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Final Audio Design Impressions and Discussion Thread

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  1. Wyville
    That makes them really interesting, as I enjoy listening carefully to classical music while often knowing the story behind a piece. I really enjoy "reading" the music and sensing the emotions conveyed by the instruments, but that does require good realism in the reproduction of the instruments and a good placement of those.
    Erfan Elahi likes this.
  2. bidn
    great .!
    however I must add that re. the realism of detail, musical texture resolution , they are fine but not top, re. this aspect they can be improved a lot, e.g. compared to the resolution of the LAB II, ( the resolution of the LAB II would be for me at the level of the AKG K812, i.e. below but not far from that of the HD800), not to speak of the resolution of the Utopia.


    re. instrument realism,
    I need to add that the Frequency Response of the PF is ( I think purposely ) definitely far from flat and heavy colored.
    So the PF are realist for imaging, placement,
    but not realist re. detail level ( warm) nor flatness of FR,

    However this is what makes them charming, they beautify the music with a mystical touch.
    They give me the impression of listening a beautified, mystical version of a really staged orchester or band.

    ******FURTHER ADD ON ********

    I can even put it philosphically.... :
    they make you feel like listening to what ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras used to believe in : the "music of the spheres" (he thought that the planets and the stars were emitting a harmonious heavenly music).

    or again another nice metaphor:
    the PF can turn human voices into voices of angels....

    I wrote these non-technical thoughts to make you feel why one can love the PF so much even though several aspects of their sound is not realistic.
    Last edited: May 31, 2017
    Wyville likes this.
  3. Wyville
    Thanks for going through all that trouble, I greatly appreciate it!

    I does sound like the sort of sound I would really appreciate. I like it when the music is a bit coloured in a warm and smooth way. My Ei.3 are not great at details, but the sound is really enjoyable and that is most important. I want to be drawn into the music and have it stuck in my head long after I stopped listening.

    Yeah, very interesting! Should really have a look around to see if I can demo them.

    What would you say is the difference between the PF VIII and IX? The VIII is already a stretch in terms of budget, but the difference between it and the IX is not huge.

    Thanks again!
  4. bidn
    Hi Rumina,

    great that you are open to the idea!

    Re. file format, we could also send each file separately by email, but this would be too much hassle, especially if many head-fiers become interested.

    But a free hoster or email leaves too little for anonymity, which I don't like when exchanging copyrighted stuff,
    the more if one of the requesters turns out to work for the anti-sharing lobby, police....

    So I suggest to compress our test files in a rar or zip corresponding to a CD and to share it for a while on a P2P network
    I suggest emule (kadmelia / edonkey) which I do use,
    and we use PM to send the title of the CD, not the forum.

    I will send you the title of my test CD by PM,
    we will whether it is the same as yours.

  5. bidn
    You are welcome, Wyville !

    The special sound of the PF is much much more than warm, smooth. It creates this phenomenon which most people here call "magic", "magical", and prefer to call it "mystical". It makes you feel that non-material stuff is real. Some examples : listening through them to renaissance polyphony makes me feel like being in heaven ; black metal like if the demons were real ; dark ambient as if In really was in these ominous places the music paints, and so on ( I posted a list of such experiences re. metal genres a few months ago). These mystical beautifications consist in a deformation of the real musical performance, yet they are fantastic experiences, especially for sacred music. Do you like sacred music ? : if so you could enjoy them a lot.

    Re. the different versions : I think they all improve in imaging, but the bigger step is from IX to X (lack of bass and treble extension don't improve). Then each is made from a different metal and this may give a different nuances. I noticed that one head-fier does not like the IX.
    My advice =
    - go for the VIII (unless you don't like the golden color and like instead only silver, my wife is like this...)
    - then if you continue to like them a lot and have more budget later, then you could at a later point buy directly the X (skipping the IX).

    If you do buy them, let us know and how you feel about them.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
    Wyville likes this.
  6. nogi replicant
    To the Lab II owners, what is the purpose of the 10 black cotton swabs that were included in the box?

    also, man it is hard to read the L and R markings on these things.
  7. Wyville
    Thanks again! It sounds like you really love them and for good reason. By your description they should work very well for some of my favourite pieces of music such as Missa Solemnis, Mozart's Requiem, Dido & Aeneas and The Nutcracker.

    I will have a very good think about it and look around to see if I can find a place to try them out. Since the pressure issue started with my CIEMs I have not been able to get rid of it and might need something open to at least be able to use music to help manage my ADHD (which is very effective). I also think they would make a good compliment to my Ei.3, which I can still rely on for isolation when traveling through London.
  8. nogi replicant
    Lab ii out of my AK380 alone after 24 hours or so of run time is sounding gorgeous. With the AK380 amp it is a little too bright an sharp. Much better timbre out of the 380 alone I think.
  9. bidn
    there is some stuff for cleaning and some replacement parts for the protection mesh at the opening in case it becomes too dirty. I haven't use any of this yet though.

    re L and R, the way to differentiate them is that one of the two has a round, 1 mm wide carving on the transparent plastic sleeve.
    nogi replicant likes this.
  10. bidn
    excellent news! :smile_phones:
    nogi replicant likes this.
  11. Dingding123
    1. Of my old Final Audio IEM:
    My Heaven V Ageing has been having intermittent sound on the left side.
    After some fiddling, I realised that the problem lies in the contact between the cable and the driver. There's nothing I could do to restore its function, and since it's out of warranty, I decided to rip it apart.
    There's nothing much inside the brass housing. I saw a rubber skeleton/scaffold, within which the BA driver was placed. Other than the rubber skeleton, driver and the cable, there's glue that's used to seal up and stabilise the inside of the IEM. So for now, the Heaven V Ageing is dead. Hopefully it can come back to life soon like some Marvel superheroes.
    My soldering set is arriving soon, and I want to try recabling or even changing the BA drivers while reusing the brass housing cuz it's kind of cool.
    Does anyone have any experience in DIYing? If you have any tips please share with me here!

    2. Of my new Final Audio IEM:
    TL;DR: I bought myself a E3000 today. It's a no brainer, because it's such a value-for-money!
    Pros: natural and balanced tuning, clear mids, small and comfortable form factor, separation, frequency extension, affordable price!
    Cons: Bass is loose, lacking rumble, slow speed, flimsy cable

    1. Back story:
    Following the demise of my Heaven V Ageing, I walked into my local audio shop, planning to grab a pair of VE Monk or Espresso. The staff was doing a promotional photoshoot of the E3000 by pairing it together with AK240ss. That moment I thought, "Aren't those little IEM pretty? They must cost around S$300 (200 USD). With that undetachable cable, they should be some midrange IEM." I didn't know what IEM it was. And I didn't care, cuz all I wanted was a cheap pair of earbuds! So I didn't bother inquiring about it. I already had my EE Zeus R, so what's the point of spending a few hundred bucks on some non-TOTL IEM that I'm gonna resell after a few weeks of disuse?

    And what a mistake I had made by not asking what the new earbuds were! As I was about to pay for the VE Monk, I asked for recommendations for any other affordable earpieces, in the hope that I would find something more comfortable than the Monks. Without a second thought, the sales assistant pointed to the E2000 and E3000. I didn't knew the prices yet, but I didn't want to ask just yet, as I was afraid it would affect my judgement. Here's what happened--

    Sales Assistant (A): Try these, they just arrived yesterday. New BA IEMs <passes me the E3000> //Note: He was wrong, actually both use dynamic drivers//
    Me: Sure. <pop E3000 on, play music via phone>
    Me: <Immediately impressed by the tuning, listened for 2 minutes, switching about 8 songs I was familiar with, each to their best sounding part> Hmmm... They are nice! Can I try the other one?
    A: I knew you would like them <passes me E2000>
    Me: <listened for 30 seconds, some snippets of about 2-3 songs> Mehh the first one is much better! What's the price difference?
    <I expected about 70-100 dollars difference. Notice that I didn't ask for their prices directly, as I thought they would cost around 200-300, and I wasn't planning to spend today>
    A: ermm about $20. let me check... <took out his notebook to check for the pricings>
    Me: <in disbelief> what? only $20 difference? Why are they so closely priced while sounding so different?
    A: <finishes checking prices> actually just $10 difference. The E3000 is a tier better than the E2000.
    //I was very puzzled, as usually for IEMs, a tier better would translate to $100-400 more, depending on high-end the IEM is. Curious, I decided to ask for their price//
    Me: so how much are they?
    A: the one you like is $71 (~50USD)
    Me: <looked at VE monk, then at the E3000> Heck, I'm taking this. <pointing to E3000>


    According to the Final Audio Design Website - "The E series was developed with the concept of achieving all of the following: high sound quality, simple design, ease of use and affordable price. With this, we aimed for a product series where the products chosen would undoubtedly be referred to as standards for years to come."
    That's a pretty ambitious goal. I remember Beats by Dr Dre had a equally profound goal too, but that's where the similarity ends.

    Simple paper box outer packaging
    5 pairs of Type E eartips (according to Final Audio Design website, this type of eartip provides the highest amount of isolation and bass tone in comparison to Final Audio's other eartips)
    A pair of rubber ear hooks for those who prefer an over-the-ear wearing style
    A small drawstring pouch made of what looks like faux leather
    The E3000 IEM, powered by a 6.3mm dynamic driver
    A brochure and warranty card
    20170602_023130.jpg 20170602_023304.jpg

    Build quality:
    The machined stainless steel housing is small and light, very comfortable in the ear. There is a unique stainless steel mesh at the back of the housing. It serves as a vent for the dynamic driver. E3000 uses very thin cables - so thin that I worry it might be too fragile for daily use and abuse. The L-shaped 3.5mm gold-plated jack is sleek and should fit most pockets and smartphone cases.

    Sound analysis:
    I tested the frequency response of the E3000 using Macbook Pro and my own ears. E3000 roughly follows the Olive-Welti target without any significant deviation. I don't have any equipments other than my ears. All I could was to listen to a full hearing range frequency sweep and make qualitative comments as objectively as possible. There might be some inevitable personal bias, and I am unable to provide any data on distortion etc that require more than a human ear to quantify.

    The bass (20-200Hz) is pretty consistent, with a gentle roll-off below 27Hz. Relative to other frequency ranges, the bass is elevated. The result is a warm sound signature with an impactful bass with a rather slow decay that is characteristic of dynamic drivers. Phil Colin's Another Day in Paradise bass riffs sounds lush and rhythmic. However, the slow speed makes the bass in Ed Sheeran's Eraser sounds exaggerated and overdone.

    The mids (200-2000Hz) is extremely consistent with absolutely no peaks or dips. (the beauty of a single DD design!) The speed is fast, and this makes the mids in the E3000 forwardly-placed and crystal clear. It is not the most detailed I've heard (I've heard much more details from my Zeus R), but it is definitely very detailed and euphonic. Nils Lofgren's Keith Don't Go sounds simply magical on E3000. The reverb, the sound of the occasional string plucking, the raspy vocals, the tone of the guitar... Simply amazing!

    The treble rises steadily from 2.5kHz to 6.4kHz with a very slight dip at 4kHz. Beyond 6.4kHz, the treble softens and dips significantly from 7.1k to 9.4kHz. There's another smaller peak at around 11kHz, and rolls off quickly at 16.3kHz. The result is a far treble extension and airy presentation. While the IEM tuning is not overly bright, the instrument separation is very good and there is a sense of space too. In fact, the treble is rather backwardly placed and polite. In other words, the treble is mellow and unaggressive. For example, the distant ride cymbals in Coldplay's Yellow sound appropriately gentle and extremely emotional and satisfying. The treble on E3000 can be good for those who are sensitive to sharp trebles, but at the same time, it lacks the energy and excitement of a sparkling treble. But heck, you can't find a nice sparkling treble at this price range, can you?

    Not very fast, as expected in a dynamic driver at this price range. In Muse's Reapers, a very dense and fast track, the E3000 struggles to catch up to the fast cymbals, while doing poorly on the slower cymbal crashes. However it does not sound congested at all. Also, the bass can sometimes be muddy and the subbass rumble is not obvious. (But of course, the bass doesn't bleed into the mid-range.)

    Sound stage and imaging:
    Average width, rather good depth. It's imaging is rather accurate, but not the best I've heard. For example, in Hotel California (live acoustic) by the Eagles, I can hear where the claps and cheers are coming from using Zeus R, but it sounds rather diffused on E3000.

    I've not done sufficient pairing with different sources to find out it's ideal pairings, but with the impedance of 16 ohms, it should play loud enough on most sources, including smartphones. The soundstage is exceptionally wide on my AK Kann, but a mobile phone should suffice as a good enough source.

    Well, what shall I compare it with? E3000 is priced similarly to a pair of SkullCandy (correct me if I'm wrong), The closest I can think of (and I am familiar with), is the Westone 3. E3000 has less midbass bump than the Westone 3, and the mids are slightly more lean and clean. It would be unfair to compare the E3000 with IEMs from a higher price range, although the E3000 sound quality and comfortable form factor is able hold its own against competitions from higher price ranges.

    The E3000 is indeed an elegant IEM that stands out prominently among its competitions of the similar price range. While it is not a TOTL product, the E3000 definitely punches above its weight. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, audiophiles and non-audiophiles alike.
  12. jwbrent
    final seems to be on a tear recently with the introduction of the F series and the E series. I really like my F7200.
  13. peareye
    Love your review....mine was shipped out yesterday!

    Looking to compliment my Heaven VI and VIII
  14. Oscar-HiFi
    @Dingding123 Excellent review of the E3000, they really are a steal for the price. Keep us posted with how you get on with them long term :D
    Dingding123 likes this.
  15. Dingding123
    Thanks!! Hope to see more awesome products from Final :)
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