Final Audio Design has been known for over 30 years as a company unafraid to challenge the status quo in terms of what can be achieved at any given price level for audio components. Final is at it again with its new E5000 earphone, which is the flagship model in the firm’s value-minded E-series range. Priced at £219/$279 the E5000 looks, feels, and sounds like the culmination of years of fine-tuning. Everything about the E5000 conveys an elegant simplicity and quiet confidence, suggesting that this earphone may well define the mark and measure of what sub-£220/sub-$300 earphones can do..
Final’s E5000 stands on the shoulders of its less expensive brethren in the value-conscious E-series. The E5000 design is based around a small aperture 6.4mm dynamic driver and sports the classic E-series cylindrical housing shape upgraded with a mirror-like stainless steel finish. Final patrons will recognise Final’s familiar ‘swing fit’ ear tips and sound outlet tubes that allow a user to customize the ‘tilt’ of the left and right earpieces. This tilting feature provides added comfort and direct transmission of sound to the eardrum while preventing hard parts of the earpiece from coming into direct contact with the ear canal. The E5000 comes with an array of colour-coded sound-isolating ear tips that provide a semi-rigid grooved inner silicon nozzle for conducting sound and a soft outer silicon layer created for comfort. Supplied ear hooks are available and I can attest that the fit of the E5000 is second to none.
The E5000 comes with replaceable, MMCX connector-equipped signal cables said to minimize microphonics. The cable was jointly designed with assistance from Japan’s Junkosha Corporation. Junkosha’s JUNFLON cables have earned a reputation for delivering the sonic goods and were chosen for use with the E5000 help to unlock the fast attack and crystal-clear clarity the earphones can provide. The MMCX cables feature high purity OFC silver-plated conductors and use a state of the art low-permittivity inner insulator film. Always ready to give your more than you bargained for, Final also re-engineered their 3.5mm mini-plug to withstand a quality assurance pass of more than 50,000 bends, fostering long-term reliability.
As stylish and comfortable as the E5000s are, the real ingenuity of the earphone is in its interior construction. The E5000’s design is tailored to smoothing out jagged frequencies so that traditionally masked front-to-back depth cues in the music can more readily be heard. Final developed an acoustic filter and uniquely shaped chamber in the rear of the earphone behind the driver unit. Lower frequencies are kept in balance by way of a pressure-lowering diaphragm pipe at the rear of the earphone housing. Final believes regulated pressure directly provides a truer and more neutral tonal balance while heightening resolution across a large part of the audio spectrum.
Final counsels those who audition the E5000 not to jump to conclusions: this is a serious ‘long game’ earphone that has been through rigorous psycho-acoustic research to produce a mature and lasting love affair—provided the earphones are given 200 hours or more of break-in time.
In my listening experiments the E5000 produced a rich and solid mid range above par in its price class. Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Underground’ from Roots[Curtom] is an excellent indicator of how the E5000 can move you to the music, putting a substantial bite and body to the midrange groove. The treble, which I felt was a bit harsh out of the box, mellowed and became truly outstanding by the end of my tests. I would say the E5000 does just about everything well. Sure, I could have used a wider soundstage or maybe a more aggressive bass line on some hard driving funky tunes. Who couldn’t? The E5000 is already a fantastically well-rounded earphone and it’s scary to think that I am only just now in sight of the 200-hour break-in mark. Things are bound to get even better!
Driver complement: 6.4mm dynamic drivers
Frequency Response: Not specified
Impedance: 14 Ohms
Price: £219 UK, $279 US
Final/S’NEXT Co., Ltd.