Sennheiser HD800s (Updated 2/16/2022)
*Update 4/6/2022 - Rewrote the sound review section. I found my prior review was not complete and true to my current experience.
I first got introduced to ZMF headphones during a trip to CanJam SoCal 2021. I had met a fellow hobbyist who had the Aeolus and let me try it. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend enough time with the Aeolus to get to know the signature and note impressions.
Around the holiday season, I signed up for the ZMF newsletter, and I’m glad I did; ZMF had a sale on 12.3.2021 that featured limited headphones with figured, rare, and exotic wooden cups, so I took a deep dive and purchased four headphones: the Vérité (Erskine, Camphor Burl), Aeolus (Vaskas), and Eikon.
I appreciate the work that ZMF has done to create a unique experience for customers. The Aeolus were neatly packaged, coming in a wooden case with velvety material to support the headphones, earpads to customize, and a booklet containing information regarding the headphone.
With the design and addition of color to the Stabilized cups and the metal plates adding an ethereal look to the headphones, I felt compelled, and there was no better timing for me. These headphones have an inspired, timeless look that is simply unique and breathtakingly beautiful. The aesthetics of the Stabilized cups goes above and beyond; it is truly a work of art.
Build & Comfort
I’ve never placed too much value on the build of a headphone, but because they were so unique, the Aeolus was the first headphone that made me think about the external construction of a headphone. I was impressed with the unboxing experience that I curiously examined the construction of my Aeolus.
I was immediately happy that they did not weigh much when I placed them on my head for the first time. These are very comfortable headphones for me. Not as light as the HD650 or HD800s, but still quite light and not very noticeable at ~470G.
I remember feeling a bit confused when I first put on the Aeolus for the first time; it was my first ZMF headphone. It’s comfortable to wear, the pad-to-ear distance is nice, and fully covers my ears; real comfortable.
The Aeolus’s sound is chain-dependent. It is an encompassing presentation that sounds fundamentally “big”. It has a lot of air and space, and the imaging is such that much depth is portrayed.
Every headphone has a signature and a different sense of space. I find that with the Aeolus, it’s always takes on a grand character with energy to keep you on your toes.
Other headphones achieve grandness in different ways. I find that with the HiFiMan HE6SE, the extension of the notes gives resolution, impacting the scene of the music and sense of space, whereas, with the ZMF Aeolus, it’s mainly forward and engaging, but can also paint a spacious scene for you, while still sounding resolving, however less resolving than headphones like the Sennheiser HD 800 S or HiFiMan HE6SE. The Aeolus sacrifices some resolution for warmth, liquidity, and engagement.
It's interesting to think about how the wood affects the sound of the headphones. Owning both the ZMF Vérité Open Camphor Burl and Vérité Open Blue Camphor Burl Stabilized, I find that each wood has a tone associated with it. With the Aeolus Vaskas, teal stabilized maple burl is utilized for the wooden casing.
I think the Aeolus Vaskas with the teal stabilized maple burl is a great headphone to have as part of any headphone stable. For me, its attraction is that it's a warm, engaging headphone with appealing imaging and rumble, while still having that resolution that is quality.
For tracks with engineered quality, the spacious sound with the engagement of the Aeolus creates a feeling as if you're wading in the music. It takes the apparent spaciousness of the sound in the track and adds rhythm, color, and takes on a rather dramatic character. It sounds so good that the resolving and engaging presentation is an afterthought as you enjoy the music.
The Aeolus is an awesome headphone with a unique, deep expression. I’m sold by both the aesthetics and the sound of the Aeolus. It is a truly deft headphone that allows interpretation through the scene that it skillfully interprets.
I've found that it pairs wonderfully with the ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 because the soundstage is smaller compared to amplifiers like the ampsandsound Bigger Ben Rev 2 and Agartha 2021, and the notes seem less spread out and have more color/life in them.
Sources: Audio-GD HE-7 MK I, Yulong D18
Cables: LCD Premium Cable, Blue Jeans Coaxial Cables (3 foot, 6 foot)
USB: Singxer SU-6
Amplifiers: Yulong A18, Feliks Audio Euforia, ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2, ampsandsound Agartha 2021
Sennheiser HD800s (Updated 2/16/2022)
ZMF Vérité Open (Stabilized)
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