There’s been a lot of chatter about Final Audio since the brand’s recent release of the B series. I was lucky enough to try out the B2 last week, which produced a truly unique sound through its single balanced armature driver. So, I was very curious to see what Final’s dual hybrid driver, the B1, could do. Will the sound signature suit your ears and listening style? Let’s take a closer look in this Final Audio B1 Review.
Final Audio B1 Review
IN the BOX
Although the B1 feels solid and weighty in my hands, the fit is highly forgiving. Despite all the edges, none of the points of contact with the ear feel obtrusive or uncomfortable. In fact, when you compare the B1 to a brand like Campfire, which also employs hard lines on its IEM shells, it’s a much more agreeable fit. And even after long listening sessions, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing these buds. Certainly, the customized feel that Final was going for with the B series is right on the money. And, perhaps as a result, the sound isolation is highly effective as well.
Because the B series (which is based on the Make Series) is so new, there’s still little info out there about the design of the B1. But we do know that the B1 houses two drivers; I’m guessing that the dynamic driver powers the lows while the single balanced armature driver juices the higher frequencies.
The B1's reasonably thick and glittery MMCX cable is made of silver-coated OFC with two wires per side and a 3.5mm termination.
Finally, the B1’s shells sport a copper chrome design, making them solid, shiny and super easy to smudge after a date with some chicken fingers.
I found the B1 quite easy to drive, though it may not feel as sensitive as models from other brands. Still, even my buddies with mild hearing deficiencies should get more than enough volume from their little DAPs or mobile devices.
The fleshy bass frequencies lend satiating oomph to modern genres, while remaining clean and detailed enough to handle acoustic instruments as well. Hip-hop fans will also appreciate the nice subbiness offered by these buds. With respect to pop, the powerful presence of the bass combined sheer speed of these buds makes for an extremely energetic track. And listening to rock, the low end provides ample warmth and low-end body to the song. Moving onto classical, string instruments, like cellos, reveal plenty texture and nuance. And when you combine this level of detail with the generous presence in this range, you get a majestic sound that really highlights the grandeur of the piece.
The B1 presents an invigorating sound in the mids. The higher frequencies take center stage in this range, bringing shine and dynamism to the track. Vocals have glow or “freshness” about them, as they drop some of the weight of the low mids, while the forward leaning snare drums enjoy the tight impact provided by the super fast response of these buds. The only downside that I usually find with this kind of sound signature is that huge rock and pop-rock tracks usually sound less full-bodied because of the emphasized upper mids. But in this case, the rich bass frequencies seem to make up for this gap in the low mids. So, I still got a meaty feel when listening to big choruses. The other possible disadvantage to this sound profile is that those with sensitivity to higher frequencies may come across a feeling of harshness on certain tracks. That being said, I sometimes share this sensitivity, and my ears were able to handle it. In terms of separation, you can expect a clean sound, especially as you creep up the frequency range. Take Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, for example. The guitar strums in the lower mids feel a bit mushy. (That’s a technical term). But as the acoustic guitars reach the upper mids, the picks and strums become much tidier or better delineated.
There’s so much crispness in the highs that listening to percussion on pop tracks is like biting through a frozen popsicle. Very refreshing, yes. But in huge doses, you might get a touch of brain freeze. Indeed, as mentioned above, the sound signature may not be the easiest on the ears. But those who love their highs to sparkle will certainly gravitate towards these buds. And moving back to classical, violins in this range had plenty of transparency and resolve, making the B1 also suitable for the nitpicky critical listeners out there.
While the B1 may not offer the vastest soundstage, it does provide plenty of dimension. The gradations in depth are especially well defined. Add to this a very apparent sense of height, and you’ve got quite a trippy, holographic experience going on. And thanks to the sound signature, contrasts between the lowest and highest frequencies make for a rich soundscape. While seasoned audiophiles may not be blown away by this multidimensional feel, those who are new to this level of performance will surely be entertained by the amount of color offered by the B1's soundstage.
Super tight and speedy with powerful lows and snappy highs, this is one vibrant sound signature. At the same time, folks who can’t live without significant low-mids may be left feeling a little hungry. And those with high-frequency sensitivity could find the brighter aspects of this sound profile a tad too much. But at the end of the day, kids who appreciate a dynamic sound signature with particularly radiant vocals may find the B1 too damn hard to resist.
You can buy the B1 here: