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Review: ZMF Modified Fostex T50RP. Superb! - Page 2

post #16 of 620
Quote:

Follow up: 

1. Which pads gives the widest soundstage and are they a considerable improvement ? The only thing I would wish for is a soundstage that is more along the lines of the Sennheiser HD650 but there are fully open headphones. 

 

2. And does one need to tune the T50RP differently if Alpha Pads are the end destination?

 

UL

 

I do still need to do detailed comparisons and update the website, but I agree with what Tieman says above in that the Alpha pads have a greater sound-stage VS the shure pads and the dog pads.  I will try to update the website with more detailed info soon, hopefully tomorrow, just need to find the time to do it!

 

As far as tuning there is no difference in the modification for any pad, I do tune each headphone slightly after a listen just to make sure it has the sound I want though.

post #17 of 620

I recently purchased a pair of these modded t50RP from ZACH:  ZMF MODDED T50RP's

 

I am using an Emotiva mini x a-100 speaker taps and an aune t1 as a DAC. While using a WAV files

 

I compared these next to the Sennheiser hd650's. Mine are the ones with the Pilot pad and Brainwavz ear pads. Though I do prefer the look of the previous version (because these earpads dont fully encompass the cups) They are really comfortable. I am a big guy so they don't seem heavy to me. 

 

Though the hd650's sounded more full on acoustic tracks to my ears the ZMF's were not far behind. They(ZMF's) have clearer instrument separation and an overall clearer presentation of the music while still being dark. They sounded actually more similar than most other headphones that I have had. The hd650's seem to have more depth but the speed on both with my set up was good.

 

With electronic music they sounded really similar. The hd650 had a more slam but didnt reach as low as the ZMF's. The ZMF's had more clarity.

 

My brother a/b'd them together and said that he prefered the ZMF's. He said that the ZMF's were less fatiguing than the famous smoothness of the hd650's(those are his ears though but I didn't argue or have any strong disagreements with his assessments at all) They do need a little more volume than the hd650's so at the same volume and switching headphones that could play a part in it. To me fatigue is absent on both. 

 

In all honesty I have a slight preference towards the hd650's but the preference is soo slight that I cannot justify having the hd650's with this set up because the emotiva a-100 is a very strong amp that I am not going to upgrade anytime soon. So I would much rather sell the hd650's and keep the ZMF's to get another headphone.  I am a midcentric headphone kinda guy at times and the ZMF do the trick. Sometimes the hd650's sound too full or lush. 

 

Compared to the philips x1's ZMF's sound fuller and more natural except for the bass. Though I do prefer the air of the x1.

 

Actually when I think about it in a lot of ways I prefer the ZMF's.

 

ZMF

Better intrument separation.

Stronger build

just as dark

deeper bass.

nice mids

 

 hd650

even better mids

more bass impact

deeper soundstage

slightly more comfortable but I mean to me only slightly.

 

 

 

The 650s have a stronger center image but the ZMF's have a more neutral sound and have a strong presentation as well. 

 

I haven't heard any other modded T50RP's but these were well worth my purchase and pretty much made me think that to have these and the hd650's together were pointless because they can fall into the same category: Dark, nice mids, bass shy, full sounding, non-fatiguing, comfortable, natural, detailed. 

 

So yeah I know I may get some slack and people may disagree but for me I am selling the hd650s to get a headphone that will compliment the ZMF's because for professional uses these seem more suitable.

 

For the price all I can say is GREAT JOB AND GREAT BUY.


Edited by grizzlybeast - 7/1/13 at 1:15pm
post #18 of 620
Thread Starter 

Grizzlybeast,

 

Do you know which version you purchased?  From your review, I would guess the more bass boosted version.  My evaluation of that unit is remarkably similar to yours in terms that it is somewhat similar to the HD650.   And yes, they are phenomenal values. 

 

UL

post #19 of 620

I don't have the more bass boosted version. I followed the recommendation of not getting that version based on my set up. 

 

When I say the hd650 has better mids its only apparent on some songs. The ZMF's have to be pushed a little harder and the overall sound of the 650's are more lush because of their thick sound. 


Edited by grizzlybeast - 6/30/13 at 10:16pm
post #20 of 620
Quote:

Follow up: 

1. Which pads gives the widest soundstage and are they a considerable improvement ? The only thing I would wish for is a soundstage that is more along the lines of the Sennheiser HD650 but there are fully open headphones.

 

Hey ULUL, I have now updated my website with information which may answer this question.  It is under the FAQ section.

post #21 of 620

Zach was kind enough to loan me a pair of his Classics, which are the version without the emphasized bass.  I have a pair of Thunderpants (purchased via the recent group buy) and a pair of Headphile Vixens with Fostex T50 drivers, so I was curious to see how the ZMFs compared to other customized phones using the same drivers.  As background, the following is the equipment and music used for my evaluation:

 

Combination 1:  Kenwood Model Eleven III receiver (solid state)

                          Sony PlayStation One Model 5501 modified by Richard Hing

                          Custom interconnects by Paul Lin of Imagine HiFi

 

Combination 2:  Eddie Current EC84 headphone amp (one-off design using 2 Svetlana EL509/6KG6s and

                          1 Phillips JAN 6SL7WGT)

                          Esoteric (Teac) X - 03

                          Custom interconnects by Paul Lin of Imagine HiFi

 

CDs:

 

Max Bruch, Works for Cello and Orchestra, Julius Berger, soloist, National Symphony of Poland, Anton Wit, cond. Ebs 6060 (out of print)

 

Copland, Lincoln Portrait, Katharine Hepburn, speaker, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Erich Kunzel, cond.

Telarc CD-80117

 

No Count Sarah, Sarah Vaughn with the Count Basie Orchestra, Mercury UCCU-5237

 

The Cotton Club, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Geffen GEFD 24062

 

Let's Get Lost, Chet Baker, Pacific Jazz, CDP 7 92932 2

 

Jasmine, Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden, ECM 2165

 

Arthur Prysock-Count Basie, Polygram Jazz 422-827011-2

 

This is Always, Ruth Young, Nagel Heyer, 2051

 

Kansas City, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Verve 31452-95542

 

All of the above cds are very well recorded and to varying degrees, represent excellent tests of vocal and orchestra dynamics, tonality, detail, texture and presentation of treble, midrange and bass tones.  I usually use some or all of them to audition equipment that I am considering purchasing.

 

ZMFs vs Vixens:  No contest, the ZMFs by 5 lengths.  The ZMFs better the Vixens in almost all respects; detail, clarity, bass slam and dynamic impact.  The only area where the Vixens beat the Vixens is what I would describe as tonal texture, meaning that the Vixens do an excellent job of portraying the shadings of the music.  However, the Vixens provide texture at the expense of clarity.  For example, during certain passage of the Bruch cd, the cellist can be heard breathing; that is present on the ZMFs but masked on the Vixens.

 

ZMFs vs Thunderpants:  This is basically a dead heat.  Both sound remarkably alike.  The principal (albeit small) differences are that the ZMFs put you on stage and the TPs place you in the 4th or 5th row.  Despite the slight recession compared to the ZMFs, I think the TPs are a little more detailed.  There are numerous positive reviews of the Thunderpants on Head Fi and elsewhere; rather than repeat the descriptions and comments in those reviews, I fully concur with them, the TPs are excellent headphones.  However, for less than half the cost, the ZMFs achieve essentially the same results.

 

Comfort:  The ZMFs are considerably lighter and exert less clamping force than the TPs and Vixens and should be easier to wear over a long period of time.  I found the Brainwavz pads on the ZMFs to be very comfortable; however, it would be interesting to see what effect other pads would have on the sound.

 

Efficiency:  The ZMFs are much easier to drive than the Vixens and slightly easier to drive than the TPs. I prefer the sound of all of these phone with the Eddie Current tube amp - more slam, greater clarity and tonality.

 

Appearance:  The TPs and the Vixens are works of art; the ZMFs look exactly like stock Fostex T50RPs.

 

Conclusion:  Whatever Zach has done inside the T50RPs, the outcome is outstanding.  To borrow a phrase often used by Stereophile reviewers, "Highly Recommended".

post #22 of 620

Good to hear. I love my self modded T50rp. They are a killer headphone when tuned right. 

post #23 of 620

I may have missed it, but I didn't see the Zach's website linked, so here you go: http://www.zachmehrbach.com/zmf-modified-fostex/

post #24 of 620
Yeah these things have a permanent spot here. They have more head time then my new hd650's.
post #25 of 620

Wow, glowing reviews so far.

Well done Zach, you deserve it!

post #26 of 620
Thread Starter 

Been away for a while and just got back on this thread.   

 

Excellent comments.  NU62, your comments are particularly helpful as you have context in comparison with other mods.  One reason I've not chased other modified T50RPs is that I've auditioned other top end headphones pretty extensively and the ZMF are so excellent that I did not think that other mods would likely excel by much.  The only thing I could wish for now is that it be a totally open air headphones but that's not how it was designed.  I'll have to play around with other pads to see if I can increase the soundstage.  

 

Zach, I'm headed over to your site to see your review of different pads. 

 

Again, BRAVO on a pair of headphones that really does vie with my HD650 toe to toe for play time. 

 

UL

post #27 of 620

From my experience with my self modded T50rp, the difference between the soundstage on the 840 pads and the alpha pads is pretty great. The alpha pads are expensive, but they are very nice. The soundstage is still not as wide as my Q701, but the soundstage is still decently wide, but with greater depth, and much better imaging. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ULUL View Post

Been away for a while and just got back on this thread.   

 

Excellent comments.  NU62, your comments are particularly helpful as you have context in comparison with other mods.  One reason I've not chased other modified T50RPs is that I've auditioned other top end headphones pretty extensively and the ZMF are so excellent that I did not think that other mods would likely excel by much.  The only thing I could wish for now is that it be a totally open air headphones but that's not how it was designed.  I'll have to play around with other pads to see if I can increase the soundstage.  

 

Zach, I'm headed over to your site to see your review of different pads. 

 

Again, BRAVO on a pair of headphones that really does vie with my HD650 toe to toe for play time. 

 

UL

post #28 of 620
Thread Starter 
Jasonb. (Yes, Alpha pads are indeed expensive relative to other pads but may be worth it.) Anyways, appreciate your comments. I had the Q701 for a while and it does have a HUGE soundstage, but is quite amorphous in the imaging. For reference, have you heard the HE-500? Yf yes, how does the T50rp with Alpha pads compare in terms of soundstage width & depth? UL
post #29 of 620

The Q701 in my opinion, at least with my E17, has quite a bit of width, but lacks depth. The center image can be kind of weak, and not very pinpointed when it should be in the recording. This becomes really obvious when I try binaural music with them. Binaural recordings very obviously lack depth, they seem overly wide and very close to the listener. I have never heard an HE-500 or any other orthos.    

 

I kind of feel at this point like my modded T50rp could maybe be my end game headphone.... at least for a while. I really have no complaints about it.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by ULUL View Post

Jasonb. (Yes, Alpha pads are indeed expensive relative to other pads but may be worth it.) Anyways, appreciate your comments. I had the Q701 for a while and it does have a HUGE soundstage, but is quite amorphous in the imaging. For reference, have you heard the HE-500? Yf yes, how does the T50rp with Alpha pads compare in terms of soundstage width & depth? UL
post #30 of 620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiemen View Post

 

Soundstage is the least of my concerns when it comes to headphones.

But with the Alpha pads there's indeed more of it, compared to the Dog pads.

 

To me, the sound of the ZMF with Alpha pads is like a cross between the HD 650 and K240 Sextett. Two headphones I regard highly.

ZMF with Alpha pads are more comfortable though and offers isolation.

 

How do these sound compared to the DT880CB? I'm on the verge of buying at DT880 to mod, but this description interests me a lot. I love my Sextett, but want a little more, and I was teetering between the DT880CB and HD650/HD600.

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