ZMF Aeolus

The Aeolus is the open variant of the Atticus, using the same TPE driver. Like any ZMF headphone, build quality and handcrafting are spectacular. The comfort on these is also quite good, despite the above average weight.

Plush (leather or suede) pads and great suspension headband help getting a good fit on the head. The Aeolus is not that hard to power despite the 300 Ohms ; it requires less gain on my amps compared to my HD580 / HD600.

○ Release : 2018
○ Current status : In production
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 473g
○ Impedance : 300 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~98 db/mW
○ Average used price : $900-1000

Sound Impression
The Aeolus comes with different sets of pads, each of them changing the tonal balance.

Stock Aeolus pads (perforated leather) give them a very, very warm balance, with considerably boosted midbass / low-mids and recessed presence above 3 khz. I must admit being not a fan of this sound, too dark for my ears. The Aeolus with those pads is warmer than a HD650 by a long shot, with more emphasis below 200hz and less above 2khz.

Perforated suede pads and Verite pads are other pad options available. I didnt try the Verite pads as I dont have them at home, but did try the suede pads. The tonal balance is much closer to my likings, close to a balanced profile while still retaining a warmish (and very natural) tone. Bass is reduced by some degree. Extension below 40-45hz seems lacking to my ears, and midbass is still emphasized, but more ideally (to me, non basshead person) than with stock pads.

Midrange is very pleasing. Almost perfectly close to my ideal curve. Low-mids are more in line with the rest of the FR, and upper-midrange is not too dipped like with stock pads, and not forward like an HD600. Treble is very smooth ; some measurements show a peak around 8 khz that I couldnt hear. However, upper-treble could be a bit more articulated.

Technicalities are good, but poor for the price. Staging and separation are decent, while the overall image isn’t as wide as the top contenders (HD800, HE1000). Dynamics are excellent : the Aeolus slams well accross all the FR, but bass slam isn’t the best I’ve heard (HE6 or the Fostex biodynas hit harder). With stock pads, there was an echoey effect to the presentation that I found too emphasized. With suede pads, it’s much more nuanced.

I do think the Aeolus doesn’t sound super open, especially for the price. The not totally open design and the lack of upper-treble are the 2 reasons explaining that. I also dont find the Aeolus very resolving in the micro-details department. In general, the HE6 or the Elex (which I’ve directly A/Bed against the Aeolus) sound more open and a bit more articulated.

Still, I definitely recommend the Aeolus to anyone looking for a great warmish all-rounder. Even though it’s expensive (around 900-1400 depending on used/new condition, wood options, etc), I think it’s decently priced compared to competitors. 

 

Measurements & Resources

2 Comments

  • Suddenly_Bananas

    Worth looking into as a 600 owner? Or do you think a different, more complementary headphone is the play? I’ve debated it for a while, do you go for a complement that has better detail and technicals such as HD800, or some planar, or do I continue down this same path and get “this but better”? I know the Aeolus midrange is slightly different than HD600, but I’m sure you sorta get what I mean.

    • titanosk

      Really depends on what you want. The closest upgrade to HD600 would be the ZMF Auteur, the Aeolus is warmer than HD600 and closer to HD650 sound.
      I believe HD600 + Aeolus is a nice combo, the Aeolus with stock pads is very bassy and fun, and a good all-rounder with suede pads. My main issue with the Aeolus is recommending it to people looking for better technicalities and resolution over the HD6X0 serie. The Aeolus is not a detail monster and not worth the upgrade from a technical point of view. The HD800 is and will always be a great headphone and EQ or SDR mod can partially fix the tonality.

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