The Auteur is the open equivalent of the Eikon. It uses the same chassis as other dynamic ZMF headphones, and the biocellulose drivers from the Eikon.
Many woods have been used to make the Auteur, including some limited editions (Cocobolo, Blackwood, etc). My pair has walnut cups. The weight will change depending on the wood used, as well as some slight difference in sound. Like any other ZMF, built is top-tier and comfort pretty nice considering the heavy weight.
○ Release : 2017
○ Current status : In production
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 525g
○ Impedance : 300 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~98 db/mW
○ Average used price : $1000-1300
The Auteur has probably the best tonality I have found in a high-end pair of headphones, with the Elex being close. Only headphones I might like better (for tone) would be the Susvara (though I have some doubts), the upcoming Borealis / Heddphone, as well as the Sennheiser HE60.
The bass is precise, and definitely not emphasized, but with great extension. I still prefer the bass on the Elex, it sounds tighter and punchier. The Auteur can reach well 35-40 Hz but falls apart below that, like any dynamic open-back.
The midrange is extremely pleasant and chill-out, similar to the Aeolus, but a bit more forward around 3-4 kHz. The treble is a noticeable step-up over the Aeolus, with better clarity, presence and sense of air. It’s however a bit more elevated, especially around 6-7 kHz, but not as much as an Elex or (of course) HD800.
Resolution, dynamics and staging are all pretty solid. While the Auteur does not have the level of micro-detail as lower priced models like the HD800, Hifiman HE6 or Stax L700, it’s still pretty capable and much more resolving than everything below $500. The staging, in particular, is quite nice and wide, noticeably larger than the Aeolus, Elex or most open headphones I’ve heard below $1500. The macro-dynamics are excellent, in my opinion quite close to the Focal Elex / Clear or Hifiman HE-6.
I enjoy a lot the Auteur, and these impressions have been done with the stock pads, simply called Auteur perforated lambskin pads. Eikon perforated lambskin pads are also quite good, but they sound a bit more annoying to me in the mid-treble, and we loose some staging width. I plan to try some suede pad options soon.
The Auteur simply replaced the Aeolus as my favorite relaxing headphones, as they are very natural sounding without particular flaw in sound, build and comfort.
Measurements & Resources