ZMF New Headphones: Vérité and Aeolus

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    I haven't been able to decide which ZMF can I want, as I really like all of them for various reasons. But this alone might have sealed the deal. I have safe and sound with my HD650, and neutralish analytical with HD800, but man do I want something that can temporarily take me somewhere else.
     
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  2. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I found myself in a very similar situation. HD650, HD600, and HD800, but wanted something more vivid. After auditioning a few (VO, VC, Auteur, Aeolus), I ended up snagging Aeolus thinking I didn't want to stray too far from the herd. But, man, VC is a special kind of sauce. I just can't bring myself to drop that kind of coin for a new pair in a limited edition.
     
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  3. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    Besides my "core" (early sonic success) headphones, the Fidelio X2s & ZMF Ori, I tended to buy & sell headphones in pursuit of new sonic successes. Late last year the decision was between the VO (which I enjoy & greatly admire) and the Aeolus (which I flat-out love...it's that kind of sound). Easy decision: I got an Aeolus, though I still think about the VO & have some unfinished business there.

    Interesting to compare the Aeolus to the X2 & Ori. They all have similar sonic profiles, being somewhat bassy, having ear-friendly, merciful tuning in upper mids & lower treble, and great soundstaging (the Ori has the 2nd best soundstaging I've heard from a closed back, just behind the Eikon). Yet the Aeolus is more vivid, entertaining, immersive. It combines great dynamics with musicality--notes have more depth, space, and dimensionality than on the other headphones (though the Ori comes close). The Aeolus has a "tube sound" in all the best ways...it sounds like real music IMO.

    It's easy to hear how much more resolution than the Aeolus has than the others, although it never comes across as cold, clinical, or forensic.

    The VO definitely has more resolution & detail than the Aeolus--than most headphones I've heard. But again, it's an ear-friendly resolution, merciful & not wearing at all...a most musical headphone.
     
  4. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    There can be various decisions.

    But if you want (1) minimum role conflicts and (2) "take me somewhere else", I'd recommend VC. If you opt out closed cans, then VO.

    Aeolus and Auteur both are fantastic. But to me they largely rival 650 (or 800 to much less extent) in that they all have neutral-ish tonality. VO and VC have extremely different presentation ("ultimate fun") from anything else.
     
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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    [​IMG]

    I recently happened to find this very synergistic amp, Erish from Geshelli lab, to pair with Verites.

    No it isn't a super amp that can pull everything out of the Verites. But it is sufficiently capable enough to forget about amp upgrades temporarily and save up to the ultimate amp of your choice (e.g., DNA, ECP, EC, etc.). Bank friendly, size friendly, and heat friendly! Can't say strongly for other headphones due to its jot-like character, but for verites, I proactively recommend this to anyone on a tight budget.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/geshelli-erish-headamp.9542/#post-308473
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
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  6. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    I recently told Zach I wanted an Auteur since it was the "safest" pick if I could only have one headphone as I truly enjoy it and it does nothing wrong/everything right. But almost as soon as I told him that, I started thinking about the Verites again. I only had about 15min at a meet with the VCs but the memory is vivid and I really want to revisit it. But as others have pointed out the cost differential is not insignificant. Working from home has always left me with time to fantasize about toys, but quarantine really put it into high gear, especially since travel (my main passion expenditure) has basically been removed as an option til at least next year.
     
  7. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I suppose I am easier on the Eikon than the VC. It's cheaper, and the Eikon is the more "normal" HP in tone and timbre, particularly in the vocal range. The W shape FR of the VC bugs me at times (and is always there when it does not) and is what it is (EQ does not really get to it - pad rolling only does so much with other trade offs, etc.). The VC technical advantages however are huge - mid fi vs. hi fi, and after brain burn in even the vocal range is very compelling, as is the holographic stage.

    I wonder if there is a "safe" ZMF pick - I reach for the Clear or even HD6XX when I need safe.

    In the end which do I listen to more, and thus is my desert island pick? VC by a mile...
     
  8. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    The Be2 and Verite pads do work on V closed if you want to get rid of the "W" on the V.closed caused by a bass hump. Those pads bring down the bass hump and lessen the 3.1k dip and do work on the Verite Closed. {remember the material has to be solid}

    The Verite open never really has a W response as the 1k on down is linear and just more or less boosted depending on the pad used.
     
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  9. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    I ordered a pair of Verite open 3 months ago and just got them 2 weeks ago. I decided not to keep them but I think they are really good headphones. my impressions for posterity:

    they needed somewhere between 150-200 hours of continuous play before sounding normal. very dark out of the box, and then very bright a day or two later. I plugged them into the headphone jack of a McIntosh integrated and fed them FM airwave static for many hours before serious listening.

    after breaking in, I had no issues with the tonality of these. I used the flat pads for a more linear response. I had a lot of concerns about people saying they had a W-shaped response and avoided the Verite at launch as a result, despite enjoying the Auteur. the Verite has a slight downward sloping response with a slight rebound somewhere in the brilliance region.

    they sound fantastic with modern recordings and remasters. when auditioning them I had a tendency to play whatever I was in the mood for on TIDAL and then allow the radio to take over and play similar songs. normally I encounter some gross sounding remaster and have to reach for the skip track button but the Verite seem to be fairly forgiving of modern recording flaws. I used them to enjoy artists such as The Joy Formidable, Slowdive, Johnny Cash's American I through VI, Metric, and contemporary classical releases from DG, Decca, etc.

    what they specifically do better than my reference HD600s (JAR modded) is transient resolution, virtually no grain (the HD600 is a grain silo in comparison), bass extension/cleanliness and a greater sense of image scale/height. the greater sense of image scale comes at a cost of image specificity as it is caused by cup reverberation, in some stereo recordings image panning seemed to be totally random and kind of distracting. I think I read someone say imaging wasn't the strong suite of these headphones. in other recordings such as shoegaze with its wall of sound effect this was actually pleasing. I still prefer it to the Focals which seem to have tiny pinpoint players on a tiny far away stage.

    what they do not do better than my reference HD600s is very fine resolution and revealing subtle intonations and phrasing in music. this was apparent to me when listening to old recordings, in most cases from before 1970. the Verite immediately impresses with transient ability that is far away from the Sennheiser, especially in the treble. this highlights macro-detail and can give the impression of ultimate resolution, but when I compared the two cans side by side using a 1957 recording of Glenn Gould at the Moscow Conservatory, it was obvious the Senns resolved more nuances in Gould's play. this experience was consistent with many historical recordings in my collection.

    this was very disappointing for me, I would've liked the Verite to win here so I could have upgraded once and for all. given that I spend about 70% of the time listening to older/historical recordings and 30% of the time listening to modern ones, I couldn't really justify keeping the Verite. I have to chalk it up to the nature of the drivers in each headphone, and I don't think there is a modern headphone out there that does everything I want, but the Verite is definitely still the best I have heard among them in most areas. I will say that I think Verite + modest gear will be a better value proposition for most people than HD600 + lvl 99 audiophool gear. they both scale but in different ways and to different degrees. I confirmed this when I listened to the Verite out of the headphone jack of a McIntosh MA-5100 from 1966, it definitely out-shined the HD600 from this source.

    the headphones are super comfortable, Zach is super nice to deal with, I feel bad about returning them but I know the Verite order sheet is currently packed and they will go to someone who will love them more
     
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Great write up. Thanks for sharing honest impression. Your contrast between newer and older recording was insightful enough to motivate me to listen to Glenn's Moscow live performance on BWV 1052 (1957 recording; 2012 CD release) with Verite this morning. Want to test tracks that you weren't happy with by myself. Might draw some comparisons when I get my 650 pair (incoming soon). I've witnessed our gear tastes and perceptions differ time to time (fairly dramatically). Curious if I can agree or disagree this time around.

    Thinking a little differently for this part. Imho, HD 580/600/650 scales in more linear way. Veretes, on the other hand, behave less predictably. More decent with modest gear. Hit or miss with lv 50 gears. Crazy mad (in a positive way) with lv 70-80 gears. (Aside: I haven't met what I can comfortably say lv99 gears to the date)

    When I had hd600 stock in the house, I experienced it couldn't benefit as much as verite from two specific amps. DSHA-3F (my all time favorite "the verite amp") and Apex Teton (loaned from @Phantaminum ). In such context, I can comfortably say Verites could resolve small dynamics and plankton extremely well -- nearly irreplaceably. 600 paired well. But its "linear" scaling couldn't catch up with Verite's end outcome. But like I said above, that can also be attributable to many other confounders. Mileage may vary.

    Verite seems kinda very difficult to find the ultimate pairing amps when one want to pull everything out of it. I've observed @Phantaminum 's long journey (not sure whether he "ended" game or not lol).
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  11. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I have this recording and don't agree. Compared to the HD600, the Verite outclasses it in every department, especially microdynamics. The resonance of the piano is way more obvious, with certain rich overtones of the instrument simply not as apparent on the 600. And the tiny shifts in performance "velocity", that give you a whole, complete picture of the performance... way more obvious on Verite.

    This morning I also cued up Van Cliburn's 1958 Moscow performance of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (the one that won him a grammy). Same result. Verite is better at digging into the nuances of the performance. Piano resonance way more apparent, variations in the weight of key strikes, way more obvious. And this is with Verite being the darker headphone. It is simply resolving more low level information than 600.

    You also have others who believe the Verite is better at nuance than JAR600: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...mpressions-and-measurements.8172/#post-281003

    This isn't to put you on blast or even denigrate the HD600... it's an amazing value (and scales quite high), but I want people to have a second opinion before they start thinking an old dog has learned new tricks. I have actually tried to convince myself the HD600 was just as resolving in the past few months @Joshvar has loaned them to me, and every time I put them back in the closet. They just can't hang with the Verite at all in any aspect. About the only thing they do "better" is more apparent air, but that's because of the brighter tuning. If your sole reason for not buying Verite is because you think JAR600 is better at nuance, that's a shame, because I don't agree with that.

    I generally enjoy your reviews though, so I don't mean any offense. Hope you find what you're looking for.
     
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  12. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Just a thought. By returning them you may get $1875 (non LTD) or $2025 (LTD) back at maximum (as restocking fee percentages being 25%). Isn't it much beneficial to put them up in the used market by yourself? I am very sure like-new verites are sold at higher prices than these expected return amounts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  13. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    We amended our return policy a while back - it's 10 percent for stock woods (plus any transaction fees that we can't get back anymore) and the LTD woods are non returnable.

    It seems to make more sense both for us and potential zmf owners, as we keep more stock on hand of non LTD models (the wood is also much cheaper), and although we definitely take a hit by offering 10 percent returns on stock woods, it's offset by the no returns on custom LTD orders instead. So I usually push those who are in the fence or can't audition our stuff towards the "stock" wood models since it usually cuts down on wait time and risk, although the LTD models do seem to hold their value well in the used market.
     
  14. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    I think I can understand why @k4rstar hears the Verite this way. No matter what pads are used, the Verite has certain sins it commits that can be hard to hear past/get in the way of itself. It certainly doesn't immediately sound as detailed as the Utopia (which I think the Utopia and Verite are either tied in resolve or very close).

    That being said, yes I am someone who thinks the Verite is more resolving and nuanced than a JAR600, but the JAR600 is also not far behind in this aspect and has a far different presentation.

    My experience is that Auteur is actually more amp-picky due to its rather pervasive 2nd order distortion (not a bad thing, just something to keep in mind). Verite is more source-picky than anything else to me, although there definitely exists a degree of amp-pickiness. Obviously my DNA Starlett is purrfect and powers them both extremely well (DNA shill inbound).
     
  15. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I can attest to this. The synergy is sublime. It's the DAC (BF2) that isn't super ideal for Verite/Starlett, but still totally listenable.
     
  16. nishan99

    nishan99 Almost "Made"

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    @k4rstar 's impressions about the resolving ability of the Verite come from the colored nature of the Verite compared to the HD600. The 600s are definitely not more resolving.

    The Verite have cup reverbs, unnatural frequency response, less intimate sound and slightly worse timbre compared to the mighty HD600/650. Any of these four will hinder our ability to hear the finer details.

    Yeah it's really hard to upgrade from those Senns : ) .
     
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  17. k4rstar

    k4rstar Done his time

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    I'm going to start messing around with vintage headphones instead, my #1 goal being to get away from the HD600s tendency towards grain and grayness in complex passages, it really takes a toll on listenability when having 3+ hour sessions

    yeah for sure I realize that for 99 out of 100 people the Verite will be more resolving, whatever that means to them, perhaps not the right word to use since it has so many different connotations. if I was still using a transformer coupled amp like a DNA I would probably be in that camp as well. my current headamp is a two-stage OTL with the 6080 output tube, I guess the most similar amp most people would be familiar with would be the Glenn OTL. it really lights up high-Z dynamics and has given a new meaning to the word 'resolution' for me.

    one thing I didn't mention but @ColtMrFire brought up is air. I noticed right away the Verite does not do air like the HD600 does. on my setup most recordings that aren't completely studio 'scrubbed' do pressurize the air in and around my head to create a believable stage or presence even during passages of silence. it's like a fish tank filled with plankton. very hard to describe, and I have never heard it with previous amp/DAC combinations. at first I thought this was just the HD600 being grainy and exaggerating whatever noise was on the track. the Verite has much higher contrast after all, but going through many recordings with varying levels of tape hiss and 'room noise' on the HD600, the background on the Verite was just blackness. again, I can see most people preferring this and thinking of it as higher end. it made old recordings sound more modern and modern remasters of old recordings more tolerable.

    it is interesting to think if this is a matter of perception due to some sin of commission others have already mentioned. I am more inclined to believe it is just the nature of the driver - it strives for that modern, clean sound and is tamed to a degree by the tuning of the cups and pads. that's what makes more sense to me anyway.

    @Vtory I would just be careful about the evaluation of historical recordings on modern CDs or the versions the labels provide to streaming services. I have many Gould CDs, most from Sony/Legacy, and even though they say 'original 1957 recording', they are neutered compared to local files I have. we don't exactly know what the labels are doing with these files before pressing them to disc, sometimes taking efforts to cut tape hiss or noise. I would rather listen to the original performance, noise intact. the Gould recording was one example of many, not sure how to share other ones as many are obscure. I would upload some from my library to dropbox but not sure it is kosher to link downloads of potentially copyrighted recordings

     
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  18. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    FYI: A lot of the Sony/Legacy Reissues from the Mid 90s and beyond are mostly a compressed mess. I would be carefully with anything from that era with regards to a reissue/remaster.
     
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  19. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Now I might understand what k4 was meaning by "less resolving".

    Verite with universe lamb pads has recessed at 3-4k and some narrow dips at 5k, 7k, and 10k hz. All much lower than the baseline level (conveniently defined as spl at 500 hz). This works as "filtering out only annoying or unnecessary info"[1] for me (and some others maybe?), which I love greatly [2]. Interestingly HD600 does have nearly equal or lourder level for the above than the baseline. It is possible that k4 may want to hear those info unfiltered. However, I need to hear the specific recording by myself to make stronger points such as what pruned signal is subjectively like.

    From my previous measurements:

    upload_2020-7-11_19-27-17.png
    [​IMG]

    Note
    [1] Also note that information isn't completely lost anyway. As these dips are of high Q, I believe info would be more or less recoverable from the neighboring frequencies. Overall, transferred info would be differently presented or arranged to some extent.

    [2] Filtering out is something I started to value recently. I realized not all the info is valuable to me. Too much info always comes with distraction, which results in lower overall resolution for the (frequency) range of my interest. Now I opt for pruning very confidently.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
  20. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Nice summary IMO. I think the first three are the 'cause' of the fourth (timbre). I have at times doubted the Verite resolution, only to cross check with the Clear and realize it was sins-of-commission interference that was distracting me from Verite's superior resolution.

    That said, I like @k4rstar's review if nothing else to remind folks that ZMF's are not for everyone, even if they are for many ;)
     
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