Some of you may already know that I was reviewing the in-ears Final Audio E5000 and B3. I apologize for the long delay between the moment I received them for analysis and the publication, but it was for a good reason and I believe that many will appreciate the content of this text.
It all started when I met Final Audio's in-ear entry model, the E1000. Its sound and fit pleased me so much that I decided, after some time, to contact the Japanese manufacturer. I have a lot to be thankful for the exemplary service I had from this company and always, even with a certain delay in the answers, I was treated very well and with an unparalleled sympathy (so much that I didn't even care, after a certain time, that there was a "delay" for the feedback of my emails). Due to this experience, I decided to go further, and after conducting the analysis of the earphones, I asked the Final Audio team to answer an interview about the company and its products.
The interview with Final Audio
As I said above, to make the text even richer, I decided to ask some questions for Final Audio due to the service I received. Hope you like it!
1 - When Final Audio was founded, what was the desire that started everything?
To bring the ultimate sound to people who appreciate music. 50 years ago, Final was established and our first product was a turntable cartridge. With curiosity and our deep interest in audio, we widen our field slowly into amplifiers and speakers.
After stepping into the world of HiFi, we start to know more and more people who are passionate about music (it was quite a small market at that time), making friends, listening to their desire, and we realize that with our knowledge, we took the challenge to start making customized HiFi system. The team visited the customer home, looking at their the current system, understanding what kind of sound they are looking for, and they started their job by giving suggestion, modifying, creating new parts, test them right in front of the customer until to the point where the customer is satisfied and happy.
The process is very time consuming and sometimes frustrating, but it is very enjoyable because every time a project is completed, we are upgraded, and we are also being very happy to be able to bring the "ultimate sound" that the user is craving to reality.
2 - What does Final Audio look for when choosing the materials (or parts) that will be used in its products?
There are many aspects to be considered when we come to material. For example, materials used for the driver’s diaphragm have to have good sonic characteristics while material for the housing needs to be durable. Of course, materials also contribute to the appearance of the product.
For driver diaphragm, speed of sound, lightness, and thinness is our first consideration. The speed of sound and lightness are considered to be the natural characteristic of the material itself. However, not every material is suitable for the diaphragm. There are 2 main factors, some material could have bad characteristic outside of sonic performance. If you have a perfect sonic characteristic material but when it is subjected to vibration, it breaks, then it is not suitable for the diaphragm. The 2nd limitation is manufacturing technology. Due to the stiffness and elasticity of the material itself, some material can go to really thin but some cannot. If a light material cannot be processed into the ideal thinness, then the outcome could be heavier than a heavier material which can be processed into ideal thinness.
But the interesting thing is many materials could be improved by adding other substances to it. By doing so, some materials which were not good could become an excellent one after modification. However, this process normally takes a very long time.
3 - When designing products, what are Final Audio's biggest concerns?
Sound quality because this is what we are passionate about and this is what we are. It is very common for us to take a difficult path to achieve the sound characteristic we are looking for.
To achieve the best sounding with what we have, we challenge manufacturing processes that other brands would never consider. Sometimes even though we know that a specific design would cause a lot of failure during mass production, we are willing to take the risk because it would be very disappointing if we could not achieve the actual performance we want because we have compromised them for easier manufacturing way.
We are a group of people who love good sound. We feel satisfied when our product achieves a level that many could not. Of course, not everyone would agree with the sound that we have created, because everyone has their own preference. But we always try our best to do what we believe to be the best based on real science and mathematic, instead of following the market trend to make more money.
Music is our hobby, creating sound is also our hobby. It would become very boring when we do things in a way that is not actually fun and interesting for us.
4 - When a customer buys a Final Audio product, what is the post-sales service like? Does this apply only to Japan or the rest of the world?
Most of our products come with 2-year-warranty and only the cheapest range comes with 1-year. As we are a company based in Japan, we offer our direct service to the customer who is living in Japan.
However, when we come to service outside of Japan, of course, customer can contact us through our CONTACT US which can be found on our homepage and we are very happy to offer our service, but when it comes to product repair, the international shipment can be very difficult as they are way too time and cost consuming.
Luckily, we have our authorized distributors in the USA, UK, some EU countries, and most of the Asia region, they are always very helpful to help us providing service to customers who are close to them.
5 - The in-ear Final Audio A8000 is known to use a dynamic driver made from beryllium, a recent technology in the world of headphones. What are the company's plans for 2021: Implement new technologies or improve existing models?
As a serious audio company ourselves, of course, engaging ourselves in creating new things which are not yet available in the world is what we are passionate for, and that is also the reason why we stay together in this field for almost 50 years already.
In 2021, we will be challenging new fields such as True Wireless, speakers system, going back to cartridge again, and there are still many that we want to try out. However, as our resources are quite limited, and also our nature in craving for perfection, even though a lot of the projects have started for quite some time, our engineers are working really hard to achieve the maximum potential with what they have now. However, it is not an easy task.
In Final, we have a plan on what kind of goal we want to achieve at when, but 99% of them have never completed in time, because compromising the quality to make the schedule is not our way.
Will we create new things? Yes, but we cannot promise when will they bring introduced to the community.
Will we improve the existing models? Yes, but we do not like the idea of MK2, we would rather learn to minimize the weakness of the current products, and using this new knowledge to create something even better with a completely new design.
Review of in-ears Final Audio E5000 and B3
Founded almost 50 years ago in Japan, Final Audio is a manufacturer specializing in HiFi audio equipment. The company has been gaining more and more space in the world headphones market due to the premium material and finish of its headphones, in addition to a unique sound in some models. I come through this article to introduce the headphone developer, through an interview, and also to describe two in-ear headphones of the brand that have been very successful in recent years, Final Audio E5000 and Final Audio B3.
Here I will explain about the durability and quality of the materials used in the earphones, besides the comfort during the use for a long period. To be fair, I tested the earphones for two months in which you can observe each detail calmly, learning about the structure of the two models I received from Final Audio.
Final Audio E5000
The in-ear Final Audio E5000 has a stainless steel body with a cylindrical shape, which although it seems to be simple, manages to present the advantages of the project efficiently. Externally, you realize that great care was taken to ensure that the finish was impeccable, showing a mirrored design of a single metal piece, thus avoiding unwanted vibrations (caused by your speaker) or parts detachment. The part where the earphone cable is connected, which is removable, is the only part of the house that is made of plastic (with good quality) where there is an MMCX connector.
Because it has a straight cylindrical shape and does not have a very thick body, the E5000 is a earphone that fits easily into the ear canal with ease. Due to the fact of this simple format, it is possible to fit the phone both with the cable facing downwards (more traditional) and with the wire coming out over the top, passing behind the ear. This aspect made this model of Final Audio become one of the most comfortable IEMs I have ever been able to use, second only to CIEMs, which have the shape of the user's ear canal.
But it's not all flowers, the cable that comes with both the Final Audio E5000 and the B3 didn't please me. Although the cable wires are very thin, they have a certain stiffness, which can cause feedback and disturb the moment of placing the earphones. The stiffness problem is more evident when the cable goes over the ear, where there is no fixation or anything to guide the wire close to the ear, following the curve of the ear.
Final Audio even provided Ear hooks to try to avoid feedback, but these pieces do not have the same comfort as the thin cable that was developed. The ideal would be to cover the region where the cable rests on the ear with a more rigid plastic, with a slight inclination towards the side of the head. However, this idea can become a problem if the person prefers to use the E5000 with the cable facing downwards, although I do not find this the most comfortable way to use the earphone.
Another point I have to say about the cable is with regard to the Y splitter, which, being a little heavier than the ideal, brought a certain discomfort compared to other cables I have.
Final Audio B3
The "B series" is a line from Final Audio that, through research, the company sought for each model to launch a sound that would please people more. That is, each model in this series has a different sound and the B3 will not necessarily be better than the B1. A Final Audio employee explained by saying:
"The nomenclature of B1, B2 and B3 is not based on the review. The B1 was called B1 because it was the first that came to our engineers' mind when they thought of the B series. However, with the B1's design, it may not be able to meet everyone's needs, so the engineers tried to use others drivers, combination and internal design to bring more siblings to the B series in order to better cover users' preferences. "
Final Audio B3 belongs to the third generation of this series and has a body made of stainless steel with a matte silver finish (previous generations have different finishes, but all are made of stainless steel).
The shape of the B3 was designed to fill and follow the shape of the ear shell and fit more anatomically into the ear canal. At first, due to the sharp parts of the earpiece, some areas of my ear were painful and I confess that it took me a while to find a comfortable position to use it. I don't know if there was any adaptation in terms of the sensitivity of the skin of the ear, but after 1 month of use, I felt that the tips of the B3's house didn't bother me anymore as before.
The Final Audio B3 cable also has an MMCX connector, but uses a very discreet plastic part, involving only the socket of the socket where the cable is inserted. The cable of this intra-earphone passes only over the ear, distributing part of its weight in the ear and at the same time softening the feedback. However, the same problem with the cable mentioned above, when describing the structure of the Final Audio E5000, also appears on the B3, causing the cable to come out of the ear (not resting on the ear), being hung by the MMCX connector.
In this topic, I will describe the perceptions I had about sound when listening to headphones with different musical styles (more Jazz, rock without being heavy, instrumental, pop, classical music). To analyze the nuances of the sound of each model, I tested the earphones for two months, noticing the changes in behavior according to the type of music that was heard.
Equipment used in the analysis:
- DAP FiiO X7 Mark II
- OnePlus 5T
- Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Final Audio E5000
The final Audio E5000 has a dynamic 6.4mm driver that together with the design of your acoustic chamber (acoustic filter, entrance to a space dedicated to optimize the pressure generated by the diaphragm and paths for the reverberations caused by the movement of the driver are attenuated so as not to cause distortions). It is impressive the result that Final Audio achieved through its design, driver, materials used in the house of the phone, in addition to the internal format to generate the necessary acoustics. It doesn't look like it, but even with the small body it has, the E5000 manages to generate an impression of impressive spatiality!
Using the E5000 in different situations, I could see that it is a hard phone to push to show all its qualities. Despite having a low impedance (14 Ohms), this in-ear has a very low sensitivity (93dB), thus asking for more power so that your dynamic driver responds according to what the sound engineer intended to achieve the desired performance. Using smartphones, I could see that the bass was very fat, with a lot of mass and lacked a little definition (they spread at certain times unnaturally).
As time went by, I realized that the better the amplification, the more definition, strength and depth the bass gained and at the same time, this aspect made the phone become more balanced in tone, compared to the mid and high, although the E5000's sound signature is in L (more serious with neutral mids and highs). By using the Effect Audio Origin balanced cable on the balanced output of the FiiO X7 II, which has a higher power than the SE output, I obtained a considerable increase in bass performance, making the Final Audio in-ear headset more musical than it already is. However, the moment I placed the FiiO X7 with high gain (using the balanced output), the Final Audio E5000 was transformed, gained impressive dynamics and strength, with impactful, defined bass and with great extension when the music asked.
When I got the performance expected by the engineers in terms of amplification, the musicality, the euphonia that this phone provided were indescribable. The E5000's mids have an impressive warmth, which together with the soft highs and low-level bass, deliver a spectacular presentation. The best results I had were with older songs, which were "anemic" in the bass, with soundtrack albums (or original soundtracks) and with electronic songs (and other similar styles).
Final Audio B3
If Final Audio E5000 is synonymous with musicality, presenting a very warm sound signature, Final Audio B3 shows the vein to show: transparency and sweetness. The B3 has 2 balanced armature drivers (BAs) that are capable of bringing impressive transparency and lightness to the music. The sound of this in-ear does not tire and at the same time has a hint of euphonia, not letting the earphone become that analytical and cold IEM.
When I say that B3 has a hint of euphoria, I was referring to its midfielders. What a delicious mids, where you can feel the singer's voice or strumming the string instruments to "touch" your ears. The sound generated in this frequency range has a detail, an attack, a lightness, that I had never seen before, providing great excitement during songs that have string instruments and voices.
Even though Final Audio B3 has only BA drivers, its bass does not owe in terms of length and speed, although it does not have the same punch strength that a dynamic driver has, such as, for example, Final Audio E5000. Due to this great speed and definition provided by the balanced armature, here we find a phone with great clarity, focusing more on the mids and trebles, making the presentation of the instruments more transparent.
Perhaps, after this description you think that the treble of Final Audio B3 will be strident. However, this is not what I found here. Final Audio managed to tune the drivers and design the structure of the phone in a way that the treble was not strident and disturbed during the music, that is, even after hours of listening to songs with great emphasis on the treble, there was no fatigue at all.
Unlike Final Audio E5000, Final Audio B3 has a higher sensitivity (102dB) with an impedance of 19 Ohms (low), allowing any smartphone to push it well, meaning that this in-ear does not need strong amplification .
In terms of spatiality, Final Audio B3 also stands out, achieving an excellent level of sound stage and a good separation of instruments. In this regard, the B3 left nothing due for my custom in-ear JH Audio JH5 PRO (headset sold in the US$400-500 range).
Specifications and price
Check below the specifications of the models analyzed, as well as the approximate sale price (in dollars).
Final Audio E5000
- House material :Mirrored stainless steel
- Driver: 1 6.4mm dynamic driver (DD)
- Earphone connector (removable cable): MMCX
- Cable: silver-plated copper
- Sensitivity: 93dB
- Impedance: 14 Ohms
- Weight: 24g
- Cable size: 1.2m
- Price: US$288
Final Audio B3
- House material: Stainless steel with matte silver finish)
- Driver: 2 balanced armatures (2 BAs)
- Earphone connector (removable cable): MMCX
- Cable: silver-plated copper
- Sensitivity: 102dB
- Impedance: 19 Ohms
- Weight: 36g
- Cable size: 1.2m
- Price: US$480
Both earphones are excellent in their price range in my opinion. Both Final Audio E5000 and Final Audio B3 have excellent construction, quality materials and sound that is likely to please a large majority. The only weak point, in my opinion, is the cable (easily soluble, since both models have the possibility of changing cables).