From the Final website: We think you will be surprised not only by the clarity and vividness,...

Final Sonorous X Headphones

Rating:
5/5,
  • From the Final website:

    We think you will be surprised not only by the clarity and vividness, but also by the sense of realism imbued in the sound produced by these headphones, something that hasn’t been experienced in headphones until now. The 50 mm diameter driver unit with titanium diaphragm is integrated with the front plate and has been machined from pure aluminum. The principal parts are composed of machined aluminum and stainless steel. It was necessary to create the housing from a rigid metal so as to achieve the sense of realism. This is a resolute prestige model, the zenith of the SONOROUS series.

Recent Reviews

  1. Kiats
    Rich, Vibrant & Vivid Picture of Music
    Written by Kiats
    Published Feb 15, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Rich, nuanced, musical and addictive sound quality; Excellent culmination of the Final Audio Design house sound
    Cons - It is expensive for most
    In the Singapore audiophile community, my adulation of Final Audio Design is quite well known. Well, it is borne out by my little collection of FAD IEMs: I have the FI-BA-SS, the Heaven S, the Heaven VI, the Pianoforte VIII, IX and X, the 1601SB (predecessor to the PF), Lab 1 and AKR02 (special edition FI-BA-SS in collaboration with AK). I also have the Hope VI. I think I would qualify as a Final Audio Design fan and believer in the late Takai-san's vision of the portrayal of music.
     
    I still remember the fateful day in Jaben Singapore, when Andy and Eric asked me if I wanted to try something special. In due course  I would learn to recognize the danger of that question. :wink: They took out this innocuous brass IEM, the Heaven S. I stuck it into my ears and the rest, as they would say, is history...
     
    Fast forward to December 2015. I was already one of the first in Singapore to have the Hope VI headphone when it arrived at Jaben. Wilson and Claire were kind enough to ensure that my long wait for its arrival was over. I had first met Takai-san at the first Mook Festival held in Singapore, where Claire had kindly introduced me to Takai-san and introduced me as one of the most ardent admirers of his IEMs and his vision of music. Takai-san does not speak English and my Japanese is not much better than his English. Fortunately, his lovely assistant was able to translate between the two of us. Takai-san wanted me to listen to the prototypes of the Hope series and they were wonderful. Nothing that you would expect form a headphone. The pulsating percussion pieces he had running out of his AK100 was fantastic - the bass was deep and quick. How I looked forward to hearing the Pandora Hope series, now renamed the Sonorous series.
     
    In the intervening years, Takai-san sadly passed away. My immediate reaction, aside from infinite sadness on the passing of the man who had done so much (by his creations) to challenge and educate me on the way I listened to music, was to call Claire and drove down immediately to pick up one of the last Lab1s in the wild. The next wait for the Final Sonorous X to go into commercial production and be released in Singapore. Although this was released posthumously, the vision was Takai-san's. It was the culmination of his vision of what headphones could sound like. I was at Jaben Singapore as soon as I could manage after Claire informed me that it had arrived. I listened to it via the Lotoo Paw Gold, then through the Phatlab portable amp and finally off the Otomatsu desktop amp, Whilst the LPG and the Phatlab portable amps did credible jobs driving the X, my suspicions were confirmed that it would relish the driving power of a desktop amplifier. The soundstage opened up, the middle of the soundstage filled up to be much more dense and textured. I entertained this suspicion by the fact that the X came with a short cable and a much longer cable and a 1/4 plug adapter. I just smiled at Claire and Sheila and handed over my credit card. Sonic bliss has followed. To understand how much I loved the X, I did not listen to any other headphone for the next 2 or 3 weeks and even today it forms the mainstay of my listening pleasure in the evenings or over the weekends.
     
    As a background, I have , or have had, practically all the TOTL headphones: LCD 2 & 3, HD700 & 800, Beyerdynamic T1, Hifiman HE-6, HE-5LE, He-560, HE-500, HE 1000, Fostex TH900, AKG K702 & K812, Stax SR007 MK1 & MK2.5, SR 009, L700 and the Abyss. 
     
     
    Build Quality
     
    The build quality of the X is gorgeous. The combination of silver and gold may seem garish on paper but when you see in person, although it will take your breath away, you will simply marvel at the beauty of the beast. There is a nice hefty solid feel about the solid metal frame and cups. Although it feels pretty heavy in my hands, as soon as I put them on I don't feel the weight - perfectly balanced in its ergonomics and design. I particularly liked the way the arch of the headphone band was built such that it pressed the ear cups inwards towards your ears to give really quite excellent noise isolation. It is noteworthy that this is probably the only headphone the Mrs has not complained about being able to hear what I am listening to. :) Her only complaint is that I don't hear her speaking. She believes it is solely due to the noise isolation of the X, and I allow her to continue to believe so... :wink: But seriously, the noise isolation arising from the ingenious design is excellent!
     
    The X uses the same 3.5mm two pole plugs on each side. It comes the now customary twist lock system which ensures that the connector is secure. The cables come in two lengths, one for portable use and the longer one for use with a desktop rig, if like me, your desktop rig is a bit further away. A 1/4 inch adapter is also provided. I understand that ALO Audio may be producing after-market cables, including balanced ones for use with desktop amplifiers. That should be interesting, to say the least.
     
     
    Comfort and Isolation
     
    What I found with the X is that it fits me very well. The clamping force of the headband was just nice, although because of the sheer weight of the X I would not recommend any vigorous dancing with the X perched on your head. I must confess that I don't notice it is there even if I wear it most of the day, which I tend to do over weekends.
     
    As I have noted above, because of the design of the headband, the isolation for this closed can is pretty impressive. 
     
     
    Music Genres
     
    I have a very wide repertoire of music in my music collection: all the way from medieval church music to Mandopop to Calvin Harris, Above & Beyond and most things in between.
     
    What is enjoyable about the X is that it is at least competent with all genres. I particularly enjoy acoustic and jazz vocals with the X. Female vocals are particularly stunning as the emotions of the singer are vividly conveyed across and you can hear the inflections of the voice.
     
    Similarly, I really enjoy Robin Schulz's Sugar with the X. The bass line on the X is really authoritative and pulsating. 
     
    What really works for the X is that there is no harshness at all in the portrayal of music.
     
     
    Sound Quality
     
    The X are very well balanced: the trebles are extended, the mids are full, lush and have a lovely timbre, the bass is deep and hard hitting yet tight. Overall, I would say that the sound signature of the X is smooth, rich, vivid and vibrant. The vocals are intimate and nuanced. On top of this, the X has a surprisingly large soundstage for a closed can while maintaining beautiful layering, accurate imaging and excellent nuances and details.
     
    Alison Krauss has the voice of an angel, but her voice is difficult to convey: on lesser drivers, she can come across as being shrill or sibilant. On the X, her voice is plaintive, frail but so nuanced and emotional.
     
    Another favourite singer of mine, the Tibetan singer Alan Dawa Dolma shows off her incredible vocal range and nimbleness during the themes from the movie Red Cliff (Parts 1 & 2) and the instrumentation is exquisite. The soundstage is also well portrayed. the bass is also well portrayed and realistic.
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    While there will be naysayers who will take the view that it is not as accurate as some of the other TOTL cans, the X is unapologetically musical and enjoyable. The thing about Final Audio Design and Takai-san is that they have never apologized for their house sound and vision of music presentation. If you enjoy their other products, you should give the X a listen. 
     
     
    Pairing
     
    What I will say is that this pair is cans is really addictive. It should really come with a warning label that it may be addictive and may have an adverse effect on productivity and in interest in life generally. :)
     
    As noted above, while the X can be driven by a portable rig, you will be really rewarded on a desktop rig as it benefits from the added driving power and will scale up very nicely.
     
    I currently run my X with its stock cable. I am waiting for Frank from Toxic Cables to make an adapter so that I can use the Toxic Cables SW22 and the Tralucent Uber cables with the X.  Don't get me wrong, the X is magical as is. But of course we are always aspiring to better the sound or at least introduce a different tonality.
     
    My desktop rig at home comprises of an Auralic Aries (with external linear PSU), connected via a Audiquest Diamond USB 3 cable to a Bricasti M1 DAC and then JPS Superconductor V RCA to the Cavalli Liquid Gold. Power cord for the DAC is a Tralucent Uber power cord, and power cord for the Liquid Gold is a JPS Kaptovator power cord. Power is fed through an Isotek Aquarus using US plugs. My Synology DS 414 and a Seagate Backup Plus HDD (connected directly via USB to the Aries) are powered by the new Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply kindly customized for me by James Soh of Sound Affairs in Singapore.
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    In my world, the Sonorous X has its own special place - where music is for enjoyment and pleasure. The vivid, lush, smooth and yet nuanced presentation makes it a very special can indeed. This is the epitome of howFinal Audio Design wants us to listen to our music and the culmination of the musical vision of the late Takai-san. Takai-san has left us a special legacy indeed...

    1. View previous replies...
    2. Kiats
      You are most welcome! I was just surprised that no one had yet to speak about this wonderful can or review it. :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.
      Kiats, Feb 15, 2016
    3. solblack
      Nice review.
      solblack, Jul 28, 2016
    4. dubbcd
      Pretty amazing tried a pair in HK AV show Aug 5-7 2016.
      dubbcd, Aug 6, 2016

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