proposition in the context of the LCD-i4’s US$2499 asking. Existing iSINE or LCD-i4 users wanting in on the new cable set as a separate purchase should contact Audeze or their local distributor directly.

    Further information: Audeze

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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