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ZMF AUTEUR - Should I Bite? Update: I chomped!

Celty

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#1
I see so many glowing reviews / reports on these headphones, that I find myself actually considering spending the $1599.99. That's a lot bills though. Am I crazy to be thinking in that direction? Are there any Auteur owners here that can give some feedback? Are they worth it?

I like my current headphones, but would be interested in something that has a wider sound stage, and would constitute an overall upgrade.

I have a decent amp / DAC setup (Monolith 887/SU-8), would this be a good match for the Auteur?
 

raif71

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#2
Zeos has the Auteur if I'm not mistaken and there's a review too which I'm sure you've seen it.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #3
Zeos has the Auteur if I'm not mistaken and there's a review too which I'm sure you've seen it.
Yes I did watch it, though I take his reviews with a fairly healthy grain of salt. For instance he did not like the ZMF Verite, which is the first negative opinion I have have seen of those (not that I am considering them, at $900.00 more than the Auteur). I do have fun watching his reviews, just not necessarily for factual accuracy.

For instance in a recent review of the SMSL SP200, he stated that Drop 789 and SP200 were the only THX amp options. Apparently he is unaware of the Monolith 887!
 

Wombat

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#4
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Celty

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Thread Starter #5

Wombat

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#6
Urrm, perhaps an accidental post? The links don't seem to have a correlation to this thread.
Wider soundstage.

You can of course buy the headphones you were seeking assurance re price on.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #7

JohnYang1997

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#8
Yes I did watch it, though I take his reviews with a fairly healthy grain of salt. For instance he did not like the ZMF Verite, which is the first negative opinion I have have seen of those (not that I am considering them, at $900.00 more than the Auteur). I do have fun watching his reviews, just not necessarily for factual accuracy.

For instance in a recent review of the SMSL SP200, he stated that Drop 789 and SP200 were the only THX amp options. Apparently he is unaware of the Monolith 887!
You have to take into account the recording date and release date for public. He always releases first for patreon.
Also I take his reviews pretty seriously, you just have to interpret objectively and analyze for yourself. He likes it or not doesn't tell you anything. But the description of how it sounds will indicates merits and flaws that you care about. He doesn't give a flying fuck about how other reviewers think. Also do you often see negative review on anything on YouTube? I know, my dear friend oluv. I used to hate zeo a lot, but then I realized he's very honest.
 

Rthomas

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#9
The Auteur is not an upgrade overall over the HD6XX IMHO. ZMF headphones are too expensive unless you care about the fancy wood and aesthetics. They are all too bulky to use on the move so I could not care less how they look when listening at home.

I have had home demos with the Eikon (similar driver to Auteur) and Verite and I was not impressed.

Eikon measurements for reference:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xxt8liitfys9lt6/ZMF Eikon.pdf?dl=0

I used the HD650 for many years and if you need an upgrade I'd suggest the following options:

My preference: Buy used HD800S for $800 to 900. EQ them to Harman Target, enjoy!

Alternate option: Focal Clear, pretty good without EQ

If you must,experience ZMF go to a meet. Do not buy before trying.

Forget 99% of online reviews. Hype filled nonsense.

Hope this helps!
 

westyjeff

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#10
If you watch Zeos you would have seen him fawning over the Aeolus, over every other headphone in the ZMF line. I picked up a pair used based on all of the high praise for these and absolutely love the sound. I describe them as a HD 800 that is closer in with better bass. If you want to try the ZMF house sound I would highly recommend the Aeolus first.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #11
You have to take into account the recording date and release date for public. He always releases first for patreon.
Also I take his reviews pretty seriously, you just have to interpret objectively and analyze for yourself. He likes it or not doesn't tell you anything. But the description of how it sounds will indicates merits and flaws that you care about. He doesn't give a flying fuck about how other reviewers think. Also do you often see negative review on anything on YouTube? I know, my dear friend oluv. I used to hate zeo a lot, but then I realized he's very honest.
If you watch Zeos you would have seen him fawning over the Aeolus, over every other headphone in the ZMF line. I picked up a pair used based on all of the high praise for these and absolutely love the sound. I describe them as a HD 800 that is closer in with better bass. If you want to try the ZMF house sound I would highly recommend the Aeolus first.
It seems like Max Settings also tries to be candid and straight shooting in his opinions. I enjoy oluv, too. I'm not a Zeos basher, I just, as I said, take his opinions with a grain of salt. I do have fun with his quirkiness and hyperbole, and he does do humor better than others.

My impression from reviews are that the Aeolus is very good, with a sort of in your face close presentation, compared to the more laid back, wider sound stage of the Auteur. Accurate? I think I am wanting something that places say a vocal not as "Forward", "intimate" or "in between your ears" as the HD6XX something more "in the same room". I also think I tend toward something a tad warm. Mind you, not having heard anything beyond my HD6XX and HE4XX, and my old Audio-Technica 700's - I am going off others impressions.
 
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Rthomas

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#12
I would not trust any of the usual Youtube reviewers. I'm not saying they are being dishonest on purpose but a few points to keep in mind.

I don't have references for my statements so you'll have to search for the info yourself. If that means you ignore everything I say that's fine too ;)

1. The geometry of ear canals vary widely person to person. Somewhere I read this makes a 10 to 20 db difference in areas such as treble perception. So one person's ''bright'' is another person's ''neutral''

2. Are these guys half deaf from loud or constant exposure to music? We have no clue of their hearing is good enough to be an audio equipment reviewer.

3. Do they even know what neutral sounds like? How much time have they spent in perfectly treated rooms listening to TOTL studio monitors?

What's their reference for what a recording should sound like? Using live music as a reference does not cut it as it varies from venue to venue and where one sits and in my experience most big name band concerts I've been to sound like shit. They sacrifice musicality for the sake of volume.

4. I would maybe trust experienced mastering engineers like Bob Katz with a $100,000 home speaker system in a dedicated listening room using reference recordings he mastered himself.

Zeos with his anime soundtracks? Not so much. (Have nothing personal against the guy)
 

solderdude

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#13
Auteur vs. HD650 (= HD6xx with different cable and paint job) source


Never heard the Auteur but based on the plot it has better bass extension and less clarity/forward sound (due to 5dB dip between 1.5kHz and 4kHz). No info about treble extension.
 

Veri

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#14
Auteur vs. HD650 (= HD6xx with different cable and paint job) source


Never heard the Auteur but based on the plot it has better bass extension and less clarity/forward sound (due to 5dB dip between 1.5kHz and 4kHz). No info about treble extension.
Auteur looks quite decent here. Still, it's much more expensive than HD650/HD6xx.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #15
Auteur vs. HD650 (= HD6xx with different cable and paint job) source


Never heard the Auteur but based on the plot it has better bass extension and less clarity/forward sound (due to 5dB dip between 1.5kHz and 4kHz). No info about treble extension.
I found a few more frequency graphs from the same forum that seem interesting:
1575495541734.png

1575495562084.png

1575495600044.png

1575495634552.png

The first graph shows frequency variation between the two sets of pads that come with the Auteur. There seems to be consistent opinion that these headphones can be tuned to a larger degree than is typical by pad swaps.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #16
Oh boy I did it! I know I am a bit nuts, but I ran into something I just could not resist. I was looking on the ZMF website at the "ZMF November" page (basically the B-stock page). I saw they had a pair of Auteurs in Cocobolo, which were mismatched in the stain. Looking closer I saw that they would re-stain them! I emailed Zach (The ZMF owner) and asked if that meant the re-staining was included in the price and if I could pick out the color of grill and rods.

He responding promptly, saying yes to both. Well, I love rich wood colors and nice grain, which Cocobolo has. This wood was a LTD limited edition wood that is no longer sold by them, the current LTD being Zebrawood, and the "regular" version being maple. To my eyes the Cocobolo is gorgeous. The kicker for me is that I could get exactly what I wanted at $100.00 less than the stock wood, and $200.00 less than the LTD current wood. OK, still quite an expensive set of earphones by my standards, but it pushed me over the edge.

Well that and buying from a company which the owner gets back to me the same evening I emailed is pretty impressive and consistent with what folk have said about the level of support you get from ZMF. Plus a lifetime guarantee on the driver. Here is a picture of what a Cocobolo Auteur looks like:

Here are the grille / rod color choices:

I went with Brass, which should look something like this:

I'm sure I can change my mind on the color, if I do not wait too long. What do you think?
 

solderdude

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#17
I think you should choose what YOU find most pleasing to look at and it does not matter what anybody else thinks.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #18
I think you should choose what YOU find most pleasing to look at and it does not matter what anybody else thinks.
I think I'm torn between Brass and Black, :)
 

solderdude

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#19
flip a coin or ask the one that has to look at you wearing the contraption :D
 
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