ZMF headphones have been on my radar for a long time. Pricing was the biggest reason for me not obtaining a ZMF product until now. Fostex T50RP headphones were also on my radar for awhile.I have been looking for another closed back headphone, dynamic or planar, to replace my Beyerdynamic Custom Studios. So when I found the ZMF Classic/T50rp mod for close to the $300 price point, I decided to pick one up.
The version I purchased has dual mini xlr connectors and the stock cable with the xlr termination. I went with the leather headband but did eventually add the pilot pad, more about that later. I also went with the stock premium pads.
Build quality: Top notch, fantastic, high quality, excellent
The build quality of the ZMF Classic is very much industrial strength. The modification from open to closed is done very well by ZMF. If you didn’t know that the T50rp is an open headphone to begin with, the Classic could fool you into thinking otherwise. Durability is not an issue with the Classic. I do not have any fear about the Classic living for a long time.
There is one small negative when it comes to build quality and that is the stock cable. It is an okay flat cable design but the release button is small and hard to reach for my fat fingers.
Comfort: Uncomfortable in stock form, Comfortable with the Pilot Pad.
In stock form, the Classic is uncomfortable to me for one reason, the headband and leather strap. The pads on the other hand are amazing and super comfy. Getting back to the headband and leather strap; the strap is thick and stiff and the headband is missing padding. The Classic isn’t a super heavy headphone but it does have some clamping force and combined with the stiff leather strap my head hurt after about 30 minutes of listening. After I purchased the Pilot Pad and installed it on the leather strap, comfort increased 100%. If you are going to pick up a pair of the ZMF Classic, I highly recommend having the Pilot Pad included with your purchase. With the Pilot Pad installed, I can listen to the Classic for hours without comfort issues.
Sound Quality: Smooth, Controlled and Fun
Bass: The Classic is very plentiful when it comes to the bass. They have a full bodied, impactful, clean and detailed bass that is under control and tight sounding. The Classic is not a dark or muddy bass, just a fun bass
Mids: The Classic have forward and intimate mids. The mids are slightly ahead of the bass. The Classic have very accurate timbre and are detailed very well. Female vocals are especially pleasant on the Classic.
Treble: The Classic treble is even with the mids. Extension is very good for the Classic. Every now and then they can get themselves in trouble with brief moments of sharpness.
Overall I would not call the Classic a bright headphone, it is more energetic than laid back but it is not a dark sound. I would say it leans just a bit north of neutral.
The Classic is a little lacking in soundstage but that is to be expected with a closed headphone. It isn’t small and crowded but it isn’t mega wide, like speakers. It does have excellent layering and detailing within the soundstage.
Details and Imaging:
The Classic are detail kings. You will not miss a detail if it is in the music. Imaging is a little lackluster, it is more direct than immersive.
Pairings and Power:
The Classic do need some power to sound good. Running them off a portable device is not recommended. The Monoprice Monolith THX AAA 788 is a great match for the Classic, plenty of bass, smooth mids, crisp treble. The APPJ PA1502A tube amp adds a little more to bass and add a nice romantic warmth to the sound. The Geshelli stack (Enog2 Pro and Archel Pro) have plenty of power and a clean, analytical sound with the Classic.
I love the ZMF Classic and highly recommend them. More information available in the linked review.