ZMF Caldera - New Planar Magnetic from ZMF!
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:07 PM Post #5,836 of 6,632
Otherworldly is a great way to put it, honestly.

Can't even imagine what's next.
To my ears they're the most balanced headphone I've owned. Only other experience that I've had come close is my full day private session with the HE-1.

I've owned quite a few of the ZMF lineup and both the Caldera and AC are by far my favorites.

I don't know how Zach continues to do this at such an impossible level. Closed backs are super hard to tune and his are the best by a HUGE margin. And to go from dynamics to planars is a tough proposition under the best of conditions but to come up with Caldera on his first release is unbelievable, especially with such a small team.

Otherworldly talent is the only reasonable explanation I can come up with.
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:15 PM Post #5,837 of 6,632
Jokes aside, part of the fun is researching and looking for the next purchase regardless of cost. It's exciting and fun, and our brains develop with time and our likes change. Who cares if one runs in circles?
Quite a few years ago when I was relatively new to more expensive headphones, I used to enjoy the LCD-X for its bass. Caldera simply plays in a much higher league. More natural, more lifelike, more spacious, quicker, more controlled, more 'alive'. While I still think, the LCD-X is one of the better options around 1K these days, after the Caldera (or after other TOTLs like Meze Elite or Final D8K) the 'studio Audeze' sounds a bit flat and the timbre plasticky. Bass still holds up nicely even against twice as expensive headphones (thanks to those 104mm transducers), but in comparison to something like the Caldera, the rest is just not there (mids, treble, space, timbre) when it comes to recreating a realistic musical experience. This is not necessarily a negative for the LCD-X, more like a positive for the Caldera. To different extent most headphones around the price range of the LCD-X suffer these issues like a less lifelike timbre (at least compared to TOTLs). I think, there is a good chance you would like the Caldera. IMO it is better than the LCD-X in pretty much everything, even bass handling is next (top) level.
Wow, man, thanks for such a clear and detailed explanation. It really painted a comprehensible picture.😃
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:32 PM Post #5,838 of 6,632
I don't know how Zach continues to do this at such an impossible level.
I think, it is an established notion on the forums by now that Zach is using alien technology or he has got some extraterrestrial friend advisors. :) Nothing else can fully explain how art, craftsmanship and technologies can meet at such a high level. :)
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 12:40 PM Post #5,839 of 6,632
I think, it is an established notion on the forums by now that Zach is using alien technology or he has got some extraterrestrial friend advisors. :) Nothing else can fully explain how art, craftsmanship and technologies can meet at such a high level. :)
Drugs worked for the Beatles, so...

:beerchug:
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 1:37 PM Post #5,841 of 6,632
Drugs worked for the Beatles, so...

:beerchug:
Well, psychedelics can certainly open up new dimensions, but I am not sure how much inspiration Zach is getting from those realms. Perhaps the aliens are in fact DMT goblins? :)
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 2:53 PM Post #5,842 of 6,632
Dec 6, 2023 at 5:55 PM Post #5,843 of 6,632
Well, psychedelics can certainly open up new dimensions, but I am not sure how much inspiration Zach is getting from those realms. Perhaps the aliens are in fact DMT goblins? :)
Isn't DMT one of New York City's subway lines?
 
Dec 6, 2023 at 6:17 PM Post #5,844 of 6,632
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Dec 6, 2023 at 6:30 PM Post #5,845 of 6,632
That shape is playing tricks on mind mind. Thought it was just the wood grain but it’s like a pyramid sticking out. So Zach, make sure you get that Harman tuning nailed down 😄, you wouldn’t want to disappoint graph worshipers.
this is what I posted in reply to this original posting:

Ok, I knew I’ve seen this shape before.

Now that you’ve seen it, you won’t be able to unsee it… 😁

1701701397712.jpeg
 
Dec 7, 2023 at 3:34 AM Post #5,847 of 6,632
I just watched the headphones tier list video. DMS mentioned the Dekoni LCD Suede pads took the Caldera to another tier by taming the treble spikes.
I am sensitive to the treble/glare and I do feel it some times from the Caldera.
The thick pads tame some of the treble. I really like the thick pad but... I am curious. Has anyone tried the Dekoni pads?
 
Dec 7, 2023 at 4:15 AM Post #5,848 of 6,632
I just watched the headphones tier list video. DMS mentioned the Dekoni LCD Suede pads took the Caldera to another tier by taming the treble spikes.
I am sensitive to the treble/glare and I do feel it some times from the Caldera.
The thick pads tame some of the treble. I really like the thick pad but... I am curious. Has anyone tried the Dekoni pads?
I am curious why DMS mentions Dekoni Pads. Is he unaware that Zach developed Titan Mesh or do Dekoni Pads do something different?
 
Dec 7, 2023 at 10:13 AM Post #5,849 of 6,632
Dec 7, 2023 at 11:38 AM Post #5,850 of 6,632
Coming to a few more conclusions today. Caldera won't be replacing my LCDX 2021 for Hip-Hop. But for every other genre and especially my HeadFi playlist the Caldera are mind blowing. I'm not saying I'd want to get rid of any of my current roster but I could see Caldera being my one and only headphone in a gun to head type of situation.

If I had any other ZMF's the Caldera could replace all of them and I could see someone whittling down their ZMF collection to only have Caldera in their collection. To my ears its the most balanced I've heard with Zach's signature house sound and I would personally never go back to any of the lower tiered lineup in ZMF's stable.

The AC is quite different and I'm super happy that I have it for when I require isolation but I'd be super excited to see what Zach does with a Caldera Closed.

After six years of searching and endless upgraditis I can finally say i'm super happy with my collection and won't be looking at anything else for a while.
 
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