Excepting some time at meet this weekend, where everyone else got to spend some time listening to the Vérité C, and they have about 70 hours on them now. Not sure how much of a real difference I am hearing vs. just the normal effects of listening to something for a while, but I would say the bass has tightened up and the top end is smoother (and both were excellent when I first started listening).
But I got to enjoy these on the deck, in the sun, for several straight hours yesterday and the only reason I stopped listening was because I had stuff to do with the wife when she got home. I was quite happily just firing off one album after another from a Cayin N8 into these things. I’d have sat there doing that all day (or at least until the N8’s battery died), otherwise!
Some specific impressions …
Open vs. Closed
The first, and perhaps most impressive (to me), thing to say here is just how much like the open-back Vérité these sound. Among all the headphones I’ve heard that are available in both closed-back and open-back form (or at least in familial variations that amount to that), the Vérité C are easily the closest sounding to their open-back variant I’ve ever heard.
I enjoy both the Stellia and the HD820, and they are both unmistakably related to their siblings (Utopia and HD800S respectively), but they’re both (much) bigger departures than the Vérité C is from the open Vérité.
The Vérité C delivers a very open sound, almost identical tonality and timbre - which is to say they have a slightly richer and warmer tonal tint than pure-neutral and a little more vocal presence than the open-back version. The stage is similar in width, maybe a hair narrower, than the open versions, which still puts it as being meaningfully more expansive than, say, the Utopia. And the sense of space/ambience from some venues is remarkable.
Bass remains taut, fast, tuneful and very well controlled. There is no hint of boominess nor flab that so often accompanies closed-back headphones, even though the sub-bass seems more present, and the transition from the bass into the midrange is very clean, with no muddying of the lower-mids.
Treble is smooth (and smoother still after some run-in) , without giving up precision, crispness, detail or bite and exhibits natural levels of air and sparkle. Even pre-burn-in I was not able to excite any sibilance at all. Raucous brass had suitable impact and bite without being unnatural, while higher-pitched draws on the violin were pure and sweet.
The mids are wonderful … some modest extra upper-mid/vocal presence, which adds to the perception of overall clarity and openness, without being so much that it buggers up overall tone or timbre. Oodles of detail, excellent coherency, and a nice even delivery that, coupled with the slight tonal richness, makes for a very engaging and beguiling sound.
Isolation is very good (these are reportedly the “most closed” headphones ZMF offers). There’s a graph in the first post that shows how much sound they keep in. Without music playing, and sitting in the office, they almost completely shut out the drone of the AC, and do enough to mute voices from the next office over that they’re unintelligible and consequently much less distracting. WITH music playing, nothing else is audible, and I find I can listen at significantly lower volumes without hearing anything but the music (for the sake of comparisons, I’m not doing that).
Comfort is excellent. They feel lighter than they are (they still feel that way when picking them up), and even with the un-perforated Universe pads installed, I was about to sit in the sun, in 78 degree weather, and wear them for several hours straight without getting hot or sweaty ears.
Excellent, and absolutely what I have come to expect with Zach’s headphones. The wood finish is gorgeous and very high quality, and grain structures in the wood are very well highlighted by said finish. Hardware is perfectly finished (black magnesium in this case), moves fluidly with no squeaks or binding or rattles. The yokes are the usual … a little stiff to extend/retract, but once in place they stay put and you shouldn’t have to fiddle with them once they are.
If you’ve heard and enjoyed the original Vérité, and wanted a closed-back headphone, then the Vérité C is a very safe bet. If you can only have one headphone, and it has to offer isolation, these are, for once, not robbing you off the best parts of the open-back experience (especially vs. the open Vérité)l and, for me, are one of only two, current, closed-back headphones, that I would consider for such a case.
I am really enjoying my time with the Vérité C. They’ve gotten by far the bulk of my listening time since they arrived. And I’ll say more once I’ve had more time with them, with a full review coming when I am done with my upcoming travels. For now, though, I think they’re excellent!