ZMF Auteur - An open back ZMF

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by PacoTaco, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Another beautiful pair. What are they replacing, if anything?

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Next time tell Zach you know Brench Daddy. He will hook you up.
     
  3. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    This has been in the works with Brent for a short while as we exchanged sets after the Blackwood set had a crack. Since the pandemic hit we simply sold all of our b stock and one off headphones so we have nothing left. I'm always honest about what we have available it just depends on what we actually have at the time. Right now we don't have anything because I don't need sets for headphone shows and we're not making new sets out of non production woods because production is slower due to restrictions. Sorry about that!
     
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  4. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    well truth be told i haven’t had much in the way of headphones in a while, most of the time I use speakers or nothing at all. I usually have some sennheiser kicking around — this time a JAR600 courtesy of tommytakis. Before that, over the past few years, I had some HE6 and CodeX (og HE5 variety), sdr 800, and some utopias and elexes at some point. The focals didn’t do it for me in the long run even if they have some good qualities on the right amps, the hifimans are either inconvenient to me cause I’m lazy with headphones or just shoddy build that always makes me wonder when a driver will crap itself... I can be plenty content with the 600 as a general rule, but then decided to test out the auteurs again, which had always been my favorite in the lineup due to its tonal balance... glad I did cause they’re hitting the spot man. Would like to test out other amps and other headphones in the lineup out of curiosity sometime when we’re allowed to be social again.
     
  5. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    I got a pair of Cocobolo Auteurs coming in this week, very excited to get them. These are my first high end headphone, I have been rocking a HD 6XX for the last 3 years with a DV. I also tried out the Clear due to the headphone exchange and they were good but not exactly what I wanted, I am really excited to get these in and I will do a small write up and some photos when they get here. Thanks everybody for all the posts, the posts here really lead me to buy these!
     
  6. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Finally sprang for these and have had them on my ears for about a week (not straight). Running the BF2 and SW51. Since so much has already been written on them, I'll be brief and metaphorical.

    Early returns are that these are the headphone equivalent of wife material. They sound that balanced and right. Sure you may have you head turned by some hot thing with a few more details or that's a little more spacious sounding, but if you try those others long enough you'll find faults that make them harder to live with and you'll miss your Auteur. And the timbre - which to me conveys the honest soul of music and therefor has to be right to live with - is as advertised, excellent.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2020
  7. dncnexus

    dncnexus Almost "Made"

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    ZMF Auteur Review

    I have had these headphones for about 2 weeks now and have been listening pretty exclusively to these and have really been enjoying them so I felt that this would be a good time as any to post a review on these! Hope you enjoy!

    Disclaimer

    Since joining SBAF about 2 years ago I have been always wanting to write a review, but since I am new to the hobby I have always wanted to just lurk and learn rather than try and write a review. When I got these headphones, I thought this would be a great time to try and post and be a nice contributing member of the community, but I got pretty scared on posting up a review. I have never posted to SBAF before in review format, and I have never posted a review of an audio product in general, so I got a bit scared that I would mess it up. So I wanna give a shoutout to @Stuff Jones for talking me into actually giving this review.

    Some more disclaimers that I wanna get out there is my audio gear. Since relatively new to the hobby, and extremely new to getting higher end gear, I have a pretty budget/entry level audio source/amplification. I know this might take away from how the Auteurs could have sounded, but I am in the progress of upgrading my sources and gear. When I get better gear, I will update if there are any on the sound quality differences I have noticed.

    Gear Used: iMac 5K Optical Out -> FX-Audio DAC-X6 -> Darkvoice 336SE w/ Upgraded Tubes

    A final disclaimer is since this is a first review ever, I hope what I am saying makes sense and I will try to use the terminology as best as I can, and if I misuse any please let me know! I also would really appreciate any advice or help for in the future I can improve!

    About Me

    I think since I am a new reviewer, and nobody here really knows me this would be a good time to try and introduce myself, my audio preferences, and music I listen to. This would help people understand a bit more about my preferences and what I use to test headphones and what I listen to.

    So to start off, as I have stated before I am relatively new to the whole audio journey. I am in my early/mid 20s, and have only been into more audiophile gear for maybe the last 2 years. I started with the SHP9500, but found them to be too bright for me. I then upgraded to my current gear of the HD 6XX, DV, and DAC X6 back in 2018 since I didn't have any more exposable income due to still being in school. I have since been working for the last 2 years in the tech industry and decided to upgrade my gear since I had the means to. This is where the Auteur came in.

    As for my audio preferences, I am pretty sensitive to treble. I like the sound signature that is on the warmer side of neutral, with good mids. I would much prefer to go for a dark headphone rather than a bright one (Although the HD 800S really calls out to me for some reason, I know I probably wouldn't love it but I still lust after it. Maybe that will be my Auteur complimentary).

    For music genres I listen to, I listen to a wide range, but with heavy focus in certain genres. I listen to ALOT of Korean Hip Hop. This includes artist such as Kid Milli, Loopy, C Jamm, Ash Island, Changmo, and people like this. Although that is a big part of my library, I do have a wider range and listen to a lot of rock such as Pink Floyd, The Beetles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Motley Crue, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and bands like this. I also listen to on a smaller scale Classical and Jazz (although I am trying to incorporate more of this into my listening)

    I think that is a pretty good introduction to myself and my preferences. I am sure that over time and with more posts people will get to know me a bit more, but as for now I think that is good :)

    ZMF

    I know I know, everyone wants to get to the review but I felt that these sections were needed! I just wanted to make this section to give a huge shout out to Zach and Bevin. I was having discomfort wearing my Auteurs and commented on a reddit post about a Pilot Pad and Bevin reached out to me and sent me one for free after I bought a pilot pad. There customer service really is Tier 1, and I am very very impressed. Just wanted to let it known that they have the best customer service I have ever had and I really really appreciate it!

    Auteur

    OKAY, now we are at the time to talk about this headphone. I guess the first thing we will start off with is the build quality. What is there to really say honestly, these are beautifully made. I have the Cocobolo version, and it is truly stunning. It has high quality leather, metal, and the wood cups are insane. This is something that would be a talking piece for anybody who sees it. It feels and looks like a majestic heirloom.

    Sound quality, the best way to describe these to me would be how my GF described them when I forced them on her head to listen. They are buttery and smooth. The sound quality on these as a whole is very appealing and approachable. I found them very relaxing to listen to and very easy to just put on and just listen. Now that I described the overall sound, lets dig a little deeper

    Bass

    The bass on these headphones are pretty good. They extend pretty deep and they have really good impact to the bass. They are not a bassy headphone by any means, but the bass is also not lacking at all. It was very detailed and impactful, but never bloated or overbearing to the mix. It almost just disappears into the music, and you know it is there, but it never is POW in your face.

    Mids

    The mids are really great to me. They sound very similar to the HD 6XX mids, they are liquid, smooth, and overall just very pleasant to listen to! Listening to music with vocals, both male and female, was great. I would almost say they sound a bit more realistic than the HD 6XX? Maybe not, but it did sound like there was more detail into the voices, a bit more nuance to them. I really enjoyed it.

    Treble

    Wow the treble is really good. For many people that enjoy more bright or trebly headphones these might not be that great for you, but for me they are pretty much perfect I found. I got a lot of air and detail in the treble that I didn't seem to have in the HD 6XX. Is this what they talk about when the 6XX has a veil? Not sure, but these had good detail and I felt that really opened up the mix. The best part is although it was more bright than I usually listen to, it never was sibilant for me. I found it the perfect amount without being too much for me. Again, I like a headphone with a bit less treble, so for those who enjoy treble, might not be for you!

    Soundstage

    Now for soundstage, I found these to be pretty wide from what I am used to. I haven't used very wide sounding headphones like the HD 800, but from the 6XX, these would be probably 20 to 30% larger? The really impressive part of the soundstage for me was the ability to hear in front of you. On the track Novacaine by Amber Rubarth, there is an instrument that comes in that is recorded from a front perspective, and wow that sounded like my desktop speakers were on and playing it. Very impressive to me. The treble increase from what I know might be an attributing factor for why they sound more open, not sure but I like it.

    Dynamics

    Now this is the territory that I am bit unsure of myself for writing about, so if this is completely wrong, then please just disregard and tar and feather me haha. I find these to have really good micro and macro dynamics. The ability to hear the small details, both when the instruments are loud and soft are really transparent. I will leave this section alone now because I just feel like a fraud writing anything else here.

    Imaging

    I found these to image really well. The layering and separation of sounds and instruments is easy to see. I guess going back to the HD 6XX, it sounds almost a bit congested at times and hard to really separate sounds out, but with the Auteur, they really are easy to focus on the guitars, or the drums, or the bassnotes. If you want to focus on only a small part of the sound, you can. I found this really amazing to hear and I thought it was really cool. Never experienced that before.

    Genre Pairing

    I found these to be great at every genre I threw at it. I know that there are headphones that are best in category, but from what I heard they fall short in other areas. I found these slightly warm of neutral sound to pair with pretty much any genre, I was able to listen to it with Hip Hop, Classical, Jazz, Rock and was just smiling everytime I heard a new song that was well recorded that I never heard played the way the Auteur played them (Looking at you Creeks by Bon Iver). I think if you want a headphone that would be a great at all but master of none these might be those.

    Final Notes

    I think I touched on all the different aspects of the sound, if anybody wants any more insight, or questions about them just let me know honestly. I honestly am in love with the Auteur, they are exactly what I thought in my head I have wanted. Every time I put them on I smile and wanna listen more. Will I buy more headphones? Of course, but the Auteur will be a center piece for me. Everything I get from now on will be to complement these headphones. I know it's cheesy, but as @Stuff Jones says, these are wifey material.

    Edit: Not sure how to add photos, I am sure there is a thread but here is a photo from Imgur! Photos or it didn't happen!

    https://imgur.com/gallery/MApGGQn

    Sorry for the poor photography skills!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020

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