Disruptive Forces - Liberators & Destroyers of Worlds

Ok, this is based on limited listening of both the Stellia and Verite C; I think that they are both enjoyable listens…but “I” feel like they are approaching things slightly different. For me the Stellia is just at the 3/4th analytical to 1/4 fun…while the Verite C is 1/2 and 1/2 while not losing the analytical side of things. Analytical in the sense of detail, imaging etc.

In another apples to oranges type thing… seriously I was up to late listening to the Verite C so brain isn’t behaving. Anyhow, if these were chairs lol:

Stellia is a nice expensive ergonomic leather office chair with all the bells and whistles: https://www.humanscale.com/products/freedom-task-chair-headrest-configurator.cfm?configuration=F21CMR2E8C-RK---

Verite C is all the detail and comfort of a high end hand made lounger, with extreme attention to detail, that you feel like home when you sit in (I’m being super biased here sorry take with grain/s of salt lol):http://www.gamutaudio.com/the-gamut-hi-fi-lobster-chair/

Edit: I just found this “lobster chair” today… damn that is a beautiful chair…Maybe we could convince ZMF to make a ZMF listening chair…It could be named Compordach (gaelic for comfortable) :wink: I’m going to email Zach now!!! Brilliant!!! now where is my Guiness!!!


So my interpretation is this:


Vérité C

Love the analogy. :+1:t4:


It seems ZMF is the way to look at for end game cans!! My interest/curiosity grows more every time!!
They are without a doubt beautiful pieces!!


Interesting … I had the Clears for a couple of weeks and I love them, more than HD800 (before Sonarworks), they were the most musical headphones I ever had ( not many tho). Could you please post more details about the Aeolus being superior to the Clears? Aesthetically is obvious, I wanna know about sound!! Thanks!


Post I made, I believe I comment on the Clears in comparison… but this was still during break in period, but more or less stays the same. I prefer the Aeolus over the Clears in pretty much every aspect…the Clears might be more comfortable though…but minimally speaking.

Oops I meant this post:

ZMF Headphones - Official Thread - #62 by TylersEclectic

but if you go through from the above post there is a string of comments regarding the Aeolus.


I concur with DarthPool.


I’d like to try and steer the conversation back to more disruptive factors rather than why one headphone was preferable to another one … for example, where one headphone, or other piece of gear, has resulted in multiple others being put aside - or has spurred a very different direction for one or more aspects of one’s engagement in/approach to the hobby.

Not that it isn’t interesting discussion, but those sort of direction one-to-one comparisons are probably more appropriate for the relevant product threads.


And in the vein of my prior post:

The combination of the SR1a, the Vérité and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the Stellia (though it could easily have been the Vérité Closed if the timing were switched around) … was the catalyst towards affecting a complete shift in my overall thoughts and desires as they relate to the personal-audio/headphone hobby.

The arrival of the Cayin N8 was another factor, bringing desktop-level performance to a properly portable device, and giving both “tube” and solid-sate amplification as it did so.

So, the resultant disruption, is that I have lost interest in spending time with stuff that isn’t at least a potential upgrade, or useful alternative, for one of my rigs.

And the SR1a, especially, prompted a major upgrade of my primary rig, to the point where I literally have no idea how I’d make that sound better at the moment (nothing I’ve heard, or am aware of, is an improvement).

I had a lot of fun with very inexpensive gear, the performance of which (objective and subjective) has come a huge way in a short time. Much of it is genuinely excellent with no need of “for the price” qualifiers. But it’s not what I want to use to get the most enjoyable listening time I can get and, the jump in capabilities these recent arrivals have spurred, means I just want to focus my time on the “best I can get”.

The resultant upheaval here is even larger than to my headphone collection, and this is still a view limited to this year:

Again, the struck-out, red, items are ones that have gone by the wayside as a result of the changes in overall approach. The items in black are pieces that either were already in place and are, so far, not directly affected (though not necessarily “safe” yet). And the items in green are additions since all this started.

The Crack is a special piece … and will likely stick around until I start my “world tour”. The Pro iCAN, while excellent, powerful, and very flexible, probably goes once I am back from vacation.

The RME ADI-2 DAC fs and Phonitor X combination will remain, at least for now, for the purposes of a neutral, resolving, capable and powerful platform for reviewing headphones.

The bulk of my at-home listening-for-pleasure is currently via the SR1a. The remainder is split between direct output from DAVE or via the Woo WA234 MKII Mono (depending on mood and which headphone). With most of my closed-back time coming via the Cayin N8 or Hugo 2 into the Stellia (or the Eikon depending on mood).

A Vérité Closed will join or replace those closed-back cans, and possibly as a “one can for the world-tour” when the time comes … though first I have to settle on what wood/finish to have them in!

My secondary rigs is for the office and comprises the Hugo M-Scaler -> Hugo TT 2, and drives the Vérité Ziricote, the Rosson RAD-0 or the HD820. HD820 may get displaced by either Vérité Closed or Stellia, so I have just one closed back for home and one for the office.

I am contemplating putting in a “fixed” bedside rig again … right now I am using the Cayin N8 (directly) or the Hugo 2 (via my laptop) … and that’ll probably come down to being either a Matrix Element:X (once it can be configured for WiFi via iOS and they commit to on-going Roon support) or a Focal Arche (with one of my custom streamer builds feeding it).

But, otherwise, it surprises me to be able to say “I’m done.

Which is about as big a disruption as I can imagine … coming from a place where for ages there has been a constant influx of new gear …


While it hasn’t prompted me to sell anything (yet), the KZ ZS10 Pro has been mildly disruptive. It’s not anything about this model specifically, I think I can say the same for decent IEMs in general. While I haven’t found any perfect IEMs out of the box, the ZS10 pro is pretty close, and with accurate measurements available thanks to crinacle, I have a good basis on which to dial them in with EQ. I think IEMs often get a bad rap for sounding less “realistic”, “open” or “wide” than full size cans, but I’ve found that this mostly comes down to the difficulty of tuning them just right given people’s differing HRTFs. On the technicalities (distortion, damping), I would put most of the $50 IEMs I’ve heard up against any of the considerably more expensive full size open backs that I own and have heard. IEMs are also disruptive in that they’re typically much less demanding of source gear and sound as great on portable devices as on desktop systems.

There are, however, four things that prevent me from going exclusively to IEMs:

  1. My ears don’t like having stuff in them for long periods of time (Spinfit tips have been a big improvement here, but after a while I’m bothered by either pressure, itching or both).
  2. Sometimes I need less isolation so that I can hear what’s happening in my environment.
  3. I don’t love IEMs when stationary at my computer. The cables are too short and most IEMs are a bit of a hassle to insert and remove when I’m constantly being interrupted.
  4. Because of their isolation and my inability to measure them with a standard SPL meter, I have a hard time assuring myself that I’m listening at reasonable volumes. I can probably resolve this by pulling out my multimeter and doing some math, but I’ve been too lazy to do that so far.

So . . . what about IEMs?

Looking over your list, I don’t see anything that’s nice tubey amplification. While I’m happy with my Class D Wyred4Sound STI-1000, and will probably keep it a long time, I have long considered adding something to replace the old Dynaco Mark III’s that I used to have and love so much.

At times I gazed at the Antique Sound Labs Hurricaines, and now, I look at these:

Bob Latino’s M-125 inspired by Dynaco mono amps at

I could see something like this in my future.


Well, it’s not as many tubes as those in your picture, but I think my Woo WA234 MKII Mono blocks count as being fairly tubey …

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Those could be very helpful during some winter nights .


Yes, but the ones I pictured deliver 125 watts RMS into 8 ohms and more into 4. Quite enough for your new toy.

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For me it´s the other way round. The design of the Stellia is, in my opinion, what a headphone in 2019 should look like. It´s a design artwork. Of course the VC looks nice, but it´s not really “designed” if you ask me, because the wood cups on the head have, as beautiful as they are, a bit of a coconut look when on the head. Which is ok, but it´s nothing new. And maybe that’s only me who is thinking that.

Having said that, the main problem with the VC is that it is transportable but not really portable. I mean on the go. Because I would have to put this big case in my backpack, that would hardly fit inside, whereas the Stellia case is small enough to carry it with me the whole day long (I mostly listen when on the go out of a DAP). So even if the VC sounds “better” than the Stellia, I wouldn’t buy it, because alas it is too bulky.

But this thread is about disruptive forces … in my case, the Stellia made me sell my InEar ProPhile8 IEM, as well as my CA Cascades :wink:


It is art, no questions about it and a transportable masterpiece of modern engineering
Congratulations on the Focals (from a big Focal fan)
I carry my Elegia every day in my backpack around or the case in and the hf on my head, of course

Both Stellia and ZMFs would get problems in wet conditions as most other headphones - so did you keep any sort of IEM for commuting or not get robbed in a dark alley by any of the forum members?


Hehe, no I didn’t keep any IEM, it’s just the Stellia (and I kept the Oppo PM3s, because they don‘t leak that much so I can watch/listen to something when it has to be quiet next to my family).
Concerning robbery: I am glad to live in one of the safest cities in the world so that’s not of a big deal here (in Vienna). There are only old people going to classical concerts hahaha

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I see. Munich is the same safety wise, but at the moment people wear some funny cloths, listen to the worst music and drink to much - it´s called “Wiesn” and today I have to go there again with coworkers, partners and clients :roll_eyes:
Yes the Focals isolate ok for office, but less for my wife watching “the voice” over the loudspeakers with the subwoofer kicking in and I sit next to her on the sofa with my pretentious french hf running some light tunes
The Oppo is a beauty
I use something else, for strongest isolation, when my wife gets crazy- Kingston Hyper X Cloud 2 - a ok gaming headset (shame on me)
Most of the time, the french do the sofa-job perfectly fine.

Habe die Ehre, Nachbar - it’s an honour to me, neighbour :wink:


To get back to that “has spurred a very different direction for one or more aspects of one’s engagement in/approach to the hobby” thing, for me a game-changer was the Aeon Flow Closed. Not because it’s my absolute favorite headphone or anything, but because I’d spent a long time believing that closed headphones were intrinsically flawed and were always going to have sloppy, boomy bass and a closed-in sound… and then this thing comes along with taut, lean-but-defined bass, and a kind of airiness to it, and I just had no idea closed headphones could do that.

And then having them available right next to my open headphones made me realize how many situations I’ll pick a closed headphone in, even if the closed headphone isn’t quite as good as the open one. And now I’m at the point where the question is whether a closed headphone can be good enough to just fully replace my open ones without making me feel like I’m making a tradeoff in the process; if the Verite Closed is all it’s hyped up to be, I might be, uh, closing the door on decades of listening to open headphones.


Yeah, I recently got a K371 and while it’s not perfect, it’s the least funky sounding closed headphone I’ve experienced and is really pretty good. It also makes for a very “resolving” sounding listening experience because unlike my open back headphones it actually blocks out some noise. Even if I’m alone, between the noise from computers, HVAC and so on, there’s a high enough noise floor in my house that unless I listen at ludicrous volumes, it’s definitely masking some of music. With the K371, I can listen at reasonable volumes and enjoy a lower noise floor.