ZMF Aeolus Impressions thread
Jun 4, 2022 at 4:08 AM Post #5,686 of 6,028

robo24

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I've had open and closed versions of each. Aeolus was the only one I sold only because I found it so similar to the Atticus which I fell in love with first. If I'd bought the Aeolus first I probably would have sold the Atticus--I enjoyed them pretty equally, but the Atticus is a little more fun. The Aelous began to feel like a lesser Verite Open. which I also had then and figured just listen to the Verite if I'm making the Aeolus sound more like it. I did Ori suede on the Atticus and Universe or BE-2 suede on Aeolus, so maybe that's why I find them more similar than some others do. I've been intrigued lately by the Aeolus again, because our tastes are always evolving and I wonder what I might think of it now, especially all my other gear being significantly upgraded since I sold them, so I'll be ordering one again.

I've spent the most time with the VO/VC as far as open/closed models with the same driver and while initially found them very similar, I don't anywhere near as much now and find them definitely different enough to keep both. I think a good case can be made for owning only the 2 Verites because many times when I listen to them, I ask myself why do I even listen to anything else, and have grown to enjoy the VO more than the VC while it was the opposite for the first year I owned both? Even though I have 2 new very impressive headphones with the Atrium and Stax SR-009. They're getting all my head time now but I'll probably ultimately go back to the Verites most, at least until the Atrium closed happens. For my preferences I don't find them lacking in any way.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 12:26 PM Post #5,687 of 6,028

jinxy245

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But does the Aeolus do something that the Atticus might not, or vice versa?

I did Ori suede on the Atticus and Universe or BE-2 suede on Aeolus, so maybe that's why I find them more similar than some others do.
I think this is an excellent point from @robo24 with pad rolling you can change the tuning to an extent to maximize differences . it won't make them sound like totally different headphones, but it might be enough to justify keeping both.

As if we really need to justify these things in this crazy hobby of ours.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 1:00 PM Post #5,688 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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• First: never too many! Second: I do own Aeolus and Atticus (and a few other ZMFs, see ‘signature’) for their similarities and their individualities. It seems unrealistic to expect day/night differences between the two. I think of the ZMF ‘oeuvre’ as a continuum across the headphones.
• To me, Aeolus sound and Atticus sound are quite alike yet the former has a little more ‘air’, ‘space between instruments & voices’. Liken that to portrait photographs where the light angle is a bit different 🤷🏻‍♂️. If you can own both, own both. Each is rewarding in its own way.
Bingo! I also own both and your description nails the similarities and difference perfectly.

Kaakow the others here having giving great advice on the sound of the Atticus and Aeolus. I want to add that if you want the Aeolus to sound the most similar to the Atticus then you need to try them with the original Aeolus pads. Unfortunately ZMF no longer makes the Aeolus pads but you can find them occasionally in the for sale section here.

The Universe pads drive the sound a little more to the neutral side (especially the Universe Suede). The BE2 Lambskin pads are the closest current production pad in sound to the original Aeolus pads to my ears.
 
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Jun 4, 2022 at 1:18 PM Post #5,689 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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I own both and they’re pretty different. The Atticus is very bass focused, and while the bass on the Aeolus is fantastic (even more punchy imo), it’s much more balanced in quantity. With the suede universe pads the Aeolus is actually pretty darn neutral for a Zmf. It (maybe obviously) sounds much more open and airy than the Atticus. What the Aeolus and the Atticus share is that ZMF midrange magic. The Aeolus retains the sweetness and bite of the Atticus mids with a bit more clarity and presence. This also winds up giving it more staging and better imaging. The Aeolus is better than the Atticus in every way imo except it might be a bit less easy to listen to, but only a tiny bit. I think it’s worth having both just to have the option to go closed back, but if I had to choose one and didn’t care about open v closed, I’d choose the Aeolus. It’s the most purely magical sounding headphone I’ve heard (though I haven’t heard the atrium). It just does everything so well and scales great with better amps (but is not picky like the Atticus can be).
Outstanding description!
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 1:22 PM Post #5,690 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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I own both Aeolus and Atticus in hard woods.
To me they sound quite the same. Both are nuanced in their build differences. Atticus has the bigger bass and Aeolus sounds more neutral and open. The Aeolus is also pretty costumizable with different pad choices from fairly neutral to very warm. Atticus is more on the warm side with every pad choice.

To get more difference you could get an Aeolus in softer wood to accentuate the open nature with the wood decay and the Atticus in hard wood to make it even more punchy.

You don't miss when not owning both as their differences are nuances and the house sound of the driver is pretty much the same.

Owning both doesnt hurt either. For the price point these headphones are amazing to enjoy your music especially if you enjoy tubes. I absolutely love both for my rock & metal music. If I could only keep one ZMF, it would be the Aeolus because it was my first.
PXL_20220522_085909947.jpgPXL_20220526_174554100.jpg
Pics or didn't happen.
Another great description!
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 1:34 PM Post #5,691 of 6,028

gonintendo

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Bingo! I also own both and your description nails the similarities and difference perfectly.

Kaakow the others here having giving great advice on the sound of the Atticus and Aeolus. I want to add that if you want the Aeolus to sound the most similar to the Atticus then you need to try them with the original Aeolus pads. Unfortunately ZMF no longer makes the Aeolus pads but you can find them occasionally in the for sale section here.

The Universe pads drive the sound a little more to the neutral side (especially the Universe Suede). The BE2 Lambskin pads are the closest current production pad in sound to the original Aeolus pads to my ears.
That’s a great point, I think the new mesh filter might also have had somewhat of an impact on the sound even though it wasn’t supposed to (if you got them and wanted to tame the upper mids a bit you could try swapping to the unvented filter). But yeah if you read the pad descriptions on the ZMF site, the original Aeolus pads are described as being closer to the Atticus sound.
From the site:
Aeolus Pads: Punchy, warm, weighty. Not commercially available, on ZMFheadphones.com - the Aeolus pad comes only on the aeolus. It is the same design as the universe pad, made with a tighter stitched chrome based leather, and stiffer foam. This pad gives the aeolus the most warm "atticus" like sound, with punchy mid bass and smooth treble.

Universe Pads: Mellow warmth with punch and moderate treble. The same pad as used as one of the stock pads on the Verite, the Universe pads are a very even keeled sound, with a hint of warmth. Zach's co-favorite on the Aeolus with the Universe suede.
I think I remember reading somewhere that they switched to the universe pads because they found people wanted it to sound more like an open back headphone.
 
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Jun 4, 2022 at 1:39 PM Post #5,692 of 6,028

Odin412

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I have the Atticus and absolutely love it. I use the stock Ori pads and man those things make drums and percussion and rhythm sections really rock. I grew up playing drums and that's one of the reasons I love the Atticus so much. I know the Aelous shares the same driver as the Atticus, but is there anybody here who has owned or tried both and might be able to weigh in? Are the two pretty darn close in overall sound? Or is there some characteristic that one has and the other doesn't that might justify owning two?
If I didn't love the Atticus so much I wouldn't even be considering it. I tried the Eikon and it wasn't really for me, thought the Atticus was a way better option for me and the music I listen to.
I have both and I love them both. They are different enough that it's worthwhile to own both.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 2:01 PM Post #5,693 of 6,028

jonathan c

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I think this is an excellent point from @robo24 with pad rolling you can change the tuning to an extent to maximize differences . it won't make them sound like totally different headphones, but it might be enough to justify keeping both.

As if we really need to justify these things in this crazy hobby of ours.
…only to the Bosse …..😏😉😘
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 2:22 PM Post #5,694 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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That’s a great point, I think the new mesh filter might also have had somewhat of an impact on the sound even though it wasn’t supposed to (if you got them and wanted to tame the upper mids a bit you could try swapping to the unvented filter). But yeah if you read the pad descriptions on the ZMF site, the original Aeolus pads are described as being closer to the Atticus sound.
From the site:

I think I remember reading somewhere that they switched to the universe pads because they found people wanted it to sound more like an open back headphone.
I remember reading that as well about the Aeolus pads. I think Zach himself said that.

Personally I like the original Aeolus pads the best. To me they give it a sound like the Atticus but more open. When I want a more neutral sound I go for the Autuer. I thought about getting a second Aeolus and running the Universe Suede pads on that but that would be ridiculous from a financial standpoint since I'm currently saving for the Atrium.

I replaced the original non-vented mesh with the radial vented acoustic mesh on my Aeolus. I know many say it makes no difference but to my ears it definitely opened up the highs. In fact when using the vented mesh with the Universe Suede pads the highs were a little too bright for my tastes. With the Aeolus pads the vented mesh adds a little extra sparkle in the highs that is quite nice to my ears and further differentiates it from the Atticus.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 3:13 PM Post #5,695 of 6,028

gonintendo

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More practically, one weakness of the Atticus IMO is female vocals. They can lack a bit of brilliance and presence for some singers. The Aeolus on the suede pads do female vocals masterfully on the other hand.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 3:16 PM Post #5,696 of 6,028

gonintendo

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I remember reading that as well about the Aeolus pads. I think Zach himself said that.

Personally I like the original Aeolus pads the best. To me they give it a sound like the Atticus but more open. When I want a more neutral sound I go for the Autuer. I thought about getting a second Aeolus and running the Universe Suede pads on that but that would be ridiculous from a financial standpoint since I'm currently saving for the Atrium.

I replaced the original non-vented mesh with the radial vented acoustic mesh on my Aeolus. I know many say it makes no difference but to my ears it definitely opened up the highs. In fact when using the vented mesh with the Universe Suede pads the highs were a little too bright for my tastes. With the Aeolus pads the vented mesh adds a little extra sparkle in the highs that is quite nice to my ears and further differentiates it from the Atticus.
Yep I think the Aeolus as it’s currently sold is no longer a warm headphone. Especially with the suede pads it has a slight edge to it. To me it’s not too much and it makes it very engaging, but it’s more forward in the upper mids than my other ZMFs. Im curious about trying that solid mesh now haha.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 3:48 PM Post #5,697 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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Yep I think the Aeolus as it’s currently sold is no longer a warm headphone. Especially with the suede pads it has a slight edge to it. To me it’s not too much and it makes it very engaging, but it’s more forward in the upper mids than my other ZMFs. Im curious about trying that solid mesh now haha.
For the price of the mesh its definitely worth a try. It gives you yet another tuning tool like pad, cable, or tube rolling. Options are good.........and sometimes maddening. Lol!
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 4:14 PM Post #5,698 of 6,028

jonathan c

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For the price of the mesh its definitely worth a try. It gives you yet another tuning tool like pad, cable, or tube rolling. Options are good.........and sometimes maddening. Lol!
….after mesh, the final frontier? - - -> Ears R Us?….🤔🤪
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 4:24 PM Post #5,699 of 6,028

SolaVirtus

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Regarding Aeolus pads - I recently acquired an Aeolus secondhand and it didn't come with the Aeolus stock pads, which I wanted to try. I had read somewhere (on ZMF's site I think) that they would you sell you some if you had an Aeolus set. I emailed them asking, and they did indeed sell me new pair. Price was on par with the other new pads, so it's worth inquiring with ZMF if you have an Aeolus and want them.

I also happen to have an Atticus and am leery giving my impressions, but I'll definitely say they sound similar, but the not the same. Aeolus with the Aeolus pads definitely are warmer and the closer to the Atticus signature than Aeolus with Be2 or Universe pads. To my ears at least.
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 4:51 PM Post #5,700 of 6,028

Dawgfish

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