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ZMF Aeolus Impressions thread

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by smodtactical, Oct 5, 2018.
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  1. Blase
    Yo @Monsterzero is the Auteur usually always airier? If so is the Aelous less dry with your Glenn OTL? I'm kind of caught in the middle as I love airy mids. I'd prefer the elevated mids of the Aelous but if the Auteur's are always more wet I may go that route instead. I'm also curious what a silkwood Aelous would sound like, seeing how much reverb it adds to the Auteur. Thanks!
  2. Monsterzero
    Keep in mind I've only had both pair for around two weeks,but I wouldnt describe the Auteur as "dry". More neutral,yes.
    I think that there is more air on Auteur,and on many songs they pop more(in a good way,not a defect) in the mids and lower highs.

    Perhaps you and others are hearing dryness,but to my ears I dont hear it like,for example,my ATH AD2000s to me,are dry.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018
  3. Blase
    I think something may have gotten lost in translation here. I'm aware of how wet the Auteur sounds, specifically the Teak wood that I heard at Axpona. In your comparisons you usually mention how the Auteur has more air relative to the Aelous. I didn't mean to imply that the Auteur was dry in any way. I know it isn't. But again I'm curious even if the Aelous isn't "dry" per se if the Auteur always had a more wet reverb presentation.
  4. Monsterzero
    Got it.

    If you go back and read my comparisons between the two,and then again on my GOTL vs. GLM2 I noticed more "reverby goodness" from the GOTL vs. the Gilmore. I think its an amp thing more than a headphone thing.

    Both headphones do mids extremely well. I felt that the air on the Auteur allowed me to hear a more distinct presentation on keyboards and guitars.

    On the track "Slipstream" if you listen to it,theres a female doing some fantastic chanting/singing thing. On the Aeolus it was kinda just there. On the Auteur it had more life and stood out to me more,and for me that was what I preferred. But then on Chris Cornell I preferred the texture and timbre of his voice on the Aeolus,but both headphones sounded great.

    IMO these are details that arent going to lessen your listening experience unless you have both pair side by side,thats when the differences are clearer.

    The biggest takeaway is the Aeolus is more fun sounding with better slam. The Auteur is more neutral sounding. Those to me are the biggest differences. I would be more than thrilled to own either/or both,but im buying the Verite and the Auteur has more differences vs. Verite than the Aeolus does. Make sense?
  5. Blase
    Yeah it makes sense that the tubes would lend more air. I've got an OTL in mind to pair with either the Aelous or Auteur for that specific reason (only have a CTH on hand for now), am a big fan of reverb when done right. I guess my decision now is whether the air or the slam is worth it between the two because a lot of music that I plan to play through either will be & mostly sound like Erykah Badu's "Didn't Cha Know" which both the air on the opening vocals at :25 along with the slamming mid-bass from the drums (not the bongo-esque percussion in the background) are important. That's why I said earlier I was curious about a silkwood Aelous. Seems to me like it'd be the best of both worlds. This sort of answers my question though & I'll test both back to back to see which I prefer next Sunday. Thanks.
  6. Monsterzero
    Yeah,I mean if youre going to the ZMF thing in Chicago,or have a chance to demo them side by side thats what I'd recommend first and foremost.

    FWIW on my Glenn w/ a six pack 6BX7s I got the Auteur to slam like a beast. I highly recommend at least checking into a GOTL before deciding on an amp. Its silly how good it makes headphones sound.
  7. Monsterzero
    My review of the Aeolus is up

    JTon, Impulse, Malfunkt and 7 others like this.
  8. Zachik
    Nice review!
    Thanks for taking the time to record it.
    Monsterzero likes this.
  9. jinxy245
    Terrific review, thanks!

    Just a note I found (read:Googled) this video...I don't know what Zach says/thinks (he can pronounce it as he wishes, they're his babies) but apparently the "A" is silent...

    zach915m, SLC1966 and Monsterzero like this.
  10. Monsterzero
    Yeah one viewer on my channel had an entirely different pronunciation from me and what you just posted as well.
    I asked Zach and his way is similar sounding to "areola" lol...IDK.
    jinxy245 likes this.
  11. Bern2
    I'm not an English major by any stretch.....nice review btw!

    [ee-uh-luh s]
    noun Classical Mythology.
    1. the ruler of the winds.
    2. the eponymous founder of the Aeolian nation.
    Pharmaboy, jinxy245 and Monsterzero like this.
  12. Blase
    I say it with the A too, but funny enough say EE-on for the Aeon flow. Doesn't seem to be a right or wrong way to say it.
    Bern2 likes this.
  13. Pharmaboy
    sadly, there's a right or wrong way to say (and do) everything
    GarageBoy and jinxy245 like this.
  14. ProfFalkin
    My OCD saw your comment and heartily disagrees. Hehe
    jinxy245 likes this.
  15. chowmein83
    ZMF Aeolus Impressions Part 1 – General

    I was fortunate enough to somehow convince Zach into letting me check out the Verité and Aeolus. So even though much has been said about the two headphones already, here are my impressions on the Aeolus specifically. You can see my impressions on the Verité here.

    General Background
    A little background on me, since I’ve been more of a lurker than an active poster on this forum. I prefer a mostly neutral signature, with a slight warmth. I also highly value soundstage size and imaging/layering. The ZMF Auteur teak is what I mostly listen to now – hopefully that gives you a better idea of what I like. Other headphones that I own or have owned can be found in my profile page.

    I don’t have the best setup for driving the Aeolus, but the following is what I used for my impressions:

    DAC: NuForce UDH-100 (pretty unknown, basically it’s a USB-only version of the DAC-80, which uses an AKM AK4390 chip)

    Amp: Cavalli Liquid Carbon v1, Massdrop CTH

    Overall Sound Signature
    The Aeolus has a sound signature that I would call definitely fun, but also relatively well-balanced. While the Aeolus definitely has a lot of bass, with a definite mid-bass emphasis, the mids never get lost in the mix. And there’s a surprisingly present treble – it’s not grating on the ears, but there was definitely much more treble than I was expecting based on what I remember the Atticus sounding like. So overall, it’s still a warmer-sounding headphone, but I don’t think many are going to complain about a lack of treble, especially with the Verité pads.

    A simple text chart, ranking the 3 ZMF open headphones from darkest to brightest in my opinion, would be this:

    Verité with Universe pads < Verité with Verité pads < Aeolus with Universe pads < Aeolus with Verité pads < Auteur with Eikon pads < Auteur with Auteur pads

    I’ll go into more detail for my rankings in the comparisons section next post.

    Pad Comparison – Universe vs. Verité
    Both sets of pads work really well on the Aeolus, for me. You can’t go wrong with either of them. But for more specifics:

    Universe pads: Go for these if you want more bass and a bit less mids. These have a slightly deeper soundstage than with the Verité pads. Also, these are somewhat more comfortable for me due to them being physically thicker.

    Verité pads: Go for these for a more neutral sound signature. Kind of like an Auteur but with somewhat more bass than the Auteur with the Eikon pads. These also make for a slightly wider soundstage than with the Universe pads. Also, when compared to the Universe pads, the “images” of the instruments in the music are smaller, and thus result in less congestion.

    Noteworthy aspects of the Aeolus
    Smooth, easy to listen to - even with Verité pads, I felt the Aeolus' notes sounded smoother than the Auteur (though not necessarily more detailed). And again, there’s that bass boost but with just enough treble that makes for a sound signature that I think many will be able to listen to for hours without fatigue.

    Well-done bass boost - no matter which pads, there's a noticeable bass presence but it's always well-controlled, never creeping into the mids. And the bass is of very good quality, never really sloppy (well, maybe except when compared to the Verité).

    Dynamics - not as great as the Verité, but still pretty dang good.

    Scaling - definitely can scale. It sounded much better on the CTH than on the built-in headphone amp of my UDH-100 with better dynamics, less mushy bass, etc. Also clearly illustrated the tonality differences between CTH and LC (more neutral for the former, warmer for the latter).

    Really comfortable - for me, even more so than Verité for some reason, especially when using the Aeolus with Verité pads. I’m not really sure why…

    Overall, the Aeolus is a pretty good headphone that doesn’t try to be really neutral, although it gets closer than you would think with the Verité pads. I really, really liked the Aeolus, even though I usually don’t go for the more colored headphones – and that’s saying something.

    Part 2 of my Aeolus impressions continues below, where I do multiple comparisons.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
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