Verum Audio - Exciting high performance DIY planar

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by cskippy, May 24, 2018.

  1. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    I like your confidence and priorities. There are definitely some specific hoops I'd love to hear these headphones jump through, for sure.
     
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  2. Garuspik

    Garuspik Tovarisch Ukrainian Terminator MOT - Verum

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    A small mod that made sound a bit dry, lowered THD and removed significant amount of haze from midrange.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Reflections from such long and nake magnets were inevitable. That's why Audeze applied fazor system. That felt stripes serves the same goal.
     
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  3. Youngarthur

    Youngarthur Rando

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    Please keep me in mind, as one of your first buyers. I am really looking forward to these. Perhaps if there are any future upgrades, I would send back to you, pay all costs for you to return, thus enjoying any upgrades?. Just another thought.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yes, sorry for the delay. I will try to post some stuff tonight. Had a couple other things pop up around the same time I got these in.

    These are also pretty easy when it comes to pad swapping, if you get the right size pads. I wanted to explore some alternative pads in my tests and will share info on some of those too.
     
  6. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Sorry, will try to get to it tomorrow. Eye appointment after work ran late. I have a fat head, so it takes forever to find a pair of glasses that fits well.
     
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  7. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    Same, I have Oakley Servo XL. Check em out next time, they are very wide and don't touch my temples like every other pair of glasses.
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Here's what I thought of the Verum. Keep in mind these headphones are still somewhat a work in progress. For example, @Garuspik is still exploring the best pad options for the headphone. I'm evaluating them in their current state.

    For general, non-sound stuff:

    - Construction as a whole feels pretty solid. Much better than the cheap HFM headphones.

    - Comfort is surprisingly good. You wouldn't think so initially based on looks (see headband), but the ability to angle the headband with a pivot in the middle actually works out very well. The current pads are a bit stiff, and clamp is a slight bit tight, but overall fairly comfortable. (Again, not grading them on comfort so much given the pads are a WIP.)

    - The pads have a metal ring at the bottom and adhere to the baffle with internal magnets. This is actually super, super intuitive and easy to use. I have no idea why this isn't seem commonly. This should also make it very easy to pad swap if you'd like (which I did).

    For sound:

    - Sounds pretty good out of the box. Reminds me of the LCD-2C, but instead of being slightly dark, is slightly bright instead. But whereas the LCD-2C was kind of rough sounding, the Verum is pretty smooth.

    - Excellent bass and midrange up through about 1KHz. Again, a lot like the LCD-2C here.

    - Clean, dynamic, and balanced. Macro-dynamics in particular are quite good, whereas micro-dynamics are mostly just acceptable.

    - There is a bit of haze overall, but not necessarily hashy or veiled. A nitpick for the estimated price of the headphone.

    - Upper-midrange and lower-treble are borderline bright. It's a bit hard to notice at first, because they don't sound peaky or rough like a lot of bright headphones. It's like there's a plateau. This can become fatiguing overtime and give the headphones a slight steely timbre.

    - Resolution is good, but not great. Just a step below the HD650's midrange and treble resolving abilities. On the other hand, you do gain in bass quality. However, I will note that I think the tonal balance with the stock pads gets in the way of the headphone's true capabilities. I found it to do better with different pads (more on that later).

    - Imaging and staging were good, but not great. Kind of like the HD650 and LCD-2C. Not a real problem. Just don't expect an HD800.

    Overall, they sound really promising. I would personally just tone down the brightness, and that would be about all I'd have to say given the estimated price.

    So, what I did was try out some various pads with them. I very quickly settled on the MrSpeakers Ether C angled pads. These alone were about all I needed to dial in the tone to about where I like it. I might actually prefer the Verum with Ether pads over the LCD-2C with vegan pads. The Ether pads were a perfect fit, too. (Note: Audeze pads are too large in diameter, as are the new Brainwavz XL pads. HFM pads seem just about right too.)

    Now, given the pads are still a WIP, and one can easily swap their own pads, that opens up a lot of potential for a really balanced, good sounding headphone that doesn't break the bank.

    Whether or not the front and rear damping will change with the final unit, or if it will be user changeable, that too could provide an easy route to quick tuning wins. Seriously, the headphones just need basic pad/damping changes to dial them in right where you might want them. I'd say that's a positive sign.

    While these didn't get super loud from my phone, they still sounded quite good. I thought I'd point that out, since it broadens the possible applications for the headphone.

    Measurements coming up in a bit.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Frequency response of left/right channels. I wouldn't worry too much about the right channel looking like it's slightly louder. With these sorts of pads and the adjustable headband angle, that could easily account for this and be mitigated when worn for listening (you know, since you fiddle with the fit until it feels and sounds just right). Channel matching is actually quite good.

    Looks pretty darn good up to about 1.5KHz, but then there's a sharp rise and plateau from about 3-6KHz and a large 10KHz spike (exact positioning of spikes and such will vary from person to person). Still, the upper-mid/lower-treble bump isn't outrageous, and it is pretty smooth despite rising suddenly.

    I think this is why they sound somewhat bright, but the sort of brightness that takes a bit of time to catch on. It's not a nasty brightness at all. Just a bit steely at worst.

    Note that many headphones measure with a null around 7-8KHz on my rig, followed by that 10KHz spike. Still, these results are a bit more extreme than usual.

    Verum Frequency Response.png

    This pair has some basic felt over the magnets. Ignoring environmental noise that screws up my low-end results, distortion looks pretty good and normal. Not sure if the felt addressed the distortion results we saw earlier, or if it's something else. Either way, I don't see anything out of line.

    Verum Left Channel THD.png
    Verum Right Channel THD.png

    CSD results are not terrible but could be cleaner. This probably accounts for the very slight haze relative to ultra clean headphones (HD600/650, HD800, PMx2, etc.). Note that my measurement method seems pretty "punishing" with CSDs. I get awesome results from some headphones, like the HD650, but a lot of other stuff comes out looking poor. So, take it for what it's worth, and note that these are at least average, if not slightly better, and don't show massive, sharp, forever-ringing ridges (the one thing you really don't want to see or hear).

    Verum Left CSD -35dB.PNG
    Verum Left CSD -45dB.PNG
    Verum Right CSD -35dB.PNG
    Verum Right CSD -45dB.PNG
     
  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Here are a few comparison measurements using different pads. Again, using the Ether C angled pads on the Verum was by far my preferred configuration. I actually really quite like how they sound with these pads.

    Surprisingly, that plateau I mentioned is mostly still there, but it fades off at the top end a bit earlier. Also note less of a 2KHz dip, less of a 7KHz null, and a noticeable reduced 10KHz spike.

    Again, I really dig how these sound with these pads, even though you wouldn't guess so with measurements.

    Verum Stock Pads vs Ether C Angled.png

    Below you will find results with the HiFiMan velour pads and Brainwavz Hybrid. The hybrid pads didn't really fit (too small, standard size), but offered interesting results nonetheless. The HFM pads fit just about right. I think they leaked too much, but it would be interesting to try their other pads if I had some.

    Anyway, I didn't listen much with these but wanted to show measurements to emphasize how you can easily tweak the sound by swapping pads on the Verum.

    Verum Stock Pads vs HFM Velour.png
    Verum Stock Pads vs Brainwavz Hybrid.png

    Going back to the Ether pads, here are CSDs in case they prove informative. Note that with the stock pads, the large 10KHz spike probably changed the relative floor of the results, so these might not be a 1:1 comparison.

    Verum Left w Ether C PadsCSD -35dB.PNG
    Verum Left w Ether C PadsCSD -45dB.PNG
     
  11. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Here are comparisons of the Verum vs. the LCD-2C (with stock and Vegan pads), HD650, and Clear.

    Verum vs LCD-2C.png
    Verum vs LCD2C Vegan Pads.png
    Verum vs HD650.png
    Verum vs Clear.png
     
  12. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    @Hands your Ether C pads give me high hopes as they do what I would want to the FR based on my measurements. I also have Ether C pads so when my Verum pair arrives, I'll go through pads I have.
     
  13. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    Wow, wish the Verums could be pushed more towards tonality of LCD2C w/ vegan pads in treble region. Maybe some specific aftermarket pads could do the trick?
     
  14. Garuspik

    Garuspik Tovarisch Ukrainian Terminator MOT - Verum

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    @Hands, wow! Such detailed review. Now I understand why it took so long. Thank's a lot.
    Everyone can compare @Hands measurement with @cskippy results. After @cskippy review I've made a hometask and narrow distortion peaks in lower midrange section are eleiminated. After @Hands review I also have same thoughts but his sample is not an alpha version (Like @cskippy had). I would call it release candidate ;)
    I want to avoid such thing that I've encountered in many DIY projects as "overall good BUT..."

    As stated in Hands post:

    That's exact goal I had. I'm glad we hear +- the same.
    Headphones that served for me as a reference when I was building Verum were LCD-2. And I consider them to be too dark and that was my goal to build smth like LCD-2 but brighter (for my ears it's neutral balance) and with better macrodynamics (thanks to huge driver).

    Another goal for Verum - it shouldn't be associated with DIY. It should have factory look, feel and sound. Without "BUT...". That project took so long development cause the main problem was to made scalable design that's easy to produce in series, cost effective, comfortable,reliable and without major compromises in desired price range.

    I think I've achieved all mentioned above.
     
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  15. Garuspik

    Garuspik Tovarisch Ukrainian Terminator MOT - Verum

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    That's exact thing I don't wish and where I see major problems of LCD 2 ;)
     
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  16. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    @Garuspik could this be related to membrane tension?
     
  17. Garuspik

    Garuspik Tovarisch Ukrainian Terminator MOT - Verum

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    Hope we both understand that this "haze" exists in comparison with top resolving headphones?
    And yes, I absolutely agree that micro dynamics of Verum lacks behind top headphones.
    Why it is so? Membrane is rather thick. It is 8 micron mylar + 8 micron aluminium.
    While it is a disandvantage in resolution in comparison with top planars I have a benefit in reliability and consistency of results. All samples will have same FR, ideal channel matching, resistance etc.
    All Verum 's will have same sound, same parameters and should work until a physical damage of membrane will happen (and in that case membranes will be replaced during ~ 5 minutes and very cheap).
     
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  18. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    So in theory can a top end planar be built whilst still being reliable, and if so how could that be achieved? Is there a way to get top end performance if one can only use thicker membranes and traces, or are there more durable materials available that would allow them to be thinner whilst maintaining reliability?

    Also, are all planars inherently flawed due to their need for metal traces within a diaphragm that is constantly moving and bending when in use? Do all planars, no matter trace thickness, have a limited lifespan?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Like the old school planars of the 70s that still work today.
     
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  20. BenjaminBore

    BenjaminBore Friend

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    Where do they sit in todays performance terms, and if in the high end what did they do differently back then that modern TOTL planars cannot seem to replicate?
     
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