CanJam at RMAF2016: ZMF Headphones Atticus and Eikon

Zach Mehrbach, founder of ZMF Headphones, has become quite well known for his artisanal approach to producing beautiful wood headphones based on the Fostex T50RP planar magnetic driver. Now, with the upcoming Atticus ($999) and Eikon ($1299) headphones, Zach has moved away from the venerable, but inefficient planar magnetic driver.

The Atticus sports a TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) driver diaphragm and the Eikon uses a bio-cellulose driver. Both are 50mm drivers with large magnets and ceramic housings, and both headphones have 300 Ohm impedances, which makes them very well suited for tube amplification. Both are available in other woods for a modest increase in cost. Pre-ordering starts Nov. 4th and ends Dec 15th, shipping expected to begin Feb 1, 2017.


I thought the pair sounded really fine—Zach has a knack for making things that sound musical and he hasn't lost his touch here. No doubt some of the magic was coming from the very old's cool Decware amplifiers. The CS3 ($1279) (left in photo above) is a single-ended, class-A, Triode OTL using 6N1P-EB/6922/6Dj8 input tubes and 6N1P-EB/6922H triode tubes for the OTL power output stage. The Taboo UFO ($1995) uses a 6922 (6N1P) driving a pair of EL84 or SV83 (6P15P-EV) output tubes, and has been specifically designed for planar magnetic headphones. They sounded sweet and the look really set off the beautifully crafted wood of the ZMF headphones. Yummy!

Zach will give you the whole nine yards in the video.

Click here to view on YouTube.

tony's picture

Two years ago, in Ann Arbor, at a meet.

He's a craftsman, you can see it in his hands, he can make nice things.

I was at the meet to explore DACs, I heard the Schiit Yggy there, it didn't move the needle for me but I heard a beautiful Valhalla 2 ( loaded with Russian super tubes ) that sounded superb!, people were lining up to try headphones on that Valhalla, phew. Another beautiful thing was a Bottlehead Crack & Sennheiser HD800 system.

Well, I'm not a planer guy, otherwise I'd be doing business with Zach.

Annnnd, for sure, I love these old-school Amp designs. I didn't realize Decware is so near me in Illinois, I'll have to have a closer look-see.

Thanks for taking the time to report on this.

Tony in Michigan

Rlmendez20's picture

His two new headphones use Dynamic drivers now. One is the same kind of driver in the HD800 and the other is a biocellulose (like TH900.)

tony's picture

I hadn't realized.

Of course, I'm interested, especially since he's "local". ( I think Chicago Area ). It helps that his pricing hasn't gone bonkers.

Other "Important" factors are that he seems willing to be helpful, has scads of experience, and can actually make the stuff himself. I got the 'critical' sense of 'Transparency' from him, ( some of these outfits appear to be having some 'secret' supplier that designs and manufactures their stuff, they being only fantom manufacturers, saying they make their stuff but are probably just part of the Distribution systems).

Another plus is that he's been 'discovered' by Tyll, finally! Tyll is the only 100% reliable source of 'useful' guidance in this Industry! ( Joker too but he's part of the Tyll group, I think )

Thanks for writing to me with this information.

And, by the way, if you personally know Zach, you might mention that some youtube video of his shop would be wonderful.

Tony in Michigan

echineko's picture

Will there be a full review of these once they're in production?