I knew it was going to be a good day when I opened my apartment door to a sun-dappled street, birds singing, and the fragrance of Bedstuy Shwag lingering in the air. Things only got better when I arrived at the Audio46 Headphone Review headquarters, where a sample of the Final Audio E5000 was waiting for a demo.
Heralding a new era of Final Audio earphones, replete with the must-have MMCX connection, this promising little earphone retails for a decent $279. But does the hype live up to the price?
Packaged in an unimposing cardboard box, the E5000 comes with few accessories. Aside from the earphones, you will find a silicon carrying case, a carabiner clip, and four pairs of silicon SpinFit tips.
The E5000 rocks a stainless steel housing in a mirror finish, with a clear braided removable cable. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the E5000’s design is the inclusion of the MMCX connection on the cable – for a while now we’ve been hearing that Final Audio might move their earphones to this connection. And while I’m excited to see what accessory cables the company will roll out in the future, I am also gunning to try the E5000 with Bluetooth cables from Shure and Westone.
Fit is easy with E5000; simply insert the earpieces and give them a gentle twist. The near-perfect seal delivers sound as efficiently as it blocks it out, leaving you to enjoy your music in peace.
Unlike most in-ear monitors featuring the MMCX connection, the E5000 can be worn two different ways – wrapped over the top and behind the ear, or hanging straight down. This last point may be of particular interest to anyone who wears glasses, providing a more comfortable listening experience without tangling your specs in a headphone cable.
Frequency Range: NA
Nominal Impedance: 14 ohms
Sound Pressure Level: 93 dB
As we can see from the specifications, Final Audio doesn’t rate the frequency range on the E5000, but if I had to guess, I would place it around 5-40,000 Hz. While I don’t believe my hearing is so great that I could actually hear 40,000 Hz, there does seem to be a ton of high-end detail on the E5000 (usually correlating to a higher frequency range).
That low nominal impedance of just 14 ohms fits flawlessly with low-output devices like a phone or laptop. Lastly, sound pressure seems a bit low, but once you achieve a proper seal with the supplied eartips, volume shouldn’t constitute an issue.
Lifelike with strong detail, the low end on the E5000 features a strong sense of fidelity. There’s zero bleed here and the sound remains clean no matter what you throw at it. Where bass is concerned, this earphone performs admirably, delivering a deep sound with good impact – not too overpowered, but just right.
A slightly subdued sound characterizes the midrange. Still hosting a wealth of good detail, this part of the frequency range appears pleasant and tempered. As a result, the sound seems present, but never too forward-leaning, and yet it’s never overshadowed by the highs or lows, either.
The highs on the Final Audio E5000 wax a bit bright, but only just so. Formidable detail appears in the high end, the high resolution delivering an exceptionally nuanced listening experience in the process. Never piercing or uncomfortable, the E5000 nails the high highs but never tips the scale.
With Excellent placement and good depth, the sense of soundstage may strike you as being almost too good for a $279 earphone. But your ears aren’t playing tricks on you; the E5000 really does pack an impressive sense or space. While it might not stand up to a comparison with the Sennheiser HD800S or a similar top-of-the-line model, I’d put it toe-to-toe with an entry-level Grado headphone.
That MMCX connection. Huge news for any fan of Final Audio products who wants to mix and match with aftermarket cables. And for anyone on the fence over a fixed headphone cable, the E5000 offers an even more enticing entry-point to the company’s characteristic sound.
A beautiful v-shaped sound signature with ample detail and good soundstage easily lend this model to rock tracks. And yet, it performs equally well with classical or acoustic tunes.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Final Audio E5000 is the sheer amount of fidelity packed into such a small earphone. Sure, it sounds great right out of the box and plugged into my iPhone. But running it through a DAC like the Mojo or even the cheap FiiO Q1 Mark II yields one helluva jaw-dropping, hair-raising, spine-tingling performance.
If you must spend tons of money on an earphone, you’ll end up skipping the E5000. Even though you shouldn’t. But if there’s no saving you from such tomfoolery, seek out the Shure SE425 (at $269).
For those seeking a more neutral, mid-heavy sound, I might recommend the more expensive Audio Technica ATH-E70 (at $399).
Really, though, if an overall dynamic sound is your cup of tea, you would be better off going with the Final E5000. The heady character of this earphone is the perfect cocktail of razor-sharp definition and spacious headroom. The fact that it heralds Final Audio’s first step into MMCX territory is an even greater selling point, opening up plenty of options from silver-plated hi-res cables to snazzy Bluetooth options.
At $279, the Final Audio E5000 isn’t the cheapest earphone on the block – or the most expensive. But for those in need of a solid machine that won’t break the bank – and still punches above its weight class with rich, dynamic acoustics – the E5000 cannot be bested.
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