ZMF Atrium Impressions & Measurements

The Atrium is ZMF's latest headphone featuring a custom-designed biocellulose dynamic driver and Zach's famous wood cup design. This new headphone also features an all-new grill pattern that is exquisite and internal filter system. This new Atrium is marketed as a co-flagship product, and comes in at the same price as the Verite series, which starts at $2499. 

This headphone is part of a private loaner tour courtesy of ZMF and will be shipped to the next user after this review.

The new Atrium comes in similarly weighted as the Verite series, and the base Atrium model is roughly 490 grams but can vary in either direction depending on the chassis and grill/rod combination chosen. The model I have on hand has aluminum chassis and aged copper grill and rods, making this on the heavier side of the headphone options. It weighs approximately 545 grams with the Universe pads attached.

That said though, I did not find this headphone to be so heavy I could not wear it, and perhaps that is in part due to the new headband padding that is added to the upper band.  There is still a leather strap on this unit which will help with weight distribution as well. For my personal preferences, I slapped on my ZMF Co-Pilot pad on this headphone, and most of all my weight concerns were put to bed. Of course, this is not an included accessory, but can be purchased separately from ZMF directly.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about the design and looks. I think they speak for themselves. They are gorgeous, as usual, and perhaps the best looking ZMF set yet.

Sound Impressions

The Atrium is very much a ZMF-house tuning, with lush and natural mids that really carry the headphone. There is a small low-end emphasis in the bass, but it's not overwhelming or distracting, and it's fairly neutral up until the upper-mids. Treble is tuned darker than what I consider neutral, but there's enough energy in the upper treble range to not make this headphone totally dark sounding. It's actually a very well-tuned set, and probably my favorite ZMF headphone overall.

My listening impressions came solely with my headphone setup of Roon source from my audio server, Holo Audio Spring 3 KTE DAC, and the Bakoon AMP-13R amplifier.

How does this headphone differ from the rest of the ZMF lineup?

Well first off, it's probably some sort of cross between the neutral-tuned Auteur, and the flagship Verite. The tuning is probably in-between both, as well as a technical performance somewhere in-between as well.

This headphone isn't one you'd pick if you're looking for fast transients and attack. That'd be one of the Verite's with their beryllium-based driver, which has quick agile performance that gives perhaps a better resolution overall, and a highly technical sounding headphone in a warm and dark headphone tuning that is unlike many things out there. 

Instead, the biocellulose driver here presents a more natural decay, with longer sustain, and more body and softness than the edgier transients of Verite. This one is made for rock music. While it doesn't have a massive amount of deep sub-bass and slam qualities, it has got a nice organic feel to it that works really well with any rock song I threw at it, and I gave it an onslaught of indie rock, 90's alternative, and classic rock songs I listen to frequently. It handles it all wonderfully, and with it's darker treble tuning, there's little fatigue from hard striking cymbals or hi-hats.

Pads, Filters, and more Squiggles

There is a slight peak at 5KHz though, and that helps bring some guitar riffs up front, but I never found it fatiguing either, nor sharp or harsh. That said, this specific Atrium uses the full solid mesh filter. If you swapped it out with one of the more perforated filter options, this area may become more focused, and perhaps sharp. I did remove the filter to see how it would respond, and it wasn't pretty, so let's just keep it on for sanity sake. 

Speaking of modifications, this tour package also came with a set of Auteur perforated leather pads. The default pad this came with was the Universe perforated leather pads. The differences in appearance is quite small if you are looking from afar, and distinguishing the two could cause some confusion. The Auteur, though, has a steeper angle to it, and this makes it a little taller than the Universe pads on the rear side, as well as having a wider skin-touching surface on the back-end too.

As far as sound changes, the Auteur pads are a subtle shade of more relaxing than the Universe pads, with a little bigger soundstage along with a more subtle sound, specifically in the upper-midrange and beyond. That said, I still prefer the Universe pad option for a more neutral tuning that I personally care for more.

The Atrium has a medium-sized soundstage, and isn't quite as large as Verite, but does not come off as collapsed, trapped-in or claustrophobic. I actually like the overall presentation, and imaging is solid to go with it. While this specific headphone doesn't come off as grand and sweeping, it has a more traditional portrait and music is flowing nicely through it.

More Impressions

I'm going to get away from talking the technical nitpicks now, and just talk about how much I've enjoyed my brief time with the Atrium. I can go on and on with random technical jargon or what not, but that does take away from just the overall satisfaction of listening to music with this thing on.

As I said before, rock music excels with this headphone. There's a wonderful balance of hearing something represented so effortlessly like it does on the Atrium. Very rarely did I find the tuning to sound strange. Yes, it came up here and there, and it may not work for perhaps the modern pop and electronic music, but throw on a rock band and you got a great cozy set to listen to here.

The darkness of the treble is typically something that bothers me a lot. The Focal Clear Mg was one of those headphones I had a lot of high expectations for, as someone who loved and adored the Elex, the Clear and the Utopia. Instead, they made it dark sounding, and went overboard, and it clearly ruined some of the magic and smeared the technical attributes of the Focal series. 

That's not a problem here with the Atrium. The darker tuned treble works. It lets me enjoy fatigue-free listening for hours. It works well because despite what I could call a veil or grain, it doesn't sound like that at all. There's little to no spill over to ruin some of the technical attributes of this headphone. Detail still out clearly, and I don't feel like upper harmonics are missing; perhaps slightly tamed down, but never muted.

I'm blasting through my 90's rock playlist now, and just feeling great listening to Eddie Vedder's howling vocals, Tom Morrelo's buzzing guitars, or the steady drumming of Jimmy Chamberlain. There's something enchanting about listening to the Atrium that makes me smile, bop my head, tap my feet, and just relax through the evening.

Price-point aside, this is a really nice headphone overall. Great looks, great sound, and you know you're getting a lot of care and dedication put into each unique set.

View the product ratings on Antdroid's IEM Ranking List and/or Antdroid's Headphone Ranking List


  1. The rank hesdphone tab has mistakes. See the price of that.

    1. I have fixed it. I was still working on it and had to leave and just got back to finishing the list. :)


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