ZMF Verité Closed Back Over Ear Headphones
Last year, the ZMF Verité took the flagship headphone landscape by storm. It was the first headphone to bring beryllium-coated drivers to the 300-Ohm format. The result was a punchy, precise and musically intoxicating combination which garnered a 2019 Enjoy the Music.com Blue Note Award. Also, you can read my World Premiere Review of ZMF's Vérité open back headphones at this link. Now, the Verité is back in a new incarnation with the Verité Closed ($2499).
The Verité Closed is a somewhat new physical shape among the ZMF closed backs, moving away from the compound curve design of Atticus and Eikon in favor of a more rounded cup design. Even still, ZMF fans will be well pleased, as it retains the gorgeous musical tonality and dynamic wallop for which ZMFs have become well known.
The sound is reminiscent of the open Verité in a number of ways, bringing gobs of resolution and a vast soundscape. It differs slightly in the tuning, however, being a bit more linear overall, especially in the upper midrange. While it's not ruler flat, it's less recessed around the 2kHz region, and for many listeners, this may actually make it a better choice as an all-rounder than its open counterpart. I felt the flatter midrange made it especially effective with rock and heavy metal, where the increased presence gave guitars an extra bit of lift and energy.
The Verité Closed also excelled in many of the same areas as the open version, absolutely crushing with electronic music and instrumental jazz. Over the long haul, it will be interesting to see where the Verité Closed pans out in the community's opinion relative to the open version, as they are just different enough that people will likely have a strong opinion one way or another. In my opinion, I would probably give the very slight edge to the closed version due to the more linear response and the fact that a closed headphone this good is nearly impossible to come by.
Let's dive into the sound.
You Said It Was Closed, Right?
I tested the Verite Closed with 3 sets of pads: the Universe Pads, Auteur Pads and the Suede Auteur Pads – these each had a pronounced effect on my perception of the stage. The Universe pads presented the stage in a very natural way, while the Auteur pads took me several rows back adding a very noticeable amount of depth. With the Auteur Pads equipped, I'd be hard-pressed to name a more spacious closed headphone. The Verité Closed sounds absolutely HUGE.
The tradeoff in switching to back to the Universe pads was a bit more linear, gently downward sloping frequency response. The Auteur pads, in comparison, were a little more W-shaped and fun. The Suede Auteur pads struck a nice balance between the two, not being quite as dark as the Universe pads, but having less coloration than the Auteur pads overall. I also felt they were the most comfortable, so I used them for the majority of the review.
In terms of tonality, the Verite Closed fits nicely into the closed back landscape. Compared to other popular closed models, I would characterize the sound as warmer and lusher overall than the Ether-C, and more natural sounding than the Fostex TH variants. Verite Closed does a great job of presenting things in a very crisp and resolving way that manages to always stay musical and non-fatiguing. It is easy on the ears, but dynamic and exciting at the same time. This makes it a very, very easy headphone to want to listen to.
Bass is nicely extended, tight and very punchy. It's not excessive, as some closed headphones tend to be, and definitely doesn't bleed into other frequencies, but it's still more than enough to make bassheads smile. Like it's open brother, I found Verité Closed especially adept with electronic music, where the dynamic, explosive bass performance and crisp imaging became very involving. I also found Verité Closed to be particularly good with classical music, where the big stage, lush and full sound, dynamics, extension, and resolution all shined.
The midrange is exceptional, to say the least, offering and incredible sense of "fullness" that was almost overwhelming at times... in a very, very good way. The Verité Closed delivered the music with weight and gravitas that was simply intoxicating. Listening to Beck's new collection of singles on the Verité Closed demanded repeated listens, and when I found myself replaying "Uneventful Days" a fourth time, I felt like that was a pretty good indicator that I was enjoying myself maybe a little too much.
Treble, like the Verité Open, is incredibly quick, with the beryllium-coated drivers showcasing their incredible aptitude for scintillatingly brisk transients. Verité Closed has a terrific sense of snap, which brings sonic images into clear focus immediately. This is especially apparent with the Auteur and Suede pads, which brought out a little more sizzle up top with their fun, slightly "W" shaped response and deeper stage.
The dynamics, however, are the real star of the show. No matter what I threw at the Verité Closed, the music just felt alive. Whether it was a massive orchestral crescendo, a slamming bassline or anything else I could find, Verité Closed absolutely unleashed it like a tidal wave every time.
What's more, it wasn't picky. I enjoyed it pretty equally on tubes, solid state, hybrid and straight out of the FiiO M11 Pro DAP. In every case, the Verité Closed showed composure, nuance, space and tons of macrodynamic slam. This is not always an easy combo to achieve. ZMF's Atticus and Sennheiser's HD800, for example, are two headphones that change quite a bit, depending on the amplification. The Verité Closed had some nuanced differences, but you won't need to change your amplification in order to fully enjoy it.
If you're looking for an end-game closed back that delivers resolution, space and musicality; is versatile and dynamic in sound; and can be driven easily with your full size rig and DAPs alike, Verité Closed is the total package and an absolute must-audition.
Equipment Used During This Review