When I was in high school, I was going out with Alysia. One night we went to the movies and she slipped her tongue inside my ear. Up until now, I thought that was the best thing that would ever happen to my giant dumbo ears. Until now. Until the Piano Forte X-G by Final Audio. Sorry Alysia.
Final Audio Piano Forte X-G Review
Unboxing the Piano Forte X-G provides a real challenge. There’s plenty of super-tight-fitting cardboard. I got Dwayne Johnson Biceps just from opening the box. Once you’re inside, though, it’s well worth the effort. There’s a nifty (if heavy) gold case that holds the earphones. And that’s it.
At first I thought I had been pranked. But after rifling through that heavy gold case and the cardboard shrapnel, I still didn’t have any eartips. Turns out, the Piano Forte forgoes that design in favor of a mesh filter inside the earpiece.
Getting used to this fit can be somewhat strange at first, but it’s a good kind of strange. Once properly fitted inside your ear, you’ll instantly forget the weight of the earpieces – no small feat, considering how substantial they feel in the hand.
That impression is probably helped along by the stylish gold plating on the X-G, but the solid feel is to die for. A black 4.5 ft (1.4 m) cable with a right-angle 3.5mm plug offers flexibility and strength.
Frequency Range: NA
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 106 dB
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): NA
Final Audio doesn’t provide a frequency range for the Piano Forte X-G, but it’s got to be pretty wide. Impedance is a low 16 ohms – perfect for my FiiO X5 II or a similar high-resolution portable player. Volume is decent, and more than decent when we account for the low impedance. Finally, distortion is low – very low. Honestly, this is the cleanest-sounding earphone I have ever encountered.
Deep, rich, and strong, the low end on the X-G provides a wealth of detail. The sound remains dark and brooding, with a warmth that seems to extend just enough to kiss the lower mids. This luscious low end sports no distortion or compression, resulting in a clean sound that offers real clarity and separation.
Where the mids are concerned, expect an accurate and full sound with plenty of definition – and then some. For vocals and instrumentation alike, these mids are meaty, remaining substantial yet pristine with no real blemishes.
I was actually expecting the high end on the Piano Forte X-G to be brighter. At first, the subdued high notes put me off, but after a few minutes of listening, I really began to warm up to the sound. The wizards and mad scientists over at Final Audio actually manage to deliver tons of detail, but without the piercing highs you’ll find with other high-end earphones. The resulting sound is smooth, but tactile – like having a velvet lining in your ear canal.
Dimensions of depth and near-perfect placement culminate in a mesmerizing sense of soundstage. Helped along by the overarching impression of clarity and separation present throughout the frequency range, the listening experience is nothing short of miraculous. Forget drugs, kids. This sound is where it’s at.
Where the Final Audio Piano Forte X-G is concerned, music sources matter. I mean, they REALLY matter. I had to ditch playing any MP3 files in favor of richer FLAC files. But if you really want a sonic tour de force, cue up some tunes in WAVE format and really kiss the sky.
Speaking of WAVE files and clarity, I think I can actually hear piano keys on an atomic level when listening with the X-G. I know that probably sounds crazy, but test drive these suckers and then get back to me.
The detail, clarity, accuracy, and soundstage offer a really, REALLY amazing sound – the kind of sound that seems to reinvent music itself. No matter what I pump into this earphone, I can’t find a bad track.
I’ve purposely held back on mentioning the price of the Final Audio X-G for one reason, and one reason only: it’s freaking expensive. At $2100, this is not an affordable earphone, and only the most hardcore audiophiles are probably considering purchasing it. But that’s the real tragedy of this X-G. So many people will write it off based on price alone, without ever auditioning it. Once you hear it, you can’t unhear it, and you’re going to want it. Bad.
If such is the case, feel free to settle for any of the lesser offerings out there. But if there’s even a snowball’s chance in Hell that you can somehow muster up the funds to afford this amazing little machine, just give it a listen. I know you’re going to enjoy the experience.
The Final Audio Piano Forte X-G boasts a whopping price of $2200. However, don’t let that price fool you: with a detailed and enveloping sound bordering on euphoria, this golden idol is definitely worth the cost of admission. These earphones are available to purchase and demo at Audio46 in Midtown, New York City.