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ZMFheadphones
414
ZMF Headphones
May 15, 2018
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For cable nay-sayers!
I certainly won't try to pitch you on whether cables make a difference or not as that's a losing battle. But I do want to state that designing our new line of wires took just as much time, effort and R/D as designing any of our headphones. A lot of time was spent comparing wires and finding out what made the most noticeable changes for positive audible changes in signal conduction and making sure the wires feel and look of premium quality. Believe it or not braided cables with top quality wire cost a lot to make. If you compare what we offer for the price, it's much less expensive than a lot of other stuff out there. Whether you buy them is of-course up to you, and a decision each headphone user will have to make on their own. I often tell potential cable customers that cables are aesthetic, sonic and form factor upgrades (not always in that order for each person). What percentage that equals always differs for each specific person as with anything in audiophilia. In short - we're not telling you that you need a cable to enjoy your gear. But for those that believe in it and want a top quality cable, we did our best, I promise!
May 15, 2018
RayF
23752
May 15, 2018
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May 15, 2018
scottoo
22
May 16, 2018
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Having met Zach, and heard, and purchased a pair of his Auteur Blackwoods at CanJam Socal, I'd personally believe in what he thinks is good. His standard cables are very good. I replaced my HD650 cables with a basic Cardas upgrade, which helped get rid of quite a bit of grain in the sound. I don't detect any grain even with the standard ZMF cables. Though what we haven't heard yet, is hard to fathom what or how much better something can be until you've tried it. Zach is an awesome person, gifted and generous. We're lucky to have him crafting sonic art for "us".
May 16, 2018
RayF
23752
May 16, 2018
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Nice man ≠ good sound.
May 16, 2018
scottoo
22
May 16, 2018
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Good point, however in Zach's case, from my experience of listening to his Auteurs and being blown away after listening to a number of other exceptional headphones, I think he has a real gift of voicing and developing audio products. I didn't have a chance to a/b his cables unfortunately, as I was trying to make a decision between teak or blackwood auteurs in the final minutes of the show. I do think he is kind of a genius. And he is a marvel of a person.
May 16, 2018
RayF
23752
May 16, 2018
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Marvelous person ≠ good sound (either) but I take your point. BTW, did you opt for the Teak or Blackwood?
(Edited)
May 16, 2018
pd710
8
May 16, 2018
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Research(R&D) usually implies objective measurable and repeatable obeservations. It would be fantastic if you could share the objective measurable properies of the sound impact of the cable and what you were trying optimize and build towards. (I am not being snarky or sarcastic, I am genuinely curious to see if we have the data to prove one way or another).
May 16, 2018
ZMFheadphones
414
ZMF Headphones
May 16, 2018
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We found:
1. Lowering the resistance by using as many strands as possible per AWG = less hash, strain to the sound. More natural effects with notes "popping" more instead of sounding strained at all. 2. Nylon insulation helps direct current away from the center of the wire and helps dampen from wire movement and/or static build-up. This helps stay away from stridency in the sound. 3. A combination of the above depending on the amount of strands and strand size used and whether we used silver or copper could take the cable in a number of directions. We spent a lot of money trying different bundle configurations to find what sounded subjectively best with our and other MFR's headphones.
As far as showing you graphs, what I can say is this. It's the same thing as different woods with our headphones. They sound very different, and it's not until you sit someone down with a Blackwood headphone and a Teak headphone that they realize how different a headphone tuned exactly the same with two different woods can sound. All material, whether it be wood, metal, etc has different qualities that affect timbre. You really have to hear it to understand it, posting a bunch of CSD's, IR's etc etc may show slight differences, but especially with cables the sonic difference is too slight to be able to tell you it's worth buying or not. That's something you'll have to answer for yourself.
May 16, 2018
Mshenay
130
May 16, 2018
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Excellent point! An I've always been a big fan of wood cupped headphones because of the slight differences that exist but also the more natural timbre qualities I felt wood can bring.
As for cables the changes are small, but a few small changes do come together to make a larger difference. I originally began chaining cables to accommodate a balanced amplifier I owned and to make a single modular system for all my headphones, so I never noticed any difference from the cable it self as non of my "stock" sables worked with the best amp I had atm.
What took me by surprise was what I heard when I made some upgrades and switch back to Single End from balanced, an one day one of my custom cables had a tear in it. Entirely my fault and the builder happily repair'd it for me. How ever during that time I had to swap back into one of my stock cables, and right off the bat I noticed how harsh every sounded! So for me I more or less stumble'd on the fidelity differences
Non the less, as for hearing it I just recommend you try it one day. Get a cable, listen to it for a week, and just focus on your music.
Then switch back to the original, most of the time IF the difference is enough for you to notice... you'll notice it. An when you do the switch back pick a track that you like and know well. An sometimes you may not have a word for what's off but... you'll notice that somethings off.
An if you don't notice anything, well that's fine too! Sound fidelity aside, a lot of second hand cables tend to be built to better standards than stock options and often have a nice look & feel to them. Plus you'll often get a Warranty with that equipment that includes some repairs and maintenance that goes beyond what the manufacturer offers you.
Either way like a lot of things in the Audio hobby it's good to hear it for your self. Don't get caught up in the negative or positive feed back until you've had a chance to listen for yourself!
May 16, 2018
staticdynamo
0
May 17, 2018
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I believe in your words " we did our best". I have your Eikon headphones , and they are excellent. I decided to join . I'm looking forward to use Silver Michanikos cable .
May 17, 2018
scottoo
22
May 18, 2018
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I got hooked on the Teaks at another table at Canjam... they had this quality of sound, that I may only hint at in words: uplifting, quickening, joyous, giddy :) If I'm listening to something and I get caught up and soar a bit, for me that's like goosebumps ;) That was the teaks, and this totally intrigued me. So ended up at the ZMF table, and also listened to the blackwoods going back forth many times. Now the blackwoods at first didn't have this euphoric energy to me, but I began to appreciate what they did really well. A bit less resonance (denser wood), a bit more rooted, earthy, yet so much goodness in detail, smoothness, agility, musicality. I ended up picking up the blackwoods, though would be really happy to also own the teaks! There is a naturalness to the Auteurs that is special. I went to can jam fully expecting to plunk down for Focal's top model, but it tends to have a bit of grain that is distracting along with all the glory of detail it offers. The Auteurs, to me, have a more refined texture, excellent detail, clarity, and it's easier to just enjoy the music. Plus the Artistry and craftsmanship, are a treasure just on it's own.
May 18, 2018
RayF
23752
May 18, 2018
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Seems like it would have been a difficult decision but it sounds like you made the right choice. I suppose the only other option would have been to buy both ;- )
(Edited)
May 18, 2018
kokkat
212
May 19, 2018
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Please confirm below for the Atmos C 5.5ft for HD6XX 4-Pin Balanced ($149.99):
1. The pin assignment for the 4-Pin XLR
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2. The letter R or L on the Sennheiser connector should be facing outward (just to make sure the PLUS and MINUS / phase is correct)
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@ZMFheadphones Thank you
May 19, 2018
SpeedyOyster
5
May 19, 2018
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Hey Zach -- Is it possible to buy an upgrade to the 1/4" termination end ? (Specifically thinking of the Eidolic that I think you offer on your site)
May 19, 2018
Evshrug
2004
Oct 1, 2020
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Zach isn't nice due to an absence of "meanness," it's a care and passion that permeates interpersonal interactions, his customer service, and a certain kind of empathy in trying to understand what his customers want. I would argue that a passion and care for customers and products tends to yield results. On a similar note, his headphone business mostly exists just because people wanted it to. ZMF = Zach Merlbach Films... he wanted to be an auteur of video, but he had some prior experience as a luthier and he applied that knowledge to a side project, modifying some Fostex T50RP, and gave some to friends who heard his mods and encouraged him to make more. Buying commercial T50RP's and reselling modded versions, his margins were CRAP, and yet the demand had him working full-time. Fortunately, with higher demand and respect, he also made connections that enabled him to scale up and make his own designs at scale. So, he's a nice man (and his wife! They were making them out of their home until just a few years ago!) who has really applied himself to the journey, and improved his knowledge and skill over time. "I," at least, can respect him for that.
Oct 1, 2020
RayF
23752
Oct 1, 2020
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Oh, well the wife--nobody mentioned her!
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Is she a goer? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink; know what I mean? Know what I mean?!
(Edited)
Oct 1, 2020
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