RMAF 2019 Part Two: ZMF and Dekoni

ZMF’s Zach and Bevin Mehrbach were one of my first stops at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest’s headphone area. They are preparing to launch a new headphone, the ZMF Verite Closed back. The Verite Closed will launch Friday September 20th at 11 a.m., with a price of $2,199 USD. The first run of headphones will be available for $300 off the list price. The Standard wood will be MonkeyPod, though in ZMF fashion, there will be a variety of alternative and limited edition woods available both now and going forward.

The MonkeyPod is a very lightweight wood, and despite the Verite Closed having less wood cut out of it than any other ZMF headphone I’ve tried, it is remarkably light and comfortable for such a large set of cans. By far the most comfortable ZMF I’ve tried, with an excellent and even weight distribution. I talked to Mehrbach and he mentioned that new Magnesium baffle and chassis, in addition to the MonkeyPod, which allowed thinner cup walls, all added up to a much lighter, more comfortable set of cans.

Comfort isn’t the only improved thing on the Verite Closed.

Isolation is quite good, probably doing a better job of sound isolation than any other ZMF headphone, though still letting a touch of outside sound in. They don’t seem to leak much sound at all. Efficiency-wise, these are using ZMF’s top of the line Beryllium-Coated PEN driver, which despite its high impedance is relatively sensitive. These seem to be a pretty easy load to drive, though very revealing of amps and sources. This is by far my favorite ZMF headphone other than the Aeolus. The tuning reminds me somewhat of the Focal Stellia, though with a bit more sub-bass, a slight middle-midrange dip and ultra-clean treble. It’s a variation on the Harman Curve with just the smallest touch of warmth, where the Stellia has just a touch of brightness.

These sound full bodied but clear, snappy but open, smooth but with great separation. Tonally, these headphones seem to balance opposing qualities in a way I’ve not heard in any other headphone. They seem to be a little less amp picky than other ZMF’s, but still respond well to high quality tube amps and lower gain, smooth sounding solid-state amps. I’ll definitely be reviewing these and I’m looking forward to it – these could be a contender for my new favorite headphones. They are the kind of audio product that makes you think less and listen more.

Dekoni Audio’s table was my next stop. Everett from Dekoni, who is always super nice, shared news with me. Firstly, they’re developing a currently unnamed headphone carrying case. The design is interesting – less a pancake style flat-case, and more a bag into which headphones are dropped down into, with plenty of space for accessories. The prototype he showed me had a very pleasing and soft synthetic fibre exterior. While soft, the case had super stiff ‘soft’ walls and seemed pretty substantial in its protective ability. Retail should be around $40 USD.

Dekoni also has more than 60 new pad options. Yes, you read that right; more than 60. There are new pads for Audeze, Sennheiser HD6XX and 5XX platform heapdhones, as well as gaming-oriented pads for the GameOne, Sony MDR7506, Beyerdynamic DT1770 and 1990 and Custom One, Kraken gaming brand and Bose. They also now have fully vegan pad options, as well as new special pads for Shure, Audeze LCD and Sony Noise-Canceling MDR pads. The Shure, LCD and Sony NC pads will all be $50 USD, while all other special pads will be $40 USD.

But that’s still not all. Dekoni also has a myriad of new videos, explaining all of these new products and presenting measurements for all of the new pads. A fun bit of headphone history lives on at Dekoni, as they are now in possession of InnerFidelity’s old headphone measuring rig. They aren’t using IF’s Harman Curve-inspired compensation, but the results should be close enough to be comparable with the raw results you can still access on Innerfidelity. For those interested, check out Dekoni’s brand new website.

That’s all for now, up next, a new line from iFi and some very exciting and reasonably priced DIY-gone pro.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest