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100+ Head-Fier
D8000 Pro - All world, but not perfect
Pros: Build Quality, Detail, Tight, Precise, Clear, Excellent Overall Sound Quality, Soundstage, Imaging
Cons: Tonal Balance not perfect, Could use more bass and more midrange, High Price - READ update at end for revision
My Sonic Preferences
I like a neutral tonal balance with a rich/dense but natural sound. If I had to choose between warm and bright I choose bright. Clarity and slam are a must, but I am sensitive to tonal balance and I like a proper full bodied, but accurate sound, rather than a thin sound. I do not like bloat and I do not like high-end headphones that boost lower midrange to achieve 'good' sound. I do not like it when manufacturers try to achieve positive traits by playing games with tonal balance rather than using superior technology. I want my headphone to be transparent. I do not like V-shaped signatures. I appreciate linear frequency response. I would rather have a slightly forward, vibrant presentation rather than recessed but neutral is preferred.

My Music Preferences
I listen to all types of music. Live and studio. Classic rock, easy listening, jazz, orchestral, symphonic and heavy metal, and pop. I listen to CDs, Youtube, Tidal, Amazon, and Qobuz.

Time spent with D8000 Pro - about 1 month and probably 150 hours of head time and considerably more burn-in time.

My equipment
Woo Audio WA5LE amp, Apex Teton amp, Nimbus 4+ amp, Headamp GS-X MK2
DAC - Oppo HA1 Topping DX7s, Behringer Ultra Curve EQ, Oppo BluRay
12/23 update - Bryston BHA-1 and Drop THX AAA789 with ifI Zen Blue DAC

I had high hopes for the D8000 Pro and it is one of my 2 favorite headphones. Other headphones I have experience with include Audeze LCD-2/3, and LCD-X, Audio Technica W3000Anv, Staxx SR009 and L700, Hifiman Susvara and HE6, AKG 812, Heddphone, Sennheiser HD800/800S, 560S, various Grados, Final Audio D8000, Sonorous X, Sonorous VI, Phillips X3, Quad, Accoustic Research, Sony z7 M2, Ether C, Meze Empyrean, EnigmaAccoustics, Oppo PM1 and Zenith, Focal Utopia. Why do I give such an extensive list? So that when I say that the D8000 Pro is one of my two favorite headphones, it is indeed high praise and comes with lots of experience using other really good headphones.

Background
My favorite headphone was/is the D8000. But it had what I felt were subtle imperfections. I felt it had slightly too much lower midrange, slightly too much midbass, and could have used a little brighter upper mids/treble. I also wanted a more forward vocal presentaton. I felt the mids were ever so slighltly recessed overall. Needless to say when D8000 Pro was introduced I was ecstatic because from everything I had read, the changes that were made to the D8000 Pro accounted for most everything in my wishlist from the D8000. I was also hoping by bringing mids forward I could play the Pro at lower volume. Mind you, every one of the adjustments I was craving I wanted in only very small amounts. After all, I felt the D8000 for my taste was almost perfect. One other very key point. I felt the D8000 had a slight warmth I did not like and had a bit of midbass bloat on lesser amplifiers. Of course the amps I was using controlled midbass exceptionally and so loose midbass was not an issue for me. Also, I found by using the thin Sonorous X cable, treble extension improved and lower midrange was reduced slightly to a very natural amount. Tonal balance with the Sonorous X cable on the D8000 makes them almost perfect for me, the key being ALMOST. If I were to rate the D8000 I would give it 4.75 stars. All comparisons to the D8000 are using the Sonorous X cable on the D8000. For the D8000 Pro, I used the stock 1/4 inch silver clad cable.

D8000 Pro Sound / Tonality compared to D8000
Okay, so on to the D8000 Pro. The D8000 pro is not an upgrade, but rather a side grade and to me, less preferred. The changes made to the D8000 Pro were ultimately not done in the manner I was hoping for. The D8000 lower midrange was left intact (slightly too much) but the upper midrange / lower treble was boosted. I think they did this to make the snare drum really crisp and clear. They achieved that but they created a slight hole in the midrange proper. This created a more recessed sound in vocals than the D8000. And while the technical ability of the pro is exceptional and clarity is outstanding, the vocals can get a bit lost or sound behind the instruments and sound a bit veiled at times - it's not always noticable but defintely an imperfection to me that it shows up at all. Also, the boosted lower treble can create a bit of a bleached sound at times. I think this has improved with time but it's still there, and at times, it can rob the headphone from producing the fully fleshed out sound I look for. You hear more of the crisp attack of the snare drum and less of the skin of the drum. When listening to sax or trumpet or vocals, i cannot help but feel the meat, the central frequencies of the instruments, are slightly missing and the lower and upper frequencies are more prevalent. The emphasized lower treble with emphasized lower mids and demphasized bass can create a slightly anemic sound that actually requires you to turn the sound up louder than the D8000 to create the full sound I want. I think this was also desired by Final Audio as they wanted people to be able to turn the headphone up louder without issue. My problem is I listen at 85 db max and don't want to damage my hearing. By requiring the louder volume for proper frequency balance, I think the Pro puts my hearing at greater risk. Also, I want to offer a caveat. When I say the Pro sounds anemic, I should clarify - I am speaking in terms of comparison to the D8000. By most any other standard the D8000 Pro is NOT anemic. I should also point out, bass quality is exceptional and midbass balance was backed down from D8000 and is therefore more balanced and preferred by me.

EQing - Don't like EQs but they can make an almost perfect sound for me on the D8K Pro. I may post a picture of the parametric EQ settings I used to make the perfect sound, but I will communicate it in words for now, I boost the frequencies around 45 Hz by about 4 decibels and in a mucher broader frequency spectrum, I gradually boost the mids by 6 or 6.5 decibels at about 2.7 Khz. The subtle boost starts at 500 Hz and goes to over 10Khz. It's actually more subtle than my words make it sound. Bottom line - I boost the bass just a bit and the mids just around 3khz just a bit more.

Soundstage is very good. I feel the images are more defined than the D8000 but the more diffused images of the D8000 are slightly wider and more grand.

Everytime, I speak of the Pro you can see I compare it to my D8000. Well, that's natural for me to do because the D8000 pro was my hope for a perfected D8000. Instead, I find the D8000 more to my liking. More powerful, more agressive, more forward, more fleshed out, more vibrant; though these differences are subtle they are noticeable.

Comparisons (to something other than D8000)
At this point in time, I can almost hear people asking. So how does it compare do the Susvara? How does it compare to the Utopia? I found the Susvara to be anemic, peaky, bright and thin when compared to the D8000. But I find the D8000 Pro actually sounds more like the Susvara with regard to tonal balance. I realize this may be a controversial statement, but I feel the D8K and especially the D8K Pro are more resolving than the Susvara. They also offer more thump, but again, the differences are smaller when comparing the Pro to the Susvara. Some might consider that a good thing. I do not.

Compared to the Utopia, I always preferred the more neutral, vibrant, musical sound of the D8K. But the thing that I really preferred with the D8000 and D8K Pro, is the size of the soundstage. I find the Final Audio to be far superior in being able to create the venue, esecially the live concert venue. The soundstage and realism are greater.

Compared to many other headphones I still feel the D8K Pro is more natural, clearer, more realistic. So the criticisms I offer should be taken in proper context. Of all the headphones I own, the D8000 is still my favorite, but the D8000 Pro is number two, possibly three as Susvara may nudge slighlty ahead with a fuller mindrange and better overall comfort. More comparison would have to be performed before I could definitively say that Susvara belongs in my number two spot, so for now i still put the D8K Pro as number two.

Speaking of comfort...

The D8K Pro and D8k are heavy but I am comfortable as the weight seems evenly distributed. I like the new pads better. I feel the D8K pads were more comfortable, but they don't wear as well. they start to feel loose compared to the D8k Pro pads which seem to be slightly firmer. Clamping force is fine.

For more detailed stream of conciousness impressions during initial listening
For more information on my impressions, I had a stream-of-conciousness entry or two in the D8000 thread. Please feel free to read that as it is more detailed in some respects than this review.

Conclusion
The D8000 Pro is relatively transparent and revealing. It can sound forward with forward music, it can sound recessed with recessed music. It is highly resolving. It makes many other really good headphones sound unnatural or less than realistic, or unclear, or small. Overall, tonal balance is excellent. But it does have mild tendancies. Tonally speaking, if the D8K was slightly empasized in the lower frequencies, the D8K pro is slightly emphasized in the upper frequencies and I'd like a little more bass around 40Hz and more emphasis in the middle (midrange) frequencies for optimal neutrality. D8K Pro is a great headphone. But it leaves me wanting for more. If I had to rate the D8000 (with Sonorous X cable) I would have given it a 4.75 but Headfi only allows for increments of .5 so I would rate D8000 a 4.5. I was hoping the D8000 Pro would be my perfect 5 star headphone, but instead, I must rate it a 4.0 as it less to my liking than the D8000. So back to my quest for perfection. I think I will try Abyss next ...unless Final Audio wants to tweak a new unit to my liking :)

Update 12/13/2020 - Not sure, but perhaps I originally over-estimated the amount of time I had on these headphones but I can defintely say they changed for the better now that I have substantially more head-time with them. The essence of what I stated in the original review is true but there are specific corrections I need to point out. I left the original review narrative in place but I will address perceived changes here. The upper mid/lower treble calmed down, making for improved, less v-shaped, midrange. Vocals and instruments like trumpet or sax now sound tonally correct. The bass impact increased too. The unit remains extremely resolving/detailed, transparent, clear and tight and possesses very good if not outstanding impact with good bite in the upper frequencies. The attack of notes may now be a bit sharper and less rounded than the D8000 though I would say the overall sound is still minimally rounded in nature. Also, the D8000 is still fuller in the bass/midbass but not as tight as the Pro. EQing is no longer necessary or desirable with the Pro and I now prefer the D8000 Pro to the D8000. One advantage the D8K Pro seems to hold over other headphones (though not saying it is better than the D8000 in this) is an ability to replicate a sense of space of the venue where as some headphones feel like the air has been sucked out of the room. It's hard to explain because it doesn't feel like it's a function of tonality, though I guess it must be - not sure. I still think there is a slightly boosted lower midrange but it is really subtle, if at all. Originally, I rated these 4 stars saying I preferred the D8000 and would give the D8000 4.5 or 4.75 stars. I now use the D8000 Pro more than the D8000. I'd still probably prefer a slight boost in the 40hz range for more thump and also a slight boost in the midrange proper which would give it a slightly more present vocal and better contrast and holography, which admittedly I still feel is excellent. So the D8000 Pro may not be 100% perfect as far as my preferences, but the D8000 Pro is actually extremely neutral and natural and may actually be nearly technically perfect in those regards from an absolute standpoint. I guess what I am saying is if I did have preferences for a change in the way the D8000 Pro sounds those changes might take it away from neutrality and in general neutrality has always been important to me. At this point I can say the D8000 Pro is as close to a perfect headphone for me as I can reasonably expect and so I have upped the rating to 5 stars. I urge anyone to make sure they listen to these headphones for many hours before passing judgment.

Update 12/28/2020 - probably my final update to this review- no pun intended...
When I first reviewed these I commented on the brightness and then I updated to say how the brightness had calmed down. Well, sometimes you get too much of a good thing. With continued burn-in, I'm beginning to feel like these have swung to the slightly warm side - not as warm as the D8000 but the lower midrange remains slightly prominent in my opinion. So with a 'calmed' upper midrange/lower treble, the lower midrange is creating SLIGHTLY more warmth than I may like. It gets back to my previous update - I would like more midrange proper. To achieve this I would not take from the upper frequencies; rather I would decrease lower midrange just a bit. I still rate these 5 stars.

A new comparison - the Abyss 1266TC
Since my original review I have since compared to Abyss - I prefer the Final Audio as I think it is more neutral. Abyss doesn't back down though, meaning it doesn't get bulldozed like many i compare to Final. I recognize it may come down to preference, though I do think the Final is the better technical performer. For classical / orchestral, I might choose Abyss 1266TC, but for pop, rock, and pretty much everything else I would take the Final Audio. Ironically, I think the Abyss slightly highlights the mids. They aren't more forward per se, or more detailed, just slightly emphasized / spotlighted in specific frequencies like vocals. Based upon my stated preferences, you may think I like that. And I do find it appealing and subtle, but I also find it to be a slight coloration that makes it less natural and neutral than the D8000. In fact, when listening to Metallica on Tidal I preferred what I perceived to be a fuller midrange on the D8000 Pro. One area I may have a small but certain preference for Abyss is the bass. I don't think quantity or quality is better, but the Abyss is less rounded/soft sounding in bass and I do like that. I think it may also be slightly more refined in the midrange in a sense, but the D8000 Pro is no slouch in that regard either. In fact, a friend of mine who likes electrostats thinks the D8000 Pro has a somewhat electrostatic sound. The Abyss might have a blacker background though, making things pop a little more, but that's close. The other thing I would offer is the Abyss may have a very slight warmth in the lower mids, but I feel it is slightly more open than the D8000 Pro. But here is the thing. While the Abyss frequency response (which may have initially had slightly subdued upper mids but now seems fine after my tuning adjustments) may have brighter lower treble than the D8000 Pro based upon where the frequency response of the Pro has settled it makes for a less natural sound on the hit of a stick against on...well something creating a higher pitch tone. Abyss just lacked the texture and realism the D8000 Pro offered on that. Compare the song '9 to 5' by Dolly Parton on Tidal to hear what I'm referring to. Last thing to mention is that the Abyss sounds better than the D8000 Pro did out of the box, but the D8000 pro has significantly more time on it so this is not meant to serve as my ultimate judgment of one vs. the other. One day I may formally review my Abyss TC1266 but if I learned anything, I have learned to wait even longer before offering a formal review, Last thing to offer is that when I first got the 1266 TC, I had to tune it per Abyss instruction. I felt the headphone lacked a little bit of air and space. This is something the Final Audio exceled on. With the D8k pro you just put on the headphone and achieve near perfect sound. I had to work at it considerably more with the Abyss. The other side of that, however, is that the Abyss is more tunable than the D8000 Pro.

Update 2/20/2021 - some recent replies reminded me of my review of the D8000 Pro and I wanted to update my comment from 12/28/2020. Perhaps the D8000 Pro continued to change or perhaps I changed. I am pretty sure my D8000 Pro is now completely settled into its final signature. Anyway, I have come to realize that the D8000 Pro plays things so much down the middle that whether any warmth is perceived in the lower midrange is mostly dependent upon the recording, the amplifier, or other upstream equipment. Listening to the headphone using the iFi Zen Blue DAC on a THX amp or my GS-X MK2 with Oppo HA-1 DAC, for example, I hear virtually no extra lower midrange warmth on recordings I regard as neutral. That may be good for my preference, but others looking for a more 'romantic' sound could be disappointed if the Pro is not matched to equipment that yields your ideal signature. And just to be clear, yes I would probably still like a very little bit more midrange proper and a very slight bit more thump around 40hz for my taste. But midbass, and specifically upper midbass, is as perfectly balanced as I have found in any headphone - not too much or too little ...for my taste. But tonal balance aside, I think the D8000 Pro's strength comes from the sense of realism it imparts when the music quality enables this. The realism is achievable because it performs very well in so many areas including tonality, soundstage, naturalness, timbre, crispness, resolution, and clarity. Other headphones may be preferred in some of those areas, but the D8000 Pro does them all extremely well; it is all of these traits rolled into one headphone, along with a hint of musicality that make the D8000 Pro special. In my book it remains 5 stars and still my #1 preference. Between the D8000, D8000 Pro, and the Abyss (as well as Utopia and Susvara) I no longer feel a need to search for additional open headphones. The 8KPro leaves me wanting for nothing more. How long will that last? I'm an audiophile so who knows?!?
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adydula
adydula
Selling several headphones after these came in house!
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i fully understand. i own many headphones and have not sold them yet, but the Final Audio headphones are really all i need. i would not miss the others
adydula
adydula
For Sale: Meze Empyreans, Focal Clear MG Pros and Hedds....
The D8000 Pros have surpassed these all....
:>)
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dleblanc343

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Industry-Leading Craftsmanship
Extraordinary Dynamics and Resolution
Reference-Tuned with tasteful color
Cons: Not the lightest headphones
Expensive (but fairly priced considering the crowded market)
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A little background on me

I’ve been passionate about headphones for over the past decade, to the point where my love of music and tech intertwined and absorbed me into a black hole – and all this happening in what I’d call a booming decade for personal audio. I’d like to think I’ve developed a strong ear for nuance and analysis, and have experienced most kilobuck flagships of note – and let me tell you, the Final D8000 Pro are truly a spectacular set of headphones.



Presentation

The unboxing experience is wonderful, it’s all packed like a luxury watch, double boxed, with two bubble wrap sleeves surrounding each, and finally a classy glossy faux croc skin box. Upon opening that, you have a practical carry case, with a set of silver cables with ¼” termination, and another OFC black cable with 3.5mm termination. The silver cable is HEFTY and oozes quality, more so than most aftermarket products out there even. Inside the carry case rests the headphones themselves, and once I removed them and laid my eyes on them, I immediately was struck by the exceptional craftsmanship. These are without a doubt the most beautiful headphones I’ve ever seen; the aesthetics, the machined parts, the quality of the pads and the specs of paint splashed on the Final badge and hinge make for a super classy and beautiful product. These headphones are massive, they are also on the heavier side, they feel premium, unlike some other very expensive products out there. I feel like this is a luxury item, and that despite it costing a pretty penny, it is well justified!


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Sound

Right off the bat, these are one of the best headphones you can buy in 2020. I’ll be honest, there are two headphones I’d say sound better which I’ve heard, and they retail for much much more money, one which I own, but can’t always justify owning. What is extraordinary about these is that they are probably the most complete set of headphones for multi genre, and 100% would be my recommendation for an endgame single-set of cans for someone who doesn’t want to hoard gear!

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re pretty well versed in the high end headphones game. What do these sound like? Well, tonally, they’re very similar to a HiFiMAN HE1000v2 with more treble clarity, detail and control, and with dynamics and bass slam akin to the HiFiMAN HE6 - but surpassing those even. Soundstage is somewhere between Focal Utopia and HE1000 series, and is more focused and coherent than either. It has what I would call just the right amount of stage width, and great center image crossfeed, which makes for a more engaging listen. These headphones have great speed, dynamics, slam; they’re a more authoritative and in your face presentation. A hybrid of LCD4 and Utopia in one package, and besting both is also a great example of what these are. I have not heard better bass rendition in a headphone up to now.


If you value transparency, attack and dynamics, with treble energy and good sparkle and super tight bass, all while having a very linear and unobstructed midrange, then these are a must listen.


It sounds like hyperbole, too good to be true, etc... but they really have no glaring flaws. If I have to nitpick, treble energy is north of neutral which can be a bit too much on occasion, and bass is also punchier than neutral. Think of it as a very tastefully and ever-so-slight V-shape - but I would say they sound that way in direct comparison to a Susvara for instance. They’re more of a natural listen than neutral, and that is something we should appreciate when listening to music. I actually enjoyed these with more diverse material than my Susvara, and found myself longing for more punch and upper mids/ low treble from Susvara. They might not resolve quite as much as the expensive HiFiMAN, but they are more musical and fun for most of what I listen to. One last thing to bear in mind is that despite comfort being good, you might have to adjust the headband once in a while as the headphone may get heavy over time. These are the sacrifices us audiophiles must be prepared to make to get the best sound out there!


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Some Music Tested:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat:

As a bassist, I love using this track for testing, as the bass guitar is incredibly well recorded, and overdriven, and causes many headphones to saturate/ struggle to properly render it nicely. The D8000 Pro absolutely slam, the impact and texturing of the electric bass are superb and not too bloated as it would on say an LCD4. Donald Fagen’s voice in this track edges on sibilance, and is sometimes not the most pleasant with some headphones, but in this case it is edgy, but remains clean and controlled with great immediacy and clarity.


Trentemoller – Moan (Trentemoller Remix):

I got completely lost in this track, the layering and buildup of grooves is addictive and so effortless. This track presents a very holographic soundstage, and what’s fantastic about it with the Final is that it sounds very three-dimensional in the x,y,z axis’.


The O’Jays – Back Stabbers:

Just some old Motown soul with a lot percussions and instrumentation. Just a lot going on, with strings, punchy backing rhythm, some electric guitar licks – it’s great for testing timbre of various instruments, and D8000 Pro, again, effortlessly render this song with nice dynamic.


Ronald Jenkees – Inverted Mean:

Bells and chimes and lots of micro dynamics. Great test for speed and effortlessness. Some planar headphones have issues with rendering very clean treble à la Stax or Focal Utopia, but the Final compete easily, all while offering more with a low end foundation that the aforementioned don’t quite have.


Michael Wollny – Muhlrad:

A good friend of mind showed me this track and it’s become one of my most used test songs. The initial drum slam is gigantic with tons of energy and air, followed up with tons of intricate instrumentation and cymbal play. Eventually the bouncing piano notes fall in and you can clearly hear reverberations/ bounce of the piano hammers. Piano in this track is so well recorded, but many headphones are unable to project the notes forward with depth. The D8000 Pro really gives tactility to all the instruments, as if they have relief and texture and you feel you can touch them; it sounds very real. Instead of just throwing a wall of sound at you, you can really decipher all elements within the song being projected at you from a black background, as if it were real music.



Value

Finally, when talking about luxury or high end products, it must be discussed that diminishing returns are in effect. Nevertheless, many people justify spending thousands of dollars on headphones because they remain more budget-friendly than many 2 channel systems, yet can attain a level of fidelity that is world class. I truly believe that if you’re to rationalise spending thousands on a headphone, but want something that really justifies its worth, the D8000 Pro are entirely priced fair. I am a headphone addict, I cannot have just one headphone as I always feel different headphones or brands will offer something unique, or their own flavor. But for the first time in a very long time, listening to these headphones, I kept telling myself how incredible of a total package these are. I don’t long for the HD800’s soundstage and treble, I don’t miss the HE6’s dynamics and slam, the midrange is organic and analog like my HE1000’s and add to all that, these are relatively easy to drive!


Hope my write-up was enlightening, and if you have a chance to hear these someday, or are shopping for a World Class headphone, you owe it to yourself to put these on your radar. Also, enjoy these sexy photos :)


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Happy listening :)
JGel
JGel
So as I was casually listening to my Empyreans, I stumbled on your review and tested out all the songs you listed and they literally made me fall in love with the Empyreans all over again haha. Everyone's got to give Muhlrad a try, it'll blow your mind!

Great review brother, ill have to get my hands on the D8K pro
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X1787X
X1787X
Nice collection bro
adydula
adydula
I am fortunate to have both these D8000 Pros and the Empys.....both are stellar cans, the D8000 Pros edges out the Empys with a more accurate, clean and clear overall presentation...less boomy or less full bass....both nice at times depending on the music and mood.

I also have a set of Hedds, Focal Clear MG Pros, HD 650's, Empys, and the D8000 Pros'. Life is good and I am done buying headphones unless some Aliens land and we get totally new tech...this is about as good as it gets for modern day tech IMO...
Pros: Excellent detail retrieval. Transparent/neutral/uncoloured presentation. Great build quality. Repairability.
Cons: Heavy, and can be uncomfortable. Price

Over the many years that I’ve attended the Tokyo FUJIYAAVIC headphone festivals, Final (or Final Audio as they used to be called, and now trading under the S'NEXT brand) were something of an enigma. Their original stewardship under Kanemori Takai resulted in some very unique headphones and IEMs that gained a loyal following amongst some Head-Fi members, though many were put off by their rather unusual tuning.

Every time I tried their flagship headphones, I was not at all impressed, though their mid-range offerings seemed to have something worthwhile going. It wasn’t until after Kanemori passed away, and the company folded into S’NEXT that things started to get interesting.

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The D8000 headphones, their first planar magnetic, were announced at a special private event at one of the Tokyo festivals. Detailing the in-house manufacture of the headphones, and offering an audition, I liked what I heard.

It wasn’t until I was offered the new flagship A8000 IEMs, which I agreed to, not knowing what to expect that I got an understanding how Final had transformed. Impressed with those, I arranged a review of both pairs of their flagship headphones.

As far as tonality goes, I have to adjust my perspective relative to how I thought of it before. As far as headphones go, I’d consider the D8000 Pro as relatively neutral, though compared to a free-field speaker response, the mid-range might be considered slightly recessed. I’m more partial to a Harman Target Curve in headphones, and the D8000 Pro is closer to that, and my preferences.

I would describe the D8000 Pro as not emphasising any particular frequency range, unlike, say, the Focal Utopias, which are upper-mid/lower-treble forward, or the warmer-tuned Meze Empyrean, for which I consider an aftermarket cable to bring out the top end a bit more to be a necessity.

The D8000 Pro, to me, has a fascinating character of seeming to have only the character of the music playing. If there is a lot of bass, there is a lot of bass. If there isn’t, there isn’t. If the music is bright and harsh, then bright and harsh is what I hear. Depending on what I’ve been listening with recently, they might seem thin and bright, or warm and dull.

If I’ve been listening with the very lively MYSPHERE, then the D8000 Pro seems dull. If the Empyrean, then they seem lighter on the bass and brighter. This leads me to feel that they sit closest to a “listening neutral” than other headphones I have here.

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In a different direction, detail retrieval is where the D8000 Pro excels. Whether it be a precise bass that delivers deep drum hits with glorious precision, or the passionate expression of Miles Davis’ trumpet on Solea (Sketches Of Spain 50th Anniversary), or the full texture of cymbals on a direct-to-tape recording of Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry (Jex Saarelaht Trio), the music just seems to come through as it is.

I began noticing, as I listened to my usual very eclectic mix of tracks on my 1600-track TIDAL playlist, which I assembled from the music I rated the highest while listening to Radio Paradise, that I could hear how each track was assembled, as it were, from parts (in the case of modern pop/alternative) or the nature of the venue (in the case of traditional stereo recordings). This brought the feeling that I was actually listening to the music, and not the headphone’s editorialising of the music, as is often the case.

Unforgiven was distortion, revealing tape hiss in all its (in)glory on Miles Runs the Voodoo Down (Bitches Brew Live) or the less than stellar mastering of I am Kloot’s Natural History album. But what it brought out in such raw form included, to use the Miles David track just mentioned, was all the glory in the weirdness of that peculiar track. What was interesting was that I noticed a grainy artefact in that album I hadn’t heard before. Checking that it wasn’t an issue with the digital transmission and finding none, it seems that the D8000 Pro had revealed yet another layer of that recording I hadn’t found before.

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The D8000 Pro was no less revealing of up-stream components. Amplification wise, it picked the subtleties of each tube I had put in the Studio Six. The slight mellowness of Audio-gd’s Master 9 also came through cleanly. Out of the Drop THX 789, the D8000 took on a super-lively character, emphasising even the most subtle of details, even with the slightly mellow Schiit Bifrost 2 feeding it.

Likewise, the slightly “musical” character of Soundaware’s P1, which I find to be just the right pairing for the Schiit Yggdrasil when sharpness is less desired, was readily apparent.

For preference, I liked them most on a more lively set-up. I rolled a sharper and clearer-sounding Sylvania or Russian MELZ 6SN7 into the Studio Six, or, sacrificing a bit of depth, used them with the Drop THX AAA 789. I really wish I had one of the Benchmark amps here. Direct out of the Hugo 2 was fantastic as well.

It seems crazy to use this description with what are headphones capable of rendering extreme detail, but the Utopia and Empyrean felt more "one note" when listening for the subtleties in music. The precision of the bass from the D8000 Pro was, for example so blatantly noticeable that even the beats on Sophie Tukker tracks came through more clearly than they did from the other two headphones.

The ever so slightly muted treble, which make the D8000 Pro hard to appreciate when listening at meets, arguably takes away from the liveliness of the sound ever so slightly. Think of the effect you get putting Clear or Elex pads on the Focal Utopia.

However, the result is a balance in the sound that puts them firmly between the Utopia and (re-cabled) Empyrean that is perfect for me. I really wish I could compare them to the Stax SR-009 and T8000 set-up again, as the jump up for me felt like my experience with that system.

Final D8000 ProD75_9618.jpg

I only wish that the D8000 Pro was as comfortable as the Utopias or Empyreans. Really, that is its only fault, alongside the weight (a result of the heavy magnets used) and slightly unwieldy (if beautifully over-built) stock cable with it’s custom-made plugs on both ends. I weighed the D8000 Pro at 528g, with the cable adding up to another 118 grams. Compare that to the Utopias at 497g, Empyrean at 444g and Susvara at 418g (all measured without the cables). That weight and the big, round ear pads weren't doing me any favours at the end of a long day when I was heading towards getting a headache.

But their construction is excellent, with custom made locking connectors on the headphone end, and a plug on the other that has just the right-shaped entry for the cable. The ear pads stretch on, and the whole set-up can be disassembled into parts for repair.

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That leaves me ultimately impressed with the Final D8000 Pro. I have thought for a long while that planar headphones would eventually catch up with electrostats, but they never quite managed to get there. Now I think that, with the D8000 Pro, at least, they may very well have.

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Source set-up for amps mentioned:
Chord Hugo 2 + 2go
or
Schiit Yggrasil Analog 2 with Unison USB fed by an isolated Raspberry Pi with DietPi.

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VandyMan
VandyMan
I like the way they look, especially in-person. In photos, the metal parts look a bit like plastic. There are so many great ToTL headphones now, I've decided to no longer even consider any that are not comfortable for extended wearing.
alavenue
alavenue
Great review, do you prefer the over the susvara?
adydula
adydula
Going on week 3. My Focal Clear MG Pros are up for sale as well as my beloved Hedds....
These cans are really that nice IMO.
Alex

DrummerLeo

Sponsor: Unique Melody
Pros: Natural tonality. Very satisfying bass. Extremely smooth transition from bass to treble. Great Build quality. Tight and comfortable fit. Noticeable improvements in clarity and resolution compared to original D8000. Easy to drive.
Cons: High Price. Relatively heavy. Comparatively small soundstage when compares to more expensive headphones (1266 TC and Susvara).
Intro
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The original Final D8000 was one of my favorites headphones. I was planning to write a review about the original D8000, however, when the review was scheduled I saw this brand-new beauty coming up and so I made my immediate purchase purely based on how much I love the original.

After 2 months of experience with D8000 Pro, I can finalize my thought and share some of my impressions with the community. This impression will mainly focus on sound impressions as well as some comparisons with the original D8000 and some other high-end headphones.

Comfort

The original D8000 is reasonably comfortable. However, to me personally, the original pads are a bit too soft, thus, sometimes my ears can touch the drivers. The newer earpads are slightly firmer and it seems that I can get more ear space. The original pads are also a little bit stuffy in the hot and humid summertime. It seems that the newer open-type earpads would provide better breathability, but it needs to be tested when summer comes.

Both original D8000 and D8000 Pro are on the heavier side compare to other hi-end headphones I have. However, the weight is very well distributed, I don’t feel any hot spot on the top of my head. Both D8000 and D8000 Pro fits very tight and secure, I can easily use them for hours. As a matter of fact, D8000 Pro is probably one of the most comfortable headphones I have used, only slightly behind Empyrean and HD800s due to the extra weight. They are lighter than headphones such as LCDs and Abyss and they are more secure than Susvara and Utopia.

Sound Impressions
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D8000 Pro has a sensitivity of 98dB/mW, and impedance of 60Ω, same as original D8000. They are certainly not power-consuming. I heard they can be used on portable players or with portable amps though I never tested them on portable equipment.

This review is based on PC -> Burl B2 Bomber Dante -> Cayin HA300 as the main amplifier/ SMSL sp200 as the alternative amp.

Soundstage and Imaging

The stage out of D8000 Pro is very well scaled. It doesn't have huge dimensions like HD800(mainly width) or 1266 TC but it is very three dimensional. The soundstage from D8000 Pro is more natural and intimate than Susvara, while Susvara has more air (D8000 Pro has enough air for my taste, Susvara just has a little bit more).

The separation for D8000 Pro is outstanding, instruments are not separated too far like HD800 nor stay too close with each other like Utopia. The separation is just about perfect for genres like rock, metal, EDM, and pop. I can easily catch a clear yet concentrated image from D8000 Pro.

The overall imaging stays close enough to let me feel emotionally engaged, unlike Susvara which is a bit distant. It is also very clean; I would say much cleaner than the original D8000 which sometimes makes me confused when listening to some extreme genres like thrash metal and metalcore.

Bass

The bass from D8000 Pro is almost perfect if we consider Abyss 1266 has the perfect bass. Deepness, clarity, rumble, impact, speed… D8000 Pro can meet almost every desire you wish from a headphone.

There are only a few things that D8000 Pro can’t beat Abyss 1266 in the bass such as the “subwoofer alike” plangent bass from Abyss 1266, and Abyss 1266 reach slightly deeper in the sub-bass. However, in my opinion, D8000 Pro has a faster and fuller mid-bass.

D8000 Pro has noticeably less bass quantity than the original D8000, but the bass from D8000 Pro is better controlled with significantly better clarity. D8000 Pro is never a "basshead" headphones, it focusses more on quality than quantity. If you desire lots of bass quantity with relatively decent quality, you might want to check out the original. To me, enough is enough, original D8000 is too bassy for my taste.

Mid

The mid from original D8000 is my favorite part. It is not overly pronounced, and it is very sweet and creamy. The mid-range of the original D8000 is quite unique. You can catch all the details behind the warm and musical tonality. It is like twilight when you can see the sharpness of moonlight behind the afterglow. I won't deny the original D8000 is slightly V-shape in terms of energy distribution. But in my opinion, D8000 is one of the most artistic V-shaped headphones. I haven't heard any other V-shaped headphones better than D8000.

The mid from D8000 Pro is slightly more pronounced with better clarity and better separation. The overall mid-range sounds a lot more energetic, and it is no longer a V-shaped headphone. When listening to metal tracks, the snare slams and guitar riffs are cleaner and more concentrated. I can't stop headbanging when listening to Lamb of God, fortunately, D8000 Pro fits tight enough on my head.

There are some tradeoffs from the D8000 to Pro edition. From the original D8000 to D8000 Pro, you will lose some warmth and uniqueness I mentioned above, but you will get a cleaner and more energetic presentation in D8000 Pro. That’s being said, if you want a relaxing sound signature, go for original, if you want a fun and engaging sound signature, go for Pro.

Treble

The treble from D8000 Pro is slightly warmer and thicker than the original D8000. In my opinion, this is a good thing. From my experience, the original D8000 sometimes delivers some unexpected sharpness in the treble. It happens no matter what quality or genre of music. D8000 Pro cut off some edges in the treble, it now sounds better controlled and more coherent with mid and bass. D8000 Pro still has enough beautiful sparkles and treble decay to remind me it comes from D8000.

Comparison
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D8000 Pro vs D8000

I have stated enough differences between Pro and OG in the body of sound impressions. Here I just want to summarize some main points:

· D8000 Pro has better clarity, better separation where is the biggest improvement from the original to Pro. You paid extra money not only for different tastes but also for some honest improvements.

· D8000 Pro is more towards “mainstream” tonality, it is clean and very well balanced. D8000 OG is one of the most unique yet appealing headphones I have heard, it is lush, musical and attractive.

· D8000 Pro is professional in rock and metal, so far, the best headphones for these genres I have ever heard. D8000 is better for jazz, old school pop and rock, and some small to medium scale classic. Both are capable of most music genres.

D8000 Pro vs Utopia+ Dana Lazuli Reference

Utopia+ Dana Lazuli Reference is one of my most familiar setups. I have used this combo for about 2 years. For a very long time, Utopia with Dana cable is my "to go" headphones. The Lazuli Ref adds just the right amount of warmth that makes Utopia unexpectedly versatile and suit almost all music genres. However, I have to point out, Utopia has a very intimate soundstage, it is narrower than most headphones in this price range. With Lazuli Ref, Utopia does not sound as "metallic" as it is with the stock cable, but it does sound a little bit unnatural compared with high-end planars.

D8000 Pro is the replacement of Utopia+ Dana combo. D8000 Pro is at least as versatile as Utopia if not better. Besides, D8000 Pro sounds a lot more natural without sacrifices in detail and resolution. In direct comparison, D8000 Pro has a warmer tonality while Utopia is more analytical. Utopia has a brighter treble and a more forward image in mid, D8000 Pro has a slightly roll-off treble but a lot more natural in both treble and mid. D8000 Pro has a more linear bass, while Utopia has a noticeable mid-bass boost. Also, the sub-bass from D8000 Pro reaches deeper, has more impact and sounds clearer. The soundstage from D8000 Pro is wider and deeper.


D8000 Pro

Pros:

· Larger soundstage

· Natural tonality

· Very impactful in the sub-bass

· Smooth transition from bass to treble

Cons:

· Too heavy in comparison

Utopia

Pros:

· Brighter treble (could be a con for some)

· More forward mid

· More comfortable fit

Cons:

· Narrow soundstage




· Lack of sub-bass impact




D8000 Pro vs Susvara

I have owned Susvara for about a year. In my opinion, a well-driven Susvara has a perfect treble, it is pure enjoyment when listening to acoustic guitar, violins, and pianos with Susvara. Despite there is a small dip at around 1k, the overall presentation of Susvara is rather smooth. To me, Susvara is a perfect headphone on its own. Susvara has its clear music preference, it is like the Muse is singing beside you when playing with elegant genres. Such an enjoyable and divine experience. However, if you play metal genres with Susvara, it soon becomes an endless nightmare.

D8000 Pro is much more versatile in terms of both music genres and drivability. The smooth and natural tonality gives D8000 Pro the ability to handle almost all the genres, it might not get a perfect score for all music but a solid 80+. Also, you will never have to use a powerhouse amplifier for D8000 Pro, even a portable player is capable of D8000 Pro. In comparison, D8000 Pro has more sub-bass decay, while Susvara has a tighter bass. The mid from D8000 Pro is a little bit flatter, Susvara is livelier. The treble from D8000 Pro is noticeably darker, while Susvara is brighter yet extremely smooth. Susvara has better resolution and more details. The soundstage is slightly wider and deeper on Susvara.


D8000 Pro

Pros:

· Natural tonality

· Very impactful in the sub-bass

· Richer and fuller in mid

· Easy to drive and capable of various music genres

Cons:

· Too heavy in comparison

· Might be too dark for some

· Slightly fall behind in resolution and details in this comparison

Susvara

Pros:

· Bright yet smooth treble

· A clear image in mid

· More comfortable fit

· Excellent clarity and resolution

Cons:

· Extremely hard to drive

· Limited music adaptability



D8000 Pro vs Abyss 1266 TC

I recently acquired the 1266 TC. I had owned 3 versions of 1266 (OG cross screw version, Phi w/o CC pads and TC), TC is the most balanced version. 1266s are always the attention-grabbing headphones in my collection. The enormous soundstage and the speaker-like image are always impressive no matter what music I'm listening to. Not mention that 1266 also has the best bass in headphones so far, it is like the anger from the thunder lord.

D8000 Pro could be a great complementary headphone for your 1266 TC system. Unlike Susvara which is almost the opposite side of 1266, D8000 Pro shares some similarities with 1266. Both of them have a very solid bass performance with a great amount of bass rumble, which to lots of 1266 fans is an essential requirement (not saying Susvara has a bad bass, but the bass from Susvara focus more on speed and texture). However, their tuning focuses are completely different. D8000 Pro focus more on coherency from bass to treble, it delivers music mildly and fluidly. 1266 focuses more on horizontal expansion and momentum, the sound from 1266 TC is magnificent but sometimes too aggressive. Thus, for many genres like POP, country, old-school rock, and EDM I tend to grab D8000 Pro. For classics, progressive metal and thrash metal I will put on 1266 TC. I use D8000 Pro when I want to have a rest, or I am multi-testing; I use 1266 when I need to cheer up my mood.

Also, D8000 Pro is very flexible to the amplifier, so it shouldn't be a problem for these two headphones to share the same system. So, for budget concern, I prefer D8000 Pro over 009s or Susvara as the partner of 1266TC.

Summary

D8000 Pro is a great subsequent work after D8000. It fixed the existing potential technical limitation on original D8000 and brought out some noticeable improvement in clarity and resolution. But what indeed impressed me is how versatile D8000 Pro is. It can be played on powerhouse tube/SS amplifiers, it can be played on portable players and even cellphones can give it a reasonably good sound. It is multitalented in various music genres. I have used D8000 Pro for two months, but I haven't found one single track that D8000 Pro can't handle properly at a high level.

Technically speaking, I would rank D8000 Pro slightly behind 1266 TC and Susvara due to the comparative limitation in resolution, transparency, and soundstage. But practically speaking, if I have to choose only one pair of headphones for the rest of my life it has to be D8000 Pro. D8000 Pro is ideal for audiophiles who have a varied music taste and seeking ultimate headphones for both house and portable use.

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X1787X
X1787X
When I saw the picture with the utopia, 1266 tc, d8000pro and susvara I asked myself is this what heaven looks like haha.
C
CrispyWhale
how nice to spot someone who also prefers the black Pro version and not the super-shiny silver one :wink:
DrummerLeo
DrummerLeo
@CrispyWhale The silver one always reminds me of the wheels of someone's car.

jwbrent

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Superlative overall performance with a revised design that allows higher listening levels than the original D8000, micro detail retrieval that contributes to a highly atmospheric and ethereal sound
Cons: None
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Introduction
Back in March of this year, I wrote a review on my newly acquired final D8000 ($3,799) proclaiming it as "my desert isle headphone." It's tonal signature matched up perfectly with my sensitivities, and I preferred it to my Focal Utopia although the Utopia still remains in my collection because there are some things it will do that are quite stellar and it makes for a great stablemate with my D8000. The D8000 has slightly emphasized mid-bass and beautifully portrayed upper frequencies, all with an atmospheric presentation. At the time I wrote my review, I had not experimented too much with very high listening levels, but I did later on and noticed that music with heavy bass lines caused the planar drivers to hit the magnet structure causing a clicking sound. I was afraid I may have damaged the drivers, and after speaking with the US distributor of my concern, he agreed to replace it under warranty. The replacement had slightly better headroom, yet still, with music like Trip-Hop—a favorite genre—I did have to temper my enthusiasm in playing louder in order to protect my considerable investment as well as, more importantly, my aging ears.

Apparently, many other reports of this phenomenon reached back to final Japan, especially from members in the music profession industry, and a revised version with greater headroom was introduced a few months ago, the D8000 Pro Edition ($4,299). Final Japan recently asked if I would like to review a sample of the Pro Edition used at a recent show in Japan, and I jumped at the chance.

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Impressions
I'd first like to take this opportunity to thank Kyo-san, final's International Sales and Marketing Manager, for providing me the loaner for this review. I'd also like to thank Michael Brown, the US final distributor. Those interested in purchasing either model who don't have a local dealer should visit Audio46.

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On receiving the loaner, I burned-in the Pro Edition for over 200 hours using my AK240SS player. My critical listening was done using my main setup: MacBook Air / Audirvana / Qobuz; Chord Qutest DAC; HeadAmp Pico Power amplifier. I used my purchased final Silver OFC cable ($499, 1.5m) with a 3.5mm termination for this review since the loaner came to me with a Silver OFC cable with a 6.3mm connector. No EQ was used during my listening sessions.

The D8000 and the Pro Edition are cut from the same cloth, so my review is not going to be a typical one for me, more a comparison with an emphasis on the sonic differences. For those who are new to final's top-of-the-line models and would like more design/performance information, I refer you to my D8000 review.

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The big issue for me initially was whether the Pro Edition fully addressed the planar drivers hitting the magnet structure at high volume levels since that was my main interest. Where the D8000 maxes out with a sound pressure level (SPL) in the mid-90dB range, the Pro Edition reaches into the high-90dB, low-100dB range according to my modest SPL app (accuracy aside), however, please keep in mind the bass content if emphasized either by mastering or user EQ settings will drop these numbers down a few dB on both models. True to its marketing, final addressed this issue to my satisfaction.

The sound difference between the two is not subtle, yet the family resemblance is apparent. The bass on the Pro Edition is tighter with greater accuracy, and there is no bleed into the lower midrange as there is with the D8000. Additionally, the decay on bass notes is more present on the Pro Edition due to greater articulation of micro detail thus providing a more involved listening experience. Truly spectacular bass performance, in my view.

The midrange has greater presence than that on the D8000, so vocal and instrument portrayal come through with better clarity and expressiveness. Again, as with the bass performance, the decay one hears is mesmerizing. The mids, however, can get a little hot sounding with certain recordings, especially those with questionable sonics. In this area, I prefer the comparatively recessed midrange performance of the D8000, but I certainly can understand the appeal of the midrange some may have with the new model.

The trebles, to my ears, sound bumped up by a few decibels. I understand now why Kyo-san commented to me why the Silver OFC cable is included with the Pro Edition: he was emphatic the Pro model sounds its best with this cable. I do feel this cable provides a slightly warmer top end thus keeping the trebles from getting sibilant, the cables included with the D8000 are brighter sounding.

Summary
I've written around twenty reviews on Head-Fi, yet only two of the products reviewed deserved five stars in my estimation: the D8000 and the HeadAmp Pico Power (for its performance at such a modest price—$475). The Pro Edition brings the total number to three. Will I upgrade my D8000? I would have to take a big hit in selling it, and although I find the Pro Edition a superlative product, firstly, I can't justify spending the money since I am retired, and secondly, I am still captivated by the overall tonal signature of the standard model. Nevertheless, final has again shown why its products are so revered by so many users, including myself. The D8000 Pro Edition will bring its owner auditory bliss and is a serious contender for anyone desiring state-of-the-art performance.
C
CrispyWhale
I wasn't able to hear D8000, but I own D8000 Pro and I fully agree with all the statements regarding this version. Well written.
jwbrent
jwbrent
Thank you! The Pro is a pretty special headphone.
adydula
adydula
Just got the pros here, day 2. Superb headphone. all around awesome perfromance. Kudos to Final Audio!
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