FINAL AUDIO DESIGN E4000 REVIEW:
The FINAL AUDIO DESIGN E4000 goal is to achieve a sound that feel natural and musical without ehancing any particular frenquencies. It use last psycho-acoustic research to understand how frequencies are interpret by average human brain and ears, and so be able to tune it so there no important physiological frequencies range that feel masked, unbalanced or artificial sounding.
This is extremely complex tuning work as nobody have exact same hearing, as well, must of audio enthousiast are use to specific soundsignature that tend to make them more sensible to certain frequencies. And to make the challenge even more courageaous, Final Audio use a tiny 6.4mm dynamic driver.
So, for once, here, I believe in brain burn in with the E4000, or more likely, unbalanced acoustic brain memory unlearning.
Even without this ‘’brain burnin’’, as I begin to be annoy with overlly coloured iem, and tend to listen to more balanced one, the very first time I put the E4000 in my ears please me, but it was just a begining of a way more fascination listening experience, as if everyday I find a new pages to read in a book I love.
Final Audio Design company is very serious about sound acoustic, but this doesn’t mean it will sound less musical or too cold, the engineer are sure interest about musical rendering as much as sound technicalities, and there approach is based on a wide knowledge that make there earphones appart from the rest, its supreme respect for music and I find there tuning quest extremely inpsiring.
To understand more this balanced audio perfection research, read this:
- Housing: Aluminum black alumite finish
- Driver: 6.4mm dynamic driver
- Connector: MMCX
- Cable: OFC cable
- Sensitivity: 97dB
- Impedance: 15Ω
- Weight: 18g
- Cord length: 1.2m
CONSTRUCTION, DESIGN & ACCESSORIES :
UNBOXING experience is elegant yet minimalist. No big box for nothing, here, we have all what is needed in an humble presentation. A unique carrying case made of silicone, wich I personally find fantastic, silicone eartips of great quality (for real), nice earhooks that aren’t to big, and….a karabiner, for when you do hardcore montain climbing and need to hook your carrying case with the E4000 securly hidden in it, because yeah, it’s just not possible to depart from these marvelous earphones.
As well, I have a weakness for little precious details like how both iem and audio jack are all carefully wrapped in little triangle plastic paper. I have to take a pic, enjoy this masterufll origami work, I think it represent 3 audiophile swans whistling some Tchaikovsky melody.
Construction is well crafted, and beauty here reside in little details. Must of all, its the very durable look of such a tiny iem that sure will please consumer because I don’t think its really possible to break the housing, only mmcx connection could theorically be broken by hardcore mistreatment but again it look extremely solid as we can conclude with the tigh connection it give. Housing is made of high quality milled stainless steel that promise unwanted vibration to be avoid because of its tickness. As well, even if hardly visible on pics or with our own eyes, there a back venting trap at the right of mmcx connection.
Design is just incredibly slim and comfortable, and will fit any type of ears. I find isolation great, and sound leakage minimal even if yes, if you listen very loud, it will leak, but not to the point of being problematic apart if you want them to be completly silent. MMCX connection are very tigh, wich is a big plus as with too loose mmcx connecction it can disconnect when you accidentaly pull the cable : one thing sure, this will never happen with the E4000. Cable do minimal microphonic, but I suggest to wear over ear if you plan to move a lot, like running or doing zumba.
Overall sound impressions and flavor discovering :
The E4000 was the first Final Audio earphones I put in my ears when I receive them with the E2000 and 3000. I try them first being the pricier of the batch (yeah, typical!) and with great expactation wich was due to the fact I was just tired must my IEM was sounding either too bright or too bassy, and especially, I begin devloping very high intolerance to
gluten hissy vocal with the time, wich is something chi-fi audio engineer are must likely enamoured of.
So, i put the E4000 in my ultra-hardcore-critical-mode-ears and press play on my Xduoo X20 and : Amaze I was. It just sound like music should be : Pleasant, clear and cuddling.
The E4000 was tender to me! They give me love without violence! And generous musical passion! I was listening to a jazz album from Jakob Bro quartet, the bass player have great body and natural non intrusive texture, the timbre was right and full, snare drums was fabulous, with a thick impact that lack in pushed treble iem, and its percussion was tigh and around my head, the guitar wasn’t full of artificial decay, it was controled and the note have consistance, and the saxophone, wich was recorder above the other musicians, was full, wide and transparent, all instrument was layered precisely with excellent details in whole sound spectrum…perhaps some would have like to hear the drummer scratch himself between two rythm section in the background , but I don’t care about this type of micro details really and the drummer too don’t care surely.
E4000 is masterfully tuned, in a unique way that permit you to hear everything on same level from 20hz to about 14khz, after this there a slow drop, and perhaps bumps in the drops but no hard peaks, all is smooth, liquid, organic and utterly enjoyable for long listen.
SOUNDSIGNATURE is towards neutral, with gently smoothed treble but particularly well rendered transparency and timbre, bass is slightly pushed fowards for extra body and punch and mids shine in the middle of a masterfully balanced presentation leaning to a chiaroscuro type of darkness were light and shadow mix togheter for addictive musicality. Hum, yeah, its a poetical soundsignature.
SOUNDSTAGE have a stereo like widness, it have a natural transparency in layers that make it feel deep tough it do not have lot of sparkle decay in they air.
AMPING is suggested, but not a monster amp, just a powerfull DAP or portable AMP will do. Due to its low sensitivity of 97db, even if it got as well a low 15ohm impendance that should manage for easy driving, the E4000 open up when we can achieve proper amping. Strangely, having try multiple single drivers IEM, I feel smaller is the drivers, harder it is to drive it. Can’t explain it, but this is what I experience. So to me, sound improve alot with a portable amp amd make the soundstage feel way more airier and imaging more spot on.
BASS is far from lacking, in fact, bass shy people will consider the E4000 quite generous in this department, as it is quite agile and thick without being particularly fowards. But no sub rumble full of air, here it’s good sub body with extra timbre, its tigh and well layered from mid bass, wich is impressively visible with fast electronic like Aphex Twin, I would never have guessed it can deal with electronic so well, but for punchy electro its excellent, for boomy rap or drum and bass it will not be enough coloured and too smooth perhaps. The extension is very linear as we can hear with bass player, it have more body and tone emphasis than texture, even if it do not lack any to my ears, in fact, too much texture in bass can make it too opaque, here we have a neutral approach where timbre and tone is more important than underlined texture. So, as you can guess, you will have no bass bleed into mids and vocal with the E4000, mids litterally sit on the bass.
MID BASS is a little less emphased than lower end, wich give it slight warmness and round it more softly, but it still have good slam, even in bass heavy track like FOG from Nosaj Thing where the kick is full bodied and sub bass synth stay in background. Again, level of separation, without being clinical, have a good transparency to it.
MIDS are uniquely presented and my guilty pleasure with the E4000, because as said before, I can’t stand hissing and the soft presentation just solve all issue about lower ‘’shhh’’ or upper ‘’sssss-ibilance’’, and that…without making the mids sound recessed or lifeless, is just phenomenal. It still have a wide bodied presentation and excellent clarity, as well as fowarded presence, the thing is that you will hear all other instrumental in mids region while your favorite artist sign and it will never sound mushy. Yep, wer’e still talking about a 6.4mm dynamic driver. Hum. Piano note have good weight and accuracy, whatever the register, the tone sound right, as the control do not decay too much it give, unlike numerous iem that tend to mix vocal with piano ackwardly, a perfectly natural layering that impress by its accuracy.
HIGHS are more hearable in 6khz to 10khz range than with lot of other iem I try, but this only if they are present in mastering, treble will not push them fowards for us by creating false sens of dynamic, it will stay linear so no peaks will stole presence of other frequencies. I find this very revealing for proper instrument separation playing in same range as it give more overall clarity, percussion suddenly can became more complex, especially if acoustic. Piano, violin and cello sound more appropriate with the E2000, as well, track like ‘’Reflection’’ from Vassilis Tsabropoulos trio ‘’Melos’’ never sound more realist and balanced, as with other iem, one of the 3 musicians playing always have second seat, here piano and cello have great resolution and presence and the percussion is on same level, not too fowards and shimmy as I always hear before, its tigh, accurate, agile and well separated from rest of instrument, as if the trio was playing in front of me in the perfect acoustic room that do not have ampplifier or too much echo.
IN FEWER WORDS :
BASS : Warm, punchy with good timbre, body and separation.
MIDS : Clear, intimate, full sounding and natural.
HIGHS : Soft, good timbre, good attack, precise and well layered.
VS Brainwavz B200 (100$) :
B200 have a wider around your head soundstage, with more decay, wich is a plus for not too complex tracks while a drawback for more complex due to extra echo and decay that can veil certain frequencies range especially in bass region and lower and middle mids.
E4000 in other hand feel overall better balanced and more agile in layering.
Bass of E4000 is more bodied, especially in mid bass where the punch have more weight than the dryer hitting of B200, sub bass of B200 have some roll off begining around 100hz that make it feel tinner than the E4000 even it have a bump to compensate lack of weight. This make E4000 more natural and realist in lower end without the need of any treble push, its lively and make it for better rounded up presence. B200 feel mid centric compared to more neutral E4000, and have upper mids fowardness give extra presence to violin or vocal, but not to piano note that lack weight, another time, the mids of E4000 are more realist and have better attack and body in a tigher more intimate presentation, between 2-8khz we can easily separate each instrument that play in this range, while it will be more messy and veiled with B200 mixing.
Highs have more emphasis with the B200, but do not give more details, tough you will have more sparkle and decay and better feel of air with certain music style like solo harpsichord, classical guitar or folk signer. Talking about harpsichord, even if the strings plucking sound less full in attack timbre, but the decay will give extra liveness to the instrument wich is quite delicious in fact even if I would have like better weight in attack. As well, it most be noted that B200 can sometime create little distortion when too much different instrument are mix togheter, like bass, electric guitar, violin and voice….this will never happen with E4000 whatever you trow at it.
All in all, the E4000 is more neutral and agile with less emphasis on mids and vocal, while the E200 is more airy and less bassy and is less a great all arounder than the masterfully tuned E4000.
VS Brainwavz B400 (200$):
Braiwavz B400 cost 50$ more than E4000 and have a 4BA’S configuration compared to single 6.4mm drivers of E4000.
Soundsignature are somewhat in same family but tuned differently, it tend towards neutral and balanced with slight bump in mid bass and mids, but the B400 have some bump in sub bass and treble too wich make them overall a hint brighter and sharper.
Soundstage is more holographic with the B400 while the E4000 feel more frontal and little wider with more transparent layer compared to a more hall like withe extra echo of B400.
Amping isn’t needed for B400 as they are more easy to drive even at 32ohm, E4000 benifit from powefull dap or extra amping due to low sound pressure.
BASS of B400 have more sub presence than the E4000 and slightly less mid bass punch and resolution, here E4000 show how even if smooth sounding he can have realistic timbre that give subtle extra body to kick and help a clearer separation with low bass. Sub bass of B400 is thicker and weightier wich will benifit for electronic music while the E4000 bass will benefit rock and jazz.
MIDS are more fowarded with the B400 and have more texture especially in upper mid range, wich give more grip to violin and clearer separation in not too complex music that do not have too much sub bass and highs emphasis. Overall mids timbre of E4000 feel more natural and transparent, but more in center stage too, wich can feel recessed for some.
HIGHS are more sparkly and have more decay with B400, being more fowards and sharp as well, there no treble roll off with these compared to E4000 tamed upper treble wich give more balance and neutrality to overall sound to the cost of softing the dynamic energy. B400 can sound sometime too sharp as well as unbalanced with for example complex jazz were the percussion can feel too fowards, but I think it will be a plus for some listener searching for extra sparkle and details.
All in all, finally, we have two very different sounding iem here, one being more linear and smooth with a natural timbre (E4000) and the other being more sub bassy and energic with extra treble sparkle and around your head airy soundstage.
VS NiceHCK M6 (130$) :
M6 is a dual dynamic drivers with 4BA’S drives, it have a W shape soundsignature with warm pumped up bass, fowards mids and extra highs emphasis.
Soundstage is bigger and more 3D layered than the E4000 but less well resolved as some bass veil lower mid range giving it extra warmness. The E4000 is better balanced and sound more realist and agile but less thick and bodied. Soundstage is deeper due to better resolution.
Bass of E4000 have more emphasis on mid bass and feel less congested with the sub bass, where the M6 have more of a whole sub plus kick impact and weight, M6 feel slower and less agile too and as said bass echo mix with mids a little.
MIDS of M6 are more fowards and textured but more prompt to sibilance and feel less natural than the softer E4000, wich is more centered, have better transparency and timbre. They aren’t recessed at all, but are more on same level of rest of instrumental. I find the mids of E4000 extremely more enjoyable than the M6.
HIGHS of M6 are more present, giving more sparkle and clarity in upper region, but treble can feel sometime metallic in this region compared to the lively highs of E4000 wich sound more realist. I feel lower treble is clearer with E4000 too, where the M6 have some selective peaks, especially in upper treble to extrac microdetails.
All in all, the E4000 sound more mature and well tuned, with a smoother but clearer approach while M6 is more energic and fun sounding for electronic.
Both earphones have excellent construction, and even if very big compared to E4000, M6 is very comfortable.
The Final Audio Design E4000 is a masterfully tuned iem with an elegantly balanced soundsignature that reflect frequencies laws knowledge of talented audio engineer and tend to make us, the audiophile with curious ears, more aware of inner miracle of whole transparent audio spectrum. For some, this sound approach can look new age, in the sens very passive listener that like to be beaten up by fowarded low or highs will miss the wow effect that us, the contemplative music lover, will be delighted by.
E4000 deliver a precise, clear sound where every instruments have natural unintrusive presence and as if we were in the perfect acoustic room without too much echo, the music sound always enjoyable and never agressive.
If you search for the perfect soft sound iem that neither lack energy or timbre, I think only the Final Audio E4000 can offer you this type of dense sirupy musical experience.
A classic that will pass test of time.