Ok, so my take on Auteur:
It’s my paradox headphone.
It is the most neutral ZMF, but it is not a neutral headphone. It gives you enough flavor that it is definitely NOT sterile sounding. It doesn’t have too much flavor either. Staging is good. Detail is good. Everything is just good.
It is this subtle flavor that makes it kind of a chameleon though - it just blends in. Everything sounds great, but it doesn’t draw attention to anything either. That is Auteur’s perfection and it’s imperfection, all at the same time.
So, with other headphones, we can generally listen to it for a while and say “the sub bass is rolled off” or “the treble is too bright” or “there’s a nasal quality to the mids” or “the staging is borked” or whatever, ya? So if every headphone has some kind of quirk to it, and then you hear Auteur which doesn’t have a quirk that jumps out at you, that’s pretty fantastic, yeah?
But people are fricken strange creatures man. I’m a people, so I feel qualified to say this. If nothing is wrong… you miss that. You start to crave it. What was a super-awesome do-everything headphone is now just… boring.
That’s why I think Auteur is hard to categorize. Nothing else has that kind of quality to it, that I’ve heard.
Auteur is one of my favorite headphones, and I really strongly urge people to try one if they can. With that said, I don’t think it can be my one-and-done headphone. I need something else in the stable to spice things up once in a while. (It’s why I have VC and Aeolus, Empy, et al.) I get audiophile wanderlust. BUT… When I get homesick, I always have Auteur I can go back to and deeply appreciate.
I’ll try to make a point about all of this. It is rather hard for me to catalogue my ZMF journey, because I’m a little fuzzy on when certain things happened or in what order… but it goes something like this:
Bought the Vibro Mk3. Then the Ori. When the Eikon and Atticus were released, I got one of each. Sold the Vibro. Sold the Atticus. Got another Eikon (so I would have one for home and one for work). Sold the Ori. Got the Auteur. Sold an Eikon. Missed the Eikon, bought another. Got the Aeolus, then a VO. Sold the VO, Eikon and Aeolus to fund an emergency K9 surgery. Rebought the same Aeolus from the guy I sold it to. Bought a VC. Sold the VC. Bought another VC.
Reading comprehension test:
- What’s the one ZMF headphone I’ve never sold?
Auteur. And I probably will never sell it either. It’s my perfectly imperfect not-endgame endgame headphone.