ZMF EIKON & ZMF ATTICUS

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by gbeast, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    There should be an icon featuring a mountain range and a sun in a photograph along the top of the reply box, just to the right of a round smiley face. Paste the image link in the box that pops up when you click the icon and hit Reply :p

    Do note some people occasionally have trouble viewing images hosted externally, so you may have to right click and Open Image in New Tab (that's for Windows— long-press for Android, IDK about Mac and iOS) and copy the URL in your address bar then instead of the one that appears when viewing Imgur photos in the native viewer.

    Sound impressions would be welcome too!
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  2. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Claud

    Claud Friend

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  4. Claud

    Claud Friend

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  5. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    Thanks, Lyer25. The last one is the Eikon with its new Norne Silvergarde S3 layered headphone cable using my computer audio system to break in both Eikon and cord for about 200 hours.
    This is an Eikon with a magnesium chassis like comes standard on Verite.
     
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  6. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

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    Upload to imgur. Go to "Images." Copy Paste the link below

    [​IMG]

    Hope that helps. Saw your pair on HF, very pretty headphones :)
     
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  7. Aeron

    Aeron Almost "Made"

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    Truly, Wood Porn!
     
  8. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    After three days 24/7 breaking in Eikon and Silvergard S3 layered cord. Put them on 30 minutes ago to hear how they were doing. Killer. They already beat the crap out of my previous closed headphone, the Mr Speakers Ether closed ( no Flow). Eikon has better more articulate bass, very nice detail and a midrange to die for. The best thing is that they are so musically involving. Zach says to break in for 300 hours . This weekend I will switch off to Stratus/Yiggy system fed HiRez by my Ibasso DX 220.. I need to break in a new EML 5U4G and it will kill 3 break ins with one system.
     
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  9. ufospls2

    ufospls2 Friend

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    [​IMG]
    Simple Elegance

    Hey Guys!

    Today we are talking about another great pair of headphones from ZMF, the Eikon. I will copy my blurb about ZMF Headphones from my Verite review, as nothing has changed on that front.

    ZMF Headphones is a small headphone company based out of Chicago Illinois. The owner of ZMF headphones, Zach Mehrbach, is…a really nice guy. Really. Although I have only had correspondence with him via email, he comes across as incredibly helpful, supportive, and proud of his work. I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity to hear two (Verite, and Eikon) of his headphones for a couple months, and review them. To quote Bert Reviews on youtube (if you haven’t seen Bert Reviews, go search it up now, it is worth it, trust me) “Zach is AWESOME!”

    The ZMF Eikon is one of the pair (the other being the Atticus) of Dynamic Driver headphones ZMF released a few years ago, marking their move into making their own headphones, rather than modifying other companies headphones. Of course, as time has passed there are now other models, but the Eikon and Atticus are the original twosome. The pair of Eikon Zach sent me is done in Camphor wood. Again, as I mentioned in my Verite review, there are supposedly small changes in sound between the difference wood types, but I think you would see more of a difference changing to a different pair of pads, than a different wood type.

    Speaking of pads, again ZMF Headphones has a superb system available. There are multiple different pads to choose from, in multiple different materials. For my pair of review Eikons, I had a pair of leather Eikon pads, and suede Eikon pads. Both pads offered a sound signature I enjoyed, and the change was not subtle. I will get into this a little bit more later on.

    [​IMG]
    So. With all that being said. How do the Eikon sound? Harmonically rich, full, and pleasing to the ear.

    Bass: The bass on the Eikon is a bit on the woolier and round sounding side then what I am used to usually. However, I absolutely love level of bass the Eikon provides. It isn’t too much, but it is north of neutral, and really fills out the sound nicely. I did try playing with EQ’ing up the bass a few decibels, and sure, for some music it worked well, but it really wasn’t necessary with the Eikon. With the leather Eikon pads, the bass had a bit more impact than with the suede Eikon pads. The bass on both the Verite and Eikon I spent time with was well done, in my opinion. I think Zach must have similar preferences to me, as it just “worked” for my ears.

    Mids: The mids on the Eikon are truly wonderful, seductive even. They are different from the Verite, in that they sound more natural, and are a bit more present. I think the naturalness of the sound signature might come from the Bio-Cellulose driver present in the Eikon. It is unlike anything else I have heard to be honest. My friend Jeff Wells described the Auteur (the open back counterpart to the Eikon) as being harmonically rich, and that is an absolutely excellent way to describe it. I am stealing it! This harmonic richness comes across in the mids more so than the bass and treble regions, which is why I am mentioning it here. I think it is something you have to hear to fully appreciate, as I didn’t “get it” until I heard the Eikon.

    Treble: The lower treble on the Eikon is a bit too hot at times for my personal tastes, and comes across as a bit “crunchy” sounding. I noticed this with snare drums for the most part, which could be due to the fact I am a drummer myself, and pay attention to it more closely than others. I didn’t really notice sibilance with the Eikon, or piercing cymbals in the top end of the treble. So, for me, the treble on the Eikon is a bit of a mixed bag. The lower treble isn’t my favourite, but the upper treble is completely listenable and enjoyable.

    Technicalities: Now, in my Verite review I think I came across as a bit negative regarding its technical performance. I didn’t intend this to happen, but at $2500USD for a pair of Verite, I had to compare them to the other top of the line headphones I had with me, and yes, they were better in terms of technicalities.

    The Eikon however, at $1400USD, is not only acceptable in terms of technicalities, but very good (especially for a closed back headphone!) The soundstage is completely in the middle ground of everything I have heard, and is actually very open sounding for a closed back headphone. Dare I say it has a more open soundstage than the Utopia? I think it might! The Eikons detail level for the entry price is much more than acceptable, and it is also a very dynamic headphone. Is it as good at the technical stuff as my Susvara? No…but it is also a $1400 headphone!

    [​IMG]
    Comparisons: I am only going to compare it to the Verite as I don’t feel a true comparison to the Susvara or Abyss is really fair, and they are what I have on hand here.

    So.

    Verite: The Verite is without a doubt the more open and technically accomplished headphone. They have similar levels of bass, but the Verite does come across with much more clarity and detail. However, the sound signature (minus the lower treble) on a whole with the Eikon is much more seductive and again….harmonically rich. I found myself just enjoying the music with the Eikon, vs thinking about the headphone with the Verite.

    Pads: Again, Zach sent along the Eikon with both Suede and Leather versions of the Eikon pads. The Leather brought a much more hard edged and impactful sound, whilst the Suede was a much more mellow, round edged, listen. I would highly recommend both these sets of pads if you purchase a pair of Eikons, as they really do bring different sound signatures to the table from the same pair of headphones, and only cost $50USD! As I mentioned in my Verite review, I’d love to see a magnetic attachment system, similar to the Abyss and Meze system. However, if this would raise the cost of the pads to prohibitive levels, perhaps it is not worth it. Just an idea.

    Build Quality: The build quality of the Eikon is super. It has the exact same build quality as the much more expensive Verite. The size adjustment sliders are still my nemesis, although by the end I was much better at using them than I was initially. I didn’t have any squeaking, or creaking problems. Nothing fell apart. They just felt rock solid and well built. A+ in this area.

    Conclusion

    My time with ZMF Headphones has been absolutely lovely. The Eikon is without a doubt the best closed headphone I have personally heard, and one of the most enjoyable overall. The bass levels are great, the mids – harmonically rich (again..) and the treble, whilst a bit crunchy sounding, is thoroughly enjoyable otherwise.

    [​IMG]
    Hangin’ out with the Verite
    The Eikon gets a thorough recommendation from me, especially if you need a closed back headphone
     
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  10. Inoculator

    Inoculator Acquaintance

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    My Auteur is my favorite headphone I have tried/owned at this point, and I have been itching to add one of Zach's closed-back offerings to my lineup. There happens to be an Eikon available locally near me, I am seriously considering snagging it as my dedicated work pair of headphones.

    Could anyone offer their thoughts on the Auteur vs the Eikon? Is the Eikon going to be a disappointment coming from the Auteur? What do they do better/worse? Additionally, my work rig is a Bifrost 2/Jotunheim...thoughts on synergy with the Eikon? Thanks in advance for your help.
     
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  11. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    @Inoculator Eikon is more damped with less cup effect than any other ZMF. Won't stage quite as open as Auteur but the difference isn't huge. A bit more recession in that 1.5k-4k area than Auteur, but minor. Eikon has the most robust sub-bass presence of all ZMFs. Timbre is very similar compared to Auteur throughout. Less midrange bloom on Eikon, and a bit more edge on treble transients, though still overall a slightly dark headphone like Auteur and not bright by any means. The two are more alike than different.

    Eikon is my favorite ZMF.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
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  12. Inoculator

    Inoculator Acquaintance

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    Perfect, that is incredibly helpful. I am glad you mention the midrange bloom on the Auteur, as that is something that has been really noticeable to me in my sessions comparing the Aeolus and the Auteur.

    Funny, every time I hear someone describe a set of ZMF cans my wallet gets lighter...
     
  13. Claud

    Claud Friend

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    When I joined this forum, I posted that I was a bit pissed that ZMF introduced the Verite Closed soon after I ordered my Eikons and I then collected a few dislikes.
    After a few months using my Eikons with Norne Envaldi cable and revamping my computer HiRez system, I can say I ain' unhappy anymore. These are great headphones to listen to tunes for hours at a time. I opted for the magnesium chassis so they are about the weight of my Verites. They also do not leak much sound so I do not disturb my wife at her computer next to me in the same room. I also think my burl Eikons are much more attractive than the Verite Closeds that I have seen. The sound is delightfully balanced with sparkling highs and the best bass I have heard. Mids are just perfect for this old man.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  14. crenca

    crenca Almost "Made"

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    While I appreciated the Eikon for its strengths when it first arrived, I found myself listening to my Clears more often than not. I was disappointed it did not sound better out of lower powered DAP's and the like as well. However, it has grown on me. Out of my main rig (Roon with a touch of EQ > Gungnir MB > BW 2) Its strengths, comfort, and closed back-ed-ness (my domestic environment can be loud with the kids and what not) now trump the Clear's strengths about 75% of the time.

    I have the Verite Closed on order so I will compare them to the Eikon's directly when they arrive...
     
  15. raif

    raif Man made lobster/plankton

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    What's up folks. Mr. Perpetually Late to the Party here.

    I have been silently enjoying the hell out of the dac1421 -> EC AF -> Elex for the past year and a half, which is eons in audiophile years. However, the idea of living an eternity without "upgrades" is a phool's phantasy. I decided I wanted to try out ZMF and when a Cocobolo Eikon showed up on head-fi, I snapped it up.

    I do have to say, the Elex has been an end-game solution for me and I will likely never get rid of it. The price to performance ratio is off the charts and the AF's control of the driver seems to mitigate the sharp edges of the response curve on the Elex. That being said, I eventually got to a point where the ever so slight metallic sheen of the driver sent me searching for a more "organic" approach.

    I actually picked up the Eikon to get a taste of the ZMF sound before transitioning into either an Auteur or Verite.

    I have to say, I am a huge fan of the presentation. I am currently sitting on the Elex and Elegia and can do some comparisons.

    Versus the Elex
    I can definitely hear 1-2 k dip. Upper mids / lower treble sounds a bit recessed. As well, there is a slight sense of woolliness to the presentation that is likely a combination of the dark tilted FR and the closed nature of the phone. However, I am a huge fan of the sound. There is this intangible sense of realism to the sound that I wasn't getting from the Elex. The best way I could describe the difference is that the Elex was like a beautiful 4k picture whereas the Eikon was like looking at the same scene out of a window, with maybe a few smudges obscuring some aspects of the scene.

    Versus the Elegia
    Much of the same comparisons hold here too. Funny enough, the comparison had me realize what a competent closed headphone the Eligia is, especially at the price you can get them used. The Elegia had the same minor metallic sheen to the sound but the extra treble presence helped them to feel a little more open.

    Fit/Finish
    These things are enormous and gorgeous. In spite of their heavy weight, they fit rather comfortably. However, I wouldn't mind a little more clamping force to support the weight as I sometimes feel like excessive head movement would break the seal and adversely affect the SQ.

    General thoughts
    My time with these headphones really sold me on the magical nature of the zmf sound and ended up picking up the LTD Zebrawood Auteurs. I have high hopes as they seem to address every minor shortcoming I felt from the Eikons, namely the 1-2k dip, slightly boosted sub-bass, closed nature and the physical weight of the headphones. Once I get the Auteurs in, I will likely do a short comparison and post it back here.
     
  16. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Friend

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    The metal headband is fully flexible and virtually unbreakable, it is meant to be bent into any shape you want to best fit your head:



    For more clamping force I recommend pinching the very top of the headband so that it is like an upside down "V" rather than curved like an upside down "U". Zach demonstrates that about half way through the video. That should bring the cups closer to your ears. And then the other important bend is the very last 1-2 inches of metal on each side nearest to the rods. Really push those end pieces inward and they will force a really snug fit. Doing that should give you a super tight clamp, like brand new HD6x0 levels of clamp.
     
  17. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    Be advised that it's not unbreakable. @zach915m actually had a post somewhere regarding a case where the headband was broken. s long as you take care & follow the video, it should be fine.
     
  18. raif

    raif Man made lobster/plankton

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    Hey @I_want_all_the_tacos, I appreciate the head’s up. I did see that post during my obsessive reading about all things zmf. I actually have the same issue someone else here reported where the clamping on the top is good and tight but the bottom doesn’t feel as secure. It actually helped to loosen the headband a bit to have a more even clamping from top to bottom with my particular head shape. I also rotated the pads a little bit, which also helped.

    I think it is likely due to heft of the giant cocobolo cups and honestly, it isn’t a deal breaker, just something I noticed.
     
  19. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Friend

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    Agreed, that's why I was specific about the word "virtually". I remember some anecdote from Zach about him showing a customer or vendor that the headband was basically unbreakable and I think he ended up going so hard at it that it did indeed break on the spot haha. But yeah I got the sense you had to really want to try and break it. For most bending into head shape applications I never worry about it breaking.

    I definitely know exactly what you mean by that as my Auteur came that way. But I really want to emphasize my previous point about bending in the very last inch of the lowest part of the headband. I took a photo to help illustrate:

    [​IMG]

    I hold my left thumb at that pivot point and then with my right hand I push down/inward where the arrow is. I find doing so causes the entire angle of the cups to be more V-shaped such that if I try and push the cups together (off my head) I can literally never get the 2 pads to sit flush against each other as the bottom part of the cups will always be smashed together and the top of the pads will have like a 0.5-1" gap between them. Doing this really makes it so the bottom of the pads clamp just as tightly against my face as the top of the pads.
     
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