Review: ZMF Modified Fostex T50RP. Superb!
Aug 9, 2014 at 4:07 PM Post #751 of 812

Tiemen

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Does this mean more sibilance with the 1540 pads?

 
I have the Shure 1540 pads installed, and the answer is yes: more sibilance. The fiber glass doesn't help much.
Up till now the Shure 840 are the most satisfying for sound, and the comfort is not bad either. I'll try some dampening stuff (felt, velour pieces) before going back to the Shure 840 pads.
 
Aug 20, 2014 at 7:31 PM Post #752 of 812

uncola

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Crossposting my he-400i impressions in case anyone was gonna upgrade to them from zmf..
 
 
Initial impressions are..  surprisingly black!  I was expecting dark blue cups!  I had bestintheverse from reddit/r/headphones make me a blue paracord hifiman cable in preperation for these, too!  Oh well can't win em all.
These are the third most comfortable headphones I've ever worn..  close to most comfy..  Just slightly below sony mdr-ma900 and my zmf t50rp with leather suspension band and hm5 pads.  I think the slightly less comfort is because the he400i has more clamp and the pads are smaller around..  but they are still very comfortable.  
edit:  oh also.. I have the earpads adjustment set at maximum extension.. they are comfortable but if I had a bigger/taller head they might be too small.  I'm 6'2" and uh.. "heavyset"
 
a/b testing with zmf t50rp v1 
tracks: goldfrapp - lucky head.. not much difference between the headphones
kate bush - brazil - vocals sound much more natural and emphasized on he-400i vs zmf, maybe because kate bush's voice is higher than alison goldfrapp's
eagles - hotel california live - soundstage and imaging are much more precise on he-400i, I can tell where the instruments are easily, bass on zmf sounds slightly boomy compared to he-400i which surprises me, I assumed the closed zmf would have better bass
radiohead - house of cards - this is my bass test there's a kick drum that only my closed zmf reproduce well compared to other cans I've had.  he-400i has no problem with them.. otherwise no major difference between zmf
 
weird phenomenon:  when the he-400i headphone cable was laying on top of my smartphone I got a weird tick tick tick sound in the headphones that continued until I moved the cable.  My home made mogami 2893 cable for zmf didn't have the ticking.. maybe because of better shielding in the cable?  which is weird because I didn't connect the shield on either side when I made the cable :p
 
the zmf keeps up pretty well despite costing half as much.. if I only had zmf I'd only be missing a little treble detail and soundstage mainly.  the he-400i are a step up but don't make me want to put my zmf in an oil drum and set it on fire :p
 
Aug 21, 2014 at 2:57 AM Post #753 of 812

HarleyZH

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God the Vibro is a treat, kicks copious arse on Nu-Jazz stuff as well as downtempo and glitch stuff. I think the thing that impressed me the most was both the smoothness/fatigue free sound and the soundstage on them. Makes for a really really pleasurable experience thats for sure. I really have not fiddled with the bass dowels too much - just love the stock sound. Mine is Maple in rust, and boy does it look great. Very comfortable as expected, actually find these more comfortable than the Alpha Dog - I have the padded headband on mine. Bass is addictive and deep, but not super strong or hard hitting - making a really good balance between articulation and addictive fun factor. 
 
Quick question Zach, for my pair you used Alpha Pads like usual right? I'm just interested because it seems these pads are made of a slightly different leather/build than my Alpha Dogs ~ alpha pads which I got late last year. The manufacture might have changed. These new ones actually seem to keep their shape better/seal easier.
 
Comparing the ZMF to other closed cans I own
 
ZMF vs Alpha Dog
 
ZMF ~ Has more bass with the ports opened - surprisingly my Alpha impacts harder but with less quantity with all ZMF dowels in. Both extend really well, need to do more sub bass tests to hear the full picture here. Alpha Dog in this case has no Doggie treats in or felt circles. 
The ZMF seems to need slightly more juice to sound subjectively as loud as the Alpha Dogs - not sure if this is out of the ordinary. 
The ZMF midrange is slightly darker, the AD seems to be thinner but more linear. 
The AD has a edginess to its lower treble without the doggie treats, with them the sound is softened but I do not like the impact on the dynamics of the can - as they sound less lively overall. The ZMF has no edginess to its sound at all, smooth as its gets. The ZMF x Vibro has less treble quantity, and it comes across as being a darker can, while the AD is neutral with the Doggies. 
The ZMF has better soundstage, it seems more spacious and less forward - strong depth and width here. The AD is no slouch, but its more upfront sounding. The imaging is a toss up.
The AD seems a bit quicker and snappier - could just be its brighter nature.
 
ZMF vs TH600
The ZMF has less bass quantity in stock form, haven't compared with dowels out yet. TH600 rumbles more, the ZMF is tighter. Neither have relentless impact, but the ZMF seems more impactful.
The ZMF mids are more forward and involved, voices are more prominent and instruments through the midrange sound more forward. The TH600 mids are a bit recessed and it carries a dry tonality overall.
The TH600 has a splashy hardness to the lower treble which grates on my nerves badly with everything that is not EDM/Electronic based. Some people don't worry about this spike much, but its really in the wrong spot to my ears. 
The TH600 imaging seems to be more impressive, and the sound staging is very impressive - I find that it bests the Vibro in this regard on my system - but not by very much at all.
The ZMF seems cleaner sounding and quicker at least thus far in testing.
The TH600 is a lot lighter and for more easier on the head, but the AD and ZMF are not uncomfortably by any stretch.
The TH600 offers very little isolation and leaks strongly for a closed can so unlike the AD and ZMF I cannot recommend this aspect of them.
 
ZMF vs Sig DJ
The DJ hits much harder, and a lot more quantity - rumbles more as well. The DJ can be driller like to the average audiophile who is a non basshead. 
The DJ mids are more recessed, but not as receded as the TH600 - the Sig DJ are bright, but not strongly so. Less bright and piercing than the TH600
The DJ has spooky imaging very 3 dimensional - cannot count how many times sounds I've turned around to sounds, dependant a bit on you own ear size and shape as mine are absolutely perfect it seems for S Logic to do its best.
The DJ is better isolating and leaks less than both of the AD and ZMF - at the cost of a tight clamp and more shallow ear pads. However they are built like tanks and are easily driven and portable if not a large can for out of the home.
 
ZMF vs DX1000
The DX1000 I have is the Japanese import model. The DX1000 is a slightly dark can, with deep and hard hitting bass - not as hard hitting as the DJ, but stronger than other I've mentioned yet. The DX1000 has an unbelievable soundstage for a closed can, I'd say none of the others in this group offer its massive width of stage. The DX1000 however trades off as being quite reverberant from the ear cups, also carrying a hit or miss midrange coloration. On their best moments the DX1000 shock me with their musicality, other times I don't feel them nearly as much. The DX1000 imaging is also impressive, but its not a micro detail freak. Its less detailed purely than probably every can I just mentioned. The DX1000 is very easy to drive in terms of power, I cannot comment on pairings purely for sound as I'm not terrible interested or able in trying large amounts of amps with them. The ZMF is more consistently impressive across all genres and styles. The strangest thing the DX1000 does is that it can sound very bassy and then the next album sound quite weak in bass - unlike some other cans that hit hard all the time. 
The JVC isolate to an average extent for a fully sealed can, they don't leak much, but are 3rd worst behind the W1000X and TH600 (last).
 
ZMF vs W1000X
 
The W1000X has less bass, and is much poorer extended. The W1000X is a bit bright and carries a certain coloration of the mids more emphasised on female vocals, the W1000X therefore can sound a bit nasal or forward for some peoples tastes other people enjoy the extra detail in this range. The ZMF is more spacious with superior imaging - it also is quicker and deals with complex passages better. The W1000X can be hit or miss on comfort and fit, and isn't anything to really write home about in isolation. The ZMF is definitely the darker and more impressive bass can.
 
 
Listening has been done mostly through the WA7 stock (Gold Pin), Musical Fidelity HPA - M1 and the Audio GD NFB 28. None were balanced at all, and of course I did not volume match them with a meter. So as always take impressions with a grain of salt, everyones tastes are different - what I like might not suit you or your tastes. Your Mileage may vary, with whatever you might use, amps - dacs and cables. So as always its best to test yourself before you buy or attend a meet.
 
Aug 21, 2014 at 5:18 AM Post #754 of 812

PsiCore

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@HarelyZH - great write up! Would love to read a Vibro vs LCD-2 comparison (I know it's open vs closed, but I'm interested purely in the sound differences).
 
Aug 21, 2014 at 6:07 AM Post #755 of 812

HarleyZH

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I'll write a bit about the ZMF Vibro, Oppo PM-2, LCD2 (I actually have a non razor rev 2 though so not sure if it helps) and HE500. I'd need to do some A/B tests on tracks. I'm fairly busy, should expect some impressions late next week at the earliest due to my work.
 
Aug 21, 2014 at 10:24 PM Post #756 of 812

grizzlybeast

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Looking forward to it! specifically the lcd2. I have linked your comparison in the ZMF x Vibro thread incase someone goes there looking for them. 
 
I prefer the bass on my with two ports closed and it gives it more impact. That is why I havent updated my review yet... waiting to get em back.
 
GREAT IMPRESSIONS BTW. 
 
Aug 25, 2014 at 4:56 PM Post #758 of 812

Sound Eq

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Harley I am so eager to read ur comparison with lcd rev2 non fazor
 
Aug 25, 2014 at 7:31 PM Post #759 of 812

Saoshyant

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Hmm, that does sound like quite an interesting read.  I'd love to see how the Vibro holds up.  I've heard the fazor LCD 2.2, so it'd at least give me something of a reference point.
 
Aug 25, 2014 at 8:30 PM Post #760 of 812

HarleyZH

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I'm short on time this week with stocktake/work, but here goes. Ok so as far as the LCD2 vs ZMF goes.
 
I'd say that the sound stage on the ZMF seems to be from further back resulting also in better width, the ZMF actually sounds more open. The LCD sounds more upfront and somewhat more raw/aggressive while the ZMF sounds smoother. The LCD sound terrible with classical for me. What I mean here is that with the leather LCD2 pads, the LCD has a strange coloration when listening to classical - the ZMF sounds more natural with that style. The ZMF has more lower treble and is about the same as my LCD2 around 10khz. The ZMF therefore is ever so slightly brighter up there. The LCD2 seems to decay quicker. The ZMF sounds less congested in terms of imaging though on most songs. 
 
The LCD2 has a bit more authority at the very lowest sub bass, but the ZMF with its ports open has just as much impact in the upper bass and can have more bass even still with all 3 opened. 
 
I think the biggest factor is that the ZMF is smoother/more refined, less upfront and more open sounding. Both headphones are fairly forgiving but I find the ZMF to be pleasant even with some loud rock masterings that the LCD2 is too edgy on. 
 
Personally after doing A vs B tests, I find myself enjoying the ZMF a lot more. My opinion of the LCD2 has gone down a notch - I hadn't listened to the LCD2 in about a month literally. Recently been going through the closed cans for the ZMF comparison. 
 
I'll post some info up on the HE500 and Oppo PM-2 soon - the PM-2 is still on its way to me and the HE500 is loaned out to a friend.
 
Sep 2, 2014 at 1:34 AM Post #762 of 812

coletrain104

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about to pull the trigger on the V1 Master Model. Anyone have strong opinions on which rewire should be done? I'm having some trouble deciding.
also i guess on pilot pad or leather strap. both look comfy though
 
Sep 2, 2014 at 1:39 AM Post #763 of 812

uncola

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I would go with silver plated to brighten them up but I've only heard copper. Mine are slightly dark but I like that
 
Sep 2, 2014 at 2:26 AM Post #764 of 812

coletrain104

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Thanks Uncola, between them and the gold plated copper, since it seems to have positive qualities of both others according to the comparison page. However, the site mentions the exceptional timbre of the copper, and the cleaner, bright tone of the silver. There is less gushing going on in the description of the gold plated copper, however it does sound like the best of both worlds. My internal debate continues
 
Sep 2, 2014 at 10:06 AM Post #765 of 812

Maxx134

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Thanks Uncola, between them and the gold plated copper, since it seems to have positive qualities of both others according to the comparison page. However, the site mentions the exceptional timbre of the copper, and the cleaner, bright tone of the silver. There is less gushing going on in the description of the gold plated copper, however it does sound like the best of both worlds. My internal debate continues

Can you post what is said about gold plated copper?
Why put a lesser conductive metal (gold) over copper?
The electrons like to ride the surface as it is...
So that's like forcing them to ride under the gold plating and I am guessing less interference from the outside?
Oh well bottom line is how it sounds..
:)
 

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