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Final Audio Design Heaven VII

Rating:
4.14286/5,
  1. AndrewH13
    Final Audio Design Heaven VII - True Depths
    Written by AndrewH13
    Published Sep 4, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Balanced, Neutral sound quality, Soundstage depth has to be heard!, Packaging
    Cons - Slight lack of oomph, L and R markings
    About Me
     I am in my fifties and have loved music and music equipment all my life. From about 8 years old, I had my first exposure to my mother’s reel to reel tape recorder. A few years later, I was bought a slab-like cassette deck from Philips which I used to record chart songs. As a teenager I pored over Laskys HiFi brochures and my first purchase was a pair of big Celestion speakers. Over the years I have had Nad, Mission, Linn, Roksan and Naim equipment. Finally Tag McClaren HiFi where I was a volunteer software beta-tester for their numerous upgrades.
     
    However I always loved the idea of portables and returned with a gold Sony Mini-disc player, a Sony A808 and various iPods. But until a few years back when a Google search brought up Head-Fi, I was oblivious to the thriving portables community and the quality of sound that could now be obtained.
     
     
    Equipment used for Review
     A Fiio X5 and DX90 are my first hi-res DAPs, and I’ve soon gone from Westone W40s IEMs to Shure 846s and ie800s. A Hugo portable DAC/AMP is my most recent addition. Most of my listening is complete albums, and I now have a collection of Hi-Res and DSD music, which in some cases, does seem preferable to my older versions so will listen using all formats. I will test via the DAPs, both with and without Hugo.
     
     
    Disclaimer
     I received these for 7 days during the Final Heaven European tour and will provide Final and prospective buyers with some feedback in the form of a review. I want to thank Final Audio Design for including me in this program and especially Mark for making it run so smoothly.
    I will give opinions honestly and with an open mind as to how I find them.
     
     
    About Final Audio and the Heaven VII
    This is my very first listen to a Final product so I researched a little to set the scene.
    Kanemori Takai founded Final Audio Design in 1974 selling high-end MC cartridges and transformers. Final Audio has sold high-end Hi-Fi products including 'Parthenon' an exotic-looking turntable, 'Music' a top class amplifier, and ‘OPUS204’ a speaker that weighs 800 kilograms! In 2007 Final collaborated with Molex Japan, developing earphones.
    The Heaven VII has a stainless steel housing and a single balanced armature driver. It is designed in Japan and handmade. It aims for vivid vocals with little distortion, and a wide soundstage.
     
     
    DSC_0025w.jpg
     
    Packaging, and in use
    From the textured outer box with foam in its roof, to the fur inside, it exudes quality. In fact I just enjoyed stroking the fur, nicer than my cats! The heavy metal case alas, wasn't the whisky flask I first thought! It will certainly protect the earphones and has nice, what looks like suede, inner linings. Various sized silicon tips are included, and the IEMs and cable were all black with a reassuring solid-looking 3.5 plug. Apart from an etching on the housing where the chord is fixed, pretty plain, but many will like the all black design. Personally I would choose the silver housing colour for a bit of variety. I am always sceptical of non-twist cables, many of mine are a nightmare. But I have to say, this flat non-twisted cable is the best I have used and required minimal separating.
     
    The comfort while listing for 40 - 90 minutes at a time was much better than I expected, with the housings protruding out of the ear. Comfier than my ear-enclosing 846s! I find a non-detachable cable fine, as long as nothing goes wrong.  A bit worried the whole units would need sending back for repair if the cable ever  became damaged.
     
    One niggle is I can’t fathom out is why manufacturers make it so difficult for those without perfect eyesight, to quickly tell left from right earpieces. Credit to Westone for having different coloured housings, although they are a bit garish. Heavens have a small L & R in feint gold on a black background. Now, where's my reading glasses! Surely one larger mark in Gold or Red on the right side would easily solve this? I guess designers and testers must all be of a younger age and not encounter this problem.
     
     
    DSC_0003w.jpg
     
    What everyone is really waiting for - Sound Quality impressions
    I always feel an excitement before listening to a new product. In this case it's because I have no idea what to expect. Firstly I've never auditioned a Final product before.
    Secondly, I started my IEM journey with the four balanced armature Westone W40s.  I then bought single dynamic driver Sennheiser ie800s. I am currently trying some hybrid 1 plus 2s which in theory could give best of both designs. I also own the four balanced armature Shure 846s.
    But a Single Balanced Armature design, really? I always give less importance to the technical design, and consider purely what something sounds like, but this seems an unusual choice.
    Having been forewarned by a previous tester that VIIs are better with a reasonable source,  I decided to go straight in with my usual home gear of a Fiio X5 digitally feeding, via 75ohm co-ax cable, a Chord Hugo.
     
    First track, by pure chance from my previous listening session, was 'All Alone' from guitar wizard Joe Satriani's excellent 1993 album 'Time Machine' which I have in 24/96 Hi Res. My first impressions were a good width but also great depth to the music that is most unusual in IEMs. It's starts with four drum beats and the decay and depth to those first beats is so natural before the bass underpins the beat in a spacious way, allowing Joe's Super-Strat 80s style guitar its own space for his elegant melody. A great start and a very enjoyable listen.
     
    So much so, I reverse a track to maybe my favourite of the album, 'The Mighty Turtle Head', a far rockier number reminiscent of The Cult with one of their gigantic riffs. Maybe a denser track like this doesn't benefit from the wide soundstage, losing a bit of oomph. Mind you, I feel the same sometimes with tight rock on my HD800 cans! But as the track winds down I've become more used to the slightly less forceful  sound, compared with my other IEMs, and have become accustomed to the presentation.
     
    Changing styles completely, I move to Striking Matches, a female/male duo who wrote many tracks for the current TV series Nashville. Their debut album, 'Nothing But The Silence' (FLAC) is a good test with some sparse well recorded tracks, but also some more up-tempo modern Country.
     
    Listening to 'Make A Liar Out Of Me', I'm feeling I'm missing a fraction of the creamy midrange feel and detail of some more expensive IEMs, but just as I'm about to make a note of this, one of the duo's Telecasters bursts into a solo and I appreciate the way the Heaven VIIs take me into the track and I forget altogether that I'm listening to a portable, just enjoying the music. Until the very end, when analogue hiss closes the track! I reckon Striking Matches have deliberately kept or generated this for an analogue feel! Rest assured, I checked and all my other IEMs show this. Nice to know the top end isn’t subdued!
     
    Time to take Hugo out of the equation.  Some may feel, 'that’s a much more costly solution than I'm using so is it relevant?'  The Hugo gives a very natural sound, maybe increases the timbre quality of the instruments, but overall, if I listen to iBasso or Fiio DAPs alone, or with Hugo, we are not talking dramatic changes. 15% maybe if you could put a figure on it, that’s the diminishing returns of higher cost equipment in our hobby. So the following tracks are matching a DAP of closer price to the IEMs. As many will agree, providing you use good quality source material, IEMs or headphones have a more pronounced effect on the flavour of sound you may like.
     
    I play YES's 'Time And A Word', a re-mastered hi-res recording from the High Vibrations box set. 'Sweet Dreams' portrays the sadly departed Chris Squire's bass in a fast tight fashion, before Jon's angelic vocals are overlaid. Perhaps missing a slight bit of impact but rhythmic all the same and an enjoyable listen.
     
    Taking the pace right down is Norah Jones 'I don’t Know Why' from her 'Come Away With Me' album. This shows piano, vocals, bass and drums all in their own space.  Instruments are beautifully layered, and the brushes on the drums are so delicate. Another Norah Jones track, 'Cold Cold Heart', again suits this Heaven down to a tee, showing the sense of space around the double bass and a depth to the recording that this IEM is great at.
     
    Overall, the Heaven VII has good detail levels and coherence to the sound. It is clean sounding with no particular emphasis. It does lack the low end bass grip of some higher priced IEMs.  The bass is fast, just could do with a wee bit more oomph and punch. Mids are neutral and Treble I haven’t really spoken about, I think this is a testament to the fact that I usually listen to Shure 846s and Sennheiser IE800s, more expensive IEMs, and I just accepted the treble on here as neutral sounding. Heaven VII's star quality is that it has the best depth I've heard from an IEM, giving a very atmospheric sound.
     
     
    DSC_0007w.jpg
     
    Summary
    Whether Heaven VIIs are for you depends, like any other IEM or headphone, where you listening preferences lie. For bassheads or those seeking a warm IEM, look elsewhere. But for those seeking a neutral sound signature, the Heavens VIIs should be listened to. In their price range they tick most of the boxes and their single driver with no crossovers needed, gives a very balanced sound, and excels with top-class depth and imaging. Thanks again to Final Audio for giving me this opportunity to test.
      peter123, money4me247 and moedawg140 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. AndrewH13
      Thanks very much Moedawg140
      AndrewH13, Sep 5, 2015
    3. willyvlyminck
      in technical and sound aspect, these remind of the Grado GR10
      willyvlyminck, Sep 6, 2015
    4. AndrewH13
      Lovingworld, I never use headphones or IEMs out and about I'm afraid, only static indoors!
      AndrewH13, Sep 15, 2015
  2. dnun8086
    I onet more!
    Written by dnun8086
    Published Aug 26, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Clear enveloping sound, luxurious appeal, refreshing mids
    Cons - Price, bass capability, heavy, lack of versatility
    Final Audio Design Heaven VII
     
    The introduction
     
    Firstly, I would like to thank Final Audio Design for the opportunity to be a part of this heavenly tour. That being said as a disclaimer I have no affiliation with Final Audio Design so all impression will be as honest and objective as possible.
     
    Okay, before getting into the meat of this review I just wanted to mention a little about Final Audio Design and their products, so typically from trying a few of there earlier models Final Audio’s sound signature tends to lean towards that euphoric mid centric and epic soundstage kind of personality. Aiming to achieve all of this through their relentless pursuit of just a single balanced armature driver! Yep just one not two not three just one. So it’s no surprise the Heaven VII doesn’t fall to far from this stereotype sound, signature wise and certainly not technology wise.
     
    It’s actual quite an achievement in what the company has produced with a lot new hype still surrounding hybrid designs and CIEMS now even holding up to 12 drivers per side. A commendable feat and Final Audio Design certainly have come a long way, I actually remember trying out a host of their earphones about 2 Years ago at a Head fi meet and being impressed by how much sound was being produced by such a seemingly inconspicuous earphone.
     
    Below is a more detail picture of the Heaven’s internals and make up: 
    file1.jpg
    Here is also a link to Final Audio Design's site for full specification and information: http://final-audio-design.com/en/archives/2240
    (Disclaimer this picture was taken from Final Audio Designs Web Page I do not own the rights to this picture)
     
    Build Quality and Design
     
    As you can see a very simple yet eloquent design. The Heaven VII is crafted out of the same stainless steel body as the Heaven VIII. The only difference here being the VIII is only available in a gold finish. The VII on the other hand are obtainable in two other colour options a sexy polished silver and an enticing matte black, that feels so nice to touch, just saying.
     
    Their signature font “Final” is printed on the front side of the driver housing as you can see, there are also left and right indicator markings written near where the cable and housing meet. One thing I must say is how much I love the beautifully crafted jack, it’s a modest straight 3.5mm jack but is encompassed in a silver finish with beautiful calligraphy printed across just adding that extra touch of class.
     
    A flat non tangle cable flows from the housing, apart from being a little weighty the thing just screams quality! I have owned a few supposedly flat non tangle cabled earphones before which have failed that claim quite abysmally, the Heavens on the other hand offer a real chunky wire that never gets confused no matter how carefully or carelessly I put them away.
     
    I have uploaded a picture of the jack, cable and earphones for a bit of visual reference:
    image1.jpg
     
    Accessories
     
    Other than the straight up sex appeal you get from looking at its packaging, inside you will find a black fur bedding hugging those precious heavenly jewels, a sleek polished silver carrying case, a warranty card, instruction manual and a selection of 5 different sized silicone ear tips (Of which I received 4 a pair may have been lost along the tour). Moving on there is also a mirror-finished slim flat carrying case has a padded interior, its dimensions are as follows: 3.5” H x 3.75” W.
     
    The presentation is certainly one of extravagance really showing off just how luxurious the earphones are, I truly believe this comes from a company who want you to feel like you have got what you paid for. Regrettably though as nice as the presentation and case is I can’t help but feel a little griped. The reason for this isn’t due to the limitation of silicon tips or accessories, it’s actually down to that lustrous carrying case.
     
    Basically due to the finish Final Audio Design has chosen to go with you end up with something very similar to the old iPod classics, if you ever owned one you’ll know exactly what I mean the surface is prone to scratching and marks no matter how carefully you try and preserve it. A little disappointing but worst of all even though the cases dimensions mean it can fit quite easily into your pocket the bloody thing won’t close without a fight with the earphones in, granted I have got foam ear tips on there but still this is something that could have been prevented with a simple indent for the earphones to fit snugly into.
     
    Here are some pictures of what you are to expect, still love the box it’s like snake skin just pure class:
    image2.jpg image4.jpg IMG_4167.jpg
     
    Comfort, Fit and Isolation
     
    The comfort of these earphones is actually quite respectable. However, there seems to be one big design flaw here unfortunately, that is solely down to the housing’s stainless steel weighty enclosure. These things are downright heavy, even besting my Dunu 2000's. Aside from the weight though they’re generally very comfortable, they are conventionally worn straight down so no faffing about trying to get the cable over your ear and so on. 
     
    Switching tips is one thing I found gave me a little bit of added relief from the earphones dense nature. Tip rolling in itself can be useful thankfully in this case I didn't find too many sonic changes as I was trying out various tips. I finally settled on a pair of foam ear tips which use no wax guard and provide a perfect balance between clarity, isolation and comfort.
     
    Typically speaking due to the weight of the earphone I can't wear them for any longer than a period of about two hours before they become uncomfortable. Obviously for most people two hours is quite sufficient but something to take into consideration if you’re planning on wearing these for extended periods of time.
     
    Last but not least a little word on isolation, I don't know if it's the foam ear tips or the stainless steel housing or both but there isn't any complaints here! Apart from the exception of a few good earphone these offer pretty substantial isolation on a few occasion with the music off people were trying to talk to me and still couldn't hear a thing so not bad at all. 
     
    Initial impressions
     
    Before I kick off with my initial thoughts and feelings I want to stress how much my views have changed since I’ve got to understand and spend more time with the Heavens, so please do read the actual sound impressions as it would be a crime to deface a pretty good product by just reading these next few slightly unflattering paragraphs.
     
    So after a slight delay the earphones finally arrived (pun intended) upon first listen I couldn’t help but feel like something is either missing or broken. Actually after having read previous reviews I was tempted to email Mark and see if they had another pair or at least forewarn them of a seriously bad review.
     
    The earphones sounded veiled, thin and distant and at first and I just couldn’t get why previous reviews had mentioned the vocal reproduction sounding so natural and a big soundstage which just didn’t seem to exist at this point.
     
    I can not emphasis this next section enough, source matching is crucial for these babies to shine as they were intended to and you need to spend some days letting your brain adjust to what’s going on, or at least I certainly did. As I was in a rush the first thing I plugged them into was my iPhone 6 hardly audiophile, but I just didn’t think such a quality product could sound so lifeless. As it turns out with brain burn in and a little extra juice they are now quite enjoyable even out of my iPhone, not at their best by any means, but at least enjoyable.
     
    Source matching
     
    As I mentioned my initial impressions weren’t overly impressive at all. Thankfully once again my home listening set up saved the day. The setup I use is simply a Meridian DAC V1 connected to the infamous Meier audio Quickstep using a Crystal Piccolino interconnect. I found this set up to be the most sonically pleasing as it provided a nice ample amount of warmth and brought out all of the Heavens best attributes. 
     
    I would go as far as to say these are nearly the pickiest earphones I've tried and I would recommend highly that you invest in a good source if you're planning on purchasing these, if you don't already own one. 
     
    I am sure you can get away with using an iPhone or an android-based device if that's all you've got around, but do be aware you will probably need to push the volume up. This isn't necessarily because the earphones are hard to drive it just seems to need those notches to bring out their true character. I found myself pushing the volume up a little past my comfort levels when simply using my iPhone in order to really pull out the clarity, bass and midrange however, there was the negative of this resulting in a slightly more aggressive sound than I’m used to, mainly in the treble region but more on that later.
     
    In the unlikely case all you have is your phone try get a little amp, even something like the Martini+ connected to my iPhone really gave it a good kick in the bum and boosted its performance. It’s certainly something I'd recommend as the results yielded a lot of good fruit, everything from more euphoric vocals to treble detail all the way down to the bass. 
     
    I think the main reason why I couldn't seem to get such an enjoyable sound out of them at the start, other than having to adjust to the sound signature, is simply because these are high-end earphones and they were designed in mind with a high quality source to match. I hope you've stayed with me this far as we are about to get into the juicy bit, the sound!
     
    Sound Quality
     
    As has been made clear by this point I basically have decided to base these sound impressions on how the Heavens sound using my home set up, AR-M2 and also my iPhone 6 utilising a line out to my Neco V4 Amplifier.
     
    Treble:
     
    Well I feel it has been a long time since I have had the chance to hear a BA driver sound as subtle, gentle and crisp as the VII sound in this department. Everything from cymbals to hi hats sound great, guitars especially come across with such transparency and shimmer leaving a delicate note decay as if TinkerBell had just blew magic pixy dust over each note. Honestly please do be careful I didn’t find these earphones forgiving at all of poor recordings though, but as soon as you put some of your favourite music collection on you’ll learn to appreciate why they sound the way they do.
     
    Micro detailing is great, light and never trying to force too much in your face all at once, this trait results in the treble having a supplementary amount of air and space for those twangs, clicks and pops to dance around the soundstage which adds a slight touch of brightness and breath. 
     
    Midrange:
     
    Why oh why did you have to go and make things complicated baby. Sorry me and the VII had a little difficulty understanding each other in this department. This is so much more down to source matching. I don’t get why but these earphones clearly still follow the typically acclaimed sound we have come to know from Final Audio Design but and there is a but if paired with a slightly mid recessed sounding source vocals can seem distant resulting in a slightly shady unmusical sound.
     
    Thankfully after couples counselling we managed to sort out our differences and the results have been well, heavenly just had to. Sorry forgive the puns it’s hard when they’ve chosen such a brilliant name. Talking strictly from this point on there is this beautifully buoyant sweet vocal reproduction. It’s no secret I am a bit of a vocal devotee and to me I am always drawn to those type of earphones, that being said the VII is again an earphone that holds its own against some of the most favourable mid focused earphones I've tried.
     
    Vocals come across airy and light with a touch of forwardness and bite that can be quite euphoric. The more I listen the more addicted I become refreshing seems to be such a fitting word for the way the Heavens sound to my ears. Although these are clearly designed for accuracy and pace I find myself sometimes wanting a little more meat after falling in love with the R2Pro but I’ll add that in the comparisons section.
     
    Bass:
     
    Hi, I am bass it’s nice to meet you I'll be around if you need me but don’t bother me too much because I refuse to work for no reason. I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of statement you’d get if the bass first introduced itself. There is certainly a limitation here and I can’t help but feel this is where Final Audio Design need to break convention and finally add an extra driver. Do not get me wrong the accuracy and speed is great from top to bottom like no other single based BA I’ve ever heard however, it still leaves something to be desired.
     
    It lacks that texture and finesse you get from a well-tuned dynamic or multi BA earphone. I just feel like these little things were trying too hard to do so much. The bass is good and prominent when needed but certainly could do with some added meat to its bones. On a good note the speed and accuracy is really on point you never get any bleed into the other frequency ranges either leaving the rest of the sound so neat and tidy. There is also a nice impact when a track really calls for it, for the discerning audiophile who loves a bit of hip hop these can still perform remarkable well but there’s room for improvement.
     
    Soundstage, Imaging and Layering:
     
    Now you may have already heard about the VII’s immersive and spacious soundstage well I won’t kill the hype too much. I feel like they were created with this in mind the soundstage isn’t overly wide or deep yet it has a charisma about it that allows instruments to breathe and spread out around you. I like the way the soundstage is done it is very spacious just in its own way, I have more of a benchmark regarding layering the R2pro really opened me up to what that really means.
     
    The VII feel more flat overall due to their nature but thankfully the light tight and liquid sound Final Audio have tried to put into nearly all their earphones makes up for it so you are more captivated about what’s going on around you, the micro detailing being presented and beautiful pallet cleansing midrange. To add a tag line to this I am being very critical because they have done such a good job in this department.
     
    Brief Comparisons
     
    Dunu 2000: We all know the Dunu 2000’s punch above their weight, but can they keep up with an earphone that costs twice as much? Well the answer isn’t a clear cut yes or no. Sorry for the suspense but although the Dunu do perform remarkably well there is still more refinement found in the VII.
     
    Dunu due to the hybrid design in my opinion has a better bass response than the VII, sounding more natural and reaching deeper than the VII is capable of. Now in terms of coherency the tip of the hat goes to the VII everything from top to bottom is very well placed and with a good source they show up and outclass the humble Dunu in this respect.
     
    Strictly talking about performance the Heaven VII is an incredible feat with what it manages to achieve with just one BA per side. Bottom line if you have the cash I’d pick the VII over the Dunu for its overall performance from a gorgeous glorious midrange and soundstage to its cohesive sound it’s just that bit better.  
     
    R2Pro: Okay this one is really tough these are two completely different sounding types of earphone! So much in fact I will have to bullet point the differences to give you a better comparison.
     
    Heaven VII
     
    1. Lighter tighter sound
    2. A more forward vocal presentation ( With the right source )
    3. Soundstage is about equal. The VII is more about having you immersed almost so you don’t know there’s anything happening other than this sense of space whereas the R2Pro focuses on layering and making you aware where everything is coming from.
    4. Cleaner clearer presentation
     
    R2Pro
     
    1. Plumper bass resulting in a thicker sound
    2. Detail retrieval isn’t behind but it’s not as obvious
    3. Less in your face midrange
    4. Darker more engaging sound and more versatile
    5. More suitable for longer listening sessions due to the light housing design and comfort
     
    Final Thoughts
     
    I know some elements of this review have been a little critical but on the contrary I want to commend Final Audio for producing such a fine earphone with just one driver! This to me has been like a fine wine that has only got better with time, a relationship in its growing stages maturing into a refined love and appreciation. There is a lot to be enjoyed about the quality of this earphone I feel I can’t really give it a five star because of some of its shortcomings i.e. lack of versatility with source matching and just the other nit-picks I have with its try hard attitude.
     
    I would love to see some improvements for example a lighter driver housing, a slightly more pragmatic and durable carrying case, possibly a removable cable? Most of all I have high hopes, if this is what Final Audio Design can do with ONE SINGLE BA DRIVER can you imagine a highly tuned and perfected multi BA from this company, wow I think they may need to find a word above heaven. Might be harder coming up with a name that emulates what the upgrade to the Heaven VII would be than actually creating the earphones.
     
    Concluding thoughts are these are a serious earphone it’s only because of the nit-picks and lack of versatility this is getting a four star. Believe me I may not have hyped about the sound too much but in all honesty I don’t want to let these go they have been a breath of fresh air if Final Audio Design take into consideration some of the suggestions made I don’t care how much the damn things cost I’ll buy them! 
      getclikinagas and moedawg140 like this.
    1. WayneWoondirts
      wow, great and detailed review! love it.
      WayneWoondirts, Aug 26, 2015
    2. dnun8086
      Thanks bud, there a great pair of earphones look forward to see what else they have in store.
      dnun8086, Aug 26, 2015
    3. AndrewH13
      I had been trying to avoid reviews as receiving next after you. But couldnt resist. Very good comprensive review, looking forward to them. Now im wiping it from my mind :)
      AndrewH13, Aug 26, 2015
  3. nmatheis
    FA Heaven VII - Bang for your buck?
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Aug 20, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Great design and build quality. Pretty comfortable. Isolates well. Very natural sounding mids.
    Cons - Expensive. Heavy. Not designed for over ear use. Lacks low end punch and high end sparkle.
    INTRODUCTION
    Final Audio has been manufacturing audio equipment in Japan since 1974.  Headphones and IEM are a fairly recent addition to the FA lineup and have generated quite a cult following amongst audiophiles.  The product I'll be looking at today is the Final Audio Heaven VIIa Single BA IEM enclosed in a fashionable  (Metal Injection Molding) housing.  For those of you not familiar with this process, it uses powdered metal which is poured into molds typically used for producing plastics.  This makes it easy to consistently get exactly the shape you want without having to machine the metal.  The only other IEM I know of using this production technique are the RHA T10 and T20.
     
    Here's how Final Audio describes the Heaven VII:
     
    "Heaven VII pursues the special attributes of final audio design products – a vast sound stage and vivid vocals. The vocals reverberate warmly across the full-range of clear sounds achieved with the product. With MIM (Metal Injection Molding), a special metal working process, a housing that optimizes acoustics not possible through regular machining is achieved. Compared to before, a new single driver unit excelling in bass tone reproduction is employed. With what is in principle ideal full-range reproduction, the result is natural sound reproduction that you could listen to forever. The back design is not merely for decoration either. Resonance dispersion has been factored into the design, making for a high-level balance between beauty and function."

     
    Let's see if I agree with that description...
     
    heaven7black_725_3.jpg
    Photo courtesy of Final Audio
     

     
    First, here are some links for further exploration:
    FINAL AUDIO
    HEAVEN VII
    METAL INJECTION MOLDING
    @money4me247's review
    @peter123's review
    @Cotnijoe's review
    @WayneWoondirts' review
     
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Heaven VII reviewers by Final Audio as part of a Review Tour.  There is no financial incentive from Final Audio in writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with Final Audio, and this is my honest opinion of the Heaven VII.  I would like to thank Final Audio for giving Head-Fi members a chance to test drive the Heaven VII, and I hope our feedback proves useful for our fellow Head-Fi members as well as for Final Audio.




     
     
    ABOUT ME
    I'm a 43 year old music lover who listens to a wide variety of genres and artists (but mostly electronic, metal, and modern composition these days). As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues - some upper frequency loss and mild tinnitus. 
     
    My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders, and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-120, iPod, iPhone, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso. 
     
    My headphone journey started with Sony MDR e888 and Eggos back in my minidisc days.  I moved on to full-size Beyerdynamic and Ultrasone cans and Shure E2 and E3 IEM. Those all served me well for quite some time.  Then I rediscovered Head-Fi, and my poor wallet...
     
     
    SPECIFICATIONS
    DriversSingle Balanced Armature Driver
    Frequency rangeUnspecified
    Impedance24 Ω
    Sensitivity106 dB/mW
    Rated / Max powerUnspecified
    Weight 29g
    Cable1.2m
    Connector
    3.5mm, gold-plated straight plug
    Warranty2 years

     
    MSRP: ~$600 - $700

     
     
    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES
    I'm not one to go on about packaging and accessories, so I'll keep this short and sweet and let the pictures do the talking.
     
    Here's the packaging.  Faux reptile skin?  Really?
    IMG_0003.jpg  
    Take off the lid, and you find lots and lots of... fake fur?  
    Sensing a trend here...
    IMG_0006.jpg
     
    Is that an old-fashioned cigarette case?
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    No, it's an IEM case, silly!
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    You also get a nice selection of silicon tips.  
    I really like it that you get in-between sizes, making it easy to get the fit just right.
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    Ok, so you get the fanciest IEM case I've ever seen and a very nice selection of tips.  What's missing?  A shirt clip and chin slider come to my mind.  
     
    As you can probably tell from my commentary, I'm not a fan of the packaging.  I like simple, straight-forward design, and this is definitely not that.  I can see how it would appeal to some, but it's not my cup of tea.
     

     
    BUILD & ERGONOMICS
    Let's see how well the Heaven VII are constructed and how well they fit.
     
    Starting with the shells, the Heaven VII are very well-made.  The Stainless Steel Metal Injection Molding construction makes them smooth, nearly seamless, and tough as nails.   The tour Heaven VII came with a very attractive matte black paint job. The shells are a bit on the large side compared to other IEM I've used and are sealed.  The size, shape, and pattern are intentional, being part of FA's sound shaping strategy.  Being sealed, isolation is quite good and wind noise is minimal.
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    The shells have L / R markings painted on the inner face near the cable exit.  A raised dot would've been nice to make sightless placement possible.  As it is, you do need to look at the shells for correct
    placement.  There is a metal mesh wax guard just inside the nozzle.  This doesn't seem like a user serviceable part, so take care to clean this often to prevent wax from building up inside the nozzles.  The tips are smooth inside but have ridges on the outside of the barrel, making it easy to grip them during placement and removal.  It's the first time I've seen this incorporated into tips. IMG_0010.jpg
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    The standard length flat cable resists tangling and microphonics quite well.  At this price point, I would've liked to see a nice matching matte black metal shirt clip to keep the cable secure and further diminish microphonics while out and about.  The silver plug looks quite out of place on the otherwise stealthy all-black Heaven VII.  A matching matte black plug would've been a better design choice, in my opinion.

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    Although the shells are a bit heavy, under ear fit was comfortable for long periods of time with my smaller than average ears.  Even though comfortable, Heaven VII does fall square in Frankenbolts territory.  Over ear fit didn't seem likely with my ears, so I didn't capture any photos of that. 
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    Ok, so what's the takeaway?  Obvious positives are solid build, apparent durability, comfort, and fashionable design.  Suggestions for improvement would be to provide a matching shirt clip, implement an improved system for distinguishing L / R earpieces, and use a matching mate black plug.
     

     
    SOUND
    I'm going to keep this section simple. I appreciate reviewers who wax eloquent, describing each peak and valley - but for me that's still a work in progress.  Other reviewers on the Heaven VII Tour who have done a superb job describing their sound, so if you need further clarification please refer to their reviews.
     
    With that disclaimer out of the way, how do the Heaven VII sound?  
     
    Again, here's Final Audio's vision for the Heaven VII's sound signature:
     
    "Heaven VII pursues the special attributes of final audio design products – a vast sound stage and vivid vocals. The vocals reverberate warmly across the full-range of clear sounds achieved with the product. With MIM (Metal Injection Molding), a special metal working process, a housing that optimizes acoustics not possible through regular machining is achieved. Compared to before, a new single driver unit excelling in bass tone reproduction is employed. With what is in principle ideal full-range reproduction, the result is natural sound reproduction that you could listen to forever. The back design is not merely for decoration either. Resonance dispersion has been factored into the design, making for a high-level balance between beauty and function."
     
    Do the Heaven VII live up to that description?  Mostly.  I'll try to explain.  The Heaven VII have a fairly flat sound signature that's rolled off a bit on the low and high ends.  This makes a sound signature which reproduces a lot of music very well but isn't as good for other music styles.  I think it's important to understand that when deciding on any IEM but especially in this case, where the price is quite high for a Single BA design.  I listened to the Heaven VII as my primary IEM for a my week with them, using it with several sources I own or was testing.  During that time, I listened mostly to experimental electronic and metal because that's what's I groove on.
     
    LOWS
    1. Bass reproduction tapers off a bit into the sub-bass region
    2. Bass is quick but is soft and lacks punch
    3. Bass definition and texture are quite nice
    4. Heaven VII's bass is definitely more about quality rather than quantity

     
    MIDS
    1. Other than a slight 3kHz peak, mid reproduction is fairly linear
    2. Mids are a bit forward and on the warm side, making vocals stand out and sound rich and vibrant
    3. Male and female vocals sound equally good

     
    HIGHS
    1. The upper end has no 8kHz peak like many IEMs and rolls off pretty after 10kHz
    2. It's quite a smooth presentation, making it easy to listen to but lacks sparkle and shimmer
    3. Treble heads will find this too relaxed
     
    OTHER
    1. Soundstage is great for an IEM
    2. Excellent timbre and resonance

     
    SUITABILITY FOR MY MUSIC
    As I mentioned earlier, I listen to a lot of experimental electronic and metal.  How did the Heaven VII work out for me, taking my musical preferences into account?  
     
    I'll be honest, I listen to a lot of electronic music and found it pretty lackluster with the Heaven VII.  A lot of my enjoyment there relies on high-impact, well-extended bass.  Without that and a nice soundstage, you just can't get the same feeling you get from larger cans or speakers.  The Heaven VII definitely has soundstage covered, but I felt the Heaven VII's bass reproduction lacked in quantity and impact, making it sound softer than I'd prefer for this type of music.  If my electronic music has vocals, they're usually female vocals.  The Heaven VII has that covered, as well.  I found myself yearning for more sparkle and shimmer up top.  If I were using the Heaven VII for electronic music, I'd need to engage in some EQ work to get the sound signature right.
     
    I wasn't really feeling the Heaven VII when it came to metal, either.  With doom / stoner / sludge, the low end lacked the sense of ponderous weight needed for these genres, the upper end again needed more sparkle and shimmer to liven things up a bit, and the mids, well... those aren't really critical for this type of music.  With black and death metal, they were pretty good but could still use more bass impact, a slight reduction in mids, and a slight bump in treble.  Now for classic old-school metal like Iron Maiden, the Heaven VII sounded quite good.
     
    So, for me the Heaven VII would work out.  They just don't have the sound signature I prefer for the music I listen to most.  Maybe some electronic and metal fans would love them, but I suspect most would be left wanting a bit more bass and treble.
     
    What are they good for?  Man, I found the Heaven VII really shined when it came to Classic Rock (Beatles, Eagles, Rush), Jazz (Coltrane, Davis, Monk), and Modern Composition (Cage, Glass, Reich). If I were more invested in those genres I'd be much more interested in the Heaven VII.  But even then, I found myself preferring the less mid-centric sound signature coming from TPEOS Altone200 and VE's new IEM The Duke.
     
    So to sum up, I'd call the Heaven VII a neutral to mid-centric IEM with excellent vocals reproduction, great soundstage, and some of the most realistic timbre I've heard in an IEM.  It's quite nice, but at the end of the day it just doesn't tick my boxes.
     
     
    SUMMARY
    Final Audio's Heaven VII are an interesting luxury IEM.  If you're looking for a great sounding neutral, slightly mid-centric IEM to feed Classical, Classic Rock, and Jazz and are willing to pay a hefty premium, then these might be your next IEM even if they weren't my cup of tea.  Build quality and design are top-notch, and the packaging and presentation just scream luxury brand!
     
    It was great to finally give a pair of Final Audio IEM a listen, and it made me look a bit more into the brand and its products.  In doing that research, I honestly think I would've gotten along much better with the Heaven VIII.  It sounds like those kick the bass up notch or two, which I found was the biggest gap with the Heaven VII with my music.
     
    FYI: My final score was heavily influenced by the Heaven VII's high cost.  While they did sound quite good for the sound signature, I have a hard time handing out glowing reviews for expensive gear feeling they have a much higher bar to jump over than lower-priced, bang for your buck products. 
     
    Again, I'd like to give a hearty thanks to Final Audio for providing me with the chance to give the Heaven VII a listen and hope others find this review useful, particularly those with similar interests in music.

      hakushondaimao likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. hakushondaimao
      Nicely done, as usual. Looking forward to getting them next and trying them out on my predominantly '70s MOR pop/rock and '80s electro/new wave stylings.
      hakushondaimao, Aug 21, 2015
    3. RedTwilight
      Nice concise review!
      RedTwilight, Aug 21, 2015
    4. peareye
      Really glad you included the type of music you like and used for your listening....I get a much better understanding and appreciation
       
      of your review...
      peareye, Aug 21, 2015
  4. WayneWoondirts
    Incredible sounding single BA iem with outstanding soundstage
    Written by WayneWoondirts
    Published Aug 14, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - soundstage, wonderful sound, build quality
    Cons - no detachable cable
    Disclaimer:

    I was part of Final's european tour of this headphone, so I did receive a free unit for a period of seven days only.
    I want to thank Mark from Final UK for organizing the tour and giving me the opportunity to test these IEMs.
     
    Introduction:
     
    I need to state first that I have never been an IEM person, I just don't like the feeling of having something in my ear for too long.
    Why did I apply to the tour then? Because I own a pair of Final's Sonorus VI (formerly known as Pandora Hope VI) and I am stunned by their sound and wanted to know if their IEMs can compete with their full sized headphones. So I was willing to get out of my comfort zone and try them.
    They have been my main headphones for this week, to get a decent feel for the soundsignature of them.

    DAP used: Astell & Kern - AK100 II
     
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    Build:
     
    The housing is made of stainless steel, and you can feel that. They are quite heavy for their size. The tour unit came in matte black, but Final also offers them in polished silver. On the bottom of the housing you can find the L/R indicators.
     
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    Unfortunately the cable is not detachable, which is one of the first things I look for. The cable is flat and about 1.2 m long, a good length for portable use, never have I heard any touching noise coming through the cable. At the end you'll find a 3.5mm stereo jack. On top of the housing is the mash filter and the acoustic resistor and behind them sits the full range balanced armature driver.
     
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    Specs:
     
    Driver Unit
    Balanced Armature
    S.P.L.
    106dB
    Impedance
    24 Ohms
    Cable Length
    1.2 meters
    Weight
    29 grams

     
    Package and Accessories:
     
    The IEMs come in a black box, inside are the headphones lying on a fake fur bed. Under that there's the rest of the Heavens, a user manual plus warranty card, a plastic bag full of different tips/ear pads and also a glossy silver carry case made of metal. This case looks like a cigarette case to me, honestly I never used it.
    The ear pads are made of silicone, I would have preferred memory foam for a perfect fit and isolation.
     
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    Fit, comfort and isolation:
     
    As said before I would have preferred a different material for the ear pads, but that would have changed the soundsignature. It's the same thing with my Sonorus, the ear pads are their only weakness. Don't get me wrong, the Heaven VII did fit my ear, but I had to fumble around a bit because they always got a little loose when moving too much. Might have been because of the very soft and thin silicone they used. It took me about four to five days to get used to the feeling, but after that my entire experience with the headphones increased.
    I said it at the beginning of the review, I have never been an IEM person.
    The Sonorus are by far the best headphones I have heard, and I am one of those crazy guys who walks around with them on the streets. I don't care for looks, all that matters to me is good sound, but they also are very heavy. So I was playing with the thought of the great Final sound in a more compact style, that's where the Heaven VII should have stepped in. Unfortunately for me, they didn't take my aversion for IEMs away. Maybe it was me, and I didn't insert them correctly, but after an hour tops I had to take them out and stop listening.
    As for isolation I can say that they do their job very well, considering that they don't use any special skills to block outside noise. I have worn the Heavens outside, in traffic and at home. While riding my bike to work, I did not hear too much from the cars around me, still a little bit of noise coming in, but in traffic that's usually a good thing. When walking around in the city all I heard was music.
    The volume was usually set between 40 and 45, outside, and between 30 and 35 inside, on my AK100 II, so I didn't blast my ears. If you turn the volume higher you won't hear anything of course, but I like to listen in more quiet volumes.
     
    Sound:

    My only source for this review was Astell & Kern's AK100 II (review to come), so they were fed with decent sound in FLAC and DSD. I listen to a lot of different genres, but mainly to Rock, Hip Hop, Electronic, Downbeat and some Jazz.
    Having used the Sonorus gave me a taste of what I was about to experience, and their neutral signature and huge soundstage were the reasons why I signed up for the tour in the first place.

    Like their big brother, the Heavens also have a wonderful soundstage. It's big and well defined, they will give you a very accurate feeling for the room. In fact, they don't need to be afraid of some full sized headphones I've heard, the Sonorus still is a few steps ahead though.
    I've fallen for Finals sound before, and with the IEM I was in for a treat. The highs get delivered in great and very precise shape. This might even be their strongest point. Mids are super clean and airy. Bass isn't too punchy or aggressive, yet feels smooth and neutral.
    Overall the sound is very precise, natural and flat. Never was it fatiguing, blur or coming on too strong.
     
    Quick comparison to the Sonorus VI (formerly known as Pandora Hope VI):
     
    The sound of the Heaven's is very similar to the Sonorus VI's, but shows less detail, neutrality and air, more love for the highs and lacks a bit in soundstage, but overall I am very impressed with the sound they produce, and how Final managed to tune these with only one BA per side.
     
    Conclusion:
     
    If only they were more comfortable. Final's wonderful sound and their unbelievable soundstage have won me before and they did it again.
    I did not let my comfort issues and aversion for IEMs influence the rating of these headphones. And for the sound only the would get the full points, but they are missing one thing, and that's a detachable cable. Because of that they are a tiny step behind perfection.
     
    Final Words:
     
    I want to thank Mark again for organizing the tour, and Final for giving a few head-fiers the opportunity to test the Heaven VII.
    It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed my time with their sound.
     
    Now they are off to the next reviewer.
     
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  5. Cotnijoe
    FAD Heaven VII - A Little Taste of the FAD Magic
    Written by Cotnijoe
    Published Aug 5, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Solid Build, Beautiful Design, Immensely Detailed Sound
    Cons - Heavy Housing, Discomfort Over Time, Neutral Tuning Not for Everyone
    Introduction:
    For many Head-Fiers, Final Audio Design is a name that is clouded by controversies and disagreements over the value of the brand. Are they the works of a genius or just overpriced crap? What’s even more frustrating is the only answer you’ll get to that question: “If you don’t mind point A or disregard point B, then their earphones will amaze you and all you’ll ever need. If not they’re crap.” All I got from that is “You’re about to spend 500 dollars on something you’ll either love or absolutely hate. Good luck!”
     
    I’ve been lucky to have heard a few of Final’s products at various meets or from friends and for me, personally, I’ve liked what I’ve heard. However, the subject of this review, Final’s Heaven VII, is the first time I’ve had an extended period of time to really give something from Final a good listen. The Heaven VII unit, released in late 2014, was provided by Final UK as part of a tour. I’ve had a week’s time with them and have posted my thoughts and opinions of the products here. My hope is that this review will help those interested in this particular Final product make a decision on whether they will “love or hate” the Heaven VII. As a disclaimer, I think the Heaven VII is quite a worthy product!
     
    Packaging and Accessories:
    The packaging of the Heaven VII, like many Final products, gives off the vibe that you’re dealing with a luxury good. The exterior of the box is covered in a plastic cover that looks to mimic crocodile leather. Upon opening the box, you see the headphones resting on a thick layer of fur – like it’s some sort of prince. For the prince’s transportation needs, Final provided a metal carrying case which has a slim profile. While the slim profile makes for easy storage and the metal exterior gives the Heaven VII plenty of protection, the shiny exterior is also the safe haven for fingerprints. They’re gonna get everywhere... which is a bit unfortunate. Besides being a fingerprint magnet, the carrying case is attractive, protective, and easy to use.
     
    Included with the Heaven VII are also 5 sets of ear tips of various sizes. Being a small Asian with some very small ears, the smallest size fit me best. At first, I felt the ear tips were a bit stiff, and can often cause air pressure to build in my ear canals when I put the Heaven VII on, but after tip rolling a bit, I found that the stock tips gave the best sound, so I stuck with them.
     
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    Packaging and Accessories     
     
    Build, Design, and Comfort:
    The housing of the Heaven VII is constructed from stainless steel. Final offers the Heaven VII in either polished silver or matte black finish. The unit Final UK sent out was the matte black one, which I rather like. The housing feels rock solid, and has a very nice face to it. The Final logo is etched into the side of the housing, and the R/L indicators are etched on the interior of the stem of the housing.
     
    I’ve never been a big fan of flat cables, but I think the flat cable of the Heaven VII is one of the few that I think is actually not too bad. The cable is tangle free, feels sturdy, but does carry a bit more cable noise that I would like it to (partially due to the IEM being designed to be worn straight down). The Y-split isn’t particularly attractive, but I find its low profile to be practical, which I certainly appreciate over something fancy in aesthetics that doesn’t function well. The 3.5mm termination has a nice metal finish to it with the Final logo on it. There isn’t any tangible strain relief but the cable feels sturdy nonetheless and cable issues don’t seem like an issue I would worry about if I was an owner. One gripe I did have with the cable is the lack of a slider to make adjustments.
     
    The Heaven VII, like most other Final products, are designed to be worn straight down. I did try to wear it with the cables over my ears, but the fit was pretty wonky, so I quickly scrapped that idea. The housing of the Heaven VII is quite heavy, and I found that if I move about too much, the Heaven VII did have the tendency to start slumping down a bit, often pressing on at bottom of my ears and causing some pain over time. For that reason, I haven’t enjoyed my time with the Heaven VII too much when on the go, as I’d have to take them off after maybe 30 minutes or so.
     
    When using them at a desk though, the Heaven VII stays in my ears much better. Comfort isn’t bad, but the combination of the Heaven VII’s weight and the stiff ear tips still tend to cause some discomfort for my ears after maybe 2 or 3 hours of use. I think those with more average sized ears will have better comfort with the Heaven VII than I did since the housing will be less likely to start pressing against your ear like it tends to do with my ears over time. With that said, I wouldn’t be discouraged from considering the Heaven VII as an option, because its sound is stellar.
     
    Listening Impressions:
    Of the few Final IEMs I have tried, none of them have been overly odd or bizarre sounding, but all of them certainly have a unique quality to them that I only find in Final IEMs. Note though, that I have yet to try the Piano Forte line – perhaps the most controversial of Final’s lineup. I view the Heaven VII as a fantastic IEM for those who want an introduction to the Final sound (for those who can afford it, of course), because the Heaven VII actually has a fairly well-balanced sound while having the midrange magic that Final seems to be so famous for.
     
    The majority of my listening was done using my desktop setup. The Heaven VII aren’t by any means difficult to drive, but they’re also not the most sensitive IEMs in the world, and driving them from my desktop setup produced some very good results with a very low and acceptable (but present) level of background hiss. My desktop setup consists of music running through Foobar on my computer connected to a Schiit Wyrd and Asus Essence III in single ended. I did also listen the Heaven VII with my portable setup, consisting of iBasso DX90 as the source and iBasso D14 “Bushmaster” as DAC and amplifier. Both setups yielded good results, but I will focus on the portable setup later on in the review.
     
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    My Listening Setup     
     
    Bass
    The bass response of the Heaven VII is perhaps one of most truly linear responses that I’ve experienced. The bass is authoritative on impact, with fantastic speed and tightness. Because the bass has such a tightness, clarity, and speed to it, I never feel that its presence is missing or lacking despite the fact that the lower region of the Heaven VII doesn’t really have any sort of boost or extra warmth to it. I think it’s a fantastic trait to have – being able to deliver a great sense of impact without coloring the sound.
     
    I have to constantly remind myself that the Heaven VII is a single BA driver IEM, because I don’t know how Final managed to squeeze such impressive sub bass extension out of a single BA driver. I found that the bass does start rolling off below 40Hz or so, but what really impressed me is that it maintains its presence down to around 20Hz. The result is a low end that doesn’t feel filled up, but instead sound clean and with a fantastically well-textured bass. This isn’t an IEM where you’ll be able to feel a great sense of rumble, but it’s an IEM that demands you sit down, and take some time to appreciate what it has to offer with its sound.
     
    For a one driver IEM, the Heaven VII has certainly blown my mind on how good bass can be coming from a single BA driver. In fact, it’s one of the best bass I’ve heard from an IEM regardless of the number of drivers. The sheer speed, impact, and texture make it one of the cleanest and most realistic I’ve heard from an IEM.
     
    Midrange
    All that traits that I loved about the bass is certainly not restricted to just the bass of the Heaven VII. Linear, fast, tight, and clean are some words that I would use to describe the midrange. Micro detail and texture are phenomenal on the Heaven VII. While the Heaven VII isn’t realistic in terms of the presentation of the music (it’s still an IEM and has its limits to how close to live it can be), its perhaps one of the most convincing IEM I’ve heard in the sense that each individual instrument or voice sound incredibly realistic. I would describe the vocal as being present but non-intrusive in the sense that it always has good presence without being overly forward.
     
    The Heaven VII also boasts some of the most impressive instrument separation on the market – seriously. Everything comes out as being insanely precise and articulate. Nothing seems to blur together in any way whatsoever. The Heaven VII takes the clean, low-distortion characteristic of BA drivers, and takes it a step further.
     
    Quick anecdote: When I got the chance to listen to the beta HIFIMAN HE1000, it was my first experience being blow away by the realism that the finest of detail can produce. It’s cliché, but it was like moving from listening to a recording to having real instruments playing around and in your head. The HE1000 was also one of the first times I got to experience the nuances of how the instruments interact with the environment, be it a recording studio or outdoors somewhere. Hearing a piano key and how it resonates and reaches the wall of the studio some feet in front of me was something quite special. While I haven’t heard the most exquisite gear, I do have a good amount of exposure to the likes of the HD800. However, neither of the two higher-end headphones that I’ve spent a lot of time with, the AKG K812 and HIFIMAN HE560, were able to reproduce such an experience. Instead, I found that it was the Heaven VII that came closest to what I experienced with the HE1000. The Heaven VII does a fantastic job bringing a level of texture to instruments that makes the listening experience much more realistic than other IEMs I’ve heard.
     
    Treble
    I find the treble of the Heaven VII to be somewhat north or neutral in the lower treble. While I personally enjoyed the sound, I could see some finding the lower treble presence to be a bit artificial sounding as the Heaven VII has a peak at around 3kHz. I also did find that female vocals, in particular, could sound a tad thin or breathy at times. Beyond that though, the upper treble is fairly smooth with good presence and air, but relaxing a bit past maybe around 14kHz or so.
     
    Unsurprisingly, the name of the game is again speed and accuracy. Treble decay is fast and very well textured, while attacks are crisp and clean. I think Final did a very nice job tuning the Heaven VII, so that it brings out the treble energy while remaining very well under control.
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    I’ve yet to hear the JH Roxanne or Layla, which seem to have reached a legendary status and set a new standard for how large a soundstage can be on an IEM, but the Heaven VII has an incredibly capable soundstage – one of the best I’ve heard on an IEM, in fact. The soundstage is three dimensional, and comparable to many full size headphones in terms of size. The Heaven VII also sounds open with amazing imaging capabilities. Simply put, the Heaven VII does a fantastic job in creating an out-of-head experience for the listener that’s competitive not just against IEMs, but within the realm of personal audio in general.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Heaven VII with D14 “Bushmaster” and Essence III
    I’m not really here to tell you that the Heaven VII sounds better on the 2000 dollar Essence III in comparison to the 230 dollar D14. What this comparison is meant to demonstrate is that the Heaven VII scales up surprisingly well. The D14 is a fairly warm and smooth device in comparison to the Essence III, and it reflected on my listening experience. You get a bit more bass, more forward midrange, and a slightly more smoothed out midrange with less extension up top. The sound is certainly much more suited for portable use, but it comes at the cost of the amazing detail and texture that Heaven VII is capable of when used with the Essence III. With the D14, the Heaven VII is still fantastic with detail retrieval and I would say go beyond its competitors with that regard, it just has even more to offer with better gear. The sound is also significantly more out-of-head. Vocals are positioned slightly more in front of you, and the sound opens up a good amount with a larger and more natural soundstage.
     
    Basically, the moral of the story is that if you have some amp that are very good and won’t blow up your IEMs, give them a shot! I certainly did not get the Essence III to drive IEMs, but its shown great results with the Heaven VII.
     
    Heaven VII and Noble Savant
    The Noble Savant is perhaps one of my top choice and recommendations for a neutral, yet musical, sound that is also a fantastic all-rounder when it comes to both listening and design. Comparing the two, the Heaven VII has more of an upward tilt, with less bass and slightly more forward midrange and lower treble. The Savant does have a more present upper treble though.
     
    Of the two, the Heaven VII is the more detailed IEM, and basically on all fronts. The Savant has a great sense of detail and smoothness that makes the Savant musical yet detailed. The Heaven VII is tuned to have a drier sound which allows it to have a level of detail and texture that the Savant can’t quite compete with. When listening to the Savant, the music sounds like a good recording. But with the Heaven VII, as I’ve sort of covered earlier, it has a level of realism that makes the instruments sound very life-like, so that it doesn’t just seem like a good recording (or bad recording I guess). The Savant is able to come closer to the Heaven VII’s realism when connected to the Essence III, but never quite matches it.
     
    I also have to emphasize again how incredibly good the separation, imaging, and soundstage of the Heaven VII are. The Savant, again, has a very nice and spacious soundstage for an IEM using BA drivers. The Savant has a clean and very enjoyable sound. The Heaven VII, on the other hand, is just an incredibly technical IEM. Separation is so incredibly good and the imaging is laser precise in its more spacious soundstage. When comparing the two with the D14, the Savant can even sound a bit congested in comparison to the Heaven VII, as its smaller soundstage and more prominent low end shows with the D14.
     
    While the Heaven VII has certainly impressed with me sonically, unfortunately the Savant still takes the cake as my first recommendation for a well-rounded IEM – for multiple reasons of course. First off the Savant is more suited to be the genre master. While neither are true genre masters, I actually found both to be quite satisfying with most genres. But I do find the Savant to be better with more genres in terms of its tuning. Secondly, and more importantly, the Savant is just worlds ahead in fit – to me at least. The Savant has had its share of people with fit issues, but it’s a pretty small handful of people. I’m pretty confident that maybe 90% of people will find the Savant more comfortable. It’s significantly lighter, has a lower profile and snug fit. The over ear design also has lots of benefits such as reducing cable noise. I’m able to wear the Savants upwards of 6 or 7 hours with no discomfort, while 3 hours is probably my limit with the Heaven VII.
     
    For these reasons, I see the Savant as the better choice for a larger variety of genres as well as a larger variety of environments or uses. However, if you’re in an environment where you’ll remain fairly stationary (at work, or your desk), I think the Heaven VII will give you more than what the Savant can offer.
     
    Noble Savant and FAD Heaven VII
     
    Summary
    It’s no secret now that I seriously like the sound of the Heaven VII. Some will find the bass lacking, while others will find the treble maybe a little artificial (or both), but there’s really no doubt that the Heaven VII has a fantastic sound. For the price of around 600-700 dollars (you can even find it closer to 500 dollars!), the Heaven VII is perhaps one of the best sounding competitor in that price range. If it wasn’t for its Achilles heel of a pretty mediocre fit, I think the Heaven VII would be my top recommendation for an upper-tier IEM.
     
    Ending Thoughts:
    I think the Heaven VII is the perfect IEM for people interested in Final Audio Designs but are a bit reluctant to jump the gun because of Final’s reputation as a love hate sort of company. While not everyone will love the Heaven VII, I don’t think anyone will legitimately hate it or look at its graphs and claim that the Heaven VII is an insult to audio or an April Fool’s joke. In other words, the Heaven VII is a relatively safe pick in the Final lineup. If you want a taste of the Final magic without taking a huge risk, the Haven VII is for you!
     
    I’d like to give another thank you to Final UK for giving me the opportunity to spend some time with the Heaven VII. Final will definitely be a company I’m keeping an eye out for. If they’re ever able to make a more ergonomic product, I think I just might be jumping on that hype train.
      fnkcow likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. peter123
      Excellent review! For me the Heaven VII's was one of the most comfortable IEM's I've ever tried, it just goes to show how individual fit is.
      peter123, Aug 6, 2015
    3. peareye
      It sounds like the Heaven vii is tuned like a studio monitor...ie. not overly forgiving?
      peareye, Aug 7, 2015
    4. Cotnijoe
      @peareye Exactly that. The Heaven VII is not one to hide flaws
      Cotnijoe, Aug 7, 2015
  6. peter123
    Single BA magic!
    Written by peter123
    Published Aug 1, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Sound, fit and build quality
    Cons - Expensive
    The Final Audio Design (FAD) Heaven VII was sent to me by Final UK as a part of the European review tour. I’d like to give them a big THANK YOU for including me on the tour and giving me a chance to check out the Heaven VII.  I’m not in any way affiliated with Final Audio Design.
     
    About me:
    I’m a 42 year old music and sound lover that changed my focus from speakers to headphones and IEM’s about five years ago. At that time I realized that it wasn’t realistic for me to have all the different setups that I wanted and still house a family of four children and a wife so my interest turned first to full sized headphones and later also IEM’s.
     
    My preferences are towards full sized open headphones and I believe that also says something about what kind of sound signature I prefer (large soundstage in all directions, balanced and organic sound).
     
    My music preferences are pretty much all over the place (only excluding classical music, jazz and really heavy metal). My all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode although I also listen to a lot of grunge/indie, singer/songwriter/acoustical stuff as well as the typical top 40 music.
     
    I do not use EQ, ever.
     
    I’m a sucker for value for money on most things in life, Head-Fi related stuff is no exception.
     
    Built and accessories:
    The FAD Heaven VII is a single balances armature IEM.  Housing is made from stainless steel and overall build quality feels very good. They’re available in two colors: black or silver.  I really enjoy the look on the black version that manages to combine the bling factor with a very solid (almost industrial) feeling to them.  Weighting 29 grams they’re definitely on the heavy side but the simple design and excellent fit (for me) doesn’t make the weight a problem. These are really the kind of IEM’s you just put deep in your ears and don’t need to think about any more (fit of course is highly individual so YMMV).
     
    The package is really fancy with a leather look a-like black box with some fluffy black fabric inside for the Heaven VII’s to rest on while they’re on their way from the reseller to their new home.
     
    The cable is a flat design and in use I find it to be excellent with very little tangling, average amount of microphonics as well as soft and flexible. The plug is straight and although I personally prefer an L-shaped plug it do feel very solid. A chin slider would have been a welcome addition.
     
    Overall they feel extremely solid in construction but I can’t help feeling that at this price point detachable cables should be the default.
     
    The accessories features five different silicon tips and a classy, slim all metal design box wich is soft on the inside to keep them in when not in use. At this price I’d like to see more tip option included in the package.
     
    The FAD Heaven VII’s are pretty easy to drive and reach high enough volume with almost all of my music even from my weak (in power) Sony Z3 Compact phone. That being said I do believe that they scale very nicely with a better source.  Isolation is above average with silicon trips and of course even better with Comply tips.
     
    IMG_2439.jpg
     
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    IMG_2425.jpg
     
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    IMG_2442.jpg
     
    IMG_2424.jpg
     
     
    The specs:
    Housing
    Stainless Steel
    Driver Unit
    Balanced Armature
    Sensitivity
    106dB
    Impedance
    24 ohm
    Cable lenght
    1.2m
    Weight
    29g

     
    Price: £469
     
    Sound:
    I’ve used these as my main IEM’s over the last week and they’ve played for well over 50 hours. I’ve used them both around the house and when out and about.
     
    I’ve used them with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact phone, FiiO X3/Bluebird 6.0 combo, the Gekk Out 720 and my Dragonfly/Cayin C5 combo and they’ve worked very well with all of them. That being said it was when I hooked up the Geek Out 720 to the Matrix M-satge that I got the best sound.
     
    Demo list:
    Mark Knopfler – Sailing to Philadelphia
    Røyksopp (Feat.Susanne Sundfør) – Save Me
    Ane Brun – These Days
    Michael Jackson – Dirty Diana
    Metallica – Die Die My Darling
    The Peter Malick Group – Immigrant
    Eva Cassidy – Songbird
    Thomas Dybdahl – A Lovestory
    Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why
    Celldweller – Unshakeable
    Jack Johnson – Better Together
    Seinabo Sey – Younger (Kygo remix)
    Dire Straits- So Far Away
    Passenger – Let Her Go
    Lupe Fiasco - Deliver
    Morrissey – Earth Is the Loneliest Planet
     
    I like these best with wide bore tips but I don’t find them to be extremely tip dependent. Using wide bore tips makes soundstage slightly wider and treble more pronounced to my ears. The presentation seems very liquid and smooth in a way that makes me think about my modded Fostex T50RP’s.
     
    The overall sound signature is balanced and smooth but still lively enough to be very entertaining. The soundstage is really huge and there’s really not much standing out when you listen to them, overall sound just feels natural and right.
     
    The lows have great texture and speed as well as feeling extremely well controlled and dry.  These are by no means bass light IEM’s but I can’t help missing a bit more impact and extension in the lowest sub bass. Bass heads would most likely want to look at something else. That being said the extremely high quality on the bass as well as the overall sound still makes them very enjoyable with all kinds of music. I don’t think it’ll be possible to have less bass bloom than the Heaven VII’s do.
     
    The midrange is slightly forward and very well balanced. This makes a very good combination without even a hint of bass blead into the mids but with great clarity, details and voice reproduction.
     
    The treble is probably the best feature of the FAD Heaven VII’s and the combination of excellent extension, extreme details and zero sibilance makes what’s probably the best treble presentation my old ears has ever heard.
     
    As already mentioned soundstage width is extremely good and height and depth do follow up with the same great feeling. Clarity, micro details, layering and separation are all nothing but amazing and I do think that they’re rather flat and very natural sounding. From the description one could easily think that these are cold, analytical and rather boring IEM’s but nothing could be more wrong. I think this is what sets them apart from pretty much everything else that I’ve ever heard: an unusual combination of reference sound and great musicality. There’s just so much air between the instruments and that extra sweetness to the sound that I found myself getting shivers down my spine on more than one occasion when using them.
     
    So, all together we’ve got a nice sub bass impact, seriously tight and dry bass with zero bass bloom into the lower midrange, very well balanced liquid mids and world class treble reproduction without even a hint of any sibilance. All this combined makes a very natural presentation that really hit the sweet spot for my preferences.
     
    Comparison:
    Please note that the comments in the comparison section are not in absolute terms but in comparison between subject A and B. This means (as an example) that if subject A is found to be brighter than subject B it does not necessarily mean that subject B is bright sounding in absolute terms. I hope this makes sense.
     
    This is usually my favorite part when writing a review because I think it’s the best way to describe the sound to the reader (given the fact that he/she has heard one or more of the subjects in the comparison). With the Heaven VII I found it to be really difficult because when listening to them and trying to find similarities or differences to other IEM’s I thought a lot more about full sized open cans than IEM’s.
     
    I’ve got no experience whatsoever with other IEM’s in this price bracket and honestly has only heard a handful of full sized cans at this price. However I still decided to make the comparison with some of my favorite IEM’s.
     
    IMG_2443.jpg
     
     
    FAD Heaven VII vs ATH-CKR9:
    Compared to the Heaven VII’s the CKR9’s has a slightly thicker sound with more intimate presentation and a more noticeable fundament in the sub bass while the Heaven VII’s has more air between the instruments. The CKR9’s has better sub bass extension and also more impact in the deep bass while mid and upper bass are pretty similar.
     
    The CKR9’s offer more attack in its presentation but I really like the energy they both deliver. As for the rest the Heaven VII’s are better on details, clarity, soundstage height and width as well as on treble extension. The difference is by no means big but it’s there all the way.  The Heaven VII’s are also smoother and more liquid and even the CKR9’s sound slightly shouty on some songs in comparison. It’s not long ago that I reviewed the CKR9’s and called them “the best IEM’s I’ve ever heard”, that says quite a bit about the Heaven VII’s.
     
    Although I find them both very comfortable I do prefer the fit of the Heaven VII’s.
     
    The CKR9’s are easier to drive.
     
    The Heaven VII has better isolation.
     
    Heaven VII vs ATH-CKR10:
    Compared to the Heaven VII’s the CKR10’s are much thicker sounding and has a lot more bass across the whole spectra. Because of this they also has better layering in the bass.  They are both very special in the way that it takes a little while to get used to their presentation every time you put them in your ears. CKR10’s does also have smaller soundstage width while depth is pretty similar. In spite of the differences these two shares the smooth liquid presentation and the CKR10’s are the IEM I the comparison that has the most in common with the Heaven VII’s.  With a wider soundstage it could have been the bassier brother to the Heaven VII’s.
     
    Although I find them both very comfortable I do prefer the fit of the Heaven VII’s.
     
    The CK10’s are a bit easier to drive.
     
    The Heaven VII has better isolation.
      
    Heaven VII vs Havi B3 Pro1:
    This may seem as a crazy comparison given the fact that the Heaven VII’s cost more than ten times as much as the B3’s but fact is that the B3’s still remains one of my favorite IEM’s to this day and they do share some similarities so I still choose to include them.
     
    Compared to the Heaven VII’s the Havi’s has a slightly smaller soundstage width and an overall thinner presentation. The B3’s are also a bit more relaxed while the Heaven VII‘s has more attack and better speed. The voice reproduction on the B3’s are the best I’ve heard in an IEM so far but the Heaven VII’s outperforms them in this area as well (although not by much).
     
    The B3’s are over ear design and although I usually like that the best I’d say that I find the ergonomics on the Heaven VII’s to be better.
     
    The B3’s are significantly harder to drive compared to the Heaven VII’s.
     
    The Heaven VII has better isolation.
     
    I usually only do three comparisons in my reviews but since the Trinity Audio Delta’s arrived in the middle of my week with the Heaven VII’s and seem to be very popular I decided to include them as well. Please note that the Delta’s has only been with me for a couple of days and had got about 20 hours of play time. The Delta’s had the silver filter on while making the comparison.
     
    IMG_2444.jpg
     
     
    Heaven VII vs Trinity Audio Delta:
    Compared to the Heaven VII’s the Delta’s has more and deeper sub-bass and significantly more mid bass impact. The higher midrange on the Delta’s are more forward  than on the Heaven VII’s but the Heaven VII’s got a more liquid and levelled out midrange presentation with more timber to notes and vocals (especially male vocals) while the Delta’s sometimes has a slightly metallic sound. The treble also feels more natural on the Heaven VII’s due to the already mentioned occasional metallic sound on the Delta’s.  The Delta’s can sound shouty at times compared to the calmer sounding Heaven VII’s. The clarity on the Delta’s are actually even more noticeable than on the Heaven VII’s while the latter offer a more organic sound and also wins out in micro details, separation and soundstage in all directions. The Delta’s actually sounds slightly congested in comparison.
     
    I like the ergonomics on both these IEM’s but in the end the Heaven VII’s are the more comfortable one for me.
     
    The Heaven VII’s are slightly harder to drive.
     
    Isolation is significantly better on the Heaven VII’s.
     
    Summary:
    Well, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve enjoyed the FAD Heaven VII’s A LOT. For me the sound is as close to perfect as I’ve ever heard (even in any full sized headphone) but noting is truly perfect and I could have lived with a bit more sub bass extension and impact (although I wouldn’t want to trade it with less of something else).
     
    The most impressive thing to me is not only the way the Heaven VII’s sound but the fact that Final Audi Design has been able to make them sound like this using “only” a single balanced armature driver, amazing!
     
    On sound quality alone these are easily a five star performer for me but the lack of detachable cable and the price made me decide to lose half a star on the total judgement.
     
    It’s with a heavy heart that I pass these along to the next lucky fellow on the tour.
      Baycode and money4me247 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. peter123
      peter123, Aug 1, 2015
    3. Paulus XII
      Enjoyed reading a lot too, Peter. Thanks for the effort and for sharing all of this with us : )
      Paulus XII, Aug 1, 2015
    4. peter123
      peter123, Aug 2, 2015
  7. money4me247
    Spacious fast & accurate IEMs with reference-level balance to its sound signature
    Written by money4me247
    Published Jul 26, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - luxurious, fast detailed accurate sound, amazing soundstage for IEM, SQ competitive even against full-sized headphones, premium build quality
    Cons - a bit weighty, non-detachable cable, price point may be quite high for average consumers
    Final Audio Heaven VII IEM Review
    Fully balanced single armature in-ear monitors
     
    2015-07-2605.05.32.jpg
     
    Intro: Founded by Kanemori Takai in 1974, Final Audio is a diverse audio company based in Japan with a history of designing products from moving coil cartridges, turntables, amplifiers, speakers, and headphones. Their current headphone product line-up includes the Pandora Hope series (full-sized over-ears using a dynamic driver with a balanced armature driver), Sonorous series (full-sized dynamic driver over-ears) Piano Forte and Adagio series (single dynamic driver IEMs from $39.90 to $2,199), LAB I (~$2,500 dual armature driver IEM), FI-BA-SS (~$1,000 single customized armature driver IEM), and Heaven series headphones (single armature driver IEMs from ~ $89 to $820). There are currently seven distinct Heaven models (II, IV, V, V Aging, VI, VII, and VIII) with entry-level Heaven II starting at $89 and the Heaven VIII ranging between $699-$820 depending on retailer.
     
    My review will be covering the Heaven VII (black model) IEMs which is listed by official dealers from $599 to $705. The headphones that I am reviewing is a review tour loaner unit as part of the head-fi review tour that Final Audio offered to our community. (Thread link HERE). I had the chance to extensively demo the Heaven VII over a period of ~9 days (received the unit the night of 7/18/15). I listened to these headphones extensively during the week in home and mobile settings (while writing notes), did direct comparisons over this weekend, and wrote the majority of my impressions over the weekend from 7/24-7/26.
     
    **Price points based on the current listing from official Final Audio dealer websites (listed below)**
    http://shop.finalaudiousa.com/
    https://www.livesoundwave.com/en-us/livesoundwave
     
    My background in IEM is not as extensive as my experience with full-sized headphones. I used to be very interested in IEM when portability was a very important criteria for me quite a few years ago, but I was never able to really find my perfect pair of IEMs. Models I have owned include Etymotic Research HF2, Bose IE2, Bower and Wilkins C5, Creative EP-630, Klipsch S4A, and various Sennheiser earbuds (MX560 & other similar models). I currently have the Bose SoundTrue for Galaxy phones and the Flare Audio R2A with the R2Pros arriving soon. My personal primary usage for IEM is strictly limited to portable applications when I do not want the hassle of carrying a full-sized pair of headphones or gym usage. I use my full-sized over-ear closed headphones (AKG K553, Mr. Speaker Alpha Prime, and Oppo PM-3) for situations that require noise-isolation and for vacations/travel. My full current gear profile is HERE.
     
    I weigh comfort extremely importantly for IEMs. I personally do not like really deep insertions as my ears are quite sensitive. Do note that my comfort ratings are individual and may not accurately reflect your needs. Sound quality is also quite important to me as well,  but I am more lenient with IEM sound quality compared to full-sized headphones due the limitations of their driver technology and my primarily usage of IEMs in portable situations when I am usually not critically listening. I do not really care about aesthetics at all.
     
    My currently owned external components include the Schiit Lyr 2 + Schiit Bifrost Uber and Oppo HA-2. I primarily test IEMs either directly out of my Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone or through my Oppo HA-2 as I do not really use IEMs for home listening. I did extensively use the Heaven VII in both noisy portable and quiet home listening situations to be able to more accurately assess its sound quality.
     
    With my background more primarily focused on full-sized over-ear headphones, my perspective may be quite a bit different than other reviewers who may prefer IEMs over full-sized headphones Also, I do want to note that my experience with the current IEMs market offerings are not as extensive as some other reviewers. So remember, YMMV! As always, I hope this is an enjoyable and informative read.
     
    Tech: The Final Audio Heaven VII is a single-driver balanced armature universal-fit IEM currently retailing from $599 to $705 from authorized official dealers.
     
    Official Specifications: (copied from Final Audio's website)
    1. Driver Unit: Single Balanced Armature Driver (one driver per ear)
    2. Housing: Stainless Steel using Metal Injection Molding
    3. Sound Pressure Level: 106 dB
    4. Impedance: 24 ohms
     
    Packaging: very luxurious packaging, but note I do NOT factor packaging into my reviews at all. Pictures just included for those interested.
     ​
    2015-07-2003.13.13.jpg      
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    2015-07-2003.14.41.jpg
    Front View of Heaven VII's box (sealed in plastic, unwrapped, and opened)
     ​
    2015-07-2605.14.09.jpg
    Heaven VII's box (close-up of back label)
     ​
    Design & Build Quality:
     
    The Heaven VII shares an identical stainless steel exterior as the Heaven VIII. While the VIII is only offered in gold finish, there are two color options for the metal driver housing available for the Heaven VII: Polished Silver or Matte Black (also called Noir by some retailers). “Final” is written in silver on the front side of the driver housing for both the black and silver versions with “L/R” written in silver where the housing meetings the flat cable. The eartips and cable are black on both models. Silver metal accent with Final logo on the 3.5mm jack plug on both models. The headphones will be worn with the Final logo on its housing facing forward.
     
    closeuphousing.jpg
    Heaven VII side view (both sides)
     
    Their Japanese direct store website states that matte black is their limited color option and some retailers offer the matte black version as “Noir” at a discounted price point of $599 and the silver option as “stainless steel” for a higher price point. To my knowledge, both models use stainless steel as per the official manufacturer description and instruction manual, and the direct store at Final Audio design sells both models at the same price point (67,000 japanese yen).
     
    2015-07-2605.07.43.jpg       2015-07-2605.09.17.jpg
    Heaven VII Front and Back views
     
    The long metal housing that protrudes out from the ear canal quite a bit is not just decorative, but designed to achieve ideal resonance dispersion. The housing does protrude out quite a bit, but does not pass the edges of my ears. The total height from the top of the IEM to where the housing meets the cable is ~1 inch tall. The length of the IEM is also approximate 1 inch deep with the medium-sized silicon eartips attached. Each housing contains a single balanced armature driver, stainless mesh filter, and acoustic resistor. The stainless mesh filter can be seen with the removal of the eartips. Eartips are user-removable and replaceable with different options. I measured to Heaven VII to have a 5.0mm diameter sized nozzle, which should be able to fit the majority of different eartips on the market. I was able to get the Comply Tx200 foam eartips that came along with my R2A to fit on the Heaven VII (though I did personally prefer the silicon tips for fit and sound quality for the Heaven VII specifically).
     
    screensideview.jpg       2015-07-2609.33.17.jpg
    Heaven VII front and side view with eartips removed to show its stainless steel mesh filters
     
    Tangle-free elastic flat cable is a quite nice touch. It terminates in a straight plug. I do generally prefer angled or right angled terminations for portable applications, but I find the cord to be well-designed. The cord is non-detachable or replaceable, but it does appears to be quite durable and I am not very worried about cable failure with flat cord designs less prone to stress and fraying from my experience.
     
    Do please note that a small bit of sound (rustling/thumping) from the cable movement is generally unavoidable with IEMs and considered normal. Factors that can affect this are the material covering the cable, cable quality, volume of the music (higher volume can mask this effect), how securely the IEMs fit within your ears, inclusion of clothing clips, and how you wear the cable. Wearing cables over the ear can greatly reduce cable noise.
     
    The Heaven VII is designed to be worn with the cables hanging straight down and I could not get an over-ear wire positioning to work with these IEMs. I personally experienced very minimal cable noise (sometimes called microphonics) while using these headphones in portable situations. No rustling or scratchy cable noise, only some subtle thumping which can appear even in the cables of portable over-ears. I do not consider cable noise to really be a problem with these IEMs, and I feel their cable design reasonably prevents excessive microphonics for a straight-down wire approach.
     
    The cable does not include a neck cinch due to its flat design. It also does not have any clothing clips, microphone, or smartphone remote buttons, which is typical of high-end audiophile-geared IEMs.
     
    2015-07-2605.22.46.jpg
    Heaven VII Earpieces, Y-split, and straight plug
     
    Comfort: These are by no means an uncomfortable pair of headphones, but the Heaven VII is not a pair of IEM headphones that you will forget that you are wearing at their substantial 30 grams weight (measured on my scale). They are definitely heavier than most IEMs and all my friends who also auditioned these headphones noticed the extra weight. However, I did wear these IEMs for multiple hour long listening sessions and I did not personally find the weight too bothersome. Though I generally cannot wear IEMs for too long of a period since by my ear canals are a bit sensitive, but I was able to wear these for >2-3 hours continuously without any marked discomfort. One of my friends who never uses in-ears was able to wear these headphones for over 2 hours without any discomfort. So I do want to emphasize that while heavier than average, these headphones are still comfortable to wear over long periods of time.
     
    The insertion depth of the Heaven VII appears to be typical for IEMs using silicon eartips and I personally felt comfortable with the depth of insertion. I was able to achieve a good fit and seal using the standard tip size that it can with. These headphones come bundled with 4 other size options. I tested all size options and found that I lost the noise isolating seal and bass response with two smaller eartip options, so I went with the middle size. I would personally recommend from my experience to use the smallest size that still provides a noise-isolating seal for the best comfort while achieving ideal sound quality. Too large of a fit will not allow for ideal depth when inserting the IEMs.
     
    Individual comfort with these headphones may vary and please note that these IEMs are heavier than average. Design elements appear to me to pursue the best sound quality, build quality, and aesthetics possible with smaller emphasis on comfort with its weightier design.
     
    Samsung OEM stereo headset: 13 grams
    Flare Audio R2A: 17 grams
    Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones: 19 grams
    Final Audio Heaven VII: 30 grams
     
    Accessories: The Heaven VII includes enough accessories to satisfy my needs, though many competing IEM options on market will offer additional accessories. Below is a list of items included in the packaging of the Heaven VII:
    1. (x1) Mirror-finished slim flat carrying case with padded interior
      1. Dimensions: 3.5 inches height x 3.75 inches wide x 0.75 in depth at highest point)
      2. Weight: 106 grams
    2. (x5) different-sized silicone eartips (middle-size attached out-of-the-box)
    3. (x1) Instruction Manual with warranty card attached
     
    The carrying case is extremely premium, though perhaps a bit on the wide side for daily carry. Extremely flat and compact though, so will not be any issue sliding into tight pockets. There are no specific cutouts for the IEM in the carrying case’s lined interior. Just arrange all the wires to fit within the case and the case snaps closed very securely without any issue. I am uncertain how the mirror finish will hold up over long term usage as I did not perform any durability or scratch tests with the case since this is a review sample. Definitely a more luxurious carrying case than typically included with IEMs and I always view hard cases as more protective and practical than soft carrying cloth options. Very nice addition.
     
    2015-07-2605.17.32.jpg       2015-07-2605.19.29.jpg       2015-07-2605.20.58.jpg
    Images of Heaven VII Carrying Case
     
    I do think that the inclusion of five different sized eartips will accommodate the majority of users. While it would be nice to see some other material eartips included, the Heaven VII were tuned using the silicone eartips and I am satisfied sound achieved with the accessories included. IEM users who enjoy rolling eartips may be a bit disappointed though. It does appear that these IEMs are designed without any customization options beyond color choice. There are no user-swappable tuning filters for adjust the sound signature or eartips comprised of different materials included. I can understand the lack of customization options as I do personally find the Heaven VII’s sound signature to be extremely capable out-of-the-box with its sound signature quite in-line with my own view of a reference-level balance. I personally do not think that any additional tuning is necessary with no glaring flaws found with its sound signature or presentation to my ears.
     
    2015-07-2605.16.32.jpg       2015-07-2605.16.50.jpg       2015-07-2605.16.40.jpg
    Images of the silicone eartips included (middle size option is attached out of the box)
     
    No additional cleaning accessories included, and the instruction manual recommends using a toothpick to clean these IEMs.
     
    2015-07-2605.13.41.jpg
     
    Sound Quality:
    Useful resource for audiophile terms: http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary
    Useful resource for frequency response correlation to audiophile terms: http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm
     
    Overall, I find the Heaven VII to present an extremely well-balanced and very well-tuned reference-level sound signature, an effortless breathtakingly natural sound that is vividly realistic to my ears. I would personally characterize these headphones to illustrate an analytical presentation with exceptional resolution and micro-detail retrieval. Very clear, well-defined, airy sound quality. These headphones are extremely capable for critical listening for minimally coloration in its frequency response. It has an extremely spacious non-intimate presentation with no underlying excessive warmth or extra low-end emphasis. Overall frequency response balance and tuning is very even throughout without any glaring peaks or dips to my ears.
     
    Treble Tuning: Excellent high frequency response and I view this as the Heaven VII’s greatest sonic strength. High sense of energy without ever being fatiguingly bright or unforgiving. Not relatively sharp or bright to my ears, but the Heaven VII hits that sweet spot for treble tuning with a very delicate and precise delivery. No excessive peakiness detected in the treble region. No additional sense of crunchiness, edginess, or piercingness while maintaining high treble energy and vivid treble detail. Slight additional airiness detected and adequate breathy feel to female vocalists which indicates quite solid treble extension and a very nice tuning choice in my opinion. Subtle crispiness detected with notes (particularly nice shimmer to cymbals) which indicates a very well-refined 7.5kHz region to my ears. The presentation of violins does not get overly scratchy or screechy on these headphones, so I highly rate their upper treble tuning from 7-10 kHz. From a high frequency response sweep, I was able to detect treble extension up to 17-18 kHz (which is typically as far up as I can personally hear) and the treble response was exceptionally smooth and linear to my ears with a subtle dip near the 5kHz region and a very slight emphasis in the region around 10kHz and 14kHz. The tuning choice in the 5kHz region likely contributes to the spacious transparent feeling to these IEMs. The region ending at 10kHz contributes to a sense of definition and 14kHz and above is usually responsible for the sense of airiness to the treble response. No roll-off in the upper treble.
     
    Mid-range Tuning: Articulate and clean midrange presentation. Does not appear to be mid-forward or mid-recessed to my ears. No extra intimacy or closeness to vocals that can often be found on IEMs with no additional emphasis in presence region (which I do personally prefer). The presence region is found in the upper mids and lower treble (often categorized from 2-5kHz or 4-6kHz depending on instruments). A subtly more “gentle” presentation without any extra emphasis in the upper mids, but does not sound tinny, laid-back, or “soft.” No real preferential focus on either the upper or lower mid range with no additional underlying warmth or closeness/intimacy in the midrange to my ears. There is a sense of a ‘thinner’ tighter body to notes with no extra lower midrange emphasis. No extra sense of lushness or richness or ‘blur’ to the lower midrange. Very resolving of the timbre, subtle shifts in texture, and micro-detail of instruments and vocals, which provides an effortlessly evenhandedness. Tonal representation of vocals, guitars, violins, and trumpets quite realistic to my ears. Excellent natural sounding midrange tuning that fits my personal preferences quite well.
     
    Bass Tuning: Very impressive for a single armature driver IEM. Has adequate weight and impact to notes. Good bass extension for an IEM. Its signature element with its bass response is the speed and responsiveness that the Heaven VII captures the low frequency notes. Definitely no underlying warmth or additional richness to the lows. Bass never sounds muddy or bloated. Very tight bass notes with an exceptional clean note separation compared to my experiences with other IEMs. Can easily handle intense, fast, and complicated percussion passages. I personally extremely enjoyed its bass tuning as it sounds quite close to linear to my ears. No extra mid-bass hump that is often found on IEMs. While I do think some full-sized orthodynamic headphones do offer a subtly better bass tuning with deeper bass extension and more impact, these IEMs have the one of the most well-balanced bass tunings that I have personally experienced with IEMs. For people who do not want any extra focus to the lower frequencies, but still want to get that a realistic sense of weight and impact, I do think the Heaven VII will fulfill that need. During a lower frequency response sweep, I could begin to hear the bass response at normal listening volumes starting at 20 Hz. Quite linear over all to my ears without the typical mid-bass hump/coloration often found with more consumer-orientated headphones. Bass presentation is neither more ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ to my ears. I really personally enjoy this style of bass presentation, though there are many audiophiles that do prefer a bit of additional warmth added to their low frequency response. No roll-off in the sub-bass, though sub-bass extension is not as pronounced as some of my full-sized orthodynamic headphones.
     
    Other Sonic Attributes: The Heaven VII has extremely strong technical performance for any headphone type. Soundstage was the first thing that immediately stood out to me on the Heaven VIIs. The soundstage on this IEM is extremely impressive!! It gives a remarkably large sense of the room with dimensions that do feel quite well-proportioned with a greater width and depth and a subtly smaller sense of height. Pinpoint precision with its imaging with each individual instrument and vocalist easily located. While there are some notable full-sized headphones that may give the perception of a larger soundstage, I estimate that the soundstage of these IEMs is actually still very competitive in comparison to full-sized headphones, which is quite an impressive feat. I can see its soundstage surpassing many closed full-sized headphones and being on par with some well-recommended full-sized open headphones as well.
     
    The next outstanding technical strength is the perception of its speed. These are fast-sounding headphones with great note spacing. Notes have abrupt edges with a very clean and clear sense of their exact attack and decay timings without any additional reverb or blurring effects. This does contribute to a sense of thinness to the body of notes at times, but there is just enough fullness and weight to each note to give an extremely realistic live-performance illusion. Sound remarkably similar in this aspect to some of my extremely high-end planar magnetic headphones. Great instrument separation and clarity of individual notes. Very highly resolving pair of headphones.
     
    Honestly, when I normally listen to IEMs, I usually judge them with a more lenient set of ears than I use when listening to full-sized headphones. With the Heaven VII, I found that I could be as critical as I liked and still not find any notably glaring flaws. I do think they provide a non-fatiguing and effortless reference-level tuning and balance that can be difficult to find even on very competitive full-sized headphones.
     
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    For these headphones, I threw a whole suite of my reference test tracks at them to try to reveal their sonic flaws. These IEMs handled my test tracks very deftly and are quite well-tuned in terms of overall frequency response balance. Particular attention was paid with test tracks for low frequency response as that is an area I feel that IEMs often struggle with.
     
    Treble test tracks (listed by artist): “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, “Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20” performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion, “Trumpet Voluntary in D Major: The Prince of Denmark’s March” performed by Clerkenwell Baroque String Ensemble, “Titanium” by David Guetta, “The Look Of Love” by Diana Krall, “May It Be” by Enya, “Your Song” by Ellie Goulding, “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, “Concerning Hobbits” from The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack, “The Glass Menagerie” by Henry Mancini, “Blue Train” by John Coltrane, “Your Love” by Jim Brickman, “A Time Before” by John Fluker,“How Long” by Kaskade, “My Life Would Suck Without You” by Kelly Clarkson, “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey, “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, “My December” by Linkin Park, “Euphoria” by Loreen, “Execute Me” by Medina, “Our Love Is Easy” by Melody Gardot, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra, “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones, “Easy To Love” by Patricia Barber, “I Knew You Were Trouble,” by Taylor Swift, “Lone Ranger” by Rachel Platten, “Our Love Like This” by Seo In Guk and Jung Eun Ji, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “Undercover” by Zara Larsson
    Midrange test tracks (listed by artist): “Life Goes On” by 2pac, “Dreams” by Beck, “All Out of Love” by Air Supply, “Yellow” by Coldplay, “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio, “7 Days” by Craig David, “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” by Brand New, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Beegie Adair, “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” by David Hamilton, “Vindicated” by Dashboard Confessional, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie, “Vincent” by Don McLean, “Sunrise” by Doug Hammer, “Hotel California” by the Eagles, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, “Sing for the Moment” by Eminem, “Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra, “Moon River” by Frank Sinatra, “Shot Caller” by French Montana, “Our Story” by Graham Colton, “Europa (Earth’s Cry, Heaven’s Smile)” by Gato Barbieri, “Sweet Child O' Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, “Lips of An Angel” by Hinder, “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin, “Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt, “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag” by James Brown, “If” by Jamie Conway, “Evening Whispers” by Janie Becker, “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Lights Off” by Jay Sean, “Spirited Away - One Summer’s Day” by Joe Hisaishi, “Naima” by John Coltrane, “Lake Erie Rainfall” by Jim Brickman, “Winter Morning” by Jim Brickman, “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, “Touch the Sky” by Kanye West, “Songbird” by Kenny G, “Our Story” by Mako, “The North Sea” by Michele McLaughlin, “So Sick” by Ne-Yo, “Let Her Go” by Passenger, “Radioactive” by Pentatonix, “Tears of the East” by Philip Wesley, “The Cello Song” by the Piano Guys, “Canon in D Major” performed by Pimlico Quartet, “Us and Them” by Pink Floyd, “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Savior” by Rise Against, “Brown Sugar” by The Rolling Stones, “Hallelujah” by Rufus Wainwright, “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith, “Round Midnight” by Sonny Rollins, “Your Man” by Smash Mouth, “So Far Away” by Staind, “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder, “The Dream of You” by Tim Neumark, “How Do I Say” by Usher, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “Riptide” by Vance Joy, “Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weekend, “Just the Two of Us” by Will Smith, “Kiss the Rain” by Yiruma
    Bass Test Tracks (listed by genre): “Aggressive Expansion” by Hans Zimmer, “Dream Is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer, “Caravan” by John Wasson, “Teardrop” by Massive Attack, “Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
    Classical Bass: “Alpine Symphony OP64 IX Gewitter und Sturm” performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, “Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” performed by Simon Preston, “Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor” performed by Vahan Mardiossian, “Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C Minor Op. 67: I. Allegro con brio” performed by the Metropolitain Philharmonic Orchestra, “Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “Holst's Mars from the Planets Suite” performed by the London Festival Orchestra, “William Tell Overture” by the Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra, “Vivaldi's Summer from the Four Seasons Concerto” performed by Anne-Sophie Mutter.
    EDM Bass: “Monster” by DotEXE, “Deviance [Dirtyphonics Remix]” by Excision, “Elements” by Fractal, “Alive” by Krewella, “Heartbeat” by Vicetone, “Kernkraft 400” by Zombie Nation, “Nuclear” by Zomboy
    Hip Hop Bass: “Ambitionz Az A Ridah” by 2pac, “Party Up” by DMX, “Soldier” by Eminem, “Love Lockdown” by Kanye West, “Fight The Power” by Public Enemy, “ASAP” by TI, “Hipsta” by Timmy Trumpet, “On My Level” by Wiz Khalifa
    Rock Bass: AC/DC is my favorite to use here (Back in Black, Thunderstruck, and Highway to Hell). I also really like X Japan (Stab Me In The Back and X) for really intense technical percussion solos though most people who haven't lived abroad in Asia are not very familiar this group. Some other notable test tracks include “We Will Rock You” by Queen, and “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.
    Metal: “Hope” and “Pray!” by Apocalyptica is good bass test tracks for instrumental metal
     
    Direct Comparisons:
    *******Important Notes*******
    I do usually like to do extensive direct comparisons against competing products in my reviews. However, I do feel like my current IEMs and earbuds get severely outclassed by the Heaven VII in terms of sound quality attributes and overall balance that it seems a bit of a silly endeavour. I do think the most interesting and relevant comparison would be against the Flare Audio R2Pros, which are supposedly tuned towards a very well-balanced sound signature, but unfortunately, due to a mix-up, I have not received them yet. Since the direct comparison portion would be lacking in useful information with an exclusively IEM-focused comparison, I decided to include some quick thoughts on direct comparisons against sound signature of my collection of full-sized headphones just to help provide context of where the frequency response balance of these IEMs sit. Comparisons against IEMs done on my HA-2 dac/amplifier while comparisons against full-sized headphones were done with my Lyr 2 + Bifrost Uber combination.
    *********************************
     
    Against the Bose SoundTrue In-Ear Headphones: consumer-orientated in-ear headphones (more an earbud design than a canal-phone), listed MSRP $129.99
    Severely and noticeably outclassed in terms of sound quality. The Bose headphones sound congested and muddy in comparison. Lacking in speed, imaging, instrument separation, spatial depth, and clarity. Also, noticeably more coloration on the Bose with its prominent mid-bass boost and rolled off treble.
     
    Against the Flare Audio R2A: single dynamic driver, pressure-balanced IEM with aluminium housing (MSRP: ~$270 USD, listed price point is £175)
    A bit of an unfair comparison in my mind. The R2A has a warm, mid-bass-boosted sound signature (though markedly better technical performer than the Bose). Not really a relevant comparison against the Heaven VII in my mind with the R2A’s vastly differing sound signature aimed at a different target audience. I am growing quite fond of the R2A’s sound signature and its overall performance, but it is easy to distinguish that the Final VII offers another level of technical sonic performance from speed, soundstage, imaging, instrument separation to overall clarity and definition and frequency response balance. Both of these IEMs do handily beat some of the more subpar or average-sounding full-sized headphones out there.
     
    FR analysis against the Oppo PM-3: full-sized over-ear closed planar magnetic headphones (mid-tier level)
    The PM-3 sounds subtly warmer and richer in relative comparison. Technical performance between the two headphones is actually quite close, which is quite an accomplishment for the Heaven VII as the PM-3 are among the most competitive closed portable over-ear headphones currently on the market (imo). I find the frequency response to be very well-balanced on the PM-3 though warmer and richer relatively. Overall smooth nature of the PM-3’s tuning is closely mirrored the Heaven VII. A bit more emphasis in the presence region on the PM-3 and a bit more sub-bass extension and overall bass presence. The Heaven VII has a bit more treble presence and treble energy with an additional sense of airiness and definition. Subtle variations between their midrange as well, but both very well-balanced to my ears. The PM-3 has a bit more intimacy in relative comparison to the Heaven VII. Soundstage can actually sometimes appears larger on the Heaven VII to my ears for certain source material due to their differences in treble presentation which is quite impressive for an IEM’s soundstage to be able to compete with a full-sized pair of headphones. The PM-3 does have an above average soundstage for a closed pair of headphones.
     
    FR analysis against the AKG K7xx: full-sized over-ear open dynamic headphones (mid-tier level)
    The AKG K7xx has a larger bass emphasis in relative comparison and a more unforgiving treble that has a little bit of a sharper edge to its notes. The speed of the Heaven VII actually is more competitive against the K7xx which has a little bit a blur to due its small mid-bass boost. The K7xx has relatively more warmth and fullness to its notes, though I do not generally think of the K7xx as a warm pair of headphones. I do view the K7xx as an extremely competitive mid-tier open headphones with one of the best performance:price ratios currently on the market.
     
    FR analysis against the HE-560full-sized over-ear open planar magnetic headphones (flagship level)
    The HE-560 is the first pair of headphones in my collection that demonstrates a distinctive and significantly improvement in overall soundstage dimensions. It has a crispier bite with its treble tuning featuring a gradual peak that culminates in the 6kHz region for that extra sense of definition often manifesting in cymbal vividness/brightness that I personally find very enjoyable. The HE-560 has better sub-bass extension and impact. I do feel the Heaven VII’s offer a more refined and smoother treble response over the HE-560 while mimicking the HE-560’s excellent speed and note separation.
     
    FR analysis against the LCD-Xfull-sized over-ear open planar magnetic headphones (flagship level)
    The LCD-X has markedly more bass emphasis and weight to notes. Much more bass impact. Sound signature of the LCD-X as a notable darkness with a sense of bass emphasis due to subtle upper mid recession. More of an organic blending of the edges of the notes and the textural elements on the LCD-X. Most significant departure in sound signature and presentation over the Heaven VII in my mind out of my headphone collection with a more bass-orientated punch and rumble underpinning its thick and full notes. The Heaven VII offers what I personally would consider to be a more-balanced well-rounded reference-type tuning for its sound signature, while the LCD-X offers noticeable dark coloration to its high-quality sound that is quite enjoyable.
     
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    Overall sonic thoughts: From a purely technical sound-quality standpoint, the Heaven VII easily beats all the IEMs I currently have on-hand for direct comparison. Its sound signature is exceptionally well balanced in relative comparison against the IEMs I have right now. The Heaven VII is sonically capable enough that I do feel comfortable writing direct comparisons on its performance against the extremely competitive full-sized headphones I have in my collection. Its sound quality has exceeded my expectations of what a single balanced armature IEM is capable of, and made me re-evaluate the need of pursuing more complicated driver designs.
     ​
    Amplification:
     
    I did test these headphones with a variety of different amplifiers including the review tour Cayin C5Dac, my own Oppo HA-2, and my desktop Schiit Lyr 2. For normal listening volumes on the low gain setting, there was no hiss detected with this pair of headphones. On the Lyr 2 on high volume levels (above 9 o’clock), I could hear the background hiss, but that volume level is too high for my normal listening. For the HA-2, I can max out the volume without hearing any hissing. All the amplification pairings worked quite well with the Heaven VII and I can see its sound signature working with a wide variety of different external equipment. The relatively higher 24 ohm impedance for IEMs (which often have impedance levels under 16 ohms) makes these headphones relatively less prone to hissing compared to some other lower impedance IEMs. With their impedance under 35 ohms and sensitivity rating over 100, they are relatively easy to power. One thing to note is that ideally the amplifier being used with these headphones should have an output impedance of 3 ohms or less. A source impedance greater than 3 ohms may cause changes in the sound.
     
    2015-07-2611.04.15.jpg
    Heaven VII paired with the Oppo HA-2
     
    For external component pairings, the Final Audio Heaven VII is quite revealing of source gear differences. My personal favorite pairing for it was the Schiit Lyr 2 + Schiit Bifrost Uber, but it worked well with all the different pairings I tried with it. Personally, I do think a warm amplifier does really do wonders for these pair of headphones as it presents a very tight clean bass response that really shines with a subtle addition of underlying warmth. Helps with the sub-bass extension and adds a bit of additional weight to notes that I greatly enjoy. Neutral or brighter components still worked extremely well and really highlights these headphones incredibly vivid treble detail. The balance of their frequency response is quite well done with a good sense of overall clarity, so I do think that they would pair well with a wide variation of different external components, more dependant of personal preference withOUT the need to use specific component pairing as a means to “fix” any problem areas with its performance or frequency response.
     
    Value Judgement:
     
    I usually do like to write an in-depth assessment of competing market options, but I feel that I am not really qualified to really make detailed statements in this area as my experience with IEMs at various price points is quite limited. The Final Audio Heaven VII would be among the most expensive IEMs I have had the pleasure of extensively demoing. Sound-quality-wise, it has exceeded my expectations of what IEMs are capable of, but it is difficult for me to say how it compares against other top-flight IEM options without enough background in that area. It actually still stays quite competitive in terms of sound quality against my full-sized headphones.
     
    I would like to note that I did let some of my friends and family members try these IEMs to assess how appreciable the sonic upgrade is for non-enthusiasts. Their background in headphones consist primarily of consumer brands. They were all extremely impressed with its sound quality and could all easily appreciate the improvements in clarity, instrument separation, and soundstage. These IEMs do offer a markedly notable improvement in technical sound quality attributes beyond just improvements in sound signature balance and frequency response tuning that can be appreciated by non-audiophiles.
     
    The Heaven VII is also a bit of an unique approach being an universal-fit pair of single balanced armature IEMs at a price point where many competitors offer custom-fit IEM or multiple driver options. I would strongly caution against making judgements on performance simply based on driver technology or driver quantity or even price point. More drivers does not necessarily correlate to better sonic performance as more drivers brings up crossover and phase issues that requires special care in tuning and design. There is often debate on the best type of technology with differing stereotypical characteristics attached to single drivers, multi-drivers, hybrid drivers, dynamic drivers, and armature drivers (etc etc). Different material housing also can impact the sound, but may not always bring the sound closer to what you are personally looking for. The most important thing to finding the perfect pair of IEMs for you would be how the sound signature matches your tastes and how the IEMs fit you.
     
    I have found the Heaven VII to be quite excellent sounding pair of headphones, showing that extremely high-quality sound can be achieved using an elegant single armature driver design with special attention paid to the housing. For audiophiles looking in this sort of price range for some sonically spectacular reference-geared IEMs, I would highly recommend demoing these headphones to see if they match what you are looking for.
     
    Scoring: (the green bar ratings on the side seem to be an average of all review scores, this is my actual scoring)
    ***PLEASE NOTE SCORING SUBJECT TO CHANGE!!!***
     
    Value: 7/10
    Audio Quality: 9.5/10
    Design: 9/10
    Comfort: 7.5/10
    Isolation: 8/10
    ***The scoring per category is basically just ranking of the different categories relative to each other and based on my personal perspective on expected performance per category in this product category. Scoring subject to change as I grow more and more familiar with various other options in a product category. Do NOT take the actual numbers too seriously, but just use these categorical rankings to see how each category fairs against each other relatively in my personal opinion. I generally do not award full scores in any category unless I feel that the headphones mark the golden standard of what is the highest possible achievement in that category at the item's particular price point***
    Overall Rating: 7.5/10
    ***I factor value extremely highly and primarily use price:performance ratio for my overall rating score. My overall star rating score is NOT an average of score per category & it is also not based on sound quality alone, but represents how I personally feel about the product's overall performance in all aspects at its price point compared to competitors. For the Heaven VII, I feel it has outstanding sonic performance, but scored more conservatively as price point is to be what I consider to be along the luxury end of the scale for IEMs. More budget options with not as impressive sonic performance can receive a similar positive rating if I feel like the price point is especially competitive. Options that outperform competitors at their price point will outscore options with superior overall sonic capabilities but a lower performance:price ratio. Since I am not as familiar with the level of performance for this product category at this price point, I am not comfortable scoring too highly without more reference points. Please do note that this scoring is subject to change as I grow more familiar with the product category. Overall sonic performance and build quality is high enough that I am comfort rating the Heaven VII positively with a 4/5 star rating without more specific personal knowledge/experience on value & price:performance at this price point for this product category. I may adjust this value up or down in the future depending on how other options at different price points compete sonically with these IEMs, but right now, they are do offer a clear sonic upgrade that can justify higher costs over the other IEM options I have tried. I dislike ranking items based on random numbers as I find that the more important & relevant thing is making sure that specific features/sonic characteristics/price point matches what the buyer is looking for. Please use my detailed information in my review to guide your decision-making process rather than my arbitrary personal numerical scoring that is subject to change.***
     
    Conclusion:
     
    The Heaven VII are very refined reference-level pair of IEMs with a delicate airy treble, realistic midrange, and fast bass featuring quite a vast soundstage and great sense of energy. They effortless step through complicated musical passages with deft precision and quickness with a sense of natural ease.
     
    Greatest overall pro is its sound quality and build quality. Overall sound signature is very well-refined with a smooth balance featuring no glaring peaks or dips. Greatest technical strength is its roomy soundstage, precise imaging, and speed. Best frequency response region for me is its treble tuning. Strikes the perfect balance between high energy and non-fatiguing that can often be quite difficult to achieve. Midrange does have some subtle uniqueness, but very clean and well-balanced overall. Bass presence is surprisingly realistic and weighty for a pair of IEMs that do not feature any bass boost while maintaining fast tight low frequency response.
     
    Greatest con in my opinion would be its weight and non-replaceable cable. Some other important considerations would be that it only accommodates a straight-down cable wear style, does not have have any sonic customization with different user-replaceable filters options, and does not bundle any eartips of differing materials for eartip rollers. I do personally think that sonic customizations is unnecessary given how well these headphones are tuned, but for IEM users who are looking for a variety of bundled customization options, this may not be the best fit.
     
    In terms of real-world applications, I would highly recommended them for home critical listening and portable situations, but I do not think they are ideal for strenuous active usage (at the gym or running). Their fit is secure enough that they have not fallen out of my ears even with vigorous movement, but I would worry about water damage and their weight may be a distracting. I see the Heaven VII working extremely well during light exercise, commutes, air travel, foot travel, and non-mobile listening situations that require active noise isolation.
     
    Recommended for IEM enthusiasts looking for top-tier sound quality for a single balanced armature universal-fit IEM. This pair of headphones is quite a luxurious premium high-end option that does deliver extremely high-end sound quality for IEMs. I view it as a very competitive option for audiophiles pursuing maximum overall sound quality. It is hard for me to make any statements about overall value as I am not as familiar with the expected performance:price ratio for IEMs. I definitely view these IEMs to fall on the premium/luxury side of the market, and they are quite a bit more than I had personally considered spending on IEMs. The Heaven VII do emanate luxury with premium build quality, classy packaging & carrying case, and spectacular sound quality. Their technical sonic performance far exceeded my expectations for what IEMs are capable of, and I do feel comfortable comparing their performance against full-sized headphones. I would be greatly curious to see how Final Audio’s even pricier IEM options would even improve on the Heaven VII. Performance of these IEM is capable enough to replace many full-sized closed headphones options, so audiophiles looking for a single high-end portable noise-isolating solution should consider this as an option. If a high-level of detail with an effortlessly realistic fast and accurate sound is your primary goal, these headphones will be very satisfying. Sonically, these headphones are extremely high-performing (regardless of headphone type, technology, or price point).
     
    This is my first full-length IEM head-fi review, so I hoped that you had as enjoyable time reading it as I had writing it! Please feel free to PM me or leave comments below if you have any questions or critical feedback.
     
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    1. View previous replies...
    2. Jeb Listens
      Well done Money4Me - another exemplary and thorough review.  You're a reviewing machine!
       
      I particularly enjoyed reading the comparisons to your full-size headphones.  Despite them being different beasts I thought it was a different and useful perspective especially for someone who owns any of those and might be looking to buy IEMs (or vice-versa) as well as a nice curiosity for someone like me who doesn't own any of them.  
       
      I find myself comparing my headphones no matter the variety, cost or size and wouldn't mind seeing more of this in other reviews, though I understand the importance of comparing like for like as a general rule. 
       
      Cheers and thanks again for your work and dedication to the cause!
       
      Jeb.
      Jeb Listens, Jul 28, 2015
    3. kurochin
      FAD iems were never really my thing, but this is one heck of a review I must say. Reading it was a pleasure. Thanks for sharing.
      kurochin, Jul 29, 2015
    4. xXSjnHassanXx
      really enjoy reading your review. I already own heaven IV,
      and really, I'm started to become fan of FAD.
       
      and maybe in future, looking forward to get Heaven VII. :D
      xXSjnHassanXx, Jul 31, 2015