ZMF Aeolus Impression and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Hands, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Not always but sometimes pads do wonder. Elear to Elex might be the most dramatic example.
    That said, various zmf pads for aeolus, imho, are the second most dramatic.

    All measured at [email protected]
    1/24 oct
    SBAF-compensated

    upload_2019-2-23_14-5-40.png

    upload_2019-2-23_14-6-2.png

    upload_2019-2-23_14-6-8.png
     
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  2. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Like I said in another thread, these pads are categorized into two groups: fun vs serious

    Fun group:
    upload_2019-2-23_14-8-33.png

    Serious group:
    upload_2019-2-23_14-8-54.png

    Honestly I think I am hearing more difference than this graph suggests.. Will talk about it more later.
     
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  3. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Relative effects (in a frequency domain) of these pads

    upload_2019-2-23_14-11-7.png

    upload_2019-2-23_14-11-18.png

    upload_2019-2-23_14-11-25.png

    For convenience, log-differences (in decibel) were lifted by 90db.

    So, please consider these differences as "original effect + 90db". Or think 90db as a "no-effect" line.
     
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  4. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Will also post harmonics and time-domain results later today (hopefully).
     
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  5. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Looks like the suede pads do great things to flatten out parts of the FR. I'm excited to get a chance to hear them.

    Also, a hearty thanks for doing the measurements and posting you thoughts!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
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  6. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    A bunch of FR comparisons between Aeolus suede and some worthy competitors I've measured.

    Disclaimer: only arya and ether 2 were re-measured at the same calibration level. The others measured at [email protected]

    All 1/6 oct

    upload_2019-2-23_21-7-24.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-12-15.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-12-38.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-12-45.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-12-54.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-13-1.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-13-11.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-13-16.png
     

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    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Harmonic distortions

    upload_2019-2-23_21-15-17.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-15-23.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-15-40.png

    Suede pads turn out to have the highest level of 2nd harmonics, which wasn't heard during my own listening.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  8. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    @Vtory For clarification. Are the Aeolus pads a new type of pad or are they ori/atticus pads?
     
  9. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Step response plots

    upload_2019-2-23_21-18-57.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-19-15.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-19-21.png

    Overshoot (%)
    • Aeolus pads: 25.7
    • Verite pads: 42.6
    • Suede pads: 44.4

    Settling time (ms)
    • Aeolus pads: 2.32 ms
    • Verite pads: 1.89 ms
    • Suede pads: 1.89 ms

    Aeolus pads were noticeably different than anything else. Likely related to softer and relaxed presentations.

    Note that these step responses are not compensated against hrtf. So, inherently tend to have good amount of overshoots due to resonances even if headphones are "critically damped".
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I think so, because these aeo pads are perforated. Size-wise maybe similar with ori ones though.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    1/12 oct wavelet spectrograms

    upload_2019-2-23_21-30-18.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-30-38.png

    upload_2019-2-23_21-30-26.png

    Interesting to observe a certain tradeoff in behaviors at 4.7 khz of verite and suede pads -- faster settling vs less ringing
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  12. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Part 2 of amp-pairing tests, which I did previously with universal aeolus.
    This time around, surely with suede aeolus.

    Both convert-2 and dx3 were used as a dac. dx3 was tested as an amp too.

    Highlights (sorted by my preference)
    • BW (OOP): Still the best. But not quite hugely like before. Partly because suede aeolus isn't as amp-picky as universal one. Also with more polite and less-slamming dx3, advantages of bw2 wasn't as meaningful as with convert-2.
    • Jot: Still only bested by BW (mostly in staging). If budget is tight, jot is the right way to go with aeolus. Jot's authoritative and well-controlled bass help perfecting suede aeolus.
    • THX: Bass is less nuanced than Jot (particularly with convert-2) but has cleaner presentation and wider staging (Jot has better imaging though). With suede aeolus, Jot and THX are largely in the same ballpark. Go for jot if your source has good balanced outs. Otherwise thx vs jot would be a matter of design.
    • DX3 (builtin hp out): Largely very similar with A30. Maybe a tad better. Not very annoying but ok at best.
    • A30: Not as good as everything listed above -- muddier on bass and more glare on treble. But more listenable than last time. I can bear this if I am in a pinch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  13. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Closing thought

    If I have no headphones and start over from the scratch, Aeolus must be in my short list [1]. Particularly combined with suede pads (and admittedly with the right upstream), they do many -- nearly all -- things just right for the entire audio spectrum. Technicality is there, tonality is there, and aesthetics is there. "Why do we (I) want more?" -- Aeolus are imho the least expensive headphones that can throw out this without any compromise [2]. This of course means Aeolus easily enter my top 3 full-range [3] contenders AT ANY PRICE LEVEL. They're not only of great value but also purely great.


    Some (nitpicking) downsides
    • If not sonically critical, Aeolus pads should be resized. They're smaller than universal and verite pads (I assume aeo pads on this tour are representative samples). Pads replacement was difficult and potentially harming user experience.
    • All zmf open headphones are not very open (probably Zach's engineering/acoustic decision). Aeolus is not an exception -- rather it's more physically closed than auteur. Guessing acoustic (not electrical!) impedance would be as high as Beyer semi-open dt880. I don't think every pair of headphones should be as open as stax estats or hifiman planars (they're my preference of openness though). But a little more open structure -- resulting in more free air flow -- would be cool imo.
    • Some instruments like acoustic guitar, piano, or organ sound less present with aeolus. Male and female voices also have similar issues but to lesser extent. Snare drums and cymbals tend to be less crisp. Of course like I already said, talking about nitpicks. But Arya clearly outperforms here, Ether 2 is pretty close, and as I remember, autuer is still better than aeolus in this regard.
    • Aeolus can go down very deeply. However, very low-freq notes (20-40hz?) are not as clear and clean as "good" planars (hint: >70% of planars on the market are shit) -- fundamental weakness of all dynamic drivers below the resonance frequency. It's also worth noting Aeolus do this better than any other dynamic drivers I tried -- including all focals and all senns. And they generally outdo planars in tight and punchy upper bass.
    • While Aeolus are very competent at everything [4], they're rather master of none. Don't expect them to win over hd800 and utopia in ultimate microdetails, to smoke auteur in natural timbre and decay, or to dethrone susvara and he1000s in end-game-ish articulation. Very close in all the mentioned criteria.. but not quite in the same league imho. If you don't know your specific purpose/taste, however, aeolus are still one of the safest bets.

    Footnotes


    [1] others may include Arya, Autuer, Ether 2, and Susvara (only if cost no object)
    [2] Heck, I begin to (re-)consider selling all my senns.. if you see my 600 and 800 in the used market in the near future, Aeolus would be 95% blamable.
    [3] meaning HD6X0's are out -- to me they're categorized into 'restricted low-freq'
    [4] and this is why I don't explicitly list upsides -- too many.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  14. Breckan Fisher

    Breckan Fisher Rando

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    Wow, great set of data. From seeing this and after hearing Verite and Auteur from a local, I really want to hear aeolous. I would expect similar results from the pads on the Verite?
     
  15. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Broadly, but that doesn't mean all the pads that are good on one sound good on the other.

    Sometime zach doesn't mention a pad as applicable because he hasn't got around to trying it - or hasn't thought of it yet - but often it's because it sounds like ass on that can.
     
  16. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    In general, I largely agree with @Taverius
    My speculation is pretty much positive though, because zmf open headphones (internally) share very similar spatial structure around ears.

    Below is Marv's measurements of verite and universal pads on verite.

    upload_2019-2-28_15-56-35.png

    (Inversed: verite pads)

    And here is log(decibel) difference between verite and universal pads on aeolus:
    [​IMG]

    To my eyes, pad effects largely remain the same (or at least very similar) between verite and aeolus.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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  17. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    I believe waterfall plots are more meaningful when viewed comparatively. That said, comparison of this result with auteur would be very interesting: (1) similar "hard wood" benefits and (2) similar US pad benefits.

    upload_2019-5-16_22-19-12.png
     
  18. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Previously I observed and reported that the loaner Aeolus (Ziricote) had inverted polarity.

    Indeed it was not that headphones were tuned so but that cable I used for measurements was inverted.

    Currently I have four sets of zmf cable in the house:
    Eikon stock cable (headphone end = 4pin XLR)
    Aeolus stock cable (headphone end = TRS)
    Auteur stock cable (headphone end = 4pin XLR)
    Atmos-C cable (headphone end = 4pin XLR)
    Eikon stock cable was inverted (between hot and cold signal pins; on both channels) relative to the others. Other cables were consistent.

    It's probably either (1) Zach or his staffs mistook or (2) intentionally did so (inverted phases could be associated with tad better sense of spaciousness -- I am recognizing so). The former is more likely though.
     
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  19. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    Been listening to the Aeolus vs Auteur. Same rig: X-Sabre Pro & Mogwai (auricap), with Norne Skuld cable.

    [​IMG]

    The Aeolus is a very different sound sig than the Auteur. Two things come to mind when describing the Aeolus: punchy and thick. It relies on brute force, compared to the refined, more intelligent Auteur. The Aeolus doesn't have the Auteur's detail, separation, and staging quality. Nor does it have the sweet vocal of the Auteur that I find very addictive.

    The Aeolus actually reminds me of a super HD650, with much better bass impact and more dynamic sound. I also prefer the Aeolus' staging compared to the HD650's. To my ear, it is slightly bigger, though a bit less airy. Please note that I only use Dynamat mod to my HD650.

    Another thing I would like to point out is the bass. To my surprise, the Auteur is the one with the better bass. I have heard people saying that the Aeolus has better bass impact than the Auteur. Sometimes, all you gotta do is dial the Loki up a little bit. Once we EQ up the Auteur's bass and put it on the same level with the Aeolus, I am surprised that the Auteur has even more quality impact. Like the HD800, the Auteur's bass issue is just quantity.

    The pads that I like most with the Aeolus is the Auteur Perforated Lambskin. It tilts the Aeolus toward the Auteur's sound sig, Detail and staging improves, making it a more even performer. But I disagree that the Aeolus is comparable with the Auteur. It is still at one level below the Auteur. Nevertheless, I respect it for having its own character.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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