“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