ZMF – Atrium
ZMF is known for its range of boutique headphones that not only have a distinct design language but also are tuned towards a specific “house” sound. The ZMF Atrium is perfect, namely the rolled-off sub-bass and somewhat muted mid-treble that hampers resolution.
ZMF’s last pair of open-backed headphones, the ZMF Verite, was launched back in 2019 and garnered critical acclaim. Even now the Verite is considered one of the best in the TOTL range. Now, after almost three years, we have the Atrium – ZMF’s new headphones with bio-cellulose drivers.
From material choices to the venting system and sheer attention to detail – very few headphones stand out in terms of design like the Atrium does.
Speaking of materials, it’s all-metal, wood, and leather. The cups are polished Cherry wood in the default configuration, but you can choose to have aged Cherry wood as well that has a distinctive brown hue. There are numerous vents around the earcup that are part of the damping system and allow the Atrium to be the most open-sounding ZMF headphones to date.
Buyers can choose between stainless steel or polished copper grilles. Do note that the copper grille adds to the weight. The yoke is aluminum and so is the headband which is padded via leather and foam. There is also a leather strap underneath the headband to evenly distribute weight.
Overall, the design is fabulous, and once held in hand, you come to appreciate how much work and thought has gone into making these headphones.
Comfort and isolation
Despite the noticeable weight of at least 490g (depending on wood and choice of grille), the Atrium is very comfortable to wear. There is adequate padding under the headband so no hotspots are formed around the temple. The earcups swivel and rotate freely to adapt to any face shape and size.
Lastly, the stock Universe earpads are roomy with a very soft and supple surround. The Be2 pads were the most uncomfortable for me due to the lower density of the foams, but the Auteur pads were just as comfortable with similarly thick foam insertion. Isolation is non-existent due to numerous vents and an open-acoustic design.
ZMF Atrium Sound
Depending on perception, some might even describe these as “dark sounding” though the upper-treble energy brings enough life into the mix. It’s the mid-treble recession that mostly de-emphasizes highs.
Staging is excellent on the Atrium. Amber Rubarth’s Tundra highlights the Atrium’s strength in this regard, with instruments placed at various depths from the listener’s head.
For the most part, imaging is precise but center-imaging is not class-leading. As a result, the sound projection is still headphone-like and cannot replicate the frontal projection of near-field speakers
Last thought about ZMF Atrium
The ZMF Atrium is perfect. They have an exceedingly natural sound that borders on intoxicating, and you’ll keep coming back for more. The timbre, the lifelike tone of strings and keys, and the atmospheric presentation, all coupled with the artisan build results in something exceptional.
For those who prefer the utmost resolution or dead-cold neutrality, the Atrium won’t appeal. However, for those who value naturalness and attention to detail – you are in for a treat.
Every masterpiece has its flaws, as does the ZMF Atrium. It’s just that those misgivings don’t make them any less of an accomplishment.
ZMF Atrium Specification:
- Impedance: 300 Ohms
- Driver: Biocellulose N52 Atrium Tuned Driver
- Weight: 490g ± 30g (aluminum chassis, black grille/rods)
- Aged Copper adds approx 30g
- Sensitivity: ~96dB/mW
ZMF Atrium INCLUDES
- Cherry Wood Atrium
- ZMF Stock Braided Cable and OFC Cable
- ZMF Universe Perforated Pads and 1 choice set
- ZMF Owner’s Card
- Seahorse Case
- Lifetime Driver Warranty