Japan’s Final has expanded their A series recently with two new models, the A3000 and the A4000, and sit alongside the A8000, their current flagship single dynamic driver IEM.
Although on initial glance these two share some features with the A8000 they are a heck of a lot cheaper at just 69 for the A3000 and 119.99 for the A4000.
These prices are actually closer to the E series and a bit lower than the B series but in keeping with the A series pitch, they are both single dynamic driver IEMs.
Final calls the A3000 the new staple for this price range and equips both the A3000 and A4000 with a new 6mm driver unit “F-Core DU”. Brass is chosen as the housing material and a 30μ CCAW coil, as well as a small-batch-produced membrane, is used to maximize its production quality.
As claimed by Final the new 6mm driver used requires a redesign of everything, including the production machinery. The driver diameter is much smaller than the A8000 and the smaller driver size helps the two new IEMs to be more responsive with DAPs or Phones.
From what Final reveals the sound design is conducted based on their proprietary sound evaluation method established during the development of the flagship A8000 model, which considers psychoacoustics findings using different actual music samples for subjective tests.
The form factor on both the A3000 and A4000 has a strong resemblance to the A8000. However, the aesthetics are much darker with the A4000 coming in a dark navy color and the A3000 in Matte Black. Both are very nicely contoured with no trace of molding marks.
The slightly gritted feel to the touch is very satisfying and both models look nearly as good as the flagship metallic counterpart. Regardless of the plastic materials, both the earphone feels premium out of the box with curves and polygons blending in a very artistic manner, not unlike the B series.
The new 2-pin detachable cables design also seems to be a welcome move and opens up new possibilities to mix and match. The recessed socket will fit a wide range of cables so if you already own some 2-pin cables the A3000 and A4000 would be very appealing for cable rolling.
Comfort & Isolation
With an extremely lightweight and small form factor, the A3000 and A4000 are very comfortable to wear. It feels almost like nothing in the ear as the chassis design helps to spread the weight evenly to the contact points it touches. After a few hours of listening there is zero sign of discomfort.
The slightly tilted angle of insertion helps both IEMs to fit better as well as providing better isolation. You will also see the socket pointing out at an angle that helps it to naturally go around the ear and will not stress the cable nor the ears and cause any discomfort.
There are also a pair of ear hooks supplied with both units which helps eliminate microphonics issues. For me, it feels pretty comfortable without the need to add the hooks but it may help the earpieces to stay in place when doing sports.
As usual, all Final IEMs come with top-quality tips in many sizes. You will even find an ear tips case that comes with the A3000 and A4000 with a choice of 5 sizes so plenty of fitting options.
once you get the right fit, the isolation performance on the Final tips is perfect as a result of the rather dense material on the tips. A very satisfactory noise blockage overall and also helping the bass to shine.
The stock OFC cables on the A3000 and A4000 are pretty much the ones we see on the E5000 but terminated to a 2-pin 0.78mm diameter configuration.
According to Final, the 2-pin connectors are designed in-house, as well as the cables, which are configured to be flexible and do not cause microphonics issues. All connectors are over-molded nice and professionally and look sturdy.
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging style is consistent with what we have seen on other Final Audio entries to mid-level products. Everything looks Japanese-styled and professional and you can find all the information of the IEMs on the back of the packaging.
Inside, you will find a silicone carrying case, ear tips case set, and ear hooks. Considering the price the accessories are very practical and premium, especially the ear tips set which, for me, are the best in class. The case is also very handy and great at shock absorbance.
The A3000 is tuned rather flat and has a moderately fast response which reminds me of the Final B2, but with more bass control and depth. You can feel the vocal frequencies being a bit shy and that is allowing the backing instruments to sound swifter without casting a veil on the vocals at the same time.
No particular frequency is stealing the spotlight. You can still feel the bass at 20hz, which gently strolls down from the 50-60hz range into the lower-mids. The area beyond gets a bit more energetic for clear vocals and there is a small lift beyond 5-7kHz, further adding more clarity, followed by a sharp roll-off that dampens all sibilance.
The rather flat tuning gives it more flexibility to be paired with higher output gear and still sounding balanced and controlled. More power in the output helps to add more clarity in the treble and boost the staging, and the extra shimmer helps to paint a wider picture.
With the A4000, the bass is tuned in a similar way to the A3000 probably because of the same drivers being used inside, but the upper frequencies beyond 5kHz are more energized, adding more presence and power to lighter voices.
As a result of the more forward treble, the bass intensity is not as prominent, yet good tonal balance is maintained without sacrificing musicality. There is still sufficient sound pressure in the bass to not make it ‘bass light’.
Furthermore, sparkle and extension in the upper treble are pushed with an elevation up in the 7-10kHz range, further revealing more top-end detail and good headroom.
The A3000 has a hint of warmth in its smooth tuning, overall sounding balanced, moderately extended, and relaxing with decent resolution in the bass. Bass instruments have PRaT with a moderately fast attack. The vocal is rendered politely, and when powered sufficiently the A4000 sounds expanded with clear instrument positioning.
The mids are laid-back but not hollow, very smoothly articulated to the treble which is carefully rounded to take away all the harshness. There is enough speed, resolution, and air for it to sound fairly open and natural despite the mids not being overly forward sounding.
Though spaced a few rows apart the vocals are nicely outlined and sound natural, and this makes the A3000 a great match for live shows.
I recommend a silver cable such as the Null Audio Symphonym Thera with the A3000 if you want to firm up the bass definition and add a bit more clarity and presence to the mid-treble range. Though for me, the stock cable sounds balanced and clear enough out of the box.
The cleanly tuned A4000 enhances the mid-treble range, with more top-end extension and presence, bringing in some cleaner overtones. The treble is more aggressive sounding transparent and clear. Moderately fast bass will sound impactful and lively with a little bit of sweetness in the vocal.
You can hear the A4000 trying to push to the threshold before getting sibilant or peaking. There is more air and brilliance into the mix yet it remains controlled, with no fatigue at all. The more V-shaped signature reminds me of the E5000 with the “Kei” cable attached, managing to deliver high treble intensity while holding the image tight.
Listening more I find the tuning is well optimized for female vocalists, as the mid-lows frequencies are more laid back. Testing with various violin works as well as higher pitching voices like Miwa’s ヒカリへ on THE FIRST TAKE channel, you can feel the image being tight and stereo imaging well presented.
The virtuoso is spaced just in front of the listener, and the image holds well together with good authority and is delivered naturally, not getting too fat or distorting when the treble intensity goes up.
This works very well with female singers but when it comes to darker, thicker male voices it may feel a bit compressed. In contrast, the penetration power and clarity for sopranos is stellar.
Staging & Dynamics A3000
The A3000 works well with vocals and instrumentals sound spacious and positioned. You can hear all elements spaced out nicely while being well defined. There is enough resolution to handle band works and small ensembles well but it may get messy when more instruments come into the mix.
The bass goes deep on the A3000 and the way it positions the midrange frequencies makes it engaging with rock shows and other live music. Nothing is aggressive or protruding. If you love to focus on the bass or acoustic instruments or prefer a soothing, laid-back presentation that won’t still be your focus playing BGM at work, this is the tuning to go for.
Staging & Dynamics A4000
The more vocal forward A4000 has a more intimate staging experience. Since the treble amplitude is boosted, it is biased to the cooler side, and the extra energy helps bring forward the vocal positioning.
Some instruments like double bass are kept at a relaxing distance but strings and woodwinds are quite energetic. The vocal is firmly imaged with acoustic instruments drawn closer so the sizing feels more like a classroom-sized venue.
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