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  1. Zelda
    S’NEXT final B3 - Review
    Written by Zelda
    Published Sep 4, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality
    Aesthetics
    Sound quality - Well rounded presentation; Midrange with good bass and treble; Clarity
    Cable quality and good MMCX connectors
    Cons - Sharp edges on the housings can be uncomfortable
    Limited accessories
    Soundstage
    REVIEW – S’NEXT final B3

    b3 (1).png

    Website – S’NEXT final (in English)
    Specifications
    • Housing: Stainless steel (frost silver)
    • Driver: 2BA (Networkless)
    • Sensitivity: 102 dB
    • Impedance: 19 Ω
    • Weight: 36g
    • Cable: 1.2m; MMCX Connector; OFC silver coated wire

    Price may vary depending on the region and currency exchange, but a rough estimate is U$450~500.
    Can be found at Amazon JP
    Credits to the final team for arranging the B3 for the limited time of review.


    Official final B3 page.

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    The box is not very different from the E series just a bit renewed with a more elegant and discreet look. All white hard cardboard box with a simple hassle free presentation. The logo and writing are all printed in gold color at the front and sides of the box, while the specifications are on the back side in a few languages. Inside it is very simple, the now usual silicone round case holding the B3 inside and a small plastic bag with final E tips in all the fives sizes, a pair of soft ear guides in clear color and exta films that apparently should be used to remove the MMCX cables safely (haven’t tried that yet). Now, despite having the same black round silicone case, the carabiner clip which supposed to be attached to it is missing. The case itself is convenient to carry the earphones without occupying much space, though for the higher price of these new B series a nicer case and extra ear tips could be added to match the competition.

    b3 (6).png

    b3 (7).png

    b3 (8).png

    b3 (9).png
    Design

    The new final B series follow a formula that mixes a very solid build quality and attractive design. The shape is not specifically new for the B series as has already appeared on the Make series, but still just the second of the final line adopting a fixed over-ear wearing design for in-ear type earphones. Like the E5000 model as the current highest model of the E series, both B1 and B3 are made of tough stainless steel housings and just differing in the outer finish and color theme applied. Here the B3 gets the “frost silver” color in a more matte finish; still shiny but not like the mirror like E5000, so less prone to show scratches over its metal surface.

    b3 (10).png
    The shells consist of two pieces made of thick and weighty stainless steel material and are very well attached, apparently by only the two screws, one on the outer piece and one on the inner one. There is also what a small hole on the inner part which is probably meant to work as a vent, though not sure of its use in a pure balanced armature driver setup. The shape on the B3 has various corners that while being smoother and more rounded at the inner part, they are noticeably sharper on the outside. The ‘polygonal’-like shape does not imply a better or worse fit; however, they are sharp corners that make the whole new design less comfortable and potentially will be difficult to wear for some. Honestly, it could have been a same very cool design by just having a bit more rounded shape. This is something that could be compared with the Campfire Audio earphones, a nice design but average in fit and comfort. It also reminds of the Dunu DK-3001 that with all steel housings still found dislikes among many users due the sharp shape.

    b3 (11).png
    The nozzle is not too long and with the standard silicone tips – E tips – the fit is a bit shallow. The earpieces do sit securely on the outer ear. They are not too large but will depend on each ear size how snugly will they fit. Isolation is around average or a bit above, good for everyday use, but not meant to block loud background noises.

    b3 (12).png
    Interestingly, the MMCX sockets are placed in a certain exiting angle from the housings, nothing that affects the fit of the earphones anyway. The cable itself is the same one included on the E5000 and MAKE1. Silver-plated oxygen free copper (OFC) wires. Four separated strands each of them holding two twisted thin OFC wires inside. The inner two wires are covered by a thin tubes of PFA material, while the outer sheath is made of PVC – all translucent. Worth noting that the silver-plated had shown no signs of oxidation, and based on the E5000 cable it should keep the same quality after long periods of use. The cable is also flexible and easy to fit inside the round silicone case, however shows some cable noise when moving around, though much less noticeable with the strict over-ear fit versus the E5000 with straight down fit.

    b3 (13).png
    The MMCX connectors are of standard type so can be replaced by any aftermarket matching cable. The MMCX plugs, 3.5mm stereo plug and y-split are covered by small metal tubes with the mirror-like finish. Red and black rings are added to differentiate the right and left sides. They arrived already attached and the MMCX connection seems to be very good. There are no strain relieves on the MMCX and y-split, but the cable is very soft anyway. The 3.5mm plug has a flexible relief as it is a more critical section despite the L-shaped plug.

    b3 (14).png


    Sound Quality

    Sources: iBasso DX220 & AMP9, HiBy R6 Pro & R5, Shanling M5s.
    IEM: final E5000, E4000; FLC 8N; iBasso IT04; DK-3001 Pro; Campfire Audio IO; Fibae 3 & Black.


    On the technical side, the final B3 is a pure BA in-ear set. Sitting in the middle of the recently released B series, this model includes two Balanced Armature units; clueless why it is marked as B3 if the B1 is the higher model and B2 the lower one. As can be understood from the final company description these are two separated drivers with no implemented crossover – “networkless”, as described. This might be new a take for some, where usually two drivers are either packed as a dual BA in a single unit or adopt an external electronic crossover circuit.

    Regardless, what really matters is the actual product sound tuning rather than any specific tech implemented inside. This is not the first IEM I tried from final, but it is the first BA based one. The E4000 and E5000 are both single dynamic drivers, and even the B1 is a hybrid 1D + 1BA. Each of these sounds rather different and yet seem to share a well achieved tuning; musical and engaging midrange with good sense of dynamism.

    On to the B3 itself, there is no info shared about the Balanced Armatures models applied, but if following the previous Heaven series, they might be easily own final made drivers, or at least specifically tuned by the company itself. The sound could be described as slightly mid-centered with good addition of bass and treble to complete a nice well balanced presentation, where there is not much of emphasis on a certain area (unlike the E4000 or E5000) but not missing either. It is also more oriented to overall clarity but not by being too linear or clinical when presenting little details.

    b3 (15).png
    The low-end is managed by one of the drivers and clearly shows the qualities of the armature types, with their pros, and cons as well. A single BA might be considered as not best suited for low frequencies, however the bass on the B3 is presented with very good dynamics and texture. Quantity is above neutral, not just as bit north of neutrality but actually showing good impact with decent lift on mid-bass and even enjoyable rumble when it appears on the music track. It is also dense and thicker in texture with fuller body, giving more realistic weight on notes. More ‘dynamic’ sounding than just a BA. This is also reflected on the bass speed – it is fast as armature types but not that quick in attack, instead, more natural and better paced in decay. Still as an armature driver it is tight and very controlled with great precision, and yes, limited in low-end extension, depth with a bit if roll-off on the lowest sub-bass (usually the reason to go for ‘hybrid’ setups).

    The midrange is forward – not too mid-centered as there is good balance and presence of lows and highs, but it is highlighted on the B3. This is the fourth in-ear earphones from final I have listened to, and while each of them has its own particular tuning, the midrange is always very nicely tuned. On the B3, the main priority may be the clarity and it is clearly noticed on the midrange very detailed, airy and resolving at this price range. While it is forward it is not too thick or colored; very articulated with good dynamics in a BA way with a touch of musicality. The balance goes a bit more towards the upper midrange - lower midrange has good texture and weight, but the upper area is more forward. Female vocals sound more emphasized without sibilance or harshness.

    The treble is bright and energetic on the lower part, along with the upper-mids, yet showing very good control. There is no hint of grain, nor a peak on the lower treble. It is well rounded and even a bit smooth despite the bright tilt. The extension is a bit limited on the upper treble, not very unlike the sub-bass, though overall it is still well balanced for mid-tier level.

    The soundstage is nothing out of average in terms of dimensions, and has been clearly stated by own final description graph of the sound being towards narrow next to the other models. Even when paired with the iBasso DX220 player which impress with soundstage and extension, the B3 is somehow limited in that regard.

    Still, the presentation is airy and very detailed. It may a be a very full sounding IEM, at least of BA types, yet shows good transparency when paired with different sources. In brief, with the Shanling M5s as one of the most neutral and linear DAPs, the B3’s sound is more neutral and flat, softer in lows impact and treble energy but with a very detailed midrange and particularly beautiful with some upper string and brass instruments. On HiBy R6 Pro there is more bass presence, especially on the sub-bass rumble, and brighter treble with more aggressive/forward presentation. The iBasso DX220, with stock AMP1 MKII, gives the best balance and weight; lower mids are more equal with upper mids having more body on male and lower instruments. All of these with just 3.5mm single output as that’s how the B3 arrives with.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. ngoshawk
      I agree, plus this seems like an incomplete review...is there more or does it end mid-thought? I personally would appreciate a more thorough review, especially for the weekend spot. Again, the review below this one is much more thorough...
      ngoshawk, Sep 6, 2019
    3. F700
      A better alternative to this B3 seems to be the Fibae Black...just based on paper. Thanks for your impressions.
      F700, Sep 6, 2019
    4. Zelda
      Not really. B3 and Black are very different. Black is dark sounding with powerfull bass and laid-back treble. B3 is the opposite, more mid-centered and bright with tight bass. Soundstage goes to the Black; Clarity to the B3
      Zelda, Sep 7, 2019
  2. NymPHONOmaniac
    Art of Sound, Meticulously Sculpted.
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Aug 12, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Clear and accurate, energic and lively mid bass and mid range, natural brightish timbre, great layering and imaging, no harshness or sibilance, ultimate construction, superb design, good accessories, thinked for lifetime durability
    Cons - Sub bass would benefit a little extra thickness, upper treble lack a hint of extra sparkle, mmcx connection is extremely tigh at first
    FINAL AUDIO B3 REVIEW :

    P1030267.JPG

    SOUND: 9/10
    CONSTRUCTION: 10/10

    DESIGN: 9.5/10
    ACCESSORIES: 8.5/10
    VALUE: 8.5/10


    There you go, the self-procamed biggest fan of Final Audio earphones is in the house for another fascinating review. After having listening a whole month to the whole B serie, its time I share my impressions and comparaisons of the marvellous B3 model, wich is my favorite one and explain why I listen more to it than the other very nice B models.

    The Final Audio B3 is a dual balanced armature earphones, with same housing shape than 2 other models, and while it’s not gold plated like the more expensive B1, it still use same type of metal injection stailess steel housing. This housing is not just candy for they eyes with its gun metal finish, the shape have been thinked as much for inner acoustic spatiality than universal fit and comfort too. B serie are perhaps the most beautifull earphones I ever seen or use, perfection cannot be achieve with sound, but with housing constructon it can and I think Final Audio nailed it with the B serie.

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    Priced at 500$, the B3 isn’t the most budget friendly earphones from Final Audio, but a serious investment that will be rewarding in long time of use. Why? Because this type of sound never get old and the top notch housing construction with changeable cable was thinked for life-time use, to the point Final Adio create the housing with 2 screw for futur easy repair (f needed too).

    For B serie, Final Audio sound approach was about the relation between spatial impression and dynamic range, all models have their own approach to it, with different drivers implementation. B1 is a BA+Dynamic driver Hybrid, B2 a single balanced armature and B3 a dual BA’s.

    For B3 models, they try to tend toward a high level of clarity with tigh vocal and delicate presentation that do as good for live recording than movie soundtrack and EDM (this is their toughs I share here not mine). One thing sure, they are right about B3 being the clearer and faster (tigher) sounding models of the bunch, for a better idea of how the B serie are tuned, look at their schema, but I really suggest you to give a read HERE too, because its very revealing and interesting about whole models approach.

    DISCLAIMER : I wanna thanks Final Audio as well as my friend Kyo for sending me this review sample. (Arigato!) I have no official affiliation with this company even if yes, as said, i’m a big fan and even a groupie. Even if I feel humble and rewarded to receive such high end earphone, I will stay as objective as my subjective ears and mind can. As well, I will be cold blooded about overall price value too.

    For more info about Final Audio products, give a look to their S'NEXT WEBSITE, its the most eloquent audio company website out there and you will enjoy the articles.

    As I do not really know any other place to buy it, give a look at AUDIO46 STORE if you want to buy the B3.

    SPECS:
    • Product code: FI-B3B2SSD
    • Housing: Stainless steel (frost silver)
    • Driver: 2BA (Networkless)
    • Connector: MMCX
    • Cable: OFC silver coated cable
    • Sensitivity: 102dB
    • Impedance: 19Ω
    • Weight: 36g
    • Cord length: 1.2m
    ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

    P1020165.JPG P1020171.JPG P1020173.JPG

    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, theres plenty of accessories included, wich 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 unconnect 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 honnest I prefer one great Final Aduio 4cores silver plated cable than 2 bad ones.

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    CONSTRUCTION is top notch and you know you have an 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. Unlike many metal earphones (including B1), the B3 do not look easily scratchable, i do not always cary him in its case and as seen their not a single scratch on it. This look just invincible and i’m pretty sure it is, the metal is thick and the two part are stick togheter with 2 screw but i’m pretty sure it’s more complicate than that, so why not look inside?

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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 hasard. 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 molded in same front metal housing part, and is just long enough for perfecrt fit with eartips, you can push it very far in your ears due to housig shape and as say, it will be the curvy, organicly shape part that will be in contact with you ear hole.

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    MMCX connector look heavy duty industrial and just unbreakable, but be aware connection with cable will be extremely tigh, wich 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 litterally hurt my thumbs and have a white spot on it for 3 days. So, yeah, that is sure securre connection for the iem but less so for your fingers! But, finally, the mmcx connection became smoother after connecting disconnecting it, it still securly tigh but easier to disconnect wich it's a BIG relieve!

    COMFORT is excellent and in fact you dont feel the weight due again to meticulously thinked 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 do jogging or biking with the B3, but I do it anyway.

    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 impendance, but the 102db sensitivity is not the highest for proper sound pressure dynamic so yeah, I tend to prefer using powerfull source or portable amp than cranking the volume higher with less powerfull DAP like the Xduoo X3.

    SOUND IMPRESSIONS:

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    First impressions was very positive, and perhas my more immediate crush of whole b serie. Does it mean it give me a violently joyfull Wow effect at first second I listen to the B3? Well, not exactly, and this is why in fact I still i’m as much (or more) impress one month after that the very first day I listen to them.

    For people familiar with the E serie like me, they will feel in secure territory with the B3, but to a next level of definition, attack and imaging only well tuned balanced armature can offer. Mix the E4000 and F4100 sound and you pretty close to what the B3 will offer to you, wich is a sumptuously balanced sound with thick timbre, tigh attack and revealing clarity for those who contemplate the sound with curious ears. For passive listener, even if yes, the B3 will impress by high level of clarity, it will not be as much fascinating than those that explore musicality.

    Whatever music style you throw to the B3, it will deal with it likeslightly warmed studio monitor , should it be ultra fast and complex jazz rock, electronic IDM or solo violin, the rendering will be accurate yet never harsh or agressive even if the B3 is sure brighter than E4000 or E5000.

    We know we are in high end territory when an iem feel as much well rounded in timbre than tonality and attack, yes, these BA’S are fast and have weight impact, but it do not sound forced, all is natural and musical. Treble is buttery and do not push the highs in front of other sound layers, its neither rolled off like the E serie, micro details are their own space in back layers and they aren’t thin, dry or too sharp or brilliant. Perhaps some will prefer more decay to classical guitar or some type of percussion, but this would interfer with overall treble articulation, wich is to my ears extremely well controled.

    About the balanced armature limit for bass rendering, from what I read, no BA can dig lower than 50hz, but I think psychoacoustic as well as housing acoustic can solve this issue, because with the B3 bass dig very low, have weight and even a tigh rumble in lower end, but sure its not a basshead earphones and the slam weight is more in mid bass tough not in an peaky overly coloured way.

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    SOUNDSTAGE is wide and deep, with average tallnest and not the most airy, its quite spacious for a dual BA’S and surround your head nicely, never feeling too intimate or frontwarded. As always, the soundstage isn’t particularly airy, and I think this is due to how the treble play it as neutral as it can, but I would like that Final Audio engineer find a way to give more decay to upper range instrument like harpsichord, I think its possible with multi BA without affecting imaging or distraction the listener.

    IMAGING is excellent and accurate , instrument placement are very clear and articulate and offer a mix of layers and spacial placement that give a rich, realist and energic presentation to whole musicality.

    TIMBRE have good thicknest that do not interfer with their textured transparence, it have a palpable sens to it due to how well rounded instrument note sound, this type of approach make it for a versatile neutrality in sound approach, in the sens there is not emphasis colouring to affect frequencies range wich would result in brighter timbre for some instrument and dryer one for other etc.

    BASS is fast, weighty and midly punchy, it’s not your normal BA type of bass as it have quite a lot of body to it, even sub line have plenty of presence and well rendered texture that do not feel forced. Yep, I can bang my head listening to heavy sub kick without distortion (!) in ‘’Pick Six’’ track from Gila at high volume, but I prefer way more listening to Bach cello sonata that sound utterly delicious, realistically bodied and lively.

    Fascinating is the bass due to extremely well articulate presentation that separate lower end and mid bass without any hint of muddyness, as Final Audio explain in their B3 presentation, you will enjoy EDM as much as classical with those and it’s true, when I listen to super fast ‘’Tessellations’’ electronic track from Peverelist, we are in for a complex rythm treat were the 2 type of kick (sub and mid bass) stay layered and keep their tigh agility without affecting spaciality and definition of other percussion, so perhaps I was lying when I say the B3 don’t Wow afterall.


    MID RANGE is gently fowarded, very clear and articulate, with polished bright timbre that have just enough thickness to keep great transparence. Accuracy and imaging of whole mid range is cover naturaly, nothing feel forced or favorised, every type of instruments or vocal keeping their lush individuality. Piano is particularly enjoyable and will not mix with signers voice, making definition incredibly refined and spot on, every note have good weight and impact with just enough decay to not make them dry. I always beleive Final Audio audio engineer are either passionate about Glenn Gould, piano tuner or player, because rendering is really accurately reproduce and life like. But as said, every part of mid range sound great, sure perhaps some will prefer thicker warmer reproduction of male vocal, but this would inflict other instrument surrounding this voice and make it for a less clear representation. Signer like Rhye do not sound thin at all, its like a mix of brightness, thickness and breathyness wich give rich transparent presence to its sweet voice and never create sibilance in upepr mids even if detailed in this region. Agnes Obel, wich play piano and have often cello l arrangement in its song, benifit from next level of clarity the B3 offer, as we can heard its voices layering clearly as well as her piano playing and cello, all fully bodied and with natural texture.

    TREBLE extend well until it begin a drop in mid treble around 14khz, after we have a little bump in far upper treble wich help with decay. It’s emphasis is more in lower and mid treble wich continue a near neutral curve that begin at lower end, this make the B3 near reference monitor sounding with a high level of revealing accuracy in principal human hearing range. Highs are thick and crips, fast and accurate, but not peaky or overly sharp. Treble sensitive people will be rewarded by this treble approach, as it act as if it was very extended without the agressivity or harshness i can have created with a too peaky approach. I do not consider the B3 as analytical or extremely revealing in an artificial way, everything is there for you to discover by yourself and if you are a critical listener, you will understand level of richness this treble deliver smoothly.

    SUB BASS : 7.5/10
    MID BASS : 8.5/10
    MID RANGE : 9/10
    TREBLE : 8.5/10
    SOUNDSTAGE : 8/10
    IMAGING:9/10
    TIMBRE : 9/10
    ATTACK : 8.5/10
    DECAY : 8/10


    PAIRING :
    P1030271.JPG


    With RADSONE ES100 : Do justice to its fast attack, good imaging but tigher decay, timbre well defind but less thick, vocal very clear but more fowards and bright. Good pairing with enoug power to drive properly the B3, give a hint more brightness-fowardness, but still very neutral if perhaps lacking bass body.

    With IBASSO DX90 : Thick bass and good body, great clarity and attack, soundstage is wide and deep, treble extended nicely without peakyness. Plenty of power to drive them. Natural, rich timbre. Excellent.

    With Xduoo X20 : Colder sound and more trebly on top, thinner timbre and lighter in bass, vocal slightly harsher on tope, great clarity, very detailed in upper range. Attack isnt as good in mid and low than in highs. Not the best pairing, too sharp and brilliant.

    With Xduoo TA-10 hybrid Tube DAC-AMP : Plenty of power, warmer overall sound that thick the bass but affect imaging negatively, vocal sound wider and smoother but less transparent, upper treble feel veiled. Soundstage very wide but lack deepnest. Interesting pairing but not versatile.

    With Xduoo X3 : Unamped it sound rather bright and lack dynamic, wich affect imaging and weight in attack. Once amped sound open deliciously, giving very detailed timbre with good thickness, fast tigh bass well rounded, fowards intimate vocal and crips high with good decay. Great pairing with the Burson V5i amp.

    MUSIC STYLE PAIRING :

    CLASSICAL : 2 thumbs up
    JAZZ : 2 thumbs up
    ROCK-INDIE : 2 thumbs up
    METAL-FAST AGRESSIVE MUSIC : 2 thumbs up
    FOLK : 2 Thumbs up
    SINGERS SONGWRITERS : 1 thumbs up
    ELECTRONIC-IDM-EDM : 1 thumbs up
    BIG BEAT-RAP-D&B : 1 thumbs down
    POP : 1 thumbs up


    COMPARAISONS :

    VS FINAL AUDIO E5000 (300$) :


    P1030263.JPG

    One of my favorite sub-500$, the E5000 have lush and thick bass and mids with an addictively smooth timbre, as well, the vocal are very bodied and clear for such a U shaped towards neutral soundsignature. It will be interesting to compare single micro dynamic drivers against the dual balanced armature drivers of the B3. For this comparaison I use my Xduoo X3 pluged into Walnut V2S+Burson V5i as portable (powerfull) little amp. Xduoo being slightly bright and detailed, the warm V5i dualOPamp made it for a great pairing with both earphones. To note that E5000 is quite harder to drive than B3 with its lower sensitivity. As well, I use the Ibasso DX90 without extra amping because this DAP is already powerfull.

    SOUNDSTAGE of E5000 is as wide as B3, but less deep and tall, it have as well a less out of your head holographic presentation.

    IMAGING have again a more stereo like presentation than surround one of B3, its less clear and accurate due to important bass warmth of E5000. Still, instrument placement is good, its just that the space between instrument is less warm with B3, wich make layering more transparent too with it.

    BASS is thicker, weightier, warmer but slower in attack than B3. E5000 timbre is addictively juicy and its sub dig deeper, making the E5000 more impressive in term of bass extension and presence, but the presentation is warmer, less controled and less detailed in timbre than B3. Slam is weightier and will please basshead, while B3 is tigher and faster with higher resolution, making it better for rock, fast jazz etc. Mid bass is more fowards and punchy with B3, but body feel a little thin after listening to thick E5000, still, again, resolution and accuracy is better due to tamed mid bass and drop of E5000.

    MID RANGE isn’t as much warmed or recessed than one would think with E5000, in fact, lot of audiophile are addict to their warm and full sounding vocal that avoid any sibilance without loosing too much in clarity or presence. I’m one of them, and while the B3 have clearer and more fowards vocal, they are more intimate and centered, so we can say they are hyper realist compared to analogish E5000 vocal. But even if the vocal win in musicality, mid range isnt just about that and its were the B3 sound way more accurate and refined as well as detailed, the E5000 have limit to its transient response when it come to music playing lot of instrument togheter like jazz sextet or classical symphonie, it can even came to the point it sound congested and messy while the B3 will deal with anything and show an unseen level of agility for a dual balanced. Sure, the B3 is more agressive than the laid back and sensual E5000, but never to the point of creating sibilance, harshness. Mid range is fully covered by the B3 and life like sounding while E5000 have a more poetical way that make it less versatile for complex music style.

    TREBLE is more emphased with the B3, but still quite softened in upper range, highs have more sparkle but mostly more micro details from lower to upper range compared to more relaxed overall treble of E5000. Still, E5000 deliver plenty of details in lower and mid treble and do not feel anemic in term of detailing. Where it differ its in clarity and vividness, with E5000, even the percussion sound thicker in timbre wich is incredible but affect attack speed and decay to some degree. B3 is sharper, more accurate but still balanced and not coloured in upper region, here, its all about well framed realism.

    Like the beautifull luscious lazy lady wondering on the coach in the Francois Boucher painting, E5000 sound is slowly contemplative and voluptuous while with B3, we have a grand realist old master painting that you feel you can enter and travel into.

    E5000 make me think of this indolent and sensuous 18th painting of Francois Boucher :
    François_Boucher,_Ruhendes_Mädchen_(1751,_Wallraf-Richartz_Museum).jpg


    While B3 make me think of this grand, lightful, alive and detailed 17th painting of Claude Lorrain :
    OldMaster-ClaudeLorain-17thCentury-European-compressed.jpg



    VS AUDIOSENSE T800 (300$) :

    P1030262.JPG

    Now, well, this new budget flagship earphones have 8 Knowles Balanced armature in its big resin shell, is it a fair fight against 2 BA’s of the Final Audio B3? Priced at 500$, B3 is neat twice the price of T800, but tuning work is sure from another level and let’s see why in this comparaison.

    Firstly, T800 even with 4 times more BA’s is easier to drive than the B3, but this make him more prompt from background hissing with bad pairing audio source, in another hand, the B3 benifit from powerfull source to open its overall sound.

    In term of construction, both are mindblowing and well, quite different, resin housing have the advantage of not becaming cold in winter, while the stailess steel housing of B3 have the advantage of being way smaller and comfortable as well as practical for futur repair if needed because of 2 part screwed housing concept. The T800 will not fit every ears, this is an unfortunate fact, while the B3 will fit even the smaller ones.

    SOUNDSTAGE is wider with the B3, but the T800 is taller in deeper even if less out of your head and airy.

    IMAGING of both is quite incredible, and even if B3 win in term of cohesion and realism it is less analytical and sharp in instrument separation than the T800. In real life, the soundwave mix togheter on the stage, but if every instrument have their own spaekrs, we have something more revealing and fowards, like the T800.

    BASS have more slam and weight with T800, its more fowards too, but loose in timbre as well as definition being sometime boomy in lower end where B3 is more accurate. B3 is smoother in attack, notably less coloured in sub region, wich make it way more neutral in low end than muscular and fun oriented T800. In some sens, B3 sound like a well balanced slightly bright single dynamic driver compared to super muscular bass Knowles Bas used for T800. For acoustic music, B3 bass is more appropriate, while T800 is delicious with well produced electronic and Pop.

    MID RANGE is again very foward and clear with the T800, but it have more a balanced armature than B3 and lack a bit of thickness in timbre, here I seriously find the B3 from another league even if the vocal do not feel as singular and appart from rest of sound spectrum as T800. Male or Female vocal soud full, natural and textured, they have more body than T800 wich feel dry and slightly harsher in upper mids. T800 is more capricious about vocal, more their will be instrument, more the mid range transient response will be affected to some degree. Cohesion is perhaps warmer and less vivid with B3, but tonality and timbre is better. For example, piano note have more well rounded not and sound right compared to more artificial sounding one of T800.

    TREBLE is more peaky with the T800, wich sure extract more micro details but have less balanced highs wich can sometime make the percussions being too fowarded and stole the whole show, again, sometime this is very pleasant and spectacular but the softer and more natural treble of B3 will never create ear fatigue like the T800. Final Audio tuner are genius about treble, they do not want to over emphasis any region and in fact the treble help more the mid range richness and accuracy than upper highs, wich are rarely fowarded (with the exception of F serie). Even if more analytical than E5000, they sound quite laid back in treble compared to T800. While attack is softer in upper range, decay is longer and I think its due to housing space being fullfill by BA’s with T800.

    Here, the Audiosense T800 make me think about vivid colorfull expressionist painting (Starry Night) from Van Gogh. The glowing stars represent the treble.
    Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone.jpg

    CONCLUSION:

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    When you eat too spicy, sugary or salty food, your long term tasting can be affected so you can’t discover more subtle flavors that are hide in whole recipe. I like well balanced spice that do not hide subtle natural flavor of aliments, and with the music listening more and more I mature and more I tend towards epicurism instead of intense hedonism.

    With Final Audio, you rarely have a sound shortcut that give a spectacular sudden wow effect to the cost of omiting certain part of sound spectruc or dynamic, sure, if you are a critical listener you will be wowed, but what I mean is that the meticulous tuning of the B3 is so rightly done that its naturalness even if vivid and very clear did not emphasis any frequencies range. Its quite flat but in a life like and energic way that respect musicality too, unlike cold sounding monitor speakers or iem, the B3 timbre is slightly smoothed for a balanced armature and the treble even if revealing never sound agressive to me.

    Only music style that will not impress you is the one that are thinked for coloured sounding iem, in other words, for bass head, and to me, basshead aren’t bass lover they are physical slam lover. A bassist will love the B3, but not an amateur of boomy iem.

    With a construction that is as beautifull than comfortable and durable, the 500$ price tag of B3 is justify due to the fact it’s a lifetime investment with a reference tuning that will stand test of time with its wide versatility. If your on the search to invest wise money into a superbly crafted iem that offer neutral, vivid and accurately revealing sound as well as long durability, great isolation and great comfort, the Final Audio B3 should be on your Top List and that even if you already have other iem from this company.

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  3. jwbrent
    The B3 - A Highly Articulate Musical Performer
    Written by jwbrent
    Published Jul 22, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Understated aesthetics with great build quality, low profile comfortable fit, neutral sound with great articulation throughout the frequency range, scales really well with better gear/source material, great compatibility with playback sources, nice and easy to use case, reasonably priced considering its overall performance
    Cons - Soundstage is more in the head than outside the head
    881_ext_08_en_3.jpg

    Introduction

    I love ice cream, I really do! I'm generally a vanilla man, but sometimes chocolate, especially when combined with vanilla, is the perfect sensory experience. Today's review is on the excellent final B3 ($499), a vanilla/lighter flavored IEM that I believe warrants your attention. I already presented my thoughts on the B1, a more chocolate/comparatively darker flavored design, so I'm going to skip some of the perfunctory information about final's newest series of IEMs that I wrote about in my B1 review.

    Since I didn't go over the casing—or shell—design other than its comfort in my previous review, I think it is important that I do spend some time with it here. All three models of the B series are made from stainless steel, but are done so in a unique fashion which contributes greatly to the sound of these models. Final calls this manufacturing process Metal Injection Molding (MIM):

    "MIM is a process by which powdered metal is mixed with a binder to form a resin in the desired shape and applying high-temperature sintering to achieve the desired form. There is a high degree of freedom in molding the resin into the same shape as the cast, making it possible to achieve a complex internal design even with metal."

    Sounds a little obtuse to me since I have little understanding of such manufacturing, but what I gather from this information is the ability to create an internal space that is optimized for the driver(s) that are used. In loudspeaker design, the cabinet and its internal structure is a fundamental aspect to extract the best performance from the loudspeaker, so it makes perfect sense that this same principle would hold true to IEM design even though the space within is minuscule. I've never heard of this process being used with other IEMs, so perhaps final has broken some new ground in IEM technology, and this contributes to the excellence of sound I'm hearing in the B3 (and B1).


    874_ext_08_en_0.jpg

    Another design principle introduced with the B series is the relationship between dynamic range expression and clarity/spaciousness. Frankly, I initially had some trouble fully understanding this concept which seems to be a criterion of final's latest thinking on the relationship between the type of music one prefers, and the optimal transducer in which to listen. If one likes classical music, for example, does this mean the B3 with its greater dynamic properties is best suited? What if one also likes hip-hop, or EDM? Which B series should one buy? Although I appreciate finals' attempt to clarify the relationship between the type of music and the best transducer design, my simple answer to the purchasing question is ... choose the B series model without regard to price that allows the emotional connection to all the music you enjoy. The complexity and plurality of how listening occurs amongst music lovers is perhaps too great to pigeon hole a buying decision, in my humble view.

    881_ext_08_en_1.jpg

    Impressions

    The B3 uses the exact same final-made Silver OFC cable as the B1. The casing has the same shape which optimizes comfort, however, the edges on the B3 are a bit sharper compared to the more rounded B1, so placement in one's ears will initially require greater care in order to maintain long listening comfort. Additionally, unlike the B1's mirror finish, the B3 has a texture to its silver casing. I imagine this difference in aesthetics between the two is partially responsible for the B1's higher price—there's more labor involved in manufacturing the B1.

    Everything included in the package for the B1 is included with the B3. Since the MMCX cables fit so precisely, removing them takes a lot of effort, but final includes a square shaped piece of plastic textured on one side which aids in gripping the smooth barreled connectors. Final does not recommend disconnecting and connecting the cable frequently because the nature of MMCX connectors is that they use a metal that deforms with repeated use, thus compromising the connection. Finally, the B3 is a dual balanced armature design, each BA different, and both without any crossover circuit.

    Before I get to my listening sessions, I'd like to thank Michael Brown, the US distributor for final products, for providing me free samples of the three B series models. I also would like to thank Kyo-san, final's International Sales and Marketing Manager, for answering many of my more technical and design oriented questions about the B series. He's a real audio enthusiast, and I enjoyed our written conversations immensely.

    As with the B1, my source component for my review is the Astell&Kern AK240SS ($3,000)—no EQ was used. Unlike the B1 with its lowish sensitivity, the B3 has a sensitivity rating of 102dB, 8dB higher than the B1. There is, however, a small difference in impedance between these two models with the B3 at 19 ohms versus 13 ohms for the B1. I found I had around 6dB more gain driving the B3 with my AK240SS, so those using a cell phone as their music player will find the B3 more satisfying in regards to achieving higher volume levels than the B1. The music used in my review spanned many genres with CD rips from my music library as well as purchased hi res files. Finally, I burned in the B1 for 100 hours before I did any critical listening. I did notice an improvement in the high frequencies' smoothness, no doubt due more to cable burn-in than the crossover-less BA drivers.

    81szdRTMdCL._SX425_.jpg Boston / Boston / More Than a Feeling (DSD64)

    When Boston's debut album first came out in 1976, I had just started college and this song was very popular on FM radio; my memory recalls hearing it all the time on campus. This song fades in at the beginning then rises to a fevered pitch, with a wall of sound type feel. Beginning with the bass, the B3 is taut without the overhang that is sometimes apparent on the B1, but it doesn't have any of its sub-bass rumble. The midrange is more elevated than the B1 with great clarity and precision. The trebles have a nice delicacy in their portrayal, more nuanced, and micro detail retrieval comes through with greater highlights compared to the warmer sounding B1. Finally, the soundstage is more focused and a bit shallower than its more expensive sibling.

    71cht8q+rjL._SS500_.jpg Sade / Love Deluxe / Cherish the Day (16/44.1)

    When I first heard Sade in the mid 80s, I fell in love with her sultry voice, and she remains one of my favorite female singers. This rhythmic song has a great bass track which shows the B3 is quite competent in reproducing bass with speed and decay—the bass is very clean sounding although one can tell the B3 runs out of gas with the bottom octave. Pace, rhythm, and timing (PRaT) is outstanding with my whole body swaying to the syncopated beat. On music like this, I do like the more upfront vocals the B3 has compared to the B1 since they are portrayed with a greater expression that pulls me into the sound.

    MI0004269133.jpg Batushka / Litourgiya / Yekteniya 1 (16/44.1)

    Music is my biggest passion and I like most genres, especially those that have a dark side to them. This Polish black metal band is a recent discovery, and though it wouldn't fall into the audiophile approved category in regards to sonics or content, the music is mesmerizing and highly recommended to those with similar tastes. The sound is guttural, the voice haunting, and the B3 captures the music in all its glory. During the infrequent quieter passages, one can hear a sense of space and decay, the resolving power of the B3's mids and high frequencies readily displayed.

    71J415ZAjNL._SX425_.jpg John Coltrane / Blue Train / Moment's Notice (24/96)

    The jazz music I most love is from the 1950s and 60s. This hard bop style album in hi res really reveals how wonderful the B3 is in reproducing a minimally miked recording. There is a sense of transparency as if you are there, hearing Coltrane and his band play. Unlike the earlier mentioned albums, the soundstage is more dimensional with a much greater sense of width and depth. Coltrane's saxophone playing sounds immediate and full of subtle variations of his play without any stridency or grain, and the cymbals have a sheen that is relaxed, yet sparkly. PRaT is excellent, leaving me focused on the music undistracted by what is going on around me. I feel fully present in the here and now with this level of realism. Bravo!

    91pM5XNmlPL._AC_UL436_.jpg Santana / Abraxas / Oye Como Va (24/88.2)

    This rock/jazz fusion album ranks as one of the all-time great albums by Rolling Stone magazine. Carlos Santana's electric guitar playing takes center stage here with highly innovative play, and the B3 shows why he is considered one of the best at his craft of his generation. There is a fluidity to the sound, grainless, the band members beautifully rendered in a focused space, depth and width wise.

    image-2.jpg Beck / Morning Phase / Morning (24/96)

    This Grammy winning Album of the Year remains my favorite Beck album. "Morning" is a beautiful, melancholic song with lots of ambience which the B3 renders in a likewise beautiful manner. Beck's articulate finger work on his acoustic guitar is easily reproduced by the B3, and the twang of the strings has a resonance that is wonderfully realistic. There is no dryness in the upper frequencies, rather, a luscious portrayal that compliments the slow tempo of the song. There isn't much extension of the soundstage on any axis, but this is made up for by the B3's tonal harmony, so I didn't miss the out of head experience.

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    Summary

    So, the question many of you may be asking is, which one should I buy? Is the B1 worth the extra $200 over the B3? It depends ... if you are a bass head, I would answer with a resounding yes! The B1 goes down another octave to the sub bass region, and that is why final chose to use a dynamic and BA driver for this model (by the way, I confirmed with Kyo-san that the BA drivers used on the B1 and B3 are not the same). If instead you are a treble head or you like a more balanced sound, then I'd point you to the B3. That's not to say the B3 isn't capable of satisfying bass, it is, but its bass is focused on detail and clarity, not amplitude. The midrange on the B1 is recessed having a more distant perspective as if you sat near the back of a venue for a concert. The B3 is more up front, not in a heavy handed way, actually in a more neutral way. With the trebles, the B1 sounds very smooth, but it isn't the last word on detail retrieval since its smooth characteristic comes at the expense of heightened detail retrieval. Lastly, if soundstage size is important, this isn't necessarily a strength of either the B1 or B3, but the B1 is more dimensional, more out of the head in its portrayal of music.

    Please let me add that I am using generalities in describing the difference between the B1 and B3: the source material can make a profound difference, the playback chain as well, but the biggest influencer on all of the parameters detailed above is going to be the innate sensitivities of the listener. One thing a prospective buyer can be assured of is final has used the latest technology to extract what it believes is the best price/performance ratio on the market today. I trust final in this regard because I've owned/own several of its products including the D8000, its top end planar headphone, and I've never felt less than happy with any of my purchases of its product.

    Life is full of compromise. The B1 and B3 epitomize this dilemma, but frankly, so does every other IEM in the same price class. My suggestion for those who have a varied taste in music styles and the budget to buy both is to do so, that way—going back to final's conceptualization of matching the music to the transducer—you'll have the right IEM for the moment. Like the ice cream analogy that began this review, sometimes I'm in the mood for vanilla, sometimes chocolate. I keep both in the freezer.

    To conclude, the B3 is a beautiful sounding IEM that is nicely priced for the level of performance it achieves. I strongly recommend an audition.
      iBo0m, ashleydoormat, bidn and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. iBo0m
      Great review indeed! I suppose they won't fully satisfied a bass-head?
      iBo0m, Aug 19, 2019
      jwbrent likes this.
    3. jwbrent
      The B3 does respond well to EQing of the bass, but as is, no, not a bass head design. The B1 is for those who really like bass.
      jwbrent, Aug 19, 2019
      iBo0m likes this.
    4. iBo0m
      I'm not much of a fan of significant EQing even though sometimes it's necessary. I was asking because otherwise the B3 seems like my cup of tee :). I'll check out your B1 review!
      iBo0m, Aug 19, 2019
      jwbrent likes this.