ZMF Atrium - new open-back co-flagship
Jun 25, 2022 at 6:56 PM Post #1,352 of 3,172

jgwtriode

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Oh yeah! Fully concur with that assessment monster. Which tubes were you using. What differences compared to 5998's?

Happy listening, nice to know your system is out of jail....lol! One thing I might add to your comment's is bass resonance, texture and ability to recreate bass instrument size. And it does seem to extend the bass of the VC just a hint more than
I have previously heard.

jgwtriode
 
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Jun 25, 2022 at 7:30 PM Post #1,353 of 3,172

tinariwen

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There are many choices when it comes down to choosing an amp. After going through a journey I can say that I prefer SET amps compared to most other type amps. Few things you want to consider is that amps topology and build can make them sound so much different from each other.

For example: The Glenn OTL and Feliks Audio Euforia are both OTL designs but those two couldn’t sound further apart from each other.

Alright, to get to the point. Few suggestions.

SET amp: ZMF Pendant. This amp is great if you’re looking for a more solid state sound while still keeping most of the tube magic. Great attack, speed, linearity, bass, clarity. Tons of NOS ECC82 tubes out there and new production tubes. It’s hard to move up from here as you get diminishing returns.

300 SET Amps: Don’t worry about the tubes so much. JJ power tubes will run you around $175 per tube and depending on the driver around $100 to $200. Later if you want to play with the big boys you can buy a $1500+ pair of 300Bs.

If you want a cheaper alternative the Elekit TU-8600 is a great 300B amp BUT you have to build it and solder it together. Little elbow grease you can save yourself some good money ($2200). If you want the better transformers and upgraded internals then you’re looking to spend around $3K. Not including tubes. It works well with all high impendance headphones but needs some drastic mods for low impedance headphones.

I’ll let everyone else cover the OTLs as I’m out of touch on those.
Out of curiosity, how do the Euforia and Glenn differ?
 
Jun 25, 2022 at 7:35 PM Post #1,354 of 3,172

Monsterzero

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Fully concur with that assessment monster. Which tubes were you using. What differences compared to 5998's?
I had a pair of GEC 6AS7G in there, but when I swapped rectifiers on my DAC from a Brimar to a USAF 596 the combo was ultra reverb-y. Not bad at all, but I figured a less romantic sounding power tube in the Airmid would be in order, so I swapped in a pair of Western Electric 421a, and those did the trick.

The WE does sound quite similar to the 5998, but better. I understand now why theyre considered the Holy Grail of the 6AS7G family.
nice to know your system is out of jail....lol!
Oh, no, my gear is still in puppy prison and probably will be for another 6-12 months. I'm just snaking the headphone cable through the grid of the gate and listening that way.
 
Jun 26, 2022 at 1:57 AM Post #1,356 of 3,172

robo24

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Great review by DMS. He seems to prefer a slightly warm, neutral leaning sound with good clarity, so it makes sense he'd favor the BE2 Suede pads. Also interesting that he finds the Atrium more detailed than the Verite.
Really great to see this and glad the BE-2 suedes are getting love. I still find the VO more detailed, actually in the way he gave an example--that of hearing the details of mouth movement or breath over teeth, though with the BE-2 suedes I do think they sound a bit more detailed than other pads. In some vocals where the background music is either very quiet or there are only vocals, I can sometimes hear the lips moving on the VO or VC. The mids/vocals being more forward than the VO I can see thinking that the Atrium is more detailed though. I also agree with the sentiment that even if the Atrium isn't as hyper-detailed as some cans more than double the price, it isn't something I miss because it's just such an enjoyable listen.

After having them a few months now I still don't have a favorite pad. Every time I switch to a new pad I think, wow this sounds fantastic! I switched to the Auteur suedes after about a month with the Universe suedes, and I think what I love about them is the stage becomes so expansive and they seem more airy. The BE-2s bring a little more detail, more treble, and sometimes seem to have the most bass, though a less expansive stage. The Universe are somewhere in between the other two for me. They all come across as sounding just right somehow, and with all the other ZMFs I have pretty clear and unchanging pad preferences. The Atrium is really quite an achievement and the longer I have them the more I love them! More so than other headphones I have, I find it really takes some time to really "get" each model and understand what it's capable of. It bums me out when I see reactions of quick listens without pad swapping and one deciding they aren't for them because I think in most cases, with the right pads and time they'd feel differently. I'm happy to see Zach and Bevin getting so much praise for their latest creation.
 
Jun 26, 2022 at 7:22 AM Post #1,357 of 3,172

Wes S

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I love OTL amps with most high impedance headphones, including all ZMFs. I've been pretty fortunate having owned a legendary amp, the Glenn OTL and another amp that unfortunately less than ten people on the planet will ever own unless something changes, the Airmid, which I like so much that it made me sell my GOTL. Ive also owned the WA2 as well as the La Figaro 339, both of which are nice sounding amps.

While many amps can sound good with ZMF headphones, OTLs are the only amp type I've heard where a near religious experience can be had. The right music, the right pads and the right tube roll can bring the wow factor unlike anything else ive heard.

Last night I dropped a different rectifier into my DAC and a different pair of power tubes into The Glacier, plugged in the Atrium, set my "Headsets" playlist to shuffle and knew immediately that I had a winning tube combo. Fire on High came on and it simply rocked my world. Fantastic mids, incredible texture, goosebump raising staging, and deep, tight hard hitting bass.


Man, what I wouldn't give or do to own an Airmid! @L0rdGwyn and @zach915m a collab sure would be incredible fellas. :fingers_crossed::fingers_crossed:

Anyone know of any actually attainable OTL's that can get me close to what the Airmid can do? I am in the market for my next tube amp, and so far I am looking at both a SET (DNA Stratus V4) and OTL (Decware/ZMF collab). I am leaning toward OTL as I already have a great SET (Pendant SE), and I am also looking at Ultrasonic Studios (SET) and 1101 Audio Blue Halo (OTL). Any other suggestions fellas?

I have a feeling the Decware OTL might be what I am looking for or maybe a 1101 Blue Halo OTL as well, but I would love to hear if there is something else worth looking at that can hang with something like an Airmid.
 
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Jun 26, 2022 at 9:09 AM Post #1,358 of 3,172

vulup

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Really great to see this and glad the BE-2 suedes are getting love. I still find the VO more detailed, actually in the way he gave an example--that of hearing the details of mouth movement or breath over teeth, though with the BE-2 suedes I do think they sound a bit more detailed than other pads. In some vocals where the background music is either very quiet or there are only vocals, I can sometimes hear the lips moving on the VO or VC. The mids/vocals being more forward than the VO I can see thinking that the Atrium is more detailed though. I also agree with the sentiment that even if the Atrium isn't as hyper-detailed as some cans more than double the price, it isn't something I miss because it's just such an enjoyable listen.

After having them a few months now I still don't have a favorite pad. Every time I switch to a new pad I think, wow this sounds fantastic! I switched to the Auteur suedes after about a month with the Universe suedes, and I think what I love about them is the stage becomes so expansive and they seem more airy. The BE-2s bring a little more detail, more treble, and sometimes seem to have the most bass, though a less expansive stage. The Universe are somewhere in between the other two for me. They all come across as sounding just right somehow, and with all the other ZMFs I have pretty clear and unchanging pad preferences. The Atrium is really quite an achievement and the longer I have them the more I love them! More so than other headphones I have, I find it really takes some time to really "get" each model and understand what it's capable of. It bums me out when I see reactions of quick listens without pad swapping and one deciding they aren't for them because I think in most cases, with the right pads and time they'd feel differently. I'm happy to see Zach and Bevin getting so much praise for their latest creation.

I agree on some people not giving their ZMF headphones enough time, which I have been guilty of in the past, too. Many an Atrium appeared in the Classifieds too quickly, imo. I had to stop and tell myself not to give up on audio gear too quickly.

Whether it is brain burn-in or not, giving ZMF headphones time and figuring out the pad choice is important before making such a decision. The Atrium to me is also sensitive to downstream components. Switched cables/fuses(!), etc., and it changed. I guess that may in part be due to its Biocellulose driver hertiage and linear midrange tuning. Much like the Auteur, it reacts to componentry downstream. I am running the perforated lambskin Universe pads right now, but grabbed the BE2 perforated suede pads after watching his review since his preferences coincide with mine- will report on those once they arrive.

I think it is very detailed in the midrange, but more polite and nuanced about it than the VO or VO. As for amplifiers, I also want an OTL amp and will wait for the ZMF Decware variant.
 
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Jun 26, 2022 at 1:00 PM Post #1,360 of 3,172

G8torbyte

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Great review by DMS. He seems to prefer a slightly warm, neutral leaning sound with good clarity, so it makes sense he'd favor the BE2 Suede pads. Also interesting that he finds the Atrium more detailed than the Verite.


Yeah, it is rare to see DMS give such a glowing review and I tend to agree with many of his assessments. The holographic impressions with Atrium are the best I've experienced. Planars will give that extra accuracy and quickness but Atrium's dynamics are so sweet and smooth.
 
Jun 26, 2022 at 1:19 PM Post #1,361 of 3,172

SlothRock

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Ok folks - I’ve went ahead and purchased the Susvara. I love love love my Atrium, but the Susvara has been an itch I’ve been meaning to scratch for some time now and I’m excited to put it through its paces and see which one comes out ahead as the best pairing with my VC. I’ll let y’all know all the comparisons and which way I end up leaning after it’s all said and done. May take awhile tho as I wanna give both the Atrium and Susvara ample amounts of time before coming to any kind of final conclusion. And, who knows, maybe I just keep all 3 :wink:
 
Jun 26, 2022 at 1:48 PM Post #1,362 of 3,172

Sajid Amit

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Ok folks - I’ve went ahead and purchased the Susvara. I love love love my Atrium, but the Susvara has been an itch I’ve been meaning to scratch for some time now and I’m excited to put it through its paces and see which one comes out ahead as the best pairing with my VC. I’ll let y’all know all the comparisons and which way I end up leaning after it’s all said and done. May take awhile tho as I wanna give both the Atrium and Susvara ample amounts of time before coming to any kind of final conclusion. And, who knows, maybe I just keep all 3 :wink:
Look forward to impressions…
 
Jun 26, 2022 at 6:07 PM Post #1,364 of 3,172

Phantaminum

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Out of curiosity, how do the Euforia and Glenn differ?

The Glenn OTL has a more romantic sound compared to the Euforia. Instruments hold more weight, images aren't as sharp as other amps (fuzzy around the edges), mid bass hits harder, and has a big sound stage (side/side and front/back). Tubes really change the sound of the GOTL.

The Euforia has a more solid state like presentation. Sharper outline, faster, with more extension. The amp is clearer and you don't have background noise (if this bothers you) compared to the GOTL. It's all about synergy really. I wouldn't pair the HD650 with the GOTL but that headphone sounds amazing on the Euforia. I would definitely pair ZMF Auteurs with the GOTL but think it's ok with the Euforia.

On the other hand, I would pair the Verite Open, Auteurs, and HD650 with the ZMF Pendant any day of the week.
 
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Jun 26, 2022 at 6:29 PM Post #1,365 of 3,172

Monsterzero

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