Final Audio D8000 Planar Magnetic Headphone
Mar 13, 2022 at 1:36 PM Post #2,341 of 2,772

OctavianH

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 12, 2015
Posts
2,748
Likes
3,535
Location
Heaven
Decided to keep it, it sounds too good to sell, and I mean it, too good. I bought 12au7 RCA valves and hiss/hum problem disappeared <3
I was expecting it might be a tube problem. I followed your posts on the thread because I am interested in these types of amps.
With KT88 Gold Lion I get the missing bass, midrange is now perfect perfect and sweet and the treble is never bright or piercing so I am not using EQ anymore lol
I think such an amp is more than a simple hardware equalizer, it is about soundstage, timbre and so on. Glad you like it with KT88. In my case, I guess I'll choose EL34 in triode mode but it is in the end a matter of preference.
 
Mar 13, 2022 at 2:13 PM Post #2,342 of 2,772

joseG86

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Posts
485
Likes
1,053
Location
Spain
I was expecting it might be a tube problem. I followed your posts on the thread because I am interested in these types of amps.

I think such an amp is more than a simple hardware equalizer, it is about soundstage, timbre and so on. Glad you like it with KT88. In my case, I guess I'll choose EL34 in triode mode but it is in the end a matter of preference.
I might get couple of matched GL KT77 and give it a try, I love the midrange of EL34 but I get more satisfaction out of GL's KT88 so far
 
Mar 13, 2022 at 2:15 PM Post #2,343 of 2,772

OctavianH

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 12, 2015
Posts
2,748
Likes
3,535
Location
Heaven
I might get couple of matched GL KT77 and give it a try, I love the midrange of EL34 but I get more satisfaction out of GL's KT88 so far
I will not hijack this thread, I just say that your wallet is in big danger with HA-6A. That amp offers a lot of rolling possibilities and D8000 is very transparent and responsive to them. Even different types of EL34 sound different and are quite nice and not all of them are so warm in the midrange. My advice is to go for NOS EL34 because there are a lot decently cheap instead of GL KT77.
 
Last edited:
Mar 13, 2022 at 8:19 PM Post #2,344 of 2,772

Pharmaboy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
5,537
Likes
10,003
Location
Goshen, NY
I will not hijack this thread, I just say that your wallet is in big danger with HA-6A. That amp offers a lot of rolling possibilities and D8000 is very transparent and responsive to them. Even different types of EL34 sound different and are quite nice and not all of them are so warm in the midrange. My advice is to go for NOS EL34 because there are a lot decently cheap instead of GL KT77.
I've never heard EL34s or KT88s in a headphone amp. But I compared them often many years ago when I had a big 2-channel tube amp that would happily run either (2 matched quartets, 1 quartet per channel).

The KT88s had a big more dynamic impact, but the EL34s nailed tone & timbre, such that it was no contest. Then again, maybe not a fair fight, since I used a big SS amp for subs below 80 Hz, so I wasn't hearing whatever differences exist between these tube types in deep bass...
 
Mar 21, 2022 at 7:20 AM Post #2,345 of 2,772

Nostoi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Posts
3,957
Likes
7,141
Location
Vienna
Bit of a longshot, but has anyone compared D8000 Pro with Kennerton Rognir (planar version)?
 
Mar 21, 2022 at 7:24 AM Post #2,346 of 2,772

Nostoi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Posts
3,957
Likes
7,141
Location
Vienna
I'm thinking either this or the WA8.. since the WA8 has a 6.3mm balanced output that the D8k pro stock cable comes with.
Sorry to ask a question from some time back, but did you ever get a chance to try D8000 with either WA8 or C9? I have just obtained a Bakoon HPA-21, which I think would be a beautiful pairing with the D8000, but if it also paired nicely with these two other amps - that would be a bonus.
 
Mar 25, 2022 at 5:16 AM Post #2,347 of 2,772

Nostoi

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Posts
3,957
Likes
7,141
Location
Vienna
Good Day All! I posted this in another thread (a general chat thread regarding top of the line headphones), but figured this would be applicable to the D8000 thread, as well. Or, at the least, potentially a nice conversation piece in here 😀

Over the last few weeks, inclusive of tonight, I have taken the necessary time to really form my thoughts on this formidable trio of flagship cans.

This is an in-depth comparison between the Audio-Technica ADX5000, Final Audio Design D8000 and ZMF Verite Closed; as noted, these are all flagship models from their respective and highly-respected brands. While the Verite is the only closed-back headphone in this shootout, many proclaim that is is one of the most “open” closed-backs to ever exist, and many prefer it to it’s flagship sibling, the Verite Open; as such, it’s inclusion in this comparison is more-than-fair. The ADX5000 clocks in at an MSRP of $2,000 USD, while the Limited Edition Verite Closed tips the scale at $2,700, with the Final D8000, finally, coming in at a wallet-busting $3,800.

In the case of this comparison, the ZMF Verite Closed is the Camphor Burl Limited Edition version (with stock solid lambskin Universe pads mounted). The ADX5000 and D8000 are stock. I am not particularly concerned with burn-in, but for those who do care, the Verite Closed has the least amount of hours of use of the trio, with all having less than 100 hours of play.


The audio chain for this specific comparison is as follows:

Purpose-built (streaming and server core only on Audio-Linux OS) PC → Roon (Tidal and Qobuz) → Chord Qutest DAC → ZMF Pendant Tube Amp (stock JJ tubes) → Custom DIY Headphone (1/4" SE) 4-way switcher (minimalistic passive design, high quality components such as UK-made rotary switch and 20awg Neotech UP-OCC Copper wire) → Headphones

The test tracks for this specific comparison were as follows:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat (low-end attack, resolution, imaging, instrument and vocal separation [layering])
Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (female vocals, decay, tonality, detail retrieval)
Obituary – Chopped in Half (low-end/bass impact and slam, mid-range attack)
Miles Davis – So What (imaging, tonality, treble)
Massive Attack - Angel (prominent sub-bass, imaging)

Many other songs; I took notes over various listening sessions in addition to the above, but the above 5 songs were used for the controlled A/B/C testing with direct formal comparison. Additional material included Boz Skaggs, Camel, Opeth, Isaac Hayes, Katatonia, Green Carnation, Steely Dan.

Comparison is broken down by the following:

Bass/Low-End "Impact/Slam":

ADX5000: The Audio-Technica offering has very tight low-end; it is not earth-shaking or thick in any way, but it is tight with palpable impact. I can see, however, overall bass quantity being somewhat lackluster with the ADX5000, despite the quality being there; timing is exceptionally accurate on low-notes and kick drum but there are certainly tracks where you may long for more overall volume.

D8000: Final Audio’s flagship demonstrates immediately more noticeable bass in quantity, as well as visceral slam. Kick drums are particularly notable for their head-rattling impact. Overall, you are presented with a thicker bass presentation, but with such raw impact capabilities, never does the bass feel muddy or sloppy.

Verite Closed: ZMF’s top-of-the-line headphones have an abundance of bass, straddling the middle-ground between thick and warm but still keeping an accurate pace and timing. Slam is certainly noticeable, although not at the level of some of the higher-end Planars. There are times where the bass presentation can slip into a bit of a muddy tendency, but never to the point where it’s a true distraction.

Verdict: Verite Closed has noticeably less slam and “physical” impact than the D8000, but may possess slightly more overall quantity. ADX5000 presents with the absolute tightest low-end section, but the volume just isn’t there. The winner here is the D8000, which offers nearly the tightness of the ADX5000 but with undeniably more slam. There were tracks where I did prefer the VC’s bass presentation and balance (“Angel”), but the D8000’s is, as a whole, more impressive.

Mid-Range/"Tone & Timbre":

ADX5000: The ADX5000 is an absolute king when it comes to showcasing a natural presentation of vocals, with some of the more exceptional “live” feeling to the mid-range and vocal timbre of any transducer, speaker or headphone, I’ve heard yet. There are points where the timbre of instruments is absolutely nailed, such as the sax on “So What”. A superior mid-range performer, it does have it’s drawbacks; there are moments where ADX5000 is just too-forward, too-aggressive with both vocals and other mid-range elements, particularly the upper regions of this range.

D8000: D8000 brings a very balanced approach here; slightly-recessed vocals can hold off fatigue, while tonally you get a presentation that will being justice to most tracks, even if there isn’t much of a “wow” factor here. There are moments where D8000 does take a bit of a more aggressive outlook on the mids, though, however; on “Chopped in Half,” D8000 presented an exceptionally prominent Snare Drum attack which left me feeling a bit fatigued.

Verite Closed: VC presents a more classically recessed mid-range, particularly noticeable in the vocals. There are moments where vocal tonality sounds a bit off, as noted in “Morph the Cat” where Fagen seemed a bit nasally. You get a relaxed approach here that will lend itself better to some styles of music than others.

Verdict: D8000’s balance is refreshing and enjoyable, but tonality is less natural and “live” than the ADX5000. Verite’s mid-range, on the other hand, provides a relaxed experience, although congestion in the vocal range holds it back. ADX5000 can be hot at times, with more aggression and an overly-forward representation. With that being said, the ADX5000’s exceptional tonal qualities and natural timbre cannot be denied.

Treble/"Brilliance or Sibilance?":

ADX5000: ADX5000 has a treble region that demands attention; there is more than enough brilliance here to impress most, providing a sense of air and sparkle that most headphones cannot touch. Every treble detail goes noticed. There is a brightness here, though, that is notable when listening in-comparison to the other headphones on display; there are moments where upper-reaches of horns, for example, can get a bit fatiguing at higher volumes. Good old “tape hiss” will be prominent on tracks that feature it.

D8000: D8000 is another performer that demands attention of its treble presentation; there is a brilliant, exciting presentation here that avoids sibilant tendencies. Hi-ht has more shine and shimmer than you’ll hear with almost any other headphone. Tape hiss will be similarly prominent as the ADX5000. The high-end here never quite gets to the point of fatiguing, however.

Verite Closed: VC has a noted smooth approach to treble that sharply contrasts both of the other phones on display here. Quite simply, for those who are treble-sensitive, VC will be a godsend; for those looking to be wowed by high-end brilliance and sheen, you will not get that here.

Verdict: ADX5000 and VC are nearly opposite ends of the treble spectrum; ADX5000 leans bright but impresses, while VC takes a back seat here and aims to never offend. D8000 comes in with much of ADX5000’s brilliant and detailed treble approach, but without any of the offending steps into “bright” territory. The compromise is that ADX5000 will contain more of that sense of “air” we yearn for, but D8000 will keep you happy without offense.

Resolution/Separation/Detail Retrieval:

ADX5000: ADX5000 is a technicalities beast, and it’s on full display with both the ability to draw out micro-details as well as distinctly separate vocal and instrument layers. On “Morph the Cat,” every distinct vocal layer was discernible.

D8000: D8000 is no slouch in the technical performance traits; while it may not be as overtly elite as the ADX5000, you are getting a very good performer that can separate distinct musical traits and leave the mud behind. At no point did I feel I was losing detail from the D8000.

Verite Closed: VC’s inherent warmth will gloss over a bit of the detail that you may hear with the ADX5000 and D8000; with that being said, it is impressive to hear this level of detail from a naturally-warm and resonant headphone (it competes here with the Rosson RAD-0, another warm headphone that brings a high-level of detail and resolution capabilities). There will be moments that can show a bit of a muddying of the mix that doesn’t reflect top-tier separation abilities.

Verdict: All three of these headphones belong in the elite or near-elite category when it comes to technical performance. “Chopped in Half” demonstrated the different approaches to separation well here; D8000 provided a thicker and less distinct separation of the mix components than ADX5000, while VC outwardly brought more of a “wall of sound” approach that showed that everything blended together more, with separation suffering. ADX5000 leaves absolutely nothing to be desired here; superior handling of layers and detail retrieval.

Staging & Imaging:

ADX5000: Once again, the ADX5000 hits all the right notes of technical performance; imaging is pinpoint accurate, staging reflects a very natural “room” that is reflective of the source material. Perhaps this headphone has the most natural room feel I’ve heard from a pair, and while you won’t get the widest presentation, things like mix stereo-panning will demonstrate how well this headphone performs in this department.

D8000: D8000 also presents a natural, adaptive stage feel and quality imaging. The most noteworthy aspect of D8000’s staging is the sense of height that is portrayed here; while I’ve heard width from headphones before, D8000 was the first pair of headphones where I truly noticed the “height” component to headphone sound-staging.

Verite Closed: VC has a really unique stage, perhaps the most unique I’ve heard; there is a certain sheen of cavernous reverb in its approach that presents a cathedral-like stage on many tracks. Unlike most closed headphones, which are squarely in the “intimate” category of soundstage, the VC brings you to a point where you will feel like you are in a hall towards the back row. It’s truly something that needs to be experienced to understand.

Verdict: D8000 impresses for it’s stage depth and height, while not foregoing the intimate qualities that make headphone listening a different animal than stereo listening. ADX5000 continues to impress with an exceptionally convincing and natural “room” approach to staging. VC has an entirely unique take to closed-back head-stage, flipping the script here and showcasing concert hall sound. ADX5000 comes out as the winner when it comes to it’s pinpoint accurate imaging (evidenced in the ping-pong panning on “Angel”), but there’s no winner here when it comes to overall staging approach as all three headphones have a to-taste approach.

Song “Winners”:

Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat: D8000 (D8000 had the most balanced approach on this track; while it didn’t have the same natural tonality as the ADX5000, or superior separation of layers/imaging as ADX5000, the bass approach was phenomenal and the treble is less “bothersome” than the ADX5000 presentation here).

Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner: D8000 (This was a track that my assumptions had me truly expecting ADX5000 to come out on top; it did not, as the D8000 takes the lead on this one again. The vocals envelop me in a way that VC wasn’t able to, while the D8000 also toned-down some of the aggressive elements from the ADX5000 that felt like a nuisance on this track)

Obituary – Chopped in Half: Tie (a draw on this one feels like a cop-out, but I truly can’t pick which one works best with this. Despite my biases expecting the ADX5000 to fall behind on this, the full sound and aggressive mids lend themselves well to the guitar-heavy attack. However, bass is lacking in comparison to D8000 and VC. VC has the muddiest sound on this, but the overall balance works exceptionally well, while the D8000’s slam and impact really bring the heat here. It’s a true tie.)

Miles Davis – So What: ADX5000 (the band truly feels like they are ‘there in the room” on this song, with the ADX5000. How live and natural sounding the performance is with ADX5000 on this track is truly striking).

Massive Attack – Angel: Verite Closed (overall, the VC brought the most balanced presentation of this track, mixing some of the hard-hitting sub-bass of the D8000 along with a less-aggressive, laid-back, and enjoyable overall approach).

Conclusion:

These are three tremendous headphones, and I feel quite lucky to have the capability to conduct a comparison like this and experience all three of these headphones in a setting like this. They all belong squarely in the “top of the line” category that they have been bestowed with and offer distinct and complimentary approaches. There is a reason why one may (within reason) own all three of these headphones and use them nearly-equally. In the realms of total user experience, the ADX5000 wins here for me; much of that is just logistical, however, as they are simply the most ergonomic of the three headphones, weighing in at over less than half of the VC or D8000. However, on pure sonic qualities, this is a different story. While the ADX5000 is the most dynamic of the three, the best technical performer and has an intoxicating natural “live in the room” tendency to it, there is an undeniable element of aggression in the mid-range, potential-fatigue in the upper-range and subdued bass that pull it from it’s perch. Verite Closed offers an overall smoother, relaxed approach that many will jive with, although there are tonal oddities (congested mid-range and vocals) and the preference (or lack of preference) for its sound stage that are notable drawbacks to me. The D8000 brings the most balanced approach, overall, in this three-way shootout; you get fine detail retrieval, tremendous bass slam and impact, brilliant but non-offensive treble and a tonality that works with almost any style of music. On those merits, I would declare the D8000 as the de-facto “winner” of this shootout.

Disclaimer: All of the above views are strictly my opinion, my subjective view, my preferences, and are not remotely meant to be construed as some sort of objective be-all-end-all comparison of these headphones or some sort of authoritative statement. I hope you’ve found as much value reading this as I found listening and writing this!

20201120_215628.jpg

20201218_202642.jpg
Outstanding comparison - thank you! Really appreciate the inclusion of VC here (and not least Camphor Burl); gives me a much clearer sense of the merits of the D8000 Pro (I'm also relieved to know that the D8000 Pro's treble has more sparkle than VC).

Bonus points for mention of Obituary in the same context as Suzanne Vega :xf_wink:
 
Mar 25, 2022 at 1:33 PM Post #2,348 of 2,772

Pharmaboy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
5,537
Likes
10,003
Location
Goshen, NY
Well, here's some (indirect) news about my Final D8000 with the Pro's "G" earpads:
  • I'm in the middle of auditioning a loaner ZMF Atrium--that's the brand new ZMF dynamic headphone that will officially launch in 6 days (I'm planning to post a review sometime next week)
  • For the first time in my headphone odyssey, I'm hearing a dynamic-driver headphone that actually sounds rather similar to a planar headphone in ways beyond simple "voicing" and rendition of this or that frequency
  • It's the Final D8000, the sound of which IMO shares a great deal with the Atrium
There are a number of remarkable/unexpected things I'm experiencing with the Atrium, but its similarity to the D8K is the most surprising. I've owned any number of open-back planars before the D8K & still own the closed back ZMF Ori. I never found any of them even kinda/sorta comparable to any dynamic headphone before the Atrium. Planars & dynamics just don't sound much alike to me (until now, anyway).

Consequently, my review will definitely touch on the D8K in addition to several dynamic headphones I plan to compare the Atrium to.
 
Mar 26, 2022 at 10:52 AM Post #2,349 of 2,772

joseG86

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Posts
485
Likes
1,053
Location
Spain
Well, here's some (indirect) news about my Final D8000 with the Pro's "G" earpads:
  • I'm in the middle of auditioning a loaner ZMF Atrium--that's the brand new ZMF dynamic headphone that will officially launch in 6 days (I'm planning to post a review sometime next week)
  • For the first time in my headphone odyssey, I'm hearing a dynamic-driver headphone that actually sounds rather similar to a planar headphone in ways beyond simple "voicing" and rendition of this or that frequency
  • It's the Final D8000, the sound of which IMO shares a great deal with the Atrium
There are a number of remarkable/unexpected things I'm experiencing with the Atrium, but its similarity to the D8K is the most surprising. I've owned any number of open-back planars before the D8K & still own the closed back ZMF Ori. I never found any of them even kinda/sorta comparable to any dynamic headphone before the Atrium. Planars & dynamics just don't sound much alike to me (until now, anyway).

Consequently, my review will definitely touch on the D8K in addition to several dynamic headphones I plan to compare the Atrium to.
Can't wait to read it :heart:
 
Mar 26, 2022 at 9:06 PM Post #2,350 of 2,772

Klabauters

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2021
Posts
46
Likes
77
Location
at home
... just plugged my newly bought D8000 Pro to my AR-M2 ... for a late night easy listening session.


AR-M2 + D8000 Pro =a combination probably composed in heaven


earthly spoken: breathtaking with goose bumps guarantee, so smooth, unexited, pure natural
 
Mar 30, 2022 at 6:44 PM Post #2,351 of 2,772

sp33ls

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Posts
630
Likes
1,343
Location
USA
Consequently, my review will definitely touch on the D8K in addition to several dynamic headphones I plan to compare the Atrium to.
I was just about to DM you as I randomly wondered about the D8K... "wait, Pharmaboy loves his D8K, owns other ZMFs, and has an Atrium review inbound."

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
 
Mar 30, 2022 at 7:24 PM Post #2,352 of 2,772

Pharmaboy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
5,537
Likes
10,003
Location
Goshen, NY
I was just about to DM you as I randomly wondered about the D8K... "wait, Pharmaboy loves his D8K, owns other ZMFs, and has an Atrium review inbound."

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
My review is 99% written. All that remains are very brief comparisons to the D8K (which I definitely do love) & the ZMF Verite Open, which is my favorite headphone ever (by a small margin).

I'll listen to both the D8K & VO tonight ... a combination sanity check + comparison to the Atrium

Have to be honest about a weird feeling I have: IMO the Atrium is so good, also so different from any other headphone in several major ways, that I'll be very relieved to find I still love both the D8K & VO just as I did before this review cycle began.
 
Mar 30, 2022 at 8:29 PM Post #2,353 of 2,772

Pharmaboy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
5,537
Likes
10,003
Location
Goshen, NY
I was just about to DM you as I randomly wondered about the D8K... "wait, Pharmaboy loves his D8K, owns other ZMFs, and has an Atrium review inbound."

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Well, after brief comparisons, I needn't have worried. Both the VO & D8000 sound wonderful, exactly as they always do. The Atrium pulls ahead of each in certain (and different) ways, but that in no way changes my opinion of them.

All things considered, the D8000 is the best planar I've ever heard. Its resolution is exceptional, as is its musicality. That is a rare combination; the D8K is one of just 3 headphones I know that totally pull it off (D8K; VO; Atrium).

I can't imagine ever unloading the D8000...from the first note I heard on it, this headphone was a keeper.
 
Apr 2, 2022 at 1:46 AM Post #2,355 of 2,772

Arkitecc

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 28, 2022
Posts
18
Likes
43
Location
Lancaster, PA

Users who are viewing this thread

Top