What goes into a pair of flagship headphones? If you’re planar-magnetic headphone manufacturer Audeze, it’s an all-new driver design supported by a revised ‘Fluxor’ magnet array, ‘Fazor’ waveguides and a reworked ‘Parallel Uniforce’ voice coil PLUS inward sloping earpads designed to minimise internal reflections and improve the upper mids for which Audeze claim “a more open yet accurate soundstage”. So runs the Cliffs Notes summary on Audeze’s new LCD-5, announced last week.
A pair of LCD-5 will set you back a not insignificant sum: US$4500. That’s five hundred bucks more than the two recently announced flagship headphones from Dan Clark Audio and Meze, which are both going for US$4000.
However, our story today isn’t the slow-ratcheting of flagship headphone pricing but their weight. Many headphone enthusiasts – yours truly included – have been wowed by the Audeze sound over the years but have also been put off by the on-head weight and its distribution. The LCD-4 tip the scales at a whopping 690g. At 560g, even the lighter (but still heavy) LCD-4z cut short listening sessions for yours truly, especially when sat next to the 331g Sennheiser HD800S or the 430g Meze Empyrean.
Weight matters. And Audeze knows it. The big splash of the LCD-5 announcement is that their incoming flagship offers “transparency, resolution and speed @ 420g” to make them one third lighter than the LCD-4. That puts them between the DCA Stealth and the Meze Elite.
How about we take a look at the weight of a broader range of 2021 flagship headphones, whilst keeping in mind that weight distribution also contributes to a headphone’s comfort factor?
HEDD Audio HEDDphone 718g / 25 Ounces
Audeze LCD-4 690g / 24 Ounces
ABYSS AB-1266 Phi TC 680g / 24 Ounces
Grado PS2000e 680g / 24 Ounces
Rosson RAD-0 650g / 23 Ounces
Audeze LCD-4z 560g / 20 Ounces
Focal Utopia 490g / 17 Ounces
HiFiMAN Susvara 450g / 16 Ounces
ZMF Verité (open) 430g / 15 Ounces
Meze Empyrean 430g / 15 Ounces
Audeze LCD-5 420g / 15 Ounces
Dan Clark Audio Stealth 418g /15 Ounces
Sony MDR-Z1R 385g / 14 Ounces
Beyerdynamic T1 (3rd Gen) 360g / 13 Ounces
Sennheiser HD800S 331g / 12 Ounces
Audio Technica ATH-ADX5000 270g / 10 Ounces
(The headline isn’t clickbait but a satire on that seen in celebrity gossip mags)