General Information

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final’s flagship model realizes transparent sound for the uplift that can be gained by listening to music.

Awards

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General Information
Brand:
final
Country: Japan
Series: A series
Model Name: A8000
Price: USD1999
Official Website: [Link]
Intro / Q&A thread in Head-Fi: [Link]

Specification
Drivers:
Truly Pure Beryllium Driver
Housing Material: Stainless Steel
Finishing: Mirror Polished
Cable: final OFC silver coated cable 3.5mm/1.2m
Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Weight: 41g

Accessories
Aluminum & Silicone Hybrid Carrying Case, Final Type E Black Ear tips, MMCX ASSIST, Dust Filter

Review
English

Audio46 - [Review]
Currawong - [Youtube Unboxing]
Headphones HiFi Reviews - [Youtube Review]
HiFi Headphones - [Youtube Review] - New!
Joshua Valour - [Youtube Review] - New!
MajorHifi - [Review]
Nobsaudiophile - [First impression]

Espanol
Audio46 - [Youtube Review] - New!

Korean
Scheherazade - [Youtube Review]

HongKong
feverSound com - [Youtube Review]
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Sajid Amit

500+ Head-Fier
2000 Dollar IEM Shoot-out: 64 Audio U12t VS Final Audio A8000
Pros: 64 Audio U12t Pros: Details, bass extension, non-fatiguing presentation, and sound stage; A8000 Pros: clarity, musicality, details, bass, and dynamic slam.
Cons: 64 Audio U12t Cons: "Soft" sound can appear hazy at times; A8000 Cons: Treble is sparkly and delicious but for those that are extremely treble-sensitive, you may want to audition first.
2000 Dollar IEM Shoot-out:
64 Audio U12t VS Final Audio A8000

In this “2000-dollar IEM Shoot-out”, I compare the much-loved 64 Audio U12t with the venerable Final Audio A8000, two flagship IEMs that I have had the pleasure of owning. I am more of a headphone user, so I decided to keep one and sell the other. Read till the end to find out which I kept, and which I sold off!

In this review/comparison, I will go through technical, timbral and tonal characteristics of each IEM, giving each a score of 1 or 0, depending on which performs better for each characteristic. In case of a tie, I will give 0.5 to each.

Let the games begin!

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Source
FLAC Library & Tidal Master=> AK Kann Alpa => Final A8000 / 64 Audio U12t

Music
I test with multiple tracks across a range of genres: jazz, electronic, rock, metal, pop, and some orchestral thrown in, to test sound stage.

Cables/Tips, etc.:
  • With the 64 Audio U12t, I use a 100-dollar Effect Audio Virtuoso cable instead of the stock cable. For tips, I use Spinfit CP-145 and Apex Module M20; this combo, I feel, gives it the most balanced presentation between higher and lower frequencies. But I do use the M20 when exploring this IEM’s bass.
  • With the Final A8000, I use its stock SPC cable and stock Final e-tips.
Aesthetics, Build and Comfort:
A8000: The A8000’s shells are made of mirror-polished CNC-ed stainless steel. Despite the polygonal shape, the shape is ergonomic, with no chances of poking your ears. I find these IEMs comfortable, although wearing them requires a fraction of a second longer, to find the right fit. However, the shells pick up micro scratches and scuffs rather easily, so they need to be handled with higher-than-average levels of care. The supplied stock SPC cable is decent albeit slightly thin, and while not inflexible, certainly not the best cable out there.

U12t: The U12t design is straight forward. Each shell is a single machined piece of aluminum – without any obvious “wow” factor. The subtle design will attract many, but I found it a underwhelming. The supplied stock cable is poor, tangle-prone, and flimsy. The U12t also has swappable “Apex” modules: the m15 and m20 modules. The m20 add a slight sub-bass shelf, while the m15 enhances the stage slightly.
In aesthetics, build, and comfort, I give aesthetics to the A8000 and comfort to the U12t, while build is about equal; therefore, half a point for each.
Total Score: U12t: 0.5; A8000: 0.5.

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Detail Retrieval:

A8000: The A8000 is a highly resolving IEM. Its detail retrieval abilities is further enhanced by its tuning. There is a near-magical clarity to the A8000’s presentation that reminds many people of the Focal Utopia. One way of looking at it is that if other IEMs give you a window to the music - the A8000 sort of breaks that window and gives you the music itself. Beyond the clarity, there is great reproduction of details across frequencies.

U12t: The U12t is slightly more detailed than the A8000, but this difference is not as significant as one might think. The U12t provides slightly better environmental cues. You hear echoes of voices and reverb of string instruments more clearly. That said, the U12t has an ever-so-slightly yet perceptibly “softer” presentation to the music. This reminds me of my Pass Labs XA25 amplifier’s presentation, or older R2R DAC’s presentation. This presentation allows U12t’s details to be presented in a more palatable way, and poor quality tracks perform significantly better on the U12t than on the A8000.
On detail retrieval, the U12t beats the A8000.
Total Score: U12t: 1.5; A8000: 0.5.

Speed and Dynamics:

A8000: To me, macro dynamics are integral to the enjoyment of music. On headphones/earphones with good macro dynamics, you feel the satisfying kick behind bass drums, a weighty snap to string instruments, and the attack of piano key strokes. The A8000 has outstanding macro dynamics. In fact, it is the best IEM that I have heard for dynamic slam and punch, bar none. This is a very visceral-sounding IEM, and very fast.

U12t: Meanwhile, the U12t has the best slam I have heard for a balanced armature IEM. But it is still some ways from the A8000. On electronic music with lots of slam, given the U12t’s bass energy and especially on the M20 module, you get quite close to the A8000’s level of slam. However, on tracks with simple drum lines, the U12t slam can appear soft and the texture less life-like. On the A8000, drums sound more lifelike, and the crunch of the wood hitting the leather will remind you of Focal headphones.
The A8000 easily takes this category.
Total Score: U12t: 1.5; A8000: 1.5

Soundstage and Imaging

Both IEMs have wonderful sound stage and imaging, considering limitations IEM's face with staging and imaging, owing to their positioning inside listener ears. I tested for staging and imaging with may tracks, among which was “Paper Moon” by Booka Shade, the German house duo. On this track, the music moves across the stage, and an IEM’s ability to keep up with the track’s playfulness is tested. Although both IEMs image and stage exceedingly well, the layering is better on the U12t. You can make out distinct layers and the U12t’s soundstage is also more holographic. Therefore, although the staging and imaging on the A8000 is very impressive, the U12t is one of the best IEMs out there, for this trait.
Overall, although the A8000 is strong performer in imaging and sound stage, the U12t wins this round.
Total Score: U12t: 2.5; A8000: 1.5

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Timbre:
In audio, there are timbre-focused listeners, who tend to gravitate towards vocals, acoustic, jazz, classical, etc., and then you have listeners who have a higher tolerance for metallic or plasticky timbres. Then you have listeners who prefer a “softer” sound that they may call analog or “vintage.” I am personally a timbre-head, and I pay close attention to IEM and headphones’ timbral performance. When it comes to the two IEMs in question, each has a rather unique take on timbre.

The A8000 has superb timbre across the frequency range. The bass texture sounds more lifelike due to the high-performance beryllium drivers. The midrange sounds natural, weighty, and clear. Vocals sound phenomenal.

Meanwhile, the U12t has this interesting presentation where notes have softer edges which remind me of my Pass Labs XA25 speaker amp’s presentation or of older R2R DACs. Many listeners may opt for this “softer” timbre, and some call it an “analog” sound. However, this analog presentation can also give the U12t a muffled or a slightly hazy presentation, especially when A/B-ing with the A8000.

That sad, the A8000 also has its limits to timbral performance. I find that when it comes to synthesizers and reproducing them, particularly for industrial metal bands like Stabbing Westward, the U12t recreates them better.

However, for most tracks and genres, I find that the A8000 has more accurate timbral performance, owing to the U12t’s “softness”.
On timbre, the A8000 wins it for me.
Total Score: U12t: 2.5: A8000: 2.5

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Tonal Performance:

For tonal performance, I will allocate a point for each of the three frequency ranges.

Bass: For bass, the U12t has outstanding bass extension and sub-bass energy. The bass impact is solid for an all-BA IEM. The A8000 has slightly less sub-bass, but its more natural sounding, and its bass texture and timbre are just wow.

The A8000 bass is the best and most accurate I have heard on an IEM, and yes, I have heard the Sony Z1R. On the track, “Busy Child” by the Crystal Method, the A8000 slams so hard, you would be forgiven for mistaking that you are wearing headphones. Bass performance goes to the A8000, for me, although the U12 is impressive.
Total Score: U12t: 2.5; A8000: 3.5

Midrange: Both IEMs are masters of the midrange although their presentations vary. Vocals are relatively recessed on the A8000 while being clearer. Meanwhile, the U12 has more forward vocals, while sounding “softer” and a tad thinner.

However, on the A8000, on tracks with complex vocal harmonics, background vocals can blend in with the foreground vocals. But I would never know this if I didn’t A/B with the U12t, which does vocal harmonics masterfully.

Midrange details are also more discernible on the U12t. Overall, both IEMs have outstanding midrange performance, but I give this to the U12t.
Total Score: U12t: 3.5; A8000: 3.5

Treble: Treble details are easier to make out on the A8000. However, in my opinion, the treble is both a strength and a relative weakness of the A8000, depending on your listening preferences. I personally love a sparkly treble as long as it glistens but does not bite.

The A8000 achieves this balance for the most part. However, on certain specific tracks with distortion from electric guitars or synths, especially if poorly recorded, the A8000 treble can come off as wonky. On these tracks, the U12t’s relatively softer treble presentation sounds better. The U12t’s tia driver is certainly a capable puveyor of treble frequencies, overall.

However, for all practical purposes, I personally bought the A8000 for its treble clarity and sparkle, and this clarity is not something I have found on any other IEM.
Therefore, for me, the A8000 wins it for treble.
Total Score: U12t: 3.5; A8000: 4.5

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Conclusion
:
If you have kept up with the tally of points, it should be clear which IEM I kept, and which I sold off. But in case it is not: I kept the Final A8000 and sold off the U12t. 😊 That said, these are both surprisingly good IEMs, even for their price.

Ultimately, if you want a “safer” and more laidback presentation, with great bass extension, decent slam, and a detailed but softer treble, get the 64 Audio U12t.

However, if you are a seeker of clarity without compromising timbre, and you will appreciate a winning combo of clarity, musicality, and best-in-class bass and slam, get the Final A8000.

The A8000 will push boundaries a bit with its treble energy, but I personally love this quality about these IEMs. And as always, your mileage may vary. Hope this was helpful.

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Sajid Amit
Sajid Amit
Thanks @Kiats - awesome to know that you have both and you rate both at the top of your list!
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Sajid Amit
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Sajid Amit

Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Sonic Revealing Maestro – Final Audio A8000 Summit-Fi IEMs
Pros: + Detailed Sound
+ Perfect comfort
+ Awesome design
+ Soundstage is great
+ Vivid, lively sound
+ Holds well to competition
+ Very good dynamics
+ Quite coherent
Cons: - PRICEY
- Needs a good source to truly shine
Sonic Revealing Maestro – Final Audio A8000 Summit-Fi IEMs


Final A8000 is the Summit-Fi release from Final Audio, an IEM costing over 2000 GBP, so it will compete with the absolute best, like the Clear Tune Monitors Da Vinci X, FiiO FA9, Campfire Atlas, Dita Fidelity, and Lime Ears Model X, all of which are similar in price, but none quite as pricey as Final A8000 except for Da Vinci X, which is even more expensive.

It will also get paired with the best DAPs I reviewed to date, so pairings with FiiO M11 PRO, iBasso DX220 MAX, QLS QA361, Mytek Brooklyn DAC+, and even FiiO BTR5 will be included in the review.




Introduction

Final Audio is a large company from Japan, making their best Hifi products. Japanese folks love high-end audio, and they love music for sure, a large part of my favorite songs being sung by Japanese artists. Final Audio decided to pursue the ultimate with their Final A8000, and instead of making just another IEM, they put in all their best technology inside this one, trying to make it their best. Final Audio is a company that offers excellent support and it is always a great experience to purchase something from them.

That being said, it should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Final Audio. I’d like to thank Final Audio for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Final Audio A8000 find their next music companion.



Packaging

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:












Final A8000 comes with Final Audio’s Traditional Package, with their Final Tips (we should never forget that they are the company who created the Final Tips in the first place).

There’s also a fully metallic carrying case included with A8000, as well as ear guides, some sponge to protect the IEMs, and an MMCX remover tool that will help you remove the cable, if you decide to upgrade it.



Youtube Videos

First Impressions




In-depth video review after I spent a few months with A8000







Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

Final A8000 is made of metal, and has a modern / elegant design, but the comfort is actually excellent. There’s a Single Dynamic Driver inside, and Final Audio has been exceptionally transparent with information about A8000, inner design and all of the tech that goes in.

This is because no one can copy their tech, as long as the drivers are proprietary, and any company that supplements lack of specific tech with BA drivers will fail to achieve the same sound as A8000, since the larger the number of drivers, the higher the group delay, distortion and overall incoherency is.


The cable MMCX connector is extremely tight, and this is why a plastic tool to remove the cable is included in the package. This is because the quality of the connector is the best I ever touched, and Final invested quite a bit in creating A8000 to be perfect.

With an impedance of just 16 OHM, A8000 is slightly sensitive to hiss, and with a sensitivity of 102dB, it is slightly hard to drive, and you need to push most portables a bit to drive them well. A smartphone won’t do them justice, and I really recommend a high-end source to be able to fully enjoy A8000.


The cable is an OFC Silver Coated Cable, drawing from the advantages of both Silver and Copper. The name of the model is FI-A8DSSD, indicating that they are a Final Audio product, with A8 being the name and DSSD meaning a Dynamic Stainless Steel Design. The inner IEM has four chambers to accommodate the driver, and to create the sound, Final Audio having invested huge amounts in designing this gem to be acoustically perfect.

There’s a Left and a Right indicator on the IEMs, and the cables, and they feature a vent, so there is no driver flex, and thanks to the cables being over-the-ear, you never hear any microphonics either.


I really loved the overall fit / comfort, and somehow they beat most competitors, like Model X from Lime Ears, and CTM Clear Tune Monitors X, or HIFIMAN RE2000. Final Tips are also great for comfort, and I never felt the need to switch them.

With A8000, it is normal to notice some burn in, it sounds a bit better after a while, with smoother presentations of details, a larger soundstage, and after a few hours it becomes much more open in general.



Sound Quality

I offered Final A8000 a few months of usage before making this full in-depth review, because for a flagship this expensive, you’d want to know how it holds to usage, not just how it sounds. I also made sure it has at least 300 hours of burn-in, so that I both got used enough to their sound to remove the initial “Wow” effect, but also to make sure every component is running to its maximum potential.


For the sonic impressions part of this review, I used FiiO M11, FiiO BTR5, iBasso DX220 MAX, FiiO M3 PRO, Lotoo Paw S1, and iBasso DX160. I noticed that A8000 is really easy to reveal the source, and it really favors a better source, and you will hear the improvement in detail between using DX160 and DX220MAX. Furthermore, they prefer a slightly warm and natural source over an analytical one, so they liked FiiO BTR5 more than FiiO M3 PRO, and sounded at their absolute best with DX220 MAX during those tests. A/B switching and Volume Matching was used to remove any bias and to be able to bring you the best description of A8000’s sonic performance.

The sound of A8000 can be described as extremely detailed, slightly bright and analytical, open, extremely well imaged / separated, with one of the most impressive layerings I heard to date, excellent dynamics, excellent punch, and a crazy good treble extension.


The bass of A8000 is extremely quick, deep, and reaches the lowest octaves with ease. It is never the type of bass that makes you think it is the central point of their sound, and it tends to be above the midrange, while the treble is slightly elevated above both. The bass can define and reveal every fine nuance between instruments, emotion, and is incredibly vivid. Listening to older rock, or even newer one is a total delight, especially with bands that rely a bit on bass guitars. Jazz and Classical are also a delight with A8000, and at every single moment I was listening to them I thought to myself, that this is how a really high-quality bass should sound like.

Although the mid / upper bass is recessed compared to the lower and the sub-bass, the lower midrange doesn’t lack body, and you can hear an excellent presentation of both male and female voices. This being said, A8000 has a really liquid presentation of details, and has zero grain, so it works really well with sadder songs rather than happy ones. Emotion is transmitted in a crazy specific way, every part of a song has the artist’s feelings presented to you. You can hear micro-details in a way that’s insane, and even short pauses, breathing, everything about the way an artists interprets a song is there, every one of those details makes you realise how much information is actually there, and once you close your eyes, you can hear and even see what the artist felt while singing that song, you’re there, and you’re at the risk of getting so caught that you won’t ever notice the time passing by.

On this note, thanks to their dynamics, detail, clarity and punch, I was able to enjoy music at moderate volumes, and it was quite often that I started listening to A8000 late at night and I couldn’t stop, I would just explore my music, discovering new things in songs I’ve known for a while, or discovering new music, with A8000 being my guide and showing me everything I needed to know about my music collection.

The treble is the most exciting part of A8000, with the upper treble having a good amount of sparkle and excitement, an extreme extension and somehow managing to not bother. It has a strong treble for sure, but somehow A8000 has a liquid presentation of it, so it is slightly splashy and soft, making it detailed, yet never harsh or sibilant.

The sound tends to favor Hifi experiences a bit, with really well recorded music sounding the best, but I was able to enjoy old rock, metal, pop, EDM, Dubstep, Jazz, and even Rap with A8000. Despite them not being made universal, for me listening to them has been universally enjoyable.



Comparisons

The main comparison list includes FiiO FA9, Lime Ears Model X, Campfire Atlas, Dita Fidelity and Clear Tune Monitors CTM X. Those all are flagships and reach Summit-Fi in some ways.


The main reason it took me so long to post this review is that comparing all of those, and getting careful notes has been quite hard, and as I want to give you a very certain impression, I like to think it has been worth the wait!


Final Audio A8000 vs CTM Clear Tune Monitors Da Vinci X (2000 USD vs 2400 USD) – This is the most pertinent comparison, because both CTM Da Vinci X and A8000 have the same sonic signature, which is quite analytical, edging on bright, and with a taste for detail. The package is slightly better for the CTM Da Vinci X, but the overall comfort is considerably better for A8000. Final Audio designed a smaller body, with a better fit, but also designed ventilation for their IEM, since CTM has a BA-Only design and didn’t need any vents. They are both somewhat hard to drive, and somewhat sensitive to hiss, but A8000 is a bit less picky with the source, where Da Vinci X really needs the ultimate source you can give it to shine. The overall tuning is indeed similar, but the detail level is ever so slightly better on A8000. It is far more coherent too, with Da Vinxi X having tons and tons of details, but having slight differences in timing between them, and some textures are a bit soft, while some are a bit hard, where A8000 is extremely coherent and fluid, it ain’t just detailed, it is perfectly natural too. Both edge on being a touch bright, and A8000 is a bit brighter than Da Vinci X, but this also comes with better extension in the uppermost octaves, where Da Vinci X tends to have a slightly better sub-bass. Each is a great option, but if I had both, each in one hand, I’d go with A8000, because it is more comfortable. Da Vinci X is indeed the masterpiece of CTM, but given its huge number of drivers, it ends up being larger and harder to recommend to someone unless you got yourself large ears and can accommodate it.

Final Audio A8000 vs FiiO FA9 (2000 USD vs 500 USD) – FA9 is warmer, thicker, more natural in the midrange. Going from FA9 to A8000, it is like a thick veil is taken off the entire sound. The overall midrange becomes far more clear, the treble shines and has much more air, and the bass has a quicker presentation with better extension. The price to be paid is some note weight and substance, A8000 has a thinner sound, and is a bit splashy, where FA9 is right in the center of natural for both textures and note weight. FA9 rolls off a bit at both ends if we do a direct comparison, and FA9 is somewhat easier to drive and less picky with sources. The comfort, ironically, is still a bit better on A8000, they really nailed down the ergonomics and fit with it. Paying four times as much for A8000 shows that there’s a bit of diminishing returns here, and if you want a fully natural sound, FA9 may be better, but if you want the ultimate resolution, ultimate detail, and ultimate music experience, A8000 will be your companion.

Final Audio A8000 vs Lime Ears Model X (2000 USD vs 800 USD) – Model X comes with a much worse cable from the factory. A8000 sits a bit better in my ears. If we tune Model X to be bright, A8000 has better weight and substance, more sub-bass extension, more bass, and a better overall bass. Tuned bright, Model X is extremely bright and edges on harsh and sibilant. If we tune Model X to warm, and engage its bass, it is much heavier, with more warmth across the bass and midrange, but A8000 ends up sounding far more detailed, with better resolution, clarity, precision, and even textures. All in all, it is a worthy upgrade, regardless of what you configure your Model X to, but that does come at a price – literally, as it is more than twice the price of Model X.

Final Audio A8000 vs Dita Fidelity (2000 USD vs 1300 USD) – Dita Fidelity is the only IEM on this list that’s absolutely analytical, and while it doesn’t lack bass, it does have a purely analytical sound. By comparison, A8000 sits a bit better in my ears, thanks to its more ergonomic design, but Fidelity is still great. Fidelity has a slightly better package. A8000 has a more detailed sound, with better clarity, resolution, more weight, and substance, more punch and more dynamics in the presentation. A8000 sounds more natural in the midrange, where Fidelity is a bit ethereal, a bit bright and needs some EQ to sound natural in the mids. A8000 is easier to recommend on an overall level, and is better in every way, while doing pretty much the same signature, but the price makes it Summit-Fi in every way, so take it as a kind warning, 2000 USD is quite a bit.

Final Audio A8000 vs Campfire Atlas (2000 USD vs 1300 USD) – The package is actually better for A8000. Atlas even uses the Final Tips, so we know Final Audio makes some solid tips. The fit is better for A8000, because Atlas has some driver flex, where A8000 has none. The overall sound is very different, with much better resolution and analytic abilities for A8000, but much better overall bass impact and a grand presentation for Atlas. Atlas is special in its own way, with a huge sound, wide soundstage, and with a ton of bass, depth, and impact. It also has a pretty sparkly treble, although for old music, it can be a bit hot. A8000 sounds more clear, cleaner, more resolute, but has less substance, and can be thin in comparison, with more focus on detail and dynamics, and less focus on impact and bass quantity. Atlas is easier to drive, but much more sensitive to hiss.



Pairing

The main pairings explored will be with with DX220MAX, FiiO M11PRO and FiiO BTR5, QLS QA361 and even Mytek Brooklyn DAC+. HIDIZS AP80PRO is also a good pair, and A8000.


You could pair A8000 with most portables, but they won’t be loud enough if the source is weak, so I would exclude FiiO M6, and I would also recommend having something with a good clean background, since they are slightly sensitive to hiss, so no Hiby R6 for this one. I don’t really recommend most DAC/AMP solutions, since you can hear a faint sound in the background with A8000, unless that DAC/AMP does a really good job at cleaning background noise.

Final Audio A8000 + iBasso DX220MAX (2000 USD + 1880 USD) – DX220 MAX is able to bring out the detail, and also body in music quite nicely with A8000. Everything has an extreme resolution, but keeps a natural midrange, and an excellent soundstage. Overall, this is probably the best pairing I found with A8000, if you want to see their full potential when it comes to their detail, especially given the black background with noise-free presentation of DX220 MAX.

Final Audio A8000 + FiiO M11 PRO (2000 USD + 650 USD) – It was impressive to hear A8000 paired with a slightly bright source like M11PRO. The overall soundstage is wide, open, while the bass is quick and neutral. The midrange is colorful, vivid, detailed, while the treble is peppy and sparkly, lots of air and extension. This pairing can be a bit edgy in the treble, so I would recommend it mostly to those who want to hear the most treble presence A8000 can have.

Final Audio A8000 + FiiO BTR5 (2000 USD + 100 USD) – BTR5 is downright cheap compared to most of the other pairings I recommend in this review, and it does lack some detail and refinement, but if you need something light, easy to carry and pair, and something practical, BTR5 is all you’ll ever need. It has an excellent overall midrange, natural, and wide, with good instrument separation, and the pairing has good detail. While not as detailed as M11 PRO or DX220MAX, BTR5 is quite excellent for its price, and it is not as far as you’d imagine, most of the loss being in micro-detail and resolution rather than large detail parts. A8000 shows a larger difference between Bluetooth and Wired DAC usage than I expected.

Final Audio A8000 + Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ (2000 USD + 2000 USD) – Mytek made legends with their DAC+, and nowadays are working on headphone amplifiers, as this was one of the ways people mainly used their Brooklyn. No jokes there, DAC+ with its two headphone outputs that could be combined to make one balanced output was impressive, and with A8000, it presents a beautiful, natural, smooth midrange. The soundstage is huge, the detail is top level, and the pairing is just natural and pleasing to listen. The main downside is that if used on USB, you can hear some background noise from the pairing, and even when used on optical, hissing and some background noise is audible, the DAC+ is not dead silent with A8000 (this applies to other IEMs too).

Final Audio A8000 + QLS QA361 (2000 USD + 700 USD) – If you want a soft presentation, but a detailed one, this is it! QLS QA361 is soft, pleasing, and gives a nice soundstage to A8000 as well. It has less body, but more dynamic, A8000 seems to be as resolute as ever, but in a softer, more mellow way, with QA361. While this pairing won’t appeal to someone who wants to give A8000 more bass, it will be perfect for those who want it sounding a bit softer, smoother, but still detailed and clear.



Value and Conclusion

Final A8000 is a really expensive IEM, with the price being so high that it is hard to recommend it to beginners. If you’re someone who heard it all, and want to challenge your stereo system costing over 50.000 USD, then by all means, Final A8000 will most probably beat it. This kind of resolution is better than what I could hear when trying the most expensive speaker systems I could find in Romania, so there’s a high change that Final A8000 will surprise you, even if you already have quite a bit of experience. The value doesn’t get any better, and this is a flagship purchase, made to get the best available, the value being in their quality.


The package is traditional for Final Audio, and A8000 comes with tips, a metallic / rubber carrying case, an MMCX remover tool. Ear guides are included too, but there is no balanced cable and no extra cables. This being said, it does feel like a premium IEM, and if you’re the kind who likes to upgrade your cables, you probably eyed a specific one already. If you’re like my and take it on the go, you may even meet some crazy wonders of nature using the A8000.


The budget for A8000 was all invested in its sound, its performance, the overall design, and how it was made. It has a stainless steel design, but also comes with one of the best MMCX connectors in the market. Multiple sonic chambers ensure that you get the best experience of their very coherent Be Single Dynamic Driver. The comfort is excellent, with no driver flex and no microphonics, and they look stunning in person.


The sound is detailed, with a slightly analytical side, and they make probably the most detailed IEM I heard to date, and which are available in the entire world. If you want both coherency and detail, they are it, the most detailed IEM that’s coherent too.


Before the end of today’s review, I want to add A8000 to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame for being one of the most detailed IEMs in the entire world, for having excellent design, excellent ergonomics, and having a crazy resolution.


At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for one of the most detailed IEMs out there, with one of the best resolutions, if you want that ultimate micro-detail, but with a smooth texture with no grain, if you want excellent ergonomics, and great support from the company, Final A8000 should be at the top of your list.



Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

Youtube Playlist



Tidal Playlist

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

I hope my review is helpful to you!



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BRIGHTCOMFORTABLEDETAIL MASTERDYNAMIC DRIVERFINAL AUDIOFINAL REVIEWFULL REVIEWSOUNDSTAGEV-SHAPED

Watermelon Boi

100+ Head-Fier
Final Audio A8000 Review: Exquisite balance
Pros: Transparent and lively presentation
-Accurate yet engaging soundstage
-High-quality accessories
-Custom-grade default cable
Cons: Earpieces are a tad weighty
-Earpieces are vulnerable to scratches
-Stock cable only comes in as 3.5mm
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Final Audio Design A8000 Review: Exquisite balance

Final Audio Design (Final in short) is no stranger when it comes to our portable audio hobby. Under the mother brand S'NEXT from Japan, Final has been making a number of remarkable products, ranging from small accessories such as eartips to full-sized headphones. Within the in-ear range, their Heaven Series and FI-BA-SS series have been one of their classic line-ups that many have and still find it cherishing. In recent days, Final has launched a variety of new line-ups - MAKE series where you could mod the sound signature yourself, E series which are strong performers and priced to be affordable.


However, the earlier two line-ups, MAKE and E series, each had the purpose of being experimental and budget-friendly. So not stopping here, Final soon after announced another two line-ups that would enrich their family which are B and A series. The B series is the ultimate (or the official) version of the MAKE series IEMs and are categorized into three models - B1, B2, and B3. These IEMs are built to be premium and to sound stellar, but what about a flagship?


This is where the A series kicked in with a one and only model, A8000. It is meaningful for Final to be creating their first in-ear flagship, but what is remarkable beyond that is that A8000 is one of the very first IEM to be using a pure beryllium diaphragm, along with Dunu Luna. Enough with the small talk, let us now get into the review, analyze the sound and the performance, and compare and contrast with other flagship IEMs that are in the same league.




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Packaging

A8000 comes in a smooth, clean white box with rose gold printings, well representing the oriental beauty of space. Once uncovered, it appears a white cloth, printed with Final logo patterns that wraps the inner packaging, plus a sponge padding for extra protection. Other than the earpieces, it includes a premium stock cable, a carrying case, a full set (5 pairs) of Final E-type eartips with a hard case, a pair of silicone ear hooks, a velcro cable tie, a cable detaching tool, and 8 pairs of spare filters for the nozzles. The carrying case is interestingly made, having it to be made of aluminum-silicone hybrid, allowing the user to easily tuck in the IEM into the case without completely detaching the lid.


Moreover, their E-types eartips are far well known for their quality, plus the ear hooks for being smooth and comfortable. Final released a new accessory as they announce A8000, which is the yellow tool in the picture. This is a cable detacher made for MMCX, where you could safely and quickly detach the earpieces from the cable, simply by pinching it at the joint. Trying to detach MMCX cables gives us a struggle every now and then when the connector has a slippery texture, limited in gripping point, or the connector gripped in particularly strong. This tool is highly useful as it greatly reduces any struggles or damage that might be caused when detached by hands. Having more variety of eartips could have been even better, yet the amount of other useful tools already makes the list of accessories more than enough.




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Earpieces - Beryllium

In case you were wondering why such the model name, A8000 is built upon their know-how and technologies used for creating D8000 which is their flagship full-sized headphone. Since that, many parts of the inner components and structures have been inspired by their D8000 headphones. Now to talk about the star of the show - the diaphragm. Along with Dunu Luna, Final A8000 is one of the two first IEMs to use diaphragms that are fully made of beryllium, which Final named this as a "Truly Beryllium diaphragm". As also mentioned in the review for Luna, beryllium is known to have an extremely high stiffness level which eventually leads to a much faster sonic response speed, thus outdoing more than twice than materials such as titanium, aluminum, or magnesium.




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Earpieces - The techs

Final's "Truly Beryllium" driver is formed to have a dome shape and the driver as a whole is sized at 10.8mm, which is quite a large one for an in-ear. Between the driver and the driver housing, it sits an elastic dome holder. This dome holder grips the diaphragm in place, preventing any unnecessary resonance while producing sound. The dome holder holds the driver in place, but what about any possible variables caused to the housing while manufacturing? Because of that, Final used what is called Tetra Chamber Topology, basically making an internal structure dedicated to A8000's shape with all 4 chambers optimized to bring out maximum potentials.


Along with that, Final also applied a measuring technology called the PTM Method (Perceptual Transparency Measurement) where it makes analysis and evaluation through mathematical calculations. Led by experts from spatial audio and music recording, incorporating this method ensures the precision for the diaphragm as well as its spatial presentation.




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Earpieces - Aesthetics

So those were the technical details for A8000, and now for the outer elements. The housings are fully made of CNC'd stainless steel with mirror polished, giving them a shiny and elegant look. The chassis follows up with the DNA from Final's B series, yet larger and advanced in shaping. Despite the polygonal shape, it is designed to have a very ergonomic fit with the rear side being rounded, so the housing does not poke any part of the ears. Yet the size of the earpiece is marginally on the larger side, so stay noticed if your outer ears are particularly small.


The nozzle length is slightly on the shorter side from neutral, but not to the point where I would be bothered about. Besides, the stem of the E-type eartips is rather long and at the end of the day, I have got just the right depth when inserted. The nozzle is divided into 4 bores which were somewhat unusual (since it uses a single driver!), yet I believe this is to set clearer sound transmission and due to the 4 chambers. The nozzles are then covered with a mesh filter to prevent dust from falling down the nozzles.




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Cable

If Final spend that much attention on their earpieces and its accessories, they would of course not leave out with its stock cable. Final collaborated with a famous Japanese cable manufacturer, Junkosha, creating a stock cable made of 4-core high-purity OFC silver coated wires, which these wires are usually used for supercomputers due to its fast transmission speed. The wires are then shielded and insulated with Junflon Fluoropolymer (PFA) by Junkosha, preventing any possible cable oxidation.


The lower side of the cable is double-braided, making it appear as a 2-core cable but more importantly, making the cable more pliable. The cable is terminated with a 3.5mm TRS jack and MMCX connectors, directly produced by Final. It feels soft to the touch without any sparingly feeling to it, so microphonics. The housing for the plug and the MMCX connectors are also mirror-polished, bringing a consistent look with the earpieces. Since the connector housing is slightly shorter in size as well as the slippery material, I would suggest using the included cable detaching tool to prevent any damage.




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Sound impressions - Lows

First, looking at the big picture, A8000 draws a vibrant W-shaped sound signature with a bright mood. Lows show great dynamics backed up with its elastic and groovy bass flows. I had no doubt about its bass performance thanks to its pure-beryllium diaphragm, yet A8000 still amazes me. Lows dive deep all the way towards the ultra-low and with quality. The textures are what I especially love from A8000 as the insides are smooth, meaty, and moist while the outsides are crispy and bitey - like a piece of nicely cooked pan-seared salmon. Thanks to that, the bass details are highly revealing but done with grains that are refined and well-polished, then wrapped with crisps around the rims. A8000 makes it distinct and obvious of where the bass and its reverbs end, ultimately leading to better clarity and accuracy.


With speed, lows dive deep while holding in its weightiness. The strike and decay happen in a very clean manner, yet never leaving out on bringing that dark, pressurized power. The strikes are fast along with the reverbs tightly controlled. In fact, reverbs are kept tight but A8000 still allows the bass to ooze out the minimal portion of reverbs, in order to breathe in liveliness and a smooth bass flow, but only within the boundary of keeping the bass tight as its cable braiding. The bass feels well-established, rich, and to be kept with dignity. The ultra-low and low details are clear and blatant but presented with sincere and caution.



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Sound impressions - Mids

As we move on the mids, this is where the details could easily be buried by the assertive lows and highs. However, upon a steady buildup from the upper lows, mids come upfront and show a major presence on the music. It is impressing that despite A8000 presenting a strong W-shaped signature, all three bands (lows/mids/highs) would not go all abstruse but kept dreadfully harmonic and overwhelming. Upper lows and lower mids would conjoint inevitably and A8000 takes a beautiful approach on how to keep these two bands connected and distinct at the same time. Without the upper lows smearing into the mids, A8000 transforms only the power from the lows, leading the mids to gain higher depth, concentration, as well as a larger body.


Mids are high in transparency and clarity with advanced texture exposure than it did on the lows. Still keeping the grains smooth but it gets more explicit, giving mids the ability to further open up the vocal details as well as slightly breathing in an airy and husky tone, mainly for the male vocals. Since mids are quite dense and straight-forward to its nature, this airy and husky tone acts as a counteractive and adds fluffiness and fluidity to the vocals. Not too dense where the sound would feel stiff, not too fluffy where the sound would get mushy, but just the right hardness. The thickness of the vocals is just around being neutral, being neither thick nor thin.


Both male and female vocals are nice, yet female vocals tend to make a bit more out of A8000's delicate, refreshing tone. A cool breeze continues throughout the mid-range with much air openness. Sibilance, however, does not particularly happen other than delivering crispy bites on the upper mids. I am aware that I have referred to the term "crispy" numerous times, though that is simply one of the strongest merits this IEM has - these crispy, refreshing bites and strikes leave such strong impact and addictiveness. Since that, it would be hard to consider A8000 to have a completely fatigue-free sound signature, but it would just feel refreshing for those who are used to the breezy, clarity-focused IEMs on the upper tier.




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Sound impressions - Highs, etc.

Highs also come up close and penetrate fast with much crispiness and freshness. Getting superficial or out of control is not the case at all, thus the overall sound will not get too hot or overwhelming for a number of reasons; first, the lows and mids are toned down to be warmer, gentler, and soothing - still packed with crispiness, of course. Second, highs do not get loosen or leave much reverbs. Third, highs would make a quick (and detailed) jab and fall back to its background. Basically, highs on the A8000 knows where to stop its emphasis - elevating closer to the verge of fatiguing, which at the end of the day, A8000 would not cross that line where the sound will get uncomfortable. This "risky" approach of trebles are kept stable to a surprising degree.


What I find lovable from its treble is that while its strikes are instant and decay at a split second, it still catches up all the texture details as well as those small and thin reverbs that quietly splashes away towards the void. And yes, I still have to bring up that "crispiness" topic once again - because highs are the ultimate part where A8000's crispiness blooms. This crispy sensation is incomparable to lows and mids, that is how much they get thrilling on the highs! From here, these crispy strikes would snap right next to your ears with much reality and concentration, immensely boosting both musicality and aural pleasure.




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Comparisons (1/2)

-Dita Audio Dream XLS (Review link)


It would be a good choice to start off this comparison with one of my very favorite 1DD IEM - the Dream XLS. These two IEMs, the XLS and A8000, takes a similar path in tuning once we look at the large picture, yet their characteristics differ quite a lot as we take a closer look. Dream XLS tends to spatially open up the mids, better highlight the vocal layers and its left/right expansion, whereas A8000 takes the advantage in terms of density, straightness, and penetration where the vocals are released with more liveliness and passion. Since that, the vocal textures show more crunch and firmness to the bite. A8000 overall is a bit more analyticity-based or clarity-based while Dream XLS tilts a bit more to the mellow side.


Now for the bass. A8000's bass is tighter, snappier that it makes the strikes firmer and more in-depth. It also possesses a bit more deepness in color, nicely bringing out the darkness that oozes out from the ultra-lows. Meanwhile, Dream XLS's bass shows more body and fullness, making the bass spread slightly wider throughout the headroom - but at the end of the day, these differences are quite marginal. Having these two compared, Dream XLS leaves me impressed once again as its bass basically achieves the same level of quality and performance against A8000's pure beryllium drivers.


For the upper ends, A8000 gets more up-close with a cooler, shinier, and purer tone. Since that, instruments would sound more passionate, shiny, and refreshing. On the other hand, Dream XLS manages to dismantle the fine treble details into small pieces along with breathing in more air and calmness. Staging-wise, A8000 puts more weight on highlighting the heights (or the ups and downs) This also leads to a difference where A8000 keeps the music more reference-like by preserving the music's original, linear imaging when Dream XLS applies a gentle polish to the imaging details to give more mellowness. As already said, the differences are not night and days, leaving these two masterpieces in the very same league.




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Comparisons (2/2)

-Dunu Luna (Review link)


As the first two IEMs to be using pure beryllium drivers, these two were destined to be matched up. While the sound signature of A8000 shows subtle similarity to the way how Dream XLS does, though A8000 pursues further with its transparency/clarity-focused sound signature, making the difference between A8000 and Luna even bigger. Lows from both IEMs dive just as deep and similar in quantity, size, and reverbs but there is a subtle difference on the way how they end their bass - Luna lets the reverbs ring slightly more with the edge of the bass to feel more rounded, giving a stronger splash once it blows a strike. In the case of A8000, the reverbs are less bouncier and calmer, with the edge of the bass being more acute which leaves it on a cleaner, crispier note.


Moving on to the upper frequencies. Luna is slightly fuller in body, warm, and soothing while A8000 is relatively slimmer (neutral-thin), bright, and highly revealing with superior resolution. Mids on A8000 goes full force on clarity and transparency, carrying the vocals with an airy, cool breeze throughout the mids and highs. Mids step in close to the ears with vivid straightness, forming a highly intimate vocal presentation. Since all that, A8000 achieves outstanding detail retrieval and clearness, though it is possible for treble sensitives to find this a bit hot. Meanwhile, in the case of Luna, mids sound softer and bring in more warmth which keeps the vocals bold and clear yet leaving no possibilities for causing any fatigue or sibilance.


The same situation goes on with the highs. A8000 would carry a brighter tense with extra crisps added to the texture. Relative to that, Luna is mildly lesser in treble quantity with darker brightness, making the treble more comfort-based. In short - if a warm, easy-going sound signature with stronger bass slams is your jam, Luna would work out better for you. Though if you are keen to enjoy clarity-focused signatures that carry a transparent, crispy sound, A8000 would be a better choice.




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Verdicts

Who said dynamic drivers are inferior to BA and EST drivers due to their structural shortcomings? A8000 blows a solid punch in the face with its Beryllium-powered reaction speed, as its sound and the performance backs up the point that not only dynamic drivers could achieve extreme performance for the lower end but also for the upper ends and on many other fields. Interestingly enough, A8000 reminds me of Final FI-BA-SS but in a more mature way and with a dynamic driver instead.


As we look at the craftsmanship of A8000, Final makes it clear and loud on how much devotion and effort they pour into their products, both the sound and appearance oozing with elegance. I appreciate how they pay attention to all the small details in order to reach perfection - the precision-built earpieces, high-quality stock cable, self-invented eartips as well as the cable detacher, and their in-house assembly process for quality control. Building a pure-beryllium driver was already an achievement as it is. Yet even if we put all gimmicks aside and view the IEM solely as it is, A8000 truly shows Final's high level of expertise and perfection. If you would like to experience the lively crips, deep bass, and the cool breezy upper ends, I would be confident enough to say 8000 times that this could be your very solution.




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Thanks to Final Audio for providing A8000 in exchange for an honest impression/feedback.
I am not affiliated with Final Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.

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