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Final Audio Design Muramasa VIII - Page 22

post #316 of 358
Originally Posted by Kashtan View Post

Since the earphones have a model with a serial number
(Piano Forte X ·
Piano Forte IX ·
Piano Forte VIII ·
Piano Forte II ·
Adagio V ·
Adagio III ·
Adagio II ·)
I conclude that in the future full-size headphones will also have the range of 2 to 10.
Am I wrong in their conclusions?



FAD is a pretty confusing and esoteric company, and this is reflected in their product lineup.


Here's what this line-up looks like as of now:




Piano Forte II

Adagio II

Adagio III

Adagio V

(Heaven II?)

Piano Forte VIII

Piano Forte IX

Piano Forte X




(Heaven II?)

Heaven C

Heaven IV

Heaven S

Heaven VI





1350 M1

1350 M2




Muramasa VIII



A couple of things going on there. First, I put the upcoming Heaven II in both categories because I've heard conflicting things from different sources about whether it's going to be a BA as the name would suggest or dynamic. You'll notice that the list is kind of a mess right now, and that's because Final seems to be in a period of transition with their product line. Here's a brief history:


At first they only made dynamics, and the designations for there were all four digit numbers (eg. the "1601" of the FI-DC1601). Within each line, the sub-designations which indicated their ranking was a bit difficult to decipher. For the 1350, the "M1" and "M2" were straightforward enough, but on the 1601 models they used a system of "SB," "SS," and "SC" which are derived from the materials used in their construction---brass, stainless, and copper---but lack a logical connotation. Then they brought out their line of BAs which they dubbed "Heaven" and had letter designations (eg. "Heaven S" aka FI-BA-SB).


When Final decides to phase out a particular model or series, they'll usually keep the older model active for a while and bring out the replacement alongside of it. For a brief period they coexist, before they eventually get rid of the old one. It makes things pretty confusing. For instance the Heaven A was replaced by the Heaven C, but briefly both existed side-by-side despite being very similar. Same with the 1601 and 1602 series.


The older dynamic models were eventually phased out and replaced: the 1350 with the Adagio lineup and the 1601 with the 1602 aka Piano Forte lineup. The use of the Piano Forte name for their flagship dynamics was a bit confusing because it was also the name given to their cheapest product, a pair of entry level earbuds. However there are similarities in the design, particularly their fixed tipless nozzle and the construction which mimics horn speakers. Anyway, in both cases these new model lines favor much more straight forward numeric designations to determine their ranking: II, III, and V for the Adagio and VIII, IX, X for the Piano Forte line.


Most recently, they've started replacing the models in the Heaven lineup while still retaining the Heaven designation. The IV and VI currently coexist with the C and S, but I'm fairly sure the latter two will eventually be retired. So just in terms of numerical designations one has:


Piano Forte II / Adagio II / Heaven II

Adagio III

Heaven IV

Adagio V

Heaven VI


Piano Forte VIII

Piano Forte IX

Piano Forte X


The question marks indicate that there is model with a numerical value of seven. If I had to guess, I think maybe the eventual successor to the FI-BA-SS (which is now actually discontinued) could occupy this position, perhaps as "Heaven VII." Alternatively, they might bring back their older concept for a flagship level dynamic with a plastic housing, something that was originally slated for the 1601s but dropped. Perhaps a higher-end plastic Piano Forte this time around? Again, all just baseless speculation.


As for their fullsized headphones, the fact that the Muramasa VIII was given a numerical designation, coupled with FAD's own precedent, suggests it was originally intended as one in a series of models. Of course, this begs the question: was it the highest end or the lowest in the ill fated Muramasa lineup? Given that it was already 6000 USD or so, the prospect of it being the cheapest in a potential lineup is rather frightening.


FAD seems to be going for a more practical approach these days, something that is reflected not only in their new numerical designation system, but also in the designs of their earphones in general (the new Heavens look quite utilitarian). The new fullsized headphones that will be replacing the Muramasa have already been confirmed as a series of three models. I've been calling them "Pandora" simply because this was one of the names given to their prototype designs shown at the Hong Kong AV show. It also implies a certain mystery, and when FAD was showing them off at RMAF, they covered them in camouflage like some automakers do with their new cars. The top model will be all metal, the bottom model plastic, and the midrange model will be a combination of the two materials. Prices will range from $1000 to $1600 reportedly, a definite nod to practicality compared to the Muramasa.


No word on their numerical designation, but it's safe to assume it will fall within the range you mention.

post #317 of 358

^ Great stuff!


Given the naming conventions for the 1601 and 1602, I find the naming of the Heaven S and heaven C rather confusing. S = Brass and C= Stainless Steel? I keep them straight in my mind by remembering that they are the opposite of what one would expect.

post #318 of 358

Great stuff! Thanks!


So, if Muramasa VIII cost 8000$ (or 6000$?), And the new models 1000$, 1300$, 1600$, it will probably claim the low numbers, similar to the earphones? II, III and IV. I think so.
A flagship of the future full lineup on the same logic, will cost 13 000$ (IX) and 19000$ (X).
post #319 of 358
Originally Posted by Kashtan View Post

Great stuff! Thanks!


So, if Muramasa VIII cost 8000$ (or 6000$?), And the new models 1000$, 1300$, 1600$, it will probably claim the low numbers, similar to the earphones? II, III and IV. I think so.
A flagship of the future full lineup on the same logic, will cost 13 000$ (IX) and 19000$ (X).


Definitely possible, but you never know with Final. They could do something totally different.


I think they're trying to sweep the Muramasa under the rug TBH, so using it as a direct comparison to the Pandora is iffy. Also as nuts as FAD is, I don't see them making a $19,000 headphone. But you never know lol.

post #320 of 358

I just got message from Final Audio, it seems that the Muramasa will be postponed indefinitely

while the "Pandora" will be available in spring 2013

Regarding to Muramasa, we're sorry to inform you that we have decided to indefinitely postpone the general release of MURAMASA VIII.
Instead of that, we're planning to release a new headphone series "Pandora" in spring 2013. 
We'll provide updates on it via our websites.

Thank you.

Best regards,
final audio design

post #321 of 358

Possibly a $10k headphone, on the other hand, Jaben in Melbourne, Australia does not have the Muramasa on display (reference to one of the poster's who said them having one for display).

post #322 of 358

I didn't get the name of the headphones they are planning to release, but from my chat with them in Tokyo what they said they planned to release was far more reasonably priced and could be quite interesting.

post #323 of 358

So my prediction about the new Pandora models is correct. I really dig that name, so I'm glad.


The price is apparently going to be somewhere in the 1500 USD region from what I hear. There will be three models, ranging from the least expensive plastic one to a more expensive all-metal build.


I've known for a while now that the Muramasa VIII was canned, but I didn't know what FAD's "official" line was. It seems FAD is more willing to publicly acknowledge this at any rate. I'm curious as to how many Muramasa units were built before they pulled the plug, as the estimates I was given were around 10 to 15, making it one of the rarest production headphones of all time.

post #324 of 358

Any photos/prototype designs?

post #325 of 358

Ughh, sorry for the crappy quality via my blackberry:




post #326 of 358

Damn that look's like a neckbreaker.

post #327 of 358

Well, it doesn't as comfy as most of other headphone in the market, but at the same time, most of other headphone also not as fabulous as Muramasa. Give and take I think tongue.gif

post #328 of 358

Hope it sounds better than hen scratchings.

post #329 of 358

I've been quiet about these because of FAD's wishes, since production was canceled and they were never actually "officially" released. FAD didn't want to sell any to the general public apparently, so of the handful that were produced, most of them were allocated for retailers to display as a promotional artifact (obviously not to promote the headphones themselves, but as a museum piece of FAD's history to promote the company).


Not sure how many other individual consumers ended up with one, but you could probably count it on one hand. EIther way, as silly as such a proposal may sound, in my view scrutinizing these headphones as headphones is close to pointless. For instance, there were some measurements posted on a Russian site. Giving them the benefit of the doubt as to whether they were legit, the difference in how I hear them is pretty significant, so there may very well be quite a bit of variation from one unit to the next. FAD spent a lot of time tuning each individual set, and it could be that those currently in the wild are closer to prototypes, points along a continuum of development. 


The fit of these headphones is by and large the worst of any I've ever worn. By a huge margin. This isn't simply something one can shrug off in my opinion, as not only does it cause a good deal of physical pain (not just mild discomfort... pain), it can make getting a proper fit difficult and thus further contribute to variances in impressions and measurements. Given the incredibly small sample size and the above issues, we'll probably never know how the Muramasa "should" sound. Which doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of things I suppose, since it's not going to be marketed to folks and as such is something of a moot point. Still, I think there's some value in discussing it just as a work of art.


It also serves as an experiment, being Final's first foray into full-sized headphones. They've learned from it and seem to be responding accordingly with the upcoming Pandora.

post #330 of 358

It could be that their purpose is to serve as a warning to other manufacturers.

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