I am not sure if anybody else is interested in this aspect of the Verite as it has not been discussed much but I will mention it. Compared to other open headphones, especially the Focal Clear/Utopia I find that the Verite leak quite a bit less, although definitely more so than my MrSpeakers Aeon closed.
I live in a loft type of dwelling with a wife who has super power hearing capabilities and as such my time with the Focals was limited to when she was either not home or in bed asleep with her earplugs in. Otherwise I would get comments like, “what’s the point of using headphones if everyone around you can hear what you’re listening to?” Or, “you’re going to go deaf.” With the Verite I rarely get any complaints or comments.
I consider them to be more semi open than open and while they don’t sound as “open” as the Focals, with the angled pads they have more stage depth and width than the Clear and by no means sound closed. But very importantly for me, they not only sound better but leak much less.
While I am very intrigued by the transformative experiences people are having with the RAAL SR1a, considering that they more than just leak but rather play like ear monitors, I would never be able to use them in my living arrangement except for when my wife travels for work, but I would spend much of that time using my speaker system.
Yeah this is an important topic - especially given the common environments for listening to fully open headphones. If you’re sat at a computer desk, or an office, or anywhere that has ambient sound - it can dramatically impact overall enjoyment. With the Verite, that semi-open factor allows it to gain the benefits of an open-back headphone without introduce noise floor from surroundings, and also without impacting others.
Since I have to do them for the Vérité C (closed-back) that just arrived, I’ll have to run my isolation/attenuation tests on these too (normally only do them on closed cans) and see how they stack up, along with a comparison to a true open-back like the HD650 etc.
So, here’s a couple of plots showing the relative level of Attentuation/Isolation for the regular (open) Vérité (with Universe pads). See here for details on these measurements.
Note that when reading these graphs, the higher the line/values, the less leakage is being exhibited. Or, perhaps more simply, the higher the line, the more suitable that headphone is for listening around others without disturbing them.
The first simply plots the Vérité against the HD650, which will serve as the “reference” comparator and the LCD-4 (per @pwjazz’s request; and noting they are the only Audeze headphone I have around - sincee I own them):
The ZMF Vérité definitely has less leakage than either of the other two open-back cans in this comparison. Though being realistic, music listened to at the “normal” reference point of about 80-85 db is going to be pretty easily audible to someone sitting within a meter of you. If you listen at 70 dB or below, you might get away with it.
Now, compare the two open cans here (HD650 and Vérité) to a couple of closed back headphones, the Focal Elegia and the MrSpeakers AFC and the difference becomes quite apparent:
With the AFC you could listen at “normal” levels (80-85 dB in my world) and not disturb anyone that wasn’t trying to snuggle up on you.
Other than the Grado GS and RS series headphones, I have found, or rather my wife has found, the Focal Clear to leak more than any other headphone I have used, especially at around 85, peaking at 90+ dB. I am curious if your measurements or your experiences bear this out.
I should note that I have found the AFC to be one of the best headphones at isolation that I have used.
I can’t honestly say I’ve ever paid any attention at all to how much leakage there is with any open-backed headphone, much less measured it, before.
I have a fairly binary use case for either, essentially:
If I have/want to prevent leakage, or need some attenuation of outside noise, I use closed-back cans.
And if not, which is probably >95% of my listening time, I use open back cans.
Right tool for the job, and all that.
This was something that frustrated me with the HD820 reviews, with myriad people complaining that, in essence, “they don’t sound as good as the HD800S, but cost more”. Which is great, and true in general, but I maintain the position of “don’t buy closed back cans if you don’t need isolation”, which also means “don’t buy open-back cans if you DO need isolation”.
The only reason I can think of for doing so is if you can only have one pair of headphones …
Perhaps my situation is somewhat unique as I live in a loft type dwelling and while I have 2 floors, the upstairs is open to the downstairs.
When I am sitting next to someone or even in the same room, depending on size, I will use closed back headphones but with the Clear there is enough leakage to bother someone who is downstairs in the bedroom at the back of our loft while I am upstairs. That is not the case with the Verite nor was it when I owned the E-MU Teak, which are also semi open.
I assume that for others who live in small apartments or who maybe have cats that won’t allow them to close doors, the extent to which an open back leaks might be an issue, especially since, as you have pointed out - in term of sound quality - open back is more often than not the better option.
Oh, my living arrangement is similar. Hell, with the SR1a at anything above normal levels my wife could sing-along with whatever I’m listening to from another room and not need a lyric sheet …
I was just saying why I don’t generally don’t bother to pay attention to leakage on open cans. They’re all leakier than I’d want to deal with, so I don’t bother and just go closed when I care about leakage.
My wife always complained about leakage from two rooms away (doors open) with both the Focal Clears and HD800, so far the Verite and Aeolus are far less likely to rouse my wife from bed to tell me to turn it down and shut the door lol…I’m usually listening between 75db -85db.
My 3rd* pair of Vérité arrived (I sold my first pair of “Pheasantwood” because I liked the Ziricote and Cocobolo versions better, aesthetically). So, now I’m back to having a pair for home and one for the office.
I am, no doubt, biased, but I think Zach outdid himself on this set (Cocobolo w/ Copper Grilles/Rods):
For a bit of fun, here’s what my Cocobolos would have looked like had I gone with polished steel hardware instead of copper (which was my initial though, until I saw pictures of the copper and learned that it was untreated):
Can’t view it, since it’s Facebook and I don’t go there, but I don’t personally plan on “doing” anything to the copper. It can do it’s thing naturally and if I like it, I’ll leave it like that, and if not, I’ll polish it up again and keep it bright.
I’m sure others will find it interesting, however.