ZMF Blackwood

The Blackwood is a heavy T50rp mod (among many) manufactured by ZMF, still retailing for $699, which is quite expensive. It’s sealed and isolates very well, but definitely too bulky for portable use, and pretty insensitive.

Weight is extremely high for a closed-back, mostly because of the beautiful African black wood cups. Ergonomics are not the best – the headband is a bit hard to bend and I always had issues getting a good seal.

○ Release : 2015
○ Current status : In production
○ Type : Over-ear / Closed-back
○ Measured weight : 520g
○ Impedance : 50 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : unknown, probably less than 90db/mW
○ Average used price : $300-400

Sound Impression
The Blackwood is a balanced sounding can, but with edginess in the 5-6khz area I just cannot stand for long listening.

It’s a shame because the rest of the frequency response is really good : decent subbass presence (a bit emphasized when all ports all closed, missing some rumble when all are open). Midbass is pretty neutral, and midrange is fine, though a bit thin sounding. However, mid to treble transition is very unrefined and too forward for my ears. The “shh” sound are very strong and unpleasant. Treble also does not have impressive extension.

On the side of technicalities, I’m pleased by the width it offers as a closed-back can, with decent imaging and layering. Transients seem proper but like the stock T50rp I heard some time, it was a bit compressed and lacking in punch. The Blackwood seems to improve a bit in that regard.

I had the Fostex TH-X00 while buying the Blackwood. I prefered the latter as it sounded more balanced to me, but ultimately the lower-treble was too harsh so I got rid of them. TH-X00, while being too bassy and thick, is smoother sounding and offers a better treble presentation.

Measurements & Resources

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