Final Audio Design Heaven IV
Apr 21, 2012 at 7:24 AM Post #46 of 268

PhoenixClaw

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I managed to demo these a while ago. It was very musical with a sweet midrange, and I would imagine it to find love from vocal lovers. I can't really say much about the rest of the sound, because it takes a lot more time of listening to get more accurate impressions. The midrange I would say is the defining trait of these, or at least its "color".
 
It feels quite luxurious though - typical FAD.The IEM was made to be used for intimate listening at home and not on the go. The lack of proper strain reliefs seem to suggest that. 
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 7:30 AM Post #47 of 268

kiteki

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Is there a link / source supporting that FAD uses the same drivers as E-Q5 / E-Q7 / GR8 / GR10?
 
All I can find is this sonove stuff - http://sonove.angry.jp/FinalAudioDesign_FI_BA_SS.html
 
Not sure if that's convincing or not.
   
The factory in Indonesia thing was mentioned by DFKT.
 
Look at the picture of the driver used in the Heaven IV I linked... is that a Yashima driver?
 
I vaguely recall someone mentioned a picture of the insides of a Heaven A / S and it looked like a regular BA, however vented, or something.
 
 
Edit:  Will read/answer your posts later Inks.
 
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 8:49 AM Post #48 of 268

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http://www.jaben.com.au/collections/final-audio-design/products/fad-fi-ba-ss
 
In regards to the FI BA -SS, I'm sorry something that costs more than the best top tier customs floating around here and has a questional build quality (no strain reliefs, no replaceable cable?!), and probably isn't better than the JH13 or Miracle anyways is just a sheer overpriced baloney.
 
I don't know what market they are trying to target here. It seems like this company thinks a small amount of people will buy it despite all its shortcomings and dubious design, enough to generate a nice profit (for god sake the mark up on this must be damn insane).
 
I slap on my official overpriced tag on it.
 
 
Seriously, $1400?! For god sake at that price it better deliver sheer eargasms and last the rapture and it doesn't ever have a damn proper strain relief or replaceable cable some $100 iems have.
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 9:17 AM Post #49 of 268

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Ahh lets see Sony's higher end models, Final Audio, FitEar. Audio Technica only if you buy those cans sold only in Japan.


I hope you don't mean the ex600 and ex1000. From what people say, at their street prices they seem like absolute steals. I thought you meant in the grand scheme of things with your post, not just audio gear.

This FAD iem looks to be under 200 which sounds reasonable to me... (read: I'd give it a shot)
Besides, most people say FAD iems sound at least somewhat unique and they definitely look unique which in general puts them into a niche that allows for higher prices. It's a differentiation business model.

 
Apr 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM Post #50 of 268

ProjectDenz

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Quote:
I hope you don't mean the ex600 and ex1000. From what people say, at their street prices they seem like absolute steals. I thought you meant in the grand scheme of things with your post, not just audio gear.
This FAD iem looks to be under 200 which sounds reasonable to me... (read: I'd give it a shot)
Besides, most people say FAD iems sound at least somewhat unique and they definitely look unique which in general puts them into a niche that allows for higher prices. It's a differentiation business model.

 
Excluding those EXs that is. At only $200 I wouldn't call this overpriced. But the $1400 BA - SS is just blatantly overpriced.
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 10:08 AM Post #51 of 268

vwinter

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  Excluding those EXs that is. At only $200 I wouldn't call this overpriced. But the $1400 BA - SS is just blatantly overpriced.


Have you heard them?
They're obviously a low production run product with high fixed costs due to engineering and tight tolerances that can't, or won't be spread over many units. They'd be doing themselves a disservice pricing a product they know is at the least of high quality too low. Unfortunately, we don't know the production costs nor the business considerations. I haven't heard them not seen them but I'd personally like to do so before disregarding them completely.
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM Post #52 of 268

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Quote:
http://www.jaben.com.au/collections/final-audio-design/products/fad-fi-ba-ss
 
In regards to the FI BA -SS, I'm sorry something that costs more than the best top tier customs floating around here and has a questional build quality (no strain reliefs, no replaceable cable?!), and probably isn't better than the JH13 or Miracle anyways is just a sheer overpriced baloney.
 
I don't know what market they are trying to target here. It seems like this company thinks a small amount of people will buy it despite all its shortcomings and dubious design, enough to generate a nice profit (for god sake the mark up on this must be damn insane).
 
I slap on my official overpriced tag on it.
 
 
Seriously, $1400?! For god sake at that price it better deliver sheer eargasms and last the rapture and it doesn't ever have a damn proper strain relief or replaceable cable some $100 iems have.

 
  DImitris from MA commented once, one huge factor affecting cost of  japanese brands  is due the poor exchange rate between US$/AU/EURo vs Japan yen,
and even then, over one K for earphones is a lot for common man.
Musica has them on sale for less then one K  if you done mind getting a non-retail package.
 
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 10:48 PM Post #53 of 268

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Quote:
Transparency is frequency linearity with an average HRTF in mind, what's debatable is preferences. SS like the other FADs, do have a loose bass, but an even more offensive treble imo. 
 
The ED29689s roll off is done on purpose, though it's more of a gradual dip than roll-off for the ER4S/B. It's done that way because it coincides with a well established HRTF for utmost tonal linearity. ER4S has plenty of air imo, if you want more I suspect the ER4B will do. Air is hardly a big factor though, it's pretty much just stuff 15k and higher, way past fundamental frequency regions. 

 
The roll-off isn't done on purpose. It is, in fact, a natural limitation of the driver. The ED is designed as a wide-band receiver for hearing aid applications, and there was never an emphasis for treble presence. That is why Knowles markets the TWFK more for audio applications, even though the TWFK wasn't expressly designed for audio either. Just so you know, I'm not putting down the ER4 at all --- I don't necessarily think the FI-BA-SS 'surpasses' the ER4. The ER4S is still an accuracy stalwart, and is the only Ety model I actually like listening to. In fact, my 4.A is designed after the FR of the ER4S, just with better bass and treble extension. The roll-off just happens to fit a good FR, whereas something like a TWFK requires higher value acoustic dampers. The ER4S isn't some magical earphone forged by the metallurgic geniuses of Etymotic; it's an ED29689 with a green filter, nothing more, nothing less. The output volume of air is restricted by the small sound tubes that Ety uses for all their models, resulting in lessened air flow, and hence that 'anemic, clinical' sound that Ety is famous infamous for. Not my words --- I like the ER4S.
 
About transparency, the very term is a subjective concept. FR linearity and HRTF may very well help bring out transparent qualities in an earphone, but transparency in of itself is not defined by these measurable traits. Also, I don't find the FI-BA-SS offensive in the treble. I highly suggest you listen to them again.
 
Quote:
Is there a link / source supporting that FAD uses the same drivers as E-Q5 / E-Q7 / GR8 / GR10? All I can find is this sonove stuff - http://sonove.angry.jp/FinalAudioDesign_FI_BA_SS.html
 
The factory in Indonesia thing was mentioned by DFKT. Look at the picture of the driver used in the Heaven IV I linked... is that a Yashima driver? I vaguely recall someone mentioned a picture of the insides of a Heaven A / S and it looked like a regular BA, however vented, or something.

 
The only problem is that FAD uses the same picture of that BA driver (which interestingly looks nothing like any driver I've ever seen) for all their descriptions of BAM. It's used in the description for the FI-BA-SS, for the Heaven S, and for the Heaven IV. Essentially, we don't know which driver it's used for. Or, they could all be using the same driver, tuned differently.
 
Regarding FAD's possible use of moving armature drivers from Yashima, I doubt it. If we look at Yashima's documents, we'll see that the N20 (aka GR8/GR10) design doesn't look at all like an enclosed BA driver. FAD is likely using a conventional BA driver design, specified to their desires, and made by some nondescript Japanese company with their factories somewhere in the Jungles of SE Asia.
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM Post #54 of 268

wilzc

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The Fi-Ba-SS is hauntingly good. For a single BA, to reproduce bass that well..  is unheard of. Not even the EQ-5/EQ-7 with their MA's come close.
 
True, the JH16 is also priced around this region but the JH, as powerful and energetic as it is, cannot match the FIBASS for its romantic presentation of music, and again, this hauntingly good bass that leaves you stirred even after the music is paused or stopped. JH16 just gives you incredible detail, speed and power across the spectrum.
 
Apr 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM Post #55 of 268

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Quote:
The Fi-Ba-SS is hauntingly good. For a single BA, to reproduce bass that well..  is unheard of. Not even the EQ-5/EQ-7 with their MA's come close.
 
True, the JH16 is also priced around this region but the JH, as powerful and energetic as it is, cannot match the FIBASS for its romantic presentation of music, and again, this hauntingly good bass that leaves you stirred even after the music is paused or stopped. JH16 just gives you incredible detail, speed and power across the spectrum.

 
There's sure a great different between these two Fi-Ba-SS and JH16 one of them would be universal ears.... and the other is a custom made specific for the ear :)
 
Apr 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM Post #57 of 268

kiteki

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It's actually very simple, you guys are complicating it.  The FI-BA-SS is an extremely good single-driver IEM, no it does not compete with JH16... which has... sixteen drivers... I directly A/B'd them for the record, and yes it is very expensive, and not as flat / neutral / reference sounding as the ER-4S.
 
If you want price / performance, get the Etymotic HF5.
 
If you want absolute note delicacy and celestial sound, get the FI-BA-SS.
 
If you want absolute technical performance / sound-quality, get the JH16.
 
If you want the highest technical performance level at the lowest cost, get the JH11, UM Mage, Thousand Sound TS432 / TS433, or reshell a UE700 / Rockit R-50 into a 4-driver CIEM.
 
Why am I recommending Chinese companies and reshelling?  Because the JH13 is DTEC+TWFK, that's why.  The drivers in almost all universal and custom IEM's come from a company called Knowles, in Illinois, USA.
 
Now reflect on my Final Audio, Sony, JVC "pioneers" comment.
 
Reiterating the same palette of drivers with different shiny marketing, filters and acoustics isn't the same as driver research, for example diamond, sapphire and titanium vapour, wood and bio-cellulose, nano-composite, carbon-fibre, lithium, higher magnetic flux density, magnet research, voice coil research, multi-layer design.
 
The pursuit of extended/linear FR, transient response, attack/decay, realism/naturalism, note quality, exotic/unnatural sound is at an absolute stand-still if you keep using TWFK over and over with different marketing, acoustics, crossovers and filters.  You can sub-divide the sound-field and FR if you want, you can use two TWFK's and add a bass driver, for a total of five, and then coat them in acrylic (with some ink for a cool colour), that's called the Westone ES5.
 
Now, as for the new Sony XBA series, the short story is they don't sound very ideal, even eliciting thoughts like "useless".
 
The long story is instead of making a new soft drink with "sugar+caffeine = profit", and sourcing that sugar from the closest farm possible, and tin cans from China, they didn't do that.
 
They made an entirely new soft drink, with a different composition, not using tin cans.  That's what companies are supposed to do, that's how you get new inventions, new products as a result of pioneering, and make a name and positive track record for yourself.  Not just repeat variations of Coca-Cola over and over since that formula has worked in the past.
 
If Sony released the Sony XBA series in 1999, they would be the best portable audio experience on earth, later, Etymotic and Ultimate Ears would release the ER-4 and TF10, using the best BA's they could find from a hearing-aid developer, and then rival the XBA series with a different sound, and at higher prices.
 
Today, in 2012, most people still haven't heard an in-ear yet, so the new XBA's are still successful nonetheless.  For more experienced IEM listeners, they don't sound very ideal, but if you delete your sonic memory for a moment (to Inks, you said it's very short, right?), then they actually sound very nice, and most importantly, completely unique the IEM arena, with a pretty decent sound/performance ratio at $250 for the top model, especially considering the "new soft drink, made in Japan" versus "coke with 1 million flavours" analogy.
 
On head-fi I see people falling deep for marketing, people that only believe in 'science' (a.k.a. if it's on paper), and then people looking for sound-quality/performance ratios overlooking company values.
 
...and for the record, if every IEM is supposed to be Knowles by some kind of "no point in rediscovering America" attitude, and a hearing-aid company in Illinois actually looks like Skynet in Terminator 2, then every full-size headphone should be made by Fostex, just different flavours of the T50RP and D2000.  The Audeze LCD-2 and Sony Z1000 are wasting their time, not to mention electrostatic designs, after all, can any of them actually compete with the Fostex/Denon D2000... as far as science is concerned?  Nope, they can't.  The problem is as far as all scientific evidence on paper is concerned, the Apple earbud and STAX SR-009 should sound vaguely similar - at least if someone looked at the data, without any idea where the data intially came from.
 
 
Here's a comment from a company representative of balanced-armature drivers.
 
Sonion said:
 
BA receivers was first used in hearing aids due to the high efficiency compared to moving coil. Just recently are there more BA's being used for pro-audio. F.eks. Sony introduces a couple of BA universal earphones. Due to the dominating use of BA's in hearing aids means, that most attention has been to make efficient receivers and less focus on sound quality.
 
I personally want to see a growing use of BA's in the pro-audio area, because this is means that more emphasis will be made on lower THD, more headroom, bandwidth and so on.

 
 
Hopefully this post has covered my POV, and shared something useful.
 
Next step... pick up the Heaven IV, write some technical performance + fairy-tale accolades.
 
 
 
 
Apr 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM Post #58 of 268

Inks

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The roll-off isn't done on purpose. It is, in fact, a natural limitation of the driver. The ED is designed as a wide-band receiver for hearing aid applications, and there was never an emphasis for treble presence. That is why Knowles markets the TWFK more for audio applications, even though the TWFK wasn't expressly designed for audio either. Just so you know, I'm not putting down the ER4 at all --- I don't necessarily think the FI-BA-SS 'surpasses' the ER4. The ER4S is still an accuracy stalwart, and is the only Ety model I actually like listening to. In fact, my 4.A is designed after the FR of the ER4S, just with better bass and treble extension. The roll-off just happens to fit a good FR, whereas something like a TWFK requires higher value acoustic dampers. The ER4S isn't some magical earphone forged by the metallurgic geniuses of Etymotic; it's an ED29689 with a green filter, nothing more, nothing less. The output volume of air is restricted by the small sound tubes that Ety uses for all their models, resulting in lessened air flow, and hence that 'anemic, clinical' sound that Ety is famous infamous for. Not my words --- I like the ER4S.
 
The gradual dip conforms to a natural head-related-transfer, it's adequate no need to take that away. The usual hearing-aid receivers are for the most part, completely different beasts and heavily damped, Etymotic's use brings out all the treble extension needed, take an ER4B, which puts a limit on BA treble extension. Etymotic pretty much found a winning combination due to their extensive research, I think they've probably had some luck involved as well. It's just a plain old Knowles drivers, but it's all about application and effectiveness. Plenty of IEMs with similar bore diameters that sound completely different, don't attribute that to a certain signature. Due to how undampeded the driver is, the bore's tube is actually used to attenuate treble for a more pleasant experience. 
 
 
About transparency, the very term is a subjective concept. FR linearity and HRTF may very well help bring out transparent qualities in an earphone, but transparency in of itself is not defined by these measurable traits. Also, I don't find the FI-BA-SS offensive in the treble. I highly suggest you listen to them again.
If you don't have the former, there's no transparency because you are making significant changes to the recording's voice. Flat speakers are transparent because of their flat response, it's the result of linearity. The A1/SB/SAs are already offensive and the SS have even more midhighs and 8-10k. 
 
The only problem is that FAD uses the same picture of that BA driver (which interestingly looks nothing like any driver I've ever seen) for all their descriptions of BAM. It's used in the description for the FI-BA-SS, for the Heaven S, and for the Heaven IV. Essentially, we don't know which driver it's used for. Or, they could all be using the same driver, tuned differently.
 
Regarding FAD's possible use of moving armature drivers from Yashima, I doubt it. If we look at Yashima's documents, we'll see that the N20 (aka GR8/GR10) design doesn't look at all like an enclosed BA driver. FAD is likely using a conventional BA driver design, specified to their desires, and made by some nondescript Japanese company with their factories somewhere in the Jungles of SE Asia.
 
FAD isn't using a Yashima driver, it may be proprietary, but I am almost certain it's the same one for the whole Heaven line. 

 
 
 
Apr 22, 2012 at 1:22 AM Post #59 of 268

kiteki

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The A1/SB/SAs are already offensive and the SS have even more midhighs and 8-10k.

 
The Heaven S is more offensive than the FI-BA-SS.  9kHz-10kHz spikes aren't very offensive anyway, they're usually intentional and sound very nice, look at the ER-4PT, Sony Z1000/MDR-7520, Audeo PFE.
 
 
Apr 22, 2012 at 1:25 AM Post #60 of 268

Inks

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9-10k can be too forward, hot. You compared the two side by side? SB sounds slightly harsher than the A1 which is already slight piercing to these ears. The design if also poor, housing is far too big to even out the treble with a deep fit. 
 

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