1. iems0nly
    For the refined audiophile
    Written by iems0nly
    Published Jun 11, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sublime delivery. Novel tuning. Very smooth, yet detailed sound
    Cons - Unconventional tuning; warm sounding; laid-backed highs. Takes a while to appreciate
    Simple Man’s review – Final E5000 (~299 USD incl. import);
    This is called simple man’s review because they are based on the sound of these earphones directly from my mobile phone (HTC 10), using 320 Kbps mp3 tracks. No expensive gears nor lossless tracks,no EQ, and all that hi-fi stuff.

    Final Like Facebook dropped the “the”, Final dropped the “Audio Design”. I really appreciate this move and it sounds much cooler this way. The logo as well.

    Product Specs :
    Driver: 6.4mmΦ dynamic driver
    Impedance: 14 Ohms; Sensitivity: 93dB
    Weight: 24g
    Cable: MMCX connectors, 1.2 m OFC silver coated cable

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    Build – 5/5
    Stellar build quality. Virtually unbreakable. Narrow and small cylindrical stainless steel house the driver. The twisted white wires are covered in a protective sheath which are transparent and feel good to the touch. Cylindrical Stainless Steel (CSS) is the theme: with CSS housings for MMCX connectors, CSS Y splitters and CSS L shaped housing for the 3.5mm jack as well which has great strain relief. The MMCX connectors also colour coded with Red with Black to indicate Right and Left respectively. They are closed back unlike the little brother E3000. The entire unit with the white cord is a feast to the eyes. They look impeccable.

    Accessories – 5/5
    Silicon Carrying case:
    We get a very premium and stylish silicon carrying case that looks great, feels great, and they don’t occupy a lot of space either. They have an unconventional design. It looks like a hollow black bowl of rubber, on the outside we have the Final logo, on the bottom is the flap to open and secure the case, three protruding tabs help to keep them fastened. It has an interesting locking mechanism as well that avoids a zipper. The case is so small that it can hold just one unit comfortably.
    Karabinger: The case also has this facility to deploy a coupling link, which is part of the accessories, so we can fasten them to our belt loops to carry the earphones around. This is pretty cool and can save a pant pocket when you are out and about.
    Silicon tips: 5 sizes of tips, with the stems having grooves or stripes which have tight clamping force. The grooves enable flexibility to adapt and angle into the ear canals a bit. These tip stems are also colour coded to indicate L/R, and different sizes.
    Ear hooks: They also provide a super slim set of transparent ear hooks that are flexible and are extremely comfortable as well.

    So much thought an effort has been put into each component to satisfy the spending customer. This feels like five-star treatment and I feel royale.

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    Isolation & Sound leakage – 3.5/5

    Isolation is left wanting a little. Not as bad as open/semi open earphones, but you can hear speeding cars even with the music on. Sound leakage is not a point of concern even in quiet environments

    Fit – 5/5
    Fit is easy and comfortable. Around-the-ear and conventional straight-down wear is compatible.

    Microphonics – 3/5
    Wearing them around-the-ear eliminates touch noise, more so with the ear hooks. Straight down, it is quite present.

    Before we get to the sound:
    You must know that i don’t listen to trance, EDM, or bassy stuff, no metal stuff, so, take my opinion about the extremes of the sound spectrum, and speed,etc., with a grain of salt, as they are just based on the kind of music I listen to- namely Jazz, blues, some progressive rock from the 70s/80s. However, to give a fair review, i include some of my favourite Daft Punk, Tool, NIN, and some Pop songs among my test tracks.

    Before we get to the sound, let’s look at Final’s statement about their tuning:
    This is applicable to both E4000 and 5000:
    “We’ve carried out the sound design of this product based on the latest acoustic engineering and psychological research results. Using the usual method of sound creation whereby high frequencies are given a sharp peak and certain high frequencies are emphasized, you’re given to feel vivid sound when you first listen, but because of this peak, the anteroposterior ranges are masked and hard to hear. With the E series, making the arc of the frequency response smooth overall ensured that no bands were masked, and we achieved high resolution. Compared to E3000/E2000, a purer, subtler sound is achieved.

    *To heighten the resolution across all ranges, acoustic pressure has been lowered. When you listen, the sound appears laid-back; turning the volume up gradually while assimilating this subtlety affords the user a comfortable listening experience. This product is one whose merits become more apparent the longer you use it.”

    Final says that E5000 is an upgrade of E3000; while E4000 is an upgrade of E2000.

    Before the actual sound, let me brief you on my immediate impressions and experience:

    Let me start by saying that these earphones are tuned like no other.

    Upon my first listen, I noticed that the bass was really overwhelming, making the sound signature really warm, even dark. I generally tend to prefer brighter phones rather than warmer ones. I was initially taken aback by this pervading warmth and lushness in the sound signature. It reminded me of the FX1100 that I owned some time back, only with greater bass that envelops the entire soundstage, with tamed highs. I’ve never heard something like this. But then, I took some time to understand what their tuning philosophy is, and I went back to the site to check out what they have to say (Posted above). They say that the signature is tuned to be smooth and laid-back. They say that any peak in the highs are attenuated to present a smooth frequency response. In all the measurement graphs that you generally see, you would notice a number of peaks and valleys after 1KHz or 2 Hhz up until 10 or 16 KHz. Here, Final has basically introduced zero peaks in the measured response. Imagine a straight line from 20 to 20 Khz in the measured frequency response (not perceived). That’s what they have aimed for with the E series. They suggest to gradually turn up the volume and find the sweet spot where we can say that the highs are lows are in line with one another. This sweet spot for me lies between 30 to 50% volume in HTC 10 depending on the track. This is where I can see the magic unfold. Any more volume, the earphones will not sound good and you will just sink into a pool of lushness. Once you find this sweet spot, run a few songs and let your brain accustom to the signature. Coming from bright earphones and monitorersque signature, I needed quite a bit of brain burn-in.

    Tips: I tried different tips, but I settled back to the stock tips. They work just fine.

    Sound—
    This is how I felt while listening to music with the E5000.

    Imagine sitting in the open spacious bath with steam all around, in the garden of Aphrodite. You tilt your head backwards and relax. A couple of the most luscious, beautiful, Greek muses, Erato and Euterpe, come beside you, one on each side with a silver spoon in their hand, no, let’s make that Stainless Steel spoons. In their spoons is honey- not the gooey kind, but less viscous and fluid. They heat the honey to a lukewarm temperature, a very soothing temperature. Together, at the same time, they pour this honey into your ears, slowly. It’s the sweetest honey in all the worlds. The warmth just comforts your soul. The honey keeps flowing, wave after wave, into your ears. You forget who you are, where you are, what you are doing. The song comes to an end. You remove the earbuds and just sit there with your dropped jaw refusing to shut your open mouth. You can’t remember what song was just playing or how many songs played through.

    Please don’t pour honey into your ears for any reason. The above description is not to be taken literally.

    Bass:
    In the sweet spot, the E5000s bass is spectacular. It goes really deep, and gives you all the rumble that is there in the recording. The dynamic driver really pumps the bass. It is a warm earphone, and the bass is very authoritative. That said, the bass is tight, and has great definition. You can make out every note from that bassline, and that very clearly. They very much play in their position and do not bleed anywhere else. Remember, we’re always in the sweet spot where the volume is rather low. So, this won’t go rattling your brain. Here, you will just hear tight authoritative notes positioned perfectly. There is enough sub-bass here to satisfy hardcore bassheads, but to enjoy the rest of the spectrum they must keep the slam low. Those that love lush signatures will totally dig this signature. This kind of visceral bass is much suited for jazz or classical music where timbre of the cello or the double bass reverbs to extreme satisfaction. Electronic bass can easily go overboard and colour the signature dark. Sweet spot is the key.

    Mids:
    The juicy bass also makes the mids very lush and creamy. With all that bass quantity, I still don’t see it disturbing the stuff going on in the mids. This is because of the layering. The mids play in their own zone and can be heard clearly alongside the bass instruments. The mids just borrow the lush quality from this bass which adds to the timbre. Every instrument sounds real, better than real, in fact. The vocals are so sublime, and full of soul. They add an earthy feel to the voice. You can hear every breath taken. Both male and female vocals are presented very gracefully. Everything sounds so smooth, nothing jumps out, and they all hold strictly their position. The mids are also very detailed and a painted in a very subtle, at the same time vivid, manner. The decay is perfect and it’s just a pleasure to listen to.

    Treble:
    In the sweet spot, the treble is very clear and any sound in this spectrum is presented in a magical way. There is absolutely no noise to be noticed. Not a single spot taints that black canvas of the soundstage. Every chime, every bell, rings clearly and disappears into the blackness that it came from. Every sound in this region is a stroke of colour in that black stage. The micro-details, as well, are presented in the same subtle, yet vivid, manner. But to enjoy all this you are restrained to your sweet spot. If you increase the volume, the bass will take over and the sublime presentation is tainted. The instrument positioning is stellar. The more I listen to, I more I feel that the treble and the micro-details are very sharply presented, and I find them lacking in no way. To feel this, you need to spend some time with these earphones and burn your brain to the signature.

    Soundstage is as wide as you get from a closed IEM. Good depth of field is displayed. Very 3 dimensional and dynamic soundstage. The soundstage can present classical music and complex passages very well due to it's great layering capabilities.

    Comparisons
    Let’s do some very brief comparisons to get to know the flagship of the Final E series better.

    Comparing these to any other earphones is a challenge per se. The E5000 sounds so smooth that I find it hard to match the sounds with the other earphone. I generally settle for the sweet spot of Earphone B vs sweet spot of E5000.

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    Final E5000 vs Final Audio Design Heaven IV
    First, let’s compare this with one of the Heaven series BA earaphones. It would have been much interesting with Heaven VI, but unfortunately I own only the Heaven IV. This should do, anyway.

    Switching from E5000 to Heaven IV, you will notice that the Heaven IV is far brighter in comparison. Remember, Heaven IV is actually one of the warmer BA earphones in the market. The bass of the Heaven IV is so low it appears anaemic and lacking in comparison. The E5000s bass hits harder and goes deeper, and are very tight. This paints a far darker picture overall with the E5000. The details in music are very apparent with the BA driver of Heaven IV. The E5000 presents all the details in a very subtle and delicate manner. Every detail is hidden in the soundstage and delicately presented amid the lush music. The cymbals and hi-hats are way in the background in the E5000 vs very present and on top with the Heaven IV.

    Final E5000 vs Piano Forte II
    Another one from final, the piano forte is also known to have a non-conventional tuning.
    Again, I got only the basic offering from this series. So, let’s check them out.

    PF II also comes across as brighter in comparison. PFII, it must be noted is an open earbud type phone with no sub-bass impact whatsoever. However, they have one of the best vocals I’ve hear to-date and have a wide soundstage, very out of the head. The hi-hats in the PF II are again up high and details are presented fairly up front. E5000s are again dark in comparison, and everything is so smooth, subtle and tight. Everything you heard with PFII is also present here, but are very delicately presented.

    Final E5000 vs ATH CKR100
    Again, similar difference. Smooth and warm vs brighter with spiked highs. CKR100 has it’s upper mids pushed up to the front as well. E5000s dig deeper and is tighter. Subtle presentation vs forward presentation.

    Final E5000 vs Donguri Syou Kurenai vs Sony EX800
    Similar again, E5000 is super warm, deeper bass, subtle and smooth presentation. Donguri and EX800 are brighter incomparison, have very present highs with great up-front clarity. EX800 is warmer than the Donguri, but brighter compared to E5000. EX800 has a very wide soundstage as well.

    To put things into perspective, imagine a scenery. Sun rises at 6 AM. FAD IV, shows you how it looks at 9 AM when the sun has risen and it’s nice and bright. Etymotics would be noon. Sony and Donguri give you the picture when it’s around 2 PM. Piano forte shows the same picture when it is 4 PM. And the E5000 will be the picture when it is 5:30 PM, sun sets at 6 PM. (edited the timings)

    Please note that A-B comparisons have really no meaning because of the super smooth response of E5000. This essentially demands one to be psychologically tuned to the tuning of the earphones. Meaning, listening a while and easing into the signature. Still, this is done here just to give you an idea about the tuning.

    Another one earphone that I have which possesses a similar dark signature is the Flare Audio R2A. But I will reserve this comparison only for E4000 since they fall in the same price category. This will be up in the next few days.

    Let’s do some essential comparisons within the E series.

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    Final E3000 vs Final E5000
    Final E5000 is the direct upgrade to Final E3000. Final says compared to the E3000 “a purer and subtler sound is achieved” in the E5000. Let’s see how they compare side by side.

    The E5000 digs deeper into the sub-bass region in comparison, and rumbles more readily. The E3000 has authoritative bass as well, but isn’t so deep and also isn’t so tight as the E5000. The E3000 also has a little more presence in the treble, whereas the E5000 is much, much smoother. Although subtle, clarity is better with the E5000. Only, noticing it is not so easy in comparison. Instrument positioning is also better and more localised in the E5000. For those who already own the E3000, if you prefer better definition and more sub-bass rumble at the cost of smoother treble, you can go for the upgrade. E5000 is also a touch warmer due to the smoothed higher registers.

    Final E5000 vs Final E4000
    Let’s see how the E5000 stands alongside the E4000, it’s cousin.

    E4000s bass is tighter than the E3000, but the sub bass impact and quantity is lower than the E5000. E5000 goes much deeper and has significantly greater rumble. The mids appear forwarded in the E4000 due to the slightly recessed sub-bass (in comparison). Mids and vocals, as a result, are more transparent and present in the E4000. In E5000, the mids appear subdued in comparison, slightly warmer, also you can perceive better tightness and micro-definition in the E5000. Instrument separation is better in E5000 as a result. Details are subtler in E5000. Vocals are forwarded and sound mesmerising in the E4000s. They float to the top and tease you plenty. If you love mids and vocals, E4000 is the best of the bunch. If you want the best of definition and the deepest sub bass impact, and you are OK with some extra warmth, then E5000 will give you no regrets.

    How many times have I used the word “tight” to describe the E5000s sound? I’ve never felt this tightness, precision, and thick note presentation in another IEM, and this can be felt throughout the frequency spectrum. I see this as the defining quality of the IEM. This quality is exactly why I keep coming back to the E5000, in spite of its warm and relaxed presentation. I can’t get this anywhere else.

    Overall Sound rating of Final E5000:
    Vocals 4.5/5
    Soundstage 4/5
    Instrument Separation 5/5
    Details 5/5
    Timbre 5/5

    Conclusion –
    Final really opened new doors of perception for me with this tuning. With this “Less is More” approach towards the high frequencies. I never knew that music could be so relaxing and still have such great clarity. I never thought I’d write a positive review for a warm sounding IEM. I would definitely suggest all audiophiles to give the E series a chance. They aren’t asking half a grand for this beauty. It’s perfectly priced. You’re not going to get in-your-face details, you’re not going to get splashy highs showing off extreme clarity, playing with sibilance. But if you give these a chance you will be rewarded with a sublime musical experience with subtle, magical, highs that will fill you with great pleasure.

    DISCLAIMER : Please note that i was not paid or pushed by anyone to write this positive review. Everything written here is my very honest opinion about these earphones.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. iems0nly
      @soundbear Microphonics are considerably less than Heaven IV. Around the ear, you can hear almost no touch noise with E5000. Everyday I walk with them around my ears to work.
      iems0nly, Jun 14, 2018 at 10:01 AM
    3. treal512
      Thanks for the comparison to the E3000. This stuff is right up my alley!
      treal512, Jun 15, 2018 at 6:04 PM
    4. iems0nly