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Final Audio Design Appreciation/Discussion Thread - Page 40

post #586 of 4097
Mike, just as the sound is a bit esoteric so is the fit. I have medium sized ear openings and they fit fine. Having said esoteric they are actually the easiest earphones to fit, you just place them in your ears, the sort of just sit there. It seems the weight of them holds them in place. There really is only one way to do it, no experimenting on depth, they just sit!

The are not an earphone I would walk around with as they can easily drop out as there is no friction holding them in, just the weight. I think the only thing I would change in a way, though I wouldn't as I have found a way around it, would be for the finish to be brushed instead of polished as I think they would be a little more secure. Having said that. My little trick that works wonders is to wipe the inside of my ear with denatured alcohol, not only does it prevent ear wax build up but it gets rid of any greasiness and I find then the PF"s stay solidly put.

It sounds like a lot of effort but I always clean my ears before putting in my IEM's so it is no different.

I can sit in my chair with my head back and they stay put but I have yet to have success laying in bed with them, they fall out each time.

For me what you get with these is an amazing sense of the musical performance, the best soundstage I have heard with a headphone.. Any headphone including the Stax SR009. It is funny as when I first got them I thought they had no soundstage or bass to speak off but once accustomed to the way they deliver music I feel they want for nothing, great, fast, detailed bass, mids to die for and such a sweet and delicate treble. You would think they would only be good for real instruments (which by the way they are truly memorable with ) but they do electronic really well as well.

I think the way I feel about them is that they are a grown up headphone, they do not seek to impress with bells and whistles, their only desire is for one to be immersed full into the music, forget it is HiFi and just engage with the performer on a one to one basis.

Oh yes, and as for transparency, I have heard things with these deep in the acoustic that I have only heard with Wilson speakers and a Nagra amp/cd set up, not saying they are in that league if you know what I mean but they are able to convey similar detail retrieval and emotion.

One last thing, for me they are the most comfortable earphones/ IEM's/ Headphones I have ever worn, zero fatigue and unlike ones with silicone tips your ears don't get itchy after a while or hot.
Edited by ianmedium - 11/1/12 at 8:44pm
post #587 of 4097

1000

 

I couldn't resist tweaking Ian's awesome photograph (extending and cleaning up the background).   

 

smile.gif

 

Mike

post #588 of 4097
Oh Mike, you did a great job with it! One other thing about them.. You will end up polishing them a lot as they are so tactile biggrin.gif
post #589 of 4097
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Oh Mike, you did a great job with it! One other thing about them.. You will end up polishing them a lot as they are so tactile biggrin.gif

 

Haha!  

 

I LOVE to polish stuff!  tongue_smile.gif

 

I'm glad you like the photo editing I did - it was a great photo before I touched it.  I've just taken it the last 2%.

beerchug.gif

 

You're answers to my questions, above, couldn't be more perfect a response - and you've brought me closer still to taking the plunge.  

 

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

 

biggrin.gif

 

Mike

post #590 of 4097

And your denatured alcohol trick is brilliant!  

 

Makes sense - squeaky clean!

post #591 of 4097
Mike, of all the people here that I would feel confident in recommend spending their hard earned money on something they have not heard it would be you as we have such similar tastes. In fact it was Paul that pushed me over the edge in getting my pair as he is the originator of so much of what I have purchased and it has always been a great choice.

Paul, totally understand the wait, your invention sounds fascinating, good luck with it!
post #592 of 4097

Mike, I am one of the lucky ones where the PF IX fit securely in my ears. My auricles are huge. I could walk around with these and I do sometimes around my flat. They will not fall out. It seems that for most people the fit is not so secure. In any event, these are zero-isolating phones appropriate for sitting down or, my favorite, lying back on a couch.

post #593 of 4097
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Still in research mode, at the moment, I can only seem to find two online sources for the PF IX, that will deliver to the U.S. - and the price difference is huge:

 

http://www.musicaacoustics.com/wp/headphones/final-audio-piano-forte-fi-dc1602ss/      U.S. $1099 

 

http://www.accessoryjack.com/final-audio-design-piano-forte-ix-stainless-steel-fi-dc1602ss-earphone.html    U.S. $1389

 

I've never done business with either of these companies, but AccessoryJack looks kind of shady to me...

 

What would you consider a "good price" to be for the PF IX?    

 

 

The three best options for Final purchases IMHO are PriceJapan, MusicaAcoustics, and Jaben. My experience with AccessoryJack is that they're reputable when they actually have the items in stock, but often times they wont update their site and list things that are no longer available. I've had experiences where I've ordered from them, only to discover after waiting for weeks without hearing back that they weren't actually in stock. On another occasion they simply switched out one product for the "newer" product (the 1601 for the 1602) without even asking if that was what I wanted. In other words, I'd recommend e-mailing them first before buying anything, just to get a guarantee that what you want is in stock.

 

I purchased my Piano Forte IX from Kaneda at PriceJapan without any issues. I purchased my Piano Forte X from Dimitri at MusicaAcoustics without any issues either. Both I'd recommend.

 

Regarding fit on the Piano Fortes, as others have mentioned, it can vary quite a bit from person to person. The biggest problem is that these earphones have a single, fixed bore nozzle unlike their predecessor, the 1601 which could be unscrewed and substituted out for various other tips. Like I mentioned before, Final was forced to get rid of the detachable nozzle because of some incidents where it unscrewed in peoples' ears and got stuck. As a result, the 1602 is a "one size fits most" affair. For me, unfortunately, the fit wasn't so great right off the bat. However that could be because I'm female. The guys in this thread don't seem to have as much of a problem, but I have also heard some isolated reports of poor fit on men, so it's not out of the question.

 

Assuming you don't get a perfect fit, there are several solutions. I've experimented with adding a foam tip to the metal flange with mixed results. Simply take a Comply tip and rip out the plastic cylinder in the middle, coring it. Then it will stretch over the metal tip of the Finals. This allows the nozzle to stay put more firmly. It also allows for insertion at a specific angle; some may be bothered by the fact that the PFs "hang" to varying degrees out of the ears, allowing for air flow. This gives them their ambience, but if the fit is too lose, it also means they're liable to slip right out and onto a hard surface like your desk, which is exactly what happened to me in a brief heart attack inducing moment of terror. The best compromise I've found is to ear these "upside down" with the cable running over-ear, with or without earhooks. This allows them to be propped up without obstructing the airflow, and it also has the added benefit of protecting them should they inadvertently slip out of the ear canal.

 

Incidentally, using the foam plugs over the flange changes the sound somewhat due to the obstruction of airflow, and I wouldn't necessarily say it's a bad thing, just different. The most noticeable changes are an increase in bass presence and a bit of a diminishment of ambience and spatial expansiveness. They become more "focused," more solidly centered around the listener and less characteristically fluid. Almost like a hybrid between them and the [relatively] more "traditional" FI-BA-SS.

post #594 of 4097
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Mike, I am one of the lucky ones where the PF IX fit securely in my ears. My auricles are huge. I could walk around with these and I do sometimes around my flat. They will not fall out. It seems that for most people the fit is not so secure. In any event, these are zero-isolating phones appropriate for sitting down or, my favorite, lying back on a couch.

 

Paul,

 

As if for the first time in my entire life, I've just found myself standing at a mirror, diligently analyzing the shape and size of my ears!  tongue.gif   Oh the places Head-Fi has taken me!  biggrin.gif

 

Mike

post #595 of 4097

Hi MuppetFace,

 

 

Quote:
The best compromise I've found is to ear these "upside down" with the cable running over-ear, with or without earhooks. This allows them to be propped up without obstructing the airflow, and it also has the added benefit of protecting them should they inadvertently slip out of the ear canal.

 

Thank you for the wealth of information you've provided but this, in particular, gives me great assurance - it's a fail safe I know I can use should the fit not be ideal or should I become annoyed with them falling out due to the shape of my ears.

 

Between you, Paul and Ian, I'm running out of excuses!

 

tongue.gif

 

Mike 

post #596 of 4097
Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Tera-Fi, my Westone ES5 are "higher-fi" than the PF IX but I love them both. The PF IX do things that are utterly unique and occasionally quite wrong. They are also a work of art.  However they do not isolate at all, both a strength and a weakness. The ES5, by contrast, are close to perfect but are also a sealed CIEM which is bad for your ears. One or two hours a day should be the most that you indulge BA IEMs that direct drive your tympanic membranes.

 

If I were to get a CIEM today and cost was no obstacle, I would get the Fitear Private 335. However my highest priority is the Piano Forte X-CC. The ES5 are more than good enough in the CIEM genre; they are fabulous. (And the Private 335 are stupid expensive albeit not as stupid expensive as the X-CC.) 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

http://www.musicaacoustics.com/wp/headphones/final-audio-piano-forte-fi-dc1602ss/      U.S. $1099 

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

What Paul says. Personally I would have both as one is suitible for noisy enviroments and listening on the move and the other is no good in noisy enviroments and can drop out quite easily.
All I can say other than that is if the sound of the PF's is your cup of tea and if your anything like me you simply will have a hard time listening to anything else. I truly have never owned a headphone that has had such a profound effect on my listening habits as the PF's have!
It feels like I have gone back to the good old days with vinyl where I used to sit and listen to music and do nothing else where as with other stuff I end up doing a multitude of other things and don't really listen to the music such as when on the computer, walking or reading. The PF's give an emotional involvement that beats easily my LCD2's or Stax headphones and I never thought I would see the day I would say that!
Paul nailed it in his first sentence, these are not "HiFi" just as SET tube amps and Horn speakers aren't but then those that "get" what those components are about would not trade them for love nor money for solid state and dynamic speakers! The PF's I feel are the same.
 
I forgot about the physical and sonic complications of CIEM's that it can cause on your ears.  I do want something comfortable and not result in fatigue in a short time.  I was trying to avoid the 'get both' scenario, but I guess that is unavoidable in this hobby.  I guess it is more which should I prioritise now.  I get an expiring individual discount on the CIEM's so have to weigh that versus the new Musica Acoustics option.
 
It is great that the Musica Acoustics option was posted.  It is nice to have an alternative to Price Japan which I already ruled out as an option.  I will contact Dimitri for further planning.  I in no way was interested in the non-local retail price.  The markup is just ridiculous.  I would probably hold off the FAD's until a Japan visit if this option was not available.
 
The CIEM's I was interested in was based on the sound signature of the ES5.  Do you put much use on the ES5's with the IX's around or are the ES5's relegated mainly for portable isolation use only?  If you did not already have the ES5, would you complement your IX's with the ES5 in hindsight if isolation was not a important criterion?
 
Can you picture yourself using the X-CC exclusively as your main IEM or they would complement the IX's since you mentioned the X-CC is not very versatile with a majority of tracks?  I understand the sample size is low right now since you only demoed at this point.
 
Hi Ian, I read your blog on the Musica Acoustica site.  To clear things up, I remember you changed your stance regarding the Heavy Metal genre on this thread.  Is the blog your initial impressions and that has now changed?  I like to mix in some Heavy Metal now and then.
 
I think the Piano Forte's are my cup of tea.  I think I lost track of that when I got hooked on the neutral CIEM's review.  I probably will be immersed with the sound signature and cannot listen to anything else, so this is good to think about now before making any purchases.
 
That puts it in a great perspective concerning "Hifi" versus "Horn Speakers" subgroup.  I never thought about it that way and that has now sunk in.  I hope I can demo, that should make things clearer.  Time to consider going off the beaten path again...
 
 
 
post #597 of 4097
Tera-fi,

Yes, changed my stance on heavy metal completely since my ears and brain got accustomed to the sound of the PF's.

If you want to hear the rythmic properties of drums and bass in metal, the clashing of guitars and strained vocals these are really good for that I feel. If however you just like your metal a mass of sound they won't be as they really separate all the instruments.

I have to say I am not a metal fan but have listened more to groups like tool with these than any other headphone simply because it has made it music for me rather than noise which it appeared to be with other headphones?

I am not one to say right or wrong with they way solid state sounds compared to tube or horn to dynamic. I have heard great from both but for the last ounce of musical involvement I have realized I am a tube/horn sort of guy I think so these fit me perfectly though I think a combo of both if we'll done is the perfect way to go!

I dream one day of owning that Nagra/Wilson system I am fortunate enough to hear on a regular basis due to a generous friend!
post #598 of 4097

Tera-Fi, the ES5 is one of the best headphones that I have ever heard; it is that good. But no, if I did not need isolation I would never use it or any other balanced armature headphone. Ever. Ear drums are not meant to be direct driven.

 

Still I am amazed almost every time I am traveling, or hanging at my local coffee shop smoking a cigar, just how amazing my Classic > Stepdance > ES5 rig sounds. (In fact, that is pretty much the only time that I use the ES5 now: travel and cigars. Still that makes them quite useful in my life and a source of real pleasure.)

 

(All of this is a bit off-thread - I am answering the question - but the key point is that I am listening to the PF IX as I write this. It is my go-to home headphone. biggrin.gif )


Edited by cooperpwc - 11/4/12 at 8:43am
post #599 of 4097
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Tera-fi,
Yes, changed my stance on heavy metal completely since my ears and brain got accustomed to the sound of the PF's.
If you want to hear the rythmic properties of drums and bass in metal, the clashing of guitars and strained vocals these are really good for that I feel. If however you just like your metal a mass of sound they won't be as they really separate all the instruments.
I have to say I am not a metal fan but have listened more to groups like tool with these than any other headphone simply because it has made it music for me rather than noise which it appeared to be with other headphones?
I am not one to say right or wrong with they way solid state sounds compared to tube or horn to dynamic. I have heard great from both but for the last ounce of musical involvement I have realized I am a tube/horn sort of guy I think so these fit me perfectly though I think a combo of both if we'll done is the perfect way to go!
I dream one day of owning that Nagra/Wilson system I am fortunate enough to hear on a regular basis due to a generous friend!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post

Tera-Fi, the ES5 is one of the best headphones that I have ever heard; it is that good. But no, if I did not need isolation I would never use it or any other balanced armature headphone. Ever. Ear drums are not meant to be direct driven.

 

Still I am amazed almost every time I am traveling, or hanging at my local coffee shop smoking a cigar, just how amazing my Classic > Stepdance > ES5 rig sounds. (In fact, that is pretty much the only time that I use the ES5 now: travel and cigars. Still that makes them quite useful in my life and a source of real pleasure.)

 

(All of this is a bit off-thread - I am answering the question - but the key point is that I am listening to the PF IX as I write this. It is my go-to home headphone. biggrin.gif )

 

 

I think the uniqueness and the 'horn' sound signature is a better fit for me at this point.  I am in a similar school of thought. I was just so tempted because 'neutral' seems to be the trend nowadays or new 'FAD' for lack of a better word with the modified Fostex T50RP getting so much attention.  I will try to give up on the idea on a new CIEM.  My ears are problematic sometimes, so need to take that into serious consideration.  I have in inventory, the ER4P/S like you and I can just use those for isolation for now.

 

The Wilson's are NIIIIICE!  I hope to have the opportunity to experience them one day.  Watching and listening to them on youtube is not the same experience as in person :)  The AvantGarde Horns would be a treat too, but seem overpriced.  The Wilson's are probably justifiable.  I love looking at large custom-built horn systems online now and then.  There are some amazing horn setups out there that fill-up at entire room.

 

As you may already figured out, isolation is very low on my criteria.  I never thought about the ear drums or fatigue scenario so that may help rule out a new CIEM.  With these factors plus Dmitri as an option now, I will try to focus on the PFIX's.  MF actually pointed out Dmitri's site earlier in this thread, but somehow I missed it and was just focused on PriceJapan.  The X-CC price is not justifiable at this time.  Plus, I just like to get-up-and-go with my gear.  With the X-CC, I would think twice before walking out the door with them.  The PFIX's price seems fair, the X-CC does not seem fair.

 

One last question to deter me away from the FAD's, you mentioned your USB Monica NOS DAC did not pair well the FAD's or just slightly warm?  I plan to use a NOS DAC which is suppose to pair well with 'horn' systems.  Can you elaborate a little more?  I figured they would pair well together.

 

It seems like you and Ian never take off your PF IX's and just enjoy them immensely.  I hope to have that problem one day soon.  :)

 

I put my odds at 50-50 for the PF IX's at the end of the month.  Otherwise, I will have to delay till end of the first quarter next year.

post #600 of 4097

Tera-Fi, it has been a while since I tried USB Monica with the PF IX but I did not like it. The best I can describe it is that you should throw lots of clean detail at these; they have their own sound signature and do not require the laid-back NOS treatment. (By contrast, the Beyer DT880/600s are great with USB Monica.)

 

I am very happy with UD100 (Sabre ES9023 chip) as DAC with my PF IX. For $50, you cannot really go wrong.

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