I was all set to put in an order for these as soon as they dropped. The primary idea being to get to a single, flagship, planar-magnetic headphone (i.e. consolidating my LCD-4 and RAD-0 into one unit).
At this point, I share similar “concerns” to other posters …
The smaller drivers, different tuning, and comparatively higher power requirements (see the power chart in the original post) vs. the LCD-4 and general similarity to the CRBN’s frequency response mean I will likely take a wait-and-see or, rather, wait-and-hear approach to these.
For my tastes the LCD-4 need EQ. Looking at the frequency response posted for the LCD-5, they’re going to need EQ too. It’ll be different EQ in both cases, of course, but that’s still requiring EQ. Not a deal killer, by any means, but I’d still prefer they didn’t.
This does, however, mean that any evaluation will come down to how well they take EQ (i.e. does making corrections in one area excite other frequencies in ways that cannot be directly/fully controlled by EQ … such as other cup/driver resonances, as with the HD800) vs. the LCD-4 as well as how their relative technicalities actually stack up. If the LCD-5 is technically superior in the other major categories (when EQ’d) then it’s an easy choice for me … and LCD-5 it will be.
The drivers are a fair bit smaller than the LCD-4, also, which may affect slam/impact. That’s a big part of what I love about the LCD-4. And its interesting to see the LCD-5 head towards a smaller driver (which is, no doubt, part of how signifiant a reduction in weight they’ve managed), when Stax went the other way with their new SR-X9000. It’d be a bit ironic if a Stax model wound up with a more potent bottom end than an Audeze flagship.
I’m not too concerned about their drive/power requirements, though if I was using a different tube amplifier to my WA-234 MKII MONO* I would be thinking rather differently. OTL models are a pretty much a non-starter here.
I like the updated look. The weight reduction is certainly welcome, even if it was never a big issue for me. The pricing is surprisingly restrained, at least given what I was expecting.
This is a long-winded way of saying the LCD-5 is not, at first blush, quite what I was expecting. And that that makes it more likely that I’ll wait to see what/if HiFiMan** or JPS Labs/Abyss come up with next, before doing anything else in the planar-magnetic realm.
*This is quite happy driving 8 ohm loads, never mind 14 ohms, at high volumes, with more continuous power capability than the LCD-5 can handle. And it has selectable impedance matching as well, so that’s a non-issue for me.
**This would require non-comedy build quality for whatever their asking price is.