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Review: ZMF Modified Fostex T50RP. Superb! - Page 22

post #316 of 807

I've been meaning to post this for some time now... so here it is!

 

For what it's worth...

I presently own Mad Dog Alphas, ZMFs, and Sony MA-900s. I power all of these using a Parasound ZAmpV3 speaker amp which is capable of 7.5 Watts into 50 Ohms. That's watts, not milliwats. Needless to say, I never run it at full power!

 

In any case, my clear preference among these three is the ZMF. For my ears, the ZMFs have the most natural sound with the greatest detail and instrument separation. ZMF has slightly greater treble extension than my pair of MD-Alphas. ZMF also has a more neutral mid-bass... does not add artificial huskiness to male voice. I don't know why, but the MD-Alphas always seem more congested in the mid-range than the ZMFs to me. Both have excellent bass. The ZMFs use the Brainwavz ear cushions HM-5, which I find more comfortable for long term listening than the MD-Alpha Alpha Pads.

 

For me, the ZMFs have excellent soundstage as well. About the same as the MA-900, and better than the MD-Alphs.

 

The MA-900s are great, but to me are in a totally different category. They just sound slightly more like speakers than actual musical instruments, compared to the other two. I like their lightness very much, although I don't find their standard ear cushions very comfortable. I haven't found a suitable substitute, though. I usually use the MA-900s for movie sound. (I have not done the resistor bypass mod on the MA-900s.)

 

I am on Dan's waiting list for the MD for Alpha Dog trade back, but haven't received my go ahead yet. Actually though, I'm surprised that the reviews on the Alpha Dog thread aren't the total raves that I expected after Jude's initial review.

 

Hope this helps someone.

 


Edited by jdg711 - 11/10/13 at 1:29pm
post #317 of 807

^

Thanks for sharing!

 

Just to be clear: when you're mentioning Mad Dog Alphas, you mean the Mr Speakers Mad Dog 3.2, and not the Mr Speakers Alpha Dog?

 

Great to here you prefer the ZMF over the MD :smile: 


Edited by Tiemen - 11/10/13 at 1:50pm
post #318 of 807

Yes, you are correct. I do not have a pair of the newer Alpha Dogs.... yet.

post #319 of 807

UPDATE:  ZMF vs KOSS ESP-950

 

I finally got my repaired ESP-950s back from Milwaukee and have spent a little time  comparing them with the ZMF Fostex  T-50RPs.  Without a doubt, these 2 phones are apples and oranges - SO very different, yet both pleasing. The differences are pretty much as one would expect in comparing planar dynamics vs. electrostatics; no surprises here. I used much of the same material as on my initial evaluation (page 12 of this thread) so I won't go into the specific tracks used this time.

 

The Lowdown:

 

Sound:  tossup.  The ZMF Fostex  (V1) 'phones have better, more palpable bass with more "slam."  I think the ZMFs are quite revealing with excellent separation of sounds and a reasonable sound-stage, but they are only fair runners-up to the 'stats in these categories.  Typically, the 'stats have enormously more "air" and transparency with uncanny detail (sometimes/on some material - annoyingly too much) and a better, more spacious sound-stage presentation.  The mids on the ESPs are more natural and realistic, but at times, the ZMFs win (snare and other midrange percussives are just more exciting due to the aforementioned greater "slam" factor.)  If you re a BassHead, the Koss 'phones will probably not be very appealing, as their strengths are definitely in the upper octaves.

 

Portability:  I don't feel either of these is a best "on-the-road" 'phone, though both are excellent as fixed-location devices.  They both benefit from specialized upstream quality, rather than just plugging into any old output:  my ZMFs didn't come alive until I got the Lyr, and the ESPs, like all 'stats, need a separate energizing power supply. So, neither effectively marries convenience seamlessly with quality.  Still, if I had to choose- and didn't want noise cancellation, I'd take the ZMFs on the road with me.

 

Comfort:  no contest, advantage Koss.  Though much has been written (on Head-fi and elsewhere) about the slightly cheap plastic used in the Koss 'phones, their construction makes them exceedingly lightweight and comfortable - much better for extended listening.

 

Bang for Buck: advantage ZMF.  Still an incredibly good value, without sacrificing sound quality.  Although the ESP-950s can often (though from what I read, not so much recently) be purchased at a discount, they still cot considerably more.  They continue to be, however, a best-buy value among electrostatics - and have that awesome lifetime warranty.

 

SO, no clear winner, although I think the ESP-950s are more accurate transducers.  I'll keep both - and probably buy some others as well.  Fruit salad can be very satisfying

 

Next up, I'm waiting to try the ZMFs with my ancient ~1975 Infinity FET Preamp when it gets back from re-capping/update - with its integral 8 WATT(!) headphone output.  How will they like playing with that one-time SOTA monster?

post #320 of 807

Tiemen:

 

I am very interested to know your results with the Infinity pre-amp. Although I don't know for sure, I would guess that these two headphones present quite a different load to the amplifier. The ZMFs are 50 ohm and resistive. I don't know the spec on the ESPs, but they may have a capacitive component.

 

Your Infinity headphone output is rated at 8 watts per channel, but into what load? Is the rating for RMS power? Example: I am using a Parasound speaker amp for my ZMFs. It produces 45/45 watts RMS into an 8 ohm load, but only 7.5/7.5 watts RMS into a 50 ohm load. If the load is more reactive, it could also affect the perceived frequency response of the phones.

 

BTW: In the bad old days, I owned an Infinity Servo-Statik tri-amplified speaker system. I might even have had the same pre-amp as you! It was an incredible system... in the days of vinyl too. :-)

 

Looking forward to your next post. Thanks!

 

PS - I like fruit salad too.


Edited by jdg711 - 11/12/13 at 9:46pm
post #321 of 807

Just checked the ESP-950 on Amazon. Presently, they are going for $999.99, including shipping.


Edited by jdg711 - 11/12/13 at 10:02pm
post #322 of 807

JDG711:

 

I looked at the Infinity FET Preamp data - it just says "8 watt output" - no reference to measuring parameters - but it was from the 70s after all, about the time that RMS standard measurements were just taking hold. Who knows what the "real" output is?  I guess I could ask the tech to measure it - if he can. 

 

Although the ESP 'phones are definitely a capacitive load to the amplifier, that load is only seen by the integral energizing amp included in the system (or other anergizer.)  The inputs to the KOSS energizer are purely resistive line-level, so the source never "sees" the capacitive load.

 

Lucky you. I remember drooling over the Servo-Statics when I was in High School.  Never got to hear them - still on my list as a must-hear audio legend.

post #323 of 807

@ funflyer,

         Have been really looking forward to your comparison as I too own both phones. Your comments regarding the sound signatures of each and how they compare to each other mirror my own sentiments exactly. When I want to listen to rock or jazz fusion the ZMF get the nod, for more intimate acoustic genres the stats. There has been a renewed interest in the 20 plus year old ESP950's here on HeadFi recently which says a lot given the age of the design. I have been powering my ZMF with my 1800mw AGD NFB12 and been pretty happy with the sound. However your comments regarding the LYR and Zach's preference for same are giving me a bad case of "upgraditus". I personally feel the ESP950's and ZMF to be budget minded overachievers that deliver 95% "end game" sound for those looking to get the most bang for the buck. satwilson


Edited by satwilson - 11/14/13 at 7:39am
post #324 of 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdg711 View Post
 

Yes, you are correct. I do not have a pair of the newer Alpha Dogs.... yet.

Really enjoyed your comparison of the Mad Dog vs ZMF. The price of ESP950's has spiked back up to SRP in the last year or so because of renewed interest here at HF KOSS ESP-950 Thread. Let us know your thoughts when you get your Alpha Dogs, YIKES, my wallet is hurting again??


Edited by satwilson - 11/14/13 at 7:54am
post #325 of 807
I used to have an amazing pair of t50rp modded by member chrislangley4253 to sound closer to an hd600 where as maddogs have a bass tilt (in comparison) and then there is the BMF mods so yes I can believe the t50rp can be elevated to many high quality signatures like this ZMF mod..
I still want the white one.. For Christmas lol.
Edited by Maxx134 - 11/14/13 at 8:01am
post #326 of 807
post #327 of 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post
 

Review is finally up after significant delay: http://headfonics.com/2013/11/the-fostex-t50rp-as-envisioned-by-zach-mehrbach/

 

That was a great read. Thanks!

post #328 of 807

Thanks for the reviews, I'm interested in getting this but I wonder if it isolates well.  I want a closed headphone for portable use with my X3.  Will the X3 be enough to drive it well?  

post #329 of 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post
 

I want a closed headphone for portable use with my X3.  Will the X3 be enough to drive it well?  


I wrote this earlier in the thread to a questions about the t50rp with the X3:

 

"I was pretty shocked at how well my Fiio X3 drives the t50rp's, but I have no idea what equivalent that would be to their amps.  You can really blast yourself away with the high gain setting on that thing.  You get better timbre from other more expensive amps but the X3 is no slouch at all power wise."

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post #330 of 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by zach915m View Post


I wrote this earlier in the thread to a questions about the t50rp with the X3:

 

"I was pretty shocked at how well my Fiio X3 drives the t50rp's, but I have no idea what equivalent that would be to their amps.  You can really blast yourself away with the high gain setting on that thing.  You get better timbre from other more expensive amps but the X3 is no slouch at all power wise."

 



Oops, I missed that. But does it leak sound? I want to be able to use it in a library, and I normally don't use high volume.
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