ZMF Atrium

Hope I’m not jumping the gun here but these were recently released and definitely deserves it’s own space for discussion and would like to get the ball rolling.

Been listening to the Atrium almost exclusively for the past 5 days and it is creeping up as one of my favorites. It retains the same ZMF tone whilst bringing something unique to the table. It is lush but incredibly dynamic at the same time.

Would love to hear more thoughts on these.

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Cross post my thoughts against verite from another forum.

Hearing them side by side one can easily tell that both are from the same family of sound but it doesn’t take much time to start noticing a difference between the 2 headphones. Listening to Have a Cigar by Pink Floyd, when the solo starts around the 3.15 mark, the Verite has noticeably more presence in the treble and places the high hats more forward than the guitar. The Atrium on the other hand places more emphasis on the guitar riffs with the high hats sounding taking a backseat. It still retains similar level of extension as far as my ears could hear but exhibiting noticeably less sparkle and energy in comparison. The Verite can sound a bit peaky at times and the Atrium is smoother.

The midrange dip on the Verite becomes especially obvious when placed along side the Atrium and it presents the mids in a very different manner. Guitar riffs in particular from the Verite loses a bit of grunt cause by that fall off in upper mids and vocal doesn’t sound as full range in comparison. The mids on the Atrium is very even. There isn’t any dips and perhaps most notably there isn’t an over emphasis on upper mid-range. This is one area where I prefer the Atrium over Verite. The midrange dip never really bother me that much as I seldom listen to female vocal centric tracks but guitar sounded more natural and is more to my liking and that is huge for rock.

Verite seem to dug a bit deeper into the sub whereas the Atrium have more of a midbass lift. It’s mild but the Verite extend lower into sub and faster but the Atrium has more heft and feels more dynamic. The Atrium in particular hits hard. Like real hard and it is especially noticeably with drum heavy tracks. Chilli Pepper’s Blood Sugar is probably best album I’ve tested so far to exhibit this nature of Atrium with plenty of bassline and drum heavy tracks like Mellowship Slinky in B Major, Give it Away, Sir Psycho Sexy and it’s title track. The Verite does reach lower and is a bit more precise and faster but loses out in overall weight. I’d recommend this album for anyone looking to hear just how dynamic the Atrium can sound.

Timbre is especially hard for me to describe as it is not something I’d normally look out for unless it is outright off like an unmodded hd800 for example. But the Atrium sound quite noticeably different from the Verite in direct comparison. There is an underlying richness throughout the entire mid band frequency that the Verite doesn’t have. Probably due to the difference in driver used for both headphones. I do seem to prefer this sort of sound when listening to strings, drums and wind instruments etc but felt indifferent when it comes to hiphop or electronic music.

The Atrium sound a bit airier and more open but otherwise soundstage seem very similar in width and depth to my ears. Nothing noteworthy. Technicalities are very similar with the Verite having a slight edge in resolving finer details, overall separation and having better extensions on both ends but not a deal breaker. If you want technicalities get the Utopia.

Overall I’m liking Atrium. The dynamics alone are simply astonishing and is what got me hooked on first listening. Might be too early to tell which I’d prefer in the long run as I’ve only had it for 3 days but the more I listen to it the more the more I’m leaning towards this. As I’m starting to explore wider range of genre in my library with the Atrium, the gap only seem to widen for the Verite. I’ve not owned any biocell drivers besides the Atrium and I must say this is fantastic and a great addition to ZMF’s lineup. Verite has been my main headphone of choice for the past few years but I can see myself listening to nothing but Atrium for the coming months.

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It has a biocellulose driver, similar to something like Fostex headphones such as the TH900?

Yes this uses a Biocellulose driver.

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Indeed. From their website:

  • Driver: Biocellulose N52 Atrium Tuned Driverr
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I was one of the lucky few to snag a Bubinga Atrium. It is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my favorite ZMF headphone of all time, and might be my favorite headphone of all time. I love everything about it and am struggling to find a weakness.

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Which, if it is like the TH900, might explain why the Atrium is so “excursive” (dynamic).

Just saw ZMF uploaded some pics of the Koa Atrium LDT…looks absolutely beautiful.

With all the praise these are getting, the Atrium is the hardest pair of headphones I’ve ever had the displeasure of trying to resist buying lol

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Stunning! You should pull the trigger :grinning:

I ordered the darker cherry/copper last week :+1:

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You’re not helping :rofl:

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Happy to! I’m a big helper :laughing:

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That is a stunning pair of headphones and I’m sure it’ll look even better on hand. I was amazed at how good the cherry wood looked on hand with black grills. The wood grain and the way it looked under light is hard to convey thru photos.

These are slowly creeping up as one of my favourites. Perhaps not the most resolving they are probably a step behind utopia in terms of overall technicalities to my ears. But as I mentioned in my comparison, it is explosive in it’s dynamism and at the same time not harsh on the ears. It maintains a very even midrange but at the same time do not overly accentuate the lower treble and upper mids region which most headphones these day do and can take a bit if getting used to for people who are coming in from headphones like the utopia or hd800.

I think @zach915m mentioned in his measurement video that he try not tune his headphone’s treble above the 1k peak and that’s probably got to do with the perceived lack of harshness in that region. I do still find certain voices a tad fatiguing after a period of listening but nothing like the utopia and even the verite. Hard to say if these will supercede the verite and utopia as my favourites in the long run but they are at least up there in the big leagues.

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Anyone who owns both LCD4z and ZMF Atrium could comment on a comparison of both? Thanks in advance…

For those stopping by at Axpona, I believe we’ll have (at least one) Atrium at our booth for iFi audio!

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I and several others posted reviews of the Atrium here:

I’ve also posted this & that about the Atrium on the "
ZMF Headphones - Official Thread" thread here.

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These are my first ZMFs and I received them yesterday so only one (very nice) listening session with them so far. I’m usually a planar headphone type of listener but I really liked what I heard and I’m sure after some break in (both for the brain and the headphones) it’s going to be even better.
Immediately what I noticed was the sound stage and the very balanced tonality. It’s not the fastest headphone I’ve heard and definitely far from being the most resolving and detailed like my planars (current two in the house are Susvara and LCD-5) but it’s very smooth and not fatiguing at all. At first I thought that for electronic music like trance the speed might be a problem but I found myself enjoying them with certain tracks as the evening moved along. For more traditional music (Eric Clapton’s last Lady in The Balcony album or some random vocal tracks) these present a beautiful and neutral-warm sound.

As an addition to my collection I see them fitting well for times where I don’t want to critically listen to every instrument or simply when I want good quality sound but being able to forget this is on me. The Susvara gives you that feeling but it’s much more hovering around you left/right type of sound compared to the Atrium that’s a little more holographic while keeping that non intrusive sound. The LCD-5 are a pair you can’t ignore when you listen to them, they are much more engaging and demanding and will throw at you every last piece of detail in a track. Sometimes you just don’t want that.

I’m contemplating on expanding to 2.0 audio but I’d say the type of sound I heard from the Atrium would be very nice to get from speakers as well. A tad warm, very smooth and inviting, resolving but not too much and with great staging.

I preferred them with some tubes in the chain compared to running solid state only but that’ll take much more time to figure out exactly how I’d like to drive them.

So far I’m really happy I joined the ZMF family. They seem like a good pick to start with.

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Glad you’re enjoying them, which ones did you get?

aged cherry with the magnesium option to offset the weight

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Nice family shot! :laughing:

I’m a bit jealous, you got those quick! I ordered the same thing on launch day but in aluminum, no shipping notification as yet. I got my order in 12 minutes after launch, hoping to snag one of the first 100 or whatever Zack said they hoped to ship quickly. But he also said “no promises”, so wait I will :+1:

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Hope you get it soon!