The Final Audio F4100 utilizes a balanced armature driver in an aluminum housing. But with a price tag of $279, how does it stack up to its competition?
Final Audio F4100 Review
The F4100 comes with eight pairs of eatips, cotton swabs, a carrying case, ear hooks, and safe fit rings (to ensure the earphones don’t damage your ears).
With aluminum housings, the slight earpieces remain lightweight yet comfortable. The removable 4 ft (1.2 m) cable terminates in a right-angled 3.5 mm plug. The earphones as a whole exude a solid feel. You could abuse these babies for a long, long time before needing a replacement.
Frequency Range: NA
Impedance: 42 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 106 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): NA
Final Audio avoids listing a frequency range for the F4100, but I’d posit that it’s somewhere around 20-30000 Hz. The nominal impedance of 42 ohms, while not too efficient, remains more than acceptable for portable players and other sources. The Sound Pressure Level won’t blow your ears off, either, but it will deliver plenty of volume for comfortable listening. Finally, distortion isn’t given, but still seems remarkably low – probably <0.2 or <0.1%.
The F4100 provides plenty of detail and lively (but not overstated) bass. A good sense of control keeps bleed well in check, and the resultant sound is clean and articulated. It’s a bit subdued in nature, but this sound will definitely impress listeners who have grown weary of sloppy lows.
I hear plenty of definition and contrast in the mids – more than I was expecting from a headphone in this price range. With tons of detail and a sense of accuracy, the midrange comes across as clean and exacting.
The high end of the F4100 seems just a tad bit bright, but with plenty of detail. Notes practically sparkle here, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful high end in an earphone that doesn’t cost $500. Some very fine nuances may be at times, and the highest high notes can occasionally border on piercing. Still, this remains a fine high end.
With fantastic depth and a very good sense of placement, the soundstage on the F4100 deserves sincere credit. Some instrumentation seems crowded, but by and large the overall sensation remains immersive and deep.
I still can’t get over the fact that these earphones feature aluminum housings. Usually, when I listen with aluminum earphones, I can’t wait to rip them out of my ears. And yet, the F4100 sounds better and better the longer I listen.
Again, this earphone rocks a fantastic midrange. I can cycle through any vocal-heavy artist and hear TONS of detail I’ve never heard before.
If you consider balance and articulation the very antithesis of a good earphone, skip the Final Audio F4100. Or, if you prefer a similar level of balance, but want more emphasis on the low end, you could consider the Shure SE425. On the other hand, those who would rather hear more detail in the highs could check out the Westone UM Pro 20. Or, if you want the headphone that does it all, you should read our review of the Echobox Nomad.
But, if balance is your cup of tea – if you’re really searching for a headphone that offers a rich, uncompromising sound in its purest form – well, then the F4100 is for you. Such an analytical sound seems perfect for light critical listening.
Personally, I feel torn between this earphone and the more expensive (but more exacting) Final F7200. One of these earphones deserves a permanent place on my review desk.
The Final Audio F4100 won’t wow you with flashy looks or a celebrity endorsement. The modest (yet solid) aluminum build may even deceive you further. But the rich, balanced sound and immersive experience make this earphone a no-brainer for any serious listener.
If you are in the New York City area, and looking for a place to try these and the rest of Final Audio’s line, visit the Audio46 Final Audio Store. They have most, if not all of Final’s models available to demo!