The Final B Series of universal monitors is a brand new range of single BA and hybrid designs. There are a total of 3 IEMs for the launch with prices ranging from £259 to £599 for the flagship B1.
Disclaimer: The Final B Series 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.
With the success of the very distinctive origami-like ”MAKE” series earphones yielding 847 different tuning combinations, Final steps up with research results and their own tuning to create the latest ”B series”.
3 new models B1, B2, and B3 arrive, with a hefty metal injection molded housings flourished by premium CVD coatings promising good durability and feels luxurious on hand. The model B2 excitingly features an unusual 41Ω impedance with its single BA design, while B1 and B3 sports the famed ”kei” cable and more drivers.
It makes me curious to see what Final choose as their own solution for single BA, hybrid, and dual BA designs amongst the 847 possibilities. We will examine all 3 new products in-depth and discover what they offer!
B1 > B3 > B2
Quite confusingly the B series aren’t positioned following the numbering hierarchy but the order of development. B1 is the most expensive item followed by B3, down the queue is B2 the most affordable design.
The top model in class – B1 has a beautiful mirror polished rose gold housing that feels very luxurious, while the second-best B3 comes in matte silver frost finish and the same ”Kei” cable.
B2 comes in a similar finish to B3 in a different color without the premium cabling. However, you will find a more budget-friendly price tag and a different sound design concept. Let’s look into the design of the B series earphones one by one.
B1 – Luxurious radiance
Encased in B1’s lovely rose gold housings are a 6.4mm dynamic driver and 1 BA. Final put it as ”Networkless” when describing the configuration and I believe they actually suggest the absence of active crossover in the design.
Final points out they want to create an ”overwhelming presence” and the feeling of liveliness as if standing in the center of a live stage performance and I find it comical the design actually matches with the sound signature.
The brilliant rose gold theme reflecting light beautifully and aligns with its grand, spacious tuning focusing on clarity of vocals and the resolution of each musical instrument.
B3 – Silver glaze
The B3 uses a silver cable with a silver frost finish on the earpieces making the B3 a perfect match with Macbooks and other space silver sandblasted devices.
The B3 uses a 2BA driver in the shell with a cooler signature in sync with the cooler color theme. The BA-only configuration aims to deliver good clarity over the whole frequency range. Final emphasizes its beautiful higher frequencies reproduction that can reproduce the delicate touch of a piano and guitar picking perfectly.
B2 – Traditional audiophile concept
The B2’s 41Ω impedance on a single BA design is what catches my attention. The B2 is more affordable without the ”kei” cable and Final, very interestingly, gives it a special configuration.
The high impedance suggests good potential for scaling with amping/ powerful outputs and it is likely damped for a balanced presentation. The tuning objective for the B2 includes close imaging – vocals so close that the respiration can be felt as well as reproducing the nuances and inflections of the delicate sound of each musical instrument.
It is not hard to imagine the tuning is more mid-bass focused compared to the B1 and B3 with pure copper cable and a more damped design.
These IEMs are doubtlessly beautiful in design and practical in spreading the weight on the ears. There are two special screws fixing the earphones together and a vent in front of the driver hiding shyly behind the ear tips on a short, angled nozzle.
The irregular housing reflects light with a nice contrast in their differing angles. The plating on top is well done, very flat and smooth and the machining is seamless. All the earphone feels very premium out of the box with curves and polygons blending in a very artistic manner.
You can see some edging on the earphones but the inner side has round corners to keep them very smooth and they do sit very cozily in my ears for hours without irritation.
”kei” SPC Cable
If you don’t remember our introduction of the Kei cable in earlier reviews, the well-received Kei cable is made from quality OFC materials in Japan by the renowned factory Junkosha. This factory is well known for supplying cables for the supercomputer Kei that once topped the chart as the fastest computer in the world.
The cable looks and feels premium, comes in different balanced terminations as well as the traditional 3.5mm plug. The outer layer of the cable is wrapped with PVC sheathings, very flexible and seems very durable. The cable design has gone through durability tests as well so it should not fall apart or break under pressure.
Packaging & Accessories
Final IEMs always come with professional packaging. The B Series all come in a plain white box with golden prints but without a picture of the earphones on top. You can see a lot of paper elements which is a very Japanese style.
Opening the paper covers you will find 5 pairs of ear tips and a piece of rubber to add some grip for easier cable detachment. Earhooks are also included for those in need. These hooks are very light and work well with my sunglasses on so they are not as obstructive as you might think.
In the box, you will also find the same silicone carrying cases found originally from the E-series. These offer great protection for the earphones and are very handy and efficient. However, if you roll your cables you may need a bigger case as the internal storage is quite tight.
Final Ear Tips
These ear tips use two different materials for the duct and the area touching your skin so they can enhance the wearing experience and shaping the sound at the same time.
You will also see two different colors inside the duct so you could quickly identify the L/R sides. I always love these ear tips and you will definitely feel the durability and quality of the material. The softness is just perfect and there is some room for the ear tips to bend slightly to fit different ear canals.
Upon arrival, the earphones were burnt in for 4-5 days and being taken out occasionally. I have switched to the identical ‘kei’/stock cables on e4000/e5000 which are used for a longer duration. Different gears from laptops/ phones/DAPs will be used to evaluate the earphones.
Before going into the sound performance I must confess my love for the luxurious rose gold housing, they look stunning in every angle. Testing out of my Macbook pro the lows are punchy, treble could be a bit aggressive but not harsh and it has good overall balance in the tuning.
Dynamics in the lower frequencies are great and it doesn’t bleed into the mids nor gets boomy, allowing nicely separated vocals. The upper mids are pronounced as well when I switch onto other DAPs and such gives more depth to the vocal image. The energetic bass renders well the vibes in live performance while the treble extends nicely to give orchestra music good air and openness.
The vocal is very clean and slightly bright yet controlled on all source, decent headroom even on lower power outputs i.e. iPhone 6plus as well as M11’s 3.5 output.
On Questyle’s QP2R higher gain the more pronounced upper mids brings out breathing details for woodwinds, accompanied by a faster attack in the mid lows under more power. The lower gain setting is just right if you love crystal clear vocals.
On the Chord Hugo 2, the B1 is very well controlled and more mid-bass texture is added, more details are revealed. You can feel the ambiance and the bass decaying into space. But all in all the lush mids steals the show.
There is good synergy between the dynamic driver and balanced armatures on B1. I sometimes find peaky hybrids IEMs with slow bass decay and I am not a fan with that kind of tuning philosophy having bass bleeding into the vocal and muffling up the sound. When speed and phase between speakers don’t keep up the imaging is always distorted resulting in veiled. hollow sound.
The B1 is carefully engineered. The hybrid design works like a seasoned band and you will find good articulation which may convince you are not a hybrid fan. When driven well you will enjoy a grand, precise presentation that works great for chamber music and operas, also relaxing jazz music especially saxophone solos.
The B2 is the cheapest option amongst the three but it has a special configuration. The stealthy grey color looks cool and sturdy while the matte finishing is more scratch-resistant than the mirror finish.
With only one single BA there are certainly some limitations to stretch the treble and bass at the same time. Final handles the challenge carefully by damping the earphones. 41Ω on paper requires roughly 20% more volume on my phone than the B1 to drive, and you are getting a very vocal focused output and a more spacious presentation than many single BAs.
Final has done a good job giving a complete and balanced tuning to B2. The focus this time around is the mids. The more bass-light signature works great with lighter and joyful music.
Quite often single BAs are made easier to drive, matching with more powerful gears especially higher gain factors could be a pain resulting in peaky higher notes but B2 cleverly gobbles up more power and return to you a balanced output with its signature clear vocal tuning.
At roughly 1/3 the price, Final B2 extracts the essence in the vocal part of the B1 and handles less complex tunes nicely. The tuning favors younger and higher pitching voices due to driver count constraints but you could very well enjoy acoustic guitars and piano-accompanied vocals as well as relaxing bossa nova/ jazz on it.
On my phones, K3 or M11’s 3.5mm output mid-bass punches soft and acoustic guitars/piano takes the spotlight. The lower-mids is pronounced and vocal is a bit flat, the resolution and texture in the upper mids shall still be considered very decent for a single BA design. You can feel a lift around 5kHz that brings forward some sparkle and harmonics in the music. I put the B2 on HiBy R6 and heard a mid-bass focused tuning again and this could well be a nice balanced tuning but more power will still be preferred.
Plugging the B2 on the QP2R treble immediately opens up and the bass attacks faster with much more control, vocals are cleaner with the bass tightened too. The treble on B2 is not as extended as B1 however it eliminates some harshness and shifts all your focus to the vocal also the lower mids. Switching to lower gain on the QP2R gives it more bass but the higher gain will get you more air in the treble.
The silver ”kei” cable is back again on the B3, the silvery combo. The B3 has a strong mid-treble focus with its 2 BA configuration. It is sensitive, fast and crispy in the treble.
The B3 differs from the B1 by taking away the dynamic driver so there is less bass to render the lively feel the B1 wants to achieve and instead opts for more precision. Compared to B1, the B3 is more analytical/ aggressive in the upper mids and I believe this tuning is made for Japan.
The fast and clean signature is consistent on most outputs but the texture and control are certainly enhanced on better outputs. On Hugo 2, the B3 has excellent resolution especially in the treble and there is plenty of texture in the lower frequencies making it a cooler signature version of the B1.
The QP2R makes it even brighter and I don’t recommend switching on high gain while on iPhone’s output B3 sounds balanced and dynamic.
You will enjoy the B3 if you love to focus on vocals and prefer crystal clear highs. The exquisite mid-treble focus renders high transparency and penetrates well into the upper frequencies, revealing weaker voices without sacrificing musicality. It works very well with instrumentals, fast-paced game music, and animation songs.
The B series presenting Final’s answer to MAKE possibilities has surpassed the successful E series in design and completeness in sound.
B3 penetrates deep into the treble zone bringing you exciting sparkles and clarity. B1 has surpassed my expectation with its dazzling finish and completes the series with realistic vocal and gorgeous bass power. B2 has a fun configuration and is a challenge for output power, most mid-tier DAPs will handle it well to sound full and you could try balanced configurations to give it more power.
Final always promise mature tuning and surprise us with a mature tuning especially in the vocal part. The E series has been a long-time bestseller and the B series is two steps up in design, the larger housing seems to give it more flexibility to boost the performance as well.