final B1 - Reviews
Pros: + Dynamic sound
+ Comfy
+ Punchy sound
+ Final tips
+ Golden finish is just outstanding
+ Good support from Final Audio
Cons: - A bit forward in sound
- A bit bassy if you like more neutral sound
- A bit pricey
Final Audio B1 In-Ear Monitors (IEMs) Review - Warm, Dynamic, Fun

Today's review will focus on the most expensive of Final Audio's IEM Current Lineup, The B1. This is the warmer, more fun and dynamic of the trio, and also the most expensive one, priced at 700 USD. This makes it a direct competitor for Dunu DK-4001, Lime Ears Model X, and Acoustune HS1650CU, being priced in a very heated segment, that has a lot to offer already. How this Hybrid Design IEM will hold up to the competition, and what are the best portables to pair it up with, are two questions I will be exploring in today's review of Final Audio B1 IEMs.



Introduction

Final Audio is a proper company from Japan, with true morality and honor in a Japanese style. They employ the best materials, lavish quality, and a very sleek design for all their products, high-quality MMCX connectors, and although their products are pretty pricey usually, they offer good quality, and reliable support. If you were to have any issue with a Final Audio product, I am pretty sure they would offer excellent support, as long as you were within warranty time. They also offer really good extended warranty support often, and they are among the most reliable companies I know in audio. Since Final Audio is from Japan, purchasing from a local vendor, when possible, would help ensure quicker response, and a quicker solution to any problem you could face.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Final Audio, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I'd like to thank Final Audio for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with Final Audio B1. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Final Audio B1 find their next music companion.



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



Packaging


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











Final packaging is always pretty simple and basic, and even from the days of Final E5000 and E4000, it was always pretty basic. This doesn't mean that it is disappointing, and although the package contains mostly the basics, it has them presented in a very Japanese way, with a cool paper cut out, in which you can find the accessory pouch, and the rubber carrying case.

This is one of the things that you may actually not be so enthusiastic about, but B1 has the same accessory set as the entry-level B2 and B3, so you won't get much more with B1, which is the high-end model from the series.

If anything were to be my main complaint, it would be that the package of B1, B2 and B3 are all the same, and since this is the review of the high-end model, this is the best place to complain about it. Another complaint I have is that the series naming does not make much sense for most Europeans, and the series go like B1 > B3 > B2.



What to look for when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Technical Specifications






Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

The copper shell of B1, and the beautiful aesthetics really are worth the trouble, and I feel it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen when holding it in my hands. It looks and feels like it is made of gold, and although it looks very scratch-prone, it actually held up to my photo shots and to my general usage throughout the past few weeks.

The cable is slightly hard, it isn't the softest cable around, but it is very practical, and it feels very trustworthy. The cable has no microphonic noise, and it is an OFC, or Oxygen-Free Copper Silver Coated Cable. The IEMs also have high-quality MMCX connectors, and the entire thing feels very high-end.



For the best fit and comfort, Final Audio employs Final Audio Tips with their IEMs, and if you ever used those, you probably know that those are some of the best quality tips in the world. Other large and well-known audio companies also employ the tips from Final, even Campfire employing them for their Atlas IEMs. In a few words, the tips are even better than Spinfit sonically, and offer the same degree of comfort and passive noise isolation. Speaking of which, Final B1 isolates very well from the outside noise, so well that I would happily use them for a concert, as the artist.

The comfort is pretty much heaven, and although the design seems to be angular, the inner part of the IEM is smooth, and the comfort, at least for my ears has been one of the best I've had with an IEM, and this easily places Final B1 in my top ten most comfortable IEMs.

The desgn inside the IEM is a hybrid, 1 Dynamic Driver + 1 BA Driver, but if you're wondering if you should have more drivers for the price, we need to keep in mind that it is the quality of the driver that matters, not the number of drivers. There are IEMs that have 10 BA drivers for less than 100 USD, like the KZ AS10, which costs 55 USD, and there are flagship IEMs that have just one dynamic driver, like HIFIMAN RE2000 Gold, which costed 2000 USD at launch, so don't worry about the number of drivers, but about the sonic quality and the overall quality of the IEM.

Overall, all connectors, all parts, and everything about B1 screams high-quality, well-built and it is actually a very comfortable IEM.



Sound Quality

The fun part when reviewing a series of IEMs is that you'd expect them all to have something in common, and if you expected that from the Final B series, you'd be really really wrong. Those three IEMs have nothing to do with each other, and B1, B3 and B2 are very different from each other. In fact, I think that this is the magic part about them, you would be able to get the one you like the most, without having to invest the most necessarily, as, for example, I lean more towards B3 than B1 or B2, for its large soundstage and airy presentation.



Speaking of which, B1 sounds warm, thick, bassy, impactful, dynamic, colored, sparkly at the top end, medium-sized in terms of staging, and has a very delicious vocal presentation, which will work greatly, especially if you listen to a lot of Japanese music, or female-voiced music. Final's description of B1, as if standing at the center of the stage, when listening to music, is actually quite accurate, and a good instrument separation, stereo imaging, and excellent detail / clarity also help make you feel as the lead singer in most pieces when listening to B1.

The bass is punchy, deep, and enhanced over the midrange and the treble. This makes up for a very punchy and enjoyable, if colored sound. I would say that the sound is a bit thick in general, but the bass doesn't really feel like it bleeds in the mids. Furthermore, the whole sound isn't boomy, the bass being the kind that goes down low and doesn't overtake you in the mid bass without having the sub. The upper bass tends to recess a bit compared to the main bass body, leading to a midrange, that is also a bit forward, but without a strong mid bass. This doesn't compliment male voices as well as female voices, and makes B1 a bit better at female voices than male voices.

The midrange is a mixed bag, because, on one hand I love the female voices, as they are presented on B1, and I love the detail, clarity, and impact of the voices, but on the other hand, I feel that the voices are a touch aggressive on B1, and if you're not used to a more forward vocal presentation, you will feel that B1 can be a bit aggressive. The same can be said about the upper midrange and lower treble, so cymbals can be forward, although they are never harsh nor sibilant, just presented a bit more forward.

The treble is focused on the lower treble and the mid treble, and the upper treble tends to be recessed. This creates a more focused presentation, and favors pop, electronic, and music that is supposed to be presented punchy. It also favors punk, and heavy metal, but doesn't favor atmospheric metal nor progressive. If you want a large soundstage, you could look into Final B3, which I will be reviewing very soon, but be warned, B3 can sound a bit cold, which I could never really say about B1. If anything, B1 can be very slightly edging on sounding cold in the midrange, but this would depend on the source and source synergy.



The dynamic delivery is quite excellent, and I feel that B1 delivers an excellent dynamic for all music, and the no crossover design they employed for their driver configuration really makes sense now that I take a closer listen. Everything has life, and music has that "live" feeling, but it never feels forced. Final Audio's graph about clarity and staging is honest and accurate actually, and places B1 as not the widest, but a very clear and detailed IEM, both statements being quite true about it, the detail level is perfect for their 700 USD price mark.



Portable Usage

The impedance of B1 is pretty low, at 13 OHM, so Final IEMs are prone to hiss, is the source is hissy, and they require quite a bit of power, having a pretty low SPL or sensitivity, of just 94 dB. This makes B1 picky with the source and rather hard to drive, but of course, this is pretty relative in today's market, and my smartphone, a very poor Xiaomi Mi Max 3 does a pretty good job of them, even without being a pro smartphone or anything above a midrange smartphone.



B1 also has a very good passive noise isolation, almost as good as an Etymotic ER4XR, which are made to be an universal that isolates as well as a custom IEM. Furthermore, the cables of B1 are of the highest quality, and you just have to seem them in person once, and the rosy gold finish is simply too beautiful to look at and feel in person.

The carrying case, which is a rubber carrying case, pretty much the same as the one that came with Final E5000 and E4000, is practical, and although it is not the most secure or the most practical, it is unique and makes you feel that Final Audio invested in both creativity and sound.

Overall, B1 is pretty portable, although using them with a midrange DAP, like FiiO M9, or iBasso DX160, or Opus #3, rather than a smartphone, and at this point, unless you plan on pairing it with a DAP, even an entry-level one like FiiO M3K, you won't get everything it has to offer with a smartphone.



Youtube Video Review

Final Audio B1 Youtube Review



Comparisons


Since the comparison list is very fiery, I think that my choice of Acoustune HS 1650 CU, DK-4001 from Dunu, and Lime Ears Model X are all very competent and make sense as competitors for B1.



Final Audio B1 vs Dunu DK-4001 - Both DK-4001 and Lime Ears Model X are priced slightly higher than Final B1, but usually when offering comparisons, I think offering both products that are slightly more expensive, and products that are slightly cheaper offers a good idea of where a certain product sits in this world of audio. In this sense, DK-4001 offers a very good overall deal, and comes with a much better package than B1, and DK-4001 also has a modular cable included in the package, so if you want to use it with both a Single Ended and a Balanced source, you can do so right out of the box, while for B1 you have to purchase a separate cable. The comfort is also slightly better on DK-4001, but it offers less passive noise isolation than B1. In terms of overall sound, DK-4001 is more mellow, and B1 makes itself remarked by having a stronger bass, much more forward midrange, and lower treble, a more dynamic, sparkly and more punchy sound, and with more overall life to it. DK-4001's relaxed nature makes it sound much more chill regardless of the tips used, and also much wider, with B1 having a smaller, more forward soundstage. Out of those two, you should go with the one that has a sonic presentation closer to your ideal music style, but don't forget, my review on DK-3001 PRO is also coming out soon, and it will also be an interesting read.

Final Audio B1 vs Lime Ears Model X - Lime Ears Model X also comes with a much better package, and this will be a trend, but all other IEMs in this price category tend to come with better packages. This being said, not all the other IEMs in this price range come with better build quality, and with a design that looks as awesome as B1. In terms of comfort, Lime Ears Model X can only be worn with Foam tips, and it is nowhere near as comfy as B1, so if you're looking for comfort, B1 is easily the better choice. When it comes to the sound, if you pair Model X with the right tips, you get a similar presentation, but with a more balanced overall tuning, with more resolution, and with a less warm, less punchy sound, B1 being more punchy, but with Model X having more resolution and slightly better overall soundstage. B1 also has a more aggressive sound, and if you're looking for something that sounds sweet with female voices, B1 does sound sweeter.

Final Audio B1 vs Acoustune HS1650CU - As the trend was set, HS1650CU is a handful to spell, like I did in my video review, but the package it comes in is still better than the one B1 comes in. Even more, the comfort is also excellent for HS1650CU, but the passive noise isolation is better for B1. The construction quality is top notch for both, and both IEMs feel high-end and luxurious. The sonic presentation is warmer, smoother, more laid-back, and has a larger soundstage of HS1650CU, with a more visceral bass, and although B1 feels more punchy, I would say the bass is better handled on HS1650CU which, although sounds darker in general, has a more even overall sound. HS1650CU is easier to drive than B1, and is also slightly less hissy, so if you don't have a good source, Hs1650CU is easier to drive, but if you want a more punchy, more lively, more dynamic, more stylish IEM, B1 makes a very compelling offer.



Recommended Pairings

I think that most midrange DAPs will do just okay with B1, and using a TOTL DAP, or Top Of The Line Digital Audio Player won't bring more out of it than a properly powered midrange DAP will. So my main recommended pairings for B1 are with iBasso DX120, FiiO M11, and something older, but still very capable, like Opus #3.



Final Audio B1 + iBasso DX120 - When paired with DX120, B1 tends to be a touch warmer, and thicker, and also have its typical signature exposed at its best, with the slightly more forward midrange, the clean, and deep bass, and with the forward upper midrange, in such a way that female voices sound warm and close to you, they have personality and passion, and with all music sounding pretty direct and live.

Final Audio B1 + FiiO M11 - FiiO's M11 has been one of the best received DAPs to date, and for a good reason, it has a very clear, crisp and high-resolution sound. In fact, it doesn't lack anything, and for its price range, it is simply a best buy, unless you like iBasso's design language better, as FiiO's more industrial design tends to be a matter of taste. At any rate, just like #3, M11 tends to have a nice upper treble extension, paired with a more neutral bass, so a more reference sound, and pairing it with B1 results in a hiss-free, balanced sound, or at least more balanced than when pairing it with warmer sources, and with a wider soundstage.

Final Audio B1 + Opus #3 - Opus has a similar naming scheme to Final Audio where Opus #2 is the best of their lineup, and #1 is the least interesting, with #3 being right at the middle. This being said, I picked #3 for this pairing section, because I think it pairs best with B1, and since we're talking about high-quality work from Asia, the Korean company Opus is awesome to accompany the precise works of the Japanese designer Final. The sonic pairing is actualy quite good, as Opus #3 sounds pretty cold, and well extended in the treble, if a bit sparkly in the upper treble, with a neutral bass, and a pretty neutral midrange. The pairing counters the sound of B1, which is typically warm and lacks some of that upper treble, making the entire presentation more balanced, but still punchy and dynamic. #3 also has excellent support for streaming services, and even in Today's market of DAPs, which is full of little wonders like DX160 from iBasso, #3 has a place to exist, and still gains more fans.



Value and Conclusion

The value of B1 is the only part that you may be able to argue against, as they are quite pricey, and the package doesn't feel quite that great, especially considering that B2, which is priced at just 300 USD uses exactly the same package, and comes with the same accessory list. This being said, the lavish rosy gold finish on B1 really makes you want and desire it, and even if that was the sole reason it is quite that pricey, considering the package, the detail and resolution really make it worth the asking price. The only part that is disappointing for the price could be the package, the IEM itself, the cable, the sonic performance are all really worth it.



The package may not be the greatest, but B1 does come with a carrying case, and with a selection of high-quality tips from Final. Furthermore, it comes with two little ear hooks that you can use, if you're not into free over-the-ear wearing style, but I always felt it is more comfortable to use this wearing style freely, without the ear hooks. Speaking of which, despite their slightly larger size, and the pretty angular design on the other shell, the IEMs are really comfy, and actually are one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever tried in my entire life. The passive noise isolation is also excellent, and although they are hard to drive and require at least a midrange source to be driven well, the sonic performance is worth it.

Speaking of which, if female voices, good dynamics, clarity, and a more forward soundstage, with a forward midrange are your thing, Final B1 surely delivers. They also deliver well for Pop, punk, and electronic, and even metal music, but for progressive and atmospheric metal, or atmospheric music in general, you could get B3 from Final Audio and be happier. B3 is colder, and B1 is warmer, more musical, and more fun to listen to with its punchy bass, though, so if you're into this kind of presentation, B1 should be right up your alley.



At the end of this review, if you're looking for an IEM that looks like a luxury watch, or a luxury jewel, if you're looking for a an IEM that sounds dynamic, punchy, and forward, and which places you right next to the singer, and has a spicy upper midrange, and nice bass, Final B1 should be in your list for what to get next, and what IEM to make your companion for a long time to come.



Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Youtube Playlist


Tidal Playlist

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

Song List

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly
Silverstein - My Heroine
Memphis May Fire - Not Over Yet

I hope my review is helpful to you!

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Pros: Lush vocal, thick timbre, mellow sound free of any harshness or sibilance, good layering, excellent construction and design
Cons: Bass lack control and feel a little limited in extension, Bass can veil mid range, clarity and imaging is average, slow transient response, treble isn't very crisp, Sound value isn't there
FINAL AUDIO B1 REVIEW:
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SOUND: 8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 9.5/10
DESIGN: 9.5/10
ACCESSORIES: 9/10
VALUE: 8/10


Okay, after having review the B2 and B3 model, I keep the B1 for dessert, and its appropriate as they are such sweet eye candy you wanna lick it to know if they really taste like gold.

The Final Audio B1 is higher end model of B serie, priced at 699$ they sure look like expensive luxury and put to shame lot of pricier TOTL earphones that have underwhelming construction for their over 1K price. But did fancy look is everything? Nope. Sometime its just flashy and will not have long durability, again, the B1 isn’t from this luxury gimmick.

If you invest hard earned money in the B1, it will must probably follow you until your last days on earth...well, if the lush laid back sound it deliver please your ears in first place.

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And this is where it became even more interesting, because the B1 is very first hybrid model from Final Audio, using one dynamic driver and one balanced armature. The goal of B1 tuning is to give a sens of proximity to the music, as if you really enter in the middle of your favourite band. You will feel the bass, and your singer is suppose to be very near you.

Here it’s how they describe B1 sound:
‘’B1 is a model designed with particular emphasis on proximity of sound and sense of reality. In music represented by animation soundtracks, recordings make the proximity of sound more conspicuous. For this type of music recording, the B1 has been designed to achieve playback more consistent with the balance of sound as created by the engineer. ‘’

Again, I mostly agree with sound description of Final Audio, but not fully and this is why we need reviewer to share how they subjectively perceive sound with their own ears. Mine perceive hint of E5000 bass flavor mixed with hint of B1 mids resolution.

Let’s explore the Final Audio B1 sound further in this review.

The Final Audio B1 can be found on Amazon.com for 1400$ (!!) so I suggest you to buy them somewhere else like on Ebay (599$) or Audio46(699$).

Disclaimer: I wanna thanks KYO and Final Audio for offering me the whole B serie review samples. As a Final Audio Fanboy, it’s an honour to be selected by this talented Japanese audio company. As always, I will be fully independent of mind even if I feel very spoiled.


SPECS:
Product code: FI-B1BDSSD
Sensitivity (dB/mW): 94
Impedance (Ω): 13
Material: Stainless
Finishing: Ion Plating
Driver 1: 6.4mm Dynamic
Driver 2: BA Tweeter
Weight (g): 36
Cable length (m): 1.2
Cable type: OFC Silver Coated Cable
Connector: MMCX
Accessories: Silicone Case / E Type Ear pieces/ Ear hooks

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN:

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UNBOXING is a real joy and a step up from the boxing of E serie. Now, we have a very elegant solid white box with a big B on it, its minimal yet luxurious in the choice of design and material. As expected, there's plenty of accessories included, which is this time very similar to higher E serie model. The unique silicone protecting case, extra ear hook the nice final silicone eartips as well as a pair of memory foam. And a strange sticky fabric to help you unconnected the mmcx cable that can be slippy due to its metal part. For the price, well, perhaps we would have love an second cable but this is very rare that we are spoil that much and to be honest I prefer one great Final Audio 4cores silver plated cable than 2 bad ones.

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CONSTRUCTION is top notch and you know you have a high end earphones in your hands as much due to the weight of it than the feel of it. No sharp corner touch your ears even if the housing is sculpted with a mix of curve and angle, all is smooth, no asperity, and it is soft too, mate type of softness. The rose gold stainless steel metal finish is supreme luxury for they eyes, and wearing this in public will sure make heads turn, the B3 seriously look high end luxury.

Unlike B2 and B3, the B1 look more easily scratchable, i do not always cary him in its case and as seen their small micro dent on it. As well, its a finger print magnet. It’s not as easy to scratch than very cheap metal iem like KZ ZS10PRO, but I suggest you to take very good care of the B1 and always bring it in protective case. Real gold too is easy to scratch....treat the B1 as precious jewel.

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DESIGN is just mesmerizing and sure have take lot of time to be achieved. More you look at it, more you discover the number of details in its conception and are in awe : nothing was let to hazard. The curve of the housing is made so it slip in your ears smoothly and comfortably, the back being sharper at edge do not touch the ears, and if some corner touch is its more polished and smoother than upper back angle. Nozzle is moulded in same front metal housing part, and is just long enough for perfect fit with ear tips, you can push it very far in your ears due to housing shape and as say, it will be the curvy, organically shape part that will be in contact with you ear hole.

MMCX connector look heavy duty industrial and just unbreakable, but be aware connection with cable will be extremely thigh, which make this a little too hard for cable swapping lover like me, Even with the sticky fabric ‘’tool’’ its extremely hard to disconnect…to the point I literally hurt my thumbs and have a white spot on it for 3 days. So, yeah, that is sure secure connection for the iem but less so for your fingers! But, finally, the mmcx connection became smoother after connecting disconnecting it, it still securely thigh but easier to disconnect which it’s a BIG relieve!

COMFORT is excellent and in fact you don't feel the weight due again to meticulously think design, as the curvy part sit on your inner ear naturally. I can wear this all day without problem, no joke.

ISOLATION is insanely good as well, due to thick metal and excellent fit, it literally block all the outside noise once you put musc, and passive isolation without music is extreme as well. So, be aware it can be a little risky to go hiking in the boreal forest invade by wolfs and bears because you will not hear potential attackers until you get bite by him.

Even if their a little front venting, sound leakage is way above average and near dead silent. Only bats will be able to hear any sound as I can conclude with high volume music playing while i block nozzle end with my finger. I need to put my ear on the vent to hear something.

DRIVEABILITY is quite easy and will most likely be properly amped with any audio source because of low 13 ohm impedance, but the 94db sensitivity is not the highest for proper sound pressure dynamic so yeah, I tend to prefer using powerful source or portable amp than cranking the volume higher with less powerful DAP like the Xduoo X3.


SOUND:
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COZY sounding is the B1, warm and delicate as a good reassuring gentle fireplace. How can’t you not be comfy in such a welcome audio territory? While it’s far from being a spectacular firework, the lush inviting sound of B1 cannot offend the listener and will please those searching for laid back musicality with smooth thick woolly timbre. The bass is beefy but tender, mids are natural and soulful, treble is liquid. These are the perfect earphones for lazy afternoon, but be sure to have a coffee with it to keep you awake.

While I do appreciate this effortless warm sound, it will be a lie to say a passionate love story is born between us. With its superb look, like with the most beautiful golden haired girl of town, love expectation was too high and I find the personality lacking even if the physical look is gorgeous. In other words: I’m not as wowed by B1 sound than by it’s luxuriously sexy look. At 700$, I was putting the bar very high in term of sound quality, and after having praised the dual balanced armature B3 model, I find the sound of B1 lacking in excitement and high end technicalities. Compared to vivid detailed sound of B3, the B1 feel bassy, dark and laid-back. In some sense, it have a similar sound flavor to the one of E5000 but with an even more rolled off treble and less punchy bass. I adore the E5000, but it’s a guilty pleasure for me, and not even suppose to be as adored as it is by me due to my penchant for sharper clarity and tighter bass. I’m a W sound signature type of guy, and the B1 is U shape with extra smoothed treble, so it’s normal passion is born born between us.

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SOUNDSTAGE is rather intimate, it have restrain wideness and deepest with above average tallness, making it sound barely out of your head. It’s not an airy, spacious sounding iem.

IMAGING is more about thick layering with contrasted transparency than accurate spatial placement. Due to compact soundstage, instrument do not have lot of space between them, and lack air and silent gap.

TIMBRE is smooth and, let’s use this word, BUTTERY, yep, thick butter with a hint of honey in it. Sweet and super polish, you will not find any grain in it, but perhaps feel you would have prefer peanut butter for a more textured and crunchy timbre. This thick soften lushness permit to have just enough transparency to offer a more immersive listen. For male and some female vocal, this type of timbre is very tasty.

CLARITY isn’t sharp at all, some will find the B1 too dark in fact when big bass happen. Yep, whole sound of B1 is fully warm and the treble roll off sure do not help to offer high resolution and definition of different instrument playing together.

BASS is lazy and opulent, voluptuous and liquid, the waves of lower end gently splash on whole sound like an ocean awakening on the beach in a wind free morning. Lower bass is notably more prominent than upper mid bass, which make the slam weightier and more authoritative than the kick punch. Texture is very soft and extension isn’t the most natural. The lower end bump sure give more body to instrument like cello, but will make acoustic bass sound to thick as well. Full natural extension down to 20hz isn’t there due to notable bass bump beginning around 40hz. U shape is the bass, and not in the most controlled way as its a little sloppy and too juicy, but in a very subtle way because of how smooth overall bass feel. Something the result of this 40-200hz bumpy curve is very impressive, being able to extract synth bass line while keeping clean the mid range, but when drum kick mix with it this is where the sloppy control lack definition and tightness, making it mix too much with high bass and lower mids. I think this type of warming bass is done voluntarily, so whole sound feel more like a big dynamic driver than clinical hybrid. Unfortunately, unlike with single dynamic, the mids from balanced armature cannot earn real natural thickness with bass bleed.

MID RANGE is slightly recessed, warm and lush in timbre, smoothly rendered without any sibilance or grain in it. Super polish to the point we can wish for more details in resolution and texture in timbre. Still, the timbre feel rightly done, very natural, near organic, it’s opposite of artificial or clinical. Vocal aren’t as forward as I would expect and here it really depend of number of bass presence in your music. Listening to Susanna Walumrod ‘’Intruder’’ song, I tremendously enjoy how vocal are presented, thick, natural, full bodied yet transparent, not affecting the piano playing, which sound full and weighty as well. Here we do not have any bass and it’s very rewarding how the B1 can inject extra life and emotionality to this calm song. The imaging too get affected by bass, so less there is, more it will be clearer and more accurate in mid range, but still rather constraint in spaciousness. Definition is lush and polished, not sharp and detailed, while the attack too is on the soft side, so fast violin will lack grip but piano will have natural weight and impact. I feel this type of mid range excel with singer songwriter like Susanna, or Folk, jazz, some pop, some indie, some classical like piano or cello solo and post-rock, less so for fast rock, IDM, classical symphony or metal.

TREBLE is very gentle even if its pushed foward in lower highs to inject extra energy to the rather relaxed B1 sound. This offer just the right amount of texture to instrument and vocal so it never sound bright or overly textured. You will not hear strange breathing or micro details of instrument that can distract from lush natural flow of whole musicality, but you will miss some exciting micro details as well. The B1 treble is laid back without being dark, smooth without sounding thin, delicate without being very crisp. If you search super snappy highs and lot of sparkle and decay, you will not like how the treble roll off after 10khz. Instrument like harpsichord and acoustic guitar sound thick but lack attack, definition and brilliance in upper range.

LOWER BASS: 7.5/10
MID BASS: 7/10
MID RANGE: 8/10
TREBLE: 7.5/10
TIMBRE: 8.5/10
CLARITY: 7.5/10
SOUNDSTAGE: 7.5/10
IMAGING: 7.5/10
ATTACK-DECAY: 7.5/10


RANDOM TRACKS TEST:

CHARLOTTE DAY WILSON- ‘’WORK’’:

Here, everything is thick in lower end, bass line and kick are super chunky but lack definition refinement and tend to stole place to my beloved singer voice. Still, the nice lush transparent timbre offer a well done intimate layering. But as said, Charlotte voice feel very centred and in second seat compared to rest of instrumental. Percussion lack crispness and are hard to follow in far background. More than ever the B1 show its true U shape bassy nature as well as limitation. Vocal lack clarity and forwards presence and this is due to sub bass invasion. I choose this very tracks because I think it will give full bodied vocal presentation of Day Wilson Goddess. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

DAISUKE TANABE-’’Ten Spikes’’:

Now the B1 feel more at home with this kind of experimental downbeat electronic. It show what its sub bass can do and dig very deep offering quite intense rumble, tough a little boomy and not super tightly controlled. Anyway, the sub bass slam tend to be more lively and weighty than kick punch, which is very smooth in definition, near liquid in timbre. This track can be aggressive in treble with brighter iem, and the B1 tender treble avoid any harshness in percussion and snare, the counter effect of this is a lack of sparkle and micro details. Layering is okay, but far from being the clearest. Its like if I listen to this music trough a tube amp. Strangely addictive experience.


COMPARISONS:
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VS DITA TWINS FIDELITY (1300$):

Yeah, I have a big crush about housing design and construction of the magnificent B1, as well, they are more comfortable and even block more noise than the FIDELITY. The mmcx cable is more flexible and I can use any other cable of my collection without limitation with the B1. But, in term of sound it’s another story and this is where price difference is more evident.
SOUNDSTAGE is notably wider, taller and more out of your head with the DITA, delivery a sens of airy holographic instrument placement B1 crualy lack.
IMAGING too is more accurate and sharp, while B1 feel intimate and even congested when bass occur. DITA offer more realist and extended spaciality, instrument have more air between them and level of clarity is higher. BASS is thicker, weightier but smoother too with the B1, it lack control, texture and transcendence of DITA but will sure satisfy more the basshead because of its warmer, bassier (and boomier) presence. MID RANGE is warmer, thicker and softer in attack than more vivid, energic and detailed one of DITA. Level of accuracy is more refined with DITA, as well as the revealing articulation of imaging. With the B1, vocal are more intimate, opaque and juicy, which tend to shadow instrumentation more than better balanced DITA. Definition of instrument is as well better with DITA. TREBLE is more balanced, richer and snappier with DITA, which deliver highs with thigh crispness compared to more shouty highs of B1 that can make cymbals splashy. About the balance, it that B1 have mid highs push that tend to push aggressively some highs in a rather artificial way due to overall smooth response curve of all rest of spectrum.

All in all, the B1 is warmer, bassier and thicker sounding, but to the cost of having more opaque, intimate sound than more refined, articulate, neutral and detailed DITA FIDELITY that are from another league both in price and sound.

VS MEZE RAI PENTA (1000$):

Both this earphones share similar warm, bassy and intimate soundsignature, but the B1 is more V shape and warmer. SOUNDSTAGE is similar, just enough wide to don’t feel stock in your head, but the PENTA are notably deeper as well as a little taller, make it more out of your head and spacious than B1.
IMAGING is more accurate with crisper clarity with the PENTA, as if with the B1 your too near musicians to have proper instrument separation.
BASS is more controlled and linear with the PENTA, it sound faster than more pumped up sub bass of B1 that tend to warm lower mids more than the PENTA. B1 have slightly thicker and juicier sub bass but it’s less textured than PENTA.
MID RANGE is clearer, slightly brighter and more accurate with the PENTA, the presentation is wider and less intimate and prompt to congestion than B1. B1 have more mellow mid range, but female vocals are more prompt to (rare) sibilance, dynamic and attack is more energic with the PENTA.
TREBLE is more extended with the PENTA, delivering crisper highs and more micro details on top, this make them more W shape while the B1 are more L shape with extra mids push. No doubt that the PENTA deliver higher definition, more texture and a livelier musicality.

All in all, the B1 will please those who search thick sound with lush mids and intimate laid back musicality, while the PENTA is clearly superior in technicalities, bass control and imaging.

VS FINAL AUDIO B3 (500$):

A dual balanced armature will sure not sound similar than an hybrid dynamic-balanced drivers iem, so this is not surprise that here it will more depend on your flavor preference. B1 is warmer and bassier, while B3 is more vividly accurate and mid centric.

SOUNDSTAGE feel about same wideness but B3 sure have more deepness to it. Imaging is where the B3 stand apart in term of definition and accuracy, as well as better spaciality that offer more clear space between instruments. Strangely, even if B3 use balanced armature which are know to lack bass extension, I feel it extend as far as the B1 in a flatter more realist way, while B1 bass is more boomy and thick but less fast and punchy. MID RANGE is clearer with better accuracy and technicalities than more laid back mids of B1. While the B3 mid range sound forwards, sharp and detailed, the B1 tend to mix bass and mids at same level which is very different to the mids that sit properly on bass. TREBLE is more extended with the B3, offering more micro details and an overall better resolved sound imagery than softer and darker B1.

Overall sound signature of B1 is more U shape, lusher, bassier, warmer and more laid back while the B3 is slightly W shape and offer better technicalities from low to highs and a more balanced, accurate and controlled dynamic.

CONCLUSION:

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FINAL AUDIO B1 is as beautiful to look than to listen, and while the lush and warm sound signature of their top of the line model might not offer spectacular clarity and accuracy, it sure deliver a unique addictive musicality with sweet thick timbre and voluptuous bass and mids that would appeal to those searching for a laid back innoffensive sound presentation.

The construction and design of B1 is a real piece of art in its own right, and should be show in museum so people can contemplate them for hours and hours like I do....just for this I feel the high price is justify to some extend. It’s not just durable, it’s adorable too.

If you are fan of U shape sound signature with lush mid range and vocal, thick juicy bass and gently smooth treble and want an high end earphones with a jaw dropping sturdy and sexy construction that will let nobody indifferent, just stop right now contemplating the beautiful pics of Final Audio B1 and give it a try!

Attachments

Pros: Beautiful aesthetics with top quality build, low profile comfortable fit, high performance sound with big bass and smooth mids/trebles, scales really well with better gear/source material, updated and improved silicone case, great value for its level of performance
Cons: The bass can be a bit thick sounding with certain recordings, needs power to sound its best
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Introduction
With the introduction of the MAKE series of IEMs last year, final began an exploratory mission with a new, sleek casing design that was meant to surpass the comfort level of its previous efforts for the widest variety of listeners. The MAKE series was unique in that it also allowed the user to open up the casing in order to tune the sound to their liking with supplied filters. This exploratory undertaking was launched to document data via user feedback on the most popular tuning choices, and to ensure the geometry of the new casing design had met its target.

The just introduced B series from final is the result of its endeavor to create a line of IEMs that maximizes comfort, and to also establish a new paradigm in the price/performance equation. The B series includes three models with the top end version—the B1 ($699)—the subject of this review.

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Impressions
I'd like to first mention my thanks to Michael Brown, the US distributor for final products. Michael provided free samples of all three B series models in exchange for my forthright assessment (I will be writing reviews in the near future on the B3 and B2).

My source component for this review is the Astell&Kern AK240SS ($3,000). As you will read, it had just enough power to properly drive the low sensitivity B1 (94dB). I didn’t engage any EQ during my evaluation. The music used spanned many genres with CD rips from my music library as well as purchased hi res files. Finally, per the advice of final, I burned in the B1 for 150 hours before I did any critical listening.

The B1 is perhaps the most beautiful IEM I've ever used. The rose gold color is quite stunning, and it is finished with a polished luster. The shimmering silver OFC cable included (1.2m) only adds to the elegance of the total package. The casings are smaller than I had guessed from the photos I had seen, and easily fit within my ears, showing little sign of their presence when viewed straight on from the front of my head. The picture below of the MAKE3 (again, same casing) should demonstrate this quality:

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I'm somewhat anal about fit and finish, and the B1 meets my expectations of a finely made product. Just gorgeous!

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With such precision in its construction, I was surprised when I read the B series was made in China. Now, I understand China is capable of manufacturing world class products, but being half Japanese, I appreciate the pride that goes into Japanese products of this caliber. I reached out to my contact at final and was told that final engineers were on hand to oversee the manufacturing of the first few weeks of production, completely satisfied with the results. It just comes down to the cost of materials and labor, its less expensive in China and final wanted to achieve reasonable price points for its new lineup. It's a great thing that more enthusiasts will be able to afford the B1, as well as the B3 ($499) and B2 ($299).

The B1 is a hybrid design which uses a dynamic driver and a balanced armature driver. What's unique about this design is neither driver uses a crossover circuit, rather, they are tuned by final to musically assimilate with each other over the entire frequency range. Let's see how this turned out in my listening sessions. ...

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Rachmaninov / Symphonic Dances / Non allegro (24/48)

I'm a fan of the Romantic period and Rachmaninov in particular, easily one of my favorite composers. I used this recording to test out the bass performance since this is a noted design feature of the B1—it did not disappoint. Early in the first movement, the kettle drums are reproduced with such force, it made me jump on first listen. Although final suggests in its literature the B1 is designed with a narrower dynamic range than the other B series models, the impact and consequent reverberation of the drums was clearly heard without strain or compression, bringing drama to this beautiful composition.

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The Doors / L.A. Woman / Riders on the Storm (24/96)

My favorite group from the 60s, and their best album, in my view. Ray Manzarek's electric piano play figures prominently in this song and sets up a good sense of a lateral soundstage. Jim Morrison's voice sounds big and immediate adding a sense of stage height, and all the while a soundtrack of rain falling creates an illusion of depth to the sound. The B1 reproduces this 48 year old recording with intimacy and great rhythm, and I kept on replaying the song over and over fully immersed in the music.

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Leftfield / A Final Hit / Afro-Left (16/44.1)

The B1 is well suited for electronic music, and this song shows that capability quite well. The bass line sounds expansive with good detail, yet there is some overhang due to the tuning of the B1. Pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT) are excellent, my feet tapping to the beat, and leaving me in a state of musical bliss. With this song, I began to understand final's contention that the dynamic range of the B1 is designed to be narrower, but my view is it's with macro dynamics where the B1 shows this character; there's a flattening to the sound at high volume levels that's heard. Finally, due to its low sensitivity, if loudness is your game, you're going to need some power, cell phones likely will falter.

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Alanis Morissette / Jagged Little Pill / All I Really Want (24/44.1)

Alanis Morissette has a unique voice that can easily reveal any sense of stridency or sibilance in the playback chain. It is due to the refinement of the B1's upper frequencies that this characteristic doesn't come forward. In fact, one of the outstanding areas of performance on the B1 is how smooth sounding the trebles are. The harmonica playing comes through with bite, yet is never overbearing, it just sounds like a harmonica in real space. There is great layering within the soundstage, even with this dense recording.

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ZZ Top / Eliminator / Gimme All Your Lovin' (24/96)

Turn it up! Great song, great album. Even though the B1's mid-bass is slightly thick sounding, with this kind of music this becomes a positive attribute. PRaT is wonderful, head bopping, my legs can't stop moving. This is what high fidelity is all about, raising one's emotions to such a level, the connection to the artist creates a hedonist's dream come true. Pure pleasure.

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Miles Davis / Doo-Bop / Doo-Bop Song (24/192)

Big, big fan of Miles. Add another genre to the B1's repertoire ... hip-hop fusion. Although Miles Davis is best known for his 50s-60s jazz albums, later in his life he experimented with other styles of music. This song has an emphasized bass track which the B1 reproduces with added emphasis, yet it doesn't intrude much on the lower midrange, to my ears anyway. His trumpet playing is very clean sounding, fully expressed with harmonic overtones, dynamically moving along with the groove of the music. Great sense of depth, too. Check it out!

Summary
When the research and development team at final began working on the B1, they hoped to produce an IEM whose sound and comfort would raise its profile against other similarly priced models from other brands. I believe they have achieved their objective. Comfort is very important for long listening sessions, and the B1's smooth edged geometric casing, sleek in design, is a clever way to minimize the contact points when the B1 is paced in one's ears. Couple that to the excellent E series tips that are included to create a good seal, I was able to listen for hours without any discomfort. And what a sound to listen to! A weighty bass that blends nicely with the upper registers of the frequency range which themselves have great clarity but are absent of any grain or stridency. This is an IEM for those most interested in tone. Macro dynamics are somewhat ordinary in this model, and soundstage capture is smaller than other IEMs I've owned in the same price range, e.g., the Sennheiser IE 800. But the tone of the B1 is what makes it a worthy option for consideration, as beautiful as its rose gold finish.

When properly appointed, the final B1 will bring incredible pleasure to the listener at a price that competes strongly with other IEMs under $1,000. It certainly has rocked my world!
TooPoorForHiFi
TooPoorForHiFi
Eyes On Me by Faye Wong is horrifying on the B1, That 7K spike is Ear-Piercing, it hurts. It is manageable at low volume but this IEM shines w/ Higher Volume? =(
jwbrent
jwbrent
I never had this issue in my listening sessions, but I don’t have the album you’re referring to.
lomenhk
lomenhk
Recently got the B1 and the Final C106 4.4mm balanced cable. By pairing it with my ZX507 with balanced output, it sounds fantastic! The sound stage is big. This beauty has opened up quite a lot after a short period of burn-in for only 25 hours. I can't wait it reaches the mark of 200 hours, see how it goes! Love it!
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