The Closed-Back Headphone Thread (Plus Comparisons & Reviews)
Oct 22, 2020 at 3:55 PM Post #616 of 6,351
Some rather hurried and cursory thoughts on the ZMF Vérité Closed vs. the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT (excuse any typos, etc.excuse the lame photo, too). I should also say, I feel as though I’m still adjusting to the Vérité Closed, so please take my impressions here lightly.

Despite a 1000€/$/£ difference between these, I essentially feel their competing in the same terrain (because, after all, after about 1500€/$/£, the law of diminishing returns is harsh).

In terms of comfort and build, clearly the Vérité Closed are the winners for their build and design. Not too much to say about this, as I think it’s widely known that the build on the ZMF is peerless. The build on the AWKT is not lacking by any means, but I’m aware that I have to be a tad more careful when handling them. In terms of comfort, I know some people have complained about the clamp and pad depth on the AWKT, but I myself find them very comfortable. The clamp pressure on the AWKT in my experience is much lighter than the Vérité Closed. I had a pair of Eikons before, and I know the clamping pressure eases out on the ZMF, but I certainly find the AWKT somewhat more comfortable despite the odd headband structure.

To the sound (I ran this test solely on my Hugo 2, using both outputs simultaneously). The Vérité Closed has a warm frequency range, which is nevertheless fairly linear and balanced. Bass is accented and not exactly bloated, but not what I would call precise or overly controlled. The bass extends well from the sub to mid region. There’s a bit of a peak around 100hz which then trails down at about 200hz. It gives the Vérité Closed a warm bottom end, which spills a little into the lower-mids. I have yet to pad swap and cable roll (and am probably short of the 200 hours of burn in time recommended), so it may well be that this accented lower end has the potential to have more control. Then again, part of the charm of the Vérité Closed is that they have a warmth that isn’t overly “romantic.” The mids on the Vérité Closed are outstanding in their depth and texture. I don’t think one can really fault them; vocals, guitars, synths all sound top notch.

As @Malevolent has mentioned, the treble is where things get contentious. I don’t find the need to EQ the Vérité Closed (unlike the Eikon, which had a fairly significant dip around 2k, and thus gave the top end a muted and overly smooth quality). The top end on the Vérité Closed (especially 3k) is perhaps a little too smooth. I feel like a little more airiness could be introduced here. The advantage is that the Vérité Closed avoids a false sense of detail through an artificially elevated treble.

What is really impressive about the Vérité Closed is that despite being a fairly warm headphone, technical performance is excellent. There’s no compromise in imaging, detail retrieval, soundstage, or resolution whatsoever. As a result, it’s an incredibly “natural” sounding headphone – nothing is pushed toward the listener in an aggressive way, yet all the details are nevertheless at the foreground.

Turning to the AWKT, the difference is striking. They are *hyper* engaging headphones without being analytical or harsh. In contrast to the Vérité Closed, the bass it tight, well controlled, with what I call excellent slam. Mid-bass is flat it not slightly dipped. The separation between the frequencies is just a pleasure to listen to. It gives the headphones an air of immense speed and clarity. The AWKT does not have the “thicc” sense of body the Vérité Closed does. It’s totally flat, before then ascending at the upper-mids in typical Audio-Technica style. I honestly love this tuning a great deal. It gives everything a sense of depth that is in the same measure totally transparent. One criticism might be that the AWKT does not have enough flesh in the mid-section, which I think is fair. These are by no means v-shaped; if anything, the tuning is more in line with the MSR7B without the peaky treble. Of which, treble on the AWKT is bright, airy, incredibly detailed without being sibilant (to my ears). Crispy. Clear. Clean. Perfect.

On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even have the upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval. It’s hard to put a final word on this, because one thing I’ve found with all ZMF headphones is that they are prone to “grow” with usage and also alter notably with pads. When I receive my Plussound X8 cable and try some different pads, I will likely revise my thoughts on the Vérité Closed.

In sum, both of these headphones are outstanding; they both complement each other supremely well. The Vérité Closed offer a warm, organic, but technically excellent presentation at the expense of being sometimes overly polite. The AWKT are a vision of pure crystalline clarity. They hide nothing, and yet they’re also deeply “musical,” but at times possibly fatiguing. On a personal level, the AWKT speak to my sensibility in a more immediate way than the Vérité Closed, though I feel the charm of the latter is in a way more subtle and maybe more enduring. Time will tell. I’m happy to have them both.

P1070626.jpg
 
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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:04 PM Post #617 of 6,351
Some rather hurried and cursory thoughts on the ZMF Vérité Closed vs. the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT (excuse any typos, etc.excuse the lame photo, too). I should also say, I feel as though I’m still adjusting to the Vérité Closed, so please take my impressions here lightly.

Despite a 1000€/$/£difference between these, I essentially feel their competing in the same terrain (because, after all, after about 1500€/$/£, the law of diminishing returns is harsh). In terms of comfort and build, clearly the Vérité Closed are the winners for their build and design. Not too much to say about this, as I think it’s widely known that the build on the ZMF is peerless. The build on the AWKT is not lacking by any means, but I’m aware that I have to be a tad more careful when handling them. In terms of comfort, I know some people have complained about the clamp and pad depth on the AWKT, but I myself find them very comfortable. The clamp pressure on the AWKT in my experience is much light than the Vérité Closed. I had a pair of Eikons before, and I know the clamping pressure eases out on the ZMF, but I certainly find the AWKT somewhat more comfortable despite the odd headband structure.

To the sound (I ran this test solely on my Hugo 2, using both outputs simultaneously). The Vérité Closed has a warm frequency range, which is nevertheless fairly linear and balanced. Bass is accented and not exactly bloated, but not what I would call precise or overly controlled. The bass extends well from the sub to mid region. There’s a bit of a peak around 100hz which then trails down at about 200hz. It gives the Vérité Closed a warm bottom end, which spills a little into the lower-mids. I have yet to pad swap and cable roll (and am probably short of the 200 hours of burn in time recommended), so it may well be that this accented lower end has the potential to have more control. Then again, part of the charm of the Vérité Closed is that they have a warm that isn’t overly “romantic.” The mids on the Vérité Closed are outstanding in their depth and texture. I don’t think one can really fault the mids; vocals, guitars, synths all sound top notch.

As @Malevolent has mentioned, the treble is where things get contentious. I don’t find the need to EQ the Vérité Closed (unlike the Eikon, which had a fairly significant dip around 2k, and thus gave everything a muted and overly smooth quality). The top end on the Vérité Closed (especially 3k) is perhaps a little too smooth. I feel like a little more airiness could be introduced here. The advantage is that the Vérité Closed avoids a false sense of detail through an elevated treble.

What is really impressive about the Vérité Closed is that despite being a fairly warm headphone, technical performance is excellent. There’s no compromise in imaging, detail retrieval, soundstage, or resolution whatsoever. As a result, it’s an incredibly “natural” sounding headphone – nothing is pushed toward the listener in an aggressive way, yet all the details are nevertheless at the foreground.

Turning to the AWKT, the difference is striking. They are *hyper* engaging headphones without being analytical or harsh. In contrast to the Vérité Closed, the bass it tight, well controlled, with what I call excellent slam. Mid-bass is flat it not slightly dipped. The separation between the frequencies is just a pleasure to listen to. It gives the headphones an air of immense speed and clarity. The AWKT does not have the “thicc” sense of body the Vérité Closed does. It’s totally flat, before then ascending at the upper-mids in Audio-Technica style. I honestly love this tuning a great deal. It gives everything a sense of depth that is in the same measure totally transparent. One criticism might be that the AWKT does not have enough flesh in the mid-section, which I think is fair. These are by no means v-shaped; if anything, the tuning is more in line with the MSR7B without the peaky treble. Of which, treble on the AWKT is bright, airy, incredibly detailed without being sibilant (to my ears). Crispy. Clear. Clean. Perfect.

On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even if that upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval. It’s hard to put a final word on this, because one thing I’ve found with all ZMF headphones is that they are prone to “grow” with usage and also alter notably with pads. When I receive my Plussound X8 cable and try some different pads, I will likely revise my thoughts on the Vérité Closed.

In sum, both of these headphones are outstanding; they both complement each other supremely well. The Vérité Closed offer a warm, organic, but technically excellent presentation at the expense of being sometimes overly polite. The AWKT are a vision of pure crystalline clarity. They hide nothing, and yet they’re also deeply “musical,” but at times possibly fatiguing. On a personal level, the AWKT speak to my sensibility in a more immediate way than the Vérité Closed, though I feel the charm of the latter is in a way more subtle and maybe more enduring. Time will tell. I’m happy to have them both.

Excellent impressions - thanks for the comparison! :)

"On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even if that upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval."

I had a niggling suspicion that this would be the conclusion that you'd reach, since I actually felt the same way, too. I was hoping to hear someone else's thoughts on this, so thanks for confirming that I wasn't having delusions during my initial assessment of these 2 headphones.

The ATH-AWKT is truly a master at detail retrieval, and within the closed-back headphone sphere, it is probably the world-beater in this particular aspect at this juncture.
 
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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:13 PM Post #618 of 6,351
Agreed - and add the old studio standard 7506 to that list. I don't know why other companies struggle to produce something comfortable for a range of head sizes or shapes.

For instance, I really like the sound of my HD6xx but the extreme clamp force and firm pads has me immediately uncomfortable and downright suffering after 20-30 mins.

Anyway, every Sony I've worn is super comfortable.
I'm in total agreement. Amongst the aspects involved in the creation of a headphone, you'd think that the comfort factor would be one of the easiest tasks to achieve. Unfortunately, a lot of companies get this wrong - some are too heavy, some have a vice-like clamp, and others have pads that are too small or too lean. Sigh.

Yeah the 600s are famous for gripping your head like the jaws of death. Just keep using them and ten years from now you won't even notice it :D

Not only that but they squeeze at the worst possible points right behind my ears. Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna throw up!
Check your noggin, mate. They may have grown around the headphone. :joy:
 
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Oct 22, 2020 at 4:16 PM Post #619 of 6,351
Excellent impressions - thanks for the comparison! :)

"On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even if that upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval."

I had a niggling suspicion that this would be the conclusion that you'd reach, since I actually felt the same way, too. I was hoping to hear someone else's thoughts on this, so thanks for confirming that I wasn't having delusions during my initial assessment of these 2 headphones.

The ATH-AWKT is truly a master at detail retrieval, and within the closed-back headphone sphere, it is probably the world-beater in this particular aspect at this juncture.
Thanks very much and sorry again for the typos - I just edited the whole thing (knackered after other editing work all day...)

I agree on the AWKT being the master of detail. Right out of the box, they just strike you with their amazing clarity. I didn't find any burn in was needed or made any difference. Especially with the Hugo 2 and Silver Dragon cable...ultra detailed.

As I say, I want to give the Vérité Closed time to "breathe." I'm not a huge believer in burn in, but I found the Eikon changed significantly with time and I'm sure it's no less true with the VC. Probably my next step will be to try the Vérité pads with a view of reducing the mid-bass somewhat.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:18 PM Post #620 of 6,351
I'm sure you're right. My ears are probably not as well trained. :sweat_smile:
I'd defer to your judgement, actually, since you have these 2 headphones with you. :)

My tests were done in a shop, with people milling about. Whilst the ambient noise wasn't a major distraction, it was certainly a factor. Nothing beats a solid comparison in the comfort and peace of your own home.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:21 PM Post #621 of 6,351
Some rather hurried and cursory thoughts on the ZMF Vérité Closed vs. the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT (excuse any typos, etc.excuse the lame photo, too). I should also say, I feel as though I’m still adjusting to the Vérité Closed, so please take my impressions here lightly.

Despite a 1000€/$/£ difference between these, I essentially feel their competing in the same terrain (because, after all, after about 1500€/$/£, the law of diminishing returns is harsh).

In terms of comfort and build, clearly the Vérité Closed are the winners for their build and design. Not too much to say about this, as I think it’s widely known that the build on the ZMF is peerless. The build on the AWKT is not lacking by any means, but I’m aware that I have to be a tad more careful when handling them. In terms of comfort, I know some people have complained about the clamp and pad depth on the AWKT, but I myself find them very comfortable. The clamp pressure on the AWKT in my experience is much lighter than the Vérité Closed. I had a pair of Eikons before, and I know the clamping pressure eases out on the ZMF, but I certainly find the AWKT somewhat more comfortable despite the odd headband structure.

To the sound (I ran this test solely on my Hugo 2, using both outputs simultaneously). The Vérité Closed has a warm frequency range, which is nevertheless fairly linear and balanced. Bass is accented and not exactly bloated, but not what I would call precise or overly controlled. The bass extends well from the sub to mid region. There’s a bit of a peak around 100hz which then trails down at about 200hz. It gives the Vérité Closed a warm bottom end, which spills a little into the lower-mids. I have yet to pad swap and cable roll (and am probably short of the 200 hours of burn in time recommended), so it may well be that this accented lower end has the potential to have more control. Then again, part of the charm of the Vérité Closed is that they have a warmth that isn’t overly “romantic.” The mids on the Vérité Closed are outstanding in their depth and texture. I don’t think one can really fault them; vocals, guitars, synths all sound top notch.

As @Malevolent has mentioned, the treble is where things get contentious. I don’t find the need to EQ the Vérité Closed (unlike the Eikon, which had a fairly significant dip around 2k, and thus gave everything a muted and overly smooth quality). The top end on the Vérité Closed (especially 3k) is perhaps a little too smooth. I feel like a little more airiness could be introduced here. The advantage is that the Vérité Closed avoids a false sense of detail through an artificially elevated treble.

What is really impressive about the Vérité Closed is that despite being a fairly warm headphone, technical performance is excellent. There’s no compromise in imaging, detail retrieval, soundstage, or resolution whatsoever. As a result, it’s an incredibly “natural” sounding headphone – nothing is pushed toward the listener in an aggressive way, yet all the details are nevertheless at the foreground.

Turning to the AWKT, the difference is striking. They are *hyper* engaging headphones without being analytical or harsh. In contrast to the Vérité Closed, the bass it tight, well controlled, with what I call excellent slam. Mid-bass is flat it not slightly dipped. The separation between the frequencies is just a pleasure to listen to. It gives the headphones an air of immense speed and clarity. The AWKT does not have the “thicc” sense of body the Vérité Closed does. It’s totally flat, before then ascending at the upper-mids in typical Audio-Technica style. I honestly love this tuning a great deal. It gives everything a sense of depth that is in the same measure totally transparent. One criticism might be that the AWKT does not have enough flesh in the mid-section, which I think is fair. These are by no means v-shaped; if anything, the tuning is more in line with the MSR7B without the peaky treble. Of which, treble on the AWKT is bright, airy, incredibly detailed without being sibilant (to my ears). Crispy. Clear. Clean. Perfect.

On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even have the upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval. It’s hard to put a final word on this, because one thing I’ve found with all ZMF headphones is that they are prone to “grow” with usage and also alter notably with pads. When I receive my Plussound X8 cable and try some different pads, I will likely revise my thoughts on the Vérité Closed.

In sum, both of these headphones are outstanding; they both complement each other supremely well. The Vérité Closed offer a warm, organic, but technically excellent presentation at the expense of being sometimes overly polite. The AWKT are a vision of pure crystalline clarity. They hide nothing, and yet they’re also deeply “musical,” but at times possibly fatiguing. On a personal level, the AWKT speak to my sensibility in a more immediate way than the Vérité Closed, though I feel the charm of the latter is in a way more subtle and maybe more enduring. Time will tell. I’m happy to have them both.

P1070626.jpg
The burl on that wood is beyond belief. Zach has the most fantastic wood cans I've ever seen.

Thanks for your comments about the Eikons. I'm surprised and saddened to hear the mids are scooped out somewhat.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:23 PM Post #622 of 6,351
Some rather hurried and cursory thoughts on the ZMF Vérité Closed vs. the Audio-Technica ATH-AWKT (excuse any typos, etc.excuse the lame photo, too). I should also say, I feel as though I’m still adjusting to the Vérité Closed, so please take my impressions here lightly.

Despite a 1000€/$/£ difference between these, I essentially feel their competing in the same terrain (because, after all, after about 1500€/$/£, the law of diminishing returns is harsh).

In terms of comfort and build, clearly the Vérité Closed are the winners for their build and design. Not too much to say about this, as I think it’s widely known that the build on the ZMF is peerless. The build on the AWKT is not lacking by any means, but I’m aware that I have to be a tad more careful when handling them. In terms of comfort, I know some people have complained about the clamp and pad depth on the AWKT, but I myself find them very comfortable. The clamp pressure on the AWKT in my experience is much lighter than the Vérité Closed. I had a pair of Eikons before, and I know the clamping pressure eases out on the ZMF, but I certainly find the AWKT somewhat more comfortable despite the odd headband structure.

To the sound (I ran this test solely on my Hugo 2, using both outputs simultaneously). The Vérité Closed has a warm frequency range, which is nevertheless fairly linear and balanced. Bass is accented and not exactly bloated, but not what I would call precise or overly controlled. The bass extends well from the sub to mid region. There’s a bit of a peak around 100hz which then trails down at about 200hz. It gives the Vérité Closed a warm bottom end, which spills a little into the lower-mids. I have yet to pad swap and cable roll (and am probably short of the 200 hours of burn in time recommended), so it may well be that this accented lower end has the potential to have more control. Then again, part of the charm of the Vérité Closed is that they have a warmth that isn’t overly “romantic.” The mids on the Vérité Closed are outstanding in their depth and texture. I don’t think one can really fault them; vocals, guitars, synths all sound top notch.

As @Malevolent has mentioned, the treble is where things get contentious. I don’t find the need to EQ the Vérité Closed (unlike the Eikon, which had a fairly significant dip around 2k, and thus gave everything a muted and overly smooth quality). The top end on the Vérité Closed (especially 3k) is perhaps a little too smooth. I feel like a little more airiness could be introduced here. The advantage is that the Vérité Closed avoids a false sense of detail through an artificially elevated treble.

What is really impressive about the Vérité Closed is that despite being a fairly warm headphone, technical performance is excellent. There’s no compromise in imaging, detail retrieval, soundstage, or resolution whatsoever. As a result, it’s an incredibly “natural” sounding headphone – nothing is pushed toward the listener in an aggressive way, yet all the details are nevertheless at the foreground.

Turning to the AWKT, the difference is striking. They are *hyper* engaging headphones without being analytical or harsh. In contrast to the Vérité Closed, the bass it tight, well controlled, with what I call excellent slam. Mid-bass is flat it not slightly dipped. The separation between the frequencies is just a pleasure to listen to. It gives the headphones an air of immense speed and clarity. The AWKT does not have the “thicc” sense of body the Vérité Closed does. It’s totally flat, before then ascending at the upper-mids in typical Audio-Technica style. I honestly love this tuning a great deal. It gives everything a sense of depth that is in the same measure totally transparent. One criticism might be that the AWKT does not have enough flesh in the mid-section, which I think is fair. These are by no means v-shaped; if anything, the tuning is more in line with the MSR7B without the peaky treble. Of which, treble on the AWKT is bright, airy, incredibly detailed without being sibilant (to my ears). Crispy. Clear. Clean. Perfect.

On a technical front, both these headphones are in the same ball park. The Vérité Closed has a wider soundstage, but in terms of imaging, separation, and detail retrieval both are on the same par. I would actually say that technically, the AWKT may even have the upper hand, especially in terms of detail retrieval. It’s hard to put a final word on this, because one thing I’ve found with all ZMF headphones is that they are prone to “grow” with usage and also alter notably with pads. When I receive my Plussound X8 cable and try some different pads, I will likely revise my thoughts on the Vérité Closed.

In sum, both of these headphones are outstanding; they both complement each other supremely well. The Vérité Closed offer a warm, organic, but technically excellent presentation at the expense of being sometimes overly polite. The AWKT are a vision of pure crystalline clarity. They hide nothing, and yet they’re also deeply “musical,” but at times possibly fatiguing. On a personal level, the AWKT speak to my sensibility in a more immediate way than the Vérité Closed, though I feel the charm of the latter is in a way more subtle and maybe more enduring. Time will tell. I’m happy to have them both.

P1070626.jpg
Thanks for getting to this so soon. Great write up! I was hopoing to hear the AWKT would have just as wide a soundstage as the VC while keeping that beautiful treble performance but hopefully they're not too far off. I'm very happy to hear they're on par when it comes to imaging and detail, though. The AWKT might be the one for me. Can't wait to try them myself!
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:29 PM Post #623 of 6,351
Thanks for getting to this so soon. Great write up! I was hopoing to hear the AWKT would have just as wide a soundstage as the VC while keeping that beautiful treble performance but hopefully they're not too far off. I'm very happy to hear they're on par when it comes to imaging and detail, though. The AWKT might be the one for me. Can't wait to try them myself!
I don't think you'd be disappointed with the soundstage on the AWKT. They're definitely large sounding and in no sense constricted. VC has upper hand but it's a close call. Curious to hear your thoughts! So long as you're OK with a brighter tuning, then you'll probably like them.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 4:33 PM Post #624 of 6,351
The burl on that wood is beyond belief. Zach has the most fantastic wood cans I've ever seen.

Thanks for your comments about the Eikons. I'm surprised and saddened to hear the mids are scooped out somewhat.
No, my error if that's the impression I gave - the mids are definitely not scooped on the Eikon. They're very much forward. There is, however, a recession in the lower treble, at least to my ears.

Yes, the Burl is amazing. I got lucky with this pair. I find myself just gazing at them if I'm nearby.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 5:38 PM Post #625 of 6,351
Thanks very much and sorry again for the typos - I just edited the whole thing (knackered after other editing work all day...)

I agree on the AWKT being the master of detail. Right out of the box, they just strike you with their amazing clarity. I didn't find any burn in was needed or made any difference. Especially with the Hugo 2 and Silver Dragon cable...ultra detailed.

As I say, I want to give the Vérité Closed time to "breathe." I'm not a huge believer in burn in, but I found the Eikon changed significantly with time and I'm sure it's no less true with the VC. Probably my next step will be to try the Vérité pads with a view of reducing the mid-bass somewhat.
Wow, I didn't notice the typo either. :sweat_smile:

Yeah, I'm hoping that a change of pads on the Vérité Closed might yield some minor sonic changes. I'm happy with the bass levels, but I'm looking for a little more definition in the highs. Zach's reply doesn't leave me with much hope, though. In any case, I'll still try, and I'll report in again with my impressions.
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 10:03 PM Post #626 of 6,351
No problem, mate. I'll pit the 2 together over the weekend. In fact, I've never really done a head-to-head comparison of the 2 before, so this is something that I'm really looking forward to doing. I'll keep you posted!

Sony is a maestro at creating comfortable cans, IMO. Almost every single one of my Sony headphones feels fantastic on my ears (and my head) - the MDR-Z1R, MDR-Z7M2, WH-1000X4.. even the old Xtra Bass cans like the MDR-XB1000, MDR-XB700. They all have 2 things in common - a light frame, and really plush pads.
Thanks my friend. The Z1R are already ordered. Hope I receive them by the end of next week.

After 2 days listening the Z7M2, I'm finding the mids a little bit recessed and kinda hollow. With some genres this is accentuated, very similar situation to the WP900 (a little bit worse here).

I find these 2 HPs very similar, with Sony leading all the way on bass (tighter and more natural) and AT slapping Sonys face on treble and clarity, however I prefer the thickness all across on the Z7M2 and of course the comfort is unbeatable.

Also with not so good recordings (even though I only listen 16/44 or better) the sound is more mediocre on the Z7M2 than with other HPs.

@Nostoi apologies for the typos... lol. I'm Spanish native so it's really difficult to express myself in another language, even more in a technical world that is really hard to learn... sorry for the typos to everyone :)
 
Oct 22, 2020 at 10:25 PM Post #627 of 6,351
Alright, to follow up on my previous post. These are my impressions. I'm no reviewer, so I'm just going to describe what I hear as best I can.

First, I know I could stand to let the Stellia burn in more. I have left the headphones playing music even when I'm away since I got them but I understand it might not be enough. However, I don't think the main difference that I find separates these two headphones is going to change much even after burning in. I've looked at descriptions of these headphones from others and it seems to fall in line.

Both headphones are very detailed. I'm not going to dwell much in detail retrieval because I find both to be very resolving. The Stellia is brighter with more slam. It has excellent clarity, especially in the highs. It's also more dynamic but at the same time, that quality can make it a little fatiguing. The highs can be a bit harsh sometimes. Because of how dynamic it can be, it can cause you to brace for parts in the song where you know a louder high note is coming. Not too bad, though. The base is tighter and punchier. The headphone is also lighter but not actually more comfortable at stock (I say at stock because there are easy ways too fix this). The headband, like in other Focal headphones, is not cushioned enough.

The Verite Closed has better soundstage and imaging. Imagine is excellent. The sound stage is wider than the Stellia's which surprised me. It's warmer/darker in sound. Enough that when compared with brighter headphones, like the Stellia, it can give the impression that it sounds less clear. However, it also has excellent detail retrieval. The base is more pronounced (although with less slam) but it can be a bit bloomy sometimes. That is, it decays more slowly and it can muddle the sound a bit in some songs (just a tad). The good thing is this can be tamed a bit by switching pads. I found this bloominess to be a little less with the Suede pads, maybe because there's less reverb. The VC are certainly less fatiguing for long listening sessions but sometimes it's a bit too inoffensive. The same quality that makes it non-offensive can sometimes leave you wanting for that extra oomph in the highs. It's very comfy but heavier so you might feel the weight after a few hours. Not too heavy, though.

All in all, I wish these two would stop fooling around and just had a baby already! I'd love to keep the clarity, slam and tightness of the Stellia and combine it with the soundstage and imaging of the VC.

If I were to only use one of these to exclusively for music, I'd keep the Stellia. The features that can make it a little bit fatiguing also make it more fun! Where as with the VC, as great as they sound, they are so laid back that your attention might start roaming away from the music. The Stellia will bring you back into focus. Especially when drums come in. That slam... so good.

All that said, because I'm not going to use the pair I keep just for music, but also for everything else I do on my PC, including the occasional gaming, I think I'm going to have to let the Stellia go. To me, the amount the VC is better at soundstage and imaging is greater than the amount the Stellia is better at slam and clarity. I wish I could keep them both. I shall miss you Stellia.

Look for the Stellia in the For Sale section soon if you're interested. In my pursuit to find a VC+Stellia child, I'm looking to try the Audio Technica ATH-AWKT next.

Edit: All my listening was done on PC > Schiit Modius > Topping A90 balanced. Sometimes I ran them both at the same time (XLR and 4.4mm) and sometimes I switched between them both on the XLR output. I found no difference between the outputs or between having them playing at the same time or individually.
Another amazing review for this amazing thread! I haven't tried the Stellias, since I have a rule where I won't allow myself to try something that I'm not willing to spend on currently, but I have tried the clears and I relate to your thoughts on the detail and dynamics to be amazing, to the point of sometimes having to brace yourself because the dynamics can come across as fatiguing and harsh in the highs. When I demo'd the clears, the song I noticed most in was Lindsey Stirling's Artemis. They were absolutely amazing headphones though! If I could handle that amount of dynamics and preferred dynamic drivers, then I would have gone with the clears, but I went with the Anandas since they had similar detail capabilities without the harsh highs and sometimes-too-strong dynamics, and they've been my main drivers since. :)

I'm eagerly awaiting the results of this battle, my friend! The ATH-AWKT is no slouch, and I think that it'll do very well against the Vérité Closed.
After reading Nostoi and Makubex's recent reviews, I'd love to see a shootout between the AWKT and Stellia for detail capabilities!

Yeah the 600s are famous for gripping your head like the jaws of death. Just keep using them and ten years from now you won't even notice it :D

Not only that but they squeeze at the worst possible points right behind my ears. Sometimes I feel like I'm gonna throw up!
Yeah, the Sennheiser initial clamp is really something else. I find it unbearable. But I daresay once they're stretched out and the clamp is lessened, they are some of the comfiest headphones around!

On another note, this bad boy came in!
A2.jpeg
A3.jpeg
A4.jpeg
A5.jpeg


I ended up trading down from the AP2000ti's - While the mids and treble were amazing, I had a few issues that alltogether just added up and made me decide to search for trades. Mainly, the sub bass was somewhat lacking, the pads while comfy, did push into my jaw during long listening sessions (6 hours or longer), and lastly the physical aspects of the headphone - the finish was a large putoff for me since I did not want to have to wipe the headphones after every use, and the wire quality was lacking.

Moving onto the Aeon 2 Closed, initial impressions:

  • The design and build for these is very impressive! I've read plenty of praise about the comfort of Dan Clark's headphones, but to try it out in person was another story alltogether. Especially the folding mechanism, I had heard it was compact but this was the most surprising factor to me. Folded up and in the case, I think the A2C is the same size or slightly smaller than the LCD-1 in the case. And I much prefer the shape of the Aeon pads versus the 2000ti earpads, although the 2kti was one of the comfier closed backs I have tried.
  • Soundwise, the first thing that stood out to me was the bass. With the majority of my collection being neutral / neutral-bright, I immediately noticed the bass lift on the A2C, and on the first song or two I thought it was a tad much, but the longer I listen the more I'm enjoying it. Also I love planar bass. That was the last gripe I had with the 2kti, which isn't a knock against their tuning, just the fact that they're a dynamic driver, and after using these, the Tin P1 and the Hifiman Ananda, I can safely conclude that I prefer the sound of Planar Drivers. They just sound so effortless.
  • The next thing that stood out to me was the Midrange quality. The lower midrange versus anything else I had was more upfront, and as of now I quite like the different tonality it has from the Anandas. MakubexGB mentioned the HD600's earlier, and while I haven't heard the HD600, the listening to the Aeon 2 closed gives me the feeling that this is like the HD58x / HD6xx (I've heard the 58x but not the 6xx) series in terms of the intimacy and quality of the mids, but swapped over to a planar driver and with better bass and treble extension while still retaining the warmth. On a side note, I had always thought I preferred a wider and slightly brighter soundstage, but these are making me second guess what I prefer. But it's still the honeymoon period, so its too soon for me to say.
  • Since I received these from a trade, I assume that these have been burned in the recommended time.
  • EDM and Pop immediately stand out as genres that match the Aeon 2 Closed well, and I love how it portrays guitars.
  • It really requires a ton of power. I knew that going in, but once again that was a surprise, more on the negative side. I've yet to try it on my Shanling UP4 dap, but currently I'm using the A2C on my SMSL SP200 on high gain, at 11-2 o'clock, depending on the song. I use my Anandas on similar clock but on low gain.
And that wraps up my initial impressions! Ironically, I've always wanted to hear a HD600 to see if it lives up to its fame, and hearing the A2C makes me think that I'd also enjoy that too. But alas, I'd like to think that for now, my planar journey is done. :)
 
Oct 23, 2020 at 1:21 AM Post #628 of 6,351
Another amazing review for this amazing thread! I haven't tried the Stellias, since I have a rule where I won't allow myself to try something that I'm not willing to spend on currently, but I have tried the clears and I relate to your thoughts on the detail and dynamics to be amazing, to the point of sometimes having to brace yourself because the dynamics can come across as fatiguing and harsh in the highs. When I demo'd the clears, the song I noticed most in was Lindsey Stirling's Artemis. They were absolutely amazing headphones though! If I could handle that amount of dynamics and preferred dynamic drivers, then I would have gone with the clears, but I went with the Anandas since they had similar detail capabilities without the harsh highs and sometimes-too-strong dynamics, and they've been my main drivers since. :)


After reading Nostoi and Makubex's recent reviews, I'd love to see a shootout between the AWKT and Stellia for detail capabilities!


Yeah, the Sennheiser initial clamp is really something else. I find it unbearable. But I daresay once they're stretched out and the clamp is lessened, they are some of the comfiest headphones around!

On another note, this bad boy came in!
A2.jpegA3.jpegA4.jpegA5.jpeg

I ended up trading down from the AP2000ti's - While the mids and treble were amazing, I had a few issues that alltogether just added up and made me decide to search for trades. Mainly, the sub bass was somewhat lacking, the pads while comfy, did push into my jaw during long listening sessions (6 hours or longer), and lastly the physical aspects of the headphone - the finish was a large putoff for me since I did not want to have to wipe the headphones after every use, and the wire quality was lacking.

Moving onto the Aeon 2 Closed, initial impressions:

  • The design and build for these is very impressive! I've read plenty of praise about the comfort of Dan Clark's headphones, but to try it out in person was another story alltogether. Especially the folding mechanism, I had heard it was compact but this was the most surprising factor to me. Folded up and in the case, I think the A2C is the same size or slightly smaller than the LCD-1 in the case. And I much prefer the shape of the Aeon pads versus the 2000ti earpads, although the 2kti was one of the comfier closed backs I have tried.
  • Soundwise, the first thing that stood out to me was the bass. With the majority of my collection being neutral / neutral-bright, I immediately noticed the bass lift on the A2C, and on the first song or two I thought it was a tad much, but the longer I listen the more I'm enjoying it. Also I love planar bass. That was the last gripe I had with the 2kti, which isn't a knock against their tuning, just the fact that they're a dynamic driver, and after using these, the Tin P1 and the Hifiman Ananda, I can safely conclude that I prefer the sound of Planar Drivers. They just sound so effortless.
  • The next thing that stood out to me was the Midrange quality. The lower midrange versus anything else I had was more upfront, and as of now I quite like the different tonality it has from the Anandas. MakubexGB mentioned the HD600's earlier, and while I haven't heard the HD600, the listening to the Aeon 2 closed gives me the feeling that this is like the HD58x / HD6xx (I've heard the 58x but not the 6xx) series in terms of the intimacy and quality of the mids, but swapped over to a planar driver and with better bass and treble extension while still retaining the warmth. On a side note, I had always thought I preferred a wider and slightly brighter soundstage, but these are making me second guess what I prefer. But it's still the honeymoon period, so its too soon for me to say.
  • Since I received these from a trade, I assume that these have been burned in the recommended time.
  • EDM and Pop immediately stand out as genres that match the Aeon 2 Closed well, and I love how it portrays guitars.
  • It really requires a ton of power. I knew that going in, but once again that was a surprise, more on the negative side. I've yet to try it on my Shanling UP4 dap, but currently I'm using the A2C on my SMSL SP200 on high gain, at 11-2 o'clock, depending on the song. I use my Anandas on similar clock but on low gain.
And that wraps up my initial impressions! Ironically, I've always wanted to hear a HD600 to see if it lives up to its fame, and hearing the A2C makes me think that I'd also enjoy that too. But alas, I'd like to think that for now, my planar journey is done. :)
The AEON 2 Closed is a great headphone within its price range. It fits the usual requirements for closed-back headphones within its price range - resolution, detail, et al. What it also brings to the table, however, is a fun and warm character. They play well with a variety of genres; EDM sounds really good, though, as you've discovered. :)

Plus, for a "full-sized" can, they are insanely portable (and comfortable).
 
Oct 23, 2020 at 1:26 AM Post #629 of 6,351
By the way, I am glad to see that this thread is growing in terms of the number of impressions and reviews. Thanks to each and everyone who has contributed! Hopefully, this thread will serve as a definitive resource for all things closed-back.

Keep these impressions coming, guys! :)

I'll be creating an index on the first post to all of these impressions and reviews, for easier access.
 
Oct 23, 2020 at 2:51 AM Post #630 of 6,351
Wow, I didn't notice the typo either. :sweat_smile:

Yeah, I'm hoping that a change of pads on the Vérité Closed might yield some minor sonic changes. I'm happy with the bass levels, but I'm looking for a little more definition in the highs. Zach's reply doesn't leave me with much hope, though. In any case, I'll still try, and I'll report in again with my impressions.
I believe I read that @Monsterzero has experience with every ZMF can except for Eikons. Hopefully he can answer some questions.
 

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