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You don’t need a fancy amp to make Audeze’s LCD-4z sing. But you do need $4,000

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Acclaimed headphone manufacturer Audeze has spent a considerable amount of research, time, and money developing some of the best-sounding planar magnetic headphones on the planet, but for the longest time, the top models the company made required special headphone amplifiers to enjoy them.

Planar magnetic drivers differ from the traditional piston-like dynamic drivers found in most headphones in that the sound is created by a thin membrane that’s excited by a magnet, which produces more accurate reproductions of your favorite sounds than dynamic drivers. While it seems like planar magnetic headphones would have immediately taken over the market following their creation due to their increased fidelity, there is one major technological hurdle that has long plagued them: They require a high amount of power to play back your tunes, often forcing listeners to buy dedicated high-output headphone amps.

This is the problem that Audeze appears to have solved with a new special-edition version of its LCD-4z over-ears. Where the original LCD-4 model had an impedance rating of 200 ohms — and therefore needed a powerful headphone amp to drive them — the new LCD-4z has been re-engineered with a 15 ohm voice-coil, which means that it can be powered by virtually any headphone amplifier, cell phone, or stereo receiver with a headphone output.

In addition to the new voice coil, the LCD-4z also features a lightweight magnesium housing and a sleeker aesthetic than ever. The special edition model comes in a sleek black colorway with gold accents, which should appeal to the well-heeled listeners that can afford them. The new model will set buyers back a cool $3,995, which would be a staggering amount to spend on 10 pairs of headphones, let alone one.

Collectors may go after the LCD-4z for the technological advancement alone. After all, how many planar magnetic headphones in this price bracket can actually be powered with as little as a cell phone? If you still have the audio jack to plug them into, that is.

We’re excited to try out the new LCD-4z when we get a chance, as we’ve had spectacular experiences with the company’s more affordable planar magnetic models in the past. Plus, how cool would it be it to listen to your favorite band with a set of headphones that probably cost more than the speakers they mixed the album on?

Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
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