Final Audio D8000 Planar Magnetic Headphone
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ScornDefeat

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Good Day All! I posted this in another thread (a general chat thread regarding top of the line headphones), but figured this would be applicable to the D8000 thread, as well. Or, at the least, potentially a nice conversation piece in here 😀

Over the last few weeks, inclusive of tonight, I have taken the necessary time to really form my thoughts on this formidable trio of flagship cans.

This is an in-depth comparison between the Audio-Technica ADX5000, Final Audio Design D8000 and ZMF Verite Closed; as noted, these are all flagship models from their respective and highly-respected brands. While the Verite is the only closed-back headphone in this shootout, many proclaim that is is one of the most “open” closed-backs to ever exist, and many prefer it to it’s flagship sibling, the Verite Open; as such, it’s inclusion in this comparison is more-than-fair. The ADX5000 clocks in at an MSRP of $2,000 USD, while the Limited Edition Verite Closed tips the scale at $2,700, with the Final D8000, finally, coming in at a wallet-busting $3,800.

In the case of this comparison, the ZMF Verite Closed is the Camphor Burl Limited Edition version (with stock solid lambskin Universe pads mounted). The ADX5000 and D8000 are stock. I am not particularly concerned with burn-in, but for those who do care, the Verite Closed has the least amount of hours of use of the trio, with all having less than 100 hours of play.


The audio chain for this specific comparison is as follows:

Purpose-built (streaming and server core only on Audio-Linux OS) PC → Roon (Tidal and Qobuz) → Chord Qutest DAC → ZMF Pendant Tube Amp (stock JJ tubes) → Custom DIY Headphone (1/4" SE) 4-way switcher (minimalistic passive design, high quality components such as UK-made rotary switch and 20awg Neotech UP-OCC Copper wire) → Headphones

The test tracks for this specific comparison were as follows:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat (low-end attack, resolution, imaging, instrument and vocal separation [layering])
Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (female vocals, decay, tonality, detail retrieval)
Obituary – Chopped in Half (low-end/bass impact and slam, mid-range attack)
Miles Davis – So What (imaging, tonality, treble)
Massive Attack - Angel (prominent sub-bass, imaging)

Many other songs; I took notes over various listening sessions in addition to the above, but the above 5 songs were used for the controlled A/B/C testing with direct formal comparison. Additional material included Boz Skaggs, Camel, Opeth, Isaac Hayes, Katatonia, Green Carnation, Steely Dan.

Comparison is broken down by the following:

Bass/Low-End "Impact/Slam":

ADX5000: The Audio-Technica offering has very tight low-end; it is not earth-shaking or thick in any way, but it is tight with palpable impact. I can see, however, overall bass quantity being somewhat lackluster with the ADX5000, despite the quality being there; timing is exceptionally accurate on low-notes and kick drum but there are certainly tracks where you may long for more overall volume.

D8000: Final Audio’s flagship demonstrates immediately more noticeable bass in quantity, as well as visceral slam. Kick drums are particularly notable for their head-rattling impact. Overall, you are presented with a thicker bass presentation, but with such raw impact capabilities, never does the bass feel muddy or sloppy.

Verite Closed: ZMF’s top-of-the-line headphones have an abundance of bass, straddling the middle-ground between thick and warm but still keeping an accurate pace and timing. Slam is certainly noticeable, although not at the level of some of the higher-end Planars. There are times where the bass presentation can slip into a bit of a muddy tendency, but never to the point where it’s a true distraction.

Verdict: Verite Closed has noticeably less slam and “physical” impact than the D8000, but may possess slightly more overall quantity. ADX5000 presents with the absolute tightest low-end section, but the volume just isn’t there. The winner here is the D8000, which offers nearly the tightness of the ADX5000 but with undeniably more slam. There were tracks where I did prefer the VC’s bass presentation and balance (“Angel”), but the D8000’s is, as a whole, more impressive.

Mid-Range/"Tone & Timbre":

ADX5000: The ADX5000 is an absolute king when it comes to showcasing a natural presentation of vocals, with some of the more exceptional “live” feeling to the mid-range and vocal timbre of any transducer, speaker or headphone, I’ve heard yet. There are points where the timbre of instruments is absolutely nailed, such as the sax on “So What”. A superior mid-range performer, it does have it’s drawbacks; there are moments where ADX5000 is just too-forward, too-aggressive with both vocals and other mid-range elements, particularly the upper regions of this range.

D8000: D8000 brings a very balanced approach here; slightly-recessed vocals can hold off fatigue, while tonally you get a presentation that will being justice to most tracks, even if there isn’t much of a “wow” factor here. There are moments where D8000 does take a bit of a more aggressive outlook on the mids, though, however; on “Chopped in Half,” D8000 presented an exceptionally prominent Snare Drum attack which left me feeling a bit fatigued.

Verite Closed: VC presents a more classically recessed mid-range, particularly noticeable in the vocals. There are moments where vocal tonality sounds a bit off, as noted in “Morph the Cat” where Fagen seemed a bit nasally. You get a relaxed approach here that will lend itself better to some styles of music than others.

Verdict: D8000’s balance is refreshing and enjoyable, but tonality is less natural and “live” than the ADX5000. Verite’s mid-range, on the other hand, provides a relaxed experience, although congestion in the vocal range holds it back. ADX5000 can be hot at times, with more aggression and an overly-forward representation. With that being said, the ADX5000’s exceptional tonal qualities and natural timbre cannot be denied.

Treble/"Brilliance or Sibilance?":

ADX5000: ADX5000 has a treble region that demands attention; there is more than enough brilliance here to impress most, providing a sense of air and sparkle that most headphones cannot touch. Every treble detail goes noticed. There is a brightness here, though, that is notable when listening in-comparison to the other headphones on display; there are moments where upper-reaches of horns, for example, can get a bit fatiguing at higher volumes. Good old “tape hiss” will be prominent on tracks that feature it.

D8000: D8000 is another performer that demands attention of its treble presentation; there is a brilliant, exciting presentation here that avoids sibilant tendencies. Hi-ht has more shine and shimmer than you’ll hear with almost any other headphone. Tape hiss will be similarly prominent as the ADX5000. The high-end here never quite gets to the point of fatiguing, however.

Verite Closed: VC has a noted smooth approach to treble that sharply contrasts both of the other phones on display here. Quite simply, for those who are treble-sensitive, VC will be a godsend; for those looking to be wowed by high-end brilliance and sheen, you will not get that here.

Verdict: ADX5000 and VC are nearly opposite ends of the treble spectrum; ADX5000 leans bright but impresses, while VC takes a back seat here and aims to never offend. D8000 comes in with much of ADX5000’s brilliant and detailed treble approach, but without any of the offending steps into “bright” territory. The compromise is that ADX5000 will contain more of that sense of “air” we yearn for, but D8000 will keep you happy without offense.

Resolution/Separation/Detail Retrieval:

ADX5000: ADX5000 is a technicalities beast, and it’s on full display with both the ability to draw out micro-details as well as distinctly separate vocal and instrument layers. On “Morph the Cat,” every distinct vocal layer was discernible.

D8000: D8000 is no slouch in the technical performance traits; while it may not be as overtly elite as the ADX5000, you are getting a very good performer that can separate distinct musical traits and leave the mud behind. At no point did I feel I was losing detail from the D8000.

Verite Closed: VC’s inherent warmth will gloss over a bit of the detail that you may hear with the ADX5000 and D8000; with that being said, it is impressive to hear this level of detail from a naturally-warm and resonant headphone (it competes here with the Rosson RAD-0, another warm headphone that brings a high-level of detail and resolution capabilities). There will be moments that can show a bit of a muddying of the mix that doesn’t reflect top-tier separation abilities.

Verdict: All three of these headphones belong in the elite or near-elite category when it comes to technical performance. “Chopped in Half” demonstrated the different approaches to separation well here; D8000 provided a thicker and less distinct separation of the mix components than ADX5000, while VC outwardly brought more of a “wall of sound” approach that showed that everything blended together more, with separation suffering. ADX5000 leaves absolutely nothing to be desired here; superior handling of layers and detail retrieval.

Staging & Imaging:

ADX5000: Once again, the ADX5000 hits all the right notes of technical performance; imaging is pinpoint accurate, staging reflects a very natural “room” that is reflective of the source material. Perhaps this headphone has the most natural room feel I’ve heard from a pair, and while you won’t get the widest presentation, things like mix stereo-panning will demonstrate how well this headphone performs in this department.

D8000: D8000 also presents a natural, adaptive stage feel and quality imaging. The most noteworthy aspect of D8000’s staging is the sense of height that is portrayed here; while I’ve heard width from headphones before, D8000 was the first pair of headphones where I truly noticed the “height” component to headphone sound-staging.

Verite Closed: VC has a really unique stage, perhaps the most unique I’ve heard; there is a certain sheen of cavernous reverb in its approach that presents a cathedral-like stage on many tracks. Unlike most closed headphones, which are squarely in the “intimate” category of soundstage, the VC brings you to a point where you will feel like you are in a hall towards the back row. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced to understand.

Verdict: D8000 impresses for it’s stage depth and height, while not foregoing the intimate qualities that make headphone listening a different animal than stereo listening. ADX5000 continues to impress with an exceptionally convincing and natural “room” approach to staging. VC has an entirely unique take to closed-back head-stage, flipping the script here and showcasing concert hall sound. ADX5000 comes out as the winner when it comes to it’s pinpoint accurate imaging (evidenced in the ping-pong panning on “Angel”), but there’s no winner here when it comes to overall staging approach as all three headphones have a to-taste approach.

Song “Winners”:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat: D8000 (D8000 had the most balanced approach on this track; while it didn’t have the same natural tonality as the ADX5000, or superior separation of layers/imaging as ADX5000, the bass approach was phenomenal and the treble is less “bothersome” than the ADX5000 presentation here).

Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner: D8000 (This was a track that my assumptions had me truly expecting ADX5000 to come out on top; it did not, as the D8000 takes the lead on this one again. The vocals envelop me in a way that VC wasn’t able to, while the D8000 also toned-down some of the aggressive elements from the ADX5000 that felt like a nuisance on this track)

Obituary – Chopped in Half: Tie (a draw on this one feels like a cop-out, but I truly can’t pick which one works best with this. Despite my biases expecting the ADX5000 to fall behind on this, the full sound and aggressive mids lend themselves well to the guitar-heavy attack. However, bass is lacking in comparison to D8000 and VC. VC has the muddiest sound on this, but the overall balance works exceptionally well, while the D8000’s slam and impact really bring the heat here. It’s a true tie.)

Miles Davis – So What: ADX5000 (the band truly feels like they are ‘there in the room” on this song, with the ADX5000. How live and natural sounding the performance is with ADX5000 on this track is truly striking).

Massive Attack – Angel: Verite Closed (overall, the VC brought the most balanced presentation of this track, mixing some of the hard-hitting sub-bass of the D8000 along with a less-aggressive, laid-back, and enjoyable overall approach).

Conclusion:

These are three tremendous headphones, and I feel quite lucky to have the capability to conduct a comparison like this and experience all three of these headphones in a setting like this. They all belong squarely in the “top of the line” category that they have been bestowed with and offer distinct and complimentary approaches. There is a reason why one may (within reason) own all three of these headphones and use them nearly-equally. In the realms of total user experience, the ADX5000 wins here for me; much of that is just logistical, however, as they are simply the most ergonomic of the three headphones, weighing in at over less than half of the VC or D8000. However, on pure sonic qualities, this is a different story. While the ADX5000 is the most dynamic of the three, the best technical performer and has an intoxicating natural “live in the room” tendency to it, there is an undeniable element of aggression in the mid-range, potential-fatigue in the upper-range and subdued bass that pull it from it’s perch. Verite Closed offers an overall smoother, relaxed approach that many will jive with, although there are tonal oddities (congested mid-range and vocals) and the preference (or lack of preference) for its sound stage that are notable drawbacks to me. The D8000 brings the most balanced approach, overall, in this three-way shootout; you get fine detail retrieval, tremendous bass slam and impact, brilliant but non-offensive treble and a tonality that works with almost any style of music. On those merits, I would declare the D8000 as the de-facto “winner” of this shootout.

Disclaimer: All of the above views are strictly my opinion, my subjective view, my preferences, and are not remotely meant to be construed as some sort of objective be-all-end-all comparison of these headphones or some sort of authoritative statement. I hope you’ve found as much value reading this as I found listening and writing this!

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Good Day All! I posted this in another thread (a general chat thread regarding top of the line headphones), but figured this would be applicable to the D8000 thread, as well. Or, at the least, potentially a nice conversation piece in here 😀

Over the last few weeks, inclusive of tonight, I have taken the necessary time to really form my thoughts on this formidable trio of flagship cans.

This is an in-depth comparison between the Audio-Technica ADX5000, Final Audio Design D8000 and ZMF Verite Closed; as noted, these are all flagship models from their respective and highly-respected brands. While the Verite is the only closed-back headphone in this shootout, many proclaim that is is one of the most “open” closed-backs to ever exist, and many prefer it to it’s flagship sibling, the Verite Open; as such, it’s inclusion in this comparison is more-than-fair. The ADX5000 clocks in at an MSRP of $2,000 USD, while the Limited Edition Verite Closed tips the scale at $2,700, with the Final D8000, finally, coming in at a wallet-busting $3,800.

In the case of this comparison, the ZMF Verite Closed is the Camphor Burl Limited Edition version (with stock solid lambskin Universe pads mounted). The ADX5000 and D8000 are stock. I am not particularly concerned with burn-in, but for those who do care, the Verite Closed has the least amount of hours of use of the trio, with all having less than 100 hours of play.


The audio chain for this specific comparison is as follows:

Purpose-built (streaming and server core only on Audio-Linux OS) PC → Roon (Tidal and Qobuz) → Chord Qutest DAC → ZMF Pendant Tube Amp (stock JJ tubes) → Custom DIY Headphone (1/4" SE) 4-way switcher (minimalistic passive design, high quality components such as UK-made rotary switch and 20awg Neotech UP-OCC Copper wire) → Headphones

The test tracks for this specific comparison were as follows:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat (low-end attack, resolution, imaging, instrument and vocal separation [layering])
Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (female vocals, decay, tonality, detail retrieval)
Obituary – Chopped in Half (low-end/bass impact and slam, mid-range attack)
Miles Davis – So What (imaging, tonality, treble)
Massive Attack - Angel (prominent sub-bass, imaging)

Many other songs; I took notes over various listening sessions in addition to the above, but the above 5 songs were used for the controlled A/B/C testing with direct formal comparison. Additional material included Boz Skaggs, Camel, Opeth, Isaac Hayes, Katatonia, Green Carnation, Steely Dan.

Comparison is broken down by the following:

Bass/Low-End "Impact/Slam":

ADX5000: The Audio-Technica offering has very tight low-end; it is not earth-shaking or thick in any way, but it is tight with palpable impact. I can see, however, overall bass quantity being somewhat lackluster with the ADX5000, despite the quality being there; timing is exceptionally accurate on low-notes and kick drum but there are certainly tracks where you may long for more overall volume.

D8000: Final Audio’s flagship demonstrates immediately more noticeable bass in quantity, as well as visceral slam. Kick drums are particularly notable for their head-rattling impact. Overall, you are presented with a thicker bass presentation, but with such raw impact capabilities, never does the bass feel muddy or sloppy.

Verite Closed: ZMF’s top-of-the-line headphones have an abundance of bass, straddling the middle-ground between thick and warm but still keeping an accurate pace and timing. Slam is certainly noticeable, although not at the level of some of the higher-end Planars. There are times where the bass presentation can slip into a bit of a muddy tendency, but never to the point where it’s a true distraction.

Verdict: Verite Closed has noticeably less slam and “physical” impact than the D8000, but may possess slightly more overall quantity. ADX5000 presents with the absolute tightest low-end section, but the volume just isn’t there. The winner here is the D8000, which offers nearly the tightness of the ADX5000 but with undeniably more slam. There were tracks where I did prefer the VC’s bass presentation and balance (“Angel”), but the D8000’s is, as a whole, more impressive.

Mid-Range/"Tone & Timbre":

ADX5000: The ADX5000 is an absolute king when it comes to showcasing a natural presentation of vocals, with some of the more exceptional “live” feeling to the mid-range and vocal timbre of any transducer, speaker or headphone, I’ve heard yet. There are points where the timbre of instruments is absolutely nailed, such as the sax on “So What”. A superior mid-range performer, it does have it’s drawbacks; there are moments where ADX5000 is just too-forward, too-aggressive with both vocals and other mid-range elements, particularly the upper regions of this range.

D8000: D8000 brings a very balanced approach here; slightly-recessed vocals can hold off fatigue, while tonally you get a presentation that will being justice to most tracks, even if there isn’t much of a “wow” factor here. There are moments where D8000 does take a bit of a more aggressive outlook on the mids, though, however; on “Chopped in Half,” D8000 presented an exceptionally prominent Snare Drum attack which left me feeling a bit fatigued.

Verite Closed: VC presents a more classically recessed mid-range, particularly noticeable in the vocals. There are moments where vocal tonality sounds a bit off, as noted in “Morph the Cat” where Fagen seemed a bit nasally. You get a relaxed approach here that will lend itself better to some styles of music than others.

Verdict: D8000’s balance is refreshing and enjoyable, but tonality is less natural and “live” than the ADX5000. Verite’s mid-range, on the other hand, provides a relaxed experience, although congestion in the vocal range holds it back. ADX5000 can be hot at times, with more aggression and an overly-forward representation. With that being said, the ADX5000’s exceptional tonal qualities and natural timbre cannot be denied.

Treble/"Brilliance or Sibilance?":

ADX5000: ADX5000 has a treble region that demands attention; there is more than enough brilliance here to impress most, providing a sense of air and sparkle that most headphones cannot touch. Every treble detail goes noticed. There is a brightness here, though, that is notable when listening in-comparison to the other headphones on display; there are moments where upper-reaches of horns, for example, can get a bit fatiguing at higher volumes. Good old “tape hiss” will be prominent on tracks that feature it.

D8000: D8000 is another performer that demands attention of its treble presentation; there is a brilliant, exciting presentation here that avoids sibilant tendencies. Hi-ht has more shine and shimmer than you’ll hear with almost any other headphone. Tape hiss will be similarly prominent as the ADX5000. The high-end here never quite gets to the point of fatiguing, however.

Verite Closed: VC has a noted smooth approach to treble that sharply contrasts both of the other phones on display here. Quite simply, for those who are treble-sensitive, VC will be a godsend; for those looking to be wowed by high-end brilliance and sheen, you will not get that here.

Verdict: ADX5000 and VC are nearly opposite ends of the treble spectrum; ADX5000 leans bright but impresses, while VC takes a back seat here and aims to never offend. D8000 comes in with much of ADX5000’s brilliant and detailed treble approach, but without any of the offending steps into “bright” territory. The compromise is that ADX5000 will contain more of that sense of “air” we yearn for, but D8000 will keep you happy without offense.

Resolution/Separation/Detail Retrieval:

ADX5000: ADX5000 is a technicalities beast, and it’s on full display with both the ability to draw out micro-details as well as distinctly separate vocal and instrument layers. On “Morph the Cat,” every distinct vocal layer was discernible.

D8000: D8000 is no slouch in the technical performance traits; while it may not be as overtly elite as the ADX5000, you are getting a very good performer that can separate distinct musical traits and leave the mud behind. At no point did I feel I was losing detail from the D8000.

Verite Closed: VC’s inherent warmth will gloss over a bit of the detail that you may hear with the ADX5000 and D8000; with that being said, it is impressive to hear this level of detail from a naturally-warm and resonant headphone (it competes here with the Rosson RAD-0, another warm headphone that brings a high-level of detail and resolution capabilities). There will be moments that can show a bit of a muddying of the mix that doesn’t reflect top-tier separation abilities.

Verdict: All three of these headphones belong in the elite or near-elite category when it comes to technical performance. “Chopped in Half” demonstrated the different approaches to separation well here; D8000 provided a thicker and less distinct separation of the mix components than ADX5000, while VC outwardly brought more of a “wall of sound” approach that showed that everything blended together more, with separation suffering. ADX5000 leaves absolutely nothing to be desired here; superior handling of layers and detail retrieval.

Staging & Imaging:

ADX5000: Once again, the ADX5000 hits all the right notes of technical performance; imaging is pinpoint accurate, staging reflects a very natural “room” that is reflective of the source material. Perhaps this headphone has the most natural room feel I’ve heard from a pair, and while you won’t get the widest presentation, things like mix stereo-panning will demonstrate how well this headphone performs in this department.

D8000: D8000 also presents a natural, adaptive stage feel and quality imaging. The most noteworthy aspect of D8000’s staging is the sense of height that is portrayed here; while I’ve heard width from headphones before, D8000 was the first pair of headphones where I truly noticed the “height” component to headphone sound-staging.

Verite Closed: VC has a really unique stage, perhaps the most unique I’ve heard; there is a certain sheen of cavernous reverb in its approach that presents a cathedral-like stage on many tracks. Unlike most closed headphones, which are squarely in the “intimate” category of soundstage, the VC brings you to a point where you will feel like you are in a hall towards the back row. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced to understand.

Verdict: D8000 impresses for it’s stage depth and height, while not foregoing the intimate qualities that make headphone listening a different animal than stereo listening. ADX5000 continues to impress with an exceptionally convincing and natural “room” approach to staging. VC has an entirely unique take to closed-back head-stage, flipping the script here and showcasing concert hall sound. ADX5000 comes out as the winner when it comes to it’s pinpoint accurate imaging (evidenced in the ping-pong panning on “Angel”), but there’s no winner here when it comes to overall staging approach as all three headphones have a to-taste approach.

Song “Winners”:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat: D8000 (D8000 had the most balanced approach on this track; while it didn’t have the same natural tonality as the ADX5000, or superior separation of layers/imaging as ADX5000, the bass approach was phenomenal and the treble is less “bothersome” than the ADX5000 presentation here).

Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner: D8000 (This was a track that my assumptions had me truly expecting ADX5000 to come out on top; it did not, as the D8000 takes the lead on this one again. The vocals envelop me in a way that VC wasn’t able to, while the D8000 also toned-down some of the aggressive elements from the ADX5000 that felt like a nuisance on this track)

Obituary – Chopped in Half: Tie (a draw on this one feels like a cop-out, but I truly can’t pick which one works best with this. Despite my biases expecting the ADX5000 to fall behind on this, the full sound and aggressive mids lend themselves well to the guitar-heavy attack. However, bass is lacking in comparison to D8000 and VC. VC has the muddiest sound on this, but the overall balance works exceptionally well, while the D8000’s slam and impact really bring the heat here. It’s a true tie.)

Miles Davis – So What: ADX5000 (the band truly feels like they are ‘there in the room” on this song, with the ADX5000. How live and natural sounding the performance is with ADX5000 on this track is truly striking).

Massive Attack – Angel: Verite Closed (overall, the VC brought the most balanced presentation of this track, mixing some of the hard-hitting sub-bass of the D8000 along with a less-aggressive, laid-back, and enjoyable overall approach).

Conclusion:

These are three tremendous headphones, and I feel quite lucky to have the capability to conduct a comparison like this and experience all three of these headphones in a setting like this. They all belong squarely in the “top of the line” category that they have been bestowed with and offer distinct and complimentary approaches. There is a reason why one may (within reason) own all three of these headphones and use them nearly-equally. In the realms of total user experience, the ADX5000 wins here for me; much of that is just logistical, however, as they are simply the most ergonomic of the three headphones, weighing in at over less than half of the VC or D8000. However, on pure sonic qualities, this is a different story. While the ADX5000 is the most dynamic of the three, the best technical performer and has an intoxicating natural “live in the room” tendency to it, there is an undeniable element of aggression in the mid-range, potential-fatigue in the upper-range and subdued bass that pull it from it’s perch. Verite Closed offers an overall smoother, relaxed approach that many will jive with, although there are tonal oddities (congested mid-range and vocals) and the preference (or lack of preference) for its sound stage that are notable drawbacks to me. The D8000 brings the most balanced approach, overall, in this three-way shootout; you get fine detail retrieval, tremendous bass slam and impact, brilliant but non-offensive treble and a tonality that works with almost any style of music. On those merits, I would declare the D8000 as the de-facto “winner” of this shootout.

Disclaimer: All of the above views are strictly my opinion, my subjective view, my preferences, and are not remotely meant to be construed as some sort of objective be-all-end-all comparison of these headphones or some sort of authoritative statement. I hope you’ve found as much value reading this as I found listening and writing this!

20201120_215628.jpg

20201218_202642.jpg
A good and details report, I do have the D8000 Pro and still process the burn in but the stock cable is too heavy and hard ! Any recommend ?
 
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ScornDefeat

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A good and details report, I do have the D8000 Pro and still process the burn in but the stock cable is too heavy and hard ! Any recommend ?
Thank you, appreciate you taking the time and enjoying the report.

Unfortunately, I couldn't handle the stock cable for more than a couple hours. Way too long, too thick, too heavy, ergonomically poor. My solution was to make a quality 5' DIY UP-OCC copper cable that is much much ergonomic and gets the job done.

If you're wiling to wait 6-10 weeks minimum for a cable, Norne make probably the best aftermarket cables in the business that work very well with D8000, as well.
 
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jmills8

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A good and details report, I do have the D8000 Pro and still process the burn in but the stock cable is too heavy and hard ! Any recommend ?
Its a top notch cable.
 
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A good and details report, I do have the D8000 Pro and still process the burn in but the stock cable is too heavy and hard ! Any recommend ?
Let me speak to Roy at Arctic Cables...the stock cable sounds great, but ergonomically it is unruly
 
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dnd3241

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Let me speak to Roy at Arctic Cables...the stock cable sounds great, but ergonomically it is unruly
Right ! The sound of the stock cable is very OK, meanwhile I order stock cable with 4pin XLR about 4 feet long from Final audio and in the other hand I switch the connecter of my Nordost Heimdall 2 to served the D8000 Pro will pick up later on today let see what will happen.
 
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alvin sawdust

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A good and details report, I do have the D8000 Pro and still process the burn in but the stock cable is too heavy and hard ! Any recommend ?
Audio Envy ToneKraft headphone cable is excellent and no wait time as far as I know. I'm sure someone mentioned on this thread that they had one made for their D8000 pro. Personally I think the standard cable is sonically superb and have no issues at all with it.
 
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Stock Silver cable made for manly men.
 
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It seems the Nordost is not a good match with D8000 Pro, the treble is too much forwards and cross the line. Still need to stick with my old silver hose again.
thumbnail_IMG_0120.jpg
 
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I like my D8000 better with Pro ICan (with WE396A tubes) than GS-X mini.
 
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It seems the Nordost is not a good match with D8000 Pro, the treble is too much forwards and cross the line. Still need to stick with my old silver hose again.thumbnail_IMG_0120.jpg
The Nordost seems to need about 200hrs of burn in - I didn't much like it when I bought it but after mega-burn-in it did change for the (much) better.
 
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Good Day All! I posted this in another thread (a general chat thread regarding top of the line headphones), but figured this would be applicable to the D8000 thread, as well. Or, at the least, potentially a nice conversation piece in here 😀

Over the last few weeks, inclusive of tonight, I have taken the necessary time to really form my thoughts on this formidable trio of flagship cans.

This is an in-depth comparison between the Audio-Technica ADX5000, Final Audio Design D8000 and ZMF Verite Closed; as noted, these are all flagship models from their respective and highly-respected brands. While the Verite is the only closed-back headphone in this shootout, many proclaim that is is one of the most “open” closed-backs to ever exist, and many prefer it to it’s flagship sibling, the Verite Open; as such, it’s inclusion in this comparison is more-than-fair. The ADX5000 clocks in at an MSRP of $2,000 USD, while the Limited Edition Verite Closed tips the scale at $2,700, with the Final D8000, finally, coming in at a wallet-busting $3,800.

In the case of this comparison, the ZMF Verite Closed is the Camphor Burl Limited Edition version (with stock solid lambskin Universe pads mounted). The ADX5000 and D8000 are stock. I am not particularly concerned with burn-in, but for those who do care, the Verite Closed has the least amount of hours of use of the trio, with all having less than 100 hours of play.


The audio chain for this specific comparison is as follows:

Purpose-built (streaming and server core only on Audio-Linux OS) PC → Roon (Tidal and Qobuz) → Chord Qutest DAC → ZMF Pendant Tube Amp (stock JJ tubes) → Custom DIY Headphone (1/4" SE) 4-way switcher (minimalistic passive design, high quality components such as UK-made rotary switch and 20awg Neotech UP-OCC Copper wire) → Headphones

The test tracks for this specific comparison were as follows:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat (low-end attack, resolution, imaging, instrument and vocal separation [layering])
Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (female vocals, decay, tonality, detail retrieval)
Obituary – Chopped in Half (low-end/bass impact and slam, mid-range attack)
Miles Davis – So What (imaging, tonality, treble)
Massive Attack - Angel (prominent sub-bass, imaging)

Many other songs; I took notes over various listening sessions in addition to the above, but the above 5 songs were used for the controlled A/B/C testing with direct formal comparison. Additional material included Boz Skaggs, Camel, Opeth, Isaac Hayes, Katatonia, Green Carnation, Steely Dan.

Comparison is broken down by the following:

Bass/Low-End "Impact/Slam":

ADX5000: The Audio-Technica offering has very tight low-end; it is not earth-shaking or thick in any way, but it is tight with palpable impact. I can see, however, overall bass quantity being somewhat lackluster with the ADX5000, despite the quality being there; timing is exceptionally accurate on low-notes and kick drum but there are certainly tracks where you may long for more overall volume.

D8000: Final Audio’s flagship demonstrates immediately more noticeable bass in quantity, as well as visceral slam. Kick drums are particularly notable for their head-rattling impact. Overall, you are presented with a thicker bass presentation, but with such raw impact capabilities, never does the bass feel muddy or sloppy.

Verite Closed: ZMF’s top-of-the-line headphones have an abundance of bass, straddling the middle-ground between thick and warm but still keeping an accurate pace and timing. Slam is certainly noticeable, although not at the level of some of the higher-end Planars. There are times where the bass presentation can slip into a bit of a muddy tendency, but never to the point where it’s a true distraction.

Verdict: Verite Closed has noticeably less slam and “physical” impact than the D8000, but may possess slightly more overall quantity. ADX5000 presents with the absolute tightest low-end section, but the volume just isn’t there. The winner here is the D8000, which offers nearly the tightness of the ADX5000 but with undeniably more slam. There were tracks where I did prefer the VC’s bass presentation and balance (“Angel”), but the D8000’s is, as a whole, more impressive.

Mid-Range/"Tone & Timbre":

ADX5000: The ADX5000 is an absolute king when it comes to showcasing a natural presentation of vocals, with some of the more exceptional “live” feeling to the mid-range and vocal timbre of any transducer, speaker or headphone, I’ve heard yet. There are points where the timbre of instruments is absolutely nailed, such as the sax on “So What”. A superior mid-range performer, it does have it’s drawbacks; there are moments where ADX5000 is just too-forward, too-aggressive with both vocals and other mid-range elements, particularly the upper regions of this range.

D8000: D8000 brings a very balanced approach here; slightly-recessed vocals can hold off fatigue, while tonally you get a presentation that will being justice to most tracks, even if there isn’t much of a “wow” factor here. There are moments where D8000 does take a bit of a more aggressive outlook on the mids, though, however; on “Chopped in Half,” D8000 presented an exceptionally prominent Snare Drum attack which left me feeling a bit fatigued.

Verite Closed: VC presents a more classically recessed mid-range, particularly noticeable in the vocals. There are moments where vocal tonality sounds a bit off, as noted in “Morph the Cat” where Fagen seemed a bit nasally. You get a relaxed approach here that will lend itself better to some styles of music than others.

Verdict: D8000’s balance is refreshing and enjoyable, but tonality is less natural and “live” than the ADX5000. Verite’s mid-range, on the other hand, provides a relaxed experience, although congestion in the vocal range holds it back. ADX5000 can be hot at times, with more aggression and an overly-forward representation. With that being said, the ADX5000’s exceptional tonal qualities and natural timbre cannot be denied.

Treble/"Brilliance or Sibilance?":

ADX5000: ADX5000 has a treble region that demands attention; there is more than enough brilliance here to impress most, providing a sense of air and sparkle that most headphones cannot touch. Every treble detail goes noticed. There is a brightness here, though, that is notable when listening in-comparison to the other headphones on display; there are moments where upper-reaches of horns, for example, can get a bit fatiguing at higher volumes. Good old “tape hiss” will be prominent on tracks that feature it.

D8000: D8000 is another performer that demands attention of its treble presentation; there is a brilliant, exciting presentation here that avoids sibilant tendencies. Hi-ht has more shine and shimmer than you’ll hear with almost any other headphone. Tape hiss will be similarly prominent as the ADX5000. The high-end here never quite gets to the point of fatiguing, however.

Verite Closed: VC has a noted smooth approach to treble that sharply contrasts both of the other phones on display here. Quite simply, for those who are treble-sensitive, VC will be a godsend; for those looking to be wowed by high-end brilliance and sheen, you will not get that here.

Verdict: ADX5000 and VC are nearly opposite ends of the treble spectrum; ADX5000 leans bright but impresses, while VC takes a back seat here and aims to never offend. D8000 comes in with much of ADX5000’s brilliant and detailed treble approach, but without any of the offending steps into “bright” territory. The compromise is that ADX5000 will contain more of that sense of “air” we yearn for, but D8000 will keep you happy without offense.

Resolution/Separation/Detail Retrieval:

ADX5000: ADX5000 is a technicalities beast, and it’s on full display with both the ability to draw out micro-details as well as distinctly separate vocal and instrument layers. On “Morph the Cat,” every distinct vocal layer was discernible.

D8000: D8000 is no slouch in the technical performance traits; while it may not be as overtly elite as the ADX5000, you are getting a very good performer that can separate distinct musical traits and leave the mud behind. At no point did I feel I was losing detail from the D8000.

Verite Closed: VC’s inherent warmth will gloss over a bit of the detail that you may hear with the ADX5000 and D8000; with that being said, it is impressive to hear this level of detail from a naturally-warm and resonant headphone (it competes here with the Rosson RAD-0, another warm headphone that brings a high-level of detail and resolution capabilities). There will be moments that can show a bit of a muddying of the mix that doesn’t reflect top-tier separation abilities.

Verdict: All three of these headphones belong in the elite or near-elite category when it comes to technical performance. “Chopped in Half” demonstrated the different approaches to separation well here; D8000 provided a thicker and less distinct separation of the mix components than ADX5000, while VC outwardly brought more of a “wall of sound” approach that showed that everything blended together more, with separation suffering. ADX5000 leaves absolutely nothing to be desired here; superior handling of layers and detail retrieval.

Staging & Imaging:

ADX5000: Once again, the ADX5000 hits all the right notes of technical performance; imaging is pinpoint accurate, staging reflects a very natural “room” that is reflective of the source material. Perhaps this headphone has the most natural room feel I’ve heard from a pair, and while you won’t get the widest presentation, things like mix stereo-panning will demonstrate how well this headphone performs in this department.

D8000: D8000 also presents a natural, adaptive stage feel and quality imaging. The most noteworthy aspect of D8000’s staging is the sense of height that is portrayed here; while I’ve heard width from headphones before, D8000 was the first pair of headphones where I truly noticed the “height” component to headphone sound-staging.

Verite Closed: VC has a really unique stage, perhaps the most unique I’ve heard; there is a certain sheen of cavernous reverb in its approach that presents a cathedral-like stage on many tracks. Unlike most closed headphones, which are squarely in the “intimate” category of soundstage, the VC brings you to a point where you will feel like you are in a hall towards the back row. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced to understand.

Verdict: D8000 impresses for it’s stage depth and height, while not foregoing the intimate qualities that make headphone listening a different animal than stereo listening. ADX5000 continues to impress with an exceptionally convincing and natural “room” approach to staging. VC has an entirely unique take to closed-back head-stage, flipping the script here and showcasing concert hall sound. ADX5000 comes out as the winner when it comes to it’s pinpoint accurate imaging (evidenced in the ping-pong panning on “Angel”), but there’s no winner here when it comes to overall staging approach as all three headphones have a to-taste approach.

Song “Winners”:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat: D8000 (D8000 had the most balanced approach on this track; while it didn’t have the same natural tonality as the ADX5000, or superior separation of layers/imaging as ADX5000, the bass approach was phenomenal and the treble is less “bothersome” than the ADX5000 presentation here).

Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner: D8000 (This was a track that my assumptions had me truly expecting ADX5000 to come out on top; it did not, as the D8000 takes the lead on this one again. The vocals envelop me in a way that VC wasn’t able to, while the D8000 also toned-down some of the aggressive elements from the ADX5000 that felt like a nuisance on this track)

Obituary – Chopped in Half: Tie (a draw on this one feels like a cop-out, but I truly can’t pick which one works best with this. Despite my biases expecting the ADX5000 to fall behind on this, the full sound and aggressive mids lend themselves well to the guitar-heavy attack. However, bass is lacking in comparison to D8000 and VC. VC has the muddiest sound on this, but the overall balance works exceptionally well, while the D8000’s slam and impact really bring the heat here. It’s a true tie.)

Miles Davis – So What: ADX5000 (the band truly feels like they are ‘there in the room” on this song, with the ADX5000. How live and natural sounding the performance is with ADX5000 on this track is truly striking).

Massive Attack – Angel: Verite Closed (overall, the VC brought the most balanced presentation of this track, mixing some of the hard-hitting sub-bass of the D8000 along with a less-aggressive, laid-back, and enjoyable overall approach).

Conclusion:

These are three tremendous headphones, and I feel quite lucky to have the capability to conduct a comparison like this and experience all three of these headphones in a setting like this. They all belong squarely in the “top of the line” category that they have been bestowed with and offer distinct and complimentary approaches. There is a reason why one may (within reason) own all three of these headphones and use them nearly-equally. In the realms of total user experience, the ADX5000 wins here for me; much of that is just logistical, however, as they are simply the most ergonomic of the three headphones, weighing in at over less than half of the VC or D8000. However, on pure sonic qualities, this is a different story. While the ADX5000 is the most dynamic of the three, the best technical performer and has an intoxicating natural “live in the room” tendency to it, there is an undeniable element of aggression in the mid-range, potential-fatigue in the upper-range and subdued bass that pull it from it’s perch. Verite Closed offers an overall smoother, relaxed approach that many will jive with, although there are tonal oddities (congested mid-range and vocals) and the preference (or lack of preference) for its sound stage that are notable drawbacks to me. The D8000 brings the most balanced approach, overall, in this three-way shootout; you get fine detail retrieval, tremendous bass slam and impact, brilliant but non-offensive treble and a tonality that works with almost any style of music. On those merits, I would declare the D8000 as the de-facto “winner” of this shootout.

Disclaimer: All of the above views are strictly my opinion, my subjective view, my preferences, and are not remotely meant to be construed as some sort of objective be-all-end-all comparison of these headphones or some sort of authoritative statement. I hope you’ve found as much value reading this as I found listening and writing this!

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Would recommend anyone buying the ZMF Verite C to request the Auteur Hybrid pads - they really seem to work better than the standard Auteur and Universe pads supplied (I hated the Universe).
 
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