Final Audio was mostly known to me by their budget E series as most of their other IEMs are quite sparse in the UK which makes them difficult to demo. When the opportunity to try their flagship single beryllium dynamic driver IEMs arouse I just couldn’t pass it on.
This review was organised by K&S Technology and Final Audio and I’m thankful for this opportunity.
In the box
Build quality and accessories
t’s hard to approach build quality of such a luxury item without expectations, especially considering how much the cheaper market has improved over last year. Thankfully the A8000 delivers in this regard.
The IEM shells, made out of steel feel very well finished, with substantial weight to them, the edges are, even though they look quite sharp are perfectly finished.
The cable is nicely braided and light, it doesn’t keep much memory and isn’t prone to microphonics, to me the included “earhooks” are kind of a strange idea but they are the best implementation of this kind of system I’ve seen so far, but more on that later.
The case has an extremely premium feel to it, the finish and texture are just a pleasure to handle even though I would have preferred slightly roomier one if I was going to change the cable. The MMCX Assist tool is probably one of the best tools for IEMs I’ve seen, as someone who owns a lot of cables, it proves very useful and saves from the stress of disconnecting MMCX plugs which are prone to breakage.
The added mesh filters are a really nice touch, the amount of IEMs where those got dirty and had to be cleaned and re-glued with DIY methods I had over the years is hard to count. This proves Final is taking the longevity of the A8000 seriously.
All in all, the quality of the accessories is very nice, however, I wish a second balanced cable and some different tip options would be provided in such an expensive package.
Fit and comfort
The A8000 is made of steel which makes them very heavy, this combined with their shape proved to be quite fatiguing to wear for prolonged periods of time. After a couple of hours, the IEMs would start hurt the back part of the ear and it would only get worse over time.
The cable without the ear hooks was quite difficult for me to use, it wouldn’t provide enough support to take some of the IEM weight off of the ear which in turn made them fatiguing to wear even faster.
A8000 has a U shaped with great speed, extension and amazing staging capabilities.
Tight, fast, with a subbass emphasis. The A8000 manages to play the deepest notes of “Bonefied – Window” effortlessly, presenting all the detail in a volume of clean extremely detailed sound. There’s absolutely no bleed or lack of control anywhere. The beryllium driver definitely does its job here.
Again, fast and very detailed sound, with great timbre with maybe a touch of metallic sheen to it which to me was most noticeable with acoustic guitars getting. Vocals are more forward than they should be considering the U shaped signature which is surprising but welcome to see. Female vocals can get slightly hollow depending on tips used (I recommend acoustune AET08 and spinfit CP145). No matter how busy the mix, A8000 present everything effortlessly. As I was listening to some badly mastered music it became apparent the A8000 isn’t forgiving of badly recorded tracks, especially of sibilance. To make matters worse, the resonance region of the driver seems to overlap with the voice sibilance region which made the effect even worse for those tracks.
Yet again, treble is very detailed, fast and extends very well. It has a substantial amount of air and creates an incredible sense of air within the music. All this comes at a cost, A8000 doesn’t forgive a bad mix or slightly emphasised cymbals presenting them as quite harsh. Scrubbing through a frequency generator it’s easy to find another driver resonance in the 7-8k region.
Imaging and Soundstage
Staging is probably where the A8000 shines the most, you are presented with this room like experience. More than a few times, during my listening, I had to check whether my speakers were off, that’s not an easy feat for an IEM. On top of that, the imaging and layering are excellent.
Final A8000 are unique, they create a portable listening experience which can compare to a room with speakers. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost, driver resonances rendering most of the average or badly mastered music hard to listen to. Is it worth the asking price of £1999? I think that largely depends on what music you listen to and whether you can justify the price tag of uniqueness.