ZMF Headphones - Official Thread

let me guess…fedex?

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I posted the below on another forum last night while imbibing… I’m sorry… you guys and gals are still my first love :wink: lol but I figured everyone here who doesn’t frequent the other site, would appreciate my take on the Aeolus after 30-40hrs of listening and break-in. I cut off the first part of the post as it doesn’t make sense here :wink:

…something to know about me… I like good whiskey…and listening to headphones while imbibing. I find the synergy of whiskey, good music, and good audio gear to be sublime, and a way for me to wash away the stress of the day/week (depends on when I can get some time to imbibe along with listening). Ok enough backstory…Aeolus…some nice acoustic streaming tracks from Qobuz studio… and currently the Cayin Ha-1a MKII (I recently developed some feedback but nothing noticeable with tracks going, I’ll find the culprit sooner or later). Whiskey I started with 2 fingers of Jefferson Ocean 16 with a small rock, I am now on 2 fingers of WhistlePig Rye straight up. I prefer the Jefferson, mild, sweet-salty caramel. The WhistlePig has an almost swamp water taste to it (not in a gross way more… well I guess no matter how you look at that statement that sounds gross :laughing: but more in the earthy minerally watery way) it doesn’t have the spice that most Rye has or any major sweetness, this could be due to having the Jefferson first and now the flavor profile of the WhistlePig is changed due to the sweetness of the Jefferson… I digress… (stupid ADHD and booze, they never seem to work for quick impressions)

Aeolus, the star of tonights show, sitting at around 30-40hrs of break-in listening time, and even without full break-in, I…am…addicted…Fs to the yeah lol. Acoustic tracks and vocals really shine on these, even some classical, just wow, the presence I’m feeling/getting from them…close your eyes and float kind of good!

Fur Elise in A Minor, WoO 59: performed by Dubravka Tomsic

  • This track is pianotastic! one of my all-time favorites, with the Aeolous I can hear the notes hang in the air…they can blend together due to this but overall amazing

Devil’s Pie: performed by D’Angelo (this album is mastered really well)

  • all the cool intricacies happening, along with the very forward spoken word/singing…and that bass track with the electronic circling/dripping wow. The track isn’t wide and feels very intimate. But imaging is excellent for me, at this stage

Terracentric: Performed by Rodrigo Y Gabriela

  • This track slams! I dare you to try and not nod your head along lol. The details I’m pulling with the Aeolus, string vibrations, palm thumps, fingers sliding on strings…Yes, please!

King(acoustic): by Slenderbodies

  • take the D’Angelo singing, and add the Rodrigo Y Gabriela light touch acoustics and bam! the whispered singing, all the backup instruments in the background, and the sliding of the strings. I really can get used to this, the Aeolus just presents very well…and slams when it needs to.

Trollabundin: by Eivor

  • Wow, I have listened to this track an epic butt ton on my other headphones…I think this is my favorite so far, the echoes of the singer, the presence F me…this is good! So much going on, and I pick up a lot of it in new ways (this is why I love having different headphones, so many cool things happen when you listen with different chains).

Grandpa’s Groove: by Parov Stelar

  • This group is EDM/Swing/Bigband swingtastic! just fun to listen to… I sometimes turn off the volume to Cuphead and play Parov Stelar while trying to complete some boss fights. On the Aeolus just fun…un-abashed fun… I have a big grin going

Waiting in Vain: performed by Halie Loren

  • Jazzy, smokey, sweet, rich, fall asleep with a smile on your face good. She just has a great voice, the band feels in the background with the Aeolus…like it should with this track. The singer is in your ear singing to you.

Heartbeats (Live): Performed by The Knife

  • the audience, and overall performance, the cool thing about this track on the Aeolus is that the instruments are more forward, I feel like I’m sitting off center or “stage left” listening…that could just be the booze kicking in though…

I could go on…but I’m getting sleepy…I listened to more songs than the above but, I think I’ve already walled off enough… I’ll end with a nice track that has recently been one of my favorites

Drive by Fires: Performed by Ayla Nereo

  • I was trying to stick to Acoustic style tracks and vocal forward tracks. This track is a nice end to the night, ethereal especially with the background instruments, Violin, shakers, snares? hmm, lots going on here…and my brain is good and fuzzy so I think it is time to get some shut eye.

Hopefully, this was a fun read, and my stream of conscious of one of many short (too short) sessions with the Aeolus, wasn’t annoying, or too much. I really can’t get over how beautiful the Aeolus Ziricote is, I’ve attached a couple of pictures of my nighttime pairing for this session.
Cheers everyone!

Edit: shrank the pictures down from ridic cellphone size…no one wants to count the dust particles on my BHC :confounded: I need to dust…


Tonight I only have a 30min window to drink some new whiskey and listen to the Aeolus. I’m drinking High West Prairie bourbon, and Willets Pot Still Reserve bourbon =) I’ve been on a bourbon kick lately=)
MacMini(latest model) ->Qobuz studio->RME ADI-2DAC->BHC … sigh sinksintochair**sips bourbon, closeseyesfloats last good listening session for a week, I’ll be in IEM “hell” (lets be real the Andromeda will be just fine with my NiBL :wink: ) as I don’t feel like dragging my closed backs with me for this trip.


Suggest you drink old whisky and not new whiskey. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Or change it up a bit. The best I’ve had below is Lot 76 XO Tradition. One day I will pull the trigger on Lot 53 (in the classics) or perhaps one of their other lines.


Also I am very proud of my Purpleheart wood shelf I made to slot into my Ikea shelves… the picture above does it no justice. But it has the same silky smooth texture as my Aeolus Ziricote…it has a more orange color too =( but win some lose some =)

You wine folk :wink: I’ll have to give it a try… I just love me some good whiskey though…I have an odd aversion to wine…I don’t know why…I’m sure it is some traumatic thing from my past? As I don’t mind the actual drinking of the stuff :wink:


Not a fair comparison at this point…I meant to relax and just listen but figured I would put a quick comparison together, as I said that I would =). Now to be fair the Aeolus is only about halfway through break-in time, and really isn’t trying to compete with the Clears. I wrote this before doing the comparison !

Tracks used (Qobuz studio streaming):

Queen (acoustic): performed by Slenderbodies

  • Holy smokes, I think that I have to give it to the Aeolus…I honestly wasn’t expecting that…it has a just right there tone, with more warmth, imaging is slightly better, more enjoyable on the Aeolus…props to ZMF!!

Copland: Rodeo: IV. Hoe-Down: performed by Leonard Bernstein?

  • Throw a complicated classic into the mix…lots of things going on here (one of my favorite tracks)…I was not expecting this but I think it is subjectively a draw…call it new shiny complex…mmm…ziricote… wait what were we talking about?!?..oh yea :wink: but seriously…Aeolus is warmer, but imaging and staging are slightly wider…but spot on with the Clears. It is a toss up with this track…I could go either way…but I will say the Clears did seem to have the edge in that they pulled me closer to the orchestra, where the Aeolus gave me the feeling of sitting center row middle to the back of the room.

The Real: Performed by Busty and the Bass

  • Clears have more “crispness” to them, less warmth, vocals are not as “gooey”. Aeolus feels smoother…

Up All Night (Acoustic Live Album Music in High Places): Unwritten Law

  • This track can be a bit muddy sounding, I think I have to give it to the Clears on this one. The extra “crispness” helps with resolution. But the Aeolus has better vocal presence and warmth…but for me, the extra sparkle from the Clears pushes them ahead.

Ok, bedtime, early morning flight =) Also these were not easy to volume match… so that probably colored some of this a/b =) But for me, at the end of the day, both headphones are worth keeping around =) they are surprisingly close… The Clears have been my go-to for a while now…and I think the Aeolus just pushed them off that pedestal.


My Dad never cared for brandies. Now at 91, it’s just a fairly weak mixed vodka drink for him. But he used to prefer scotch (Chivas, Dewar’s, bar scotch - in that order), Canadian, or occasionally a Sour Mash. He had, and still has, an aversion to anything over $20 per bottle, no matter what the spirit.


I’m currently looking at a bottle of Jefferson ocean 18 cask strength… I will probably grab a bottle for the luggage on the way home… picked up a smattering of single serve rando whiskies


Wow…Aeolus finally broke 100hrs of burn in and these have really blossomed! I really enjoyed experiencing the break-in process. It isn’t “Dramatic” levels of change but enough to be noticeable and improved, which is saying something as I thought they sounded great to begin with!! I still have another 40hrs (ish) of recommended break-in.

Thoroughly enjoying these!


Thanks to my friend Anthony’s Aeolus (heard here IMS a couple times while he visited, plus one relatively long loaner period), plus exposure to it at CanJam NYC 3 months ago, I’m pretty familiar w/the Aeolus. When I first heard it, I liked the tuning but wasn’t overly impressed (I’m a ZMF fanboy, admittedly). It took me awhile to realize what a shape-shifter this headphone really is. The first sound you hear is not necessarily the only sound it has. Specifically, I’ve heard the Aeolus scale up very noticeably w/higher quality sources. Had a brief but memorable experience at CanJam where it was driven by the Cayin 300b beast/amp + a huge, mega-$$ Auris DAC, where it sounded quite amazing. And here IMS, I get good sound out of every SS amp (best being either V281 or Lake People G109-A), but then even better sound out of my OTL (Woo WA3) and transformer-coupled tube amp (WA22). If I ever upgrade DACs, I’ll have to hear the Aeolus again because it almost certainly will give me back any add’l quality the DAC brings. My favorite design is open-back planar, but Zach continues to woo me (no pun intended) w/amazing dynamics like the Eikon (I have the same padauk Eikon shown in O.P. 1st photo) and the Aeolus.


Amazing but not surprising! My set consists of the Clears and ZMF Cocobolo Auteurs! I think they are almost the perfect stable of cans if limited to two. I say almost because I haven’t listened to dozens of different sets of HP. They bring differ strengths to the table and will cover all genre of music IMO. Enjoy the music, I know that I do.


You get rid of feedback in your Cayin?

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Yeah more or less, I have a lot of cables running behind everything so I usually just need to move some around or turn off something to get it to go away…it is something of a where in the world is Carmen Sandiego search for the culprit.

Also the feedback completely disappears with music playing even at extremely low volume.

Finally got some time to get some pictures of these amazing headphones



Some of the best pictures you’ve taken sir.


The amazing thing is that they’re somehow even better looking in person …

Never mind how good they sound.

Or how much that particular pair wants to join my collection … :wink:


Concur they look awesome in person! It is so hard to get a picture that has all the nuance of the wood.

We shall see when my Verite comes in lol


Now i want one too. those look gorgeous.

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All us Verite waiters…we’ve all been converted from Pending…to Sanding and finishing!!! “I am Excite!” lol


To all the ZMF folks out there, how comfortable are they? Does it vary by model…I probably should try some on. Fit and comfort is as important to me as sound quality. If they’re uncomfy, I can’t wear them for long.

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