The Final Audio E4000 & E5000 are the company’s top of the line single dynamic driver detachable cable universal monitors in their E-series range.
Disclaimer: The Final Audio E4000 & E5000 sent to us are samples in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Final and Hifiheadphones.co.uk for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Final products we reviewed on Headfonics, click here.
Note, this 2-page review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
Final Audio has always been one of the most spotlighted manufacturers from Japan featuring not only fancy jewelry-like designs but cutting edge technology. The previous model E3000 even breaks the record to defend its VGP Gold Award title for 4 years.
This time we will be examining the latest upgrade E4000 and the flagship E5000, twin models first debut at Fujiya Autumn show with very similar designs but different characters inside. Read on!
Established in 1974 Final Audio started with cartridges, amps, and speakers of their own design. In 2013 the brand started manufacturing headphones and earphones as well as distributing to earphone stores and department stores. Not long after, in 2014, the 3D titanium metal printed model LAB I was created.
Final manufacture out of their own facilities and develops their own drivers to ” accomplish things that usually aren’t possible” as outside supplies do not meet their needs. You may visit their showroom at Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo to see their prototypes.
Our editor Marcus has selected the Final Audio D8000, a headphone with fine metal machining for the Writer’s Choice award in 2018, you can read it here.
Stepping up from the previous model E3000, detachable cables are added to the E4000 and E5000 using similar but larger cylindrical housing. The housing materials are upgraded and it is lengthened to encase an extra tuning mechanism.
The E4000 comes in an aluminum housing with a black alumite finish. The E5000 has a polished stainless steel housing plus a silver-plated cable. Both use 6.4mm dynamic drivers and are listed respectively at £119.00 and £219.00 on hifiheadphones.co.uk’s website.
Interestingly, Final state on their site that not only acoustic engineering but psychological research are employed for these designs. The pitch is the claim that E4000 and E5000 will deliver clear sound quality across all bandwidths and a sense of real, true-to-life sound performance.
Final Audio doesn’t elaborate on this topic but you could feel their commitment to pursuing the utmost fidelity doing this kind of R&D and to put user feedbacks back into the design. Not to mention having their product development and manufacturing done in-house.
Both the E4000 and E5000 looks very simple on the exterior. When you look closely as shown in the below diagram you will notice a small opening at the bottom near the MMCX connector, which leads to a small cavity – a secondary acoustic chamber inside the cylinder much alike maze designs in some speaker cases for bass control. With this larger space inside the housing, we can expect the bass in both models to be more dynamic and controlled as a result.
Minimalist designs are adapted for most of Final’s models, with top-in-class metal processing and solid plastic molding quality. The cable hangs 90°out of the ears with no strain on it wearing straight down, and the design looks like something you will see at the Moma museum.
When it comes to the build quality even for the more affordable E series Final won’t disappoint. E4000 has a stealthy alumite satin finish on aluminum housing with chamfered edges on all the cylindrical parts. The E5000 is constructed like jewelry with a premium glossy mirror finish.
Both monitors’ MMCX sockets fix sturdily on the body, nothing moves when you shake the connectors, and detaching the cables require a bit of force. Machining is high quality and every part feels very solid.
Comfort & Fit
Both earphones are very light and comfortable to be worn for a few hours with their stock cable in low profile. The MMCX socket on the cylindrical body sits at the right place to let the earphone rest nicely on your ears without creating any discomfort, no matter you wear them straight down or over-ears. Both IEMs fit very well and there is no obvious microphonic noise on either.
Isolation on both E4000 and E5000 are decent as the insertion goes quite deep with the ear tips that can bend in your ear canal. The material on the ear tips seems to be thick enough to block out more noise than average ear tips as well. After a few hours in my ears, they are still very comfortable with no obvious pressure-related discomfort.
Cables & Connectors
E5000 Premium cable
The huge difference in price for E5000 is not only a result of employing stainless steel constructed body. A silver-colored SPC stock cable, which actually is the same cable on the very premium 3D printed model Lab II, comes with the E5000 and matches very nicely with the color theme.
The cable being featured is co-developed by Junkosha, a cable specialist who participates in developing ultra-high transmitting speed cables and conductors for the ”Kyo” supercomputer, and that is where the cable got its nickname ”Kyo”.
PFA insulator ”Juflon” material is used to lower capacitance, preventing radio frequencies interferences while the outer PVC layer keeps the cable flexible and soft. This means that you could wear the iems over-ear with no noticeable microphonics.
Over-molding parts on the cable are sturdy and do not come with any engravings, unlike the laser-etched E4000 black cable. The cable feels premium on hand but giving it an engraved name may make it easier for users to identify the cable.
E4000 stock cable
E4000’s OFC (oxygen-free copper) stock cable is tangling free and flexible. The gauge is slightly thicker than most common black stock wires so you can wear the E4000 over the ear or straight down with no stress on your ears.
All MMCX connections are tight and the earphone won’t spin around, after many times unplugging and plugging back in the MMCX sockets are still tight with a crispy ”click” when attached or detached. The cables on the E4000 looks identical to the cables on the well-received E2000.
The markings on the earphone or the Red color on the MMCX connector can help you identify the ”R” side of the earphones for both E4000 and E5000’s cable. Both cables come with a right-angled 3.5mm termination.
Accessories & Packaging
The packaging for E4000 and E5000 are minimal and professionally written in multiple languages. The dimensions and content of the outer boxes are nearly identical throughout the series which keeps everything neat and consistent on the shelf.
Opening the box you will see a lot of paper elements such as traditional cellulose-based paper wraps for the parts and individual small plastic wraps for the metal parts. There is also a piece of anti-slip wrap supplied to add friction to the grip on the earphone body when you want to change the ear tips. When you use the thicker cable the supplied ear hooks will be helpful to displace any pressure from the weight.
The E-series earphones come with Final’s Type E ear-tips designed to be positioned and tilted to the ideal orientation towards the ear canal. The sound is then propelled directly to the auditory canal and enhances clarity. The tips adopt a special design that allows it to bend slightly so it can fit different ear canals without creating discomfort.
The ear-tips use harder silicon with grooves in the middle and softer silicon outside to enhance the fit and isolation and with better isolation and a deeper insertion bass performance will improve, and high pitches will be smoothened.
It is easy to find a good fit with the E series IEMs with its generous provision of tips in XS, S, M, L, and XL sizes, and you can identify L/R side with the different colors on it.
Inside the packaging, you will also find cool silicone cases and karabiner hooks to attach to your bags. These are some great storage options of good quality and design to keep the earphones protected from shock and scratches.
Final used to include heavy copper tins and silver cigarette cases for cases, however, the new attempts are getting more stylish and easier to carry around.
The earphones are burnt in for a few days with a few weeks of actual use. Impressions/ comparisons are made using a Hiby R6, FiiO M6, Questyle QP2R, Oriolus NT1 Amplifier, MacBook Pro, Xiaomi max2, and an iPhone 6+.
Tonality & resolution
The E4000 is a vocal virtuoso with a relaxing, soft presentation. Testing the E4000 on various phones and daps you will hear the vocal and mid-low being forwarded quite alike music mastering in the 60s. The shy treble never gets hot, with soft bass decay it matches very well with lighter voices, BGMs, and once-popular old pops.
The midrange is smooth and the slightly mid-bass intensive tuning making it sound very dynamic. Also, it balances out ambient noise nicely during daily train commutes. Despite being relatively engaging the E4000 has a focus on mid-bass with a lack of extension in the bass and a roll-off in the treble. This makes darker voices especially male vocal sounds blanketed, in contrast, slower-paced songs or emotional tones work better with the E4000.
Tracks with wood guitars sound the best and you can hear clearly the transition between chords, together with the comfortable low mids, but instruments intensive tracks get congested.
The E5000 is an overall upgrade from E4000 with plenty more micro details and more headroom. The enhanced treble extension opens up the whole picture and focus is placed not only on the singer and bass instruments unlike E4000.
With the better cable and possibly a more refined tuning in the stainless steel body, the E5000 unleashes the full potential of the design. There is more cohesion in the tuning, bass extends deeper with punchy impacts and fast decay. The treble is opened up and airy, making it perform significantly better with orchestra music or mixes that have a lot of harmonics and treble contents.
Switching between E4000 and E5000 you will easily notice that Final renders the two signatures quite differently. The E4000 focuses on the lower spectrum and you will hear a closer image, much like the singer standing in front of you in a recording room.
The E5000 has a more laid back midrange. You can picture a small hall where the singing stands on the stage and you are in the front rows, with more separation between different instruments and harmonics in the air compared to the E4000. The soundstage is decent but not huge and the width is noticeably better on the E5000.
E4000 is rated at 15Ω 97dB and E5000 at 14Ω 93dB, With FiiO M6 I turned it up to 50/120 for E4000 and 65/120 E5000 to achieve similar sound pressure.
Although the E5000 is rated at 14Ω it actually is quite a lot less sensitive than the E4000 at 93dB SPL, requiring a lot more volume. On my phones and lower-powered sources such as FiiO M6, even when the sound pressure level is high, the E5000’s performance is limited by the output.
The bass impact becomes soft and the sound is lacking in dynamic range. Switching the cables I noticed that it is the earphone itself that is harder to drive. With the design being power-hungry, I expect high gain and higher output power on DAPs like QP2R will feed it well, but also turns out that it makes the treble a bit hot. Changing to medium-powered amping the E5000 does sound fuller and more dynamic, however.
The E4000, on the other hand, is easily drivable with a phone or small DAP and will deliver above-average dynamic range. To lift up the treble I tried using bright sounding DAPs with more gain such as QP2R with a high gain mode on. That works as planned and you will hear a more balanced presentation with better definition in the mids and treble.
With an amp you will hear even more energy in the bass, some may prefer it but I am not a fan for excessive bass in the music. You may find outputs with a strong texture more preferable when hooked up with something like the Chord Mojo. This combo enhances the texture and density of the mids instead of giving it more gain and emphasizes the flaws. The equalizer options on Hiby R6 is also very useful if you want to tweak the sound to give it more sparkles in the treble.
Final E2000 / E3000
Compared to the E2000/ E3000 which has a shorter body and a salt dispenser like cover, the 4mm longer E4000/5000s has Final’s cool honeycomb logo on the back and houses an extra sound chamber in the extended back area, further boosting the driver’s potential.
You will find E4000 a definite upgrade over the E2000 and E5000 and a good leap from the E3000, which is seen as Final’s standard of sound tuning. The upgraded versions not only packs in MMCX sockets, bass decay, and depth but it is now more controlled and the sound is more opened up and dynamic to my ears.
All four IEMs in the series won’t wow you at the first instant with its slightly shy treble and boosted midbass. However, it will be a pleasant listening experience under longer durations with no fatigue coming from boosted frequencies that give you a false perception of higher resolution.
In terms of completeness in tuning the ‘shiny’ E5000 is easily a winner in the tier with exceptional packaging and high-gloss finish using the ”Kyo” cable. The E5000 scales up nicely with better source and houses good articulation and balance in sound.
The E4000 will be a great choice if you are a vocal lover or when your budget blocks your way to the higher-end models. The E4000 will suit anyone who wants a durable, comfortable sounding IEM with the capability to replace cables. The E5000 is a great deal for whoever wants the ”Kyo” cable or a fancy, balanced IEMs that matches well with your higher-end DAPs.