THE COMPOSER OPEN BACK FLAGSHIP by AUSTRIAN AUDIO
Sep 30, 2023 at 5:10 PM Post #331 of 3,058
the investment and the engineering costs - that most probably went into the driver
Looking at the long illustrious career of AKG and Sennheiser in designing microphone capsules and headphone drivers that definitely applies.
Otherwise you can also call the ZMF an Audeze rip off.
I may be wrong...Audeze makes their own drivers, not sure ZMF does, they have them farmed out and made to a certain spec but that's quite different than designing them from scratch.
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 6:20 PM Post #332 of 3,058
I may be wrong...Audeze makes their own drivers, not sure ZMF does, they have them farmed out and made to a certain spec but that's quite different than designing them from scratch.
Farmed out is the right word. I happened to have looked inside the cups. It wasn't a nice view for sure for the money they ask. Not the driver, not the woodwork. But there are so many fans, so who am I to criticise...

So back to Composer.
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 6:49 PM Post #334 of 3,058
when it is impossible to say based on looks alone which headphones cost 450 euro and which 2500 euro
Isn't that like always impossible?
Look at the Abyss 1266TC, looks like a 300$ headphone aesthetically
Sure the Composer doesn't look like a Premium headphone either, has more vibes of a Raal CA-1A but not as extreme.

Some only concentrate on sound and ignore looks, fit & finish and others deliver more of a complete package

Edit:
Of the two pictures the composer looks much more Premium to my eyes, the headband alone seems like a much more sophisticated design
 
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Sep 30, 2023 at 7:07 PM Post #335 of 3,058
Isn't that like always impossible?
Look at the Abyss 1266TC, looks like a 300$ headphone aesthetically
Sure the Composer doesn't look like a Premium headphone either, has more vibes of a Raal CA-1A but not as extreme.

Some only concentrate on sound and ignore looks, fit & finish and others deliver more of a complete package
And the Diana(s)? With that horrible headband looks like a 30$ toy HP that you would buy for a toddler so that he can beat the hell out of it. It didn't even sit on my head properly, as my head is slightly larger - a problem I don't remember having with any other HPs, at least to that extreme. In the EU it costs 5600€ (which is about 5900$). What a joke!
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 7:22 PM Post #336 of 3,058
And the Diana(s)? With that horrible headband looks like a 30$ toy HP that you would buy for a toddler so that he can beat the hell out of it. It didn't even sit on my head properly, as my head is slightly larger - a problem I don't remember having with any other HPs, at least to that extreme. In the EU it costs 5600€ (which is about 5900$). What a joke!
That Diana was the biggest surprise dissappointment at Munich High End for me.
The Abyss stock cable was also disgusting. Stiff with cable memory, basically unusable.

The 1266TC did sound nice, can't knock it for that, but build, looks, comfort all are among the worst I've ever seen
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 7:39 PM Post #337 of 3,058
Nomax came around with the Austrian Audio Composer and the Score One today, so I am able to share a few impressions. The Composer feels very light, fits perfectly, has space for large ears (and those with unusually shaped ears). The clamping pressure ist just right.

The gear used was the SP3000 in the Black and Copper versions, the RME ADI-2/4 PRO SE and the Score One (with the RME as DAC).

The Composer is a neutrally tuned headphone, without roll-of in the high frequency range, but also without a sub bass drop-off. The latter distinguishes it from most other dynamic models. The Composer therefore has a great level of tonal perfection, true hi-fi. Not least because of this, it reflects the character of the rest of the audio chain. On the SP3000 Black and the RME it sounded a leaner than on the SP3000 Copper and the Score One.

Bass extends low, so the composer does not need to cheat with a boosted upper bass instead. Kick bass bounces nicely and it also delivers impact when needed. No audible distortion, clean with good structure, all types of bass are reproduced realistically. Nothing is unduly increased, but nothing is taken away either.

The mids are neutral, without a one-sided focus on the presence range or on the body of voices and instruments. With these headphones and especially in combination with the Score One, the timbre of instruments is perfectly reproduced. Hardly any flagship headphones can achieve this level of perfection, imo.

The treble range is well lit, without any roll-off and does not feel exaggerated to me either. In any case, the composer has more treble energy than DCA Stealth and Utopia 2022 (both of which have been tamed there a bit), but without any tendency to sound sibilant. The illumination in the treble range also reveals details and spatial information that remain hidden with many other headphones.

The Composer places voices quite close to the listener, so the overall experience is rather intimate. The stage appears medium-sized, both in width, depth and height. Its soundstage is much larger than the Utopia‘s, but more similar in size to the Stealth. The placement on this imaginary stage is precise, spatial effects appear very realistic.

Its transparency is good in general and particularly remarkable with the Score One, which reminds me of the best electrostats. What does the Score One do with the TTT button in terms of sound? The difference is not primarily tonal (yes, subjectively the composer seems to get a tiny bit more treble as a result), but rather the transients appear even faster and more seamless and details in the treble are drawn even more finely. The difference is not huge, but still audible.

Regarding the pairings: It is clear from the two SP3000s that the Composer is even noticeably easier to drive than the Utopia. Any DAP and probably even any smartphone should be sufficient for this. The RME brings out a few more details, which one would expect. Even more remarkable is the great synergy with the Score One. It provides a bit more substance, a pitch-black background against which even the finest ramifications in the music and in the spatial information (reverb) can be recognized. At the same time, the music feels so relaxed and natural that you can simply sink into the music. This is exactly the ideal that I am looking for and which is so difficult to find.

What I listened to with the composer (not exhaustive): Candy Dulfer, Parov Stelar, Paul van Dyk, Infected Mushroom, Eros Ramazzotti, Eric Clapton, Eva Cassidy, Buena Vista Social Club, Hans Zimmer, Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, Metallica. It quickly became clear that this headphone excels with every music genre. I spent the rest of the time mainly with the DALI CDs. The Misa Criolla with Mercedes Sosa I even made me cry for joy.

It is hard to describe perfection, which is why one should definitely try the Composer. What should be mentioned as a limitation? Its soundstage is only medium sized, but I cannot think of anything else.

Who should definitely give the Austrian Audio Composer a try? Actually everyone with a few bucks left, but from my point of view the target audience is especially mobile users on one hand, but also lovers of electrostatic heaphones such as Stax on the other hand. The latter audience should to try it in combination with the Score One, which even seems to add some kind of secret sauce.

Cheers,
Bernie

P.S. Big thanks to @Nomax for this really remarkable experience! :thumbsup:
P.P.S. Kudos to the Austrian Audio guys. Just wow!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'm interested to hear other thoughts as well. I'm very interested. However, I have to admit that I'm a bit skeptical anytime I hear any piece of gear referred to as "perfection". Maybe these are, and time will tell. :L3000:

Thanks again!

Leo
 
Sep 30, 2023 at 10:17 PM Post #338 of 3,058
Nomax came around with the Austrian Audio Composer and the Score One today, so I am able to share a few impressions. The Composer feels very light, fits perfectly, has space for large ears (and those with unusually shaped ears). The clamping pressure ist just right.

The gear used was the SP3000 in the Black and Copper versions, the RME ADI-2/4 PRO SE and the Score One (with the RME as DAC).

The Composer is a neutrally tuned headphone, without roll-of in the high frequency range, but also without a sub bass drop-off. The latter distinguishes it from most other dynamic models. The Composer therefore has a great level of tonal perfection, true hi-fi. Not least because of this, it reflects the character of the rest of the audio chain. On the SP3000 Black and the RME it sounded a leaner than on the SP3000 Copper and the Score One.

Bass extends low, so the composer does not need to cheat with a boosted upper bass instead. Kick bass bounces nicely and it also delivers impact when needed. No audible distortion, clean with good structure, all types of bass are reproduced realistically. Nothing is unduly increased, but nothing is taken away either.

The mids are neutral, without a one-sided focus on the presence range or on the body of voices and instruments. With these headphones and especially in combination with the Score One, the timbre of instruments is perfectly reproduced. Hardly any flagship headphones can achieve this level of perfection, imo.

The treble range is well lit, without any roll-off and does not feel exaggerated to me either. In any case, the composer has more treble energy than DCA Stealth and Utopia 2022 (both of which have been tamed there a bit), but without any tendency to sound sibilant. The illumination in the treble range also reveals details and spatial information that remain hidden with many other headphones.

The Composer places voices quite close to the listener, so the overall experience is rather intimate. The stage appears medium-sized, both in width, depth and height. Its soundstage is much larger than the Utopia‘s, but more similar in size to the Stealth. The placement on this imaginary stage is precise, spatial effects appear very realistic.

Its transparency is good in general and particularly remarkable with the Score One, which reminds me of the best electrostats. What does the Score One do with the TTT button in terms of sound? The difference is not primarily tonal (yes, subjectively the composer seems to get a tiny bit more treble as a result), but rather the transients appear even faster and more seamless and details in the treble are drawn even more finely. The difference is not huge, but still audible.

Regarding the pairings: It is clear from the two SP3000s that the Composer is even noticeably easier to drive than the Utopia. Any DAP and probably even any smartphone should be sufficient for this. The RME brings out a few more details, which one would expect. Even more remarkable is the great synergy with the Score One. It provides a bit more substance, a pitch-black background against which even the finest ramifications in the music and in the spatial information (reverb) can be recognized. At the same time, the music feels so relaxed and natural that you can simply sink into the music. This is exactly the ideal that I am looking for and which is so difficult to find.

What I listened to with the composer (not exhaustive): Candy Dulfer, Parov Stelar, Paul van Dyk, Infected Mushroom, Eros Ramazzotti, Eric Clapton, Eva Cassidy, Buena Vista Social Club, Hans Zimmer, Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, Metallica. It quickly became clear that this headphone excels with every music genre. I spent the rest of the time mainly with the DALI CDs. The Misa Criolla with Mercedes Sosa I even made me cry for joy.

It is hard to describe perfection, which is why one should definitely try the Composer. What should be mentioned as a limitation? Its soundstage is only medium sized, but I cannot think of anything else.

Who should definitely give the Austrian Audio Composer a try? Actually everyone with a few bucks left, but from my point of view the target audience is especially mobile users on one hand, but also lovers of electrostatic heaphones such as Stax on the other hand. The latter audience should to try it in combination with the Score One, which even seems to add some kind of secret sauce.

Cheers,
Bernie

P.S. Big thanks to @Nomax for this really remarkable experience! :thumbsup:
P.P.S. Kudos to the Austrian Audio guys. Just wow!


You're welcome
Wish you much joy with it when you get it and I'm pretty sure the composer will have a very long time with you a home 👍

NOMAX

PS.lol
 
Oct 1, 2023 at 1:02 AM Post #339 of 3,058
What does the Score One do with the TTT button in terms of sound? The difference is not primarily tonal (yes, subjectively the composer seems to get a tiny bit more treble as a result), but rather the transients appear even faster and more seamless and details in the treble are drawn even more finely. The difference is not huge, but still audible.

Seems interesting enough, maybe a Zobel network?
 
Oct 1, 2023 at 1:39 AM Post #340 of 3,058
Got to hear The Composer today and the hype is real!! They are definitely one of the best sounding open-back headphones I've yet heard.

I'm too tired right now to go into detail about them, so I'll have to save that for later but here are a couple pics of them with their pads removed. The magnetic pads snap on and off super easily and they are actually a hybrid design that also uses a breathable fabric on the inside that not only helps with the sonic presentation but it also helps with their long-term comfort as well. Great design!!

IMG_1021.jpeg
IMG_1022.jpeg
 
Oct 1, 2023 at 2:05 AM Post #341 of 3,058
Got to hear The Composer today and the hype is real!! They are definitely one of the best sounding open-back headphones I've yet heard.





Yes,you have to hear it yourself otherwise you won't believe it 👍

NOMAX

PS.and all of this for just 2500 euros or with the amp for 4000 Euros 😂👍
 
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Oct 1, 2023 at 2:59 AM Post #342 of 3,058
I hope they don't change the tuning based on the feedback from some "loud people" that only listen to metal and want castrated mids with a big low mids/mid bass bump. That would for sure kill it for me.

For now, it seems like I am getting one.
 
Oct 1, 2023 at 3:35 AM Post #343 of 3,058
I hope they don't change the tuning based on the feedback from some "loud people" that only listen to metal and want castrated mids with a big low mids/mid bass bump. That would for sure kill it for me.

For now, it seems like I am getting one.

Don't worry there will be no woom woom 😉
(Austrian Audio knows exactly what to look for)

The Composer has enough bass and energy in the low end....much more as Utopia/HD800S 👍

NOMAX

PS.Otherwise I would have sent him to hell long ago and kicked out him out of the window 😈
 
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Oct 1, 2023 at 3:44 AM Post #344 of 3,058
Thanks.

Will have a look at definitely.

Maybe I'll go on a "quick" road trip to Vienna next year.
It's not that far away from western Bavaria. :)

And honestly, Vienna is always worth a weekend trip. :thumbsup:
 
Oct 1, 2023 at 4:59 AM Post #345 of 3,058
Nomax came around with the Austrian Audio Composer and the Score One today, so I am able to share a few impressions. The Composer feels very light, fits perfectly, has space for large ears (and those with unusually shaped ears). The clamping pressure ist just right.

The gear used was the SP3000 in the Black and Copper versions, the RME ADI-2/4 PRO SE and the Score One (with the RME as DAC).

The Composer is a neutrally tuned headphone, without roll-of in the high frequency range, but also without a sub bass drop-off. The latter distinguishes it from most other dynamic models. The Composer therefore has a great level of tonal perfection, true hi-fi. Not least because of this, it reflects the character of the rest of the audio chain. On the SP3000 Black and the RME it sounded a leaner than on the SP3000 Copper and the Score One.

Bass extends low, so the composer does not need to cheat with a boosted upper bass instead. Kick bass bounces nicely and it also delivers impact when needed. No audible distortion, clean with good structure, all types of bass are reproduced realistically. Nothing is unduly increased, but nothing is taken away either.

The mids are neutral, without a one-sided focus on the presence range or on the body of voices and instruments. With these headphones and especially in combination with the Score One, the timbre of instruments is perfectly reproduced. Hardly any flagship headphones can achieve this level of perfection, imo.

The treble range is well lit, without any roll-off and does not feel exaggerated to me either. In any case, the composer has more treble energy than DCA Stealth and Utopia 2022 (both of which have been tamed there a bit), but without any tendency to sound sibilant. The illumination in the treble range also reveals details and spatial information that remain hidden with many other headphones.

The Composer places voices quite close to the listener, so the overall experience is rather intimate. The stage appears medium-sized, both in width, depth and height. Its soundstage is much larger than the Utopia‘s, but more similar in size to the Stealth. The placement on this imaginary stage is precise, spatial effects appear very realistic.

Its transparency is good in general and particularly remarkable with the Score One, which reminds me of the best electrostats. What does the Score One do with the TTT button in terms of sound? The difference is not primarily tonal (yes, subjectively the composer seems to get a tiny bit more treble as a result), but rather the transients appear even faster and more seamless and details in the treble are drawn even more finely. The difference is not huge, but still audible.

Regarding the pairings: It is clear from the two SP3000s that the Composer is even noticeably easier to drive than the Utopia. Any DAP and probably even any smartphone should be sufficient for this. The RME brings out a few more details, which one would expect. Even more remarkable is the great synergy with the Score One. It provides a bit more substance, a pitch-black background against which even the finest ramifications in the music and in the spatial information (reverb) can be recognized. At the same time, the music feels so relaxed and natural that you can simply sink into the music. This is exactly the ideal that I am looking for and which is so difficult to find.

What I listened to with the composer (not exhaustive): Candy Dulfer, Parov Stelar, Paul van Dyk, Infected Mushroom, Eros Ramazzotti, Eric Clapton, Eva Cassidy, Buena Vista Social Club, Hans Zimmer, Nik Bärtsch's Ronin, Metallica. It quickly became clear that this headphone excels with every music genre. I spent the rest of the time mainly with the DALI CDs. The Misa Criolla with Mercedes Sosa I even made me cry for joy.

It is hard to describe perfection, which is why one should definitely try the Composer. What should be mentioned as a limitation? Its soundstage is only medium sized, but I cannot think of anything else.

Who should definitely give the Austrian Audio Composer a try? Actually everyone with a few bucks left, but from my point of view the target audience is especially mobile users on one hand, but also lovers of electrostatic heaphones such as Stax on the other hand. The latter audience should to try it in combination with the Score One, which even seems to add some kind of secret sauce.

Cheers,
Bernie

P.S. Big thanks to @Nomax for this really remarkable experience! :thumbsup:
P.P.S. Kudos to the Austrian Audio guys. Just wow!
Very good writeup, to the point. Reflects my experience very well.

Yes, obviously it’s or the final headphone that pleases everyone — but besides being impossible this would make our hobby much less engaging.

To me the Composer strikes a very fine balance between detailed presentation and musical enjoyment — you get cheated out of neither, but are also not bound to either.
 

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