Review of ZMF headphones Atticus and Eikon — music couple

Review of ZMF headphones Atticus and Eikon — music couple

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The company ZMF has long established itself on the market of personal audio as a “boutique” manufacturer with their signature sound. After a number of different models on the basis of the emitters from the Fostex T50RP, the company decided to make the decision on your own driver, presenting two models at once.

Studying the different available heaters, the company chose two models: one with a diffuser of TPE, providing a flow similar to the signature sound of the ZMF, but the second model with the membrane of biocellulose attracted the attention of the developer of a unique and unusual sound, causing the Association with the famous Sony MDR-R10. He couldn’t resist ZMF introduced two models, Atticus over $ 999 and Eikon, standing 1299 dollars.

Specifications

  • Transducers: dynamic
  • Diaphragm material: Atticus is a thermoplastic elastomer, Eikon — biocellata
  • Acoustic design: semi-closed
  • Impedance: 300Ω
  • Cable: replaceable, 3 mirovymi MiniXLR connectors
  • Weight: 490 cherry g – 530 g Paduk 550 g – 600 g

Packing and delivery

In the ZMF chose the ideal brand packaging: a large and sturdy suitcase made of plastic with an insert of foam rubber inside for added protection against any adversity. A similar case is both comfortable and extremely durable, so I’m all for other manufacturers as widely as possible took this idea on Board.

Inside are the earphones themselves, user manual with warranty card and standard wire. Models are used by the ear pads, Atticus they are the same as the Ori, and Eikon was rebuffed special ear pads are a slightly different shape, however, both models are very comfortable.

Design and comfortable wearing

The company decided to use the same cups as in the Ori, but to rework the headband. Now it is not “remnants” of the donor Fostex T50RP, and completely your decision. Fork attachment of the cups made in the form of metal half-rings, covering the primary node of headphones at the top and fastened with two sides in the middle. Yourself washer connect to the headband using a thick “spokes”, moving the mount to adjust the size. The headband is made with a metal plate inside and covered in leather. At the moment, both models can be ordered in one of three types of wood available to buyers cherry, African padauk and camphor tree. In theory, the chosen wood can affect the sound, but in practice I think the effect is very small, so I would have chosen the appropriate option, based primarily on aesthetic preferences and based on the weight (lighter cherry Paduk at least 50 grams).

Since we’re talking about the weight, not to mention the fact that the headphones were well distributed mass, largely thanks to the soft and deep ear cushions and padded headband, thus achieving a very good wearing comfort. Soundproofing not 100%, the headphone has holes, though, and tightly damped, but for most cases insulation will be enough. It’s still not the open Cup, so on the comfort levels of both models will not disturb others. Of course, because of the rather bulky design is not a street solution, their main purpose is listening to the house.

Wire, of course, replaceable, uses 3-pin MiniXLR, compatible in Pinout with the Audeze. By default it comes with a nice, flat wire, devoid of the tendency to entanglement and microphone effect. If you wish for $ 60 headphones can be supplemented by a separate wire of high-quality oxygen-free copper, but this is clearly not the required option. For lovers of experiments there is also a wire, the ZMF developed in conjunction with Double Helix Cables, it will cost sufferers $ 100.

Generally speaking, the appearance of the headphones I like, they do not feel the “spirit of DIY” device, the new model is similar to the factory product and look more than decent on the background of competitors in the price category.

Sound

To listen following equipment was used.

Before listening headphones were heated for 72 hours.

Since we have a double review (initially I thought to divide the material into two posts, but then decided that the second article then get very very skimpy) is a description of the sound will double. Both models have in common, I think, for this first we have to thank the wooden cups, they give some elusive reverb adds to the sound of instruments effect of liveliness, many parties find an additional effect of realism and depth, something that many call “musicality”. However, for this you first need music, where this effect can be heard, expect a “live” sound from the originally artificial tools illogical.

Both models have distinct nature and features that someone will be a minus, but for someone — a significant advantage that the background of the dominance of the same models me rather happy.

Let’s start with Atticus, it is, of course, be called “Junior” model, but it will be some stretch, so headphones created for lovers of a different sound, not in order to occupy two niches simultaneously.

“Atikus” is created for fans of slightly softened feed with an unobtrusive treble, because the “warmth” and “nanowaste” this model laid the right amount. If to speak about the previous products ZMF, that Atticus is a follower of the ideas of Ori and Vibro.

The bass of this model is teetering on the brink between excess and loss of feeling of warmth of sound. Add a little more bass and headphones will sound dull, clean up — they will lose their appearance, for which they should buy. This model does not attempt to play bass super fast and biting, this — welcome to planar models. Skate Atticus — weight and physicality, and then they are really good. Study of texture sufficient to ensure that the bass sounded muddy, and the emphasis in the flow of the bass made for midbass to provide a good sounding “real” instruments.

MIDs are also served with a slight slope in the darkness, fans of razor sharpness and “listening to the nuances” (which usually are the flaws in the recording) there is nothing to do. Atticus created for fans of one-piece flow without trying the decomposition of music into components. Wsch slightly moved on the second plan, therefore, even a very bad record in these headphones sound good. Imaginary scene a little less than average depth, headphones not trying is to divide the plans, but not dump everything “in a heap”, width slightly above average, the character of the instruments transmitted reliably, and the emotion of this model is perhaps not to take.

HF is also fed to a common key, they are not sharp, but quite legible. The attack is specially made not superfast, so as not to bore people, accustomed to soft serve, but the resolution and number of RF aged quite well, and a small peak in the lower treble allows the headset to balance his supply.

Eikon also quite different from his brother, while retaining some common features, such as the musicality and emotion of submission.

The bass here is more linear and deep, it is not emphasized in the midbass region, like Atticus, so perceived as less massive. In return, Eikon offers the best study of deep bass, which on the one hand, gives the best result, quality records, but bad can become a disadvantage. Also “Agony” working on better textures and slightly higher resolution, but this largely depends on the gain (but more about that in the next section).

MIDs these headphones have a little less of the corporate color, but his imprint is still felt, it is also a model more for fans of continuous flow. Of course, the speed it’s higher midrange, and they sound more neutral, so an imaginary scene more than average in width (of course for closed models) in depth, the division of plans has also grown, although some tracks more intimate submission Atticus sounds even better. These headphones less emphasize emotions records, so their demands to the quality of the track is also noticeably higher. Overall, the midrange of this model is somewhere exactly in the middle between analytical and musical taste.

The upper frequencies are served closer to “as recorded”, there is no attempt to smooth out or hide some of their shortcomings. HF not superdatetime, but their resolution is at a good level, but the damping is able to compete even with more expensive models (if the source). There is already “full” there are all those little nuances that fall into the high-frequency range, but the requirements to the material of the headphone is also higher. Of course, this is not a neutral and detailed plenary, but not soft and comfortable Atticus.

Comparisons in this time, especially not since I have no other closed headphone of this level (except Ori), and to compare closed and open model — it’s about how to equate convertible with the truck.

ZMF Ori. The same “signature” sound, but on the basis of the emitters from the legendary Fostex T50RP. They give a more sharp sound on VSC and tweeter, offering a wider imaginary scene, but losing the comfort of the sound and characteristic of both dynamic models of the effect of “liveliness”.

Meze 99 Classic. The only closed headphones that I have now under my arm (except for Neo, but the difference is they are not really large). Of course, they do not reach the ZMF — resolution smaller, the micro-dynamics are simpler, but given the price difference, to compare them there is not the slightest sense. Availability of Tesla Model S Model 3 does worse.

Compatibility

High impedance paired with a not ultra-high sensitivity makes both models just the same an ideal candidate for use with OTL tube amplifiers. But the paradox is that “good light” I like Atticus, and a transistor (or op amp) amplifiers — Eikon. Most likely, the fact that the headphones have a distinctive sound, emphasizing the peculiarities of presentation of these categories of amplifiers. Portable sources for top. ZMF — pair is not suitable (except for the most powerful options like LPG).

The genre of the recommendations for these headphones I will not give, everything is dictated by the taste of the potential owner and his preferences flow. The recording quality is less critical Atticus, somewhere in the 6 out of 10, and Eikon more picky points somewhere at 8.

Traditionally, several tracks for example

Pain of Salvation — Linoleum (acoustic version). Very easy track to demonstrate the advantages of these models. On the one hand, there is a well-recorded acoustic instruments, and on the other the melody is quite rich and interesting for a full presentation of these headphones. With both options of “reading” for its own good: warmer supply Atticus emphasizes the vocal part, and Eikon better in the transfer tool of the party.

Nazareth — Telegram. In principle, to demonstrate the strengths of Eikon you can choose any of the tracks of the classics of rock music, so I almost randomly chose Telegram. Traditional “Nazareth” dense sound, while well written, plus the characteristic vocals show all the best on these headphones.

Peter Gabriel & Friends — Altus Sliva. Will act of justice: one common example, one for Eikon and one for Atticus. The latter will perform this beautiful ethno-track from the Peter: interesting melody, vocal quality, unusual instruments and percussion line, burgeoning from the filing of the Atikus, together give real joy to the ear.

Insights

ZMF confidently continue to develop their line of sound, bringing it to a higher level using any available solutions. The company has moved away from the concept of “homemade” using separate nodes Fostex, and new line already looks like a factory product, while offering a signature sound that can please fans of organic feed.