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ZMF Ori (Omni) - Upcoming Semi Open Flagship

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by levaix, May 28, 2015.
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  1. Pharmaboy
    8W/channel ultranlinear; 4W/channel in triode? Damn--that's a tube arc welder! What does it sound like? You know, w/90 ohm output impedance, that qualifies as a high impedance tube amp, even though it has transformers.

    Tube amps & SS amps sound pretty different, even when volume levels are matched. It's just a totally different sonic landscape. Impedance is one of the factors, but IMO not the main one.
  2. znev777
    It can also power speakers... maybe the headphone component might have been more of an afterthought? Didn't know much at the time besides what basic specs like watts meant, and I happened to see it on craigslist, so I nabbed it knowing it probably wouldn't have a problem properly powering the ori's I planned to buy. I already had a pair of 6xx's too, infamous for loving the tubes.

    It's hard to describe the sound, with the ori's it certainly has a heavy, imposing, euphoric sound. Like a movie theater or a cathedral? It must be a soundstage thing or something, I notice that I often find myself imagining what venue the song was recorded in, or what the musicians meant to make it sound like for more digital stuff. The low end is emphasized, and together with the nice tonality and natural wood decay of the ori's I'd say this is the most "natural" sounding setup I've had short of sticking my head out a window. It makes me appreciate the versatility of the ori's even more, they aren't really missing anything I can think of. Good jack-of-all-trades master of none for sure. A clear upgrade over my old jds element and 6xx, both on power and color. Tubes are a real pain in the ass though! Maybe not endgame, but it's certainly making it hard to justify buying anything else at the moment... except maybe an aeon flow closed... and a nice ss amp.
    Pharmaboy likes this.
  3. Pharmaboy
    "I'd say this is the most "natural" sounding setup I've had short of sticking my head out a window."


    That sounds like an entertaining amp. I like components that make me feel something & hear something.
    Wes S and znev777 like this.
  4. znev777
    Right now I'm feeling that sub-bass, the man of steel soundtrack is some powerful stuff! The percussion is perfect :ksc75smile:
    Wes S likes this.
  5. Wes S
    The Ori sub bass, commands attention, and blows my mind, every time I put them on.
    whirlwind likes this.
  6. Benno1988
    For those with the Ori. What kind of level are they at? Are they like HD650/DT1990 quality. Are they better than that? Trying to gauge where they sit for the price.
  7. whirlwind
    The Ori's sub-bass is quite addicting.

    Better, IMHO....I have never heard the DT1990, but i have owned the HD650 on different occasions.
    Wes S likes this.
  8. Wes S
    They blow both of those out of the water, when properly driven. They are up there, and come close, but are not quite as good as my Aeolus. For the money, they are one of the best values, period. I have mine paired up with a Gumby and Liquid Platinum, running balanced, and they are everything I have ever wanted a headphone to be. They sound really good, out of the Lyr 3, but they come alive, with the Liquid Platinum. With the Liquid Platinum/Gumby all balanced, the sound jumps outside the cups, and sounds dance all around your head, and you can feel it all, with lifelike tone, as if you are standing there with the musicians. It is an experience, I wish all could hear.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    Pharmaboy likes this.
  9. Pharmaboy
    Yes, they're better. But it's more than just "better." The Ori uses planar drivers vs the others using dynamic drivers, and IMO this accounts for a significant amt of the differences. I like the planar sound of the Ori so much that I've "chased" planar sound ever since; currently own 4 (3 of them open-back), and it had been 5. And I fantasize about ZMF offering a new planar design with the same quality and sonic refinement of all their recent dynamics (Atticus, Eikon, Auteur, Aeolus, Verite).

    Never heard the 1990. But I love the HD650. I heard the stock HP at length IMO & own a heavily modded pair (Jupiter Audio Research's J-Mod/JAR650). Will never part with it. Still, I would never expect to get from the HD650 the same things I get from the Ori. They have sonic parallels, but these are very different animals...

    @Wes S mentions the sub-bass of the Ori, and it really is noteworthy. But IMO the entire bass range of this headphone was/still is a revelation, musically: it sounds thick, deep, impactful, yet not bloated or elevated. There's real texture to bass notes. String bass sounds like string bass; electric bass sounds like electric. The bass anchors the entire experience.

    And above that I find everything to be at least very good & always musical. Some people criticize the Ori's mids and especially treble in various ways. I don't hear that at all. The mids are big, natural, true to music, and the treble is exactly right for me (close to what I hear in live music). Top to bottom, the sound is organic; it all holds together, so music sounds like it should. Did I mention soundstage? The Ori is among the best soundstaging closed back HPs I've ever heard. The physically larger Eikon (dynamic) betters it somewhat--but really, when soundstaging is this big, spacious, and information-rich, we're splitting hairs.

    Some people dismiss the Ori as a "T50RP mod," but it's way more than that. It's may use the same driver and frame, but everything else, materials & damping, have been completely re-imagined, redesigned, and re-voiced by Zach/ZMF.

    Now and then I let some non-audio pal listen to the Ori, usually on the V281. It's fun to watch their eyes go wide. "Wow, this sounds amazing!" Yup, it does...
    Wes S and whirlwind like this.
  10. whirlwind
    This recent Ori talk just convinced me to put mine on.

    I have been on a four of five day John Lee Hooker Fest and have been through numerous albums with both the Atticus & LCD-3 pf

    I guess now is time to hear them with with the Ori :relaxed: I feel in love with the Ori's sub -bass the very first time I heard them. Pharmaboy is correct...all of the bass is very textured when amped well.

    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
    gibsonsg87 and Pharmaboy like this.
  11. Benno1988
    Lot of praise!

    I have a set of Aeon Closed. And recently have spent time with the Sony Z1R and Focal Clear. I just wonder how much they can get out of essentially a cheap driver, does it pack punches with the aforementioned? Or its unfair to compare those brackets.
  12. Wes S
    The Ori is a top notch contender, and when amped right, can hang with them all, when it comes to musicality, and enjoyment.
  13. Pharmaboy
    Never heard the Sony. Some people really love that one. Also never heard the AFC, though I have auditioned the open version 2-3X and liked it. Heard the Clear just once, thought it to be the brightest, most assaultive HP of my entire experience, though in all honestly it was a brief listen during show conditions w/amp unknown. Also have heard the Elear at length IMS & didn't care for that insistent sound.

    I'm pretty confident the Ori easily bests the AFO & Clear in bass depth & impact; it almost certainly bests them in soundstaging, too (Focals are not known for expansive soundstaging). The AFC may have deeper/better bass than the AFO, but probably not equal to the Ori (bass of which is thrilling). The Ori is also flat-out beautiful, depending on wood used. It's not exactly a light headphone, but put a ZMF Pilot Pad on the headband & it becomes very comfortable.

    As for the "cheap driver," don't forget this driver has been around for years & is being featured in countless mods, commercial & personal. This Fostex planar driver really has staying power. Focusing on single component in isolation risks missing the big picture.
    • Parallel example: My Philips Fidelio X2s have even cheaper drivers, and I love that HP (as many others do)--because the entire design is so successful, sonically & ergonomically.

    IMO it makes sense to compare headphones not only by cost & overall sound, but also by driver. I prefer planars to dynamics because planars do certain things very well, often better than dynamics. In your list, the only planar is the AFC, and I don't believe it's a real contest between that & Ori, though they both have certain advantages over dynamic designs.

    Final point concerns sonic preferences: those who prize detail, resolution & treble "air" (think HD800) probably won't love the Ori, tho they'd have no problem hearing that great bass & soundstaging. But in my experience those who prize musicality & a relaxed/organic, slightly warm presentation that puts music 1st--they tend to really like the Ori (& other ZMF HPs). I'm definitely one of the latter.
    Wes S likes this.
  14. GarageBoy
    The whole point of the output transformer is to convert the 90ohm output impedance to 8/16 etc. So you do the damping calculation on those figures, no?
  15. znev777
    Is that what the output transformer is for? The amp does have a switch on the back for 8-16 and 4-6.3 ohms, but it seems to be for the speakers, at least that's what the sticker on the back says. Switching the switch up and down does seem to affect the headphone out slightly, the 8-16 setting seeming to be a bit louder. So maybe the impedance is being "transformed" into 8-16 or 4-6.3. The closer the output and input resistances the more power the amp puts out right? So it would make sense if the higher ohm setting was a bit louder. Must be what's happening

    I'm getting a pair of aeon flow opens soon, not the closed unfortunately. So I'll be able to compare them a bit to see if the ori's are up to snuff with something similarly priced, even if they aren't too similar sound wise. I found my ori's for ~$550 used, and I'm certainly not disappointed. They feel like quite a step above 6xx's, nightowls, nighthawks, but I'm not sure how they compare with their similarly priced peers.
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