- Mar 24, 2010
- Indonesia - Singapore
Very accurate impression here, great work!ZMF VÉRITÉ OPEN PAD REVIEW
Here it is, my long (overdue) ZMF Vérité Open pad review. Yes, it’s about a year late, but we’ll chalk that up to 2020 being well, 2020. I started working on this review around May ‘20 and picked it up again a few months ago. This worked out rather well as I was able to reassess everything and compare using my previous notes. For this evaluation I mainly used around 35 familiar test tracks, along with normal listening sessions of various artists and genres.
My Vérité Open has ziricote wood cups. Note that the type of wood used can have slightly different sonic qualities compared to other wood species. We also all hear differently and have our own sonic preferences, so just as with other audio gear, I highly suggest hearing them yourself if possible. I exclusively used my ZMF Vérité Silver cable for this review. It’s a great compliment to the Vérité Open for quite a few reasons, although the ZMF 2K Copper cable is another fantastic option. I reviewed both of these cables a few years ago: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/zmf-verite.890270/post-14985973
No equalization was utilized. My chain used is as follows:
TIDAL&FLACs>Singxer SU-1>Schiit Yggdrasil A1>Cavalli Liquid Gold (og) and DNA Stratus
ZMF VÉRITÉ OPEN RECOMMENDED PADS
Vérité Perforated Lambskin
Most visceral presentation of all pads. Aggressive dynamics and snappy transients. Immersive 3D Soundstage. Fantastic instrument separation and great imaging. Tight and punchy bass response. Superb mids. Slightly elevated upper end extension. Highlights the beryllium coated drivers speed. Least comfortable option. Shallowest pad depth (ears might touch the driver). Somewhat fatiguing depending on listening levels and chain.
My #2 pads. These are the Vérité Open’s namesake pads for a reason. They bring out the best of what the VO has to offer in terms of pure technical performance and what I believe the VO’s “core sound” is. My favorite pads to rock out to and a great option for most genres. I suggest everyone has a pair to go along with their VO, unless you’re a more laid back listener.
BE2 Perforated Lambskin
Slightly more relaxed presentation and not as fatiguing vs the Vérité pads. Very good technically, but loses some of the speed and transients of the VO pads. Bass has more weight and decay, while losing some tightness. Not quite as good as 3D staging, but still exceptional. A tad more comfortable than the VO pads (ears might not touch).
My #1 pads. While these pads look VERY similar to the Vérité Pads, they do make noticeable changes to the VO’s sound. I consider these to be my “daily driver” pads for the Vérité Open. Aptly named, a fantastic middle ground between the Vérité pads and Universe pads. Excels with most genres and still emphasizes the VO’s technical prowess.
BE2 Perforated Hybrid (Lambskin and Suede)
Much smoother and relaxed sounding profile. Not as quick and nimble as the lambskin BE2/VO pads. Large elevation of bass presence and volume compared to lambskin BE2/VO pads. Overall weight and impact of bass and lower mids has increased. Mids are slightly pushed forward. Upper midrange boost highlights vocals and most instruments. More closed in with a slightly decreased soundstage from the lambskin BE2 pads. Increased comfort with the plush suede pad face.
My #5 pads. A relatively big change (and big sound) compared to lambskin Vérité and BE2 pads. These provide a fun and chill presentation for the VO’s at the sacrifice of technical aptitude. The BE2 hybrids really shine with acoustic, hip hop, pop and electronic music. I could see these being a good option for someone who enjoys a darker sound and/or has a brighter chain.
BE2 Perforated Suede
More similar to the hybrid BE2’s than the lambskin VO/BE2 pads. Airy sounding and even more relaxed vs BE2 hybrids. Staging feels slightly congested, but still has good separation and imaging. Dynamics are restrained compared to most other pads. Mids aren’t quite as full sounding and have moved back from the BE2 hybrids. Far less low end bass impact and quantity except for the Universe suede. Extremely comfortable, only slightly behind the Uni suede’s.
My #7 pads. These are the black sheep of the recommended VO pads. They don’t sound bad by any means, but I don’t feel they do anything better compared to the other offerings. I enjoyed acoustic music with these pads, but not much else. Some listeners might enjoy the more subdued, neutral presentation. Otherwise I have a hard time recommending these.
Universe Perforated Lambskin
Wider, more traditional staging. Imaging and instrument placement take a small downgrade vs Vérité pads. Not as fatiguing and more laid back than the lambskin VO/BE2 pads. Speed and transient response are a little behind VO pads. Noticeably more decay on bass frequencies, while having a small boost in quantity. Slight sub-bass bump. Bass response isn’t as fast or clean. Mids are pushed back slightly. Added pad depth makes them more comfortable vs lambskin VO/BE2 pads.
My #3 pads. The now default pads that come with the Vérité Open, these rightfully should be in the stable of all VO owners. The lambskin Universe pads give the Vérité a more musical, blissed out feel, while still letting the Vérité’s technical abilities shine. The more relaxed listen really pairs well with pop, electronic and hip hop. If you’re running a brighter chain or a neutral SS amp, these can give a little more life to your music.
Universe Perforated Hybrid (Lambskin and Suede)
More neutral, leaner sounding signature with added air vs lambskin Uni pads. Soundstage slightly opened up vertically. Dynamics are still good, but a step back compared to the lambskin Universe. Reduced upper treble and small boost in presence adds excellent clarity. Raised upper mids really make instruments pop. Mids lose some lushness and weight. Bass quantity, impact and bloom are substantially reduced compared to the lambskin Uni pads. Great comfort with the suede faced pads and pad depth.
My #6 pads. These pads are quite interesting. They sound amazing with certain music, especially rock, acoustic and instrument heavy songs. However, some tracks you’d think would be great with them feel somewhat lackluster. By far the most inconsistent and unforgiving pads I reviewed on this list. Possibly worth checking out for the right person.
Universe Perforated Suede
Most neutral and open sounding pads. Noticeable increase in soundstage with even more air than the hybrid Uni pads. Very good instrument separation. More extended in the upper treble. Maintains excellent clarity of the Uni hybrids and vocals are outstanding. Loses some overall body and lushness of mids. Lowest bass quantity and slam of all pads reviewed. Macrodynamics are also not as good as other pad offerings. Extremely plush and soft. Paired with nice pad depth makes these comfort kings.
My #4 pads. I had mixed feelings about these at first, but in the end they won me over. Keeps enough of the soul of the Vérité, while delivering a much different experience from the big 3 lambskin pads. Fans of a slightly brighter signature with added sparkle and air will enjoy these. Especially good with classical music, acoustic and classic rock.
VÉRITÉ OPEN OUTLIER ZMF PADS
*These are ZMF pads I had lying around that I was curious to see how they paired with the Vérité Open. I tried various solid ZMF pads with the VO’s and the results weren’t worth mentioning. Stick with perforated pads only, trust me.*
Eikon Perforated Lambskin
Very rich, robust sound. Intimate soundstage with increased vertical height. Makes the VO feel almost like a closed back. Lively dynamics and surprisingly good overall tonality. Instrument separation and imaging are solid. Elevated bass with satisfying impact and decay. Mids are quite lush and pleasing. Bass is somewhat sluggish and one dimensional. Vocals are pushed forward and full sounding. Comfort is similar to Uni lambskin pads, but the increased angle and thickness of the pads might require headband adjustment.
My thoughts. Definitely one of the biggest surprises from my testing. I really enjoyed these pads and felt they worked with most everything I listened to. The presentation is far different than any other pad on this list, and does take getting used to. Not everyone will love these, but I definitely think they’re worth checking out if you’re looking for a little something different.
Auteur Perforated Lambskin
More open and airy, especially vs the Eikon lambskins. Very good instrument separation. Nice upper end extension and extremely clear sounding. Fast, snappy attack with not much decay. Dynamics are decent, but feel closer to suede pads. Overall a little thin sounding, especially in the mids. Bass impact and quantity are much closer to neutral. Comfort similar to the Uni and BE2 lambskin pads
My thoughts. These pads take some of the characteristics of suede pads and fuse them with the various lambskin pads. This puts them in somewhat of a grey area. Nice with acoustic and classic rock, I found these to be absolutely exceptional with Jazz. If that’s a genre you listen to quite frequently, these pads are definitely worth checking out. Otherwise, I’d probably just stick with one of the big 3 lambskin pads.
Ori Perforated Lambskin
Big, fun dynamic sound. Soundstage is somewhat wonky and very condensed. Instrument separation is slightly muddied. Treble is pleasing without being sibilant. Mids are pushed back and sucked out. Large boost in the low end. Bass slam, quantity and decay are all enhanced. Tonality is off with certain instruments. Pad size/depth might require the headband to be adjusted.
My thoughts. Surprisingly not horrible. These give a V-shaped flavor to the VO. Most Hip Hop and some Electronic music sound quite good with these, but not much else. The bass was quite satisfying and put a smile on my face more than a few times (808’s wet dream). It can however feel slow and bloated on faster songs. The Ori pads work well with a lot of ZMF and other headphones, but not so much with the VO. Only really worth checking out if you listen to primarily Hip Hop.
It’s quite amazing to have so many good options to dial in the Vérité Open to your tastes. Big shout out to Zach and the ZMF gang for giving us not only an amazing headphone, but offering all of these pads choices.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the big 3 lambskin pad offerings (VO, BE2 and Universe). I’d be happy listening to any of those 3 pads if they were the only option. The hybrid and suede pads will be hit and miss depending on the user and their preferences. However, a few of those just might be the perfect pads for some owners. The outlier pads are definitely wildcards, so take into account that YMMV. Maybe you have a few of them lying around or on another pair of ZMF’s. If so, throw them on and take a listen. You just might be surprised…
Feel free to post any questions in this thread or send me a PM. More than happy to further elaborate on anything or apologize for my poor grammar skills. Thanks for reading!
VERITE CLOSED PAD REVIEW
ZMF VÉRITÉ CLOSED vs. ZMF VÉRITÉ OPEN