ZMF Atrium Headphone Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Mar 20, 2022.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    This will be another one of my of stream of consciousness reviews along with @ChaChaRealSmooth, with whom I am sharing impressions. I've been out of town for a little more than week (back in Burbank), so I haven't had time to listen intently or even take detailed notes. My initial impression is that the Atrium is Verite level headphone, but with the biodyna diaphragm material, along with the associated "biodyna" timbre, which I absolutely level. This sound is shared with the Sony R10, Fostex woodies, the discontinued Klipsch HP-3, among a few others.

    I'll let Zach more properly introduce the Atrium himself as I'm pretty bad about highlighting product features and stuff:


    As with other ZMF headphones, a number of pads will work with the Atrium. The only pads I've tried so far are the Universe, which I believe is the stock pad, and the Be pad. I have the Auteur pads too, but I haven't tried those yet. The Atrium also comes with some sort of mesh in front of the driver. I believe @zach915m has developed other mesh designs. Basically, there are some pre-set options to play with, as well as system synergies, thus a stream of consciousness approach would be best (basically when I have time to get to it or if somebody asks me to look into something specific).

    In general, I would say that the Atrium is bassy and dark sounding headphone. There's a slight mid-bass boost (the bass is hefty and punchy). The lower and mid treble are muted, although there's some decent air, at least with the Universe pads. Unlike the Verite, there doesn't seem to be as much of a upper-mid depression, if there is any at all. Plankton seems to be on a similar level. Overall speed of transients isn't quite as fast, although the attacks are more biodyna crisp. Again, these are early and initial impressions (before any measurements were taken). FWIW, I have the Verite Closed headphone as part of my regular rotation of three or four - this going on for years now.

    For now, I will provide an FR measurement.

    ZMF Atrium
    Universe Pads
    Frequency Response (FPC)
    upload_2022-3-20_19-49-40.png

    ZMF Atrium
    Universe Pads
    Frequency Response (EARS)
    upload_2022-3-21_13-6-55.png


    Finally, for those who are not familiar with ZMF, a lot of it is about the wood cups. While the Atrium doesn't have has much wood play as the Verite Closed (Sapele), there's always some sort of woodie sound to them.
    PXL_20220321_005628984.PORTRAIT.jpg
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2022
  2. Mban

    Mban Facebook Friend

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    Possible to post a comparison FR graph between the Atrium and the HD650/HD600?

    That broad bass hump around ~100Hz looks relatively similar from what I remember.

    Thanks!
     
  3. lagadu

    lagadu Facebook Friend

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    Does it sound as spacious as it's claimed to be? Something that isn't too far away from a VO (with be2 or verite pads) but with a bit of less of an upper mid dip and great timbre as well sounds very interesting.
     
  4. GoldenOne

    GoldenOne Friend

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    Had the pleasure of trying this recently and enjoyed it a lot.
    Very enjoyable tonality overall (though some may find it a touch too dark) but also DAMN does this thing have some punch

    20220318_185942.jpg 20220318_185930.jpg
     
  5. Don Miller

    Don Miller Facebook Friend

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    Woulf you be able to post the Atrium frequency response vis-a-vis Auteur with Auteur pads?
     
  6. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Price makes me cry but it's as much eye candy and chicken noodle soup for the soul as it is ear candy, after all. Probably my favourite grille design off ZMF yet! Kinda appropriate they released it around St. Paddy's Day since I'm getting Gaelic chapel vibes off it.

    Having similar macrodynamic slam as the HP-3 but with a more normal voicing is admittedly very exciting; how's it fare against classics like the HD600 for microdynamics though, like subtle harmonics or lingering string plucks? That's one thing I feel the Sennheisers still easily beat the Klipsch in even just out of modest gear e.g. MCTH or Garage1217 Sunrise.

    One other thing that feels apparent to me about the HP-3s after the honeymoon glow wore off is that despite its fast attacks it feels like it's pulling back its punches vis-a-vis the Sennheiser 6-series, as if the HP-3 were a seasoned athlete throwing careful jabs with the Senns being just some regular dude putting their whole body weight behind each punch. Airflow is probably slightly too restrictive, wondering how the Atrium fares in that regard?

    Also just to be clear but are these raw FR flat plate measurements or compensated for flat = perceptive neutral?
     
  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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  8. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Probably going to be easier for me to do since I don't think Marv has an auteur on hand. I will try to get a measurement up soon and reply here.
     
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  9. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Okie dokes - all taken with HATS 5128 B/K unit at 94dB with DF compensation

    Here's the Atrium with Universe Pads (SOLID) vs the auteur with auteur pads (dotted)
    ATRIUM_SOLID_auteur_dotted.jpg

    Here's the Atrium with auteur pads (solid) vs the auteur with auteur pads (dotted)
    ATRIUMauteur_SOLID_auteur_dotted.jpg

    And for fun the HD650 (slightly modified, foam cut out front and dynamat on driver) (dotted) vs Atrium Universe pads (solid)
    ATRIUM_SOLID_650_dotted.jpg

    I should also mention, these graphs probably illustrate why I didn't want to get rid of the OG auteur and just call the Atrium "auteur 2" or something. The auteur is a different flavour, and if you love the auteur, selling it just to get the Atrium isn't going to feel like a direct upgrade, unless you ofcourse like the tuning/presentation of the Atrium more.

    auteur classic is tuned the same as OG auteur, and I will ofcourse post all about that when that project is done.
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    ^ Thanks for doing this. No Auteur on hand.

    ZMF Atrium (BLU/RED)
    HD650 (GRN)
    upload_2022-3-21_12-50-34.png

    There have been some variances with HD650s. The HD650 which I have above I consider to be golden sample that has lower bass extension with a corresponding lower center frequency for the midbass bump. Many HD650s tend to have a bump that slightly higher up with more warmpoo sound.

    Yes indeed. Headstage is easily the equivalent of the Verite Open. I'll grab both, compare and report back on specifics.

    I'll do the EARS measurements too and report back (already done see first post). I think you would really like these. There are Verite level, so they play up there with respect to microdynamics and plankton. Think better, way better, than Fostex TH900 level with respect to technicalities. (TH900 has always struggled with plankton to me ears). Unlike TH900, the Atrium doesn't have any treble peakage, and the mid-bass lift is nothing compared to TH900 and HP-3 which are bass cannons.

    The HP-3 has a compressed microdynamics which push the volume gradations upwards. The HP-3 is more even, more rounded throughout. Think equivalent of film screens being able to capture more subtle dark greys and blacks. The HP-3 has a bit of treble sizzle. I don't know how used to this you are. I will play with removing the mesh to see what happens. Will come back with other pad measurements too. Lots to do.

    If I forget something, please don't be afraid of bugging me. You won't be. It's just I'm doing a lot of different things these days so my brain gets scattered. I figure this will be a two-week stream of consciousness review.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  11. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    ZMF Atrium
    Universe Pads
    CSDs
    FPC Atrium L.jpg
    FPC Atrium R.jpg
     
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  12. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Just for the record the stock HP-3 was too muffled for me so I cut small vents into the foam discs to reduce the overall levels just a few weeks into owning them, around July 2018: https://imgur.com/gallery/vbI1BKR

    Pointing it out since I think from previous posts it was thought I've been running them entirely stock all these years. Subjectively this reduces the bloated, overly thick feel while maintaining thud and improving the sense of openness to the mids while maintaining the extension. The treble is definitely on the brighter side to my ears but it's not as offensive to me as the Campfire Solaris with Azla Sedna tips can be, or the midtreble spike on the X00 Ebony. I've had a few years to get used to it after getting too lazy to bother with EQing every source I had, never mind physical mods :p

    Besides that I'm damn near 30 now so my hearing is going to Gehenna on a gurney. That said this still song still makes me cringe out of a Magni/Modi 3+ stack:



    Damned right, these look ludicrously good. Fully agree on the Klipsch having upwards-compressed microdynamics that feel like Samsung smartphone photo processing look (@gbeast had similar observations, if memory serves)-- that's probably one of the reasons I'm not completely satisfied by it and am vastly grateful to have an HD600 on hand as a palate cleanser/sanity check.


    Pain in the ass requests: Impedance graph and free air coupler measurements? Guessing from the squiggles the resonance is around 40Hz which is exceptional for an open-ish design, and wondering how it'd fare out of assorted high and low z amps.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  13. muckyfingers

    muckyfingers Rando

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    But, I want it now!!!

    Seriously though, anybody compare them to the Aeolus? The Aeolus is my current and favorite ZMF headphone, I've heard them all except the VC.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    The Atrium is simply a very different headphone. Aelous has a V-shaped response. Mids and upper mids have are recessed. There's a little bit of edge sharpness in the highs. The Atrium is punchy and dark. I can see a lot of people thinking the Atrium is too dark. Atrium wins out in in slam, resolution, the micro stuff, clarity in the lows. The difference isn't huge. Like the Verite series, Atrium has a deeper placed headstage than Aeolus. However, better in technicalities doesn't mean better for you. If you like the transient response and tonal balance of the Aeolus after going through most of the ZMFs (the VC which you haven't heard is a slightly less mid recessed VO with interesting cup interactions), it's probably best to stick with Aelous. We're here to give good advice, help you find your way, not necessarily tell you that newer is better.

    ZMF Atrium (BLU/RED) vs Aeolus (WHT)
    Frequency Response
    upload_2022-3-21_22-2-54.png

    Frequency response shows Aeolus compared to Atrium hotter in mid-treble and slightly recessed from 1 to 4kHz. What's necessarily shown is that Atrium has heftier punchier bass and Aeolus has edgier zippier transients.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  15. muckyfingers

    muckyfingers Rando

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    Thank you, for the response/comparison, I’m still itching to try the Atrium.

    The only reason I haven’t tried the VC, is just I prefer open vs closed. Maybe I’ll wind up buying the Atrium and keeping it and the Aeolus for specific music/mood.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2022
  16. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    ZMF Atrium
    Universe Pads and Solid Mesh
    Impedance and Electrical Phase
    GRN = On Head / YEL = Free Air
    upload_2022-3-21_22-12-58.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2022
  17. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    I removed the state-of-the-art high-tech meta-material* in front of the driver. If you like the Aelous, I think you may really dig the Atrium with the mesh removed.
    PXL_20220322_032326744.PORTRAIT.jpg

    I'll have to return tomorrow evening or Wednesday for further measurement analysis. However, subjectively removing the mesh brings it closer to the Aeolus sound with respect to the the Aeolus' zippiness. The Atrium still maintains those muted mid-highs, but it's closer. However, there's now a bit of peak in the upper mids, which does lend some edge. Perhaps a material that splits the difference? (Personal request from me).

    Yes, the Atrium still slams hard. Reminds me of the punchy Atticus which accomplished this with a nice narrow mid-bass boost, but Atrium is more response in the lows.

    *I jest as I don't think Zach has made any such claims. It's just that everyone and their mother is claiming meta.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  18. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Sent you some of the lesser value frontal titan mesh damping today. So you can try all three values; stock, none and middle (the one with the holes).
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Oh shit. I think I am going to end up really loving the Atrium with the titan mesh. (Just found the photo on your site). LOL, it would seem that you thought of everything.

    https://shop.zmfheadphones.com/products/acoustic-titan-mesh
    [​IMG]

    P.S. Random thought: I am really loving the slam, and particularly the textures in the drums and bass (Sinead O'Conner - I Want Your (Hands on Me)". This is a real treat. (And this is with the Modi 3E too, where ESS chips aren't exactly spectacular with bass texture - Too lazy to reassemble Yggdrasil). Possibly the most resolving bio-cellulose headphone that I've heard, including the Sony R10. (The legendary Sony R10 was vastly overrated. It was fairly resolving, but lows and lower mids were veiled and lacked clarity. Frequency response was smooth, but slightly tipped upward. The secret with the R10 was always the cups).
     
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    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  20. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    The Auteur probably has my favorite sounding driver ever, so I'm dying to get my hands on these. I've always said an Auteur type sound with TOTL technicalities would be my end game.
     

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