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

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Celty

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Thread Starter #21
This is up to you, but you should know that all colours are cool, as long as they're black! ;) So black. :D
LOL, well here is another pic of the cocobolo Auteur with brass, it's just too scrumptious for me not to stick with brass I think :)
 

Gabs

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#22
Would you please be able to post your review here ?
:)
(I wanted to recommend to you the Elex more regarding performance/price ratio)
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #23
Would you please be able to post your review here ?
:)
(I wanted to recommend to you the Elex more regarding performance/price ratio)
Sure, though it will probably be awhile, I think, before I receive it. I just ordered it and the ZMF's are not quick to delivery given the handcrafted nature.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #24
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Celty

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Thread Starter #25
I was getting a bad case of anticipation anxiety on my Auteur order (Dec. 4th). ZMF had sent a link to a spreadsheet showing my order and the other "November" orders. Today I emailed to inquire if they had a general idea of an ETA. I was expecting perhaps another month or so given the holiday season. The owner responded immediately:
"We actually just finished your set and it's in QC - it'll be out this week.

Zach Mehrbach
Owner, ZMFheadphones.com"


Sheesh, I was surprised! First on the great news that they will be coming so soon, and second that the owner, Zach, responded himself and within literally less than 10 minutes. That is impressive customer support.

I responded, and also described my setup on the electronics side that I plan to drive them with, understanding that tube amps are often suggested for ZMF's. Again, he responded right away:
"Yeah that amp/combo should be nice - tubes and especially OTL will give you a different flavor, but not necessarily better or worse.

Excited to get them out to you!

Zach Mehrbach
Owner, ZMFheadphones.com"
 

Veri

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#27
Sheesh, I was surprised! First on the great news that they will be coming so soon, and second that the owner, Zach, responded himself and within literally less than 10 minutes. That is impressive customer support.
I believe Zach does most of the communication actually. Makes sense for smaller brands to give priority to customer support :)
 

Gabs

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#28
I believe Zach does most of the communication actually. Makes sense for smaller brands to give priority to customer support :)
I did not have the same quality support from MrSpeakers, at all...
No answer to 2 differents emails at different times.
Inverted wiring in the Aeon, that I had to send back. Fortunately I did not have to pay (except to send from France to US) but on the bill there was a 30$ for the "repair".
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #29
Update: I got my Auteur yesterday! Boy are they beautiful, I have been using them ever since, but it will be awhile before the recommended burn-in period is complete. Normally I have not given much weight to burn-in, but given that ZMF says:

"We highly recommend burn in for any ZMF headphone. Typically our headphones burn in with music at a medium to loud volume level (85 - 95 dB) for 200 hours. Pink noise, white noise or tones work as well."

I give a lot more credence to this as Zach designs and builds these headphones and knows them inside and out.

That said, all I can say is they already sound fantastic. I won't give a detailed account yet, but the things that immediately struck me are the the way that the Auteur combines seeming contradictory elements. They are highly detailed and resolving, but also smooth and not harsh or shouty. They sound like all parts of the audible spectrum are represented and present simultaneously - everything seems to have it's own place without sacrificing one thing for another. They have a sound that is very "realistic". I love my HD6XX's but they just are not at the same level. For instance, bass notes whether string or percussion are there with the HDXX's but with the the Auteur those notes have the texture of the original instrument that the HDXX's just do not reproduce.

Anyway, I am impressed.
Auteur3.jpg

Auteur10.jpg

My pics are crummy and don't really show what they look like. The construction quality is excellent. Somehow even though they are larger and heavier than my other headphones, in use they are extremely comfortable.
 
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#30
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)
I don't think a lot of them have a real clue what they say in there videos or text impressions. I've seen some try to argue quite rudely how something like a CA andro or something V/U or +6db bass is more netural than a HD600/ER4S is. Just like your first point says, It sums ups the few Grado ones i see/read where they can't grasp that why someone would enjoy a SR225e or a GS1000e over what they hype as the new king.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #31
Oooo, my new Hart Cables for the Auteur are here. James (Hart Cables owner) emailed me a pic after he finished it. Of course they are not plugged into those Audeze cans.
Hart.png

This is a custom sleeve color I chose called Rust Diamonds (which I think look great with the ZMF Cocobolo), for both the headphone cable and the Multi-Kit 1. If you are not familiar with Hart, you buy a cable with the correct headphone connector for your headphones. You then choose the "interconnect" for whatever amp / DAP / Phone / etc. that you intend to plug your headphones in to. In my case I wanted the Multikit-1 which is the whole kitchen sink. It includes:
IC-1 3": 1/4" TRS
IC-2 3": 3.5mm TRS
IC-3 3": 4-pin XLR
IC-4 3": 2.5mm TRRS
IC-5 3": 3.5mm TRRS
IC-6 3": 4.4mm TRRRS
I'll probably be ordering a headphone cable for my HD6XX. The cool part of that is that I already have all the interconnects, so just will need the one cable.
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #32
I had meant to follow-up with a pic of the Hart cable plugged in to the Auteur and forgot until now now - here it is. I ordered the sleeve color to compliment the Auteur Cocobolo, and I think it turned out well..

Auteur with Hart.jpg
 
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#34
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!
Your post is highly subjective and asinine if you ask me. for one you realize that just because a frequency response is similar, doesn't mean the headphones will sound the same. Also the ZMF response is quite a bit more extended.

Secondly, the drivers themselves are more articulate than the HD650, the HD650's are not very detailed at all and they're a bit mushy in the mid bass. The ZMF's are much more detailed and again, more articulate. And of course the drivers within the cans present the sound much differently. In the case of the ZMF, you get a seemingly wider stage, and a nice lush and inviting house sound.

Also, you act like just because you care about portability everyone else does...I'm the exact opposite, my high-end headphones don't leave the house, unless I'm going on a particularly long trip in which case I would take my HD660s which by the way are certainly an upgrade over the HD650, which by the way the ZMF Auteur is an upgrade over the HD660s in most areas, granted the 660s still holds a nice place in my heart due to that intimacy and forward mid range with a bit more resolution and bass extension and clarity over the 650.

All that to say, you're wrong. go home.
 

Rthomas

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#35
Your post is highly subjective and asinine if you ask me. for one you realize that just because a frequency response is similar, doesn't mean the headphones will sound the same. Also the ZMF response is quite a bit more extended.

Secondly, the drivers themselves are more articulate than the HD650, the HD650's are not very detailed at all and they're a bit mushy in the mid bass. The ZMF's are much more detailed and again, more articulate. And of course the drivers within the cans present the sound much differently. In the case of the ZMF, you get a seemingly wider stage, and a nice lush and inviting house sound.

Also, you act like just because you care about portability everyone else does...I'm the exact opposite, my high-end headphones don't leave the house, unless I'm going on a particularly long trip in which case I would take my HD660s which by the way are certainly an upgrade over the HD650, which by the way the ZMF Auteur is an upgrade over the HD660s in most areas, granted the 660s still holds a nice place in my heart due to that intimacy and forward mid range with a bit more resolution and bass extension and clarity over the 650.

All that to say, you're wrong. go home.

Dear Sir,

How people hear headphones is highly subjective. People's preferences differ widely.

I have EQed multiple headphones to the Harman target and they still sound different. I did not suggest that they will sound the same.

I never said the HD650 is better than ZMF, all I said that was in my opinion there is a better upgrade path.

If you want to be more objective please take a look at the link I posted where the ZMF Eikon gets a 51/100 in the Harman preference score.

Pretty poor objective performance against a widely respected target don't you think?

According to you my post is ''highly subjective'' and yet you describe the ZMFs as ''lush'' and ''inviting''. No subjectivity there whatsover. hahahahaha

I was making a point about how the ZMFs are notp portable at all so the good looks of the headphone don't matter all that much. You seem to have misunderstood what I said.

"All that to say, you're wrong. go home"

There's no need to be rude or combative. This is only audio, not life or death.

Have a good day. :)
 

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#36
All that to say, you're wrong. go home.
So, you pull up a year old post to rage about for your second contribution to the forum?

Maybe dial that all back a bit...
 
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Celty

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Thread Starter #37
I assumed this thread was over, and here it is risen like a phoenix ;). As an owner of both the HD6XX and the Auteur since January of 2020, I have had an extended time to compare them. While I do still really like my HD6XX's (particularly with some "corrective EQ" - see for instance Amir's recent review of the HD650), the Auteur really is for me clearly superior. As it should be given the price differential.

I'm no audiophile reviewer, so I won't try to use all the typical verbiage. Listening to the HD6XX is always a good experience, they sound fine to me. Donning the Auteur afterward, however, is definitely different. First, the Auteur just opens up a another level of listening. More "open" and a wider soundstage that results in a sound more akin to a "being there" experience.

Also the quality of the music is discernably improved. By quality, this is a combination of things. "Realism" is another term that could be used. The Auteur conveys information across the entire spectrum from bass to highs that I just don't hear with the HD 6XX. It's difficult to describe.

With the HD6XX I hear the thump of a bass guitar, but the Auteur somehow lets me hear more - like the character of the instrument and the strings are heard. Very fuzzy to try to describe as I said, but I can certainly hear the difference. Bottom line the Auteur brings an enjoyment that makes them worth the price for me. I love them.
 
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#38
Dear Sir,

How people hear headphones is highly subjective. People's preferences differ widely.

I have EQed multiple headphones to the Harman target and they still sound different. I did not suggest that they will sound the same.

I never said the HD650 is better than ZMF, all I said that was in my opinion there is a better upgrade path.

If you want to be more objective please take a look at the link I posted where the ZMF Eikon gets a 51/100 in the Harman preference score.

Pretty poor objective performance against a widely respected target don't you think?

According to you my post is ''highly subjective'' and yet you describe the ZMFs as ''lush'' and ''inviting''. No subjectivity there whatsover. hahahahaha

I was making a point about how the ZMFs are notp portable at all so the good looks of the headphone don't matter all that much. You seem to have misunderstood what I said.

"All that to say, you're wrong. go home"

There's no need to be rude or combative. This is only audio, not life or death.

Have a good day. :)
You're right, I had a few beers in me and was feeling a little more aggressive apparently, my apologies. The point I was trying to make was your comment and many after made it seem as if the Auteur was not an upgrade from the HD650 which I think the general consensus is that it certainly is, that's all. Just wanted anyone reading to understand that if they were considering them.

So, you pull up a year old post to rage about for your second contribution to the forum?

Maybe dial that all back a bit...
Yep as per my comment above, my apologies! Definitely don't want to rub anyone the wrong way. I appreciate the community.

I assumed this thread was over, and here it is risen like a phoenix ;). As an owner of both the HD6XX and the Auteur since January of 2020, I have had an extended time to compare them. While I do still really like my HD6XX's (particularly with some "corrective EQ" - see for instance Amir's recent review of the HD650), the Auteur really is for me clearly superior. As it should be given the price differential.

I'm no audiophile reviewer, so I won't try to use all the typical verbiage. Listening to the HD6XX is always a good experience, they sound fine to me. Donning the Auteur afterward, however, is definitely different. First, the Auteur just opens up a another level of listening. More "open" and a wider soundstage that results in a sound more akin to a "being there" experience.

Also the quality of the music is discernably improved. By quality, this is a combination of things. "Realism" is another term that could be used. The Auteur conveys information across the entire spectrum from bass to highs that I just don't hear with the HD 6XX. It's difficult to describe.

With the HD6XX I hear the thump of a bass guitar, but the Auteur somehow lets me hear more - like the character of the instrument and the strings are heard. Very fuzzy to try to describe as I said, but I can certainly hear the difference. Bottom line the Auteur brings an enjoyment that makes them worth the price for me. I love them.
Yes that was me I revived the thread after getting a bit tipsy, whoops! But I agree the Auteur is certainly an upgrade to the 650. And I'm glad you're still thoroughly enjoying yours!

I wonder how the Verite compares to the Auteur. I've seen some comparisons but I am keen to try the Verite or perhaps the Diana Phi/v2 from Abyss or the Focal Clear. I'm now looking for a very detailed headphone that's not harsh and has good punch and dynamics.
 
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Rthomas

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#39
i had a few beers in me you’re right, my apologies. But the point I meant to make was that I think the Auteur is certainly in a different league than the 650 and the thread was coming off in a


You're right, I had a few beers in me and was feeling a little more aggressive appearance, my apologies. The point I was trying to make was your comment and many after made it seem as if the Auteur was not an upgrade from the HD650 which I think the general consensus is that it certainly is, that's all. Just wanted anyone reading to understand that if they were considering them.



Yep as per my comment above, my apologies! Definitely don't want to rub anyone the wrong way. I appreciate the community.



Yes that was me I revived the thread after getting a bit tipsy, whoops! But I agree the Auteur is certainly an upgrade to the 650. And I'm glad you're still thoroughly enjoying yours!

I wonder how the Verite compares to the Auteur. I've seen some comparisons but I am keen to try the Verite or perhaps the Diana Phi/v2 from Abyss or the Focal Clear. I'm now looking for a very detailed headphone that's not harsh and has good punch and dynamics.

Hello!

No worries :D

I agree that the Auteur is an upgrade from the HD650.

I just find it slightly annoying that the ZMF fan base is obsessed with the different woods, patterns, limited editions while ignoring the fact that in terms of sound quality these headphones are simply not worth $1000 to $2500.

Zach is a great guy (I used to own a ZMF Blackwood) though and his headphones sound pretty good.

I just feel that there are much better ''upgrade paths'' from the 650 if you ignore the aesthetics of the ZMFs.

Take the ZMF Verite, disguise the fancy wood cups and give the headphone a Chi-Fi sounding name and send it to a ''reviewer'' and tell them it costs $299.

I think there is zero chance they would say - Wow this $299 headphone is competitive with the Focal Clear, Utopia, LCD4 etc etc.

It would be a fun experiment.
 
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#40
Hello!

No worries :D

I agree that the Auteur is an upgrade from the HD650.

I just find it slightly annoying that the ZMF fan base is obsessed with the different woods, patterns, limited editions while ignoring the fact that in terms of sound quality these headphones are simply not worth $1000 to $2500.

Zach is a great guy (I used to own a ZMF Blackwood) though and his headphones sound pretty good.

I just feel that there are much better ''upgrade paths'' from the 650 if you ignore the aesthetics of the ZMFs.

Take the ZMF Verite, disguise the fancy wood cups and give the headphone a Chi-Fi sounding name and send it to a ''reviewer'' and tell them it costs $299.

I think there is zero chance they would say - Wow this $299 headphone is competitive with the Focal Clear, Utopia, LCD4 etc etc.

It would be a fun experiment.
Oops I messed up my initial reply. I did it on my ipad, but I fixed it now :)

But yes I know what you mean. I actually don't really care about woods either I'd rather have great sound quality and a durable minimal design. I do think the Auteur has a nice balanced sound and is pleasing whilst detailed, albeit maybe not flagship details but certain respectable.

I was looking into my next headphone and considering the Diana Phi, Focal Clear, LCD-4, and I can't really think of any others that would compliment my collection and be what I'm after. But I just saw some poor reviews/measurements on the Diana headphones from Abyss so now I'm considering the Clear more heavily.
 
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