Some background knowledge
The A series IEMs from final Audio follow the success of the E series IEMs released back in 2018, and showcases the new direction of final Audio’s future developments. It’s a lineup that’s utilising a single dynamic driver setup throughout, with a variety of tunings to satisfy both old and new customers to the brand. The lineup first released with the A8000 flagship, a Beryllium driver IEM encased in a polished stainless steel housing, followed by two more affordable offerings, the A3000 and A4000, and lastly, the most recent release, the A5000.
Clockwise from the right-top corner: A8000, A4000, A3000 and A5000
All the A-series offerings apart from the A8000 flagship use the newly developed f-Core DU dynamic driver, with the A8000 using what they call a “Truly Pure Beryllium Diaphragm” or TPBD as I will now refer to it by. They have been designed with the goal of achieving transparent sound reproduction, accurate and true to the track being played. This new driver is then adapted from the A8000 into a lower cost driver for the A3000, A4000 and A5000.
This is my first time listening to this lineup in the past 3+ years that they’ve been in the market, and my first re-introduction into audio in a long time, so hopefully these opinions are not taken too seriously and should be given some leeway for personal preferences. As always, not everyone listens to the same music, or hears things the exact same way.
The A3000, although being the most inexpensive option of the A series lineup, has the most neutral tuning of them all, to my ears. It’s a surprising inclusion, given how Final’s house sound tends towards a more strongly emphasized upper mid tuning, but this instead has a fairly balanced lower to upper mid range, which doesn’t push one over the other.
The bass is clean, with just enough volume to give most songs a nice background rumble, although subbass can still be a tiny bit weaker at times. The mid bass is superb, tight and punchy, and has enough thump to liven up most tracks. It’s got sufficient aggressiveness for hip hop/EDM tracks, and is very similar to it’s bigger brother, the A4000 in terms of quality.
The lower mids are clean and balanced, and because of the less forward upper mids, the overall mid balance is superb, with great scale between male and female vocals, as well as instrumental strings. There’s less of the musical, magical upper mids that final Audio
IEMs are known for, but that’s alright as the tamer upper mids make some shoutier tracks like rock a bit easier to listen to, and is extremely versatile in various other genres.
The A3000’s treble is tame and again, balanced. It’s all about the balance for this IEM, and the treble response is spot on, not too hot, not too cold, just how Goldilocks likes it. It’s airy and unoffensive, and doesn’t take up too much of the spotlight, which makes for a more relaxing listen, as compared to it’s more expensive siblings.
Some people may consider this to be slightly v-shaped, but only just. It’s an impressively balanced IEM that has enough musicality and grooviness in it’s tuning to make music not absolutely sterile, but not overly coloured in any way, and isn’t too far from a neutral tuning. For the baby of the bunch, it’s an impressive offering that will stand to be
The overall sound signature of the A4000 leans towards a mid-centric tuning, with a large emphasis on the upper-mid to treble frequencies. The strength of the A4000 lies in the incredible clarity and body of vocals and instruments like strings and guitars. Second to that comes the solid subbass, which can sometimes overpower the lower mids, due to the slightly thinner/weaker nature of the tuning. This makes the A4000 slightly u-shaped with an upper mid emphasis/lower mid recession, and as a result, there can be some who perceive the tuning to be too bassy or even too treble-y as a result, depending on the tracks or genre listened to.
The subbass has good detail, but transients are slightly impacted, and can sometimes feel slightly smoothed over on more technical tracks that use fast-hitting and fast-decaying bass. Volume is impressive on hip hop and rap tracks, which I do enjoy a lot, but might not work so well on genres like trap or EDM. This rolls over into a slightly less impactful midbass, not having much of a punch, but still having enough volume to keep up with the demands of some songs.
The lower midrange is not the strong suit of the A4000, it often sounds slightly thin, but still with good tone and accuracy. This sometimes also provides a wider soundstage. The slightly more recessed lower treble means the upper mids are perceived to be more forward, which makes female vocals really pop, and pairs extremely well with a large variety of genres that utilise more floaty vocals, like japanese pop and ballads.
Treble of the A4000 has a love-it-or-hate-it characteristic, it can be too aggressive or hot to some, quoting it to be piercing unless tamed with some smaller bore tips. However, I prefer the amount of detail and airiness that the treble and treble extension brings to the tuning, It’s largely enjoyable, and blends well with the upper mids in most cases. On the stock final Audio Type E Silicone eartips, it’s basically ideal and doesn’t impair the rest of the frequencies.
Technicalities of the A4000 lies in a accurate tonal reproduction, and a decently wide and accurate soundstage. Transients like the attack and decay of details aren’t as razor sharp as a hybrid or BA setup, or other micro dynamic driver iems, but they produce enough detail at reasonable levels to keep most people happy.
The tuning is not something everyone will like, but for what it’s especially good at, it’s basically unbeatable. It’s a beautiful sounding IEM, and it deserves the praise.
Of all the four IEMs covered in this series so far, this one is arguably my favourite in aesthetics and sound.
The A5000 is the latest model in the A series lineup, and it has the most versatile tuning of all the current offerings. It still retains a lot of the magical upper mid quality that final is known for, but this new offering has a slightly retuned bass to make it slightly more suitable for a wider scope of genres, but to those used to true neutral, this can seem slightly u-shaped in tuning, in comparison.
The bass on the A5000 is just stronger in most aspects, but to people who are used to neutral, this might be too much. There is more rumble in the sub bass, more detail and aggressiveness, which lends a hand to most modern music. It’s fast, detailed and rumbles enough to satisfy a basshead like myself. And there’s just enough midbass to have a good kick without any hint of muddiness or bloat.
The mids benefit from the detailed bass, being clear and having sufficient volume without also being overly forward. Lower mids are fuller than the A8000 in comparison, but only just. This gives a nice, almost neutral lower mid vocals that make it easy and relaxing to listen to. The upper mids are not as emphasized as the rest of the lineup, and this helps bring it down to a less fatiguing level, making the IEM more versatile as upper mid frequencies won’t sound as shouty in certain tracks. This representation makes the mids incredibly balanced between upper and lower, and makes for a more mid-neutral listening experience.
The treble is still slightly emphasized and can be hot in very specific cases, but the extension it has provides to a super airy and kira-kira quality that helps the soundstage. This hasn’t changed much from the A8000, but in comparison, because of the overall more balanced tuning across the mids, it’s also not perceived to be as hot or piercing.
The A5000 is a verifiably solid all-rounder, and will easily conquer anything you throw at it. It’s not a specialist like the other IEMs in the lineup, but it is musical enough to ease most people unfamiliar with final Audio’s lineup into the tuning.
As with all final Audio flagships of their respective lineups, the E5000, the F7200, the Heaven VII/VIII, the B3, they all share the iconic mirror polished stainless steel housing, paired with an incredibly beautiful silver coated copper cable. It’s identifiable as the top of the line, and establishes itself in it’s place well.
In terms of tuning, the A8000 is an interesting one, it’s got the upfront upper mids and treble, albeit with slightly less upper treble for that airiness in the A4000. It’s standout point however, is that incredible detail and staging of the IEM.
The bass can be perceived as anemic to some bassheads, especially in the immense presence of the upper mids and treble, and that’s not an inaccurate analysis of the volume. However, volume only presents one side of the story, and the bass quality is definitely one of the best, just not carrying the oomph and punch that bassheads will crave. The subbass decays quick which gives a solid, detailed quality to it, and the midbass itself isn’t bloated, which contributes to helping the overall tuning not feel bloated or muddy at all.
The lower mids are clear and solid, with nice full body to it. Deeper male vocals are beautifully reproduced, with a natural decay that balances the fine line between artificial sounding vocals and lazy vocals. There’s also a nice quality to the tone that, on good recordings, make the vocals sound incredibly real and spacious. Upper mids are better yet, they have the classical strength that final Audio is known for, and that’s the sparkly upper mids that are absolutely faithful to the track, shining in every situation that calls for it. Instruments like the piano, violin, and saxophone are incredible to listen to, and female vocals are given that heavenly, almost ethereal quality. It’s no monitoring IEM, but the realistic reproduction of these instruments make this IEM a powerhouse in live and modern instrumental music. Incredible detail and tonality makes this a solid pairing with warmer sources to add a depth and musicality to your tracks.
The treble itself can fall slightly behind the upper mids in terms of quality, but this also doesn’t make it bad in this aspect. There’s a light, floaty quality to the treble, and it doesn’t feel too sharp in most tracks, but on some harsher genres like rock and EDM, it can end up backfiring. After all, this is not an IEM for the electronic music enjoyer, hence the more rapid and aggressive treble in those genres can tarnish the capabilities of the A8000. The slight airiness also helps with a more spacious presentation, making for a larger sound stage, which definitely benefits IEMs, which can tend to sound more closed in.
The A8000 is a rather niche offering, and it’s not for someone who enjoys a large variety of music and genres. It’s a specialist in its field, and a damn good one at that. It dominates genres like film music, J-pop, female ballads, and other similar genres, and of course, it might not be versatile like the A5000, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a special IEM that deserves the praise it gets, especially when with the right tracks and sources, it gives me some of the coldest goosebumps.
Here's my fair attempt at rounding up the sound of the entirety of final's A-Series as it stands, as much as I'm looking forward to see what else the brand might bring, there's already plenty to pick from in the current lineup. Check out the A Series in the P/P Webstore here
I am a DIY guy with none of the technical expertise, I just build keyboards and PCs, dabble with personal audio, play video games, oh and I dance. I am fairly simple with audio, using the R70x for home, and the Acoustune HS1657 for going around (actually just Galaxy Buds pro really, I'm lazy). I listen to a wide variety of music, but lately hip hop and house music has been my earworm.