ZMF New Headphones: Vérité and Aeolus

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

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    That's slightly too much generalization. In fact, Zach tried to make various headphones and combinations to serve for wide spectrum of people.

    There ARE some for neutral heads in the ZMF lineup. See below.

    [​IMG]

    Compare this to hd600 that I uploaded above. ;)

    Aside: I prefer VO with universe lamb pad way much to the above combination of Aeolus btw.
     
  2. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    If you want to pick apart music something with intentional wood overtones will never be for you - the wood wasn't in the original recording and will cover something.

    I mean that's just fact, I'd have thought that obvious? I was apparently incorrect.

    Auteur/Aeolus with the right pad combo will be fr-neutral (whatever the fuck that even means, since it has no objective definition) and with a hard wood cup you'll minimise the wood effects, but it's always the difference between a well-treated auditorium vs. an acoustically dead studio, like a well-modded 6-series or a focal can give you.
     
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  3. nnotis

    nnotis Rando

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    But every design comes with compromises that limit resolution. I don't recall grain and wooly bass being in recordings, but the HD650s present them. Even Focal's studio monitors come with small distortion bands. The only solution I know of is to have multiple listening options.
     
  4. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    The perfect transducer doesn't exist, so you'll always have tradeoffs, sure.

    That's not in question; notice I specified well-modded 6-series.

    But if your aim is the cleanest purest rendition of the source, with no sins of commission, the something with intentional commission like a wood headphone makes no sense.

    As always, the key in this hobby is knowing what you want and knowing when to stop.
     
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  5. nnotis

    nnotis Rando

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    Fair enough. I'd certainly be curious to know what Verite Cs would sound like with cups made of other materials. Though, I'm finding the monkey pod version I just received extremely impressive thus far.
     
  6. will_f

    will_f Leave of absence from SBAF - having fun in RL

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    stop? That’s an option?
     
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  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    He means "pretend to stop" I guess..
     
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  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Haven't bought a thing since VC unless you count the copilot pad, and that's a wear item. :cool:
     
  9. YMO

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

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    Note: At the time of this post I was supposed to receive the Be2 Pads from a Friend. Unfortunately, I believe the pads got lost in the mail by USPS (even if the Friend shipped it via Priority Mail back on 7/20!). Personally I am not hopeful that I will receive them in time before I have to return the Verite Open Loaner back to its original owner in two days. If the chance I received the Be2 pads before I send back the headphone, then I’ll update this post. At this time I’ll proceed with this post with me not hearing the Be2 pads.

    This is also a reminder on why you should be careful when shipping anything via the Post Office.


    Gear List At Time of Impressions/Review:

    Thinkpad X260 via Roon or Foobar2000-UPnP > Schiit Eitr > Massdrop x Airist R-2R DAC (RDAC) > Zampotech SW51+

    Roon or UPnP > PI2AES [Coax Output] or Pioneer DV-79AVi DVD Player (CD Transport) [Toslink Output] > Schiit Bifrost 2 > DNA Starlett (Via BF2 RCA Output)

    Senn HD600, Senn HD6XX, ZMF Auteur


    Intro:

    Sometimes you need to hear a headphone or an IEM in order to solve the internal debate that we all have: Is this thing on my head/ears worth it to me? Some would use the money value as a guide if something is worth it, others will use the sound quality. For me I use both factors.

    At this point people had previously read my posts saw me inquiring about the Verite Open. The W-Sound signature was scaring me off, but at the same time people were saying this does things better than the Auteur. Also, with ZMF headphones I like that you can change out/adjust the headband so their heavier headphones will fit better on someone’s head. Focals are lighter on my head but I really hate their headband design on that one (also I’m not the biggest fan of its timbre), Grados for my head has terrible comfort that I will more/less refuse to buy one of their pairs again, and Audeze stuff has the better headband design if going by the LCD2-C, but the Audeze of today is not the Audeze back in the early 2010s.

    I recently acquired the Auteur as my second forte into ZMFs. I had the Eikon in the past, but it was too heavy for my head. Also, at times due to the closed nature of that headphone it had a little too much bass impact for my taste (however, I will admit that I didn’t swap out the pads at the time). I like the Auteur sound signature, which stays on its own lane and doesn’t go too crazy on it tonality. I know not everyone likes it since it doesn’t have crazy dynamics and some don’t like how neturalish the Auteur is. However, I really appreciate the presentation of the Auteur so the point that it is worth it for me to keep it at this time.

    After talking about the Verite Open with a Friend, they were like you should try out my Verite Open and see if you would like it. For me I said yes, because I can end this stupid debate internally with me once and for all! This 1:1 loaner I was provided the Cocobolo LTD edition. I am also very grateful since I had another Friend ship me some pads to try out on the loaner as well. You guys have no idea how grateful I am. People who I never personally met trust me with their stuff. To me this part alone is crazy to me, because if I wanted to hear a Verite Open I would need to fly west to SoCal (which is the plan on my end to see Friends once the virus situation is resolved) or be risky and buy one. Getting a 1:1 loaner is an honor, so to the Friends who help me here (which is two of you), I own you both so much with a favor. If it is a favor that I can do, I will do it. It also shows at times how the community here at SBAF can help each other out when needed.

    So...I think people will want to know if one I like them, and two will I get them. To be on point, yes I like them for the presentation that is very different than the Auteur, and two I’ll most likely pick up a new stock model from Zach next year. With regards to why I’m not getting a LTD version, it is because I don’t really care about LTD editions and I can’t be bothered enough with the wood differences. I’m not into any of this wood nervosa business if I have to be honest, plus I have better things to do with my time.


    Design

    Looks like any other ZMF headphone if I have the be honest. Since I have the Cocobolo LTD edition, is this slightly heavier as a stock one? It isn’t a problem because the Verite Open feels lighter than the Auteur. I think it is due to the Verite Open having less magnets than The Auteur. The brass grill looks cool, but I’m not crazy about it. I’m not into audio jewelry, and these to me don’t look like audio jewelry to me. Wood work is great on the other hand, but I’m just one of those guys who don’t go crazy on how crazy a headphone looks or anything like that. I care more if the headphone isn’t falling apart and if it works.

    Headband system is just like ZMF’s other headphones. Easy to do adjustments, or even add one of the Pilot pads (which as you may know I did on the Auteur). The 1:1 loaner fits on me just fine, but maybe a slight too much head clamp force for my liking (no, I didn’t adjust the headband because these aren’t mine). If I proceed in getting the Verite Open I’ll still do a Co-Pilot pad for long term comfort.

    The packaging comes in a wooded box. It looks cool, but I prefer the standard hard case that came with the Auteurs. I feel the hard case will survive a beating in shipping, and I feel it is more practical for my needs. I know at the time of this post the Verites are ZMF’s current TOTL headphones, so they have to make it an experience due to its MSRP. I wish there’s an option to pick the hard case over the wooden box.

    Nothing in the design of the Vertie Open to me at least seems to have a serious flaw. It’s a headphone that works well for what it does on my head. Major plus on the flexibility of the headband design (which I can’t say the same on Focals). I believe for all ZMF headphones that if something breaks on them, I do believe Zach wouldn’t charge an arm and a leg to have them repaired (cough *Focal* cough). With the headband system on ZMFs they work for me. However, they aren’t for everyone due to their headphones can have weight problems for people due to the wood. At least it isn’t hard to swap out the ear pads, because….


    Pads

    LIKE ANYTHING WITH ZMF, YOU BETTER PAD SWAP THE CRAP OUT OF IT IN ORDER TO GET TO YOUR PREFERENCE. LIKE ANYTHING WITH ZMF, YOU BETTER PAD SWAP THE CRAP OUT OF IT IN ORDER TO GET TO YOUR PREFERENCE.

    There, I said it twice for a good reason. I can’t stress this enough, if you are going to audition anything ZMFs IMO, you need to try out different pads with different materials. I was very lucky that I was given the chance to try out the following pads on the Verite Open:

    • Verite Perforated Lambskin: Thinner Padding makes the ear closer to the drive. This gives an upfront presentation with tons of slam that you can feel, and crazy dynamics. I DON’T LIKE THIS PAD. For me it had too much dynamics with little spacing (not enough breathing room for the notes). This made the sound very claustrophobic to me. I also thought it made the treble too sleepy for my taste. If I was at a store and this was the only pad they had with the Verite Open, I would go on a forum saying that I hated it with a passion.
    • Auteur Perforated Lambskin: NOT A FAN. Since I was curious, I took out the pads from my Auteurs and put them on the Verite Open. I felt it made the treble have a little too much sharpness for my taste, and weakens the soundstage a bit. I thought it was similar to the Universe Perforated Lambskin that I’ll talk in a sec, but a little too much in one direction (this is due to the slant/fatness of the Auteur pad over the Universe).
    • Universe Perforated Suede: HATED IT! The Suede material really screws up the treble for me, and it also didn’t sound right to me. I don’t have anything else to add on this one if I have to be honest.
    • Universe Perforated Lambskin: MY FAVORITE PAD. The super dynamics were toned down a bit, and I felt the treble is more lively here (I know for some this might be crazy talk since people normally stated using the Universe pads on the Verite makes the treble darker, which I don’t fully detect on my setups). The W-Sound is still here, but to me it isn’t overwhelming. I felt everything was balanced from top to bottom, even with the W-Sound adding some richness to the notes. Some aren’t a fan of this pad due to the 8k peak, but it didn’t bug me at all. Yeah, this pad kept the tilting in the lows and highs, which really gives it a different presentation over the Auteurs. With this pad, I felt the semi 3D-type sound that some were talking about it. I didn’t think it was really a 3D-type sound if I have to be honest, I guess it is more like a cozy sweater like some where talking about. Any future impressions below will be based on this pad.

    Sound Signature

    Unlike my other impressions/reviews, I won’t be making separate sections of Treble/Mids/Lows because I think this had been discussed so many times here. So I’ll be on point, with the Universe Perforated Lambskin pads you have a pretty balanced W-Sound that isn’t offensive to a guy who prefers a neutral sounding headphone like I do. At times I feel like I been fooled to think this is a neutral headphone, but that is due to how fast the drivers are here. The drivers within the Verite Open are no joke, crazy control, speed, all that good technicalities stuff in marco/micro level. However, just because the driver is fast it doesn’t mean it gotten rid of the coloration. Doesn’t matter how many pads I tried out on the Verite Open, the coloration will still be there no matter what. However, the amount of coloration one can preserve will be different depending on the pad and the person who is hearing them. With the drivers and the sound signature, I think it is a pretty interesting presentation that the more I use the loaner on my head, the more I enjoy it. It’s hard for me to explain about the decay, like there’s some but not a whole a lot. Also, a musical note does stay a little bit longer in the “air” than a Auteur IMO. What do I know, I don’t have golden ears.

    The W-Sound helps on electronic music with a sharp treble like Yellow Magic Orchestra – BGM by reducing the sharpness a bit (but it doesn’t lose details in the treble, which is crazy scary). It also helps the BGM album by providing a bass-tilt since the album was recorded on an early digital recorder (which gives the album a muddy/thin type of sound, but the bass-tilt gives it some body). On some albums like Weather Report – Night Passage I felt some of the air was lost, but not the bass from Jaco Pastorius. So yeah, that W-Sound will work great some records, and some not so much. Honestly, even for the recordings like Night Passage where I thought the Auteur would be better on that, I can still jam out just fine on the Verite Open.

    Vocals can be a mixed bag also. Deep vocals on Yello – Stella and Grace Jones – Nightclubbing are mostly good. However, on Nightclubbing Grace Jone’s voice was maybe a tad too rich for me. Light vocals like from David Sylvian are really seducing on the Verite Open (David Sylvian – Gone to Earth). Like I stated a moment ago, I can still jam out just fine on the Verite Open, regardless if the vocals are a “match” or not. Maybe for some this will be a problem, but I was surprised it wasn’t an issue for me.

    So the sound signature agrees with my ears, even if it isn’t perfect on all recordings (then again, what headphone works on every single music, I don’t think one exist).

    On imaging and soundstage I thought it was pretty good (it is wider than the Auteur). I don’t think it has the last detail on what row of a seat a drum or something like that is coming from, but you get a good idea on where things are coming from. If you have a row seat fetish where you are demanding if a sound is coming from row 7, I don’t think these are for you. When using my preferred pad, the music and notes have more breathing room. I liked that part a lot, where the music just floats around in your head. Too bad the Verite Pads killed this effect for me.


    Auteur vs Verite Open

    These headphones to me are so different in presentation that honestly one is not better than the other. Yeah on technicalities Verite Open has the upper hand over the Auteur. But the Auteur is more neutral sounding, which for some they will take a preference to this type of sound. Both headphones reminds me of the relationship that I have with the HD600 and HD650/6XX. Both are from the same family of headphones, have a similar sound with some interesting differences. So the Auteur is the one if you prefer a more gentile neutral sound, while Verite Open is colored with some advantages. I dunno, with my HD6XX I prefer using that for electronic music (even with it’s bass region is weak) while I prefer the HD600 with more jazz. I prefer the Verite Open with electronic music, while I prefer the Auteur for jazz, go figure.

    To be bluntly honest, I dunno how someone can just have the Verite Open as their main dynamic headphone. I really really want to have a neutral sounding headphone when I get bored of the colored sound of the Verite Open. I know some use the Verite Open as their main headphone all the time, but honestly I just do it. I feel the same way with my HD600 and HD6XX. I can’t just do HD6XX forever, which is why I have its brother nearby for a more brighter sound when I feel like it.

    I also just can’t say in full confidence that Verite Open is better than the Auteur. They sound so different to the point that I don’t think one is better than the others on everything. After a while with my 1:1 loaner, I stopped caring about the technicalities and only focusing on the presentation.

    So yeah, I consider Auteur and Verite Open both TOTL levels, at least to me...


    Conclusion

    Most likely I’ll pick up a stock pair new from ZMF next year because I’m burnt out on pricey purchases this year. I personally see the money value of acquiring a Verite Open on my end (while something like the Focal Upopia I’m having a hard time justifying that near $4k price with Focal’s warranty policy and it’s almost a $4k headphone – try a Raal + Jot R at that point). However, I’m in no rush to pick one up. I consider them to be on the same level as the Auteur with different type of sound signature and traits. I still can’t say everyone should get the Verite Open due to its colored sound nature, which is why I highly recommend to try one out before thinking about buying it or not. I took an advice from a Friend and gotten the Auteur first (which I’m happy about). After getting the Auteur, I then decided that I wanted to try the Verite Open. The colored sound does work for me (which is a shock if I have to be honest). However, please don’t make this your only headphone because I do believe you might get bored from the W-Sound after a while. I mean while I like my HD6XX, I will get bored of it if I use it for weeks with no end. YMMV IMO.

    With that being said, I can listen to both the Verite Open and the Auteur for hours. Both bring something different to the presentation to the point that I can live with both of them with no issues. Honestly, I don’t care if ZMF makes a higher technicalities headphone with the Auteur sound signature. I was hoping Zach would do something like that before I heard the Verite Open, and now my opinion has changed on this front.

    As a LOL moment, no, I will not have withdrawal symptoms after shipping them back to its original owner. Before I go, you better make sure you have the chance to try out different pads with the Verite Open before you buy it/written off it. I can’t stress this part enough to the point I’m talking about it again at the end of this impressions/review post.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  10. will_f

    will_f Leave of absence from SBAF - having fun in RL

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    Agreed on having some pad options. Unlike an un-named greedy French headphone maker, ZMF doesn’t charge crazy amounts and it’s worth an extra $100 for a couple additional sets.
     
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  11. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    I’m daydreaming about getting a pair of ZMF Vérité in the distant future. I understand that high end tube amps are the way to go with the Vérité, but given that such a purchase would be in the even further away, would a Lyr 3 tide me over as a decent mid-range offering?

    I’ve seen only two comments on this specific pairing, a favorable one by @jexby and another, less so, by @tommytakis.

    I ask specifically about the Lyr 3 because the consensus seems to be that it would work well with my other headphones, the Clear and TH-X00EB (upgrading from an MCTH) and LCD2-C (from a Magni 3) while also simplifying my chain. Is it too much to ask for a single, relatively affordable amp to do a decent job with all of these headphones, including the Vérité? Or am I being greedy?
     
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Not sure if you already own Lyr 3. If you have it and plan to get Verite later, then stick around it. Verite isn't very amp picky until a certain point. The headphone generally accept nearly every amp without annoyance. There are some exceptions though.

    A few additional thoughts
    • If you want to play around multiple headphones, you need to have 2+ amps.
    • For Lyr 3 budget, I might prefer gilmore lite 2 for verite to my taste. I posted a little writeup last night: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ut-magni-3-vs-erish-vs-gilmore-lite-mk2.9720/
    • Since Verite generally "accepts" many head amps, it's important to specify what you can give up and what you can't. For example, tone-must and transient-must might result in very different amp selections respectively especially for relatively lower price ranges.
     
  13. tommytakis

    tommytakis Gear Cycler SoCal Edition

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    I will be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of Lyr 3 as I found it didn't really portray the nuance and explosive dynamics that the Verite is capable of despite "not doing much wrong." Around a similar price, I can wholeheartedly recommend @Zampotech 's SW51+ as I found it extremely dynamic and nuanced while being a great tonal match to Verite's inherent warmth and richness. If you want to stay with Schiit, I would rather pair the Verite with the Valhalla 2 over the Lyr 3.

    Like all things, if you choose to simplify your setup with a variety of different headphones, there will always be a trade off. If you want a single amp that should work with most headphones, I would also look into Bryston BHA-1 as they do a pretty darn good job at staging for a solid state (I've been comparing it with my DNA Starlett and it's not too far behind), great sense of slam/macrodynamics, nuanced microdynamics. I would also take this over Lyr 3 any day :)

    I hope this was helpful, lmk if you have any further questions
     
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  14. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    What a huge difference in perception! I don't disagree with Tommy much, but I quite understand he and I have very different reference coordinates or definitions/values as I honestly can't take sw51 and val2 over lyr 3 with Verites. Owned Lyr 3 for months and had sw51 for roughly three weeks in the house. Not many hours with Val 2 though.

    Still think it holds its damn great position any day. I never thought it less nuanced -- opposite. It differentiates dynamic nuance very evenly (or -ishly at least) to me regardless of signal level. Consistently so across Verite, Utopia, Elex, and HD600. I'd argue similarly for macro dynamics, too. I even tested these (micro and macro dynamics) with self-created artificial sound.

    Or just simply I may be not as a demanding person as him. Perhaps that's more likely.
     
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  15. tommytakis

    tommytakis Gear Cycler SoCal Edition

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    I've been told I'm a picky bastard according to my friends. You may be the sane one between us :confused: I envy you @Vtory
     
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  16. YMO

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

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    I concur. ;)

    We still love you thou.
     
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  17. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Thank you both for the helpful and thought-provoking replies, I’m most grateful. I don’t have the Lyr 3 yet. I’m still weighing my options, and the SW51+ is something I’ve also been considering.

    Not to complicate matters but I do have a ZDT Jr. (to drive my HD 800 and HD 6XX). I wonder if it might do well for the Vérité, especially when it comes to having a romantic, lush tone (though I’m wary of adding warmth to warm). I’ve seen favorable impressions here in this thread of this pairing - with the caveat that it might not have enough power for the Vérité. (Zach had a ZDT Jr. at CanJam this past February; alas, I didn’t get the chance to try out the pairing, though, or to talk to Zach about it, he may well have had it there for a different headphone).

    I wonder if the Lyr 3 or the SW51+ might offer a complementary, tighter, faster and more neutral presentation, one with more slam (and less flabby bass). For context, I got to hear the Vérité from the ampsandsound Big Ten and the Pendant. I liked both very much, although I think my preferences lean toward the Pendant. I’ll also look into the Bryston and the Gilmore Lite 2 - thank you!

    Clearly, I have some more homework to do, which will keep me daydreaming happily! Thanks again.
     
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  18. Phantaminum

    Phantaminum Friend

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    I’ll give you another point of reference. I really enjoy the SW51+ with the Verite and think it’s a great combination. That little amp is remarkable in its performance to price ratio. If you decide you really enjoy that sound and are looking to step up to a technically better amp; the Pendant has fantastic synergy with the Verite.
     
  19. tommytakis

    tommytakis Gear Cycler SoCal Edition

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    I LOVE the ZDT Jr. with HD800 and 650, but Verite + ZDT Jr. was decent at best due to adding warmth with warmth, or too much of a good thing. SW51+ and ZDT Jr. do complement each other well since they have very different presentation so that might not be a bad choice either.

    BHA-1 works REALLY well with the HD800 too btw

    I heard great things about the Pendant! Would love to hear what you think of the pairing if you end up going that route :)
     
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  20. will_f

    will_f Leave of absence from SBAF - having fun in RL

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    I’m a big fan of the Lyr 3 as well, though I’ve never heard it with the Verite. It splits the difference between a SS and tube amp for a reasonable price, capturing most of the benefits of each. The bass is better than any tube amp I’ve heard and the treble is very well done though somewhat dependent on tube. The only real weakness I’ve found is that tube amps seem to do better at microdynamics and mids.
     
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