Final Audio 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 of audio component. Final is at it again with its new E5000 earphone, which is the flagship model in the firm’s value-minded E-series. Priced at $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-$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, upgraded with a mirror-like stainless-steel finish. Current Final patrons will recognize the brand’s familiar “swing fit” eartips 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 color-coded sound-isolating eartips that provide a semi-rigid, grooved, inner silicon nozzle for conducting sound and a soft outer silicon layer 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 to help unlock the fast attack and crystal-clear clarity these 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 you more than you bargained for, Final also re-engineered its 3.5mm mini-plug to withstand a quality-assurance test 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 smooth 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 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 psychoacoustic 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 had a rich and solid midrange 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 midband 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!
Specs & Pricing
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