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ōˈtər (oh-tuhr)

For years ZMF Headphones has been known to produce some of the best closed back headphones in the world.  Now with the Auteur, we have created an open back flagship headphone, which takes the signature ZMF musicality and combines it with the resolve and spaciousness that comes from an open design.

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An Auteur is an artist who controls so many aspects of a specific work that their influence makes them the “author” of that endeavor.  With the ZMF Auteur, we have created a tuning and headphone platform that allows the listener to “author” their listening experience.  The scene starts with the open, universally appealing ZMF tuning showcasing our version of “neutral.” The listener then authors their experience with either perforated Eikon pads for a warmer sound quality, or the Auteur pads which will create an even further sense of neutrality. Our premium headphones are responsive to all aspects of the audio chain and will truly allow the audiophile the distinct pleasure of artistic control.

The Auteur is very resolving and the most neutral/balanced ZMF Headphone. It’s super detailed and micro-detailed - lots of data in the music - all delivered in a very natural and musical way. Still very “music first” with excellent timbre, like all the ZMFs. The stage is very open sounding, it’s balanced, but with a slightly darkened tint that makes it a great headphone for just about anything.

I’m definitely going to get one to sit alongside my Atticus. It’s a damn impressive headphone.
— Dave Hanson, Enjoy The Music
Perhaps the greatest accolade I can give the Auteurs is to say that each time I listened to them in the background, I grew upset with myself that I would do anything but give the Auteurs my undivided attention. I strongly recommend that you try out these headphones at the very least. The combined musicality, aesthetic, and build quality that they provide is unrivaled.
— fruitofconfusion - Reddit
The Auteur pads bridge the gap between the ZMF house sound and a known tried-and-true open-headphone experience familiar to many. Alternatively, the perforated Eikon pads bring about the classic ZMF sound - with more bass slam and a warm and smooth midrange. With the actual pad swapping being so simple, the experiences are both distinct and equally with merit.
— Aamer Qureshi, Aornic Reviews



The Auteur will feature Teak as the standard wood option and will be outfitted with black aluminum hardware. 

Additionally, the Auteur will be available in limited edition runs expanding into various exotic figured and rare hardwood options.

The first limited batch will be 100 units of African Blackwood and will allow your choice of brass or black anodized aluminum grille and rods.

  • Blackwood Limited Edition:  $1899

  • Teak Auteur:  $1599 list

  • S3 6500 Airtight Case or Presentation Wood Case (only available as an option with LTD Editions)

  • Wood Owners and Warranty Card, numbered and signed by ZMF.

  • Stock Cable (OFC Available for $60 when purchased with headphone)

  • Perforated Auteur or Eikon pads

  • ZMF Biocellulose driver, 98dB/mW




The Auteur features our custom ZMF Biocellulose driver.  This is the world’s first open, high impedance, biocellulose headphone design.   The driver features our 300 ohm voice coil which reacts sonically to the audio chain it’s given.  Both solid state and tube amps sound fantastic.


As the perfect complement to the closed ZMF Eikon or Atticus, the Auteur takes the engaging musical tilt that the Eikon represents, and adds soundstage, a more neutral signature, added clarity and resolve with zero fatigue.


The Auteur is lighter than its closed counter parts, weighing in at approximately 475g in teakwood and black aluminum.  With less bulk to the cups and our signature “double headband,” you’ll always wear the Auteur comfortably. The weight of Limited Editions will vary based on the wood offered.


Inspired by French stained glass, the Auteur’s grille and overall aesthetic is timeless and intriguing. With our limited series be on the look-out for exciting runs using different metals and woods.

When I started building headphones years ago,  I knew that the “ultimate” for me would be to create headphones that paid homage to vintage musical instruments like Lloyd Loar Mandolins, Golden Era Martin guitars, and open back banjos from the 19th and 20th century by builders like Fairbanks, Dobson and Vega.  With the Auteur, I went back to the roots to create a “vintage but new” design, which utilizes metal, leather, and wood.  The Auteur is a headphone built with a luthier’s handmade touch from materials we pursue obsessively to meet our standards and last a lifetime.
— Zach Mehrbach, Owner, ZMF Headphones

Sonically, the Auteur takes the Eikon’s general downslope tuning and shifts it slightly towards neutral with the perforated Eikon pads, or brings you to what I would consider complete neutrality with the Auteur pads.  Regardless of your taste in sound signature, the Auteur will cater to your needs with each set of earpads that I tuned the headphone with.

Despite the more neutral tuning, the Auteur is actually less “sharp” sounding than its closed counterpart.  By utilizing an open design, there are far less reverberations as our design has equalized the amount of sonic pressure with completely open porting, an acoustically transparent back grille covering, a ported baffle, and perforated earpads.  This is a neutral tilted, musical headphone with a touch of warmth.  Unlike many open designs, the bass extends deep and hits hard when called for. 


The Auteur’s baffle is vented with 10 3.5mm front ports, 5 completely open back slots, and a 50mm metal grille.  None of the ports are covered and there is no “filler” damping material.  By utilizing an acoustically “free” design, based on optimal acoustic airflow, the Auteur imparts an extremely natural sound-stage that’s as big or small as the sound requires.


By using a flexible TPU driver gasket, the Auteur has optimized dynamic pistonic action.  This creates a punchy, lively response where the listener can feel the full “force” of the music playing.

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With perforated earpads, the sound is not restricted, and sonic waves do not get trapped in the ear cavityThis creates an incredibly smooth mid-range with effortless treble while at the same time maintaining bass punch and “feel.”


Using “just enough” wood to affect the sonic character of the headphone, the Auteur sound-waves react to the wood used for the headphone cups.  As usual, this is solid wood through and through machined from 5 x 5 x 2 blocks.  See our wood page for more info on how each wood has a unique sonic personality.

The Auteur sounds VERY good. The tonality and adequate technicalities make the Auteur special in the market. It is an easy headphone to get a long with and its technicalities hold its price up very well.
— - Grizzlybeast - Earphiles.Org
If you really want something very open feeling, the Auteur is the one to get. The Auteur and Eikon are similar in that regard. They are closer to neutral with very good sub-bass extension (much like planars).
— /u/I_want_all_the_tacos, (reddit)
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