Confessions of an earpad-holic

Passion has its definitions. The expression in best summary is the pursuit of little details. If you’re passionate about your music, it pays to pay attention to headphone earpads.

When all the focus is on driver technologies and cables, it turns out the most perfunctory, and least alluring, of headphone parts is deserving of the greatest attention.

The significant improvements yielded by swapping these mini-miracles on our Focals and ZMF Headphones have constantly defied your expectations about these cost-effective tweaks. Long does Zepp spend educating, and demonstrating. 

But it turns out that we in the business can be taught things, too. Eugene picked up earpads for his ZMF Vérité Closed at the weekend. As an owner of this flagship closed-back, we rightly defer to his greater knowledge of his own headphone. 

Eugene’s first pair of ZMF headphones came at CanJam Singapore 2019. His knowledge of our favourite woodies is indisputable.

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His passion, seemingly too. Especially after he penned three pages worth of findings on his own accord, regarding the impact they made on his beryllium flagship, and emailed them to us. His little-known-facts were too good not to share. Here's the short of it. Off came his Vérité Closed's stock Solid Universe Lambskin Pads for...

Solid Auteur Hybrid Pads

  • Maintains the wide stage and airiness of the full Lambskin Auteur Pads (in fact I found these two aspects to be the same as the full Lambskin variant).
  • Tones down on bass department compared to the full Lambskin Auteur Pads; less hard-hitting, less intense
  • Tames the upper-mid and treble energy slightly; less harsh compared to the full Lambskin variant
  • Allows mids to shine more due to the toned-down bass
  • This is my go-to for ballads, acoustic music, classical/orchestral/soundtracks (~70 per cent of my music) due to its strength in air and staging, coupled with the reverb effect and decay from the closed-back design, making for a very life-like presentation

Not yet a believer? Wait until Eugene talks about his...

Solid BE-2 Lambskin Pads

  • Most neutral sounding of the pads I’ve tried on the Vérité Closed (but still retains the ZMF flavour)
  • Sounds 'cleaner', less euphonic, less reverb/decay
  • Sharpest imaging out of the pads I have tried on the Vérité Closed
  • Less airy than Auteur Pads, but does not sound nearly as congested as Universe Pads due to the 'cleaner' sound
  • This is my go-to for EDM and dance pop (~30 per cent of my music) where I value speed and clarity over euphony
  • I can imagine listeners coming from the Sennheiser HD800S / Audio-Technica ATH-ADX5000 / Focal Utopia camp who may find the ZMF house sound a tad too warm will prefer these pads

His words, not ours. Thanks, Eugene. If we’ve made an impact on your listening, please tell us. Such stories encourage us. In Eugene’s case, his tale could do so for others.

If you’re in a relationship rut with your present headphones, help comes in unsuspecting shapes and sizes from all corners like Kito, Yaxi and ZMF. Literally.

And advice comes from all corners of Head-Fi too. Expect it from unexpected sources, on the most unexpected topics. If you've been a pal, thanks. Give yourself a pad on the back.