Is the ZMF Atrium or Auteur Classic a step up from a Focal Clear Mg?
Jun 10, 2024 at 10:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

GoobVibrations210

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Hello, I think I'm ready to try a new headphone out. The first thing I bought was a Focal Clear Mg, which I have enjoyed but want some not so rolled off sounding up top. I have been really intrigued by the ZMF line I know the Auteur are close to neutral which would seem like a logical choice, but after reading reviews on the Atrium I'm very intrigued by the soundstage and midrange. I know its not the brightest headphone, but I listen a lot of music so something too bright might be too much after awhile. Any help is much appreciated, thanks!
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 12:14 AM Post #2 of 18
Hi there.

What exactly do you like about your Clear MG? What things are important about your future headphone?
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 12:30 AM Post #3 of 18
Hi there.

What exactly do you like about your Clear MG? What things are important about your future headphone?
I enjoy the dynamics they also seem to be pretty resolving with good depth as well. As far as what’s important something that sounds somewhat natural with good soundstage, depth, and dynamics. Also looking at Hifiman 1000se since they are on sell. Thanks for you help
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 12:43 AM Post #4 of 18
I had the HE1000V2 and the Stealth version. Both headphones, the Stealth even more gave me a wow feeling for their big soundstage and very detailed treble. For longer listening sessions, the treble was too much for me.

If the Focal sound is your thing, i can say the Utopia would be a nice step up. Detailed, dynamic, punchy. The depth is very good but the size of the soundstage is a werkness of the Utopia. I would look for a good discount on the new version or search a used one. I ve had never spent 5000€/$ for a headphone.

The ZMF Atrium is a headphone, thats on my list too. But i can not yet tell you about that one.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 12:52 AM Post #5 of 18
Hello, I think I'm ready to try a new headphone out. The first thing I bought was a Focal Clear Mg, which I have enjoyed but want some not so rolled off sounding up top. I have been really intrigued by the ZMF line I know the Auteur are close to neutral which would seem like a logical choice, but after reading reviews on the Atrium I'm very intrigued by the soundstage and midrange. I know its not the brightest headphone, but I listen a lot of music so something too bright might be too much after awhile. Any help is much appreciated, thanks!
A major factor to consider for good results here is your amplification. The ZMF dynamic driver headphones are 300 Ohm impedance and will sound incredible with the right amplification, less so with others. Same with the Focals, which are pretty low impedance.

What amplification do you have or plan to use?

For context, I’m a former Focal owner (Elear, Radiance, Stellia) who has gone “full ZMF”. But I still have love and respect for Focal- I just found that ZMF’s tuning/sound signature was more for me.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 7:00 AM Post #6 of 18
I would not recommend looking at any ZMF headphone like an "upgrade" to the Focal Clear. If you're looking to explore different kinds of sounds and tuning, then I fully recommend ZMF. They are quite addictive.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 2:17 PM Post #7 of 18
Right now the two amps I have are the Schiit Lyr+ and RNHP. I thought about going with a full tube amp but having the Clear Mg it wouldn’t be a good match. And you are right upgrade isn’t the right word, I still think the Clear Mg is a great headphone I’m just looking for something different. I’ve been looking at the Utopia, but the 2022 is a bit out of my price range new. But I’ve seen some of the OG’s for sell which I could do for sure. I listen to a lot of music that has a lot of spatial effects and information so that’s part of the reason I was interested in something with a larger soundstage.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 2:21 PM Post #8 of 18
I had the HE1000V2 and the Stealth version. Both headphones, the Stealth even more gave me a wow feeling for their big soundstage and very detailed treble. For longer listening sessions, the treble was too much for me.
Yeah that’s what I’m worried about. Trying to find something that doesn’t sound like it's lacking treble energy, but is also not fatiguing. How is the treble on the Utopia compare to the HE1000v2?
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 2:27 PM Post #9 of 18
The treble is very different. The HE1000v2 has an emphasis on the upper mids and treble. Together with the detailed sound they gave me, it COULD sound very edgy and bright. Sometimes i liked it, but for general listening, it was too much. The overall sound is leaner on the Hifiman.

I like the treble on the Utopia 22 very much, but the overall sound is darker and with more emphasis on the lower end of the fq compared with the two Hifiman i listened to.

Edit: You mentioned, you like a larhe soundstage. Unfortunately the Utopia does not have that. Its comparable with the Clears, maybe a little bigger on the Utopia.
 
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Jun 11, 2024 at 8:21 PM Post #10 of 18
The treble is very different. The HE1000v2 has an emphasis on the upper mids and treble. Together with the detailed sound they gave me, it COULD sound very edgy and bright. Sometimes i liked it, but for general listening, it was too much. The overall sound is leaner on the Hifiman
I see, that gives me a better idea. Thanks man!
 
Jun 12, 2024 at 12:14 AM Post #11 of 18
Youre welcome. Of course the best thing is to listen to them first. It all is a matter of taste. Unfortunately i can not help you with your first asked question but i think PinkyPowers is right.

I had tested a ZMF Atticus. The price was comparable to the Clear OG that i have. So i can say the Atticus was not an upgrade but a sidegrade. The Clear OG is better in technicalities but the Atticus has a really nice, smooth, forgiving sound. It was really nice to listen too. The build quality and comfort are outstanding too in my opinion.

So the best way will always be to test it for yourself before you spend your hard earned money. 🙂
 
Jun 12, 2024 at 8:42 PM Post #13 of 18
Man I would love to be able test a few different headphones, but it’s going to be a blind buy. I missed a CanJam that was a couple hours away from me that I now regret..lol

Living in Kansas City, we just don't have big shows, and zero headphone stores I've been able to find. Basically every headphone I've ever bought has a been a blind buy. I compensate by rigorously researching every purchase. Unfortunately, that doesn't always pan out. lol
 
Jun 12, 2024 at 9:51 PM Post #14 of 18
Living in Kansas City, we just don't have big shows, and zero headphone stores I've been able to find. Basically every headphone I've ever bought has a been a blind buy. I compensate by rigorously researching every purchase. Unfortunately, that doesn't always pan out. lol
Haha, yeah I’ve come to accept it’s just going to be a trial and error thing. I see you have the Atrium Opens, what do you think about them?
 
Jun 12, 2024 at 9:58 PM Post #15 of 18
Haha, yeah I’ve come to accept it’s just going to be a trial and error thing. I see you have the Atrium Opens, what do you think about them?

They're wonderful. Between the Atrium and the HE1000 Stealth, I'm in true audiophile paradise. :o2smile:

ZMF_Atrium_01.jpg

Violectric_V281_01.jpg
 

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