ZMF Vérité Closed Review

ZMF Vérité Closed

Sony MDR-Z1R

The top-dog of Sony’s vast stable of headphones (and IEMs) is an imposing beast, in both sound and looks. It doesn’t have the beautiful wood cups of its rivals, but its understated design betrays its intentions – it is, patently, a no-nonsense headphone.

Starting with the bass, the Sony MDR-Z1R has a weightier and bolder presentation; it is at once grand and imposing. The lows aren’t excessive, though, so it strays away from being labeled a bass cannon, but it has enough body to impose upon the listener an aural vision of authority and potency. The Vérité Closed edges the MDR-Z1R in terms of layering, but the Sony flagship rebounds by offering higher marks in texture, prominence, slam, rumble, and sub-bass extension.

The midrange on the MDR-Z1R is thick and full-bodied, offering gobs of authority and abundance. The Vérité Closed, however, presents a lower level of exuberance and lushness, but trades up for better performance in clarity, detail and organic timbre. The Sony flagship has a tendency to sound a little muddled in relative comparison.

The treble on both headphones aren’t their strongest suits, so it’s a fairly good match here. The MDR-Z1R exercises less control over the entire treble section, resulting in highs that are peaky and a little runaway; there is a higher level of energy with the Sony. On the other hand, the Vérité Closed is a lot smoother and controlled, but offers a comparable level of sparkle.

The MDR-Z1R is one of the most comfortable headphones on the market, thanks to a light but rigid body, and some of the best headphone pads in the business.

ZMF Vérité Closed

Audeze LCD-XC

This is the 2019 version of the Audeze LCD-XC, with the original wood cups. This has long been the closed-back flagship of the prominent Audeze headphone family. It has undergone a recent revision, but the original still retains its quirks and its share of fans. I am one of them.

In the bass department, the LCD-XC has the cleaner and leaner profile – it produces well-defined and sculpted lows. It is faster than the Vérité Closed in terms of speed and transients, but it lacks the grand authority and enchanting texture that’s readily apparent in its rival. Nevertheless, the Audeze retains a decent level of punch and impact.

In the midrange, the LCD-XC is both articulate and detailed, providing a good dose of body and presence with both vocals and instruments. With that being said, the tonality of the LCD-XC comes into play here – there is a dip in the lower midrange that results in male voices sounding decidedly weaker in authority and control vis-à-vis female vocals. The Vérité Closed eschews any tonality-related issues, offering a well-balanced, yet resolving tone that creates equally potent and captivating vocals.

The treble on the LCD-XC is more similar than different to the presentation of the Vérité Closed. Both are well-tempered, and they lack any unwanted peaks in the higher registers. These 2 rivals are also twinned in the amount of glow that’s present in the highs. Neither offer a stronger level of presence and air than the other, too.

The LCD-XC is heavier than the Vérité Closed, and also offers a stronger clamping force. Comfort is not a forte of the LCD-XC, evidently.

ZMF Vérité Closed

Closing Thoughts

The Vérité Closed is a home-run hit from ZMF Headphones. Zach Mehrbach has crafted a truly splendid headphone that hits top marks in many aural-related aspects. The closed-back market is often overlooked when the best-of-the-best are considered, and this is not difficult to comprehend why. The very nature of open-back headphones affords a greater and more flexible platform to showcase better technical chops, especially in the areas of staging and imaging.

Nevertheless, ZMF has a product in its stable that overcomes the traditional challenges of a closed design, and goes toe-to-toe with some of the best open-back headphones on the market. In the closed-back market, it is certainly a world-beater, blending excellent technical capabilities (resolution, staging, dynamics) with a musical tone that plays very well with myriad genres of music. On a personal note, I enjoy the Vérité Closed with EDM, Pop, and Rock.

The price is pretty steep, of course – at $2,500 – but this is one of the rare headphones that is easily classified as an end-game product. For those who are seeking the best-of-the-best in the closed-back world, and if you favor vocal-oriented music, look no further. The Vérité Closed stands as one of the best in the contemporary market.

Don’t make the same mistake that I did, though. If you have already decided to splurge on the Vérité Closed, wait for a limited run – they normally happen every couple of months. You’ll get a better-looking headphone for a few hundred dollars more. Or, you could always buy mine for a discounted price, and I’ll be happy to get a new Camphor Burl when it comes out. What say you? 😉

4.2/5 - (91 votes)

Tim's a huge basshead and an EDM fiend. He also loves quality audio gear. Blend these aspects together, and you've got an unusual audiophile. Thankfully, his wife has been persuaded to join the "dark side", too, so Tim has someone to listen to him complain about the lack of bass on a headphone.


  • Reply April 20, 2021


    Thanks for you review !!
    I have read your Stellia’s review and it helps me to buy one. I am not disappointed about the Stellia, but this ZMF Closed make me so curious.. I’d love to taste it to compare with the Stellia. Too bad you was not be able to compare both.
    What is your point of vue about the isolation of this VC ?
    And second question, some feedbacks about the comparaison between the Stellia and VC made the VC the winner ? What’s your opinion ?
    Thanks again for your great work !!

    • Reply April 20, 2021


      I don’t have a focal Stellia unfortunately so I can’t compare the two but for isolation (both as a listener and in terms of leakage) is pretty great and what is to be expected from a close back in my opinion!

      I have heard a focal Elegia before I owned a ZMF VC and from memory, I always found the focal a bit more critical and the ZMF a bit more fun / smooth sounding I guess?
      I prefer a warm smooth sound as I own a ZMF Verite Closed and my preferred IEM is a Vision Ears VE8 CIEM.

      Hope that helps with the isolation part and maybe Timothy can answer your comparison question.
      Although the best advice is always to try and demo both 🙂

  • Reply April 20, 2021


    Hi any chance for a ZMF Verite Open review ?

  • Reply April 21, 2021


    Great review! I really hope you will also review the updated Audeze LCD-XC Carbon and compare it to Verite Closed.

  • Reply August 11, 2021


    I had a pair of 2016 LCD-XC’s and last year bought both the Stellia and ZMF VC’s.

    I only have the VC’s now. They simply tick all the boxes for me, especially with the Universe Hybrid ear pads and Pilot headband pad for comfort.

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