ZMF New Headphones: Vérité and Aeolus

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

  1. johnnypaddock

    johnnypaddock Facebook Friend

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    Man, the VO is really something special. I picked up a new Auteur a few months ago and I’ve been listening to it maybe 75% of the time, but if I had to pick between the two I’d go with the VO. It’s amazing that it can give you this level of detail without sounding bright at all. The 3D soundstage is spooky. I can’t pinpoint images as well but it doesn’t matter, I just embrace the overall effect.

    As @YMO mentioned, the Auteur and VO seem to complement each other well. Two very different presentations that I’m happy to have available.
     
  2. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    I have the original lambskin Pilot Pad; purchased it already installed (over headband + understrap) on my brand new ZMF Ori, 4+ years ago. It's the most comfortable headphone/headband I've ever had. Pilot Pad = physical luxury.

    I have a pretty large head & really should take the understrap off, as the sliders of the Ori are extended pretty far. But between the comfort of the PP & the terrifc sound of the headphone, I never quite start that project!
     
  3. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    That's what I do these days.

    But the pinnacle of comfort would be a copilot strap, if you get what I mean.
     
  4. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    The weight issues mentioned comes as a surprise to me, granted my Auteur is teak and so may be the lightest of the lot. I've been curious to hear the Aeolus, and it might have been a better idea to give that a shot first and then considered the VC if that didn't scratch my itch.

    Considering my satisfaction with the VC I'm happy (and/or lucky) with that bit of impulsiveness, but I would not necessarily encourage others to leap blindly like I did without auditioning prior - it's not an insignificant cost increase to step up to the Vérité variants, and it could take many hours of listening (with or without pad swapping) to determine whether their qualities mesh with one's expectations. Common sense, sure, but I'm feeling particularly expressive right now..
     
  5. sp33ls

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    I will say, out of all the headphones I've tried, the Aeolus takes the cake with the mids (vocals, acoustic strings, etc.)

    While it loses some of the mids-magic, the VO still retains a good amount of what the Aeolus has, but then just goes to the next level on everything else lol.
     
  6. edd

    edd Almost "Made"

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    FYI, Zach posted about a change from the Bopp mesh filter on the aeolus to a new titanium-coated fabric here on HF. Although, it's a different material & has vents cut into it (there's a pic a few posts above the link), it's supposed to sound the same. there's also mention of a change to the filter in the auteur as well. not for sale yet, but soon.
     
  7. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    alright gents, got my new stabilized Verite Open and they are exquisite. however, I am struggling to EQ them and hoping someone can give me some suggestion(s).

    I noticed some fatigue after about an hour - so I threw them on the miniDSP EARs and noticed some peaks around 6 & 8 khz. I'm pretty sensitive to 6khz peaks, so I tried a 6db correction there with a Q factor of 4.8 - that did not fix it. I tried a 3db correction at just past 8k with a 10 q factor. Even using these two in conjunction, I still get irritation.

    Now I realize the irritation could be cumulative, I'll get a week long break from them in day here, so maybe that and the above corrections will do it.

    I'm also using a MOTU mk4->Violectric v280 - so maybe I need to pick up something with a little more output impedance?

    Anyone bother taming the 3k or 4.5k peaks? I've never EQ'd that area before -so I wouldn't think that would be it.

    BTW I'm using the universe perf that came stock on them. I measured the BE and suede pads that also came and they looked like they have slightly higher treble peaks so sticking to stock for now.

    I can keep playing with them but thought maybe another Verite owner could chime in.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!
     
  8. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    I have a silkwood VO and never experience the peaks you mention.

    Your amp would help with brightness, not cause it. The Violectric V281 is my favorite HP amp & I know the Violectric "house sound" well.

    That leaves 2 possible causes, short of EQ'ing, which is something I try to stay away from:
    1. DAC: Your DAC is almost certainly a price-point delta-sigma design. I'm not familiar with this particular interface box and never read reviews of it. But some d/s DACs can be spikey in the frequencies you mention. That's why I went away from d/s DACs 4-5 years ago in favor of multi-bit and NOS designs.
    2. Earpads: With ZMF headphones, it matters greatly which ZMF pads you have on the headphone. I'm using the stock VO perforated lambskins (forget the exact name). Some other ZMF pads bring out the upper mids/treble more than the stock pads. Do you know which pads are on your VO?
     
  9. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    thanks for the quick reply. I know earlier in the thread someone else had to EQ the 8k peak, so I thought it a prime suspect for my irritation; ZMF New Headphones: Vérité and Aeolus

    the mk4 has been measured and received pretty well here, so I hadn't even considered it a candidate for the cause;
    Motu UltraLite mk4 Review

    ZMF support confirmed the universe perforated lambskin to be the best for taming any treble peaks, which seemed to jive with vtory's ear pad rolling posts here.

    I guess I'm not opposed to picking up a schiit multibit - I don't have another DAC right now, so it would certainly be a fine investment. I'm rather puzzled I'm having any issues with it. Treble complaints about the Verite seem so few... Likely it will be easier to uncover after taking a break from them for a bit.
     
  10. dematted

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    It sounds like you just don't gell with the tonality of the Verite. That's hardly surprising, I think - a lot of people find the W shaped frequency curve to sound somewhat odd and unnatural. I personally found this to be the biggest issue with the Verite for me. I don't think it has particularly bright treble, but the combination of a treble peak with an upper-mid depression probably makes our ears think its brighter than it actually is, and that can easily cause fatigue.
     
  11. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    I hope you are wrong and I can fix it via EQ or chain. As a Larry David fan though, I respect the hell out of your opinion. :)
     
  12. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    You never said which pad is on your VO. If it's something other than the stock perforated lambskin, my advise would be to try the stock pads before making any other moves.
     
  13. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    sorry, I mentioned in the OP I was using stock universe perforated, I did not mention that they were indeed lambskin. ZMF support confirmed this was the best pad for my situation.
     
  14. Tchoupitoulas

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    [edit 6/2/22: please see a follow-up post below; I figured out the issue and have no longer have any problems with fatigue from the Vérité.]

    As it happens, I’ve been experiencing fatigue with my new Vérité Open in the two months since I got them. Thus far I’ve not been able to identify the cause of this fatigue. It might be a number of things, the 8 kHz (or other) peak potentially being one of them.

    My VO are the African Blackwood with the Universe lambskin perforated pads. My DAC is a Bifrost 2 and my amps, in ascending order of brightness/fatigue, are the the MCTH, ZDT Jr., SW51+, and Mjolnir 1.

    My VO are brighter, or at least potentially more noticeably peaky, than the two others were that I auditioned in the past, I think. Three immediate explanations of this are, first, poor memory, second, better (or more synergistic) chains for the auditions (Yggdrasil, Big Ben, Pendant), and, third, more time spent listening to my VO (my auditions in the past were fairly brief, under half an hour each time).

    I can’t be sure the fatigue is caused by any peaks or brightness that might follow from the w-shaped sound signature. I’ve found my Fostex TH-X00 Ebony headphones, which likewise have an 8 kHz peak, to be fatiguing, although I’ve suspected this fatigue has more to do with internal cup reflections or pressure from the headphones being closed back ones, or from their strong macrodynamics. (I don’t find my Clear to be fatiguing, however, because of their famously strong macrodynamics.)

    I’ve found the VO’s slam and macrodynamics to be stronger than the Clear’s, and this may be contributing to the fatigue. Additionally, I’ve wondered if the harder, denser wood of the African Blackwood is likewise a contributing factor, particularly when it comes to transient response. Does a longer decay, for instance, make for a softer, mellower sound? (I’m guessing here.)

    Perhaps the fatigue is a combination of all these things, and my chain not being synergistic.

    I’m out of town for the holidays but hope to explore all this more in the new year. Frankly, the fatiguing quality of the VO has been vexing and disappointing, detracting somewhat from what I find otherwise to be a wonderful, gorgeous pair of headphones.

    I realize I need to experiment a good deal further to figure out - if I can - what’s going on. I’ve tried the Be2 and Vérité pads, which make it worse, and I’ve found that the MCTH makes for the least fatiguing sound. I was surprised the warm ZDT Jr., with stock tubes, hasn’t helped more. I may pick up a Valhalla 2 to see if that offers a better synergy. And I’m now pondering a Lokius purchase (or digital EQ).

    I’d thought I’d eventually save up for a Starlett to do the VO - and my HD 600 and HD 800 SDR - justice but now I’m leery of a blind purchase given that I’ve found the VO to be less easy to pair with amps than I’d expected from having read the many comments on forums about the VO being versatile and sounding great from a wide variety of amps. They do sound great from all four of my amps, but the VO is fatiguing and, again, potentially bright or peaky, out of three of them. It’s too bad there isn’t a high-end equivalent to the MCTH - or is there?
     
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    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
  15. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    Thank you so much for this detailed post. This is exactly how I feel. I felt the same in regards to bass. I loved the MG Clear and found these to have a stronger, even more precise punch. It seems such controlled bass and within the boundaries I prefer, so I wouldn't think so, but have also considered it a possible candidate for fatigue.

    Like you, I'm hoping to keep exploring this after the new year. The aesthetic is amazing, the company is one I want to support and the technical prowess of this headphone seem exactly what I have been looking for. This is the first set of headphones I've owned that I could not eliminate fatigue with a quick, measured and calculated EQ.

    Thank you for making me feel less crazy.
     
  16. Tchoupitoulas

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    Likewise!

    I should add a quick qualification I forgot to mention earlier: I’ve had a bout of insomnia since before the VO arrived, and I’m clearly more susceptible to the effects of fatigue than I might be otherwise. Still, the VO-induced fatigue is there nonetheless. I’ve noticed it on comparatively well-rested days.

    I experimented briefly with a TP mod, i.e. inserting a layer of single-ply toilet paper in the pads, which is a a common method used to tame the treble, I gather. I wasn’t sure about how effective - or deleterious to the overall sound - it was but it might be worth exploring. I’ll give it a go again.

    I’m glad you posted because I’ve been wondering about the fatigue; I’d been holding off posting about this myself as I’d found it to be, well, confounding. I’ll post more on this once I’m back home and have given it all more thought.
     
  17. sp33ls

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    I actually found that I preferred hybrids and suedes on the VO over any of the leather pads. I actually really didn't like the VO much at all with the stock pads, but adored them with the perf. universe hybrids.

    I think I recall seeing a video where Zach explained that the suede helps tame some of the "peakiness." Have you tried any hybrid pads yet?
     
  18. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    I think I answered an email from you earlier but I can never be sure. Suggestions would be:

    1. Try suede pads or Hybrid pads, while the lambskin are the warmer measuring overall, suede dampens the sound and peaks more, and will help especially if you're listening for longer session than 30 mins.

    2. Higher impedance amps will help a lot, most of the time when I hear about fatigue it has to do with a lower impedance amp being used.

    3. EQ will often make the issue worse, because whenever you try to do something to the sound, you sacrifice in another area and often unless you have truly accurate measurements, you will be making it worse rather than better. Truly accurate measurements are REALLY hard to find especially in the treble region, because a lot of the rigs being used, or methods are not "sound" in this area. I will post our hats measurements as well as AP flat panel with Pinea measurements below.

    4. Also try not listening so loud. I can't tell you how many times I meet audiophiles at shows, and the listening volume is SUPER loud. For your ears sake, and for not having these issues, try to make sure you're listening at below 90dB and really below 85 dB if you're listening for more than 30 mins.

    Here's some graphs below that can help with maybe defining subjectively the Verite and how it measures, in this case the Verite open. The V Closed might be able to be defined in some cases with some pads as W shaped, but really, when compared to other headphones on the Verite open I'm not sure that's accurate. Many headphones have depressions in the 2-5k area and the Verite is no different, and is in fact a more coloured headphone than one that could be considered more linear like the auteur (which honestly is easier for me to listen to for a long period of time, it's less dynamic), the fact that it is somewhat sharp in depression does not come through in listening aside from the actual level as we listen to music in totality and not to specific frequency responses unless you listen to sweeps instead music.

    Below are HATS measurements in solid RED and dotted measurements showing a flat plate GRAS 45CA type rig (AP AEC206) This is DF

    upload_2021-12-25_19-5-1.png

    Here is a uncompensated HATS measurement:

    upload_2021-12-25_19-6-17.png

    The only other note that may be helpful or not depending on what you believe in, is that the BE driver does settle down mechanically after 200-300 hrs. I am always shocked at how "easy" the Verite that come in that have been used a lot sound. I do think it's mostly mechanical due to the thick rubber surround and adhesive used in adhering it to the membrane, and the fact that the driver has the BE coating. But I don't truly know and am not making an argument for or against burn in, just stating my experience.

    My final recommendation would be to get a pair of suede or hybrid universe pads, and use them until the headphone is burned in, and then switch back to lambskin. Until you've done that, EQ probably is going a bit far in trying to fix anything.

    Happy holidays all!
     
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    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  19. wadec22

    wadec22 Almost "Made"

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    I had received an email from ZMF support, pretty cool to hear it was you. This backs up why I am excited to support you and your company. Thanks for a Christmas Eve day reply!


    In your email reply you said "Using the stock universe pads or hybrid pads would be best". To clarify, I don't have hybrid pads on hand, so would you suggest the suede universe perforated over the stock perforated universe? Sounds like it, but want to be sure as your email read differently to me.

    I appreciate the suggestion, I'm likely pulling the trigger on an amplifier tonight based on your recommendation. My v280 I believe is just under 1ohm, even via XLR out.

    I do appreciate this commentary. I've never held onto a headphone I needed to EQ long-term. Not only do I find it inconvenient, but as you say, they tend to lose what makes them special. OG HD800 is the primary example for me.

    This isn't really an issue for me. I hang out in the <85 db range. Hence, for me the Focal excursion issues were always dramatized.

    *added - I appreciate the burn-in tip, as it will be easy to set them up for that this week. No reason not to try it.

    Thank you for the detailed reply, especially over the Holiday season. Really great of you. Take care.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  20. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    No problem!

    And yes I would stick with trying hybrid or all suede pads until the headphone is totally burnt in and then going back and trying the lambskin again to see how you like it after some time is on the headphone. You can't discount broken in pads too.
     

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