Disclaimer: Zach loaned the ZMF OMNI and one other ZMF headphone for the purposes of this review. OMNI is a heavy mod of the Fostex TR50P, which starts that 899$ USD. You can find out all about it here: ZMF Omni — ZMF Headphones.
ZMF Headphones have come a long way. They’ve teamed up with talented wood shop, Vibro Labs (http://vibrolabs.com), and have fabricated damn comfy head pads. Coincidentally, the ones that came with my loaner are sheepskin. They don’t stick to your face like protein leather does, and they don’t sweat much. Leather, not synthetics, is the nicest non-porous material for high end headphones. You can also add a leather thong to tweak the head band.
They’re heavy, though, but thanks to the sturdy TR50P frame, they hardly rattle when taken off and put back on in rapid succession.
Before options, OMNI’s 899 bones fit nicely at the top of the middle-to-top end, and just below entry level high-end products. Price competition is varied, from MyST’s IzoPhones-30, to Oppo’s PM-2, to Audeze EL-8. Owing to its TR50P heritage, it is sturdy. Its ear cups hang on elegant, powerful sliding fulcrums. Those fulcrums are coated in something hard, mottled and ready for abuse. The short is: if you get on with TR50P, OMNI will feel great. If you don’t, you won’t. OMNI is heavy, a bit clampy, and because it is pretty much closed, not typical summer friendly.
The thing that’s not great about OMNI is the same thing that wasn’t great with the original mods: an uncomfy headband, and crack-prone o-rings guarding the Audeze-compatible jacks, and light wires that sway in the wind. The Novoflex BALPRO T/S camera uses the same sort of o-rings, which last about a year with light use before cracking. The good news is that, unlike a camera whose friction locks depend on rubber stoppers, OMNI’s o-rings are cosmetic. Even if they crack and die OMNI will keep plugging away. Of course, the headband can be replaced. And OMNI’s plugs can be switched for something else.
Speaking of plugs, Zach terminated this pair with a 4-pin XLR Neutrik plug. It’s fabric from there on up to the y-split, out of which splits twin, twisted dual strands. The y-split pulls the cable down, and knocks against desks, shirt-mounted pagers, coffee mugs, etc. The textile bit bends easily, retaining almost no memory. It’s an easy to use cable, but frustrating cable design that I would replace with something stiffer.
Sound and more after the jump: