ZMF Compendium

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by ChaChaRealSmooth, Mar 7, 2020.

  1. HotRatSalad

    HotRatSalad Friend

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    Not me I'm a cheap bastard, paying full price now reminds me every future sale. Hopefully b-stock Aeolus soon would be nice.
     
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  2. YMO

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

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    Had anyone put @zach915m Co-Pilot Pad onto their ZMFs?

    While I'm waiting on my Co-Pilot Pad to be shipped out with the Bocote headphone stand, doesn't matter how much I bend the crap out of the headband, it still hurts like a mofo on my head after watching Zach's headbanding video too many times, lol. To me it is how hard the metal band that's inside the default headband that hurts my head. I hope the Co-Pilot Pad just get the metal band off my head (and only use the two big pads that's inside the Co-Pilot Pad).

    So in the meanwhile I went fully nutjob on a temp solution. I first wrap a small towel around the headband. Then I wrapped a not-used pillow case around the headband. Comfort is better, not perfect still makes my head hurt a bit, but it has improved the wearing on my Auteurs on my head. Downside is I look weird on them. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  3. dncnexus

    dncnexus Friend

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    Have you tried the Suede strap? I had major discomfort with the reg leather strap and Zach sent me out suede strap cause it is thicker and it really helped my comfort levels. I also have a regular pilot pad and thats fine, but a bit too thick, i have a big head. Your solution looks good though!
     
  4. YMO

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

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    Nope, because I was like screw it the issue is with the metal band that is inside the headband itself. Might as well go Co-Pilot and solve the comfort issue once and for all.

    If the Co-Pilot Pad is da shit, then I should had gotten one when I had my Eikon. Now that was pretty heavy for my head.
     
  5. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I've used the Pilot with my Ironwood VC or months, and the co-pilot for a week now.

    Its good. I prefer the co-pilot, but not enough to buy 5 more to replace my normal pilot pads; they're equally comfortable, but the Pilot eats headband adjustment, since its not a shaped cushion it has to be extra thicc.

    I mean, it's a padded, way more durable, universal hd6xx-style headband cushion. Of corse it's good.
     
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  6. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Yeah so - if the steel band wrapped in leather piece is hitting your head and the leather band isn't providing any suspension, then you'd likely prefer the suede strap or one of the pilot pads. The closest equation I've been able to find is that people with 7 and 1/4 hat size or smaller would probably be best suited with the suede strap or Co pilot pad. Maybe I just have a big forehead, but I prefer the lambskin strap.
     
  7. YMO

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

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    Good to know. My Co-Pilot should arrive Monday, and I can't wait. I'm glad you allow people to adjust their headbands with simple solutions.
     
  8. dncnexus

    dncnexus Friend

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    Thats really interesting actually. I must be wearing the headphones completely wrong cause my hat size is like 7 3/4, I am on the largest size the headphones can go (past the last notch so its partly up the rod until it gets stuck from rod getting thicker) and I still needed the suede due to hot spot issues with the leather strap

    Edit: All the comfort issues are better now with the suede strap, just thought it was interesting you found its mainly for the ones with much smaller heads than mine
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  9. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    I have a pilot pad on my Auteurs and a Co-pilot on my eikons - I much prefer the co-pilot and am trying to decide if it's worth buying another one and selling off the pilot.

    FWIW, no matter how much I bent and played with them, I could never get the straps comfortable for long sessions (dumbo head here - 7.5-7.75, so I'm also opposite the comment that straps are better on larger noggins)
    -----------
    edit for spelling
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
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  10. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    It's not the size of your noggin, it's the shape.

    I'm medium-large but a pronounced Klingon ridge means zmf straps are only comfortable if I give the headband a pronounced crease in the middle - makes the strap load the side of my head too instead of just the crown - but with my all-brass Ironwood VC, which is heavy enough it probably violates workplace safety regulations whether I pick it up, only a pad will do.

    I wore atticus/auteur hours per day for over 2 years with just the leather strap, but when I bought the pad for the VC I bought one for each, because I'm worth it *tosses luxurious quarantine hair*
     
  11. YMO

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

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    So I didn't get my Co-Pilot pad + my ZMF headphone stand until today. I need to set up the headphone stand, but I really, really wanted to get the Co-Pilot pad to solve the comfort issue once and for all.

    On my end with the default headphone band the comfort was a 3 out of 10. With my lamo-o simple mod, comfort went up to 4 out of 10. With the Co-Pilot pad the comfort went up to 8 out of 10. Big improvement.

    No, on my end the Auteurs still have weight on my head. No, the comfort while it went up big time still cause a minor feel/pressure on my head. However, that could be the headband that I still need to do some adjustments to get it just right. Installation is super easy, took me about ten minutes. You can keep the default leather strap on, but I just took it off and just install the Co-Pilot pad.

    If you really want to improve the comfort on your ZMF, please consider the Co-Pilot pad as a possible solution. At this time I think I'm half way there on headphone adjustment on the headband, but SO MUCH IMPROVEMENT ALREADY. Honestly, if I couldn't solve the headband issue then I would had sold the Auteurs. Now I don't have that problem anymore. Now I just need to hear someone's Vérité Open to see if this is something I would like, because that W-Sound is kind of scaring me off.....

    Look how happy I look now!

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. tranq

    tranq Facebook Friend

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    So I'm in the market for some new headphones... right now im leaning towards planars...i have HD6XXs and HD600s. Amps are Ragnarok 2, Asgard 2. possibly some tube stuff in the future.

    I generally prefer my 600s over the HD6xxs, but I'm finding I want something with more heft/edge/impact in the lower end. I want to rock a little more....but i dont want to lose the detail in the upper frequencies...

    My only experience with planars has been one month with the Hifiman Ananda BTs.

    what ZMF headphone would be a good fit for me to research more?

    Im just realizing the phones listed in this compendium seem to the Dynamics and the Planars get no mention...

    Is that a sign i should check out DCA or Audeze for planars?

    thoughts/criticisms appreciated.
     
  13. Jerry

    Jerry Friend

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    ZMF Planars tend to be overshadowed by ZMF Dynamics, but that don't mean they are no good. You can have a look at ZMF Classic. Not sure if Zach still sells them. If you like HD600 and want to go planar, I recommend the Verum One, but with caveats (check around). Its 3.5mm sockets also seem to be a hit or miss.

    But I would direct you to try ZMF Aeolus or Auteur. The Aeolus is like HD650+, and the Auteur is more like HD600+. If you like the HD600, I think the Auteur fits you better. To me, it is the most neutral ZMF from top to bottom. You won't be missing anything in the lower or upper registers. It is a little soft on impact and transients compared to other ZMFs, but I find it really enjoyable nevertheless.
     
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  14. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    There are reasons for this:
    1. I have not heard every single ZMF (hint: the planars in particular). Heck, a good number of the ZMFs I did list I only heard through meets (Eikon, Atticus); not nearly enough time to make truly informed opinions of my own. I've relied on experiences of other members here whose opinions are trusted.
    2. ZMF Planars are really just T50RP mods. Granted, I've heard secondhand that Zach does an exceptional job, but the truth is that there is only so much you can do with that driver.
    My recommendation is the Aeolus. The Aeolus will be a lot like a "super HD6x0" with some of the "naughty" settings on (not quite neutral, still has some "ZMFness," etc). It is quite explosive, dynamic, and punchy; I personally don't feel it replaces the HD6x0 stuff, but saying that it isn't a good complement (and potentially an upgrade depending on what you're looking for) is selling it woefully short of its capabilities.

    A secondary recommendation that comes with caveats is the Verite. The reason why this is a hesitant recommendation is because you specifically are looking for more heft/impact in the bass and you are looking at planars. Intuition tells me that you clean, tight bass; the Verite has quite a lot of cup reverb that extends out a long ways up the FR (I think to about 1 kHz with the Universe pads). Not saying the Verite doesn't have impactful bass (it does especially with Verite pads), but might not be what you're looking for.

    The other option depending on your chain can actually be a Focal. Focals sound fast, very clean, and highly dynamic. A good counterpoint to the ZMFs if they're too "ZMF" for you. Used prices can be quite good; ask a dealer if they have a demo model that they'd be willing to part with if you're worried about warranty.

    If you really want the phat planar bass, snag a [good] pair of Audeze LCD-2C. Unfortunately I think the only other options that don't suck would come at more eye-watering price tags; a [good] LCD-4 or a Rosson RAD-0 with a small mod (easily reversible).

    On @Jerry's recommendations: maybe I'm reading too far between the lines on your post (thus imagining things that don't exist), but I wouldn't recommend the Auteur because you're looking for more heft/impact. Auteur, while being superb on microdynamics, doesn't really do hard-hitting impact unless kicked into gear with the right amp. However, @Jerry is right on in the sense that it is the more neutral headphone in the ZMF lineup.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
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  15. Marlowe

    Marlowe Rando

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    FWIW, all the ZMF planars (which, as ChaCha points out, are all Fostex T50 mods) are currently listed as out of stock on the ZMF website and have been for a while I believe. Whether or not that is permanent, you'd have to ask Zach.
     
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  16. tranq

    tranq Facebook Friend

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    Thanks, I didnt realize all of the planars were mods, thought just the classic was a mod.

    Appreciate the info and advice from everyone.
     
  17. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    For what it's worth I love the ori.
     
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  18. loadexfa

    loadexfa Friend

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    I'm curious what leads you towards planars, better understanding your thinking may help with recommendations.

    If you consider the Autuer, I found it to be more amp picky than the Atticus and Aeolus and takes a much better amp to come alive. I agree with the Aeolus recommendations for you from the ZMF lineup.

    Elex is a great entry point for Focal. Coming from the HD 6XX, I find Focals WAY more energetic. They can be more fun and engaging or get into "too much" territory depending on your taste or mood. I found the Elex paired well with OTL amps, tamed the energy just enough while improving the tone. One of these days I need to get another Focal, they should also pair well with SET amps which I haven't tried.

    Between Audeze and DCA, I've found the tuning for DCA to be more hit or miss and the LCD-2C is a great recommendation to satisfy what you specified.

    I also recommend reaching out to ZMF, they are a pleasure to deal with and will make suggestions too. It's hard to be sure if their sound is right for you without trying but, for what it's worth, they are the headphones I reach for most.
     
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  19. perogie

    perogie Facebook Friend

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    Just as a date point for myself, do all ZMFs scale well with source gear? I ask because I was fairly surprised about the improvement I got out of the Autuer as I upgraded amps and DACs and I wonder if it is generalizable or if the Auteur is a bit sleepy and just needs to be woken up?

    EDIT: posted this just after @loadexfa posted re amp pairings so I missed it.
     
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  20. will_f

    will_f Friend

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    Compared to the HD6XX, I find Focals much more dynamic, much deeper and cleaner bass, and clearer. I thought the level of detail (at least for the Elex) was similar. However, the Focals need a warm amp or a tube amp to sound their best (IMHO). They sound a little metallic to me without a little treble smoothing. The timbre of the HD6XX is more musical than the Elex or Clear to me, but YMMV.

    The Auteur is closer than the Focals to the timbre of the HD6XX and if anything is more musical than the 6XX. It isn’t as impactful or as fast as the Focals, but it’s also less fatiguing which is why I usually listen at low volume with Focals and louder with the Auteur. My memory says it’s more dynamic than the 6XX, but I’m traveling so I can’t compare right now. Bass wise it doesn’t reach quite as far down as the Focal Clear, but it’s close and is one of my favorite aspects of the Auteur, sounding very rich with great microdynamics. The microdynamics are outstanding, with detail better than the Elex (comparable to the Clear) and clarity better than the 6XX and Elex

    My amps are both pretty dynamic so I’ve never felt the Auteur needed more kick even coming from Focals, but it definitely isn’t the hardest hitting ZMF. Depends what you listen to whether the extra thump is worth it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
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